Chapter 23

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I don’t know how I’m stirred awake, but the peaceful darkness of my dreams fades away and I’m suddenly aware of the dim light of the dawn streaming into the room around me. I’m extremely warm and comfortable wrapped in Christian’s arms, and as he presses himself against me and I feel his erection against my backside, I realize what has awaken me.

“Anastasia,” He whispers as he runs his nose up the crook of my neck. I moan appreciatively at the sensation of his breath as it caresses my skin and the feel of his hands as they brush down my stomach, under my tank top, and around to my breast. He groans and leans farther over me. Rolling onto my back, I turn to face him just in time for his lips to take mine. My mouth opens to allow his tongue entrance, and when his fingers pinch my left nipple, making it erect, I cry out and feel his teeth sink gently into my bottom lip.

I bring my hands into his hair and gently massage the roots of his scalp while his mouth continues to claim mine, pouring passion into me that is electric and overwhelming. I feel fire erupt inside of me as my need for him grows. He quickly removes his hand and pulls down the thin straps of the tank top I’m wearing, exposing my breasts to the cool air of the room. I feel both of my nipples stand to attention and, as the cotton fabric is pulled away, he takes my left nipple into his mouth, gently sucking and swirling his tongue around it. I writhe beneath him as the sensation of cold air being replaced with warm saliva sends waves of pleasure crashing over me.

“Christian,” I moan, and he smiles against my breast when his name crosses my lips. Slowly, he reaches down and hooks his fingers over the elastic band of my pajama bottoms and pulls them down, bringing my panties with them. In a synchronized movement he lifts himself above me and I bring my legs together so he may easily remove my bottoms. He callously tosses them aside and quickly brings his hands back to my body, gripping me tightly, and despite his body being pressed to mine, I still feel the need to have him closer to me.

His fingers travel down and lightly brush over my clitoris, and as he continues down, finding the wetness waiting for him between my legs, he lets out a low, guttural moan of approval. His fingers swirl around, and then he lifts them to my mouth, pushing his fingers between my lips so that I can taste my own arousal. I suck and brush my tongue over them until he removes his fingers and kisses me deeply once more. His tongue explores my mouth as if he’s searching out for the traces of my arousal that he has left behind.

“I can taste you,” He whispers in a low, husky voice. “It’s intoxicating.”

I kiss him again, simultaneously reaching down to grasp his erection through his pajama bottoms. He growls and moves to remove them, so that I can grip him unhindered. He reaches over to the bedside table and opens the drawer, pulling out a ribbon of blue foil packets. With expert hands, he rips open the top packet and reaches down to roll the condom over his erection. Grasping himself tightly, he guides his erection to my center, lightly sliding it up and down my opening for lubrication. Each time the tip of his erection brushes over my clitoris, I feel an intense surge of pleasure and find myself whimpering at the contact. He looks down at me, his gray eyes filled with burning desire, as he pushes into me, giving me no time to adjust to the intrusion before he slowly begins to pump in and out.

I feel my legs open wider in an attempt to give him better access, to help him push deeper inside of me. He obliges my silent request and sinks into me until he’s pressed entirely against me. He stops, fully buried to the hilt, and while I squirm to try and increase the friction, he holds me still and begins to slowly circle his hips around. I can feel each movement of his erection as he massages my inner walls. He pulls back at an achingly slow pace before again easing into me completely. It’s slow and sensual but lacks the carnal friction which always pushes me over the edge.

“Faster, Christian,” I plead.

“No. I want you slow, baby.”

“Please!”

“Just feel me, Anastasia. Feel this,” He says as again he circles his hips around.

I gasp at the sensation he’s giving me. Each long deliberate stroke gives me an opportunity to feel every glorious inch of him, allows me to appreciate the feeling of him slowly stretching me as he pushes deeper and deeper into me. The rhythm continues and I gradually begin to build. It’s not like the other orgasms he’s given me, where the pleasure blossoms so quickly it gets out of control and I explode. This is more deliberate. I can feel it building as I climb higher and higher, and although I know I’m not there yet, that remarkable moment where I know I’m close is drawn out, holding me on the edge, promising release. The anticipation is overwhelming and I pant appreciatively.

“Tell me what you want, Anastasia,” He says.

“You, Christian. This,” I whine.

“Do you want to come, baby?” He ask.

“Yes,” I breathe.

“Tell me.”

“What?”

“Tell me you want me to make you come.”

“Christian…” I hesitate, knowing that he knows how close I am and that he’s purposefully keeping me from falling over the precipice intentionally. “Christian, please.”

“Please what?”

“Please let me come. I want you to make me come, Christian. I’m so close.”

“Good girl,” He says, leaning down and kissing me. While his lips move with mine, his hand reaches down and circles my clitoris in a firm slow circle while he continues to push slowly into me. I feel myself climb higher and higher, my body lifting from the mattress and pressing into him until finally, my nerve endings detonate and I begin to pulse around him in the most intense orgasm I’ve ever had. It rockets through my whole body and I feel the tingling pleasure everywhere.

“Yes,” He hisses as I grip his erection in vice like pulses. “God, you’re so tight when you come.” His pace quickens as he pushes me on and on, refusing to let me come down.

“Christian!” I cry out. It’s starting to become more that I can take and I feel as though if he weren’t lying on top of me, forcing me to absorb the pleasure, I’d be thrashing around violently trying to escape the intensity. As it is, I lie still, being driven mad by the ecstasy.

“Don’t stop, baby,” He says. “I want to come with you.”

His face tightens with exertion as he thrusts harder until he too, empties himself inside of me. Finally, when his pace slows, I feel the pulsing euphoria fade and I’m left breathless and debilitated. Every part of my body feels weak. He must be spent too as he lies on top of me, taking a moment to regain his strength. Eventually, he rolls off of me and again wraps me into his arms.

“I love this with you, Anastasia.”

“Mmm,” I mumble back. “Is it always like this?”

“I don’t know,” He says. “It’s never been like this for me.”

I smile at the thought and snuggle into him, perfectly content to lay here in his arms. I silently decide I’d rather just stay here, in our post sex exaltation, rather than head back to the mountain, but we lie together for only a minute before three loud knocks pound their way into our secluded happiness.

“It’s 06:30! Let’s go!” I hear Elliot call, and I giggle.

“You weren’t kidding about that break of dawn thing,” I say, making Christian laugh.

“No, I wasn’t. Are you ready for another day on the slopes?”

“I can’t wait,” I tell him.

We reluctantly roll out of bed and amble our way into the jack and jill style bathroom we share with Ethan. Christian locks the door to Ethan’s room and we climb into a quick, hot shower together, sated enough by the previous lovemaking that we are able to actually use the time to get clean.

Christian insists I dry my hair, so while he gets dressed in the room, I take the dryer out from under the sink and meticulously blow out my hair until it’s no longer damp. Once I’m finished, I slip into warm clothes and ski pants, put my hair up into a bun on my head, and follow Christian out of the room.

I turn around to close the door behind me and as we’re about to walk down the hall, the door to the Lincoln’s room opens and Mr. Lincoln steps out, Elena close behind him. When he sees us, Mr. Lincoln immediately turns red and offers us an embarrassed good morning. It confuses me for a moment until I see the look of venomous fury Elena gives me and I realize, they must have heard us this morning.

“Good Morning, Mrs. Lincoln,” I say in an overly bright voice.

Her eyes narrow and I see a tremble of rage roil over her, but she doesn’t say anything back as she follows Mr. Lincoln down the stairs. Christian winks down at me and I giggle as we continue on down the hall.

When Christian and I make it to the first floor, everyone is sitting around the breakfast table. I take a seat next to Mia and help myself to a croissant, some scrambled eggs, and bacon. We eat quickly, under Elliot’s stern urging, and then make our way to the SUV. Carrick allows us to take the larger of the two cars so Christian, Elliot, Kate, Ethan, Mia and I can all ride to the resort together though once we arrive, we have to separate.

“Sure you won’t come with us today, bro?” Elliot asks, as he forces his boot securely down on the ski.

“Possibly,” Christian replies, unsure. “Maybe later today Ana will be ready for the Apple Strudel run, but not now.”

“Well, have fun I guess…” Elliot says as if he doubts that any fun could be had on the beginners run, and he, Kate, Ethan, and Mia ski off to the lift on the far side of the open area. I frown after them, wishing I was better so that we could all go off together, but Christian assures me again that he doesn’t mind.

“I’d rather spend the day alone with you than with the constant bragging of Elliot.” He says. I giggle, imagining Elliot at a run, calling for everyone to watch him as a child would.

“I love to hear you giggle, Ana.” Christian says with a smile.

“Then tell more jokes,” I tease him. He chuckles and rolls his eyes before grabbing my hand and leading me to the chair lift of the run we did yesterday.

By mid-afternoon, I am entirely independent heading down the mountain side and, besides the mini make-out sessions on the chair lift, even I’m starting to get bored. I can’t imagine how Christian must feel at this point, but he says he’s not ready to take me on a harder run yet.

“You need to practice your cuts,” He tells me. “The grade is much steeper on Apple Strudel and you’ll need to be able to slow yourself down by cutting a zig zag pattern in the snow. If you ski straight the way you have been here, you’ll go too fast and you’ll lose control.” I nod and ski off to the same chair lift to once again take the same run. This time down, I only use the slow cutting technique he showed me this morning, digging my pole into the snow and swinging my skis around so that they are horizontal in front of me. It’s not very easy and I can feel my muscles getting fatigued as I head down the slope, but I’m not bad at it.

“Like that?” I ask at the bottom of the hill.

“Yes,” He says. “Now just do that ten or so more times and we’ll talk about going on a harder run.”

I groan and roll my eyes he furrows his brow at me.

“Don’t roll your eyes at me,” He says. “Do you want to get hurt? All I’m trying to do is make sure you stay safe on the mountain.”

“I know, I just want to do something harder,” I complain.

“I know, you’ll get there,” He says. I take a deep, calming breath and push myself off towards the lift, but before I reach it, Kate, Elliot, Mia, and Ethan race across to meet us.

“Hey, Ana. How’s it going?” Kate asks.

“Good. I’m ready to move on but Christian says I need more practice,” I complain.

“Maybe it’s not you, maybe he’s not ready. What’s the matter, bro? Losing your nerve?” Elliot jokes, and Christian glares at him.

“If you want to go on a more difficult run, I can ski with Ana for a while,” Kate offers. I see the hesitation in Christian’s eyes, knowing he probably doesn’t want to leave me alone, but also probably desperately wanting to do something more to his skill level.

“I’ll be fine,” I assure him. “Go! Have fun! I’ll be here when you get back.”

“Do you want to go on a couple of runs with me?” Christian asks, turning to Mia. She smiles and nods enthusiastically.

“I’ll be back in a couple hours and, by then, you should be ready to move on,” Christian promises. “Keep practicing your cuts and don’t do anything stupid.”

I make a face at him but he simply smiles a disarming, crooked smile and then takes off with his sister to the far lift. I watch them until Kate begins pulling my arm, attempting to drag me towards the smaller lift. I go up the mountain with Kate, Ethan, and Elliot in the chair behind us, and once we’re all together again on the summit, we head off down the gentle slope of the hill. Kate watches me carefully, acknowledging when I’m doing something well and offering gentle critique when I could be doing something better. I watch Elliot employ the same difficulty-increasing techniques Christian has been using. He doesn’t comment much on my newly aquired cutting skills and I hope that’s because I look so natural doing it.

“Great job, Ana!” Kate says when we reach the bottom of the run.

“Yeah, I think Christian is being a little overprotective,” Elliot says. “Let’s go do something more fun.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea…” I say hesitantly.

“Oh Ana, you’ll be fine!” Kate says. “And if you need help we’ll be right there.”

“And we’ll bring you back before Christian is done so he won’t even know. Then we’ll tell him how awesome you’ve been doing and we can all ski together.”

“Okay,” I agree, won over by their sentiments and my own desire to explore more of the mountain. “As long as we’re back before he is.”

Kate smiles and nods her head in the direction of the lift they’ve taken several times. I’m whisked off into the air with Kate, smiling at the new surroundings below me, though I’m a little intimidated as we’re much higher off the ground. This chair moves much faster than the other one did and it gives me a scared kind of thrill, like a ride at a carnival. Kate fills the silence of the ride with helpful pointers of what to do if I get in trouble. I listen carefully, trying to remember everything she says, though once my skis touch the snow at the top of the run, everything falls out of my head. I look around for a sign pointing to the direction of the trail, but Elliot forges onward, around a corner to another chair lift.

“We’re going higher?” I ask.

“I guess,” Kate says hesitantly. “Maybe he’s taking you to Apple Strudel? I’ve never taken that run, I’m not sure how to get there…”

I shrug, remembering that’s where Christian said he would take me next and follow after Elliot. We are pulled higher and higher up the mountain and I feel anxiety build within me. How long is this run? I turn to Kate who is looking around wildly as if she’s double checking her surroundings. Recognition dawns on her face and I watch a look of trepidation become quickly replaced by anger. She turns to look around at Elliot and Ethan behind us but we’re nearing the end of the lift so she doesn’t have time to say anything them. By the look on her face, I don’t think we’re coming up to a nice, easy run.

“What the hell are you thinking?” Kate rages the moment Elliot and Ethan are off the lift.

“What do you mean?” Elliot asks, taken aback by Kate’s anger.

“Hyde Park?” She screams. “Elliot, this is a black diamond run!”

“Yeah for like part if it. Once we get down to Prospector Gulch, it’s a blue rated trail.”

“Green, Elliot!” Kate yells. “We were looking for green! I thought you were taking her to Apple Strudel or Cakewalk or Expedition! This is for expert skiers.”

“Well, there’s only one way down,” Elliot says, but I see a hint of remorse cross his face. “We can help her.”

Kate narrows her eyes but doesn’t say anything more to Elliot. Instead she turns to me.

“We’re just going to go really slow down, okay. If we just take it nice and easy, you should be okay.”

“Should be?” I squeak.

“We’ll be fine,” Kate corrects herself. “Let’s just take it one step at a time.”

I nod and she sets off slowly down a path that is fairly flat and curves gently through the towering pines that line the trail.

This isn’t so bad. I think to myself. It’s beautiful up here and the air is so crisp and fresh. I can totally do this. I let myself relax, wondering why Christian was so worried about this when we come around a corner and there is a bowl like dip in front of us followed by a steep drop that, from this angle, looks practically vertical. There is no groomed trail the way I’m used to, only deep, untouched snow and hundreds of trees just waiting to be crashed into. My breath catches in my throat as I’m overcome by fear, how can anyone get down that on two pieces of plastic?

“You go first, Elliot,” Kate says nervously. “Slowly, so Ana can watch.”

He nods his head and leaps forward, pushing his skis over the mound preventing us from moving forward and immediately turns his skis to the side. Snow flies out in front of him as he makes his way down the first drop, coming to a stop only feet away from the base.

“See, Ana!” He calls back up to me. “Easy!”

I ignore him and watch as Ethan repeats his movement over the blockade.

“You should go before me,” Kate says. “I’ll be right behind you, just keep your skis to the side and lean into the mountain. Slowly, now.”

I ease up to the edge, feeling like I want to cry as I look down at the short, steep, round drop below me. Should I have mentioned that I’m terrified of heights before they brought me up here? I feel my head begin to swoon but I do my best to push it aside and concentrate. There’s only one way down and if I’m not going to hurt myself, I need laser focus.

With a deep breath, I urge myself forward and feel a disorienting feeling of falling, and a hard thud as I hit the ground below, snow sprays up into my face but I’m not hurt. I quickly flip my skis around and ease myself down next to Elliot so Kate can make the leap, and when she does, she studies the area around us trying to find the best way to go.

“That way,” She says, pointing to a narrow passage through the trees. Elliot makes a face but takes the easiest path possible down the mountainside. Slowly and steadily, Kate gets me through the first part of the run. It takes forever as we only move a few feet down the hill every couple minutes because Kate takes me in the most horizontal paths forward possible. I actually find that, since I’m not flying down the mountainside like the occasional skiers who pass us, the trees help me by giving me a reference point and an easy way to stop. But as soon as the trees begin to clear, I can really see how steep the run is and now there is nothing to get in my way if I need help stopping.

“Go down about 100 feet, then stop, and wait.” Kate says to Elliot. She looks worriedly at me as I carefully examine Elliot’s every move. He zig zags down the hill and while I watch him Christian’s words repeat in my head:

If you ski straight the way you have been here, you’ll go too fast and you’ll lose control.

I nod my head as if he’s standing next to me and again, edge myself down the slope. I force my skis to cut into the snow: left, right, left, right. It’s only a few seconds before I’m down to Elliot, digging the side of my skis into the snow to stop. Kate and Ethan follow after me and a pattern develops. Elliot skis a few hundred feet or so down the hill, I follow after him and Kate and Ethan bring up the rear.

“You’re doing great, Ana!” Kate calls, the tension in her voice diminished. I only barely hear her as I focus on Elliot down below me and cut my skis into the snow. Left, right, left, right. He skis a little farther down away from me each time and about halfway down the steep hill, there is a sharp turn in the run which I had previously thought was the end. But no, it keeps going. My muscles are protesting from the exertion of forcing my skis back and forth through the loose powder, a feeling probably exacerbated by the fear that keeps my muscles tense. Each time someone flies by me on the run, I feel as though I’m going to be swept away in their wake. But despite all my fear, I’m making it down okay.

“A little farther,” Elliot calls up to me as he skis a good football field away. I take a deep breath and lean forward. Left, right, left, right. The longer distance gives me more chance for speed and the faster I go, the harder it is to swing my skis around.

“Slow down, Ana!” Elliot calls, his eyes widening as I fly down the hill towards him. In panic, I push the front of my skis together to stop but the speed is too much and the tips of my skis cross over one another causing me to tumble forward. I hit the ground hard and begin to tumble down the grade. I lose a ski as I’m sent plummeting down the mountain side head over foot. Kate’s scared scream rings out somewhere but I can’t tell the direction and suddenly I’m terrified that I’m going to go over the side of the mountain. I begin to flail my arms wildly around, trying desperately to dig my fingers in the snow to stop myself but when I do stop, it’s because I hit something, hard.

I groan with pain as I try to regain my bearings. It hurts to move, but I assume it’s just the soreness from the fall until I roll on my side and scream with agony as I move weight onto my shoulder.

“Ana!” I hear Kate shriek. She stops next to me, sending a spray of snow across my face. “Oh my god, Ana. Are you okay?”

“No,” I wince, cringing against the fire I feel burning all the way up my arm. “I did something to my right shoulder. It really hurts.”

“Okay, it’s going to be okay,” She says and then turns to the boys. “What do we do?”

“We’ve got to get her down the mountain,” Elliot says, and I can hear in his voice that he is scared.

“Do you think you could ski down, Ana?” Ethan asks, but I shake my head.

“I can’t move,” I say. Tears begin to spring to my eyes as the pain begins to intensify. What have I done?

“Let me look at the shoulder,” Elliot says moving forward. I look at him, alarmed, and see Kate putting her hand on his chest to stop him.

“I don’t know, are you sure you should move her?”

“We need to know what’s wrong. What if it’s broken?”

She nods and Elliot leans down next to me, slowly pulling the zipper of my coat down. I whimper as his movements, however careful they may be, pull on my injured arm. Elliot brushes his hand over my shoulder and again I scream with pain, tears now freely flowing down my face.

“Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!” Kate wails as she too begins to cry.

“We’re going to have to get help,” Elliot says, standing next to me. “I think it’s broken.”

“Kate, you stay here. Elliot and I will…” Ethan begins, but his voice cuts off as he’s interrupted by someone up the hill.

“Elliot?” I hear them call, and I recognize the voice immediately as belonging to Christian. He must not be able to see me lying here because there is no anger or fear in his voice, only confusion.

“Christian!” Kate cries in panic, getting off of her knees next to me, I try to look up, but I can’t move my neck enough to see him. Once Kate moves though, he can see me.

“Ana!” He cries, and I hear two quick swipes in the snow before he falls to the ground next to me. “Oh god, what’s wrong. Are you hurt?”

“Her shoulder might be broken,” Kate says, trying to keep calm now that Mia is only a few feet away. Christian rounds on Elliot.

“What the fuck are you doing up here? I told you to stay where you were!” He yells furiously.

“She was doing fine, we thought she could handle it,” He begins.

“Mom and Dad were a few chairs behind us on the lift, they should be coming down any second. Stop them and get Mom over here,” He growls, before turning back to me. “It’s going to be okay, Ana. We’re going to get you help.”

I nod, then try to focus on staying still and on the sound of skiers passing by, hoping one of them will be Grace.

“Mom!” I hear Elliot call, and a few seconds later, Grace, Carrick, and Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln are by my side.

“What happened?” Grace asks, the usual soft spoken sweetness in her voice gone. She’s all business now.

Elliot explains what happened and Grace kneels down next to me to and places her hands gently on my chest.

“I’m going to look at your shoulder, Ana. This may hurt just a little bit.”

I nod and her hands move up, lightly gripping my shoulder, and immediately it’s too much.

“No, no, no!” I cry ,and her hands disappear instantly.

“It’s not broken, just dislocated.” She says firmly. “If we’re going to get her down, I need to pop it back in.”

I take a few deep breaths to steel myself as Grace begins giving orders and I’m surrounded by people holding me down.

“It’s going to be okay, Ana. You’ll feel much better in just a minute,” Christian says worriedly, and I nod as Grace lightly puts her hand on top of my shoulder and forces my arm upwards. There is a sick grinding sound of bone on bone and a blinding flash of pain, but the moment I feel my shoulder slip back into the socket, the pain is gone. It’s sore, but no where near the level of agony it was.

“How do we get her down?” Carrick asks.

“She’s not skiing,” Christian says immediately.

“No, she shouldn’t ski,” Grace agrees. “Kids, why don’t you head down. Tell the lift operator to send ski patrol.”

“Okay, let’s go” Elliot says, moving back to his discarded skis. Christian glares at him as he, Kate, Ethan, and Mia head off down the mountain.

“How do you feel?” Christian asks.

“It’s better now. I can’t feel it anymore,” I say.

“When she gets to the bottom, you’ll need to take her to the hospital, Christian.” Grace says. “She might have muscle damage around the joint and at the very least, she should get a few days worth of painkillers.”

He nods and settles in next to me, gently running his fingers through my hair while we wait for ski patrol. It feels like forever but eventually a group of men in red coats finds us and, as if they’re trying to make this the most humiliating moment of my life, they strap me onto the sled and tow me down the mountain. Kate, Elliot, Ethan, and Mia are there waiting for us at the bottom of the run and because Kate insists on coming to the hospital with Christian and I, they all decide to call it a day and come along.

I’m tucked tightly under Christian’s arm as he guides me to the car, screaming at Elliot the entire way. I have a feeling that if getting me to a hospital wasn’t his top priority, he might have started a fight. The vitrol he spews at his brother is disconcerting, made worse by the trembles of rage I can feel rippling over him. I worry that the possibility of a fight might not be ruled out as on the drive to the hospital, he glances back in his rear view mirror every few seconds to scowl at Elliot.

Aspen Valley Hospital is a small but architecturally beautiful building. Unfortunately, the room I’m put in is bare and boring. Only Christian is allowed to wait with me in the room and it takes nearly an hour for the results of my x-ray to come back. The muscles are fine and the doctor doesn’t think I’ll have any residual issues aside from some mild pain. He writes me a prescription for painkillers and after a quick thank you and a stop by the pharmacy downstairs, we’re on our way back to the cabin.

When the SUV comes to a stop on the curb, I reach over to open the door but almost immediately, Elliot is out of the back seat and holding out his hands to help me. Christian storms around to the passenger’s side and shoves him out of the way.

“Don’t fucking touch her,” He scowls. “You’ve done enough damage for one day.”

“Christian,” I scold him, but he gives me a warning look telling me he’s not in the mood for arguments. I sigh and allow him to lift me gently from the SUV and entwine his hand in mine. As we walk to the front door, I shoot Elliot an apologetic look, knowing I will have words with Christian about his behavior after he’s calmed down.

The cabin is once again filled with the delicious smells of Grace’s dinner and, while we wait to eat, I snuggle down on the couch to watch a movie with Kate and Mia. Christian brings me an ice pack, a glass of water, and a dose of painkillers, and then sits next to me, holding me under his arm as he stares in the direction of the TV, clearly not seeing anything on it. I know he’s stewing about me leaving the run with Kate and Elliot, which means, along with Elliot, he’s probably mad at me too.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper after he takes my plate from dinner to the kitchen.

“Sorry for what?” He asks.

“I should have stayed on the run like you said. Once I got up there, I realized that I hadn’t had enough practice. It was stupid and reckless and I’m sorry.”

“Yes it was all of those things, but it’s not your fault.”

“Elliot didn’t force me to go up there,” I contend.

“No, he didn’t. And while I’d like to hit him in the jaw for putting you at risk like that, it wasn’t his fault either.”

“So why are you mad?”

“It was my fault, Anastasia. I promised you I wouldn’t leave you, but I did, and look what happened.”

“Christian,” I argue, trying to hold back a yawn. My eyelids are growing heavy and I have a sneaking suspicion the painkillers are starting to kick in. I’ve never been good with drugs.

“Shh,” He says quietly. “Get some rest.”

“But…” I protest weakly, knowing I’m fighting a losing battle. I feel his fingers brush lightly through my hair and I can fight it any longer. Snuggling under his arm, I drift off into drug induced oblivion.

Next Chapter

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