I don’t know when I fall asleep but I do, and when I wake up I am back in our bed. Maybe it was all a dream. Rubbing my tired eyes, I turn to my side and wince. My neck is feeling sore from what happened last night. Nope, not a dream. Looking around, I find Eros by my side. He is watching me, his eyes full of concern and worry.
“Hi.” I give him a small smile, trying to reassure him that I really am okay.
“Do you…do you want to leave?” Eros asks.
A little part of my soul breaks when I hear those words. He really thinks I am going to leave him? After everything we have been through? I place a hand on his chest, feeling his heartbeat.
“Are you sure?” he asks, covering his hand on mine. “I…I don’t know how you can stand to be near me.”
“Yes, I’m sure, Lykos,” I say, chewing my lip. “Tell me what happened?”
He stiffens. “Aren, I’m…I’m handling it.”
I frown. “Wait. How long has this been going on?”
“It’s nothing. I just know better now.”
I feel anger bubbling inside me. I do not understand why I am getting so angry. It could be the fact that he is ignoring my question. Maybe the fact that he wasn’t going to let me help him. He is still panicking. I know it, his body is practically vibrating.
“What do you mean, you know better now?”
“This happens when I sleep, I just…I just won’t sleep near you.”
“Aren, I won’t hurt you again,” he says, his brows furrowing.
“There must be some way to help you. I’m sure we can figure this out.”
“It’s fine, I won’t sleep near you again, you can trust me.” He slowly sits up.
I sit up as well, grabbing his arm. That isn’t a solution. Did he really think that we would never again sleep together? Not if I could help it.
“Lykos, we can’t just sleep separately forever. We will figure out what is causing those nightmares.”
“I said I’m handling it,” he says. “Everything’s fine, Aren.”
I sit back, subconsciously fiddling with my engagement ring. “Really? Because it doesn’t seem like you are.”
“Last night was an anomaly, it was fine before…” He winces.
“Before what?” I say, frustrated.
He swings his legs off the bed, heading towards the closet.
“I…I…” his voice dies.
“Eros, answer me,” I demand. I haven’t called him by his name since my memories returned. This was serious and I wanted him to know that.
He stiffens. “Before…tonight.”
I stand from the bed, walking over to the closet. I stand in front of the door, blocking him in.. He is not going to go anywhere until I get him to realize that I can help him.
“So, this has been happening for a long time, and you didn’t tell me?”
He pulls on a shirt and yanks on his sweatpants, ruffing his hair after. “Aren. It’s not a big deal.”
“It is! You haven’t been sleeping at night, have you?”
He turns to face me, reaching out to touch my shoulders. He grasps them gently. “Not…not every night.”
I look away from him, trying to process everything I had just learned. How did I not know that he has not been sleeping with me? I am his wife and yet, I didn’t see the signs that something was bothering him.
“We will figure this out…”
“It’s fine. It’s figured out,” he says. It was like he was pushing me away. Like he didn’t need me.
“It’s not fine, Eros!”
His hands drop from me. “Is…is this because I hurt you?”
“No. It is because you are suffering and you don’t want me to help you!”
“I’m not suffering!” he almost yells.
I pause. “Are we not in this together?”
“We are! Of course, we are!” His gaze drops to my neck. I feel the need to cover it with my hands.
“Then let me help you!”
“I don’t need help!”
I take a few steps away from him. My heart is in pain from him continuously pushing me away. I look down at the engagement ring, remembering how happy I was when he got down on one knee. We were going to start our life together. After all those years apart we were finally going to start working together as a team but it seems like we are falling apart. Without thinking, I slip the ring off my finger. I grab Eros’s hand and place it in his palm, pushing his fingers to make a fist. A tear rolls down my cheek as my hands drop from his. I watch as his hand opens up and he stares at the ring.
“I…I didn’t mean to hurt you, Aren. I can do better, be better, please. I won’t hurt you again. I swear.” His voice is full of panic, “I’ll be whatever you want. I…I won’t touch you again. If you’re…if you’re scared of me, but please.”
He still doesn’t understand. I choke back a sob. “It’s not because of any of that, Eros.”
“Then…why? Are you…do you not love me anymore?” he mutters, still staring at the ring. “I…I need you, you’re my soul.”
“I do love you, Eros. But you won’t let me help you. How are we in this together if you don’t tell me what’s bothering you?”
He looks at me. His usual bright blue, playful eyes, dull and lifeless. It makes me feel numb.
“So, you…you want to leave me?” He rambles, “I’m not enough…I never am. I suppose it was a matter of time.”
I see his eyes gloss over as he barks out a laugh. “I just didn’t expect so soon.”
I shake my head, tears rolling down my face. “I don’t want to leave you!”
“Then why are you?!” He looks down at the ring again. “I hurt you and now you won’t love me anymore.”
Eros drops down to the floor, his knees hitting the ground hard. I wince at the sound they make. The ring drops from his hand, rolling across the floor as I drop beside him. I cup his cheeks with my hands, instantly regretting what I had done. I don’t even fully understand why I took off the ring. I didn’t want to hurt him and yet I did. I try to connect my eyes with his but he isn’t there. My stomach twists.
“Eros, I love you, and I always will…I…I took off the ring because…” I pause, trying to explain myself. I wasn’t thinking clearly. We are both still so broken from everything that has happened. Would we ever heal?
“Because you can’t forgive me for what I did. I can’t forgive myself. I never will always. I’ll see your face with my hands tightening around your throat. Just another thing to add to the nightmare…” his voice trails off. “What’s one more?”
My lip trembles and I rub my thumb on his cheeks. I frantically kiss him, hoping it would bring him back to reality. “Eros, It’s okay. I’ll help you get rid of those nightmares.”
“They’ll hurt you, the nightmare. They will. Too dark. I tried to keep you in the light. Away from it but…”
My hands shake. I’ve lost him. He is gone and I don’t know what to do. How will I get him to come back? Not even my touch seems to stir something inside him. I turn away from him for a second, looking for the ring. Crawling around the floor, I find it near the door. I slip it on my finger before crawling back over to him. Maybe if he saw the ring back on my figure it will snap him out of this.
“Eros, listen to me. You and I are a team. A team works together. I love you so fucking much and all I want to do is help you. You help me and I help you. Okay?”
His eyes connect with mine and for a second they come alive. It slowly fades though and I curse.
“They took you from me, the dark. They took my Aren from me,” he mutters.
“What did the dark do?” I ask, curious.
His eyes flicker and his breathing is shaky. “The dark, it’s…it’s in my head, always in there. It wants my Aren. It makes me see the same thing over and over. It took her from me. Will you get her back for me?”
He’s lost it. He can’t even see that I am in front of him. This darkness he mentions scares me, but I am determined to get rid of it so that he doesn’t have to worry about me anymore.
“I can. What does the darkness show you?” I ask him. I need to know the root of this nightmare to help end it.
A single tear falls from his eye. “My…my soul. My wings. Every night it’s the same. Round and round. I need my soul.”
I wipe the tear from his cheek with my thumb. “What happens to your soul?”
“She takes them from me. Every night. She comes for me in the dark.”
I move my hands away from him quickly, guilt sinking deep into my bones. I finally understand what is going on. The soul he is talking about…It’s me. I know it is me because he has called me his soul before. The memory that keeps replaying in his head. It’s me taking his wings. He sees that every night when he sleeps. How can he still love me after seeing the same thing over and over again? This was all my doing and the fact I took off my ring when he was trying to hide the truth. He didn’t want to hurt me. He hid it from me because he didn’t want me to feel guilty.
I look back up at him, cupping his cheek with my hand. “I will figure this out, my heart. I promise you that.”
Another tear drips down his face. “She’s gone. Why? Did I hurt her?”
I pull him into a hug, running my fingers through his hair. It is all I can do.
“She isn’t gone…”
“Where is she?”
I smile sadly, leaning back against the wall. “Right here.”
“Will she stay?” His voice changes and I feel him come back to me. I breathe a sigh of relief. “Aren? What happened?”
“Um…” Where do I start?
“The last I remember…” His voice trails off and I notice him looking at my hand. “Huh.”
“I…nevermind.” He slowly stands up, holding his hand out to me. I take it and he helps me up to my feet. I chew my lip, not making eye contact with him as my mind races. Should I tell him what happened? What should I do?
“Aren? Did something happen?” he asks, looking around in confusion. “I…I don’t remember?”
I shake my head. “Uh, I need some fresh air. I will be back.”I exit our room, heading to the elevator. I couldn’t lie to him but I am not ready to tell him what happened. My main focus is on helping him get better as soon as I can. I pull my phone from my back pocket, searching my contacts. I stop scrolling when I see one name. Nyx.