In Too Deep (Tori Carrington) – Chapter Six

***Trigger Warning***

Ben asking Alannah to stay immediately transports her back in time to her father beating the shit out of her mother. [Holy Crap, this woman has issues.] Only that he beats her with a shotgun and finally shoots her and then himself while Alannah and Kyra watch in terror.

And then Alannah wakes from the nightmare and Ben is holding her and tells her that everything is going to be fine.

It had been years since she’d had the nightmare. Since she’d thought about that time at all, even though it was always with her, stuck to her like a tattoo. [That doesn’t really work. Marked by a tattoo would be a good metaphor. But tattoos don’t stick. I should know. I have one.] She reasoned that Ben’s passionate request earlier that day had brought the terrible memories back, reminding her why she had never returned home. Reminding her why she had to keep moving. Reminding her why she had to say goodbye to Ben one final time…

I honestly still don’t get it. I don’t get why she has to keep moving. Maybe I’m just utterly insensitive, but “because her father killed her mother” really doesn’t explain it for me.

***

Ben worries about Alannah and the size of the “demons snapping at her heels.”

He’d give anything to know what she’d seen in her dream. What she was running from. But he had the terrible sense that he would never learn either. If there was one thing he’d come to know about Alannah, it was that she was self-sufficient, not given to depending on anyone for anything. [Sharing doesn’t equal depending. Self-sufficiency is not threatened by trust. Come on.] When he’d tried to give her more than the agreed-upon amount for taking care of his garden after their first encounter, she’d staunchly refused. [I don’t get that, but fine. Her decision.] And whatever money he managed to slip into her bag before she left during her next two visits was mailed back to him with a note bearing a simple smiley face. [I do get that though – what kind of condescending behavior is this to slip your lover money, unasked? I wouldn’t send this back with a note bearing a smiley. I’d sent it back with a note ripping him a new one.]

Ben continues to hold her, reassuring himself that he didn’t really expect an answer to his earlier question. And I wonder what happened. Did she just not say anything and he ignored it again and just brought her to bed? Did she barf on his shoes as a reply?

***

When Ben next wakes, Alannah and her potted plant are gone. Ben bolts from the bedroom, hoping to catch Alannah before she really leaves so that he can lay all his cards on the table and make one last effort to keep her with him.

He walks through the house and…

There, standing in the middle of the kitchen with tears in her blue, blue eyes, was Alannah. [Do you think her eyes are so blue, you have to say it twice? Or maybe Carrington wants to say that they are literally and figuratively blue? I’m afraid we’ll never know.]

And what happens next will have to wait for the next chapter. [This short story has way too many of them.]

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