I felt a cold, soft hand run through my hair. I wasn’t sure whom the hand belonged to, but I didn’t care. It was either Ryan or Brendon’s, and that was all that mattered.
“Alena,” the voice cooed. It was Brendon, my glorious keeper, my future husband.
I opened my eyes to see the pale white wall, blank and heartless, staring back at me from where I laid on the bed. I could tell that it was only the artificial lamplight that helped brighten the room, letting on that it was still nighttime.
I was sweating, bad, and my head felt like it weighed about 4,000 pounds.
“Alena,” he whispered again as I let out a large groan, cradling my head in my hands. I have never had a hangover like this.
“Am I dying, Brendon?” I asked, squeezing my eyes shut.
He let out a musical laugh. “Well, you are. But not from that hangover,” he added dryly.
“Fuck,” I muttered. “What time is it?”
“Approaching 6 A.M.”
Another profanity slurred from my mouth, causing him to laugh. He took my hands from my throbbing temples and pulled me against his chest.
He felt strikingly cold against my touch. I opened my eyes to realize I wasn’t under the blankets with him, and I was wearing only a pair of panties and a tank top. I could feel the sweat rolling down my back.
This totally wasn’t normal.
I sighed and buried my face into his chest, listening to his steady heart.
“Are you all right?” he asked, his brown eyes gazing down at my fading green ones.
“Yeah, I think it’s only a fever—“
“No, Alena,” he said, all of his softness forgotten. “I mean, are you all right now? Did you get all of that out of your damn system? Do you even realize how worried I was? I thought maybe you were dead, lying in some ditch somewhere. Ryan said you’d be fine, and you were going to come home soon, but I couldn’t help but to wonder…”
“You don’t have to wonder anymore, okay? I’m here now! I think that’s what matters…”
“What did you do while you were out? Or do I even want to know?” He spat. I knew he had every right in the world to hate me, but that didn’t take away the sting in his words. It actually made everything so much worse.
“I got wasted at a bar, Brendon. I mean, I think that’s obvious. But I don’t know what else you’re implying…”
He took a deep breath and removed his eyes from me. I felt him shudder. “Alena, would you ever… ever cheat on me?” Those last four words came out hoarse, like he had a sore throat.
I swallowed the lump in my throat. “Brendon, that wasn’t where I was—“
“I know, Alena,” he said sharply. “But I asked you if you ever would.”
I wanted to run away then, scream, cry! I wanted to cast myself off the highest of all buildings. I wanted to bury myself in the ashes of all the bridges I’d ever built. I wanted to take a dagger to my own cheating, black heart.
But suddenly, like a wild flame, there was a savage burning in my throat, a colossal building that I couldn’t shake. My stomach twisted into a giant knot, and I had the sudden urge to vomit.
“Brendon,” I choked, placing both of my hands over my mouth in an honest attempt not to spew alcohol wash-up all over the carpet. I flew from the bed and into our bathroom, where I heaved all of my insides into the bathtub. Brendon was there in an instant, holding back my long brown hair, trying to keep it out my face and most importantly, out of the way of my violent throw-up.
“You should go back to sleep,” I whispered to him, as I lay my face on the cool bathtub ledge after a few minutes of straight vomiting. The porcelain felt too nice against my feverish skin. I let my body fall limp against the tub.
“No,” he whispered, stroking my hair. “No, Alena.”
“Brendon… this isn’t something I really want you to see…” I wanted to stay more, but the wave of nausea hit me again, and I was back at it.
Then, finally, my stomach felt empty. I lay back, placing my head on the wall behind me. I closed my eyes, intending on staying there and sleeping, but Brendon picked me up.
“No—“ I tried to argue, but I felt tired and drained.
“This isn’t just a fever, is it?” he asked as he set me down on the bed, on top of the blankets.
I shook my head. “No, Brendon. It isn’t.”
He stroked my hair lovingly, pushing the sweat-matted bangs from sticky face. “What happened at the clinic today?” His tone was soft and concerned, even his once angry eyes were now mellow.
“The doctor said I was…” but I didn’t want to say the word.
“What, Alena?” he pressed. Just like Ryan.
“I’m pregnant, Brendon.”
His face lit up and his eyes were suddenly bright. “Are you serious, baby?” he asked, not bothering to keeping the excitement from his voice.
“Yes,” I whispered.
“That is amazing. Alena!”
I nodded my head. It would truly be amazing… had I known whose baby it was…
“I’m sorry about that…”
“About what?” His brow furrowed and his eyes grew dark.
“I’m sorry you had to see me spill out my insides like that…”
He laughed and pressed his lips to my boiling forehead. “Nonsense, love. I know I helped make what’s building inside of you, and if I can help you in any way possible, that means more to me that anything else. I’m serious. Even if I have to hold your hair back while you puke everywhere. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
He stroked my cheek once. “Thank you, Brendon,” was all I could force out from between my disgusting lips.
“Always,” he answered, holding me close to him again. “Always.”
I closed my eyes; letting everything, all this pain and confusion, fall away, like dust in the wind.
“Brendon,” I whispered.
“Brendon, will you make me a promise?”
“Anything you ask.”
“Brendon, when I have this baby, do you promise to love it?”
He hesitated a moment. “Alena, of course. Why wouldn’t I?”
I shook my head. “No, I mean no matter what. Will you make sure that this baby is always your own?”
He nodded his head. “Yes, of course baby. I couldn’t imagine anything else.” He paused. “Why wouldn’t I?”
“I just needed to know.”
He pressed his lips to my forehead once more. “You need sleep honey. You’re beginning to sound like a crazy person.
I shrugged my shoulders. “Maybe I am.”
I’m dying on the inside. Every part of me feels like it’s being ripped apart. Like during the medieval times when they had torture chambers, placing each of the victim’s limbs in a hold, and pulling them in different directions. This felt just like that, only much, much worse. My limbs were no longer there, but simply a figment of my imagination. However, the pain is as real as it gets.
I’m lying in my bed, my pit of agony and depression. Everything seemed so wrong now, everything seemed so fucked up and obliterated. I keep saying her name over and over again in my sleep, I wake up with her name spinning in my head, even my dreams are filled with her face.
There are two faces tonight, haunting me, keeping me awake. Alena stood not to far from me, but she was in a glass box, a glass world. I looked up, and all I could see was this glass wall, and she stood on the other side of it. She looked up at me, her eyes the deepest jade you have ever seen, almost as if her eyes were made of real emerald jewels. In her strong arms lay a beautiful baby girl. The baby lifted her head to look at me, and I almost fell over in disbelief.
“Alena?” I asked aloud. The baby in my love’s arms was the exact image of Alena. The same deep-set green eyes, the same curly brown hair, the soft porcelain skin. But I blinked again, revealing to me another image. The child wore my face, had my dark brown eyes, my distinct nose and straight brown hair.
“Ryan,” Alena said, but I could only see her mouth move. The wall silenced our words.
I called out her name over and over again, striking the glass with my fist. She turned her back to me and began to walk away. I couldn’t see where she was going, but I knew she was walking toward Brendon, wherever he may be. I called her name again, continuing to pound the glass with a mighty force, but the wall never budged.
“Alena!” I cried.
But she never looked back.
I awoke, my chest heaving and my whole body trembling. I tore off the blankets from my sweating, shaking body and cast them to the dark floor. I rolled over and looked at my alarm clock, the red numbers glow a ghostly ‘5:43’ a.m. I sighed and tried to shut my eyes, but fear pried them open again.
I didn’t want the glass wall to return to me once more. I tried, forced myself to stay awake, but like a long-lost lullaby, sleep returned. I felt it’s icy hand crawl across my warm skin, a silent reminder that I was never alone, but always alone. And I would be forever and ever, as long as my life continued.
“Sweet dreams Ryan,” the wind whispered with mock concern, its voice low and soft, yet cunning and cold. I let my eyelids fall down under their heavy weight. “Goodnight Ryan. Go to sleep,” it cooed. I could hear the false pretense beneath the words, but I obeyed.
Suddenly, the heavy obscurities began to dissolve and then vanish, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
Alone with my wall.
Her face was there again, blocked by the glass.
“Alena,” I whispered as a cold chill ran down my spine. “Alena, return to me.”