Calendar Girl: November(5)

By: Audrey Carlan

Anton lifted his glass, and we all followed suit. “To lucita and her hombre, may you both shine as bright as the sun and share many days lost in amor. Salud.”

I grinned, and for the first time, Wes actually smiled at Anton and nodded. Anton looked at Wes and then at me, tipped his chin, and drank the entire glass in one go. He finished it off with a hearty, “Segundo ronda.”

Wes squeezed the ball of my shoulder, and I cast my eyes to his. “I’m glad we’re here,” he admitted.

I closed my eyes, inhaled, and planted my forehead against his neck. “Me too. They are good friends and only want the best for me. Which. Is. You.” I nudged against his cheek with each word.

Wes lifted my head and pecked me on the lips. “I can see that. My head is still…you know…tainted.” He spoke so softly only I could hear. It didn’t matter, because after our toast, Anton went back to cooking, and Heather went back to filling the drinks and then away to put on some tunes.

“No.” I caressed his temples. “Just misplaced concerns. There will never be another. I swear it.”

He nodded and leaned close enough for me to feel his breath against my lips. I could almost taste the notes of the champagne from his breath alone. “And I’ll make sure of that,” he whispered against my mouth before taking my lips in a deep, wet kiss, one far deeper than was appropriate.

We ended our kiss to the sound of applause and whooping and hollering from the peanut gallery on the other side of the counter. It was going to be a long night.

Chapter Two

“No! Don’t touch her. Gina! Gina!”

I woke to Wes’s raised voice. He was calling for Gina. I wiped the sleep and way too many glasses of champagne, coupled with martinis-a-plenty, from my eyes and sat up.

Beside me, Wes tossed and turned. The sheets were wrapped around his body, and his forehead was dotted with drops of sweat. Even his chest glistened with slick pools of sweat, which caught the moonlight pouring through the windows. He must have been in the throes of this one for a lot longer than normal. Usually, I was able to place a hand on his arm or chest, and he’d settle, maybe wake up, maybe not. It had been a few days since he’d had a dream. Almost a full week. Things had been going extremely well with the therapy. Since we left Malibu to come to NYC, he missed his last session this past week.

For a second, I cursed myself for being so selfish. Here I wanted him to be with me on assignment in New York when he probably needed the comfort and security of home to continue through the healing process. It had only been five weeks since his captivity. Not nearly enough time to be leaving the one place that made him feel safe. Shit!

I slipped out of bed just as he cried out again.

“Gina…no. No. No, oh my God. Mia! Mia! That’s my wife! Get your filthy hands off her!” He screamed out, his body arching in what looked to be an extremely painful half-moon shape.

Flicking on the lights, I called out to him. “Wes! Please come back to me!” I didn’t want to risk touching him. The one time I did, he shot his arm out and caught me in the rib with his elbow, giving me a nasty bruise that made him feel worse than I did. Since then, I didn’t make a move to wake him physically.

“If you touch Mia…I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you! She’s mine!” he roared.

Grabbing the bottle of water next to my side of the bed, I opened the cap, said a prayer to the big guy upstairs, and poured a line down Wes's chest.

His body shook, and his arms flew out in opposite directions. I was prepared for that and just barely jumped out of the way in time to avoid getting tagged by his automatic fight-or-flight response.

“Mia!” His pupils were fully dilated, and his lips curled in toward his teeth. “Are you okay?” he growled. I wasn’t sure if it was because he was angry with me, still lost in the evil clutches of the dream, or because he genuinely wanted to know.

I licked my lips and pushed my hair off my face. “I’m fine. Do you love me?” I asked this same question every time he had one of these dreams.

“More than anything in the world.” His response was instantaneous.

He moved to get up, but I put a hand out. I still wasn’t sure who this person was. My Wes. Captive Wes. Victim Wes. Dangerous, angry Wes.

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