Almost an hour later, Aiden still had his hand in the water. Through the opening in the trees, the sun was rising slowly. Little by little the small beams were landing on his back, warming him through his shirt. He closed his eyes and let the warmth envelope him. Rianne would love this. Warily, his eyes shot open. There was no way to get her out of his mind. She had buried herself in years ago, and still she refused to leave. Almost instantly, anger welled up inside him. What’s happening to her now?
As if to answer him, he heard a little bird chirp joyfully. Until now he hadn’t noticed that there weren’t birds singing. Could it be . . . ? His head whipped around. She was leaning against a tree, allowing her lean body to fit itself loosely to the bark. She was safe. Fighting the urge to walk to her and wrap her in his arms, he stood slowly. Something had just happened; he could see it in her eyes. Try as she might to hide them, and he was betting she was, her tears were threatening to flow out.
“Hey.” As he spoke he walked a fraction closer to her. Being too close too soon would probably scare her off.
It took a few moments but eventually she responded. “Hi.”
Slowly but surely he made his way to her. Any sign of making her uneasy and he was ready to back off. But once he was standing in front of her, he had to reach for her. She looked so broken, so fragile. “What happened babe?” As he whispered into her ear, he pulled her into his arms. The only answer she gave was a shake of her head and a gentle push. He let her go, but kept a hand to her waist. Minutes passed in silence until finally he put on some cheer and started taking off his shirt. “Let’s go in the water.”
“Aiden, you hate the water.” As her mouth gathered into an amused smile, he could see the usual Rianne breaking through the pain.
“Yea, but you love it.” He smiled and led her away from the tree.
It didn’t take long for her to follow his lead and start stripping as well. When they were both in their intimates, he took her hand and headed for the water. He went in first, and then helped Rianne in, though he knew she didn’t need it. Hoping to take her mind fully off her troubles, he started playing around and splashing her. Where he stood, the water only came up to mid waist, giving him perfect grounding for his feet. With an evil grin he waited for her to come close enough to him. When she did, he scooped her up into his arms, ready to throw her.
“Aiden! Don’t.” She laughed. In attempt to stop him, she wrapped her arms around his neck.
He smiled. If he knew that threatening to throw her would lead to this, he would have tried it along time ago. Her feet and part of her back were still immerged in water. Lifting her clear out, he held her to his chest. “Ready?” He watched as she slammed her eyes shut and covered her face with her hands. She was laughing.
Shaking with laughter, he threw her towards the center where the water was deeper. He was still laughing as she surfaced, completely soaked, pushing her hair back from her face. “Adiiiden.” She swam closer playfully pushed his shoulder. “Meanie.”
That’s when he saw it. The mark on her wrist was fresh. Before he knew, he was gripping her wrist just above the cut, turning her arm to fully show the mark. “No, Rianne. No.” His voice was low and pained. Shifting his to hers, he saw her shame as she tried to pull back her wrist. “What happened babe?”
“Aiden let me go.” She squirmed in his hold trying to free herself.
He brought her wrist to his lips and kissed it gingerly. “You gotta stop this babe.”
He expected to feel her pull away again, but instead she cuddled up to his chest, fully leaning her body into his. When she spoke, her voice was low causing him to lean down and keep his ear by her mouth.
With a slight hesitation she told him what had happened. When she was finished, he cupped his hand under her chin and kissed her.