“Amanda,” Lee called knocking on her apartment door. “Amanda please let me in.”
Cowering in the corner of her bedroom Amanda covered her ears with her hand. “Make it stop. Please make it stop,” she pleaded. She could fee their pain, their anguish as they learned about the accident that took their college bound daughter from them. The couple lived in the next apartment and their emotions were bleeding into hers. Vaguely she heard someone calling her name but she could do nothing but soak up their pain.
Standing outside her apartment Lee gave up trying t get her to come to the door. Over the last few months Lee had learned if Amanda was experiencing severe emotional trauma from someone she wouldn’t be able to respond to him. He looked around the door knowing there was a key hidden somewhere. It wasn’t the safest thing in a crime filled city but it did save on repair bills when he broke down the door to get in. Letting himself in he called “Amanda,” into the stillness of the room. Her apartment was small and it didn’t take long for him to find her curled into a ball on the floor crying.
Seeing her in this state always caused his heart to beat faster. This time was no different as he knelt beside her on the floor. “Amanda sweetie,” he said pulling her close “it’s going to be alright.” He could feel their pain, the emotional upheaval. It was like this every time he touched her. She was his conduit to feeling the chaos around them. The pain took his breath away and for a moment he wanted imitate her and curl up in the fetal position on the floor. He wished there was something he could do to help her. To make this stop completely nobody should have to live like this. It would be so simple to alleviate his pain. All he had to do was stop holding her. Stop comforting her and sharing her pain. Her obvious distress kept him by her side, holding her tight. He couldn’t let her suffer alone. “Mandy I’m here. Whatever it is we’ll get through this together.”
After a while she stirred in his arms blinking back the tears. “I’m sorry,” she mumbled pushing away from him.
Following her he shook his legs to help get rid of the tingling sensation from sitting to long in one position. Grabbing her hand so she wouldn’t leave the room. “You have nothing to be sorry for,” he told her in a low firm tone “tell me what happened. Let me help you.”
Shaking her head she looked at the floor refusing to meet his gaze “why do you put yourself through this? You could so easily live a normal life. With me I’m only going to cause you pain.”
“No that’s not true” moving close to her “can’t you see I want to help you. Help you through the pain. What’s happening to you isn’t your fault. You shouldn’t have to go though this alone.” Pulling her to his chest he stroked her hair “why won’t you let me help you?”
“I’m afraid” she sobbed into his shoulder “I’m afraid that I’m so messed up that you’ll get tired of trying to convince me that you love me because I’m too afraid to trust the feelings I have for you.”
Not knowing what to say to allay her fears he simply held her until her sobs ceased and she sniffed in his ear. “Amanda I don’t know how to convince you that I’m not going away. I’m here to stay. I made a promise to your dad and to Melissa that I’d take care of you. I never break my promises.”
“Never?” she sniffed looking up at him.
Shaking his head “never,” he repeated “I’ll go as slow as you need me to go but I’m not going anywhere.”
“Good. That’s good,” she sighed relaxing into his arms.
Over the next few months Lee would check on Amanda and the intense emotional upheaval lessened somewhat it was still often enough that he felt it was time to convince her to move. Some place where she wouldn’t have to share the same walls, floors, ceilings with the person in the next apartment. Some place where she could put space between her and the next person. Now that the spirits had ceased coming to her on a regular basis he hoped that soon it would be their time. Living inside a large city there were few places Amanda felt comfortable going and most of their dates consisted of them taking turns cooking for each other in her apartment. Tonight was Lee’s turn and he smiled contemplating the surprise he had planned.
“Can I help you?” Amanda asked sniffing the air “mmm it smells good.”
“I hope it tastes as good as it smells,” he said looking up and smiling at her “would you mind setting the table?”
When she squeezed into the small space between him and the cabinets Lee bumped into her using the opportunity to wrap his arms around her and a moment later he was kissing her passionately. “You know I love you right?” he asked as he released her peering intently into her brown eyes.
“Yes ” she mumbled trying to look away still not trusting this was happening. Could she really find happiness again?
“You believe I only want the best for you don’t you?” he asked taking her face in his hands forcing her to look at him while she replied.
“Yes I know you’d never hurt me,” she looked into his blue eyes seeing his love and allowing it to comfort her. Before she could stop herself she admitted “I love you too.” She bit her lip in nervous anxiety as she watched the shocked stunned expression replace the adoration that was there a moment before. What had she done? She misread the situation. Allowed herself to believe he loved her as something more than a friend. Was she just someone he felt obligated to help, to care of. Turning her face away mumbling “I’m sorry I ….”
He kissed her stopping her apology before she was able to finish. Pulling back from her he stammered “do you know how long I’ve waited to hear you say those words to me? I’ve said them to you but not once have you ever said it back to me. I thought if I gave you time you would. That if you felt safe enough you would say it…But it’s been so hard.” With shaky hands he moved the meal he was preparing from the stove before it burned. When he was done he turned back to her “I thought maybe you only saw me as a friend, a brother figure. Thought maybe I was being a fool for hoping that you’d ever see as someone who loved you.” He bit his lip “I’m not making any sense.”
“Shhh” she went to him. This time it was her turn to comfort him “You’re making perfect sense. I’ve spent too much time being afraid of my own feelings that I tried to block yours out and mine for you. I’d be lost without you and not because you put my world right in the middle of chaos but because you’ve found a place in my heart that would never be whole again if you ever left.”
“Say it again,” he entreated her.
“Say what again?” she asked kissing a trail along his jaw line hovering above his lips smiling “that I love you?” his slight nod was all the encouragement she needed as she brought her lips to his “I love you Lee Grayer.”
“I love you too Amanda Bennett,” he dropped to one knee reaching into his pocket. He held up a ring “Will you marry me?”
“Yes, yes, yes a thousand times yes,” she cried as tears flowed down her cheeks. Staring at the ring on her finger she threw herself into his arms “you had this planned all along didn’t you?”
Shaking his head “sorry to disappoint but I didn’t. I had something else planned entirely.”
Glancing at the ring “but you had the ring….”
“I’ve had the ring forever. I was waiting for the right moment. This felt right.”
“Oh,” was all she could say before asking “what did you have planned?”
“Um,” he smiled a little uncertain of how she would take the news “I was offered a job in Lucky Palms. I was going to ask you to move with me.”
“You mean live together?” she asked. He nodded in response to her question. “I don’t know I know this is kind of old-fashioned but I always imagined I’d be married first.”
“So your answer’s no?” he felt an overwhelming sense of disappointment. He didn’t want to leave her not even for the time it would take for them to arrange a wedding.
“I didn’t say that,” Amanda shook her head at him. The smile she gave him was like the sun to his heart “we can always get married there.”
“You don’t mean at one of the casinos?” he asked a little doubtful.
Shrugging “why not? People do it all the time and it’s no less legal than the fancy weddings we’ve been too.”
“But I thought you’d want something like your sister had,” Lee said starting to warm to the idea.
“My tastes are a little more simple then hers. I don’t need an elaborate ceremony to prove I’m married. I love you and I want to marry you in Lucky Palms.” She squealed when he grabbed her and swung her around the tiny kitchen “when do we move?”
[Lee Grayer was made by Phyrcracker93, Thank you so much for letting me have him in my game]