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
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
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
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.