She raced into the bedroom and quickly shut the door. While she looked around for a place to hide, she heard two sets of footsteps make their way upstairs and then down to her room. All of a sudden, her door flew open and she came face to face with her husband; the shocking part was that AJ was standing there with him!
“You can have her.” AJ said with malice. “I don’t want to deal with her anymore.”
Sam screamed as he turned around and started to walk away.
“Please AJ! Don’t leave, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! Please don’t make me leave!”
Sam felt hands around her arms and saw Ryan’s face right in front of her. She started sobbing and continued screaming for AJ. Nothing was making a difference and the sight of AJ leaving was suddenly blocked by Ryan’s horrible smile.
“Now we can settle this.”
AJ knelt down beside the bed and lightly tried to shake Sam out of her nightmare. It didn’t usually take this long and from the tears streaming down her face, he knew this was an awful one. He tried once again but when it didn’t work, he sat on the bed and pulled her into his lap.
His heart broke at the sight of her in so much pain and at the fact that she kept screaming his name like it was her last hope. Rocking her gently, he tried to keep her body still and calm her down.
“It’s me Sam.” he whispered. “You’re ok. I’m here and you’re fine.”
He kept repeating those words as she struggled against him. She must have woken up at some point because he could hear her moaning as she tried to fight him.
“Calm down Sam, it’s me.”
She continued to struggle but he didn’t want her to freak out and hurt herself, so he kept a tight grip on her.
“Baby it’s me. Please stop fighting. You’re ok.”
Something about what he said made her calm down somewhat and he could see the tears falling from her eyes as she finally stared up at him to see who it truly was. When she saw it was him, she wrapped her arms around his neck and started to sob hysterically. He didn’t say a word as she cried but he started to rub her back and tried to get her to relax.
It took a little while for her to loosen up her grip around him and for her tears to run out. He handed her a tissue from the bedside table and let her wipe her eyes; she started to come around and get her bearings.
“I’m sorry.” she whispered. “I’m sorry for everything. Please don’t make me leave.”
“What?” AJ asked with shock as he wiped a few stray tears away from her eyes. “Who said anything about you leaving?”
Sam started to cry quietly. “I know you’re angry with me and you told Nick that it was too hard having me here.”
AJ kissed her forehead and pulled her close. “I will never, ever want you to leave. I said it was hard having you here because I was frustrated. Don’t ever think that I don’t want you here.”
“But you’re angry with me.”
“I’m not angry with you.” he answered with a sigh. “I’m angry with the situation and not being able to help you. I feel like we haven’t made any progress since you’ve been here. I also know that’s not your fault.”
Sam pulled her head back so she could look at him. “I know you said I treated you like Ryan last night and I’m so sorry AJ. I know you’re nothing like him and I know that you’ve kept me safe here. Please know how sorry I am to keep doing this.”
“It’s ok Sam. We’ll figure this out together and I promise not to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.”
She leaned her head against his chest and her breathing slowed a little more.
“I’m just so tired.” she murmured.
AJ slid down so that he was lying on the bed and then pulled her down next to him. He rolled onto his side to face her and she gave him the smallest hint of a smile. Kissing her on the forehead again, he pulled her close and she nestled her head under his neck as she wrapped her arms around him.
“Try to get some sleep sweetheart.”
“You won’t leave?”
“Nothing could get me out of this bed.”
Sam woke up to find the bed empty next to her. She started to panic that this was all part of a new nightmare when AJ made his exit from the bathroom. He noticed the concern on her face and took a seat next to her.
“Sorry, I couldn’t wait any longer.” he said with a chuckle. “I didn’t mean to freak you out.”
“I’m sorry if I disturbed you.”
“Disturbed me? I was hoping I didn’t wake you when I got up.” he replied. “And who cares if you disturbed me?”
Sam’s face fell a little and he could tell this was another lovely leftover from Ryan. He wanted to murder him every time he saw her like this and this time was no exception. Reaching out, he pushed a stray strand of hair off her face.
“I think we should talk.”
“Ryan and everything that happened.”
AJ stood up. “Look Sam, this whole thing is going to stay a mess unless you deal with it. I heard some stories from Sarah but I think there’s a lot more under there and I want to help you with it. Take a shower and then come downstairs; I’ll make us some dinner and then we have to get this hashed out.”
“But, what if you look at me differently and…”
AJ knelt down beside her. “Nothing you tell me will make me feel any differently about you Sam. I care about you and whatever you tell me isn’t going to change that. You said you trusted me and to be honest, if you don’t get everything out, your nightmares are just going to keep happening.”
Sam nodded, knowing that AJ was right. If she didn’t pull the plug on this dam and let it out, it would swallow her whole.