Family Ties Ch. 17

Nightmares and Dreams

Back at the penthouse, Eliana spent a quiet evening at the penthouse. Shed

put the episode with Taggert and the flowers from her mind and spent the

evening working on design sketches and then had gone to bed. Something

indefinable awakened her. Her heart was pounding. Something wasnt right. Then

she realized that the room was pitch black, not even a glow from the hall

floor lights. Eliana reached for the lamp at her bedside and flicked the

switch, but nothing happened.

The power must be out. It was quiet. Too quiet. The silence was deafening.

Eliana sat up, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. Before she could

stand, she felt herself start trembling. Her heart started pounding

erratically and she couldnt get enough air. Not again, she thinks, please

God, not again.

Eliana fought to her feet. She knew in her mind, that she should be able to

go downstairs, downstairs into the kitchen where there should be some candles

or a flashlight. Or just cross the room to where her cell phone lay in her

bag. But she couldnt get her legs to move. The trembling wouldnt stop and the

images were coming back and there wasnt a damn thing she could do to stop

them. The strength went out of her legs and she sank down to the floor.

Jason let himself into the apartment a little after three in the morning. He

should have been home hours ago. This black out that had hit three-quarters

of the city had delayed him; he was tired and looked forward to getting home

and into bed.

Nonetheless, he did a quick security check before going to the penthouse. The

secondary generator Sonny had had installed had kicked in and the elevator

was working, as well as the lights in the staircases and the security

cameras. Extra guards were on patrol in force in the building, armed with

flashlights and everything was under control. One of them had given him their

spare. He questioned the guard assigned to the penthouse level, who told him

things had been quiet all night.

Jason let himself into the apartment and started upstairs quietly. With luck,

Eliana was probably sleeping. He froze for a second as he heard the sound of

soft sobbing before he got halfway up the stairs. Then he couldnt get up them

fast enough.

Eliana? he called, he took the last few two at a time. He called her name

again. No answer, just another whimper. Jason ran into her room to see her

curled into a fetal position on the floor.

Jason rushed to kneel by her and gathered her into his arms. She was

trembling violently. Why do you want to hurt me? I wont let you. Dont. No

no no Dont youre hurting me...youre hurting me please.

He realized that this was unlike the nightmares shed been having. Horribly

different. This time, she was reliving the rape. Hes helpless to do anything

about it. She is shaking like a leaf, her eyes wide and blind with terror,

her hands knotted into tight fists. She was feeling every touch, every piece

of hurt that bastard Sorel had inflicted on her. She was shaking so hard,

God, her skin was cold. As Elianas body twisted in remembered agony,

wordless sounds of anguish escaped from her; Jason felt her pain in his own

chest and it almost tore his heart apart.

Eliana. Jason murmured softly. He burned with frustration and helplessness,

not knowing what to do. He had to bring her out of it, but didnt know how. He

started talking, hoping that the sound of his voice would get through to her.

Eliana; its overits all overSorel doesnt have you any more, he cant hurt you

any more.

Please dont, please...please. she dissolved into great wrenching sobs. No


Jason took one clenched fist into his own hand and slowly worked his fingers

between hers, all the while talking to her, letting the feel of him, the

sound of him, work its way down inside her and bring her back to reality. He

held her against himself, rocking her as she clung to him and cried.

Somehow his presence began to reach her. Warmth instead of cold, safety

instead of fear. The clinging web of nightmare shredded under his gentle

touch. It was Jasons voice, calm and steady, that brought her up up slowly

from the nightmare that had gripped her through layers of grey to full

consciousness. After a long while, she came to herself. Ja-Jason? She raised

a tear-streaked face up to his.

Eliana, what happened? He felt his body relax in relief as hers did the same.

Her words came out in a rush all mixed up with her tears. I - woke up, the

lights didnt workan-and everything came back. It was stupid, I know it was

stupid stupid stupid, but I couldnt breath, I couldnt walk. I remember

thinking the power was cut because Sorel was coming back to get me. I was so

scared. And then it was happening all over again.

Its not stupid, no, no, no. Its okay; Sorel cant get to you. The power is out

over half the city but there are guards all over the building. Youre safe.

Jason rocked her gently, rubbing her arms. Her skin was still ice cold. How

long have you been on the floor? Youre freezing. She shook her head; she

didnt know how much time had passed since shed awoken into darkness. He got a

blanket from her bed and wrapped it around her. Then he lifted her in his

arms despite her protests.

No, dont argue with me. Im taking you downstairs. He put action to words and

carried her from the room. Her body still shook with infrequent tremors as he

carried her easily downstairs. Were going to go downstairs. Im going to start

a fire to get you warmed up. The last thing you need now is to get sick.

He deposited Eliana on the couch and made sure she was bundled up in the

blanket before turning his attention to the fireplace. With a little coaxing,

he got a fire going. Just as he stood up, the power returned and the lights

came on.

Turn it off, please? Elianas voice was strained and she turned her face away

from him. She felt so stupid and weak. He must be tired and disgusted with

her by now. She certainly was. I-I cant deal with bright lights right now.

Jason moved quickly and shut off the living room lights, leaving the warm,

comforting glow of the fireplace to illuminate the room. Then he headed for

the kitchen, promising to find something hot for her to drink. When he came

back, Jason came and sat on the floor beside her.

Sonny is out of town overnight on business. If only Carly hadnt went to spend

the night with her mother in the brownstone. She probably would have checked

on you earlier. And this blackout kept me from getting home any sooner.

I did talk to Carly earlier. We talked before she left and then she called me

before she went to bed. I told her I was fine. I thought I was. This is

nobodys fault. Not hers, and not yours. Just mines. I dont need a babysitter.

It was just those stupid flowers and Taggerts visit to the gallery. I dont

want to be disrupting everyones lives. Sonnys, Carlys...especially yours. I

feel like Im taking advantage of your friendship.

Theres nothing wrong with a friend taking care of a friend. Jason said

quietly. He went and got a damp washcloth, and kneeling by her side, began

washing her tear-streaked face.

I hate this! she whispered vehemently. She closed her eyes, as the tears

welled up again and she was powerless to stop them. It was true, she hated

this weakness that was robbing her of her life.

It will pass. Jason said. It just takes time.

His hands gently wiped the tears away. Without realizing it, his touch slowed

and gentled until he was caressing her face with the cloth. Jason let it fall

away, and brushed her hair back from her face. He used both hands to stroke

her hair, gentling her, until he felt the last of her trembling subsiding.

Shhhshhh he whispered. Jasons hands stroked slower and slower until they

stilled in her hair.

Eliana let her eyes stayed closed, letting his touch soothe and comfort her.

When Jason was around, she felt safe, protected. Nothing, no one could touch

her, hurt her, with him here. She slowly realized that his hands stopped

moving. Eliana opened her eyes to see Jason gazing at her in the firelight.

She looked into his eyes and saw the compassion that few people ever saw and

many claimed didnt exist. She became aware of the closeness of their bodies.

They were inches from each other; close enough so that she could sense the

rhythm of his breathing and feel the heat of his body.

At the same time, Jason became conscious of the thin silk sleep shirt she was

wearing, and all too aware that it was the only barrier between his flesh and

hers. He looked into her eyes and saw her fears fade away, saw the trust she

had in him, and something else, something indefinable, a growing tenderness

that beckoned him closer.

Instinct brought him forward. Unthinking, she responded. Her hands came to

rest on his shoulders in a soft caress; his came down to cup her face. His

fingertips caressed the contours of her face. Like opposite ends of a magnet

fighting an irresistible force, they slowly drew closer to one another.