After dinner we all hung out on the beach. Well the family was in the sand except me, Alex and Hunter, we opted to stay on the patio so as not to deal with the sand. Alex was only there because I was. He lounged in the chair with his eyes closed. Like he was ignoring the world.
I could feel the happiness from my kids. All of them were having a blast – including Ant and Isabelle, who weren’t exactly my kids, but at the moment they felt like them.
The sun set and we all watched the colors over the water. And then were inside for a few video games. Again Hunter and I refrained choosing to watch curled up together in Alex’s lap when he wasn’t taking his turn.
Matt was crowned king of Mario Kart and Ant swore vengeance on the newly crowned king. Tomorrows match up would be interesting.
I tucked in Hunter next to Matt and Laker. They were already curled up together when Hunter laid down with him. My son curled up into Matt’s arms and they all looked cozy. “This doesn’t bother you?” I asked Matt.
He opened his eyes and looked up at me, “So many times in the Venatori people wouldn’t touch me. They were afraid of what I’d do, so no, this is awesome. People willing touch me, even if it’s a pat on the back, it’s so good.”
I smiled all to knowingly at Matt, “I know the feeling.” I leaned down and kissed his on the forehead, “We love you here, no matter what.”
He looked over at Laker who was smiling, “I know I didn’t really have a choice in all this since no one knew, but I’m happy here. I love our family.”
It was music to my ears. “Me too.” I said happily, “Thank you for helping with Hunter.”
He ruffled the boy’s hair and grinned, “He’s my best little bud.”
I walked out shutting the door behind me. Alex was coming out of the girls other kids room. He nodded towards the door, “Drake’s already passed out, off in dream land. The other boys are good.” I nodded. We both tucked in the girls. Both of us opting to give them both a kiss on the forehead before we slunk off to our own room. Alone at last!
“Alex…” I said as I closed the door behind us.
“I know Nox. Griffin really isn’t a threat.”
I smiled at him. “I know. He just knows you better than I do.”
Alex laughed, “I seriously doubt that. Pretty boy,” He said walking up to me and wrapping his arms around my waist, “I told you all about Griffin when we were kids. I didn’t tell you about the specifics of sex but I told you all about him.”
I sighed and pulled away from the man I loved and started undressing. Over the course of the past few weeks my bed time attire had considerably dropped. I was only in boxers when I crawled into bed. The safety of Alex’s arms was more than enough to protect me. And there wee no nightmares. That in and of itself was hard to believe, that after years of them, I no longer was a slave to that demon. Now I was in control of my own dreams and my nightmares were of my own making.
The bed was comfortable but it wasn’t mine and that was going to be an issue. Alex was hastily putting things away before he crawled into bed. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close against him. The heat of his body was comforting and I relaxed. I hadn’t even realized I was so tense in those moments before. Like I as waiting for a fight, but it didn’t come. Alex pressed a kiss to the back of my neck and nuzzled close to my skin.
It felt good to just be me and him for once. I drifted to sleep with the arms of my love around me.
I woke and found myself in a strange place – well not so strange really, it was the white room with the colored blocks. The window was open and I could look out on to my colorful dream landscape. There was no wind, no whispers of monster. Just the old room, felt almost dusty with lack of use.
There was a noise behind me and I turned to see a small me. It was funny how much Hunter looked like me. It was like watching my son playing with the blocks. A kid from a popular TV show of the time stood above me talking and I had to focus on his words.
“Aren’t you tired of playing with these blocks?” He said with Alex’s voice and his eyes, but nothing else was Alex.
I looked up and shrugged. “Nothing else to do.”
Alex’s younger self took me by the hands and pulled me away from the blocks and I followed them over to the bed where they sat and talked. Alex told me about his day. How he’d met another boy that his mom had been working with. They played and wrestled around the floor before getting into trouble.
My younger self asked, “Why don’t we wrestle around?” Alex’s expression was one of confusion, I’d remembered that we didn’t, and Alex was processing the memories.
He ran his fingers over my cheek and down my chin and smiled, I could feel the tender touch even though the boy wasn’t touching me. “Maybe when you get older.” And then I was whisked away in a black blur.
The dream shifted again. Still the same room but this time I wasn’t playing with the blocks. Alex and I were older, Neither of us looked like each other but it was painfully obvious which one was which. Alex was kicking his feet against the bed, he was nervous. “Griff and I did more than wrestle today.”
I sat there with my attention rapt as I watched Alex. The way I looked at him, even then. He was the love of my life, and always had been.
“Did you enjoy it?” younger me asked without any hesitation or jealousy.
Alex’s eyes blinked at me in a foreign face, “Yeah. Was the fist time I wanted to.”
“He wasn’t your first though.” I said, “That was a while a go.”
“You remember that?” Alex asked.
I shrugged. “I guess. I don’t know.” My grin changed to something far more sweet and shy, “I like when we do it too.”
I laughed to myself, I was so fucking smooth. I rolled my eyes.
Alex laughed behind me, “How’d I know you’d be here?”
The scene winked out as our younger selves kissed.
I shrugged as I turned around to see not my Alex, but a version of him anyway. My heart sank a little.
Alex was there holding me in a moment. “What’s wrong pretty boy?”
“You aren’t you.” I said sadly. “You can be you in your dream scape, why not in mine?”
A mirror popped up and Alex frowned. “It’s just habit, baby.” His visage changed to what he’d been wearing that same day, “See, that’s better?” He grinned at me, “Just remind me, I don’t do it on purpose anymore.”
I gave a slight nod and wrapped my arms around Alex’s neck. He was mine. All mine. “I love you.”
He nodded, “I know.”
I bit his neck at his Star Wars reference and he groaned. “You okay with Griff?”
I nodded against his neck, “I’ll get over it. You trust him, Ant trusts him. So I’ll trust him.”
“He’s not a bad guy.”
I laughed, “He’s a lot more ‘bad’ than I’d like. He’s the son of a con man, and is a hired gun.”
Alex laughed. “So are Jae and Seraph. And so are you.”
I sighed. “I know. Can’t we have just one goodie two-shoes as a friend?”
Alex shrugged, “You know any?”
Our conversation died off as Alex kissed me and we were alone in my dream scape with no worries of the black blur taking me away, or any pain we didn’t cause the other. It was restful even if in the dream we didn’t sleep.