The look on her face would forever haunt me. She looked at me as if I was a monster. I only went to take her hand. Yet the way she reacted was if I punched her. Her entire body collapsed in on itself as if to shield herself. The fear in her eyes when I spoke her name, the way her eyes darted frantically around, made my stomach sink.
I did this to her, and she reacted to me like this. It angered me. I wasn’t angry at her but at myself. I had forgotten where she came from and who she recently returned to me from. She raced from the room, nearly knocking me over as she snatched Tyson from my arms. She smashes her hip on the counter as she darts past Clarice, but I don’t think she even felt it.
Rising to my feet, Clarice steps aside, staring worriedly after her as she escapes. Walking out, the guards pointed me in the right direction, and I knew she was headed toward our quarters.
It was the only place she had to go, and I knew Abbie wouldn’t be running to Azalea because Azalea had her own issues at the moment with the pregnancy and Kyson keeping her locked away, worried she would be poisoned again.
We still hadn’t caught the culprit even after he used his command on all the staff. So there was no way she would give the Queen more to worry over.
Climbing the stairs, I see our bedroom door closed but spot the light beneath Tyson’s and hear his wailing screams. I run toward the door, wondering what is going on for him to be screaming like that. Shoving the door open, she hits the ground.
I reached to catch her, but it was too late. “Tyson, shh, shh,” I murmur, rolling her onto her back. She stared up at the ceiling, her eyes unfocused as Tyson climbed off the bed, his little hands clutching her shirt and shaking her.
“Shh, buddy. Mumma is okay. She just fainted,” I tell him, scooping my arms beneath her. I lift her up and stand.
“Grab your blanket and Binky,” I tell him, and he blinks, trying to register what I am saying: Abbie sometimes signed to him, and I tried to remember, but after a few seconds, he seemed to catch on and snatched the corner of his blanket and his Binky.
He follows after me and runs ahead, pushing the door, his little feet getting tangled in the blanket dragging behind him, and he slips, his chin hitting the floor, making him scream. Cursing, I use my hip to shove the door open and set her on the bed before rushing back to Tyson. I grab him under the arms.
His chin was bleeding where he banged it, and I quickly moved him to the bathroom, sitting him on the bathtub’s edge before grabbing a face washer and dabbing it. It wasn’t deep, but he would have one hell of a bruise in the morning.
He took only a few moments before it was forgotten, and he was transfixed on the scars that laced my chest, poking out from beneath my shirt. I sigh, taking it off and grabbing him. If it means keeping him quiet, he could poke and prod them like he usually does.
Sitting on the bed, I place him between us and lean over to check Abbie. Her face is scrunched up as if she is dreaming. But her heart rate is even, and so is her breathing. I was used to her panic attacks. They were frequent when she first returned.
The slightest noise would set them off, but this was the first one she had had since Tyson got here. Tyson smacks my chest, his fingers fisting my chest hair, and I growl when he tugs the hair on my chest.
He continues smacking me and making the noise I recognize he makes when wanting to draw. Sighing, I get up and grab the bucket of textas off the bedside table Abbie didn’t remove from the room and hand them to him. There were only three colors but in every shade of those three colors. Blue, green, and red.
He hated the other colors for some reason, and we had to hide them away. He rummages in the bucket finding the shade he wants, and I sigh, laying on my back and letting him have at it. His tongue pokes out as he traces my scars and kneels next to me while his elbows dig uncomfortably into my sides.
He had some fascination with coloring them in: Abbie’s too, though I usually distracted him with mine when he would spot hers. Abbie was self-conscious and always drew her back to dark places when she would get sudden memories.
She wasn’t out for long, but Tyson had passed out by the time she woke. His feet pressed against her side as he laid half across my chest.
“You’re okay.” I whisper, reaching over and brushing her hair with my fingertips. She exhales, squeezing her eyes shut, and her face reddens as it always did when she had these panic attacks. She found them embarrassing, and I knew it would take her a while again before building up the courage to face Clarice and the servants after what happened.
Guilt gnawed at me, knowing it was my fault this time. I rearrange Tyson, moving him between us and tucking the surrounding blanket over him. Abbie rolls to her side, inhaling his scent while I watch her.
“I didn’t mean for you to leave the room, Abbie. You didn’t need to run from me,” I tell her.
“I need him in here with me,” she whispers.
“Abbie, he can’t sleep in our bed forever. I get hardly any sleep, as it is with him kicking the crap out of me in his sleep.”
“Then I’ll sleep on the couch with him,” she says like it is no big deal and as if I would allow that.
“That is. I groan, pinching my nose.
“That is not the only reason. I miss you. I miss being able to touch you and hold you. I can’t do that with him between us.”
“I can’t sleep in here without him, Gannon,” she murmurs, brushing his hair with her fingers.
“Why!” I snap, becoming annoyed.
“Because you will expect things. You don’t expect things with him here!” She snaps at me, and I blink at her in shock.
“You think this is about s*x? Abbie that is not what I meant. I have never asked you for anything more than you are comfortable with!”
“And I am not comfortable sleeping in here without him,”
“You were before he came along!” I tell her.
“Because you always sleep on the couch!” she yells, and Tyson jumps, stirring awake. I sit up, horrified at her words.
“Why are you here if you can’t stand to be near me?” I ask her.
“Can you even answer that?” I ask her when she says nothing. Standing, I peer over my shoulder at her as I grab my shirt to find her sitting up.
“I feel safe with you,” she whispers.
“Not safe enough to stay in a room by yourself with me,” I retort, tugging my shirt over my head. Abbie says nothing, just looks down at her hands, picking the skin around her nails.
“I’m sorry,” she murmurs so softly I almost miss it.
“I have never hurt you or done anything to make you fear me. I am not Kade, Abbie. And if you can’t see that by now-‘ she looks up at me, and I pause. I don’t finish what I was going to say as she looks at the door. Instead, I leave before I say something I will regret. Leaving her there by herself. Walking across to Liam’s door, I knock once before opening the door. Liam sat on the floor, sharpening his knives.
“Go, I will keep an eye on them,” he says without looking up from his sharpening stone as he runs the blade’s edge across it.
“When I don’t move, he looks up.”
“Go, Gannon. Leave the door open. They’ll be fine,” he says, and I nod before walking off to find a guard to beat the crap out of.