Bleeding Heart

By: Alannah Carbonneau

“No.” I shook my head in reply to Neil’s question, focusing my gaze out over the land. “What time do you expect Calix to be home?”

“All I know is that he has plans to return today.”

I didn’t respond to his reply. Instead, I said. “Why don’t you sit with me, Neil? You don’t have to stand, hovering over me this way. It’s,” I shivered. “It’s unnerving.”

“You would prefer me to sit?” He frowned, as though confused.

“Yes.” I didn’t understand how my request could confuse him. “I don’t like being watched. I understand that you can’t leave me alone, but the least you can do is pretend that you’re not watching me for Calix.” I settled back in the chair again and sighed. “You were talking to me yesterday, what happened?”

Neil moved hesitantly to the chair next to me. “I never should have spoken with you so openly, Nova. I doubt Calix would be impressed.”

“I have no one else I can talk to. He’s seen to it that I’ve been alienated from everyone I knew and loved, I need someone to talk to.” I felt a small ember of desperation building within my chest. “Please don’t stop talking to me because of him.”

“He is my boss, Nova. I don’t want to anger him.”

Closing my eyes, I pulled in a deep breath before standing. “I’m going back to my room. I have a headache and I think I’ll take a nap.”

“It’s only half past ten, Nova.” Neil sighed. “You can’t sleep your life away.”

Blinking away my tears, I replied. “Sleep is the only time in my life where I find peace.”

At the saddened expression twisting Neil’s features, I knew my words had hit a soft place in his heart, but I couldn’t convince myself to take the words back. As harsh as they may be, they were the truth. Calix had robbed me of every reason I had to live before shattering the illusion of happiness I’d so foolishly found with him. I had nothing left to live for. I was truly desperate for reprieve from my life, this existence I now knew.

As I moved through the wide halls of Calix’s extravagant house, I couldn’t help but feel claustrophobic within the fortifications. Calix ensured that I could move freely through his house, but I never went anywhere alone. No matter what I did, what movie I watched or where I swam, I was never alone. The only place I was allotted even a semblance of privacy was when I was in Calix’s bedroom. With him gone, his bedroom had become a place of sanctuary for me. Knowing he was due to return home today made me feel sick.

I hadn’t spoken to Calix since he’d told me my father was the reason for my capture. I hadn’t spoken to Calix since the new and foolish feeling of love I felt for him was set to flame and left to burn.

Turning, I faced Neil. “I’m sorry to make you sit in the hall like this, but I can’t stay awake with my thoughts. It’s too much.” I placed my hand on the door handle of the bedroom. “If you have a key to lock me in the room, you could leave me here. I don’t plan on coming back out today.”

“I’m not locking you in the room, Nova.” Neil scowled. “I have a chair here,” he pointed to the cushioned chair that had been positioned outside Calix’s bedroom for this scenario exactly. “Come out whenever you like.”

I didn’t say anything as I walked into the room, closing the door behind me. I hadn’t been lying to Neil when I said I had a headache or that I was tired. There really was a painful pulsing behind my eyes and even though it was before noon, I was physically exhausted.

I moved across the room and fell into bed.

I slept like the dead.

Chapter 2

An uncomfortable weight settled down over my body and I moaned, before realizing that this uncomfortable weight wasn’t normal - or welcomed.

My eyes snapped open and I found myself looking up into Calix’s dark blue eyes. The room was dark, save for the amber glow of the lamp he’d turned on. I didn’t know how long he’d been home for, or how long he’d watched me sleep, but I did know he was mad. I could practically feel the heat of his anger seeping from his skin.

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