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Silver Tears Ch.4
Through the lock, she could see herself when she was little, with blue and purple bruises ringing her wrists and shoulders and a Scooby-Doo band-aid inside her wrist. She cringed away from the door, wanting to run from it and forget what had happened. The door creaked open and sucked her inside, pulling her back. She saw Ayden, climbing on the jungle gym at their kindergarten school house. He swung wildly from the monkey bars, yelling and laughing while he played. She saw herself sitting at the edge of the playground, secluded with her back to the rest of the energetic children. Ayden picked a bouquet of daisies and dandelions from around the edges of the fence and tied a blade of grass around the bundle to hold it together. She saw him as he walked tentatively to where she sat, clutching the flowers tightly in one chubby little hand. He sat down next to her, too shy to look at her. Instead, he extended the small bouquet in an offering of friendship and smiled when she accepted it. She sniffed the flowers and sneezed delicately when the pollen hit her nose. They laughed in high, child-like giggles, causing Silver to smile as she watched the scene unfold in front of her.
“I’m Ayden.” He said as he scooted closer to her child-self.
“I’m Silver.” She smiled at the young boy, happy to find a playmate. He inched even closer and slid his small hand into hers.
“Let’s be friends.” The boy whispered.
“Ok.” She said, accepting his hand. The playground began to melt around the edges, warping the innocent scene that played in front of her. The scene contorted, reforming into the dingy walk-up she used to live in with her mom. A bottle of Jack Daniel’s lay empty on the floor, with a cigarette smoke screen blurring the scene and making her eyes sting. She walked down the hall to her old bedroom, hesitantly resting her hand on the brass knob of the closed door. She eased the door open and peeked inside, cringing at what she saw. Her young self was standing in front of a princess pink dresser, looking for a dress with sleeves to cover her arms. She pulled her long t-shirt over her head and Silver wept at what she saw next. The little girl had bruises blooming up and down her spine and neck. Individual finger marks wrapped visibly around her shoulders in a grotesque rainbow of colors. She pulled a blue cotton dress out of her drawer and pulled it over her head, wincing as her sore muscles protested each move.
“Girl!” her mother screeched, drunkenly from her bedroom. Silver flinched at her voice, terrified of what awaited her outside her door.
“Don’t go.” She cried at her younger self. The little girl had terror in her eyes, but she squared her shoulders and walked out the door. She screamed as she heard the sound of a hand landing on innocent skin. She heard a small yelp, followed by more sounds of hits and punches landing. Tears rolled down her cheeks in pain as she listened to her own suffering at the hands of her mother. She felt something tug at her and suddenly the scene disappeared as she was yanked back to consciousness. She bolted upright, gasping for breath as tears flowed down her face. Her shoulders shook as she looked around her, thankful to be back on the tour bus.
“Are you ok? You were crying.” Ayden pulled her into his arms as sobs racked her body. The scars on her wrist throbbed at the memory that haunted her nightmare.
“Hey, is she ok?” Adriane asked warily. He looked at her, his eyes filled with uncertainty. He turned and pulled a coke out of the fridge and offered it to her. She accepted it with shaky hands and took a slow sip, focusing on relaxing. She handed the can back to Adriane and leaned back into Ayden’s chest, trying to slow her breathing to match his. She felt his warmth seeping through the thin cotton of his shirt and realized she was shivering. He wiped her crystalline tears away with his thumb as they fell.
“I’m just going to give ya’ll some space.” Adriane whispered, walking away. She felt Ayden nod and heard the thud of footsteps fade to the back of the bus.
“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked quietly.
“You already know what I would say.” She whispered brokenly. He pressed his cheek on the top of her head and held her tighter. He let go of her and sat on the couch she had just run from.
“I wish that I could erase this for you,” he buried his face in his hands and heaved a heavy sigh, “But I can’t. No matter how much I wish I could, this is always going to be a part of you.” He looked up at her, utter defeat and pain lingering in his eyes.
“Ayden, you do everything for me, but not even you can keep away nightmares.” She sat next to him, laying her hand gently between his shoulder blades. She could feel his muscles tensed like metal cables under his skin. He slowly relaxed under her touch, his shoulders slumping as her hand slid back and forth between his shoulders.
“I just wish I could bundle you up in bubble-wrap and keep you away from the rest of the world.” He admitted.
“You realize I’d have to kill you if you did that, right?” she laughed; glad to be over her crying jag. He turned to look at her, his gray eyes searching her face for anything to betray her newly sunny mood.
“Hey, you don’t meet the height requirement to back up that threat.” He jested. She laughed, rolling her eyes.
“What I lack in height, I make up for in attitude.” She said haughtily.
“Yes you’re a very scary for a leprechaun.” He laughed, ruffling her hair with one hand. She batted it away playfully as she tried to straighten the mess he had made of her hair.
“So when are we getting to the next venue?” she asked. She walked over to the cabinet above the sink next to the long couch and pulled out a chocolate dipped granola bar for her and a bag of powder sugar doughnuts. She tossed the doughnut bag to Ayden and sat at the end of the couch, munching contentedly on her treat. He chewed thoughtfully, staring out the window as he licked white sugar off his fingers.
“Penny for your thoughts?” she asked. His attention snapped back from his internal reverie and returned his focus back on her. He smiled absently as he reached into the bag and pulled out another mini doughnut.
“Just thinking about how we met.” He smirked wistfully. She felt her cheeks grow pink at the memory.
“Yeah.” She said quietly.
“I was a bit dorky, but then again, how do you ask a pretty girl to be your friend when you’re terrified she’ll say no?” he asked. She looked out the window for a moment, watching cars speed up and pass the hulking bus.
“I have to say, the flowers were a nice touch.” She smiled, remembering how the small bundle of dandelions had made her glow inside.
“So I was thinking, we’re going to have a day off before the show at the next venue,” he hesitated for a moment, “and I was wondering if maybe you wanted to explore and do something together.” He looked on edge as he waited for her response.
“Just the two of us?” she asked.
“Yeah, unless you want to bring Dumb and Drummer.” He chuckled. She laughed at that, hoping the guys hadn’t heard it.
“That sounds fun. Besides, I think the guys will be ok without us for a few hours.” She snickered. She watched an orange sun descend from the sky to give way to its cold counter part as night fell once again. Ayden started nodding off on the couch as the bus continued down the highway. She focused on the hum of the tires and soon found herself nodding off. She stood and pulled a blanket out of the overhead compartment and covered Ayden’s sleeping form before sitting back down on the foot of the couch. She pulled out her iPhone and riffled through her photos. She smiled as she found one of her and Ayden hanging off statue outside a bar in Tennessee. They nearly toppled it playing around on it, but it was a highlight of that night. She flipped to another of herself that Ayden had taken while she was putting her makeup on. She had one eye finished with an eyeliner pencil poised over the other when he snapped it. There was another of one she had taken of him when he was writing in his beloved notebook. His pen was blurred as he scribbled across the page in the picture. The next was one of the band making snow angels on top of a mountain in Virginia. Her angel touched wings with Ayden’s angel.
He’s always there. She thought as she shuffled through the rest. Some were of her, some of Ayden, some of all four of them together. Ayden stirred a little but his breathing slowed back down to an even rhythm. She looked at him as he slept his face a mask of perfect peace. She envied his ability to float in a world of dreams left untouched and innocent of the real world. She didn’t remember falling asleep, just waking up curled against his chest as the sun rose up above the horizon. She felt his warm breath on the back of her neck making her shiver. She held very still, trying not to wake him from his sleep. His arm tightened around her waist.
“Good morning.” He whispered. She rolled over carefully to face him.
“Morning.” She mumbled, burying her face in his chest.
“ ‘S too early to be up.” He muttered sleepily.
“Go back to sleep then.” She murmured. His hold loosened as he fell back into sleep. She heard his heart beat steady as he drifted and soon she felt herself drift off.