Find You in the Dark (Page 54)

Find You in the Dark (Find You in the Dark #1)(54)
Author: A. Meredith Walters

His face swung with the force of my assault and a red splotch blossomed on his cheek. He put his hand to his face, stunned by my action. “You do not get to speak to me like!” I stormed to the bed and yanked off the top blanket, took a pillow and left the room.

Clay followed me. “What are you doing? Maggie, stop! I’m sorry!” He begged me, trying to stop me from leaving. I swung back around.. “I’m sleeping on the couch. I’d rather sleep alone than share a bed with someone who has no respect for me!” Clay’s face crumpled as he tried to grab my arm. “Please, Maggie. I do respect you! So much! I was being stupid. I’m just so scared of you leaving me. I guess I push and push just to see if I’m right and that eventually you’ll walk away. I say these horrible things just to know if you’ll take it. If you’ll stick by me no matter what. But I was wrong! I shouldn’t treat you like that just to prove some sick, twisted theory in my head. Please, don’t leave me! I can’t live without you!” That was the closest to honest he had been about his feelings in weeks. But at that moment, it was too little too late. I was beyond hurt and angry and I just needed some space.

“Then I guess you should have thought about that before treating me like your emotional punching bag, huh?” I left him standing there alone and went down stairs. The house was quiet and I quickly made my nest on the couch. I laid down, trying to calm the rapid beat of my heart. I waited to see if Clay would follow me, but he didn’t.

I was relieved but also disappointed by that, which annoyed me beyond reason. His emotional ups and downs were becoming more and more painful. It didn’t change the fact that I loved him more than what was rational. But, when do I stop this constant upheaval and protect myself? I began to sob into my pillow, remembering the way he had looked at me so coldly as he had told me to leave. Was this how it was always going to be? Perfect one minute and then screaming and yelling the next? I didn’t think I could handle that.

As it was now, I was in a constant state of anxiousness. Always waiting for that other shoe to drop.

But thinking about my life without him in it was unconscionable. I couldn’t stomach the prospect of my every day without knowing I’d see him. I was between a rock and a hard place. Scared to death of what our relationship was doing to me, but even more terrified to end it. My love for him was a powerful, overwhelming thing that had no root in rational thought. But where do I draw the line?

My nose was stuffy from crying and I wiped the tears from my face. I was so sick of crying. I hated it. So, I tried to go to sleep, but my mind wouldn’t stop. The house was too quiet and it was driving me nuts. I tossed and turned. As pretty as the couch was, it was not comfortable to sleep on. I finally drifted off around 1:00 in the morning only to be startled awake an hour later.

“Maggie, please come to bed.” Clay coaxed in my ear. I rolled over and saw him kneeling beside me. I turned away again, refusing to speak to him. I was still more than a little angry, and really, really hurt. And if I heard ‘please, Maggie’ one more time I would scream.

I could feel Clay rest his forehead on my back. “I can’t sleep. I need to make this right.” He begged me. His voice broke and I could hear the rasping that came from him crying. Without realizing I did it, I rolled over to face him. He looked a mess. His hair stood on end as though he had been raking his finger through it over and over again. His eyes were blood shot in the glow of the dying fire and he looked horribly pale.

Damn it, I felt myself weakening at the sight of him. I propped myself up on my pillow. “I’m fine here. Just go to bed.” I told him, wiping sleep from eyes. Clay looked desperate. “No. I won’t sleep in that bed without you. I’ll stay down here on the couch too.” He went to the other end of the sectional and laid down.

He fidgeted around, having as hard a time as I did getting comfortable. He curled up and fluffed the pillow under his head. After a few minutes I sat up. “This is ridiculous. Just go upstairs, Clay. You are not sleeping on the couch with me.” Clay looked at me. “I can’t be away from you. I know I f**ked up. I deserve your anger, but I need you, Maggie. You know that. Everything is so dark without you.” I understood that despair in his voice, because it was so close to how I was feeling. I also recognized what he was conveying between the lines. He felt like cutting.

My stomach dropped. “You didn’t did you?” I asked in a horrified whisper. Clay shook his head. “No, but I wanted to.” He admitted. I was relieved that he hadn’t hurt himself. “You were completely out of line, Clay. What you said to me was really hurtful.” I could hear myself wavering as the tears started again.

Clay was by my side in an instant. He rubbed the wetness with his thumb. “Don’t cry, baby. I can’t stand knowing that I’ve hurt you.” He agonized. I pulled away from him, not ready for him to touch me. He dropped his hands to his sides.

“You can’t go all Neolithic man on me. You can’t hit me over the head with your club and drag me back to your cave when you get upset with something I do. And stop trying to push me away in some bizarre test of my devotion. Because you will push me away, Clay. For good next time.” I threatened. Clay hung his head in shame. “I know. I am so, so sorry. I can’t tell you how much.” He whispered as his own tears fell. I was upset. That rigid part of myself didn’t want to let this go. I was afraid that if I did, it would be opening a door I couldn’t shut.

But as I watched my poor, broken boy cry over hurting me, I felt incredibly torn. I wanted to forgive him in the worst way possible. But I wasn’t sure I should.

I gently shoved Clay’s shoulders, so that he looked up at me. “Don’t you see how messed up this is, Clay?” He frowned at me. “I know what I did was wrong. I hate myself for it.” He said, trying to grab my hand.

I pulled back and refused to let him hold me. “But what if this becomes, I don’t know…a pattern or something. How you behaved earlier was nuts. I don’t have time for your mind f**ks.” I said harshly, wanting to make my position on this clear.

Clay nodded. “I know that. It was so stupid. I can’t excuse my behavior. I have this horrible way of taking my insecure bullshit out on the people I love the most.” Clay pushed his hair out of his eyes and looked at me intensely. My stomach flipped over as it always did when he looked at me like that. Like I was the center of his universe.

“And I love you more than anyone. Which means you are the one person I shouldn’t be treating like that. But I’ve told you, I’m insecure, Maggie. Ridiculously insecure.” He admitted. “You’re gorgeous, Clay. You could have anyone you wanted. You have nothing to be insecure about.” I scoffed, though I knew why he felt the way he did. His mental health issues made it hard for him to see things as they really were. He lived in this dark world where he had nothing to give anyone but pain. I tried so hard to change the way he saw himself. But I didn’t think I could ever do enough.