"All set," Noah said, putting down the last fluffed pillow for Evanee. He put his hands in the pockets of his long brown coat."You didn't have to give up your bed you know, Sagi could have just slept here.”
Noah and a collection of their friends’ journey had been so taxing that Evanee, glad to see everyone was okay, offered for them all to stay over at her place, which her and Noah shared. This wasn’t the best action, considering how small the space was, but she insisted until everyone folded, finding a place to settle for the night before they’d go to their respective homes in the morning.
She waved her hand at him. "My room is much tidier than yours at the moment, and plus... I have the comfy mattress"
"Okay... You all set, need anything else?"
The prophetess shook her head, sliding her small figure into the covers like a meek little mouse.
"Let me know if you need anything, I'll be downstairs on the couch."
Evanee hesitated for a moment, sitting up just as he began to walk towards the door. "Wait-”
Noah stopped in his tracks before turning to face her..
"I feel a little weird asking this, um, but would you mind sleep in here tonight?" Evanee paused, unsure if she should elaborate or explain. "It's just- You guys were gone for a long time and I got really worried... I'd feel a lot better if uh, You were here so I know you aren't gonna disappear all of a sudden." She gave him a small chuckle. "Stupid, I know."
His lips turned up into soft smile. "Not at all," Noah said. "I'll go get some blankets and cushions from the hallway closet."
She bit her tongue. "Oh, ok."
Evanee felt weak. She felt tiny and insignificant. She felt like a bug that could be crushed at any moment. Like her walls were crumbling around her. It wasn't a feeling the girl enjoyed, not at all. She took a moment to look around his low lit room, over to his work table where tinkering tools lay, and across the floor where he had a collection of textbooks. The room smelled like him too, that tiny scent of vanilla and nutmeg. It was faint, but had a cozy autumn feel.
Noah returned soon after, laying his collection of cushions and blankets at the foot of the bed before walking around it and sitting at her feet. "You know I wouldn't just leave you, right?" he asked, noting the worried frown still present on her brow.
She swallowed, her throat felt dry for a reason she couldn't explain. Slowly, Evanee nodded. "I know... I just have, y'know… Issues with abandonment"
He smiled at her soft features, how she looked relaxed regardless of the worry in her hazel eyes. How her cheeks were smooth and colored despite the constant stress he knew she went through. And how her brown baby hairs wisped around the frame of her face even though her anxiety threatened their existence.
Noah moved toward her, pulling the covers up and around her shoulders and tucking them in slightly. "Then focus on the here and now. I'm here for you now. I know that even if I promise you I won't leave, you may not believe it. But I would never let you feel lonely. Ever."
She mustered a smile, sinking into his bed. "Thanks, Noah"
"Any time." He pressed a quick kiss to her forehead, and she melted at the touch of it, her worries dissipating into nothing. He stood again. "Lights off?"
"Yeah" Evanee said, watching as he went to turn off his work table lamp. The room suddenly engulfed itself in darkness, the pale moonlight showing the shadow of his figure as Noah lay himself in his own, temporary bed.
After a moment of silence, she let out a small hum "Noah?"
He felt a smile on his lips. "Goodnight, Evanee."
The images flooded her mind, a scrawl of black an white, such anger within the strokes of the drawings that lay before her. Sketches of things she had and had not seen before, movements rough like a puppet show. A sword. A bird. A wand. A drop of blood. And red. Red was the only color there; It was there in the roses, in the gem broken into pieces, in the blood pooling around the body of a woman. And suddenly Evanee couldn't move. It felt as though she was tied down, twisted in a mess of foliage. Like blackberry thorns gripping at the edges of her skin, scratching at her surface. She couldn't move. She couldn't speak. And no matter how hard she tried to close her eyes the images came flashing at her. A carriage turned over, a woman dancing, flowers strewn about, a bed surrounded by shadows. Shadows that closed in, engulfing her vision in darkness.
"Ipsa venit. Reus. Reus."
Evanee sprang from the thorns holding her, spreading a plague of pain across her as she raised from the bed, wailing out.
"Evanee?" Noah jumped up from his own bed in a panic, rushing to the bedside lamp and turning it on to see the girl crying out. Her face ran with horror "Evanee! Evanee, hey, I'm right here. It's okay, it's just a dream." He reached toward her, resting a hand on her knee.
But the girl was trembling so much. And when touched she kicked out, backing up to the headboard, continuing to shake fervently.
"It's okay! It's just a dream! Noah looked in her eyes. She wasn't seeing him. "You're still dreaming, hey! I've got you." He quickly wrapped his arms around her, holding her tight. The girl settled, no longer fighting back. Her body was weak and tense in his arms.
Slowly, her wails reduced to sobs as she returned to reality. Evanee wrapped her arms back around him, her fingers clutching his shirt as though Noah would be whisked away if she didn't hold on tight.
"It was just a nightmare," he whispered.
She sniffed. Once. Twice. A few times really in long long moment of silence before slowly letting go of his shirt "What if it wasn't."
He backed up from her to meet her eyes. They were sporadic and wild, completely terrified "You think it was a prophecy? What happened?”
Evanee looked around the room frantically, trying to collect her thoughts"I- I don't know... It's hard to explain. There were these pictures. They looked like strange rough sketches using the cross-hatch method of drawing. And they were moving so fast. There was blood and ravens and swords. Just a bunch of scenes all over the place. It’s all fading now, but I remember being in pain. I remember not being able to move… And- and then there was a voice. A, uh- a woman's voice. It was deep and it said something in a different language...” She looked back up at him. “But it sounded like it was right here, Noah! Like it was right next to me! Like someone was whispering in my ear."
He took her hands in his, staring into her teary eyes as he kissed her knuckles. "Do you know what she said?"
She shook her head. "She said something like Ray-oose twice though."
His face contorted into a grim frown. "It's Latin. For 'guilty'."
She sniffled. "God, I don't want to think about that nightmare for now."
"Okay, well you seem unsettled regardless. Do you want me to get you anything? Tea? A biscuit? Your favorite book?"
"Do you even know what my favorite book is?"
"Mmm... I know its a tie between Pride and Prejudice and A Deadly Affection."
Evanee gave a small laugh. "Yeah, you're right... I have to admit I probably only like the latter because you gave it to me."
He shrugged. "They're both good books."
"You've read them?"
Noah nodded slightly, flashing her a smile.
"I know you’re a flirt, but I didn't think of you as the romance novel type."
"Hey, they aren't just romance novels! I can appreciate a good book when I read it... especially if it's historical fiction"
They both laughed, smiles infectiously spreading to each other.
"So yeah, want me to get that for ya?" He began to get up from the bed, one knee on it, the other on the ground, before Evanee grasped at the edge of his sleeve.
She shook her head. "Can you just... stay with me? I don't really wanna be alone…"
"Yeah, of course." Noah smiled.
Evanee inched over to one side of the bed, allowing for him to sit down next to her. When he did, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders lightly as she rested her head upon him.
A moment lay still as the two sat there, the warm light of the lamp holding a serene state.
"I'm scared something big is coming," she said quietly, as though something might snatch her words if she spoke too loud. “I'm scared it's coming and there is nothing I can do about it."
He shook his head, using a free hand to stroke the ends of her loose ponytail. "Then let it come. We can face it together."
"That's not what I mean. I-" Evanee felt the tears forming. God, why did she always cry so much?! "It feels different. My prophecies before felt like I was an outsider, watching events unfold... But now I feel like I am the victim of the spotlight" She shuddered, the prickles of the blackberry thorns still present on her nerves.
"I won't let anything happen to you, okay?"
"Okay?" he asked again.
Evanee drew in a deep breath. "Okay." She slumped into the covers to lay down "I'm just tired of it all..Would you, um," she paused. Did she dare be so forward? "Would you stay with me for the rest of the night? You know, to uh-"
"To keep away the nightmares?" Her eyes softened as Noah looked into them. "Always."
He leaned over to the lamp to turn it off, then turned back, resting his head on the other pillow.
And then, as Evanee faced him, wrapping her arm across his torso, Noah held her close to him, for he would protect her from the rest of the world any night.