Emily held on tight to Zander, rocking him in her arms and whispering softly to soothe him. He was shaking so hard that it scared her. Tonight wasn't the first night that he had suffered from nightmares, but tonight scared her the most. "Zander…baby…" Emily pulled back enough to see his face. He was pale and his eyes were wide open, as if he were afraid to close them. "Talk to me, baby. I know you dreamed about Peter."
"I can't…" Zander whispered, his voice a hoarse whisper.
"Please, Zander." Emily untangled herself from his arms so that she could cup his face and make him look at her. "Tell me what happened that day. I want to know and I think you need to tell me. You need to talk about it, Zander. Please."
Zander pushed himself back against the headboard, drawing his knees up and wrapping his arms around them. He shivered. "It's so vivid in my head...like I was back there again...living in the moment."
Emily nodded. "Go on." She slid off the bed to retrieve the blue afghan that was draped over a chair and she wrapped it around Zander. He was still shaking. Then she reached for one of his hands and he clutched at hers as if she were a lifeline. "What happened, baby? You were hunting?"
"Peter made me go. He thought it would be a good way for me and Dad to bond." A hysterical chuckle escaped Zander. "It was stupid. Peter knew as well as I did that Dad and I would never bond. It was stupid to try. I should have gone with my friends like I wanted to, then Pete would still....he'd still be alive."
"Zander…don't do that to yourself," Emily pleaded. It broke her heart to hear the pain in his voice, and the guilt.
Zander shook his head. "It's the truth, Em. Pete should be alive...and he would be if I had gone with my friends. But I went hunting...which I hate...and I saw a movement in the bushes...I saw brown...so I aimed and I fired and Pete…" Zander choked on a sob.
Emily wiped away his tears with the pad of her thumbs. "It was an accident, Zander. You know that. You never meant to hurt Pete."
"Doesn't matter that it was an accident." Zander pulled away from Emily and buried his face in his hands for a moment, making a visible effort to pull himself together. Then he lifted his head but his eyes were still wet with tears. "I heard the thud of his body falling. I still thought it was the deer...until I heard my father cry out. I ran over to him and....Peter was lying on the ground...blood was everywhere....and my father was screaming at me. *You shot your brother! You killed him!*
"Enough, Zander...you don't have to tell me any more." Emily was horrified. Not so much by what Zander was telling her, but by his reaction to it. She could feel him slipping away from her to go back in time and relive that moment. He was trembling so hard, and his face was so pale, that it scared her. "Zander…"
He closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them and locked them on her face. "I want you to know everything," Zander whispered.
Emily knew he had to tell her so she nodded. "Okay...okay. Tell me." But as she spoke she reached for his hand and tangled their fingers together.
"Everyone was in shock by what happened," Zander continued. "By what I had done. My mom...she kinda had a breakdown. Dad had to keep her sedated most of the time. He wouldn't even look at me. The day of Peter's funeral...he wouldn't even ride in the same car with me. They didn't want me there. I was a constant reminder of the son they had lost. A reminder to my father that the wrong son had died."
He pressed a fingertip to Emily's lips to silence her. "I packed a bag that night, took what money I had saved and I left."
Emily pulled his hand from her lips. "How old were you?"
"They didn't look for you?"
Zander shrugged. "I guess for a while. I'm sure my mom made him."
Emily couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Why would he give up on finding you, Zander?"
"Why?" Zander shook his head that she would even ask. "My father has always hated me. I'm sure he was relieved that I was gone. Peter was the only son he cared about and I took that from him." Zander began rocking again as he whispered, "I killed the only person...other than you...who ever loved me. I killed him...I killed him…"
"Shhhh..." Emily whispered, as she gathered Zander in her arms and rocked him as they both wept. Until Zander cried himself to sleep.
* * * * *
Zander woke up to kisses. Emily. He smiled then opened his eyes and reached for her, but she pulled away from him, laughing. Zander sat up and watched her run over to Nikolas, who was waiting for her with open arms. They kissed and Zander screamed, "NOOOOOO!"
His body jerked as Zander came awake with a start. A dream. It had only been a dream. He wiped a hand over his face and it came away wet. He pushed himself up against the pillows and looked around the room. He was alone. "Just a dream," Zander whispered out loud, to make himself believe it. He wiped his face again and his hand was shaking. Just then Zander noticed a note on the pillow. He reached for it and read it, feeling himself relax a bit. Emily had gone to class and would be back in time to take him to his afternoon PT. Zander rubbed a finger over the words at the bottom of the note. *I love you, baby* He smiled and whispered, "I love you too."
As he felt the dream slip away and his body relax, Zander closed his eyes again. He let himself remember making love to Emily again. The first time since she had come back and he had come here. Zander had been feeling frustrated with his faulty memories and his immobility, and Emily had been in his arms trying to soothe him when she had whispered,
"Let me make love to you..."
Zander could still see clearly how she had moved off the bed to stand beside it. Then she had slipped out of her clothes, a smile on her face as she watched his reaction. Then she was back in his arms and Zander had touched and kissed and wondered over every, perfect, inch of her. They had kissed with a passion that belonged only to them. Zander could still feel the warmth of it. It warmed him now. Then Emily had moved down his body, her fingers curling in the top of his boxer-briefs to slide them down and off. Then she had curled her fingers around his hardness, taking him into her mouth. And when Zander had been certain he was going to go insane with pleasure, she had moved over him, gripping him in her hand to guide him into her feminine heat. A moan escaped Zander just to remember how perfectly they had fit together.
Zander's eyes flew open and he saw Emily leaning over him. He reached out to cup her face and she was real. "You're back."
Emily nodded. "Class got out early." She leaned in to kiss him. "What were you thinking about?" Emily asked, as she got onto the bed, straddling Zander's lap. As she sat down she smiled. "Hmmm...maybe I can guess what you're thinking about."
"You're bad," Zander countered with a laugh, but it died when Emily wriggled her bottom over his hardness. "You're killing me," Zander moaned.
"Then let me save you." Emily pulled her top over her head, revealing that she was braless, then it was her turn to moan as Zander's hands covered her breasts. "I love the way you touch me," Emily whispered.
Zander smiled then he helped her to finish undressing. He felt her shift away from him and was about to protest, but Emily was just pulling back the covers in her quest to get him naked. Zander approved. Then he was moving, turning them over so that Emily was beneath him.
Emily frowned. "Zander...be careful," she cautioned.
"I'm okay...I won't break," he promised, as he pressed open her thighs. Then he leaned in and let the tip of his tongue touch her feminine folds. Emily's moan of pure pleasure jolted through Zander. He licked her again then he nibbled and sucked and stroked her as well, until she came, screaming his name.
"God…you are amazing," Emily breathed, when she could speak again. "I love how you love my body."
Zander was pleased. He moved back up over her, moving slowly, missing the way it used to be effortless for him. Then he claimed her lips and kissed Emily until they were both breathless. "I love you, baby. I love you so much."
Emily blinked back tears. "I love you too. More than I'll ever be able to tell you…or show you." As she spoke, Emily reached between them, gripping Zander's hardness in her hand. "I need you inside me."
"I need to be inside you," Zander replied. He let Emily shift them, knowing she meant for him to lie down so she could move over him, taking him inside her. But Zander only allowed that to a point. He moved so that he was sitting then he guided Emily over him. Once they were connected, Zander pulled her legs over his thighs then buried his face in her breasts. "Perfect.." he whispered.
"Perfect," Emily echoed.
Then they moved together in their own special dance. To music that only they could hear. And their bodies found that perfect moment of pleasure as one.
* * * * *
After making love, Zander and Emily showered together, got dressed then headed out to General Hospital for his physical therapy session. It turned out to be a grueling session for Zander, but a satisfying one. He felt like he was finally making progress that he, and his therapist, could agree on. The therapist felt Zander might be out of the wheelchair sooner than projected. But still not as soon as Zander was shooting for.
Emily was waiting for Zander near the front desk. "How did it go?" she asked, as he rolled over to her.
"Pretty good," Zander replied.
"You look tired."
Zander shrugged. "A bit. But I'm hungry more. Want to go to Kelly's for a burger?"
Emily frowned. "Sounds good…but maybe we should go home and let cook make some burgers. You need to rest, Zander. You don't want to overdo it."
"I'm fine, Emily. Really." Zander grabbed her hand, brought it to his lips and kissed the palm. Then he looked up at her with puppy dog eyes. "Please?"
"Argh. I hate when you do that," Emily countered, but she was smiling. "I'm a sucker for that face…you know that." She laughed then leaned down to kiss him. "Okay...Kelly's it is." That said, Emily moved behind Zander's chair and they headed for the elevators.
* * * * *
The sun was warm and bright when Zander and Emily got to Kelly's. So they decided to eat outside. They had just finished up when Nikolas came along. Without thinking, Emily jumped up and gave him a hug in greeting.
Zander knew that Emily loved him, but the image of her in Nikolas' arms was too much reality for him to take. The image of them from his dream was too vivid. Zander pushed away from the table and rolled off. He heard Emily call his name, but he kept going, until his vision blurred from the tears he refused to shed. He rolled to a stop and wiped at his eyes with his shirtsleeve. When he pulled his arm away, he saw Emily kneeling beside him. "I'm sorry," Zander whispered.
"Me too." Emily reached out and cupped his cheek in one hand. "You know that Nikolas is in love with Gia…and I'm in love with you."
"I know that in my head. But my heart...it just.." Zander broke off and shook his head. "I can't help what I feel. I'm sorry."
Emily nodded. "I know. And you don't have to apologize for that. I just hate knowing that I'm hurting you, Zander."
He pulled her onto his lap, loving her giggly laughter as he hugged her to him. "It's not you, Emily," he whispered in her ear. "It's me. I'll get over it. Just don't stop loving me."
"Never," Emily replied, curling her fingers in his hair as she kissed him.
"I believe you," Zander replied, when they broke apart. And in this moment he believed with all his heart that nothing would keep them apart again. Nothing and no one. Feeling happy again, Emily shifted Emily on his lap then said, "Hang on, baby...we're going for a ride." Then he took off, rolling them down the side walk, the sound of Emily's happy screams, echoing in his ears.
© Shelly 2004