#Chapter 42: Eye of the Storm
I woke up to the sound of thunder and howling wind in a dark bedroom that was not my own.
Where was I?
I slowly sat up, peering through the cracked door that led to another room. I could make out the silhouette of a man on the couch. He was watching a scary movie on the TV.
It sounded like there was a hellish storm outside, but I was willing to go out there if it meant getting away from the man who drugged me.
I stood as slowly and quietly as I could, realizing now that I was only dressed in an oversized men’s t-shirt and my clothes were nowhere to be found. Did this lunatic have his way with me already? I shuddered at the thought, tears pricking at the backs of my eyes as I scanned the room for some sort of weapon. Maybe if I could sneak up on him and hit him over the head, it would knock him out long enough for me to grab my things and get the hell out of here.
Bingo! There was an umbrella hanging on the back of the door. It would take a lot of force, but I could do it. Surprisingly, I felt strong despite the drugs in my system.
I grabbed the umbrella off the door and slowly creaked the door open, stepping forward to strike….
He suddenly whipped his head around. I stood frozen like a deer in headlights with the umbrella poised over my head to hit him.
It was Enzo.
“Jesus!” he said, jumping up from the couch. “How are you even up right now?”
Enzo drugged me?
“You asshole!” I yelled, circling around the couch with the umbrella still ready
to strike him. “You drugged me!” Enzo backed away, knocking into a
barstool and toppling it over with a crash. “I didn’t drug you,” he said, but I didn’t believe him. K was right. Enzo was a monster. I swung at him with the umbrella, but he caught it before it hit him.
“Nina, calm down!” he said, yanking the umbrella away. I backed away, weaponless, scanning the room for my things so I could grab them and run. Hell, I didn’t even care about that anymore. I just needed to get out. I turned on my heel and ran for the door,
my heart racing as I heard Enzo running behind me.
“Nina, Luke brought you here!” he said, catching up to me and placing his hand on the door just as I was about to open it.
“Luke…?” I furrowed my brow, straining to remember what happened before I blacked out.
“Yes, Luke,” he said, tossing the umbrella down on the floor. “You know, your skeleton bodyguard. He found you with some psycho who was trying to hurt you and brought you here.”
My heart was still pounding out of my chest, but when I looked up at Enzo, his face was hard and serious.
All of a sudden, my head started to
throb and I felt like I was going to pass out from all of the exertion. I stumbled backwards. Enzo leaped forward and caught me just before I fell, wrapping his strong arms around me and
scooping me up with ease as a wave of
dizziness took over me. He quietly
carried me over to the couch and sat
down, still holding me tightly.
“You know I’d never hurt you,” he said, feeling my forehead with the back of his hand as a concerned expression drew across his face.
As Enzo held me, rocking me gently, the memories started to flood back in. I remembered an older businessman at the bar… He carried me to a broom closet, and….
I didn’t want to think about it any more.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered when I finally felt like I could speak. “It was just…”
“I know,” he responded. “You woke up in an unfamiliar place right after someone tried to hurt you. I’m sorry, too. I should’ve left you a note or something.”
I sat up and slid off Enzo’s lap and onto the couch, tucking a strand of messy hair behind my ear. “I need to go home,” I said, standing; but as I stood, another wave of dizziness came over me and I fell back down on the couch.
“I’ll take you home when you’re able to walk without collapsing,” Enzo replied, his words immediately followed by a sudden crash of thunder that made the TV flicker. “Also, there’s a typhoon.”
I shuddered and pulled my knees up to my chest. Wordlessly, Enzo stood and grabbed a throw blanket from a chair. He came over and wrapped it around me with a gentle smile on his face, then headed toward the kitchen.
A few minutes later after some banging around in there, he returned with a tray and set it down on the coffee table.
“Bon appetit,” he said with a grin, sitting down next to me. “I figured you might be hungry. We’ve got popcorn, hot chocolate, grilled cheese, and there’s a vending machine down the hall if you want me to get you anything else. I’d order us a pizza, but…” He gestured to the window, through which we could see the treetops swaying in the intense wind.
I couldn’t help but smile.
“This is perfect,” I said.
Enzo grinned and picked up one of the
sandwiches, handing the plate to me.
“I’m not much of a cook,” he said. “I
usually just order food when I want
I took a bite of the sandwich, which was surprisingly delicious. As we ate and watched the scary movie on the TV, I found myself becoming more relaxed. We made fun of the dumb characters who kept getting themselves killed, and when the movie was over, we still weren’t tired so we put on another scary movie. This one was a lot scarier, especially with the storm raging outside, and I hid my eyes and grabbed Enzo for comfort a few times.
At some point, I’m not sure when, I felt myself start to nod off with my belly full of popcorn and hot chocolate and my dreams full of Enzo.
When I woke up, it was surprisingly bright outside. I felt warm with the sun shining through the windows and smiled a bit, nuzzling into Enzo’s chest.
Enzo and I had fallen asleep cuddling
on the couch. When did that happen?
My face turned red as Enzo’s eyes
opened and he looked over at me with a
“Morning,” he said, his voice low and gravelly with sleep.
I sat up without a word and swung my
legs over the side of the couch,
standing. Enzo sat up behind me with a
confused expression on his face.
“You okay?” he asked.
I nodded. “I just… I should get home
before my roommates get too
worried,” I said.
“Oh… Okay,” Enzo replied. He sounded. disappointed, but didn’t say anything else. I walked into the bedroom to look for my phone and my clothes. My clothes were folded on the bed while my phone’s notification light flashed on the nightstand; no doubt I had dozens of texts and missed calls from Jessica and Lori, who probably thought I either died or ditched them for a one night stand.
Sighing and trying not to think about how lovely it felt to wake up in Enzo’s arms, I quickly got dressed, grabbed my phone, and headed toward the door.
Enzo was standing by the door when I approached. His eyebrows were turned up a bit in the middle in a slightly sad expression. I half expected him to beg me to stay, to be his girlfriend… but he just opened the door for me with a sad smile.
“Be safe,” he said quietly. “I had a lot of fun with you last night.”
I nodded, averting my gaze to the floor.
“Me too,” I replied. Part of me wanted
to kiss him goodbye, but I didn’t. I had to stick to my decision to just stay friends, and that boundary had already been crossed from a night spent cuddling.
As I left the dorm and headed home on my walk of shame, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that Enzo didn’t come running after me.
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