Lilly’s entire life has been filled with people who have manipulated, violated, and hurt her beyond repair. She is left feeling as though the numbing affect of drugs is the only way to cope. She’s back in her home town now and starting a new job at Tilt. What happens when she meets a group of people who understand her pain and love her in spite of it? What happens when she meets Jack, her boss and former addict? Will she be able to live a life filled with love and people who support her not tear her down?
Follow Lilly and Jack though their relationship as they fight demons from Lilly’s past that come back with a vengeance.
Jack fell asleep. The next thing he knew screaming came from the bedroom, ear piercing and it made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. He jumped up and ran before his brain knew what he was doing. Jack was through the door, and when he saw her, all the air was sucked out of his lungs. The sheets twisted around her arms and hands so tightly there was no way it wasn’t cutting off the blood flow. Her back arched off the bed as she let out another heart-wrenching scream. Her head thrashed from side to side wildly as whatever she fought possessed her entire being.
“Lilly,” Jack said softly as he moved cautiously towards the bed. “Lilly, wake up. It’s all right.” His hand shook as he reached out to touch her foot.
When his fingers lightly gripped her toe, she screamed again and shot upright in the bed. Jack was pretty sure she wasn’t awake, only reacting to his touch. Her terrified eyes opened and darted around the room trying to figure out where she was.
When her gaze fell upon Jack, and it was obvious she didn’t recognize him, she screamed again. It wasn’t as loud, but no less heartbreaking. She drew her legs up to her chest and scooted back against the headboard. She wrapped one frail arm around her knees, fisted the other hand in her hair, and whipped her head from side to side.
“Lilly, it’s me, Jack. Please, calm down.”
Jack reached her only to have her shrink back against the headboard. The wrought iron had fairly sharp edges, and each time she moved away from his touch, the sharp edge scratched the delicate skin on her shoulders.
“Come on, Lilly, just breathe.” Her ragged breathing calmed down a little as he spoke to her and edged closer to sit on the edge of the bed. “It’s all right. You’re safe here.”
He took a chance and touched her foot again. Her small and dainty foot barely stuck out of the sweat pants he gave her. When Jack’s fingertips met her skin, she tensed for a moment, but relaxed at the sound of his voice.
“You’re safe here, Lilly. I won’t hurt you.”
He gave her foot a little squeeze to try and give her some kind of comfort.
Her whimpers died down to sniffles, and her eyes focused, looking at him. She took a deep breath, held it for a few seconds, and then exhaled, never taking her eyes off Jack. More deep breaths and slowly, second by second, she came back to reality. Jack didn’t know what her dreams held, but he did know what it was like to feel you were still stuck there when you woke up. She shook her head as the tears started to fall rapidly. She tried to hide her face, but he was having none of that, so he eased his finger under her chin lifting her face so he could see her eyes.
“You have no reason to hide from me, Lilly.”
Jack tucked a strand of hair that was stuck to her cheek behind her ear. She leaned her face into his hand ever so slightly. The gesture wasn’t much, but it gave him the smallest bit of hope she still held on.
“I’m so sorry.” Her voice was tired and strained, making it sound like she was choking on the words.
“For what? You have nothing to apologize for.”
She shot across the small distance between them and wrapped herself around Jack. Her arms went around his neck, her legs wrapped around his waist. She buried her face in his neck and let it all out.
The way they were would look intimate to anyone else, but there was nothing sexual about the situation. She needed nothing in that moment but comfort and to feel safe. Jack wanted nothing more than to give her that much needed reprieve.
Lilly sobbed so hard it made Jack shake with her. The combination of early withdrawal and exhaustion was enough to make the strongest person insane. Add all that to the extreme stress her nightmare put on her, and it was no wonder she broke down.
She tried to take deep breaths, but it was impossible. The harder she shook, the tighter her arms and legs squeezed Jack. He wrapped his arms around her waist and rubbed her back gently, giving her soft words of comfort.
“I’ve got you, Lilly. I’m right here,” he whispered as he ran his fingers through her hair lightly.
“I hate seeing those things in my head.” Her words came out broken and strained with the force of the tremors that racked her small frame.
“Tell me what you dream about.”
Her body stiffened, and her breathing stopped altogether for a moment. She lifted her head and looked into his eyes. The fear was there, coupled with what looked to Jack like guilt. It made his heart hurt to see such beauty and grace marred by so much turmoil.
“I dreamed about the night I killed my mother.”