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Cinnamon & Butterscotch

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My hands shake and tremble, clutching onto each other tightly. The knuckles of my fist slowly turn white as I squeeze them together ever tighter. The pounding of my chest is too fast, too hard. When I read stories people often describe it like a bird flapping wildly in their chest, or the beat of drums. No, to me in this moment if felt more like bombs going off. A second going off not even before the first is over. It aches, as if somebody were pressing down on a bruise. My ribs feel too tight, and I can't get enough air into my lungs. It hurts like hell, and I can't make it stop.

My stomach feels like static electricity, curling up the back of my shoulders and down through my legs. It's a sickening feeling, like when you're about to puke and your mouth taste to sweet. Except it's your entire body. In this moment it feels like it will never go away, even though I know it will. It always does eventually. I need to breath, I need to calm down. Even though I repeat this to myself it's been hours now, and I am exhausted.

I roll to my side, desperately reaching out for my cell phone. The movement causes the sweet feeling to bubble up in my mouth. Heaving a huge breath to try and force the feeling away I curl my shaking, weak fingers around my phone.

The screen is too bright, causing a whimper to fall from my lips. It's three in the morning, I pray that he's awake. I search through my scrambled brain for the words. What was the code word? We used it all the time, something quick and simple so Kenny knew I needed him. He was the one to come up with the idea the first time he saw me have a panic attack. A simple phrase to tell him it was an emergency so that he would arrive no questions asked as quickly as possible.

I barely use it, I hate to be a bother. I love him so much, and I feel like a jerk calling him over at some ungodly hour in the morning. Later he'll tell me that it's okay. It'll fall from his lips again and again. I won't be able to help but wonder if he's annoyed.

What was the stupid phrase again?

As I squeeze my phone in between my hands, pressing my forehead against the screen desperately trying to find the answer it appears. Butterscotch and cinnamon. My thumbs shake as I slowly type the message. It's sent and I fall back into a ball, burying myself deep under the piles of blankets.

A few moments pass, but in this state it feels like hours, and there is a small chime. A simple reply of "on my way." Now all I have to do it wait.

It seems like forever. Alone in the dark, only the sound coughed sobs and heaving gasps. The muscles in my body continually try to tense but are too tired, leaving me perpetually sore.

The sound of my door opening and closing sounds somewhere, followed by a rummaging in the kitchen. It registers somewhere in the back of my mind as I pull my knees up to my chest, burying my face into my fists. Wheezing, biting back a pained sob. I try to hold my breath to stop the crying, but it only makes it hurt more. The sound of ceramic tinking flows down the hallway, but it sounds like it's coming through cotton. The world is miles away, and I'm floating down a stream of endless nothingness. Everything is too far, but at the same time too near. It is too bright, it is too hot, the feel of my blankets are not soft enough.

"Hey baby," Kenny's voice breaks through. It's warm like sunshine, deep and heavy like dirt. It rumbles in his throat like a cats purr. It is enough to force me to untangle myself from the ball I turned myself into. The blankets gently sliding off me as I instinctively try to crawl towards this source of warmth and comfort. Looking up in his warm green eyes with my own watery ones. He is slightly blurred in my vision, and so I blink rapidly to bring his beautiful face into focus. There has never been a sight more beautiful to me than my exhausted boyfriend still in pajamas with a cups of warm tea.

He smiles down at me, gently and slowly. It's crooked and there's a gap in his teeth. His gentle gaze is relaxed, and tired. I feel guilty again about the hour.

He never moves too fast and never to forcefully. Slowly Kenny places his hand on my cheek, allowing his palm to cup my face. I lean into his grounding touch. It's rough with callouses, covered in band aids. However there has never been anything more warming than the feel of his skin on mine. It's pleasant on my skin fiery hot and aching from crying. His scent drowns me. Poorly made Chinese food, sawdust, and earth.

Slowly he unfolds me. He pulls my legs down so he can rest me up against my pillows. Picking the softest ones to fluff and stuff behind and around me. Kenny then guides my hands around the cup he holds. It smells like chamomile and honey, gratefully I take a sip between sniffles.

Kenny settles his weight against me, laying his head on my stomach with his arms around my waist, giving a gentle squeeze. His chest presses into my lap. Kenny allows himself to fall limp here, nuzzling into me. He's heavy, but the feeling of being weighed down into my bed is soothing.

"Shh, It's alright babe." He whispers to me as I choke on my own breath. His thumb traces lazy, loving circles on my hip. "I'm right here and it's going to be okay." He repeats, and I want to desperately believe him. Desperately want to know he is right. My body is becoming to exhausted to keep fighting. The need to flee that my body holds slowly weakens. Kenny is here and I can curl up against him to hide. I'll be safe there, I'll be safe here.

He counts with me to calm my breath. Breathe in, 1...2...3. Hold 1...2...3. Breathe out 1...2...3. We repeat together again, and again until I can breathe properly again. Then all is quiet except for the slurping of my tea.

My eyes burn with exhaustion, and my thoughts are finally numb. I have no energy left. This is normal though, I expect this. It's always like this afterwards, I might as well be dead to the world once the panic releases it's grip. I simply stare into the middle distance as I sip my tea. When I find the end the last bit is too strong and has lumps of honey in it. I wrinkle my nose, before allowing the cup to find it's place on my nightstand.

Kenny stirs from his place, getting up on his knees so he can fix me with that beautiful gaze again. So green, warm and with flecks of gold. His eyes are half-lidded, barely able to open as he fights off sleep. "__y/n__, you feelin' better?" He asks this in a whisper. Refusing to be too loud lest he poke at the trailing ends of my anxiety attack and provoke it once more.

I can't help but smile at him. How lucky am I to have such a calm, and patient boyfriend? I nod slowly, reaching my arms out to make childish grabby hands at him.

He laughs, it sounds like summer and love to me. I adore it, I adore him. His arms wrap around me and pull me into him. Settling ourselves on top of my bed. I tangle my legs inbetween his long, spidery ones. I bury my face into the crook of his neck, hiding from the too bright world an it's rising sun. One of his hands rest on the small of my back, pulling me into him. The other finds itself buried in my hair, playing with it.

"I love you, " I whisper into his skin. I can feel the smile pull at his lips from where he's buried his face in my hair.

"I love you too."