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Last resort, p.22
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       Last Resort, p.22

           Jill Sanders
Cassey was back at her old house, looking around in the dark room. She held her breath as someone walked by. She prayed that it was her father but could tell by the way the floorboards creaked from the extra weight that it was Kimberly. Out of the two of them, Kimberly was worse. Her father usually only got mad at her when he was tired or hungry, but Kimberly was mad all the time.

  There wasn’t enough light in the little room to see anything, so when the door opened and light flooded in, she closed her eyes to the blinding brightness. Her heart beat in her ears, deafening her to everything so she was now both blind and deaf to what was going to happen next. Her arm was yanked hard as she was pulled up off the floor. Her tiny arm popped as she was pulled from the closet area, and as she tried to stand, her legs folded underneath her because she’d been sitting for too long.

  No words were spoken as the large hands tried to get her to walk, pushing her forward. She stumbled as her legs started working. Her eyes were still closed to the brightness of the room. When she fell, she landed hard on her hands and knees and as her eyes flew open, she screamed.

  “Cassey!” Luke shook her over and over and finally her eyes opened. “It’s just a dream.” He gathered her close as her heart beat frantically in her chest. Her hands shook as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

  The dreams always returned when she was stressed. She should have expected the nightmare after what had transpired yesterday. She knew what had come after her eyes opened, how close that particular beating had come to ending her. It had taken days before she’d been able to open her jaw and months before she could walk again.

  When her father had gotten home, Kimberly had told him that she’d tried to call the police on them. She didn’t even know how to use a phone, let alone how to call anyone for help. But her father had just made a spot for her to lie down in the basement, and that had become her new prison until she’d finally escaped that fateful night.

  “I’m okay now,” she said into his chest. When he pulled back and looked at her, she realized the light on his side of the bed was on. She wondered how long it had taken him to wake her. Back when she was living at home, it sometimes took all three of her brothers to get her eyes to finally open and her mind to clear from the dreams.

  His eyes showed his concern. “Are you sure? You were screaming so loud.” He gathered her up one more time for a light hug.

  Nodding her head, she closed her eyes for just a moment to enjoy the feel of him next to her. It had been too long. She’d missed how he felt, how he smelled. Then he was pulling back and sitting up, leaning against her headboard.

  She sighed and followed him up. “I know you want to know what that’s all about.” When he nodded, she rested her head back against the headboard and started rubbing her forehead. The headache that came after the dreams had already started. “I’ve told you how the Graytons saved my brothers, my sister, and myself. When I was seven, I ran away from my father and stepmother.” She opened her eyes and looked at him.

  He had relaxed a little and was patiently waiting to hear her story.

  “Until I was five, they’d kept me locked me in a small closet. They only allowed me out once a day to go to the bathroom. If I had accidents, they would beat me, so I learned early to control myself. It wasn’t as if they were feeding me a lot, and they only let me drink a little water as well. I must have just turned six when Kimberly, my stepmother, beat me so bad that I was confined to a cot in the basement for months. That ten by eight clearing in the basement became my new cell. I now had a dirt floor, which I could use as a bathroom any time I wanted, and enough room that I could walk and use my legs for the first time in my life. My legs got stronger, and one night, I crawled up a stack of junk in the basement and crawled out the window. I ran until I was out of energy, and then I hid under a tree. That’s where my guardian angel found me.” She smiled, remembering seeing Lilly for the first time. “She’d watched the house for weeks, knowing there was a child living there but never seeing me. My father kept telling them that I had died with my mother, but Lilly never gave up. I had left the house three time in my life. The third time, someone had seen me hiding in my father’s truck and called social services.” She smiled. “You know, the only reason I was in the truck that day was because it was my birthday. My father thought of the little trip to the gas station as a sort of birthday present. Half the time, I’d kept my eyes closed tightly, because I wasn’t used to the bright lights.”

  “Tell me they paid for what they did to you.” His voice was low, and she could see the anger in his eyes.

  She nodded. “For a while, yes. When I was in high school, I overheard the Graytons talking about how they had both gotten out of jail. For years after, I was afraid they would hunt me down and make me pay. But I haven’t heard from or seen them since, and I stopped worrying that they would find me.”

  “I can only imagine how horrible living like that must have been.” He pulled her close and kissed the top of her head. “How could you recover from something like that?”

  “The Graytons were the only reason I got over everything so quickly. Them and my brothers and Marissa. Hearing what each one of them had gone through helped me recover and learn to trust.”

  “You’re amazing.” He pulled back and looked down at her as she smiled up at him.

  “I only have the dreams when I’ve had an emotional day.” She frowned a little.

  “I’ve been doing some thinking about your situation.” He glanced over at the clock. “But it’s too early to talk shop right now.” He pulled her down until they were lying down. She moved around until he was spooning her, his mouth right by her ear. “Rest some more.” He kissed her neck, just below her ear. “And this time dream of me.” He kissed her gently again.

  She did, and when she woke three hours later, she felt totally refreshed. It didn’t hurt to have Luke’s warm body next to hers. His arms were wrapped tightly around her in slumber. When she tried to move, he pulled her closer as she laughed.

  “Good morning.” She turned and looked into his brown eyes.

  “Hmmm.” He leaned in and placed a warm kiss on her lips. “Yes it is.” She could feel his legs wrap around her hips as he started to run his hands over her shoulders. “Did you dream of me?”

  She blushed a little, remembering how the rest of her night’s dreams had gone. Seeing her blush, he smiled slowly. “Care to tell me exactly what I did to you in your dreams that would cause this?”

  She giggled and then sobered. “How about I show you?” She leaned over and looked down at him as she placed a soft kiss on his lips. Her hands went to his hair, holding his mouth to hers. Straddling him, she felt his morning desire, which matched the heat that had spread throughout her body. She’d removed her clothes in the middle of the night, and now she wore a black pair of underwear shorts and a black tank top. His hands roamed over her hips as she pressed her desire to his.

  She felt his hips jump as the friction between them heated up. His gray gym shorts were easy enough to pull down his hips. Removing his T-shirt, she soaked in the sight of him. It looked like he’d been working out a lot since the last time she’d seen him. His arms looked bigger; the muscles were more defined as she ran her fingers over each new one.

  “Mmmm, I like.” She looked up into his eyes and smiled. He flexed under her touch, and she couldn’t stop herself from dipping her head to lick her way down to his navel. She took her time exploring the six-pack along the path.

  When she gripped him, he moaned, closed his eyes, and said under his breath, “You’re killing me.”

  “Now you know how I feel when you touch me.” She smiled as his hips moved under her fingers. His nails dug into her shoulders, pulling her up until she was poised just above him.

  “Now. My God, Cassey, now,” he cried out.

  As she watched his face, she slowly slid down on his full length. How had she gone almost two whole weeks without this? Without him?

  When she started
to move, he used his hands on her hips to push and pull her and then flipped their positions as he said, “Too slow.”

  When her back hit the mattress, she released a nervous giggle, then a groan as he pulled her knees up to her chest and thrust deeper, faster.

  His eyes locked with hers as he pounded his hips next to hers. Their breathing became labored as a small bead of sweat formed on his temple. His hands were coarse as he reached down and gently cupped her breast. When he leaned down and placed a searing kiss on her lips, she closed her eyes and jerked her hips with her release, knowing he was close behind her.

  They lay there for a few minutes until she had gained her breath back. Then he hoisted her up in his arms and carried her to the shower.

  He took his time using the soap and his hands to clean her gently. She was so relaxed by the time he stepped out of the shower, leaving her to rinse herself off, that she felt like her knees were made of putty.

  A few minutes later, when she finally pulled herself from the shower, she smelled food and heard him banging around in the kitchen.

  She dressed in some stretchy pants and an oversized shirt, combed her hair, and applied a small amount of makeup. When she walked out onto the patio, she saw him punching away on his laptop. There were two covered plates sitting on the table next to him. When he looked up, she smiled at him.

  “You didn’t have to make breakfast.” She sat down and uncovered the plate. A large heap of French toast and scrambled eggs sat on the plate. “Wow, this must be your plate.” She went to move it towards him.

  “No. I can’t seem to cook just a little. I guess it’s a learned thing. When I start making French toast, I usually make the whole loaf of bread.” He chuckled.

  “Well, if I eat all this, you’re going to have to roll me around today.” She laughed and ate a forkful of food. The French toast was perfect. The crust was a little crunchy and he’d added a hint of cinnamon and something else she couldn’t quite put her finger on.

  “Peanut butter,” he said, smiling over at her.

  “Hmmm?” She looked up at him in question.

  “The secret ingredient is peanut butter.” He nodded towards the French toast and smiled.

  “You put peanut butter in French toast?” She looked down at her plate in astonishment.

  He nodded. “Actually, you spread just a little over it when it’s hot. You know, instead of butter. That way when you pour the syrup over it, it all melts and give you that little extra taste.”

  “Wow.” She took another bite. “My new favorite way to eat French toast.” She smiled up at him and a little part of her melted.

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