When I open my eyes, it’s obviously way too early. Everything inside of me screams that I wasn’t supposed to be up already. My body’s still tired, but it’s not listening to itself. So I wake up and yawn long and hard. Tonight was way too short. Lauren kept me up for hours. First, we fooled around properly, then we talked until the sun came up again. She needed to tell me things, she said. Things that happened while we were apart. It were simple stories about going to the mall, getting a driver’s license or riding a horse, but they were special to her. I understood why. She let me in on her very admirable first-evers. The first time she ever dared to do things on her own, without anyone holding her hand. As sad as I felt about not being there with her, tonight I felt even more proud about the young woman that saved herself in this big world.
After smacking my lips to moisten them, I turn around to find an adorable Lauren glaring at me in wonder, like I’m the most adorable thing in the world. She looks beautiful in the morning, but finding someone staring at you while you’re sleeping is a bit disturbing.
“What? Why are you looking at me like that?” I ask in a husky voice.
She shrugs and smiles like a dork. Her eyes are lighting up like diamonds and I love that about her. It makes me feel like the most appreciated and admired girl in the world.
“I’m just … looking.” she sighs happily.
I turn around and bury my head against her, positioning myself against her breasts. She runs her fingers through my hair and kisses my forehead.
“What do you see? … Apart from perfection, I mean.” I ask in a cheeky way.
Even half asleep, I still manage to be snarky. She pats my shoulder and immediately snaps out of her dreamy world.
“Right now? A narcissistic idiot.”
I smily sillily and decide this is the perfect position to fall back asleep right away. God, I’m tired. She really kept me up all night. Three hours of sleep are not enough for a lazy ass person like me.
I got released from the hospital a week after my accident. I’m fine now. Healed and all. Some bruises are still there, but the pain is gone. I’ve been through worse, you see.
And now life’s perfect, because I got her as well. She hasn’t left my side once. We’re together now, like, properly and out to the world. It’s amazingly liberating how not trying to hide something can be so very simple.
I drift away into some dream where the two of us are at the beach, while carefully holding on to her. Lauren doesn’t remind me of John or the fortress anymore. I mean, sure, sometimes there are memories rising to the top – but I guess they’ll always be there. It’s a thing that happened, I can’t just block that out. I just learned to live with it, just like she did. Right now, I’m on a cloud, and from that cloud I can see us spending a perfect day near the sea. They place’s deserted and we have it all to ourselves. We take a swim, we learn how to surf, we even spot some beautiful fish in the sea. She smiles at me and I feel like I’m sucked into heaven. She kisses my lips and the touch makes me shiver.
Eventually, I wake up, with the most content smile covering my face. Next to me, I find her asleep as well this time, no longer observing me in a creepy way. My fingers play around with the tip of her nose and she wiggles it to get rid of the annoying feeling. That doesn’t stop me from carrying on, though. After a while, she escapes her sleep and realizes it’s me, torturing her.
“Stop it!” she demands softly, while turning away from me.
I start to laugh and throw myself on top of her, kissing her on the ear.
“You’re grumpy when you’re asleep.” I tell her.
She mumbles and grumbles and pushes me away, hoping she’ll resume her beauty sleep. I won’t let her.
“And you’re loud when I’m asleep.” she whispers while yawning.
Maybe I shouldn’t tease her this much. She’s right. I just can’t help myself.
“I’m sorry, babe. I’m getting up. You sleep in, I’ll make you some breakfast in a while.”
It’s a very loving compromise if you ask me.
“No … No. No. Stay with me.” she softly begs, lacking the necessary persuasiveness due to tiredness.
I start to move away from her when she quickly turns around and grasps on to my arm.
“No!” she squeals.
Her fingers are dug deep into my skin. It surprises me. She begs me with a childish anger, one that expresses disappointment and anxiety. It’s adorably cute. God, I could just eat her.
“I need to write, baby. Deadline’s next week.” I explain.
“Write in bed.” she suggests.
But that just makes me grin: “The only thing I could write in this bed is an erotic novel.”
She pulls herself up on one elbow and looks at me mischievously: “I’d read that.”
The shaking of my head does not do the judging over her snarkiness any justice.
“I bet you would.”
I bend over to kiss the soft, left side of her face and whisper a silent goodbye. She gives in and buries her face in the pillow. Her back is naked, uncovered by the blanket that’s draped just above her nice ass. I get up and hide my panties with some shorts. It’s warm in the room, unlike the weather outside. My sleeping shirt is tiny and just thin enough to not make me sweat. She always puts the heating too high. Must be a result of always being cold in the fortress.
My desk is calling. It’s in the room next door – the spare bedroom. Except from Ellen, no one ever spends the night here besides us. So I put a desk in it a few weeks ago. My own little writing space, where I can hide and dream.
Some sips of coffee normally inspire me to carry on with my story. But it’s lost its magical power this morning. I feel melancholic. I feel filled with joy and emotions. Strange.
I start thinking about Ellen. My very best friend. Next week, she’s starting law school a few towns away from here. I’m so proud of her. She’s been my absolute rock and I don’t think I would’ve survived the last few months without her. But now it’s time to do her own thing. I’m fine. I have Lauren and I feel great. I feel like the best version of myself again. She should focus and fulfill her own dreams now. I’ll be the best friend this time around, full of positivity and support. Ellen felt bad about leaving me, but I told her not to worry. Just like my parents, she’s finally starting to thrust my own judgement again. They no longer freak out with every decision I make, call the police whenever I forget to text or call them back or refuse to watch movies about abduction and violent situations whenever I’m in the room. It’s a relieve to not feel like a burden anymore and finally like a normal loved one.
Some time passes, it must be hours, when Lauren finally decides to get up. She’s searching for a job, now that she moved back here. Something about the environment – she’s really passionate about that now and it suits her. She’s the kind of person that has empathy for the trees and animals. Let’s just say I’m not really into that. Anyway, I have faith she’ll quickly find her place around this town. After all, it is her home. It’s where she was born, where she grew up for a few years. These are her roots.
The hot blonde makes her way over to me and wraps her arms around me from behind. Her lips kiss my bare neck and I smile pleased.
“How’s it going?” she curiously asks.
I enjoy her touch for a second.
“I’m stuck here.” I admit while frowning.
She yawns for a long time and stretches her ams before asking for an explanation.
“I have it all done. It’s ready. The book is ready. Except for the beginning. And the beginning …” I sigh away my frustration, “is the most important part.”
I nod. Clearly, she disagrees.
“I think the middle is the most important part.” she tells me.
A thoughtful shrug happens and she starts thinking it through.
“A beginning and an ending – you could compare those to birth and death. Now, there are great ways to start a life. There are awesome, heroic ways to die. But what’s in between, that’s what truly matters. You can go out with a bang after having experienced the dullest life ever. Or you can have the best memories and love stories in the world and quietly die in your bed one night.”
Her explanation intrigues me. She’s sort of right. But that doesn’t always apply when it comes to writing a book. It should immediately sparkle the reader’s interest, it should make him want to read along.
She carries on her opinion: “I don’t want to read an awesome intro, get bored after twenty pages and then force myself to flip to the last page to feel better about knowing the ending. I want you to take this story – our story …”
Her fingers start taping mine, to make sure I understand that this is about the both of us.
“And turn it into something magical. Something that will stun people. That makes them aware of all the fucked up things we’ve been through because of one man’s crazy mind. And how we survived anyway. How we managed to find love through all of the horror. How this insanity led up to this perfection.”
I nod, memorizing the things she just said. She reads along over my shoulder and stays quiet for a second while she gets through the first page on my screen.
“You know … For a taste of your lips, I’ll give you some advice.” she offers playfully.
I burst out into laughter and turn my head towards her. My fingers leave the keyboard.
“That sounds like a Kenny Rogers song.”
She shrugs and sits down on my lap, after rolling my chair back a few inches.
“That sounds like a great deal.” she corrects me, squeezing my cheeks together.
I hesitate for a second, but decide to give it a try. My lips touch hers. I mean, if there’s anyone who might shed some light on the story, it’s her. And why not steal a kiss as well? Win-win.
“Okay, I’m listening. But only because I really like you sitting on my lap.”
Her body comes to lean on her elbow while she reads the first few lines out loud. It makes her shut up for a solid twenty seconds. Then she turns around and starts talking to me about how she’d do it. How she’d like to receive the first part of a story if she were to read this book. Her mouth tells me words I’ve been searching for since a long time. And all the time while she’s talking, I have to force myself to focus, because my mind keeps getting blurry by the image of her in front of me. I get dreamy and filled with love just staring at her in the bright, shinny morning light. She’s such a driven person, such a sparking personality. However we managed to survived the hellhole we went through, we’ve done it perfectly. We’ve been challenged by life, but that didn’t stop us. It was meant to be to find each other. Directed by the universe that we’d fall in love. And nothing, not even a kidnapping misogynistic kidnapper, was able to change the intention of our existence.
PAGE ONE – THE BEGINNING
“There’s no such thing as a happy ending.
Because even if everything in the world felt right for a slight second –
Maybe a lifetime.
An ending means it would all stop.
It’s life: everything comes to a definite end.
Truthfully, before the Fortress happened, I believed in this thing called happy endings.
And then he came to get me. John showed that not all in the world is pretty.
The torture was there, the beating, the blood and the pain. It was cruel, it was hard, it was traumatizing.
But unlike I expected, it ended. And a new chapter began.
The moment I got out of the Fortress somehow felt like a happy ending to me, because it was the stop of a momentary in-between, a phase that would pass and lead me into this new part of life. I thought everything would work out perfectly after that.
Because I believed in happy endings, I believed stepping out of that house would end all the pain and sadness he had unleashed upon us.
I was wrong.
Whatever he did to me will never really end.
It’s in my mind. It’s in my dreams, it’s in my behavior and my existence.
It has ruined me forever, but that does not mean I can’t be happy or pleased with life.
I’ve seen the worst and thanks to that, I can now experience the very best and appreciate it all the more.
So this is the story about me. The story of my life.
It was ordinary and easy.
Until it was not.”
PAGE THREE HUNDRED TWENTY-SIX – THE CONCLUSION
If she’ll be in a room in heaven, she’ll be in the seventh one to the left.
That’s the one where music plays just soft enough to not disturb, and loud enough so you can enjoy every little vibe of it.
It’s where the scent of the place reminds you of meadows and flowerbeds – of twenty three perfect red roses.
There are pictures painted along the wall that represent the best days of your life and ignite a joyful feeling bound to take over your set of mind.
She sits on the left side of a soft bed, with strings of silk laces wrapped through her blonde long hair while a white dress covers her gorgeous body.
She’s waiting for you, like she always has.
It takes you over an hour to get to her, because the sight of her beauty stuns you with every step you take.
Then her baby green eyes flare up at you and your heart inexplicably melts and explodes at the same time. It’s the most intense feeling in the world.
But everything suddenly makes sense. You get the picture: it all led up to this.
This was the purpose, ending up in this room with the woman you love, and who loves you back. Every fiber in your essence understands, every feeling going through your soul heightens that knowledge.
All the worry you’ve ever experienced, all the bad feelings and emotions that ever occurred lose their place in your memories. They no longer exist. They have been erased.
All there’s left is pure, undeniable, inevitable love. It’s the meaning of life. It’s why you had to go through hell first.
You understand that you got captured.
Captured by her.
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