A Wonderful Kind of Love(2)

By: Krista Lakes

She shifted her weight to give him better access, but he wasn't touching her anymore. She opened her eyes to find him glaring at her. He took a step back and grimaced.

“What's wrong?” she asked, confused. The heat inside her was quickly dissipating. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. This wasn't how it happened.

“I don't want this,” he said, shaking his head. He took another step back, fading into the darkness. She couldn't see him anymore.

“Ethan?” she called out. Suddenly, a woman appeared. She had never seen this woman before, but she knew that it was Ethan’s secretary.

“He said he doesn’t want this. He doesn’t want you. He does this to all the girls. You’re not special.”

She didn’t believe a word of it, but every time she tried to get around the secretary, she blocked Laura’s way.

The secretary kept talking. “Just forget about him.”

Ethan was about to step through a door. “Ethan!” She reached out to him, but he was already gone, and she was alone in the dark of her bedroom.

“Laura? Are you awake?” a small voice asked, hand on her shoulder.

The dream vanished, leaving her dizzy and confused. She turned to see two green eyes inches from her own, and she yelped.

The small owner of the eyes screamed which was followed by a third smaller scream. Laura's heart pounded in her chest like an over-sized drum as she sat up and turned on the light on her nightstand. Her brain struggled to make sense of what was going on as she woke from her dream.

“Ivy, you scared the crap out of me,” Laura gasped as soon as the light was on and she could see who was standing in front of her.

“I'm sorry, Laura,” Ivy whispered, her lower lip trembling. Laura's younger sister clutched her small security blanket to her chest a little tighter. Behind Ivy, their little brother Dallas sniffled and looked just as miserable.

Guilt hit Laura square in the chest. Ivy was only seven years old and Dallas only five. She remembered crawling into her parents' bed with nightmares when she was that age too. She didn't want them to think she was angry with them.

“It's okay. You just startled me,” Laura said, doing her best to smile at her siblings. “Did you guys have another nightmare?”

Ivy and Dallas both nodded, their eyes still full of fear. “Yeah,” whispered Ivy.

“Mom and Dad again?” Laura asked, already knowing the answer.

“The usual one,” Ivy replied, looking at the floor like having nightmares about their dead parents was something she should be ashamed of. They both looked so small and vulnerable in the yellow lamplight that Laura's heart squeezed in her chest, and she wished for the millionth time that she had a better way to take away the pain.

“You too, Dallas?” Laura asked her brother.

The little boy held his chin up. “I wasn't scared, but Finn was.” He held up his stuffed dog for Laura to see how scared it was.

“You guys want to come sleep with me until morning?” Laura asked, patting the bed beside her. Both kids grinned and jumped into the queen-sized bed, snuggling up on either side of their older sister. One sibling under each arm, they both sighed with contentment as Laura turned off the light. The nightmares never followed them into Laura's bed, and if they did, Laura was there to keep them safe. That was Laura's job.

Laura had no doubt that they had nightmares. She had them almost every night herself. If she had someone bigger and stronger to snuggle up with after waking up, she would have gone running just like they did. To be honest, she rather liked having them with her. They kept her safe from the nightmares.

Dallas was back asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow and the light was off. He had his butt pressed into Laura's hip and his arms wrapped around Finn, the stuffed dog. Ivy usually took a little bit longer to go back to sleep.

Laura shook her head as she found a comfortable position. They should just start all going to bed with her in the first place. They kids ended up here every night anyway. It would probably give them all better sleep that way.

“Laura, were you dreaming?” Ivy whispered in the dark.

“Yeah, I was,” Laura answered. “Why?”

“You were mumbling and smiling. Were you dreaming of Ethan from Mia's fundraiser last month?” Ivy asked. “You said his name. What were you dreaming about?”

Laura felt her cheeks heat and was glad it was too dark for her sister to see. There was no way she was going to tell her innocent little sister that she had been dreaming about the one-night-stand she'd had with the guy a year and a half ago. Nope.

“I don't really remember the dream,” Laura lied, shifting her weight slightly. She remembered the dream vividly. She remembered him from that night perfectly. She also remembered how he had his secretary tell her he never wanted to see her again. “And I wasn't dreaming about Ethan. You probably heard wrong.”