Rory continued to pace back and forth, desperate for the phone to ring or to buzz, anything that told her Owen hadn’t done anything stupid.
God, she’d been so scared when that man had started to talk to her that way. She’d been certain he’d come back even after Owen had left, but fear for her ex fiancé overcame her fear of Nathan.
She hadn’t called Kyle. Partly, because she knew he’d track Owen and she’d be putting both of them in danger. And also, because she still had no idea why he was involved with such a perverted man, in the first place.
Just as she felt another wave of nausea hit her, she heard something outside on the hallway. She looked into the peephole and almost fainted at the face the stared at her from the outside.
She fumbled with the locks, before she pulled the door open, in time for Owen to collapse into her body. Thankfully she was able to hold her balance and not end up on the floor.
“On my God. Owen, what happened? Who did this to you?” She spoke, frantic, before her mind got past the shock and started issuing orders to her body.
“I need…………..Christ, this hurts like hell.” Blood dripped from the open cut above his eye, and his other eye was closing, swollen. His nose looked broken, and more blood oozed down from his nostrils.
All of it was smeared now in Rory’s clothes but she didn’t care. She took Owen back to her room and into the bathroom, where she waited until the water was mildly warm, before stepping inside the shower still dressed with him, so the water could wash all of the red away.
“There’s too much blood.” She spoke, swallowing her tears, and using her trembling hands to strip him.
“No, no, no.” She muttered, when she saw the bruises on his stomach, his back.
“I think…….· he winced when he tried to look down.
“Jesus, I think I might have a broken rib……..Or two..” He winced again when Rory’s hands roamed over his upper body.
“We need to go to a doctor. I need to take you to a hospital.” Hair dripping, Rory was about to step out of the shower when Owen’s hand snatched her back inside.
“No, no hospitals.” Because the pain was too much, he leaned back against the tiled shower wall, then slid down as he couldn’t bear being up.
“You are not making any sense. You could be dying. I don’t know what to do.” She shouted.
“Trust me, I’m not dying.” He grunted. Then he gave her a lopsided smile and added. “And your doing just fine, babe. I just need a minute….” He swore as a new wave of pain overcame him, “or two……” He breathed out, then tried to use his own hands to wash away the blood still running down his nose.
“You don’t get to decide, not when I asked you not to go. You left me, all alone. I was……” She trailed off because she felt her barriers slipping down and her emotions overcoming her actions.
“You were what, Ror?” He stared at her with his one good eye.
“Nothing.” She knelt before him and used a cloth to clean his face, gently, despite the turmoil inside her.
With a lot of effort, he lifted his hand to grab her wrist and force her to focus on him.
“I know I have no right to come back here. To expect you to…..to take care of me. I just needed to make sure you were okay. To tell you Nathan won’t be a problem anymore.” He dropped her wrist and caressed her cheek. He didn’t know if the water falling down her cheeks was only water or if she was crying again.
“This isn’t fair.” Either she was tired or finally accepting the fact she had almost died at the sight of him, hurt and in pain. That her heart had kick started when she saw it was him on the other side of the door, then how it had stopped after further inspecting the blows to his body. She leaned her forehead against his and just stayed like that for several heartbeats. Water soaked them, and the bathroom filled with vapor.
“You shouldn’t be here. But…….”
She let the words reflect in her eyes before she actually said them.
“I can’t bear the thought to let you go, not again.” Her voice trembled and she snuggled into him, carefully, when he muttered a curse when the pain shot up again. Still, her presence was the only balm he needed for his fresh bruises.
“Don’t go, Ror.” When he felt her tense, then pull away, he got a hold of her soaked hair and pulled her to him, so he could feel the soothing touch of her lips on his.
“I won’t, but you will.” Her words were feeble and scared.
He ignored her words and with whatever strength he still possessed, he lifted her up until she was straddling him, her eyes wide yet hungry for the same thing he was seeking.
This time, she didn’t protest when he began to kiss her, longingly, swallowing her frustration, and her sounds of pleasure. She undressed herself, then took great care in removing what was left of his clothes. He was starving for her, for that woman who had cried over him. A woman he had cast aside in order to fulfill his duties as a cop.
His mouth took what he had walked out on two years ago, while she let the last of the walls guarding her heart and her pain melt away with the heat of his touch.
When he felt her start to move faster, he gripped her hips and bit her bottom lip before groaning.
“Take it slow, Ror.”
Understanding that even though they were about to make love, he had recently been beaten and as much as he wanted her, he couldn’t shut out the pain completely. Immediately, her pace slowed, and she used her mouth to trail kisses over each one of his cuts on his face, on his lips, while her hands traveled up and down his chest, before their steady rhythm began to build up a volcano of sensations inside them.
“Open your eyes, Ror. Look at me.”
She did and let out a whimper, because she saw that he loved her, even when there still a part of her that hated him. A part of her that would break again when she put an end to this.
Rory headed into her closet, and found the one thing she’d kept from Owen, before moving out of the apartment they’d shared together.
She had already dried herself, changed into dry, comfortable clothes, and was hunting for something for Owen to wear. The only thing she hadn’t been able to change had been her flushed face, nor her swollen lips from Owen’s lovemaking. Had it been that? Or had it been like their first time since Owen’s comeback, just a way to avoid talking about his betrayal and her pain?
The box was just next to where she kept her shoes, so she kneeled down and took it out. Inside it was a pair of tattered jeans, which he’d liked to wear while working around the apartment or for hanging out during his days off.
For some reason, she hadn’t been able to part with them, maybe because they reminded her of they way they hung below his hips, or because he’d been wearing those same jeans when they’d first met.
When she came back into the bathroom, he sat on the toilet, a towel wrapped around his waist, while he did an inspection of his own of his entire body. Fortunately, the cut above his eye didn’t require stitches given his refusal to go to a hospital, and the rest of him looked awful, but nothing serious, except for the issue of the two broken ribs, which Rory could tell were the source of his pain.
“Here.” She handed him the jeans, and took out some bandages, antiseptic cream, and started cleaning more thoroughly than the soap and water from before. He hissed every now and then, but she was hopeful neither injury would complicate itself further.
Neither talked about what had happened in the shower, though Owen couldn’t help himself and used his fingers to comb through her wet hair, then caress her face, as he used to do when they were together. He even leaned into her to take in her scent, soft, sweet, innocent.
When she was done with his injuries, Rory left the bathroom wordlessly to let him change, and went straight for the kitchen. She stood there for a few seconds, at a loss for thoughts on what to do next. The only thing she could think about was making coffee, or maybe tea. She was busy taking down cups, boiling water, filling the coffee maker, when Owen stepped out from the room, and went to her.
She nodded, not sure she could talk without sounding hysterical.
“You have a nice place.”
“Thanks. I……I like it.”
Oh no, she couldn’t face reality now. Couldn’t look at him, see his beaten body and not want to cry. Think of what had happened between them a few moments ago. So she took a deep breath and said.
“There’s tea, or coffee. I don’t know what you’d prefer right now.”
“Or maybe beer. Maybe you want something strong. I don’t drink, but there’s also wine. I could go out and get a six, or I could…”
A pair of hands came around her from behind, Owen’s chin resting on her head, while he inhaled her scent again, the only thing he couldn’t get enough off, apart from her body and her heart, which she had kept from him ever since coming back.
She made the effort not to hurt him but pushed him away, while she rubbed her face with both hands.
“No, I can’t stop because I don’t know what else to do. You could’ve……God, Owen, did that man do this to you?”
Owen lowered his stare, considering, then decided to do what he should’ve done from the very second he saw her again, or maybe before leaving.
As she continued to stare at him, waiting for an answer, Owen began to talk.