I toss and turn in my sleep as something pulls at my soul. My brows furrow as I squeeze my eyes shut. I place a hand on my chest, pleading with whatever it is that was bothering me to stop. It doesn’t work, so I reach out for my husband. I sit up quickly, not able to feel him beside me. It takes a few seconds for my eyes to adjust in the dark. For a split second, I think he and I together are a dream, but as the room comes into focus I recognize a few objects and I let out a small breath of relief. I am still in his room, the moonlight shining on some pictures of the two of us and our daughter on the dresser. There are a few other pictures I took of our pets. All these are place holders for more photos I will eventually take of us. My lips curve in a small smile, looking around the room. Perhaps he is in the bathroom? Although, he would have been back by now.
Swinging my legs off the bed, I grab one of his shirts from the floor, putting it on before I exit our room. It is two times too big, and I love it. Something about it is comforting and makes me feel safe. I head towards the kitchen, thinking that maybe he was thirsty, after all, we went a few rounds before we went to bed.
Passing through the living room, I see someone lying on the couch. I squint in the darkness, my heart dropping in my chest as soon as I figure out who it is. It is…Eros. He is sleeping out here, but why? I tiptoe towards the couch, lowering to sit on my knees. Gently, I move a strand of his hair from his face. He looks so tired. His head tosses in his sleep as I place my hand on his cheek.
“N-no,” he mumbles.
“Lykos?” I whisper.
“Please, n-no…” He squeezes his eyes shut. It must be a nightmare. I gently shake him.
“Lykos, it is a dream. Wake up,” I say a little louder.
Eros’s eyes shoot open, vacant. “You.”
He grabs my throat, rolling off the couch and pinning me beneath him. I gasp for breath. Grabbing his arms, I struggle under him. I look at his eyes and I know instantly this isn’t him. They are grey and stormy, not his usual bright blue, playful eyes. It is like that night when he was taken by Kronos. This isn’t him. He is sleeping.
“Lykos. Let. Go,” I gasp.
His grip only tightens on me and I can no longer breathe. I do the only thing I can think of doing, slapping him across the face.
“A-aren?” Eros mutters. It takes him a few seconds before he realizes what he is doing. He releases his grip, jumping away from me. I place my hand on my neck, wincing slightly. His facial expression morphs to horror as he observes me.
“No…no…what did I do?” he mutters.
“Lykos?” I wasn’t concerned about my health…No, I was concerned about him and that nightmare.
He scrambles further away from me, until his back hits the wall.
“What did I do…no, no, no,” he says again.
I crawl over to him. “Lykos…what happened?”
He moves away from me again. “I…I hurt you?”
“You did…” I wince. I can’t lie to him. What good would that do?
His gaze drops from me to his hands. “I was…”
Eros scrambles to stand up, his eyes are wild. “What were you doing out here, Aren? You were in bed.”
I stand up as well, chewing my bottom lip. “I woke up and you weren’t there. Why are you sleeping out here?”
I am still trying to figure out what is going on and it doesn’t help that more questions come to mind.
“You should have stayed in bed!”
I frown at him. “Why weren’t you in bed?”
“I hurt you!” I can sense he is panicking as he ignores my question once more. His eyes are focused on my neck. “I…I hurt you…”
I place a hand on my neck. The marks must be showing up now. I wish I could hide them so he didn’t have to see them.
“Not on purpose, Lykos…” I say, “I’ll be okay.”
“Aren’t…aren’t you scared of me?” he worries. I take a few steps towards him but he continues to back away, glaring at his hands.
“I hurt you.”
He isn’t listening to me. It is frustrating. I want to help him so badly, but I can’t do that unless he tells me what is happening to him.
“Why were you sleeping out here?”
He presses his back against the wall and slides down to sit on the floor. “Danger.”
I sigh, sitting across from him. I leave some space between us. “How long has this been going on?”
I shake my head, that wasn’t my current question. “That you have been sleeping out here.”
“Can’t sleep near you,” he says, clenching his fists.
“Why?” I ask, scooting closer to him. Thankfully, he doesn’t move.
“Dangerous. Can’t stop…what’s in my head…”
“What’s in your head?” I ask him, wrapping my arms around him. He pulls me into his lap and I breathe a sigh of relief as he holds me.
“Tell me,” I say, burying my face into his neck.
“Nightmares…” He lets out a shaky exhale and I hold him tighter.
“What kind of nightmares?”
“I…” He wraps his arms tighter around me, burying his head into my neck.
We stay silent for a few minutes and I run my fingers through his dirty blonde hair, soothingly. His hugs are calming, it almost makes me forget what just happened…almost. I feel his body shaking against mine, this is breaking him. I decide not to ask him any more questions tonight.
“Aren, I’m so sorry…”
“It is okay, Lykos,” I say, kissing the side of his head.
“I…hurt you,” Eros repeats. This is going to hurt him for a long time. “How could I hurt you?”
I pull him as close as I possibly can, staying silent. Wishing I could turn back time and wait until morning to speak to him about this. Then he wouldn’t have hurt me and he wouldn’t be feeling like…this.
“Aren, why don’t you hate me?”
“What do you mean?” I ask him, looking up at him.
“I hurt you,” he says, his eyes not connecting with mine. They are still focused on my neck. I place a hand on his cheek, forcing his head up so he looks at me.
“That wasn’t you.”
“I won’t hurt you again, I swear it. You can trust me, Aren.”
His eyes. I have never seen them like this before. They are usually relaxed, lustful, or happy. Currently, they are wild and panicked. I look at him sadly.
“I trust you, Lykos but right now, I want to focus on helping you.”
“You don’t want to leave me?” his voice is sharp, halting, nothing like normal and it breaks me.
“Of course not! Why would you ever think that?!”
His eyes drop from mine, slowly placing his hands over my throat lining his fingers up with the marks.
“I didn’t mean to, Aren, please…”
“I know, Lykos. I know.”
Eros’s hand drops from my neck, wrapping his arms around me again. He presses his face into my shoulder and I go back to comforting him. I run my hand through his hair, holding back the rest of the questions on my mind. For the rest of the night, I will comfort him, hold him until we both feel better. In the morning, I will figure out what his nightmares are about.