(I own nothing.)
NO NEED TO WORRY
Something has been wrong with her for a while now. She seems somehow lost, or rather, there is a subtle agitation in her that wasn't there before. It was there the first brief discussion we had in the hospital, just hours after I'd woken up from the surgery. We were alone and I asked what was wrong, but she evaded the question and remarked how happy she was to see me awake. I let it be for the time being. I didn't have much mental energy to press the issue, so - as some might say - I took the easy way out and decided to follow her advice to focus on the recuperation process.
She came to see me everyday at the hospital and the two weeks I've spent at home. Time has done nothing to lessen her agitation. Sometimes I catch her unawares and she seems dejected, like she's struggling to find the fight in her. Then she glances at me and she regains some of her composure. I look away for fear she'll feel embarrassed at having been caught, but I relish the knowledge that she grows stronger in my presence, from our bond, just as I do.
I've been waiting, holding my breath, really, but I don't know this yet. The realisation strikes me the moment I'm telling him what happened to me on the day he was shot.
I'd been telling myself that he'd be better off not knowing until he was in perfect health again. I didn't want to cause any setbacks in his recovery, and if I were honest, I knew that once the truth was out, I'd selfishly need his strength to carry me through.
Another reason for stalling was that I'd convinced myself that if I could show him that I'd already coped with the worst of it on my own, it would lessen his pain and grief. But it was a lie, since in my heart of hearts I knew that I could only begin to put it behind me once I'd shared it with him.
Tonight, I'll tell him.
"Hey Bail!" I call out as I open the door with the spare key. I glance around and see him in the recliner, looking lost in thought. He stirs, looks up and smiles.
"What's on the menu?" I ask, heading to the kitchen island.
"Chicken with honey marinade and goat cheese risotto. Has my long sobriety ended finally?" He watches me with barely masked irritation.
"Hey, it was all on doctor's orders! But since you're returning to work tomorrow, and I cleared it with Grace, I did bring something for us to drink." I bring out a bottle of Pinot Noir. Bailey's Italian upbringing meant that he'd grown up with red wine. He grabs the bottle, his eyebrows rising when he sees the vintage. He shoots a quizzical look at me.
"This is an occasion," I shrug my shoulders and turn to get the glasses. "When are we eating?"
One hefty dinner and two glasses of wine later, I sit down on the sofa, suddenly feeling anxious now that the hour of revelation is nearly upon us. I get a brief reprieve when he walks to the small table beside the recliner and brings out the humidor. Now it's my turn to give him a silent question.
"I have the all clear, I swear," he replies and sits down beside me. I accept his answer and watch him as he gets ready to smoke his first cigar in weeks. Usually this sight, his manners and contentment, fills me with a sense of warmth, but my mind becomes consumed by the looming discussion.
He putters for a while, before sensing my discomfort. "Sam?"
I draw a deep breath, turn to face him and brace myself. "There's something I need to tell you."
The tone of her voice fills me with apprehension. I realise that I'm about to find out what has bothered her. Relief and dread wash over me in equal measure.
"I didn't tell you before, because I didn't want to hinder your recuperation." I watch as she struggles to form the words. She casts her eyes down, finds her resolve and looks me in the eyes.
"The day you were shot... Something happened to me." I draw a shallow breath.
"Jack kidnapped me." I suddenly forget how to breathe. She lays her right hand on my arm in a comforting gesture, as if to remind me that she's here with me now, that there's no need to worry.
"Breathe, Bail" she says and as I do so, her words begin to sink in. She'd been in danger, and I feel an irrational twinge of self-loathing, for I hadn't been able to help her, be there for her. All this time she's put my well-being above hers.
She tells me how Jack had used Robin Poole's m.o. to capture her, how she'd woken up with blurry vision in a warehouse full of shelf units and cages, how Jack had taunted her about wanting to be appreciated by her. I marvel at her bravery when she tells me she'd challenged Jack to take her hand. She fills me in on her rescue, that Casper had enlisted the VCTF's help and Jack had eventually cleared her of the charges against her.
At the end of it, there's only one thing to say.
He says my name and all my walls come crashing down. I cry out my horror of the kidnapping and my relief that he's still alive, because at the moment I don't know which has terrified me the most. He wraps his arms around me and I cry against his chest until the worst passes.
I withdraw a little from him, and he releases me and hands me a tissue. I smile at him in gratitude.
"That damn wine!" I joke and it elicits a small smile from him. The smile dies down but the love in his eyes stays.
"How have you been?" I hazard a look at him, quickly assessing him to learn if I should gradually change the subject. His expressive eyes stare at me, full of his own conviction of being able to share my burden. I decide to tell the truth.
"Uh well... Not great. But getting there."
"Anything I can do?"
"You're already doing it."
"Anything else I can do?"
"Make me a dream catcher?" I quip before realising that I hadn't told him about the nightmares. I hadn't planned on telling him, but apparently I can't keep anything back now. I guess I needed to tell him, to have him know.
His voice brings me back from my thoughts.
"How bad are they?"
"They're getting better. I don't have them as often as I used to. Time will take care of it, I guess." My words remind him of his own demons. I hesitate a little. I desperately want to know the answer, but I fear that the question will unsettle him.
"How bad are yours?" He stares at me with a slightly startled look.
"How did you know?"
"You had them at the hospital. I was by your bedside a few times."
I recall the moments when he started tossing and turning in his bed, clearly distressed. I would lean close and murmur reassuring words in his ear, and after a while he would usually relax and continue his sleep.
I squeeze his hand as he searches for an answer.
"Pretty bad. My mind is working overtime in my sleep."
"Yeah." He shifts his eyes away, as sadness washes over his face. Now it's my time to pull him to a hug. I feel him relax before long. My right hand travels up to his neck, just to the edge of his hair. It's a bit overgrown.
"We'll get through this together. I know we will."
Now he knows, and I can start to heal. We can start to heal.