I sprung upright when I heard a shrill scream and looked around me. I saw light all around me. And there, sitting right in front of my face was an angel. Maybe this was heaven after all. The only heaven I wanted, anyway.
"Jenn, are you okay? Please, stop screaming. You'll wake the neighbors," Ben asked, worry covering his sweet voice. I looked around. The sunt was shining across the room to my desk. My desk! I had never been so happy to see a piece of furniture! And I was sitting in my bed, my hands clutching the bedsheets. Ben put his hands over mine, and I released the poor fabric. Then I realized the screaming that had woken me up was actually mine.
Tears filled my eyes and I leaned forward to hug Ben, knocking him over onto my bed.
"It's okay, everything's alright," he crooned, pulling me onto his lap. Tears streamed down my cheeks, soaking his striped polo shirt. My shrieks came out in soft whimpers now, and I leaned back to wipe my cheeks with my sleeve.
Ben smiled. "Are you okay now?" I nodded, sniffing my nose and falling back down onto my pillow. I pulled the covers back up and just watched Ben's confused face, memorizing it.
"Are you tired?" he wondered, probably seeing the dark circles under my eyes from my not-so-peaceful sleep. I nodded slowly, not sure what he was getting at.
"Do you want me to leave?" He pointed at my bedroom door and started to stand up.
"NO!" I shrieked, pulling him back down. I looked around, thinking for an excuse to keep him here.
"Just, just stay there okay? In case I have a nightmare." He smile and pulled himself up onto the bed, leaning against one of the posts, and closed his eyes. I smiled to myself. Already I felt safer with Ben here, and I was able to forget about that awful dream and sleep peacefully, regaining my strength.
THE NEXT DAY
"Jenn, Jenn, wake up." Something shook me. I parted my eyes the tiniest bit to see Ben leaning over me. I laughed and yawned sleepily, but felt strong again. I had a dreamless nap, and probably all because I knew Ben was there. My stomach had so many butterflies fluttering around in there, I barely noticed I was ravenous.
"Good morning," I teased, knowing I hadn't been asleep that long.
"It is a good morning," he agreed. I looked at my clock. It had been 8:00 AM when I woke up last. Now it was only 9:00 AM. I looked at him, confused.
"How long have I been asleep?"
"Well, you slept through Saturday, and you probably would have slept today through also if I hadn't woken you," he laughed.
"Meanie," I teased, chucking my pillow at his head. He caught it in mid-air and threw it back at me. Then he laughed and picked me up out of bed with ease and set me feet on the floor.
"Hey!" I laugh/scolded him.
"Come on lazy, we gotta go!"
"Go where?" I asked, worrying that we would be going back to his home.
"There's a fair in town. Everyone's going, so you have to also." I grimaced. I was still a little too tired to get up and do something that active. Ben noticed my mood and tried to cheer me up.
"Oh please, Jenn. You'll be wide awake once we get some cotton candy and soda in you." of course, I jumped at that offer.
"As long as you're treating!"
"Whatever you'd like."