His body jumped and he took in a gasp for air like he hadn’t been breathed in hours. He let out a few coughs and was breathing heavily when his eyes fluttered open and fell to mine. Even though everything I looked at was the orange-red color, his eyes still showed their true color.
“You’re awake! Oh my god, I thought you would never wake up! I’m so sorry Zach, I didn’t mean to do anything. I’m sorry that I left my house, I’m sorry I went into a dark alley, I’m sorry I let Tyler get me, I’m sorry you had to save me, I’m sorry you had to bring me home, I’m sorry you… you passed out or whatever just happened. I’m sorry for everything, it’s all my fault. You didn’t deserve this, I… Why are you smiling?” I suddenly stopped.
I looked at him and he had a small grin on his face as he looked up at me with his head still on my lap.
“You're rambling. It wasn’t your fault.” He said quietly.
“Don’t try to make me feel better Zach. You’re the one who needs to feel better.” I placed my other hand on his cheek and wiped away one of my tears that had fallen on to his face.
“I’m fine. Your reaction was way worse than mine, you really scared me right there.” He sighed.
“I scared you? How was my reaction worse than yours? You stopped breathing for like fifteen minutes, I don’t even understand how you’re alive.” I grabbed his face even tighter.
“I don’t mean now, I mean my first reaction. I didn’t think it wouldn’t be that bad.” He said.
“You mean this has happened to you before?” my eyes widened.
“Yeah, earlier today actually. Can you sit me up against the wall?” he asked.
I tried to help but I wasn’t able to stand up myself. I grabbed his arms and we crawled to the wall and we both sat up against it.
“This happened to you twice in a day? Now I feel even worse.” I said a tear somehow finding a way down my cheek.
“Hey, don’t cry. Valerie this isn’t your fault ok? It wasn’t anyone’s fault. There are just some weird things going on that I don’t quite understand yet.” He put a hand on my cheek and wiped a tear away, his hands were so soft.
And he kept calling me Valerie. I didn’t like lying to him but I think it’s what I needed to do.
“What’s going on then?” I looked up into his eyes.
“I don’t know. There’s someone I need to ask about that.” He moved his hand from my face.
“Do you know why everything looks orange?” I looked out across my room.
He followed my gaze, “That’s another question I have. Do you want it to go away?”
“That would be nice. But I’m scared, you have that look.” I said looking at his face.
“What look?” he looked back at me.
“The look that says I’m not gonna like what we have to do.”
“I don’t think you will. We just have to say those words again and it should go away. We might feel a little something but nothing as bad as what just happened.” He looked in my eyes with a look that said he was sorry for everything that happened.
“I trust you.” I said.
He gave me a small smile and I quickly grabbed his hand and intertwined our fingers. He looked down at them for a second and so did I. I thought for a second I should let go. Maybe he thought I was weird and didn’t want to hold my hand, but I kept holding it. Partially because I was scared of what would happen, but mostly because I liked holding his hand. I felt safe.
“You ready?” he asked.
“As I’ll ever be.” I sighed.
“Alesa Morenav.” He whispered.
My eyes flew shut and I felt a familiar chill run through my body. Both of us gripped each other’s hands a little tighter and then my body relaxed. I opened my eyes and everything was back to normal, except for the pain in my head.
“I’m tired, and my head is killing me.” I groaned.
“Same.” He sighed.
“You have to stay here tonight.” I blurted. I had been thinking it for awhile but never planned on actually saying it.
“What?” he looked at me.
“I’m not letting you ride home on your motorcycle after everything that just happened. You were dead for fifteen minutes!” I exclaimed.
“I wasn’t dead.” He laughed lightly.
“Well you could’ve been. You have to stay here tonight.” I don’t know where all my courage had come from. I knew my dad wasn’t going to be home tonight, but I knew he was for sure going to be here in the morning.
“I really think it’s better if I go home.” He said starting to let go of my hand.
“No!” I gripped it tighter, “You’re just as weak as I am so I know you can barely walk. Besides, what if my neck starts to bother me? I won’t know what to do but you will.” I begged.
“You can just give me your number and I’ll call you.” He laughed.
“Zach please stay. I’m not risking you getting hurt again because of me on that stupid bike.” I said.
He looked at me then smiled.
“I guess a few hours of sleep won’t hurt.” He shrugged.
My face broke out into a smile and he smiled back at me.
“Lucky for us, I keep a few blankets in this drawer.” We were sitting in between my dresser and desk which were along the same wall as my door. So if my dad did happen to walk in, we’d be in a pretty decent spot for hiding.
I reached my arm around the dresser and pulled it open. I pulled out a thick gray blanket and an even bigger pink one. I took the gray one, folded it up, and placed it behind Zach’s head. Then I took the pink blanket and threw it over us.
“You don’t want to put it behind your head?” he asked.
“I’m not putting my head on the wall.” I said.
“Nope.” I said and I slowly placed my head on his shoulder.
“Nice choice. What about the lights?” He muttered.
I took my hands from underneath the blanket and clapped twice and the lights clicked off.
“It’s magic.” I whispered.
“What about the bathroom?” he asked.
“It can stay on. Thank you again Zach. For everything. You saved my life twice today.”
“Technically only once. I think you saved me that last time.” He was rubbing his finger over my thumb.
“Only because you helped me. Just accept my thanks.” I sighed.
“Okay, okay.” I could feel his smile against my head since his cheek was on top of it.
People would probably think it’s a bad idea for me to trust him as quickly as I did but it almost felt like I had known him before. It was like we were just picking up as if we had left off a few years ago. There had been a silence hanging in the air after I noticed I was just thinking to myself and Zach had already started to snore quietly.
“Zach?” I whispered quietly.
“Hmm?” he hummed.
“Are you my friend?” I asked.
“You know Val, I know we just met a few hours ago and all but I feel like we’ve been friends for the longest time.” He said sleepily.
He called me Val, too. I didn’t know how long it was gonna take for me to get used to that. I just wish he could call me Alex like my dad did sometimes. I want a nickname for myself, not who I pretend to be.
“I feel the same way.” I said.
“Good. That’s good.” His voice was getting quieter like he was practically asleep already.
“Goodnight Zach.” I whispered.
“Goodnight.” He whispered back, then I felt something soft touch the top of my head and I realized he had just kissed it. Just like how my dad does.
After that I eventually fell asleep to his soft snoring, thanking God for every breath he took.