The rain. She remembers the rain. She remembers how it had felt on her face. She remembers how it had slowly pulled her away from a heavy darkness. She had known she had been outside, because she knows how the forest feels, even with her eyes closed. She had known who had been with her, even before she had opened her eyes. She had known what he had done for her with his deadly, controlled rage before he had carried her out of that bar she never wants to see again.
The sound of thunder and rain had filled the air around her while the drugs that those assholes in that bar had given her had been slowly leaving her body. And she had known Monroe had been close.
The scent of rain in the middle of a forest and a small fire close to her had filled her whole system before the rage and hate for what happened to her and the man who had saved her life had taken over.
The memory of that night finds her again.
Over and over again.
'What if I told you to go to hell.' Thunder fills the air. His mouth is close, his eyes are burning but at the same time they are filled with cold steel that burns in the darkness of the night around them. Monroe has just asked her to take him back with her to Miles and her mom. This had been her very clear answer.
His hands are wrapped around her arms, trapping her close to his body. She can feel his deadly strength flowing through his muscles, just by the way he is holding her in one place. Her tank almost brushes his wide chest. Charlie knows he is playing with the space between them but she won't give in. She won't look away. She never has. This is Monroe. She knows how dangerous he is. With him, looking away is a mistake.
Her eyes pierce right into his, even though a part of her betrays her by looking at his mouth for just one second before she tells herself to face him. All of him. But she can taste him, she can breathe in his scent of fight, sweat, steel and ego. It's taking her to places she doesn't want to go to. Not with him.
He is one thing. He's where all of her hate meets.
'What makes you think you've got a choice?' Monroe takes his time with every word that rolls of his lips. His voice is smooth danger that her body immediately soaks up.
She wants to open her mouth. She craves to kill him again. Her mind is screaming at her to lash out. Again. But it's a mistake. The raw wave of adrenaline that has been circling inside of her system from the moment she has opened her eyes, fades. Her body betrays her. But she refuses to give in.
Monroe is still looking straight at her. And she tells herself to say something, to do something, to hurt him, to let him bleed for everything he has taken away from her and to silence all the rage inside of her. But the drugs are still stealing parts away from her fighting strength. And she can't stop it.
Thunder fills the air. She feels sick. Dizzy. Cold. She collapses and she expects to feel the cold, hard forest ground against her body but she never touches the ground. His hands are close. Somehow, when she can make sense of the colors and shapes around her, he is still close, sitting next to her.
'You need to drink…' His voice is almost as deep as the thunder in the air. The cool wet air of a rainy night makes her shiver against her will.
She knows he is right. She knows how to survive, she knows what Maggie has taught her. But remembering Maggie brings out a new wave of rage. It's not just the rage that belong to the part inside of her that is filled with cold hate for Monroe. It's rage for every single day the world and the decisions of the people around her had changed her life. Her mother. Miles. Her dad. It's rage for all of them and for all the days life had taken a piece away from her she will never get back.
The drugs keep messing with her system. They reach a place inside of her that has been strong for so long. She has kept going, she has kept surviving. But she can't. Not tonight. Time flows in a different way. And then, she realizes her head is leaning against his chest. It feels hard and wide and steady at the same time. She should stop this, she should fight it. But she can't. Not anymore.
She lets him help her. She lets Monroe help her. He feels endlessly tall in the night, with his hand as a steady, strong anchor pressed against her back. She drinks from the cool water he is offering her. She doesn't look at him. She can't fight him. She can barely touch the hate she has carried with her for so long now.
There is no more energy or hate left.
Maybe it is this night that seems to stretch in front of her like a never-ending road. Maybe it is the realization that she almost died. Maybe it's the drugs. Maybe it is all of it.
But with him close, and the shelter of the shadows of the night, while they are surrounded by the sound of rain and the scent of a comforting fire and with her leaning into his chest, with his scent that is so him close to her, there is just one overwhelming thought. Nobody…no man…has ever taken care of her the way he does right now.
She knows it's crazy. But hidden in the shadows of this night and his chest, and with the warmth of his skin radiating through his shirt so close to her and the sound of rain in the air, she feels that finally, someone is taking care of her. The drugs silence the part inside of her that never lets anyone close.
Monroe says something to her but she is too drained to understand. Thunder fills the air again. She doesn't understand his words, she just feels them inside of her like a low, comforting rhythm. When her body gives her no other option but to fall asleep, she is aware of warm hands that wrap something heavy and comforting around her shoulders before the heavy warmth is wrapped around her whole body.
The rain. She remembers the rain. She remembers the rain, and feeling him close to her right before she had fallen asleep again.
The memory fades and stays close at the same time. Bright early morning light fills the sky. A new day on the road is waiting for them after another night they had spent close to the same fire. That night filled with rain and him, has turned into weeks of him and her on their way back to the place she had left behind months ago.
She turns around and looks at him. His curls are a mess in the morning. The morning light brushes his scruff and wide shoulders. He's cleaning his weapons. He is lost in his thoughts but somehow always aware of her. She knows he will probably look up soon to find her eyes again.
And now, after weeks on the road with him it's hard to imagine not knowing him the way she does know. After weeks on the road, where it has been him and her, it feels like they have never done anything else but this. Surviving. Together.
She tells herself she will forget it. The way his mouth had been close. The way his deep eyes filled with control and steel and so much more had made her forget about everything else. The way his hands had felt. The way he had taken care of her like no one had ever done. The way he had not left her and had stayed with her, sitting next to her while she had been asleep until a new sunrise had found them. She tells herself she will forget it. All of it. Over and over again.
But she will remember it. All of it. Over and over again.