Not Far

Jean is subjected to a rude awakening when she parts ways with her best friend. She makes her way to Washington D.C. before finally running into a group of survivors, but is she in for more than she bargained for? Will she slowly lose her mind in this lonely world of devastation and no hope?

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7. Anything

The warm glow from the small fire in front of me was enough to convince myself that I had made the right decision. I was back where I belonged, that I was sure of. Even though I had attempted to kill the man I was currently curling into, he made me feel secure and happy, he made me feel complete. If that wasn't true, pure love, then I wasn't sure what was. After the slaughter of that asshole and the rest of his men, A.W. and I collected their supplies, which included tents and sleeping bags. Of course, this meant that we didn't have to sleep on the ground anymore. Everyone spent the last twenty minutes putting up their tents before eventually retiring for the night. Only A.W. and I were left awake.

  As he stood to put out the fire, I grabbed my bag, standing as well and ready to go to bed. In all honesty, I was glad to be back. I couldn't stand the thought of having to go back to roughing it again. When you're in the luxury of being in a group with a base and supplies, you don't ever think about going back to being alone, in the open and vulnerable. Man, I wished I didn't take people for granted before all of this, I wished I hadn't ignored those closest to me, I wish I could've said goodbye. 

  I followed A.W. into the last inhabited tent, meaning we had to share. Not that I cared or anything, I was perfectly fine with it. He held the entrance opened and I scurried inside. These tents were spacious and had a red and black aesthetic. A.W. was still outside for some reason, so I decided to be a little nosy. I placed my bag next to his, unzipping his bag and going through it. There were very few things that caught my eye, it was mainly just food, water etc. But then, I saw it, flaunting itself in front of my glistening eyes as I realized that he wasn't completely cut off from his humanity. 

  The thick, beige spine of the book had hand-stitched words written down it in a maroon thread. As I pulled it out of his bag, I noticed that the same words were stitched on the front; "Our family." My mind instantly wondered if he were married before this, but it was quickly dismissed when I opened the book and saw a picture of a man and a woman, both with brown hair and brown eyes. The woman was to the left of the man and her hair and eyes seemed to be of a lighter color. They were both smiling and were leaned in. The woman held a picture in her hand that had words scribbled on it that I couldn't make out, but I could tell that the picture was from an ultrasound. The next page displayed the picture the woman was holding up, the words weren't just words, they were a name. Owen Samuel Lewis.

  As I frantically turned the pages, I realized that this Owen from the second page, was our leader. He's the man I fell in love with, and I didn't know his name until now, I barely knew anything about him until now. There were pictures of him as a toddler etc. There was a picture in front of his driveway with a younger girl next to him, she had lighter brown hair up in two buns. She wore a dark blue sweater and a skirt of the same color. The caption underneath read "Owen's first day of third grade and Allison's first day of school." I froze. He had a sister? Was she here? Was she alive? Did she care that her brother was alive? I decided that this was enough snooping for tonight and it was time to put everything back so he wouldn't find out. 

  When I finally laid down, Owen came in, and I stiffened up. How was I going to address him from now on? Alpha Wolf in public but Owen in private? Does he even care for that name anymore? Thoughts like this flooded my mind as he laid beside me, eyeing me hungrily. I knew what this meant, and I wasn't up for it, especially with what I just learned. Hell, with the person that he is, I was almost sure he had killed his family himself. He pulled me closer to him, his lips only a short distance from mine as he continued to stare down at me with that look that practically screamed the lyrics from Closer by Nine Inch Nails. I attempted to move out of his grip, but that only made things worse. 

  "I just want to go to bed, please." I told him as I struggled in his grasp. He only smirked at this.

  "You are in bed." He quipped. I glared up at him and sighed, shaking my head.

  "You know that's not what I meant. I want to go to sleep." I told him as I rolled over in his arms, facing away from him. He moved my hair away from my neck, kissing from behind my ear down to where my neck and shoulder met. I rolled my eyes, the exhaustion finally taking its toll on my overworked body. He still continued, letting his hands roam, and me being the idiot I was, I spoke up.

  "Owen stop." It took a few moments for me to realize what I had said. His silence and lack of continuing in case he was ignoring me was enough to help me realize what I had done, and as soon as I realized my little mistake, my eyes shot open. I had just called him by a name he-most likely-hadn't heard in years. One that he may not want to remember.

  "Did you just-" He didn't finish, he sat up, placing a hand over his mouth out of shock. His eyes were as wide as the moon as he stared down at me. I felt awful, I had no idea what memories that name could have spawned for him, it just slipped out. Next thing I knew, I was on my back and his hands were around my neck as he straddled my waist.

  "Where did you hear that name?" He inquired angrily as he squeezed tightly. I weakly pointed to his bag, tapping his left hand with my other hand. He loosened his grip enough to let me speak.

  "The... book." I gasped. His hands left my neck and he stormed over to the bag in the corner. Soon he was flipping through the pages I had been studying earlier, tears making his eyes glisten in the low light of the lantern. His eyes closed briefly as he closed the book, gripping the edges tightly. I stood, slowly approaching him.

  "Who were they? Who are you?" I asked, placing my hand on his shoulder. He turned his head slightly before answering. 

  "You were right, about my name. They were my parents and my sister. When all of this started, I went back to my parent's house... they were gone. This was all I could manage to bring back." He explained as he held up the scrapbook. An aching feeling crept into my heart as I realized that he lost his family.

 "What about your sister." I inquired curiously. He shook his head.

  "I don't know. By the time we ran into each other again... it was too late. I-I scared her off." He told me. My eyes stung as tears began to fill them.

  "She found me, like this. I wanted her and my nephew to join us, but she..." He stopped. 

  "She what?"

 "She called me a monster, said that she'd rather die than become one of us." For a moment, it felt as if the emotion was radiating off of us and it felt almost as if it were suffocating me. I was well aware that I was crying at this point, I felt awful for him. Just when I thought I couldn't fall for this man more...

  "I-I'm so sorry. If I had known-" I began, but he held a hand up.

  "It isn't your fault, you didn't know." He told me. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders, resting my head on him.

  "Just know that I'm here for you. Always. I'd do anything for you." I told him. He smiled sweetly at me and placed his hand on my cheek.

  "Call me Owen."

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