Chapter 14

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Riley

My mind was all over the place. I was thinking a thousand things at once. How could we communicate telepathically? Why were we so special? What happened when I got hurt on the road that night? Would I ever have that connection with him again? "I want to touch you Grayson. I need to reconnect with you. I think this is the only way." I pleaded with him. "Amber, I don't know how much worse the shock is going to be. Or the headache. I'm scared of what will happen to you." "Grayson, I don't know what this feeling I have for you is exactly. I am drawn to you like no one I have ever met. I think about you constantly. I feel safe and happy when we're together. Even though I only remember knowing you a short time, I'm certain that I'm falling in love with you. I want to be with you. And if that means some pain for now, I am more than willing to take that chance."

His colors went from concern to excitement to fear. I knew he didn't want me to get hurt. But this was the only way. "I don't know Amber. I want to touch you again. I want to hear you speaking to me in my mind. I want to feel all of your emotions, not just see the colors of them. And I want to kiss you, so badly." Then a slight blush covered his perfect cheeks. "But the last thing I want is for you to get hurt." "Let's start slowly. Just a little touch of the hands." I persuaded. He looked at me and I saw the longing there. But I also saw his hesitation. I opened my hand to him, with my palm up. He looked at it, then back up to my face. He extended his hand slowly to mine. He stopped millimeters away. He wanted me to be the one to take the leap. I met his quickly before he could change his mind.

I saw the spark immediately. But this time, it didn't scare me. I knew what was happening. I felt the tingles and then a bolt of electricity shot up my arm and to my head. It was sudden and surprisingly strong, even though I was expecting it. I closed my fingers around his. He took his other palm and put it on top of our clasped hands. The sensations continued. I felt what could only be described as sparks in my brain. I closed my eyes. I concentrated on the warmth of his hands. The contact there was so comforting, even with the trauma happening in my head. I tried to hold on as long as I could. The pain intensified. He pulled his hands away first. I opened my eyes and searched his gray ones. "You are crying Amber." I quickly wiped the tears from my eyes. "It wasn't that bad." I lied. "I think it was." He said solemnly.

"Do you feel any different?" He asked. "I don't think so, I don't really know. Maybe. It was stronger than last time. But I can't sense your thoughts if that's what you're asking." He was disappointed. So was I. "Can I try something?" he asked hesitantly. "Of course, whatever you think will work. I want to do this." "I just want to hold you Amber. Just bring you close to me and smell you and feel you against me. Our hearts beating together. Maybe if our skin doesn't touch, it won't hurt you." I didn't have to even consider it. I immediately moved closer to him and opened my arms. His went up and around me as he brought me into his chest. My head rested against him and his chin sat upon my head. It felt so perfect, so right. I could feel the buzz of electricity. But no shocks in my head. This was so much better. I could stay here forever like this. Wrapped in his warm, strong embrace.

Neither of us spoke or moved. I could feel his breathing and his heart beat. It was as if we were one. I closed my eyes and breathed him in. He smelled like comfort, if that were a smell. I could feel his hard muscles. I wanted to let my hands explore them. But I held back. I wished desperately to be able to read his thoughts. Did he like holding me as much as I did? I didn't need to wonder for long. "This is the single most wonderful moment of my life since I lost you three years ago." I could hear the emotion in his voice. I wanted to look up at his colors. But I didn't want to move out of his embrace. I would just imagine that he was feeling like I was. Content and happy. "I have to admit that this is honestly the best moment of my life, since I don't remember all the hugs we shared before." He kissed the top of my head. Now that might be the best moment. I hoped they would only get better from here on out.

After some time, we had to let go of each other. But we sat on our rock with his arm draped around me as we talked. I wanted to know everything about our past. He told me some of the things we used to do. How we spent every possible moment with each other. How we would talk late into the night in our heads, from our separate houses. Our parents were constantly telling us to go to sleep. If we were silent, it was because we were talking telepathically. I loved listening to him tell me all of our secrets. He showed me more pictures. I wished I could remember these special moments. But at least I know about them now.

Before I knew it, I had to go home. I didn't want to leave him. But I had no choice. I wanted to just run away and go home with him to Colorado. But I had a responsibility to my little sisters. When I got to my front door, I knew things were not good. I could hear Hank and Gwen screaming at each other. What was he doing here this early? His shift didn't even end for another few hours. I tried to enter quietly. The first thing I saw was broken furniture and trash thrown all around. Then I saw the girls cowering in a corner of the front room. The yelling was coming from the kitchen. I rushed over to them immediately. Ava was wrapped around Bella. I could see Bella's lip was bleeding. I took a closer look and noticed one eye was red and puffy. She threw her arms around me when I got close. They were both crying. "What happened baby girl?" I quieted her while running my hand down her hair.  Neither of them spoke. Ava pointed into the kitchen. "Did he hit you?" Bella nodded her consent.

I listened to the argument in the kitchen for a while. Gwen was yelling about him being a looser and never keeping a job. He argued back about her caring more about those little girls than him. She insisted they would get less money if child protective services saw her all beat up and took her away. That was what she was concerned about? Not that he did it, just that he would get caught. They were both disgusting. I picked up both girls and brought them into our room. I told them to lock the door unless it was me. I went back to listen some more. Gwen said she was putting me out as soon as I turned 18 so that he wouldn't do something stupid. I would argue he already did plenty. I couldn't let those girls grow up here without me. I was the only one who cared about them. I had to do something.

I didn't really think, I just acted. I walked right into the kitchen and up to Hank. "What did you do to her Hank? You couldn't push around anyone your size, so you had to punch a poor defenseless four year old?" He turned to me seething. I saw the hatred in his color. "Don't you back talk me, you worthless brat. The only thing you're good for is looking at. Conceited little tease." I was getting angrier by the second. This wasn't supposed to be my life. I had people who cared about me. People who loved me. "I'm never going to let you hurt them again. Child protective services will hear about this. And you won't be getting money for either of them or me." Hank didn't even respond. He just reared back and punched me in the jaw. I went down like a sack of potatoes. My head smacked the floor with a sickening thud. I could hear sirens in the background right before I blacked out.

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