As dusk settled over the river, they headed back to the cabin where he led her to the large, well equipped kitchen. She refused his offer of food, so he continued to lead her through the living room towards the stairs. This man had always impressed her, and this living room was nothing less than amazing. The walls and shelves were decorated with his many awards, belts and trophies for various individual events across the country.
When he focused on a goal, she was confident that he would attain it, and she loved that about him. Nothing about him was impulsive or careless, each decision was well thought through before execution.
She wondered how long she would remain the focus of his attention. She loved the way he carefully planned their escape up to this cabin, the way he took care of her needs, the way she felt protected and safe in his presence. She wanted to be with him for as long as possible, but she wished with every ounce of her being they hadn’t met under this circumstance, and she hated that he would be in danger until the whole situation was settled.
She was unsettled. She didn’t like feeling unsettled at all, and she found that she further retreated into herself, each time these feelings hurt her chest, she shoved them deeper down, knowing ‘deep down’ was getting pretty full and would start to seep out if she wasn’t careful.
When her hands drifted subconsciously towards a particular award, he explained how he attained it. Where the fights were, who his opponents were, and what skills he used to defeat them. He loved what he did as much as she loved interior design. Two completely separate worlds. She wondered if they would even be compatible when things settled.
He led her upstairs which simply housed a single bathroom and a single bedroom, both of which were extravagant in size and decoration. When she entered the bedroom, she was impressed by the windows. Tall windows flanked three sides of the room, and you could see for miles over the tree line to the river and down the hill, even to parts of the prairie below. Tucker announced that this is where she could call home for the night, and she felt incredibly relieved.
She hadn’t felt her usual self after she saw the Monster this afternoon. The familiar fear crept into her soul, and her body shut down instead of, or maybe in spite of, running. She was used to taking control, and in this situation she had handed the control over to more capable hands. Instead of wanting to run and move and do something, she couldn’t wait to crawl under the sheets and shut her eyes.
There was that one thing, though. The thing that stopped her from ever spending the night with him, and the thing that would prevent her from sleeping here tonight: the nightmares. The repetitive nightmare of being caught, bound, and beat. The screams that went unheard. The pain that was absorbed. The stinky smell of failure, of submission to a man she hated, one who was so close they nearly collided accidentally today. The thought made her sick. How was she going to stay awake? How was she going to keep the dreams at bay?
She decided the gym clothes would suffice as pajamas, and quite frankly she didn’t have much else to choose from. When he left her alone, she took in the surroundings of the large room. A very masculine room she noted. Wooden dressers, bed frames, and even the decorations on the wall were nature inspired. She had none of these things at the moment, not here nor at her old apartment – the one she most likely wouldn’t return to. What she would give to have her Grandma’s blanket right now, to have something familiar in this unfamiliar environment.
She pulled back the giant curtain and was eventually thankful for the flood of stars that stunned her into peace. These were the stars that reminded her she was still alive. She had survived another day. Wherever she had been in this country, if she could look out at night and see the moon and the stars and the spectacle that they were, she knew she was safe, and alive. She reminded herself that even in this cabin, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, she could look up and see the same stars her parents could see.
She missed her parents horribly. They had no idea she was on the run. They just thought she had taken a traveling job, and they were thrilled to see articles written about her in the local newspapers about awards she had won or prestigious buildings she had a hand in completing. They didn’t know. And hopefully they saw the stars as endless opportunities, not with the homesick feelings that gripped her body tonight.
Feeling homesick, she picked up her cell phone and called her mother. It rang once, twice, three times. It rang until it hit the voice mail. She wanted to hear her Mom’s voice so badly, but the voice mail message would have to do for the night. She tried to sound cheerful, “Hey Mom. Just me. I’m out at a beautiful cabin for a weekend retreat. You wouldn’t believe how fantastic the view is out this window. I can see that little face in the moon, and I thought of you. Just wanted you to know I’m doing well. Love you.” And with that, she ended the call, hoping she would be alive when this was all over so that she could see her mom in person, and hug her sweet body, and tell her she was the best.
It sent a fresh wave of grief through her body, and she shoved it back down. Crying wasn’t going to help this situation. She needed to come up with a plan. How could she end this before anyone got hurt?
Determined to not fall asleep, she pulled the comforter off the king sized bed and wrapped herself in it. She sat on the floor at the foot of the bed and beheld the spectacle shining before her. She could figure this out. She had done it many times before, but now there were many more players involved. She could take this time to think a plan through, to be tactical and have foresight, rather than running blind all the time. She could do this….
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