Dreams had always plagued Avery since she could remember herself, and this one was no different. Although they felt like nightmares: true-to-life, vivid, and terrifying, once Avery woke up, she couldn't find it in herself to call them real night terrors.
However, though Avery knew it was a dream state she was stuck in, it didn't help end the suffering. As if all those things she had to observe were happening to her true to the time. They always did.
And for some reason, Avery always woke up feeling that those dreams were more than just that. She could feel it in her heart- there had to be more to those vivid images than she thought.
As if she were missing some vital piece of information that could force everything she saw together, create a bigger picture and make them make sense.
Trapped in the dream state, Avery had tried to wake herself countless times before the captivating horrific scenarios could suck her in completely, so deep into the abyss, she'd be lost forever.
Although Avery knew her demons weren't worth fighting since she had never won the battles, she still tried, failing harder and falling deeper each time. And this one was no different from the previous ones; it consumed her, overtook her senses and every part of her body as it plunged her into a new reality created by her mind.
Pain rattled through her, paralysing her body the very moment it attacked her. It was a unique type of pain that felt like a razor's edge sliced through her chest, slowly, mercilessly, torturously.
Each dream was different, but if there was one thing in common- they all had scenarios of torture, everything Avery feared, and each detail carefully designed for her downfall. The pain didn't fade; it was there while she choked on thick plumes of smoke filling the room that surrounded her.
Avery choked, dreading her life; all thoughts about this scenario being a dream flew out the window. It didn't matter where she was stuck- the things happening to her felt too real.
She gasped for air, dismissing the pain, trying her best to fill her lung with each agonising breath she tried to take. Her throat felt raw, dry, and burned so much so that tears filled her eyes, blurring Avery’s vision, making the task of finding the exit so much more difficult.
The ringing in the distance grew louder, and Avery immediately recognised the high-pitched sound. The realisation hit her harder than a slap in the face. That noise, it was the fire alarm in the room below her. It was blaring so loudly that she feared the awful sound would deafen her. And then, she could hear the exact moment the device melted off the ceiling when the last screeching blare echoed against the walls of the downstairs room, and the noise stopped completely.
Rolling over in bed, Avery managed to roll over the edge and landed on her hands and knees. Tears burned her eyes as she squinted into the darkness of her bedroom; the smoke billowed under the door, burning her eyes.
The carpeted floor beneath her palms felt too soft. As the fog of smoke kept filling the room, it enveloped Avery into a cloud-like fantasy. But the heat rising underneath her reminded her of the danger.
Avery could feel the floor getting hotter; every second that passed made it increasingly difficult for her to think and breathe. The situation became so bad that she could hear her chest wheezing, her scorched lungs fighting, begging for much-needed oxygen to fill them.
As she crawled towards the bedroom door, Avery’s body grew weaker and heavier with every breath and movement she made. The thick, black smoke filled her lungs. It was so thick that she could taste it, and it felt a horrible dry aftertaste on her tongue and in the back of her mouth.
Reaching the door, Avery fought the exhausted state to reach for the doorknob, but she understood the metal was too heated once her hand neared it. Avery gritted her teeth and ignored the pain as her skin connected with the metal and twisted the knob.
She was searching for something, unaware of what or why, and even though Avery knew she should head for the window, her body still acted on instinct and went for the door.
Stairs. Avery was looking for stairs as a sense of dread and desperation filled her gut. Thick billows of black smoke and orange flames raged on the bottom floor. The air was so thick her lungs felt like they would collapse any moment, or even worse, explode.
Black dots danced before Avery’s vision, making it harder to perceive the possible obstacles in her way as she tried to navigate her way to the stairs. Reminding herself to remain beneath the thick blanket of smoke, Avery felt her way to the stairs and descended.
About halfway down, she felt something.
It was a hand. Avery gripped the person and tugged on them, but they didn't respond. Her hands frantically roamed over them as she moved closer, trying to reach their chest to feel if they were still breathing.
Running her hands across the person's chest, Avery made him out to be a man, but that wasn't nearly close to the most disturbing thing she felt.
There was the handle of a blade protruding from where his heart should be. Avery suspected the sticky substance coating her finger was blood, but once the realisation sunk in, she gasped and jerked her hand away from the body.
Fear spread within her whole being as her mind raced with questions. What if the person who killed the man was still there, and if they were, where were they?
Avery tried to crawl back up the stairs, noticing that the fire was licking at the walls, the temperature rose, and her flesh burned like it was melting.
There were no questions about what she needed- an escape and fast. Going down to the bottom floor and looking for an exit wasn't an option. Avery’s last hope was heading back the way she came to the stairs.
With her eyes burning, Avery blinked to clear her vision as the black dots returned and blurred her vision. The surroundings smudged, mixing everything into one unrealistic picture until the black dots completely overtook her vision. Avery’s lungs still burned, but the intense pressure on them made her feel like they were about to burst, so she finally let the darkness overtake her.
Avery’s hair stuck to her face as she launched forward in bed, panting and trying to catch her breath with her hand clutched to her heart.
Her heart pounded so fast that she could hear the intense, rapid pounding in her ears. Goosebumps covered her vibrant olive skin, making Avery shiver under the light breeze of air grazing her sweat-soaked skin.
Reaching for her bedside table, Avery flicked on the lamp to brighten the room. Used to the darkness surrounding her, she had to squint her eyes and fight her own senses to get accustomed to the brightening light. Avery blinked a couple of times until her eyes didn't burn anymore and sighed with relief.
"It was just a dream, just a dream," Avery repeated the words like a secret mantra, doing her best to reassure herself she was safe in the comfort of her bed.
Those dreams were as common for her as smiling was to other people. They always plagued her, and if Avery dared to fight exhaustion to avoid them, they came back with more force, hunting her until she couldn't take it.
Her eyes swept the room, and she instantly noticed her roommate's bedroom door open from where she sat on her bed.
Becca wasn't home yet. She probably decided to stay in one of her many lovers' dorms. One thing about Becca was she had plenty of admirers, and she loved that- loved being the centre of attention.
Becca's confidence and thrive for attention were something Avery admired. Becca truly loved the life she led, the things she did and the dreams she had.
Unlike Becca, Avery didn't have as much to love about herself, and sometimes, she felt like she barely existed.
Pushing away from the pointless thoughts, Avery tried to catch her breath, despite her throat reminding a land of dry sands. She reached for the water bottle that always sat next to the lamp and noticed how wildly her hands trembled.
Avery opened the bottle, brought it to her lips and gulped down the water, hoping it'd soothe the ache in her throat and wash away the dryness. Again, she knew everything she lived through was just a dream, but it felt too damn real. So real that she could taste the burning smoke at the back of her throat.
Struggling to return to the present, fearing she was still stuck in the dream, Avery took a few deeper breaths. That had to calm her pounding heart and settle her racing mind, but even breathing exercises didn't help.
Avery's eyes scanned the room again. She was safe. She was in her dorm room; there was no fire- no greedy, unstoppable flames licking up the walls. Avery kept repeating the observations, attempting to ground herself before breaking down and facing yet another panic attack.
Her heart slowed as she ran her slender fingers through her hair, trying to brush it away from her face and untangle the bird's nest at the back of her head. Avery knew she couldn't sleep anymore.
What time was it, anyway? Avery slid out of her bed, strode to her dresser and reached for the phone. At nearly six in the morning, it was still dark outside.
Avery had to get up in an hour anyway, so now, she had more excuses to use- all to avoid falling asleep again.
So, she decided to get ready a little earlier and maybe check her notes for yesterday's assignment. But first, she needed a hot shower to wash away the dread that consumed her like it always after those terrible dreams.
They were becoming insufferable and haunted Avery. She dreaded the moments she yawned or felt too low on energy because every time she attempted to rest, the dreams would find Avery.
She grabbed her towel, toiletries bag, a pair of jeans, a hoodie and a new set of underwear. Carefully, Avery rolled them in her towel, opened the door, stepped into the hall and locked the door behind her, double-checking if the lock clicked in place and no one could enter their living spaces.
The green campus corridor was dimly lit by its flickering fluorescent lights, giving off an eerie feeling. The buzzing that emanated from them sounded louder in the empty corridor at night.
As Avery walked down the corridor, she was careful to avoid her feet making too much noise. Avery knew the place; she could walk through it with closed eyes, skillfully avoiding every old wooden floorboard that might make a noise and disturb other tenants.
Once she reached the end of the corridor, she turned left and headed towards the unisex amenities room.
She was the only person awake at this ungodly hour. Avery couldn't hear movements from other dorms as she passed them, yet very unlikely of her; she wished people would crowd around her.
Her spine tingled, and goosebumps rose on her skin as she walked through the quiet building. Perhaps it was an aftermath of her dream, or maybe those were the creeps the building gave her to blame. Either way, none was helping her intense anxiety.
The floor felt cold under Avery's bare feet as she hurried to the bathrooms. Unlike their dorm apartments, the corridors had no air conditioning units installed, so they always felt extra chilly.
When Avery finally faced the brown door at the end of the last corridor, she opened the creaking door as slowly as possible and peered inside the bathroom to find it empty. With a heavy sigh, she pushed the door wider and stepped inside, carefully closing the door behind her once she was inside.
The amenities room was large with all-white tiles from floor to ceiling, making the fluorescent lights brighter, too bright for someone who had just woken up, causing Avery to squint at the harsh glow for a few seconds.
One side of the amenities block held showers separated by a wall halfway down the room. On the other side were the toilets, and right at the front, the sink basins and long mirrors. Bench seats went up either side of the wall separating the two rooms.
Avery walked over to the sink basin, turned on the tap and splashed ice-cold water on her face. It was yet another effort to chase the remnants of her dream away.
She glanced at the mirror, and her reflection stared back at Avery while she dried her face with the towel. Avery looked exhausted.
Her olive skin appeared paler, as if someone had driven the melanin out of her system. Avery could say the tone looked like she was drained of life. Her emerald-coloured eyes took in the reflection in the mirror, taking time to observe every feature and imperfection they could spot. One thing was sure- she looked sad.
The lack of sleep was getting to her, and now, anyone could see it. Avery suffered through those dreams at least two or three times a week, so it was no wonder she was so sleep-deprived.
And the worst part was that for the past few weeks, Avery saw the same dream over and over again; the only thing that changed was some slightly different details. It was the same and never the same.
When she rubbed her eyes, Avery felt like someone was pulling sandpaper across her face. She snatched her things off the sink basin and trudged into the first shower cubicle.
The old taps creaked and groaned, and the plumbing banged inside the walls as Avery turned the taps on and waited for the water to heat up.
She hung her towel on the back of the door, quickly undressed before checking the water with her hand and stepped under the hot water, slowly wetting her long, sweat-drenched, tangled hair.
Avery reached for her shampoo, poured some into her palm and washed her hair quickly, working it into a thick lather. The familiar scent of her lavender shampoo filled the surrounding air, giving Avery a sense of comfort and calming her down while she hurried to shower.
She had to be quick, just in case Becca returned home while Avery was gone. When she left the dorm apartment, Avery noticed her roommate had left her keys on the hall stand. She suspected Becca was in a hurry to sneak out, not that Avery would ever confront her friend about such minor things.
After finishing the shower, Avery reached for her towel and stepped out of the cubicle, her towel tightly wrapped around her frame.
She opened the door to walk over to where her clothes were on the bench seat. Just as Avery reached out to grab them, she heard the door creak, making her look in the door's direction.
A man had stepped in with a towel draped across his bare shoulders. He was only wearing a pair of black shorts. His chest was bare, revealing the hard ridges and lines of his body. The man was built like he was hand-carved to perfection by the gods, all hard muscle in the right places.
Instinctively, Avery pulled her towel tighter around her body as he turned in her direction. Though men like him: with perfect abs, a view that would cover a sports magazine, and muscles upon muscles, always appeared full of themselves, his gaze was cast down.
Avery took in his tanned olive skin. He was devilishly handsome. She didn't need a full view of his face to state that fact. Then, her eyes swept to his hair- short black cut, shaved on the sides and a little longer on top.
She stood frozen on the spot, startled by the sudden arrival of the stranger. The last thing she expected was someone entering the bathroom at this hour.
The man turned and shut the door before walking towards the shower cubicles. Only then did he look up and notice Avery standing by the benches. He looked at her, his eyes roaming over the towel that hugged her figure tightly before looking at Avery's bare legs.
A deep crimson blush crept on her cheeks as her eyes met his. Like Avery, he appeared shocked, clearly not expecting anyone to be in the shower rooms so early.
However, that didn't stop him from checking her out from head to toe. Avery squirmed under his intense gaze, awkwardly shifting her weight from one leg to the other.
"Sorry I didn't see you. I hope I didn't startle you," the stranger blurted out, casting his glance down.
Avery didn't miss the sly smile spreading across his lips. He wasn't genuinely sorry for checking her out, but it wasn't like she could point that out because she didn't find it hard to ogle the stranger once he first entered. Both of them were equally bad.
"No, you didn't startle me. I wasn't expecting anyone else to be up so early," Avery explained, reaching for her clothes.
"I have an early start this morning. I wanted to get in before the masses," the man brought his hand to the back of his neck, scratching it nervously.
He didn't need to explain himself to Avery; she didn't even know him. Come to think of it, she had never seen him around the campus either, making Avery wonder if he had just transferred.
The campus wasn't nearly as huge as others, so it was easy to remember faces. Besides, the one Avery and Becca stayed in was the only mixed campus in the city.
Unravelling her clothes, Avery pulled the hoodie over her head, tugging it down and around the top half of her body.
Yet, as she was busy with the simple action, she could still feel his eyes on her. The stranger stared at Avery again; his heated gaze made her skin heat up, and the air thickened as she pulled her head through to meet his eyes.
"I have the same starting times; what's your major?" Avery questioned him, pulling her jeans underneath the towel and casting her eyes down to get rid of the towel.
When he didn't answer, Avery glanced up at him. The man smiled, showing off pearly white teeth. The look on his face was like something amused him. Avery just stared back at him and arched an eyebrow. Still nothing.
If he didn't want to answer her question, it was fine by her. Nothing strange happening here, nothing at all, just a strange man watching her change. The least he could do to make the situation less awkward would be to make a conversation or go on with his business.
"Oh, I'm not studying. I work here part-time and stay on campus when I have to work," his voice finally broke the silence.
Avery's gaze returned to the stranger as he worried his lip between his teeth. His gaze roamed over her again, from her head to her toes, before his eyes met Avery's again.
The way his wandering eyes took her in made Avery feel like she was prey to him. The thought barely crossed her mind when a hungry, sadistic smile spread across his handsome face. The stranger knew he was scaring Avery and clearly enjoyed the reaction he was stirring.
Her cheeks burned, and the blood rushed to her face from the embarrassment she felt for assuming he was a student. Well, also, there was the fact that he wouldn't stop staring, which made everything way worse for her.
Avery wanted to shrink under his gaze; she prayed the earth would open and swallow her whole so she could escape the weird encounter.
There was something quite off about the man before her. His entire aura was intense, demanding attention, and he clearly had no issues with confidence as he never moved to hide and wasn't even subtle with how he watched Avery.
Wasn't he supposed to move towards a cubicle to shower? They were in a bathroom, and Avery wanted him to go about his business so she could escape.
She wanted to move away from him but couldn't bring herself to take the first step. Her mind kept screaming for her to run, and her senses were setting off alarm bells- reminding Avery the man was dangerous.
However, her body was begging Avery to move closer, to run her hands over his bare chest and feel the heat of him under her palms. What the fuck was wrong with her?
Avery mentally scolded herself- she couldn't understand how this man had so much influence over her. Embarrassed out of her skin, Avery wanted to run, but her feet wouldn't budge, as if someone glued them to the floor.
As soon as his gaze released Avery's, she returned to her senses and snatched up her things. "It was nice to meet you," she muttered, avoiding possible eye contact and another recap of the bizarre encounter.
The stranger had an amused smile across his lips as Avery rushed past him, only to be stopped by him grabbing hold of her upper arm. Her heart nearly stopped as her skin warmed right where he grabbed her.
He tilted his head to the side, and Avery held her breath, wondering what he might or would do next. His eyes examined her face for a split second.
"It was nice to meet you, and I hope to see you again, Avery," he murmured.
Avery's brows furrowed and pinched together. She didn't recall telling him her name.
But once he released her, Avery ripped the door open and stormed away, too desperate for an escape not only from the conversation but also from the mysterious stranger.
Something was definitely off about him. Once Avery's bare feet touched the cold floor of the corridor, she let out a breath. Now, she welcomed the cold air dancing on her skin.
After a few steps, once she increased the distance between herself and the creep, Avery's instincts settled down. She has always been a firm believer in trusting her intuition, and this might have been the case she escaped a fate worse than death just because of her instincts.
Well, mostly instincts since her mother had always told Avery to go with her initial feeling about someone. She couldn't stress enough how trusting a gut feeling could save her life.
Avery knew this might as well be one of those situations her mother warned her about. She felt more relaxed out of his sight and ran back to the dorm apartment, quickly unlocking the door.
Relief flooded Avery as she stepped into the familiar surroundings of her tiny hallway. She dropped her keys in the bowl on the hallway table and turned to shut the door. Only it wouldn't close- something caught it.
A hand was pushing the door inward. Avery's neck prickled with fear, and her heart skipped a beat; Avery's hand was still pressed firmly against the door when she felt someone shove it inward with more force.
The hand pushed again, this time way harder, opening it. Was it the man from the showers? Did he follow her?
Avery took a hesitant step back. Frightened out of her mind, she desperately looked for something to defend herself with as the panic overtook her.
Before Avery reached for an umbrella, because that had to be the only weapon she could use and the unknown guest wouldn't laugh at her attempts, she noticed a familiar figure enter the dorm apartment. It was Becca! She stumbled through, looking all sorts of hungover as a heavy stench of liquor surrounded her. Becca walked in and almost staggered straight into Avery's rigid frame.
"You look like you saw a ghost," Becca giggled, pointing out Avery's frightened state.
Seeing Becca, Avery sighed in relief and shook herself back to her senses as a nervous laugh escaped her.
She didn't understand what had come over her. That man must have gotten under her skin for Avery to act so out of character.
The strange feelings he invoked washed over Avery and had her questioning her sanity. Desire and fear, yet fear was the strongest one.
She didn't know why she thought the invader was the man from the shower. Overthinking had always been Avery's biggest problem, but this was going too far. Her thoughts and fears were getting the best of her.
It sucked to be an Empath and a witch sometimes. The easiest thing to pick up on was energy, which was one of the reasons why Avery knew the man in the bathroom was trying to scare her and enjoyed watching the fear and distress grow within her.
"Avery, are you alright?" Becca grumbled, worried, when she noticed her friend still hadn't spoken. Her voice snapped Avery out of her thoughts as she peered back at Becca.
"Yeah, I just wasn't expecting anyone to open the door as I closed it," Avery laughed off the question, shaking her head.
Maybe she did read him wrong and scared herself senseless. After all, she met him for the first time, right after experiencing another torturous dream. Besides, his face still wouldn't leave Avery's mind, and her anxiety did nothing but blow everything out of proportion.
Becca sent Avery an odd look but walked past her friend and entered the bedroom across from Avery's. She flopped on the back and placed her hands behind her head.
Staring at Becca's door, Avery could watch her friend. Becca yawned, letting out a loud, exaggerated sound.
Becca's makeup was smeared, and her lipstick stained her plump lips a shade darker. She looked like crap, nevertheless beautiful, but still crap.
Avery shook her head disapprovingly as she noticed Becca didn't bother to get undressed from her crinkled clothes from last night's adventures.
"Well, my classes don't start till ten." Becca yawned again, covering her mouth with the back of her hand. "Can you wake me when you leave?"
Becca knew Avery's classes always started earlier than hers. With an eye roll, Avery's lips tugged at the corners, and she nodded.
"Of course," Avery chuckled as Becca blew her a kiss.
"You're the best," Becca groaned, rolling over and turning into a starfish on the bed.
Avery shook her head while she walked back to her room to get rid of the everyday clothes and change into something more acceptable.
She didn't have enough time to wear her undergarments or shirt when she ran out of the amenities, too busy trying to escape the awkward situation and the creepy guy.
Throwing her clothes on the bed, Avery stood in my room, naked.
She could swear it felt as if his gaze still remained on her. The thought made her shudder, but Avery wrote it down as another ridiculous, out-of-proportion thought.
She found her underwear rolled inside the towel and quickly put them on. It was barely past six; she still had plenty of time before her chemistry class started at eight, so Avery decided to make herself a cup of coffee and check those notes she wanted to go over.
The kitchen in their dorm apartment was small but better than not having one at all. Becca and Avery understood they were some of the lucky ones at the university, as most dorm rooms comprised one room shared between two to four people.
However, they enjoyed the luxury of a larger dorm apartment with a sitting room, two bedrooms, a kitchen and a toilet. They didn't have a shower in our apartment, but they didn't have to run for the bathroom every time they needed to pee.
When Avery enrolled in university, her parents were excited and paid the extra tuition, so Becca and Avery could have the apartment dorm instead of being crammed into one room with multiple people.
Avery's mother owned her own apothecary shop, mostly selling small potions and incense for the local witch community. Her mother was a witch, and so was Avery. Her father was an orthodontist and had his own practice near Avalon University.
Avery wouldn't have minded living at home, seeing as the campus was only a twenty-minute drive. However, her parents insisted on her having the full university experience, trying to give Avery more freedom before everything would change on her twenty-first birthday.
That's when Avery's elemental powers would fully manifest, and they'd accept her into the family's Coven. Avery would become a part of the Faewood Coven.
Becca and Avery have been best friends since they were seven years old. When they were small, Becca's family moved next door, and they've been inseparable ever since. Becca was a human, and no matter how different their families were, both Becca's family and Avery's considered them to be sisters.
Avery took the hot coffee, smiling at the fond memories as she sat on the sofa and focused on her notes. Most of them were about what assignments were due by the end of the holidays. Today was the second last day before the entire school went on a two-week break.
Everyone was eager for the break; Avery didn't get to see her parents much, despite them not living far away, and she planned to spend some time with them. She wasn't going home to stay; it would be just to visit.
Having been on her own for the last two years, just Becca and Avery, she had grown used to being on her own and valued her privacy. They told Avery independence would impact her mental health positively, and she couldn't be more grateful for what they did.
At first, moving out felt like a nightmare, but these days Avery knew it was the right decision.
Avery spent about an hour or so going over her notes. When the morning sun started filtering in and brightening the room, she glanced at the clock on the wall above the TV. It was eight in the morning, the perfect time for Avery to get ready to leave the dorm apartment. She packed her notebooks and quickly got ready. As usual, Avery brushed her hair, put on light strokes of eyeliner and mascara before she walked into Becca's room and threw a couch cushion at her best friend. "I'm leaving! Get up and shower before you're late," Avery warned her roommate as Becca groaned and rolled on her back. Becca rubbed her eyes and yawned, squinting at Avery through the slits of her eyes as if it was Avery's fault she was tired. "Already? I feel like I barely closed my eyes, and you're already barging into my room, assaulting me with loud words and pillows," Becca whined. A deep frown overtook her beautiful face as she stretched out like a cat before a loud huff left her lips, and Becca sank ba
The first week, the majority of which Avery spent inside her dorm apartment, went by without any incidents. The students who decided to stay instead of leaving to visit their families kept to themselves. And Avery was glad about that because she had enough work to keep her busy and didn't need unnecessary distractions. Becca had called Avery last night to warn her she wouldn't come back as they were planning before Becca left to see her family. In fact, her roommate wouldn't return until the day before classes started, so Avery had even more free time on her own than she initially thought. However, despite the seemingly uneventful days, with each passing night, Avery's dreams became worse, more vivid, terrifying and felt more real. At this point, she didn't view them as dreams anymore; now, they were nightmares. When Avery woke up from her latest nightmare, she couldn't shake off the feeling that it was more than just another night terror. What she saw and felt still felt too real
Once the professor ended her class, Avery quickly shoved the books back in her bag, more than ready to escape before Aamon could approach her. Avery knew she shouldn't have gotten involved with him, that it probably would break some rules at the University, and she still did. As she left the classroom, her phone rang again, forcing Avery to dig through her oversized book bag to retrieve it. Digging deeper for the tiny device, she dropped half of her bag's contents on the concrete before she could find the annoying device. Avery cursed and shook her head at how clumsy she was under stress, and only then did she glance at the screen. It was her mother calling again, so she instantly felt bad for rejecting the earlier call. Besides, her mother didn't ring her often unless something serious had happened. Avery took a deep breath, fearing the worst and answered the call, "Hey, ma. Sorry, I didn't answer earlier; I was running late for class," Avery admitted, trying her best to sound un
The next few days went by in a blur, and Avery couldn't force herself to follow what day or time it was anymore. Nothing made sense anymore, nothing mattered, and to hell with the world now that Avery had lost her parents. Avery accepted Becca's parents' offer and agreed to stay in their house. Besides, she didn't want to return to her dorm apartment- it reminded her of the nightmares and the words she never said. That place was a mess of memories and regrets. If only she hadn't ignored those stupid nightmares, she could have done something. Avery had a chance to save her parents, yet she ignored the signs. She was sure their tragic death was on her; on her and that damn criminal who set their house on fire. While she lived with Becca, her parents helped Avery organise the funeral arrangements. She couldn't find the words to express her gratitude. It was hard to lose her parents as it was, but to think of how they would send them into the afterworld was something Avey couldn't do.
After another two weeks of constant studying, classes, running, and partying around, Avery was exhausted, and Becca finally stepped forward to speak to her best friend. Avery had just returned home from her usual run and walked in the door, dropping her keys in the hall. She could see Becca sitting on the sofa, but she didn't hold a book or watch TV, which was odd, but Avery shrugged it off. As much as she deserved privacy and peace, so did Becca. Once Avery barely stepped into the living area, Becca pounced at her the moment she came into Becca's line of vision. It was clear that her best friend had no intention of letting Avery slip into her bedroom in peace. This was the day Becca lost every bit of her patience and decided to take action before losing her best friend for good. All Avery wanted was the escape of peace and quiet she could find in her bedroom. At least until nighttime caught up on her fears. "Ava, please," Becca pleaded, grabbed her wrist and tried to pull her tow
Avery's heart rate slowed down, and she instantly felt a strange sense of calmness settle over her as the last bits of fear left her. Aamon smirked, stepping back from her just as the elevator door opened. He grabbed Avery's hand and led her out of the elevator. Together, they stepped into what Avery thought had to be a penthouse apartment. The first thing Avery noticed was the floor-to-ceiling windows, which provided a stunning view of the city. Avery stopped breathing as her eyes took in the dim lights that lit up the city surrounding the place. The longer she stared out, the more greedy she felt for more. Avery had never seen something like that. Sure, her parents didn't struggle financially, and Avery never lacked anything, but the family preferred leading a more simple life. She never thought luxury might be her thing until Aamon took her to his place. Then, she tilted her head to take in the rest of her surroundings. While one whole side of the living room was all windows, t
The following day, when Avery woke up, she instantly rolled over, intent on stretching out her sore limbs, but stopped once she found a cold sheet next to her. Aamon's side of the bed was empty and felt ice-cold to her touch as if he hadn't spent the night next to her. It was clear he had left the bed a while ago, so following his example, Avery got out of the bed. Her eyes scanned the room, finding it more breathtaking in the daylight than it appeared late last evening. Avery's gaze stopped on the end of the bed, where she found a pile of nearly folded clothes and reached for them. A pair of blue denim jeans, a shirt, a leather jacket and a pair of impressive high heel boots. At the bottom of the pile, she found a lace bra and thong. Now, she wouldn't keep wondering how on earth Aamon knew her clothing size. Besides, where did he get the clothes? It was light outside; clearly, a new day had begun, but it seemed too early for any shops to be open. Avery's eyes scanned the tags, a
As Avery read the letter, tears ran down her cheeks, a few drops landing on the paper as her eyes kept going over the beautiful handwriting over and over again. Her entire life had been nothing but a lie, a damn illusion, a spectacle someone played, claiming it was for her own good. People who Avery thought were her parents lived with a secret to protect her, but from what, who and why? Why couldn't they leave hints about this danger in the letter instead of leaving her hanging? After reading the letter again, Avery had far too many questions running through her mind, which only doubled with every time her eyes scanned the piece of paper. Her eyes focused on the box that contained parts of her past, which undoubtedly was dark and dangerous. The past Avery didn't have any idea she had. Against her better judgement, she felt angry and betrayed. Not by them, not by the amazing people who raised her, loved her, and reminded Avery of their undying love every day. Avery was furious at