Dear Diary, the next morning, I got up early because I was still a little unnerved by the crying I’d heard in the night. And Beckett had been no help at all. He insisted he hadn’t heard anything and thought I was dreaming. As if I don’t know when I’m awake or sleeping!
“What are you doing?” he asked. I hadn’t even noticed he was there, looking all indignant for some reason.
His question didn’t slow me down. “Eating breakfast.”
“I thought we’d have breakfast together.”
“So grab a bowl,” I suggested.
Finally, I looked up at him and his incredulous face. “What’s wrong with it?”
“I want a hot breakfast that will stick with me through the morning.”
“Well, I reckon you know where the stove is. I’m really not into cooking if you hadn’t noticed.”
When I was done eating, I put my spoon down and met his gaze across the table from me. “Why are you being so testy, Beckett? Not a morning person?”
“Quit making fun of me, Marty,” he laughed slightly. “I just thought we could continue the romance today and eating cold cereal wasn’t part of the plan.”
Was he serious? He wanted the romance to continue? I wanted to say so much right then. You know, Diary, how hard it is for me to hold my tongue.
He shouldn’t have asked that because it was all I needed to let loose on him. “Honestly, Beck, the romance ended when you fell asleep last night! I mean, I know I’m not that experienced but I expected a little more than what I got.”
His face seemed to grow pinched as I sat there waiting for him to respond.
“Awww… c’mon,” he said stiffly, holding his shoulders back. “You know I was injured pretty bad and I’m still recovering. And don’t worry about the experience thing, you’ll get better.”
Clearly, I’d hit a nerve with him but I felt that what I’d said was true. Still, what he’d just expressed hit me square between the eyes and left me so off balance. I fought to keep tears back and willed myself to continue staring at him as I realized he’d fallen asleep because I was that bad.
“Sheesh, I didn’t mean it like that, I’m sorry,” he said. “Please forgive me.”
Still feeling wounded, I only nodded a little.
“Really, Marty, I’m sorry.”
“Okay,” I squeaked.
Gently, he took my hand across the table, caressing my smooth skin with his calloused thumb. “Let’s start over. I think being hit that hard in the head really did a number on me because I’m saying such stupid things lately.”
“Well, you’d better watch your mouth,” I said with a smile, “or I might be what hits you in the head next time.”
With that, he laughed and kissed my hand. I knew we had put this behind us.
The next few days were so good, I can’t even tell you. There definitely was a strong attraction between us. So strong, that we were hardly apart. Every waking moment, my thoughts were about him. I don’t know if that is love, though. How do you know if you’re in love or if you’re with “the one?”
My mind was taken up by these thoughts constantly now. I only wished I knew what I was doing. Beckett was nearly one hundred percent recovered and I wanted to get back to my true love, work.
Beckett got out of the shower after me and watched me dry my hair as he toweled himself off.
“That is exactly how I love your hair, baby.”
Of course, I knew that. I’d been leaving it down more and more lately. I’d also been trying to dress better. I wish I could say it was only because it made me feel good, knowing I looked good. But the truth was, these were Beckett’s preferences. I was always much more comfortable with my hair pulled back off my face. There was something so annoying to me about having to constantly brush my hair back with my fingers.
Everything seemed to be going along smoothly the next several days and I was more accustomed to the house to the point where I no longer became lost if I wandered off on my own. Beckett and I spent a lot of time in what he called the game room. He liked mixing drinks and looked pretty dapper doing it. It was apparent to me now that all my previous reservations about Beckett were for nothing. He was a perfect gentleman and we loved the same things.
“Hello?” I breathed into the phone as it rang.
My jaw dropped instantly and I grinned from ear to ear as a joy I hadn’t felt for a long time enveloped me, surrounding me in a gentle, soothing warmth.
“Oh, Xalen, is that you?”
“Yes, yes, it is,” he chuckled, making me smile all over again. “You sound good! How are you?”
I don’t know why, but I hesitated. Why did I do that? Finally, I said, “I’m great, really great.”
This time, there was a pause on his end as if he didn’t believe me. “Are you sure? You sound … different.”
I laughed in the most carefree way I could muster and said, “Of course I’m sure. I – I just really miss the dig site and translating. I hope to get back to it really soon.”
“Ah, yes, I’m aware of what happened there with the remains that were found. It is the reason I, too, am in Egypt.”
“You’re here? Really?”
Again, he chuckled. “Yes, really. My team from the Neptune Foundation was called in on this matter.”
“What can you tell me about it? I’m dying to know what you’ve found out!”
“It’s not good, Marty, but I am not free to speak of any details yet. Trust me, though, as soon as I can, I will fill you in. I look forward to seeing you.”
I could feel tears in my eyes and I blinked them away. “I look forward to that, too.”
“Who was that?”
Beckett’s voice startled me a little bit as I’d forgotten he was in the room. “Oh, just an old colleague of mine.”
“Yes, so what?”
“You sounded pretty intimate there. Were you sleeping with him?”
“What? No! And why do you even think that’s your business?”
“It’s my business because now we’re together. Do you love him?”
I threw my shoulders back defiantly to hide the gasp I was trying desperately to hold inside.
“You do! I knew it! As soon as you heard who was on the other end of that call, I just knew it! Well, this isn’t how it’s going to be, Marty! You’re mine now and I won’t have it!”
“You won’t have it?” I yelled, totally losing it now. “You don’t have a choice! You don’t own me!”
“I love you!” he yelled, inching his face closer to mine. “We’re going to get married and be happy!”
“You need to step back now! I don’t think you love me at all! And besides, I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to have children. I am not the family type!”
To my amazement, he covered his eyes with his hands as if he was breaking down.
“All I want is you. Why isn’t that good enough?” he moaned.
Sighing, I stepped away from him. “You exhaust me.”
Wiping his face with the backs of his hands, he stood up straight and looked pleadingly into my eyes. “I’m so sorry, please forgive me. I know I overreacted.”
“I don’t know. This isn’t the first time and it’s getting old. I need to be alone for a while.”
But when I headed outdoors, instead of leaving me alone, he followed me. He was the most irritating, impossible human being, yet I cared for him deeply. Over the past months, since I’d come here to take care of him after the accident, he’d grown on me. And I found that incredibly annoying because it would have been much easier to walk away from him if he meant nothing.
“I told you I wanted to be alone.”
As I said that, he abruptly fell into my arms, burying his face against my shoulder. Instead of making me angry, though, I slowly put my arms around him, wondering what the matter was.
“What is going on?”
“Please, I can’t go on knowing you don’t forgive me. Please, don’t leave me.”
“I saved your life because I love you, Marty. I love you so much and I can’t live without you.”
I said nothing as he pulled away, drying his eyes again.
“I really am sorry,” he said quietly.
“What is making you act this way? I don’t understand it.”
He sighed, returning slowly to his normal demeanor. “I don’t always either. Honestly, I think my dad messed me up. I’m the black sheep of the family. I think with you, though, I could finally measure up.”
I didn’t know what to say but I felt sorry for him and what he was going through. I believed him about his father.
“Why don’t you ever mention your mother?”
His beautiful eyes became downcast as he took my hands. “Let’s not talk about her, okay? Being her son’s no prize either.”
“I want you to do something for me.”
“Anything,” he agreed.
“I want you to look me in the eyes and tell me you won’t treat me like this again.”
And I believed him.
It was pitch black and I hadn’t heard the crying again. Until tonight. It woke me out of a fitful sleep and I sat straight up, straining to hear where it was coming from. Beckett had been drinking, I could smell it on him and I also couldn’t wake him up. So, I left him there, snoring away and annoyed that he was in such a condition.
I knew my way around now and pushed my fear aside to try to find the source of this nighttime wailing. Without a sound, I crept from hall to hall, room to room, carefully opening doors and peeking inside with my flashlight.
Nothing. No crying and no crazy woman hiding in any corner.
There was one staircase left that led to the attic. Pausing at the bottom, I began to hear the sobbing again, but it was fainter, so I began to climb the stairs. They were cold under my feet as I moved upward and a chill filled my insides. But I forced myself to go on.
Nothing could describe the horror I encountered when I reached the top….
Author’s Note: I would like to shout out a special thanks to Lil who made the ghost gif at the end since my photoshop took a nosedive and died. lol Thank you, Lil!