Reaching out, I coax him to hand over whatever he’s concealing. He wears a playful smile that slips away when he sees my arm. Noticing that I’ve extended my bandaged wrist, I move it away, but Dev gingerly grabs my hand and brings it closer.
“No! I don’t think you should do that,” I say as he begins to unwrap the bandage, remembering what the doctor told me about exposing the burn too much. He holds me steady.
“Do you want this to heal?”
“It’s a simple question. Do you want this to heal?” He nods to my bandage.
“Of course I do.” I frown. “I want nothing more than for it to heal so I don’t have to wear this stupid thing.”
As soon as I finish speaking, the coolness of his hands seep through the bandage and reaches my skin. The sensation startles me, and I try tugging my arm back, but Dev laces his long fingers with mine, holding me in place. After a beat he continues to unwrap the dressing, my newly exposed skin feeling sensitive in the fresh air.
My breath catches at what I’m pretty sure shouldn’t be there. The puffy, raw skin I was used to seeing circle my wrist is now nothing more than an ugly scab. How did it heal so fast? I slowly turn my hand over, lightly touching it to make sure it’s real.
“The mind is a powerful thing, Molly. Always remember that.”
He looks so much older in this moment…his eyes seem to hold centuries of secrets. I wonder what his age actually is. I thought he was just a few years older than myself, but now that I see his face smoothly lit by the night sky, empty of anything but a gentle expression, he possesses something ancient.
“What type of jewelry were you wearing?” He brings me back to the present by lightly stroking the sensitive part of my wrist.
I hold in a shiver. “Um, a charm bracelet. It was a gift for my birthday.”
He removes his hand. “Who gave it to you?”
I hesitate. Jared obviously gave it to me, but do I just say that? Then Dev will ask who Jared is, and for some reason I’m reluctant to admit what he might be to me.
I tuck my hair behind my ear. “A guy.”
Dev searches my eyes as I try to read how my answer might have affected him—deep down, I know I desperately want it to.
Dear Lord! What is wrong with me? This guy isn’t even real! And isn’t this the same man who made me furious earlier tonight?
“What do you do when you’re awake?”
“What do you do when you’re not here? Do you have a job?”
“Uh, yes I have a job…” I hesitate, confused by the change of subject. “It’s all very boring though.”
He pushes me to explain, asking question after question about my mundane existence.
Slowly, his voice begins to fade and sound distant. I dig my fingers into the grass in an attempt to hold myself here, and Dev flashes me a sad smile.
“I’m waking up, aren’t I?”
“But I wanted to ask you questions now.”
He reaches out, grazing my cheek with his hand. The sensation of his touch is barely there as my body has begun to recognize another surrounding. “There will be plenty of time for that.” His voice is buried under layers, and my heart trembles that there might not be. Will I dream of this again?
With that last thought, light fills my vision, and my eyes flutter open to early morning rays stretching into my window, laying their gentle warmth on my skin like a touch I long to remember.
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