Strained Vacation

I didn’t dream.  I woke with a gasp from the darkness lying in our shared bed.  Though the sun was down and I was alone.  There were no sounds, and there were no voices in my head.  Everyone was asleep.  No telling how long I’d been out while my body healed the trauma.  I sat up and looked around.  I didn’t see Alex.  My heart broke into a thousand little pieces.  My mind sank into the falling darkness of loss and grief.  He’d left.

I found my grey hoodie in the closet and pulled it on even as I stepped out into the summer night air.  The moon was nearing full.  Still a few days out from the full moon.  But it was close.  Maybe that was the reason for the problems. 

I sat down in the lounge chair outside what had been our shared room and I let the emotions take over.  There were tears, and I shook with the grief.

I must have cried myself to sleep.  The next thing I knew the sun was peaking over the horizon waking me from the deep dark of my ocean grave.  I’d only dreamt of drowning over and over again.  No rescue in sight until my eyes opened and the sun was lighting the world again.

The door to my room opened and my brother stepped out.  “You are a fucking idiot.”

“That’s not news.”  I agreed.

He sighed and grabbed my fully healed and brandless arm.  “Such a fucking idiot.”  He yanked and I stood up.  Rider dragged me through my room and into the common living space where a sleeping form lay.  Alex was curled up on the couch alone, and sleeping.  “He slept out here.”

“And?”

“Fix it.”

“I can’t.”  I growled at Rider.  “He hates what I am, who I’ve become.  He hates everything about me.”

Rider grabbed my other arm and pulled me close and growled, “He loves you.  He’s as afraid of everything as you are.  Maybe you should care how he feels.”

“He won’t tell me!”  I pulled out of my brother’s grip and went into the kitchen and started a pot of coffee.

Rider glared at me and growled. “Fix it!”  The weight of his words fled down the pack bonds and I shivered with the magic.  My brother was definitely alpha.  And I was willing to give him the reigns.  I nodded.

He seemed satisfied and fled the room grabbing Hunter as he started into the living room from the hall.  “Come on.  Give them some space.”

“But I’m hungry.” Hunter said as I poured two cups of coffee.  I made one with cream and sugar for Alex.

Rider laughed, “I’ll take you all out for breakfast,” he said as he walked down the hall.

“So fucking loud!”

“You can go sleep in the bed.” I said.

Alex sat up and looked over the edge of the couch.  “You’re awake.”

“I didn’t die.”

“No just passed out because of the pain.”  Alex said as he got up and sat down at the bar stool.

The silence was deafening.  It hurt.  Alex wasn’t in my head.  There was no familiar tingle of his listening mind.  No connection.

“Are we done?”  I whispered, I was afraid to hear the answer.  I didn’t look up, I kept my gaze low.  I missed Alex already.

“See that.” He pointed to my though I only caught part of the motion, “That right there is the fucking reason we are fighting right now.  The reason I slept on the fucking couch.  You submit to every fucker who’s ever… well fucked you.”

“This is what I hate, Nox.  I hate that you think no one will love you if you don’t give in.”  I looked up to interject but Alex gave me that look that said he was done if I did.  “The only thing on Dan’s fucking mind was how much he could steal you away from me.  Even as you were in my arms his only thought was to make you come home with him.”  Alex slammed his coffee cup on the counter and it broke, spilling coffee all over the counter.  He stared at it incredulously but kept going, “And you know what.  I think he’s right.  He could steal you away from me.  Any of those fucking ass hats could, because you aren’t strong enough to say fucking no.”

Alex sighed, “You can’t even say no to me.  I know if I asked you’d give it all up. Think about it Nox, what do I have without you?” He didn’t pause to let me answer, “Nothing.  Nox.  Abso-fucking-lutely nothing.  I gave up my life to be with you.  My career, my wandering.  Everything to be **here** with you.  There is nothing else Nox.  Just you. And you don’t even appreciate it.”

“I do appreciate it.  I never asked you to stop doing what you did. That was all on you, but you are never happy with me. And you clearly have no faith in me.”  I said sadly.

Alex shrugged and slid off the bar stool.  “You give me no reason to believe you are strong enough to say no.”

“So the fact that I brushed him aside when he tried to put his arm around me means nothing.  The fact that I walked to you meant nothing.”  I pushed my untouched cup of coffee towards Alex.  “I have years and years of habits and inclinations to fight through.  I work every fucking day at it and none of it makes you happy.  So for the same of our vacation, let’s just pretend one more time that we are happy.  That Rider got his way and we fixed it.  Because no matter what happens between us there is no going back.  We are tied until the ends of fucking time.”

I walked away.  And Alex didn’t stop me.  I made it out the door before the tears fell and I collapsed in a corner of the patio wall and the house.