#Chapter 120: Shared Trauma
Enzo and I almost kissed.
But we didn’t. He stepped away before we could. I understood why he did that, but it still hurt. At the very least, even though he left almost immediately after, I made him promise not to hurt James; I wanted to get to the bottom of this before we did anything rash. For all we knew, James wasn’t even planning on doing anything bad. We didn’t even know what the letter truly meant in its entirety.
That night, however, I had countless horrible dreams. In one dream, I was back in Edward’s tunnels and he was forcing me to drink my medicine.
When he poured it down my throat, it turned into a thick sludge that made me choke. In another dream, I was running toward Enzo, but something was holding me back and I never
reached him before he disappeared.
In my final dream, I saw Enzo
standing in front of me. He was smiling and holding a woman’s hand. I couldn’t see her face because it was covered by a wedding veil, but when they turned toward each other and he lifted his veil and kissed her, I knew it was his fated mate despite still not seeing her face. I sobbed, trying as hard as I could to get between them
and stop them, but as I did, Enzo
suddenly grabbed me by my throat and throttled me. I struggled against him as he lifted me off of the ground by my neck, my limbs flailing while I clawed at his firm hands. The last thing I saw before I started to lose consciousness was the image of his glowing red eyes staring angrily at me.
Suddenly, I woke up to the feeling of someone shaking me and the sound of Lori and Jessica’s concerned voices.
“Nina? Are you okay?” Jessica asked.
I cracked my eyes open, then furrowed my brow. “What are you doing in my room?” It was still pitch black outside, and when I glanced over at the digital clock on my dresser, it was only three o’clock in the morning.
“You were totally freaking out,” Jessica said. “We heard you yelling and got worried about you.”
I frowned, sat up, and rubbed my eyes.
“What happened?” Lori asked.
“I keep having nightmares about what Edward did to me,” I said quietly. ” They won’t stop. And they’ve been getting worse.”
Lori and Jessica both looked at each
other in unison.
“You know,” Lori said, sitting on the edge of my bed, “the whole town knows about werewolves now. If that’s what was stopping you from turning Edward in to the police before, then it’s not stopping you now.”
I shook my head. “It’s not just that. I don’t know what he’s capable of, and I still don’t know who exactly he, Ronan, Lisa, and whoever else are working for. Besides… I have no evidence. It’ll be just like that time that I tried to turn in the stalker and they didn’t listen to me because she stole the only evidence I had.”
Lori and Jessica were silent for a moment before Jessica suddenly spoke up.
“Maybe you should get some evidence,” she suggested. “You said the tunnel has two entrances, right? Why not go back and get some pictures?”
My eyes widened at the prospect of going back in there. I didn’t know if I could do it… The very thought of going back in those tunnels made me want to vomit, and all of a sudden, I felt myself starting to cry.
Jessica and Lori both wrapped their arms around me.
“We’re here for you,” Jessica said. ” Whatever you need. That’s what friends are for.”
I hardly got any more sleep that night. By six o’clock in the morning, I gave up entirely and just decided to wake up and get to the library early to work on my presentation. At least that could distract me.
Around eight o’clock, I had to go to class, and by that point the effects of the sleep deprivation were really starting to take a toll on me. No matter how much coffee I drank, I could hardly keep my eyes open… but I had an exam that day, and I couldn’t miss it.
I tried my best during the exam, but it wasn’t enough. Soon, my eyelids began to flutter as I rested my chin on my hand, and then before I knew it I was fast asleep on my desk right in the middle of the exam.
I awoke with a start to the sound of the professor dropping a textbook on my desk and quiet laughter around me.
“Tired, Miss Harper?” the professor asked.
I blinked, then rubbed my eyes. “I’m so sorry, ,” I said. “I didn’t get much sleep–”
“There are no excuses in this class, he interrupted. “The exam is over, and it looks like you’re only halfway finished. I’ll be docking points for this; next time, try not to stay up all night partying.”
I went to say that I wasn’t up partying, but what was I supposed to say after that? If I mentioned anything about the nightmares, I’d only get more ridicule, and by that point the professor had already taken my test and the rest of the class began to pack up.
So, I swallowed my pride and left the classroom.
I felt entirely downtrodden as I walked across the quad. I was having nightmares, losing sleep, my grades were slipping, and of course there was my relationship with Enzo, and James’ letter and strange behavior… The list could go on.
All I wanted to do was go back to my room and cry.
And that was exactly where I was heading when I heard someone say my name from behind me.
“Hey, Nina.” I stopped and turned around to see Justin standing behind me.
“Oh. Hey,” I said.
He looked like he hadn’t been sleeping much either, judging from his messy hair and the dark circles under his eyes. For a moment we just stared at each other before he finally spoke..
“Can we talk for a few minutes?” he asked, pointing at the bench by the fountain. I nodded hesitantly and followed him over.
“I just want you to know that what happened in the cafeteria the other day was actually really helpful,” he said once we sat down. “I think it unlocked something in me, so to speak.”
I furrowed my brow. “What do you mean?”
“I’ve been having a lot of nightmares lately,” Justin said. “I didn’t know what they meant initially. They usually involved a man torturing me… But when you mentioned Edward, and then Enzo asked if I was ‘working for Edward’, I realized that the man I saw in my dreams was Edward. After that, I started remembering all sorts of things “He did some horrible things to you, didn’t he?” I asked.
Justin nodded. I could see tears
beginning to form in his eyes, and without thinking, I pulled him into a tight hug. He wrapped his arms around me and buried his head in my shoulder as I rubbed his back.
“He did the same thing to me,” I said.
“I’ve been having nightmares, too.”
As I said this, Justin only hugged me more tightly… But at the same time, I looked up to see Enzo walking past quickly with his head down. I knew then that he saw us hugging, and he was certainly upset about it judging from how hard his jaw was set.
I pulled away from Justin suddenly and watched Enzo storm away.
Justin seemed to notice this and stood, nodding to himself. “You should go and talk to him,” he said quietly. “I have to go to class.” Before I could stop him, Justin turned
and walked away.
I sighed, standing, then jogged after Enzo.
“Enzo!” I called as I caught up to him. He didn’t look at me, but didn’t quicken his pace to get away from me, either. “What you just saw–”
“It’s fine,” he said suddenly, stopping in his tracks. When he turned toward me, I saw that his eyes had a painful expression behind them, but he seemed to be trying to hide it.
I frowned, wishing that he would just be honest with me. Why did he have to hide his true emotions for me after everything we’d been through together?
He then pulled the red scarf out of his pocket and held it up for me to see. As I looked at it fluttering in the wind, I felt my stomach drop. “It’s okay if you want to be with someone else,” he muttered. “I’ve got a mate. Maybe it’s time for you to find one, too, Nina,”
“But Enzo, I–”
He only shook his head. “I have to go to hockey practice,” he said. “I need to focus on winning this tournament, and whatever is happening between us only keeps getting in the way.”
My heart broke, leaving me with a feeling of hollowness in my chest. I couldn’t stop him before he turned and walked away, still clutching that red scarf.
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