The first thing they did upon arriving in Lucky Palms was to get married. It wasn’t an elaborate ceremony or anything special bu it was what Amanda wanted. She didn’t want a lot of fuss or people. What she did want was to be with Lee for as long as they were lucky enough to be together.
After they were married Amanda was content to move into the little house that Lee had found for them. “What do you think?” he asked coming up behind her as she looked out to sea on the deck.
“It’s perfect,” she told him reaching up to hold his hand.
“Are you sure?” he asked looking down at her anxiety causing him to frown. “You’re not just saying that,” he squeezed her tight against him as his stomach twisted into knots. Melissa would never have let him pick out a house without her input or without her seeing it before he bought it. He had done both those things and he couldn’t help the anxiety that made his stomach churn. What if Amanda didn’t like it? Kissing t he nape of her neck he whispered in her ear “if you don’t like it we can look for something else.”
Turning to face him “don’t be silly its perfectly good house.” Stroking his face she smiled up at him “it’s peaceful I…I don’t feel anyone’s emotions here.” Laughing suddenly she grabbed his hand “do you know what I feel like doing?”
Laughing as he allowed her to drag him along he shook his head “no, what?”
“That,” she pointed at the basketball hoop “I want to play.”
“Loser doe dishes for a week,” Lee said grabbing a ball and tossing it at the basket.
“You’re going t have to do better than that if you have any hope of winning.” Amanda laughed as her shot went in “hah nothing but net.”
“I don’t believe it,” Lee muttered sometime later “I want a rematch.”
“Don’t be a sore loser,” Amanda said walking up to him “I won fair and square.”
“I hate doing dishes,” he complained.
“Does that make it better?” she asked as she leaned into him kissing his soft lips.
He put his arms around her “I am beginning to feel somewhat better.” He swept her up into his arms and carried her into the house and up the stairs. Placing her on the bed kissing her passionately as she attacked the buttons on his shirt.
Waking early the next morning Lee looked down at Amanda sleeping on his shoulder. His breath caught as he was struck with how lucky he was to have found her. He still missed Melissa and the kids and a part of him always would but thanks to Amanda the hole they left in his heart hurt a little less.
Stirring next to him Amanda blinked and smiled up at him “good morning.”
“Good morning sweet heart,” he bent down and kissed her despite her protests. “Do you feel up to exploring?” he watched the instant withdrawal and fear in her eyes. Sighing he kissed her forehead “it’s ok we don’t have to.” Tossing the blankets aside he got up and moved towards the bathroom.
Amanda watched him close the door before sitting up. Pulling her knees to her chest. She could feel his disappointment but it was so peaceful here. Was it so wrong for her to want to stay where she wasn’t bombarded by other people’s emotions? Lee would accept whatever her decision was she knew that but what if he got tired of hiding away in seclusion away from everyone? What if he left her because he didn’t want to do it anymore? She felt the tears burning behind her eyes as she leaned her head on her knees. She looked up when the bathroom door opened “Honey I….” she began only to stop when she realized he ha said the same thing.
Laughing Lee sat own beside her “Amanda you know I love you, right?”
“Yes” she said so quietly he had to strain to hear it.
Lifting her chin up he continued “I’m sorry I know how crowds affect you. I shouldn’t have asked you to go out.” Sighing “I don’t know… yesterday you were so happy, so carefree I thought maybe…”
“No don’t apologize,” She shook her head pulling away from him “I can’t expect you to stay here with me all the time just because I’m too scared to go out.” She got up and started to pace the room stopping at the glass door leading to the deck outside. “It’s not fair,” she cried bursting into tears.
Lee went to her pulling her close “it’s alright. We don’t have to go out.”
She turned and buried her face in his shoulder. “Why can’t I be normal? Is that too much to ask? To be normal.”
Stroking her hair he simply held her. What could he say? Life wasn’t fair sometimes. An idea started to come to him as he listened to her sobs. “Amanda why don’t we go out when it gets dark. Most of the people would have gone home by then. We can still explore our new town and if we meet anyone we can always leave. What do you say? Want to try it?”
Dabbing her eyes dry Amanda thought over his suggestion. It sounded reasonable even if she still wanted to hide herself away she knew it would make him happy if she tried. Taking a deep breath “I’ll try. If your with me I’ll be alright.”
“That’s my girl,” he smiled wiping the tears dry from her cheeks “I was planning on bringing you breakfast in bed…” he pretended to pout “you kind of spoiled that by getting up.”
“I could always go back to bed,” she offered “but I’d prefer watching you cook me breakfast instead.”
Later that evening they got their bikes from storage and rode towards a park Lee had found on the internet. There wasn’t much traffic and he hoped that stayed true once they made it to the park. He kept glancing over at Amanda as she pedaled beside him.
Catching his worried glance she tried to smile at him intending to reassure him but she was afraid it came off as a grimace. His worry lines furrowed and his blues eyes darkened as his worry intensified. “I’m fine,” she told him “I’m scared by I’m fine.”
“You’ll tell me if it gets to be too much?” he asked. He saw her nod “you promise?”
“I promise” she turned smiling over her shoulder “besides you’ll know if I’m lying…” she pedaled faster shooting ahead of him.
Watching her pedal ahead of him he acknowledged she had a point. She couldn’t hide the reaction she had when she made connection with someone. She couldn’t protect herself from the emotional turmoil others put off around her. He had to trust her to know her own limitations. He would have to be read to react fast to get her out if things got rough. He couldn’t let her down. He pedaled faster to catch up to her.
Arriving at the park they locked their bikes up and took a stroll in the growing dusk. “It’s pretty here,” Amanda commented holding his hand.
“It is,” he agreed playing with the ends of her hair. “Have I told you how much I like your hair down like this?”
Nodding she smiled up at him “you have but you may tell me again.”
Drawing her close he ran his fingers through her long red-gold hair breathing in her scent “Amanda Bennett….”
“Grayer,” she corrected looking up at him running her fingers through his hair “Lee Grayer ae you going to kiss me or not?” she asked before she drew his head down to hers. As their lips connected she felt the first tinglings of someone’s emotional upset. She tried to ignore it but it grew in intensity until she felt like she was drowning. Pulling away from Lee she ran blindly towards the way they had come.
“Amanda,” Lee screamed after her startled as she bolted away from him. He took off after her understanding what was happening. He knew something had drastically affected her “Amanda” he yelled again but he couldn’t stop her head long flight.
Vaguely she heard him calling her nae but she couldn’t stop. She had to get away. She went flying as her foot caught on an exposed root on the ground. Slowly she pushed herself up gasping for air. Momentarily all emotions stopped as she fought to breathe. Then she felt it. The panic. The fear. It reached out to her threatening to engulf her. “Amanda stop running,” Lee demanded as he held her tight.
“Lee?” she asked her voice small and frightened. She fell into his arms. Slumping against him as she let his love wash over her blocking everything else out. “I’m sorry,” she cried into his shoulder “I…I don’t know what came over me.”
“Shh it’s ok I’ve got you,” he soothed “I’ll get a taxi and get you home.”
Pushing him away she stood up walking several feet away clenching and unclenching her hands. “No no no no I can’t go back. I want to be normal. I don’t want to be like this.” She turned and walked away.
Standing Lee followed her at a distance not sure what he should do. He wanted to get her where she was safe. This was his fault. His bad idea. He should have known better. He watched as she stopped by a fountain held something close to heart before tossing it into the fountain. He slowly approached her saying her name softly as he came up behind her.
“What did you wish for?” he asked as if he didn’t already know.