Nick woke up to the sounds of her screams.
Alarmed, his eyes squinted in the dark trying to make out the silhouette of the single bed across the side of the dingy run-down motel they'd been staying in for the past few nights. His fingers fumbled on the beside lamp's base as he tried to find its switch while he simultaneously searched for his gun.
The light dimly lit the room as he grabbed his gun and leapt across the room to Cassie's aid. He scanned the room for an intruder but no one was there, and with a whimpered cry his attention was directed back to Cassie who sat upright in her bed, sheets strewn across the floor and beads of sweet forming on her body. With another whimper, tears spilled out of her nearly bloodshot eyes.
"Cass? Cassie? What happened, are you alright?" he asked frantically, but she ignored him and continued to sit there crying and beginning to shake. "Hey..." he said gently, as he reached out for her and rested his hand on her upper arm. "Jesus Cass, you're freezing." With his warming touch, Cassie spun her head to look at him and their eyes met for a few silent seconds until she threw herself into his arms with a choked sob.
"Hey, shh. It's okay. What happened?"
"Nightmare," she managed to choke out, her words muffled by her face buried against Nick's shirt. He rubbed his hand up and down her shivering back whilst her mind wandered back to the nightmare that had scared her into this helpless mess. She couldn't remember it very clearly now but what she did remember wasn't very pretty.
She remembered running and being tortured by someone – who though, in this moment was unclear. She remembered the pain she felt that had made her jolt right up and scream into the musty air of the hotel room. The pain she could remember so vividly that she could still feel it with her body pressing against Nick's. So vividly that it couldn't just be in her mind.
"Niiick," she moaned, trying to detach herself from his embrace.
"What?" he asked, concern reaching his expression.
Still crying, she looked down and lifted up her shirt, revealing a cut stretching halfway across her stomach, just below her chest.
"Shit. How the hell did that happen?" However Cassie just stared blankly at nothing. "Did... did this happen while you were sleeping?" he asked bewildered. She moved her head upwards slightly, indicating a nod. "How the hell?..." He shook his head, "Never mind, let's get that cleaned up."
He managed to clean the wound before bandaging it up; all the while Cassie was shivering like crazy. She held her shirt up for him and with each touch she flinched.
After it was bandaged, Cassie sat once again, staring into space.
"Are you cold?" Nick asked, and felt her bed sheets with his hand that felt nearly as cold as her goose bump ridden skin. He thought for a moment, and then gently took her by the wrist and led her over to his double bed in the middle of the room.
"You can sleep here for the rest of the night." She silently climbed into the bed as Nick walked around to the other side and pulled back the sheets. "Better?" he asked and she nodded in response.
They laid there in silence for a few long seconds until Cassie turned towards him and whispered, "Thank you," and wrapped her arms around him.
He responded with a, "You're welcome," and returned his warm embrace as they both peacefully drifted to sleep.