22 | warm

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N E V A E H


Aiden is still panting hard. His grip on my upper arm is so tight that it hurts and makes me wince. When he realizes it, he immediately lets me go.

My heart is beating fast as I stare at his condition. Sweat trickles on his face like he just ran a marathon. Whatever it was he was dreaming about, it must have been horrible.

I'm too stunned to speak. Aiden grips his chest harshly, as though it's hurting him to the core.

"Another nightmare?" Ashton is the first one to break the silence. A sigh leaves his lips. "It's still bothering you, isn't it? It always comes again after a few months."

Aiden says nothing, still trying to calm his breathing. I can feel the air getting tense.

Ashton starts again, "It's about time that you visit your doctor and therapist--"

"No," Aiden cuts off harshly.

I'm becoming even more speechless.

Doctor?

Therapist?

What is going on?

"You can't let it happen again," Ashton insists. "You can't let them do this to you. It's about time that you forget Olivia--"

"Ashton," Aiden snaps. From his expression, I can only see pain and anger, as though he would do anything to not hear her name again.

My heart sinks so low. I swallow a lump in my throat when the realization hits me.

Aiden was having a nightmare about Olivia, who left him on their wedding day two years ago.

The pain is still haunting him.

He looks down and runs his fingers through his hair. His chest is still heaving up and down. The sight breaks me, but I don't know what to do.

I don't know what I should do to make him feel better. If only I could do something to make him forget his nightmare, even just for a while. He looks so tortured right now.

"Aiden," I blurt out, and he looks up. The next words I'm going to say might sound stupid. "Um... Do you need any drink--"

"Just leave," he says icily, and my heart sinks even deeper.

Irritation crosses his expression, as if my existence here annoys him and makes it even worse for him.

The room turns silent again. It seems like everyone else is also taken aback after hearing what Aiden said to me.

I nod slightly and stand up from the couch, trying my best to not be affected by his sudden coldness. It fails miserably because I feel like crying. I don't know why it hurts so much.

While I'm about to walk to my room, Ian's voice stops me, "Miss Nevaeh."

I give him a questioning look, and he gestures for me to follow him into the kitchen.

Ashton's voice echoes from the living room as he talks to Aiden. Distinctly, I can hear those words again. Doctor. Therapist.

My heart becomes more restless as reality comes crashing down on me. The incident two years ago has broken Aiden worse than I could imagine, to the point that he still needs therapy after all these years.

When I arrive in the kitchen, the words Ian says to me snap me out of my thoughts, "Hot chocolate."

I look up at him. "Sorry?"

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