In My Dreams (First Tracks Book 2)

BOOK: In My Dreams (First Tracks Book 2)
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In My Dreams

 

Book
Two

First
Tracks

 

 

Kristen James

 

 

 

© 2016 Kristen James

 

www.writerkristenjames.com

www.facebook.com/WriterKristenJames

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Also by Kristen James:

 

All in my Head, First Tracks series, Bk 1

 

Stranger in my Bed

 

More Than Memories, Bk 1

A Wedding to Remember, Bk 2

 

Embers of Hope, Bk 1

More Than a Promise, Bk 2

 

Costa Rica

In A Field of Oranges

Point Hope

A Cowboy for Christmas

First Tracks – When you get to
leave your mark on the fresh pow before anyone else!

 

In My Dreams, Book
Two

 

They can finally be
together…right?

 

Avery almost lost
Marcus while he was in a coma. She couldn’t think past saving him. Now that
he’s awake, she can finally see and touch him, but she can’t hear his thoughts
or feel his emotions anymore. What if he doesn’t need her? Marcus wants her to go
back to Ashland to catch up in college and fix things with her friends. She’s
not ready to face that mess. 

 

Marcus was a gold
medalist in Sochi but now he’s stuck in physical therapy, dreaming of being
with Avery and returning to his life. Is his snowboarding career over? Will he
ever play his guitar or draw again? And can he let Avery be with someone who’s
so damaged?

 

They’re together—but
it’s not what they expected. Marcus has a long recovery ahead of him and Avery
needs to put her life back together. Can they make it in the real world?

Prologue

(Included
as an epilogue

in
All
in my Head
)

 

Avery

 

I look like a maniac and I don’t care.

I ran down the hospital hallway, dodging people without
apologizing, tears running down my face and a guitar bouncing against my back. My
hair was having a fantastically frizzy day due to the weather, or maybe my
crazy life, and I felt it whipping around behind me. I tore around a corner, my
shoes sliding before grabbing on.

I had to get to him right now.

He remembers me.

It’s okay.

Everything’s okay now.

If Marcus remembered me, then I wasn’t schizophrenic and
making all this up. He
had been
in my head, sharing my life, listening
to every thought. People would believe me now. He could tell his parents, his
sister, my friends—everyone who thought I’d lost it.

It didn’t make any sense, but it was true. It was true!

The room numbers were climbing and I skidded to a stop,
sliding past the door. Grabbing the door jamb, I pulled myself back and threw
myself through the doorway.

“Marcus!”

Four people stared at me, stopping me in my tracks. This
wasn’t the rush-in-and-kiss-him that I’d imagined. His parents stood by the
door and Jen stood next to the bed where Marcus laid. Tom and Elaina shared a skeptical
glance. They had tossed me out as a crazy stalker before, and now they glanced
at each other, not sure what to think. Tom narrowed his eyes through his super
thick lenses. They were still worried I’d hurt their son. His sister Jen
started to smile at me but the tension in the room stopped her cold too.

I finally looked at Marcus. He had his bed raised like he
was waiting for me.

“Avery. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I—” He broke off and a
smile flashed across his face. “You brought my guitar.”

“Yeah… how many times have you yelled at me to grab it?” I
tried for a laugh at my lame joke and set it on a hospital chair. What could I
say to him in front of his family? Nervous, I stepped past his parents and
rushed to the bed, avoiding their gazes.

“We’ll wait outside for a bit,” Jen said, her voice cautious.
And then, thankfully, she herded her parents out of the room. They were quiet
until they stepped out, and then their voices mingled together and faded. At
least they weren’t standing right outside the door.

“Marcus,” I whispered, my voice breaking as fresh tears
filled my eyes. I took a step closer to the bed but something held me back. Did
he still like me, now that he could see me face to face? Maybe I wouldn’t live
up to the fantasy. Maybe he just needed me before, but not anymore, not when he
had his life and body back. I glanced down at myself because I couldn’t even
remember what I was wearing.

What did he think? I couldn’t tell. I couldn’t hear him.

“Ave?”

That prodded me into motion and I walked to the edge of the
bed. His light amber brown eyes searched mine, asking silent questions. He
reached out to me with his good arm—the other one sat in a cast and sling. I
took his hand, feeling his warmth in a new way. He turned his hand to entwine
our fingers, then looked down, confused. I watched his expression and our
hands, wondering if he felt weak after being in the coma.

“Marcus.” It felt so good to say his name and see him here
with me like this. I’d seen him in my mind’s eye, and in pictures online, and
even here sleeping in this bed, but this was different. He glanced up, starting
to smile, his eyes mirroring my emotions. Amazement. Surprise that we made it
here. Fear.

“It was all real?” he asked, still staring at me, and lifting
his other hand to caress my cheek. I closed my eyes and leaned into him, taking
a big, shaky breath.

“It had to be. There’s no other explanation.”

“Come here, babe.”

I leaned down and slid my arms around him. We came together
slowly, like we were both unsure of this new reality. What was he thinking? But
once I felt him this close and smelled his scent under the hospital smells, my
breath quickened until I started crying and clinging to him. His fingers sank
into my hair and he kissed my head, saying my name. When I lifted my face, he
smiled.

Oh, my god, is he handsome. And real. And right here
.

We paused, looking at each other, grins coming at last. Then
his face went serious, something new in his eyes. He touched my chin and we
stretched toward each other, our lips meeting softly.

A shock wave rolled down my body.

His lips, so full, so soft…so wanting.

His breath smelled of mint. I smiled as his lips moved on
mine. I’d somehow gotten halfway up on the bed to kiss him back, my hands
gently exploring him. His hands shook against me—from desire or his injuries?

How fragile was he?

Would this hurt him?

A noise rose up his throat. Energy zinged through my veins.
With my eyes closed, my body felt like it was floating. He hung onto me tight,
his tongue suddenly teasing my lips, before he pulled me further back with him.
At the contact, my body came to life, surprising me. We’d been so close but
unable to touch before, not really touch. I pulled back, opening my eyes and
finding his were staring back, warm and dancing.

“Avery.”

My lips tingled. All of me tingled. I heard my ragged
breathing and laughed. “Marcus.”

Suddenly, he pulled me forward, pressing another kiss onto
my mouth. Then he pulled me back and stared at me, taking me in detail by
detail.

“Damn, you are beautiful,” he whispered. “And you look even
better from this perspective… I love you, Avery.”

I started to reply and couldn’t find my voice. His eyes grew
shiny.

I pulled in a quick breath, still so amazed in be in this
moment. “I love you.”

Our smiles grew together until we started laughing.

“Everything’s different now,” I said, my voice breaking.

“Better.” His smile faded. “Right?”

“Right.” I glanced toward the door. What would his family
think? What would we tell them?

His hand came up to my face. “Ave, we’ll figure it out.”

I lay my head on his chest, breathing in his scent. I could
feel him, smell him, kiss him!

“We’ll figure everything out.” His voice came softly as his
fingers threaded through my hair. “I love you and we’re together. That’s what
matters now.”

Closing my eyes, I decided to worry about everything else
later. He was right. Only this mattered now. We were together, really together.

Chapter
One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marcus

 

She was real and here.

It’s good, yo, it’s all good.

I ran that thought on repeat while I held her close with my
workable arm. Damn the right one for being in a cast! I wanted both arms around
her, her body pressed all the way to mine, all the way down to our feet. My
breaths came in quick puffs, emotion blowing up my chest, and I inhaled her
scent. Her hair tickled my neck as I pulled my fingers through it. I couldn’t
hold her close enough.

It didn’t make any sense but nothing else did either. When
did the wreck happen? How hurt was I? How long was I out? And was all of that
real, being in her head and getting to know her? A thousand questions raced
around inside my head, mixing with all the memories coming back from my time
with Avery.
Inside her head.

How the hell did that work?

We would figure it out together, like I said. But I knew it
wasn’t some coma induced hallucination because she was here. Avery remembered
too.

Suddenly Avery laughed against my chest, shaking me. She sat
up, still laughing hard like she’d lost it.

“Do you realize this all started in a hospital room?” she
asked.

A second later I caught up with her—she meant back when she
was the patient, and we were in the Medford hospital after her accident, and I
was in her head.

“Oh, yeah. It’s coming full circle, I guess.” I looked
toward my bathroom door, trying to visualize those first few freaky-as-hell
moments. I had been completely confused because I could see the bathroom and
then her room, but no one would answer me when I talked.

Meanwhile, my body had been up here in Portland. I don’t
like thinking about it, but I ask her, “Were you as scared as I was?”

Ave pulled in a deep breath and I reached out with my usable
arm so she’d rest on me again. I needed her close.

“I was scared,” she whispered, “but maybe not as scared as
you. That had to be terrifying. I thought I’d lost it because I was hearing a
voice, but you didn’t even have a body.”

I rubbed her back and let the topic drop, but other
uncomfortable thoughts quickly filled my head. How long had I been in this
room? I remembered coming here while I was in Avery’s head and seeing my body
laying here without me. I didn’t notice much about the room then, maybe because
it’s a typical sterile, plain room with tan walls and yellow curtains the
windows. They tried to brighten it up with those faded-out prints you see in
hotels, except you don’t really notice them because the colors are so wimpy. The
privacy curtain hanging between my bed and the door was a funny avocado green
color that reminded me of my late grandmother’s decorating scheme.  

“What are we going to tell your parents?” she asked,
speaking against my chest, just as I heard them come back into the room. I
forced myself to breathe slowly so my heart wouldn’t race under Avery’s head. I
usually go with the truth. But now? That wasn’t going to fly.

“Uhh, Marcus? Avery?” My dad sounded so awkward saying her
name. I tried to lift my head to see over Avery at him, but the effort was
almost too much. She sat up and wiped her eyes. “Can we have a moment to talk
to you?” he asked.

Avery glanced at me, worry in her eyes as she stood up.
While she had her eyes on me, I caught my dad’s judgmental eyes on her. I loved
her wild hair and everything else about her, down to each freckle. But I could
read my dad’s expression and knew she must look halfway crazy to him with her
hair doing its own thing and her clothes all wrinkled.

I put her through hell these last few weeks.

That sent a crack across my heart as it all came back. I
squeezed my eyes shut, trying to block out the strange panic hitting me.

“Marcus?” Dad’s sharp voice preceded him as he rushed across
the room.

I shook my head, clearing it.

“Dad, I’m fine.”

My dad’s gaze jumped from Avery to me and back to her, and I
suddenly realized he was standing between us, ready to defend me. Freaking
hell.

“Dad, sit down, calm down, kay?”

 This was weird for all of us, for sure. I didn’t like
looking at everyone while lying down but I didn’t seem to have much choice. Avery
glanced back at him, a hand on her neck.

It’s okay, babe.

Oh, yeah, she can’t hear me.

“I’ll be outside,” Avery said as she slowly left, and she
turned back toward me, her gaze penetrating right to my heart.

She was barely outside the door before Dad pulled a chair up
next to my bed, sat down and leaned forward. It was his ‘let’s have a talk’
mode. My mom stepped in and hovered by the bed, rubbing her hands together.

“Listen, dad, I know what you want to talk about. And I want
Avery here.”

“Who is this girl, Marcus?” He exhaled for a long minute,
shaking his head. “You didn’t even recognize her!”

 “She’s my girlfriend.” The words come easily. “I didn’t
recognize her because I’d just woke up from a coma. Everything was a mess in my
head.”

“A friend of hers called the hospital—”

“Dad, I know that. I know Jazz was worried about Avery and
tried to warn you. I know you were doing the paperwork to take me off life
support too. And I know Avery was trying to save my life.”

Mom sucked her in breath as her hand flew to her chest.
“Marcus… Who told you that?”

“Avery obviously told him that,” Dad said bitterly. I
shouldn’t have told them I knew, but I was angry suddenly—not because they had
tried to follow my written wishes and pull the plug on me, but for the way they
were treating Avery now.

“Avery didn’t tell me that,” I added. “I just know.”

My parents’ eyes were mortified and unbelieving before they exchanged
a glance. My mom shook her head slowly.

“Marcus, her friend said she’s been hearing voices.”

“Hearing
me
.” My voice sounded tight, the way my
entire body felt. I let my head drop back on the pillow and I closed my eyes,
exhausted. Damn it, I’d said too much. My all too practical parents would never
believe me.

Through the following silence, I could feel them nodding at
each other, probably mouthing words. I shouldn’t blame them for not accepting
this, but it’s a struggle. I shouldn’t get so irritated at them for all the
private communication either, but sometimes it’s annoying as hell.  

“Marcus, look at me. When did you meet her?” Mom asked. “Why
didn’t you tell us about her?” That second question held a hint of hurt. And
I’m not ready to answer yet.

“You didn’t even remember her, then suddenly you do.” Dad
leaned forward. “We haven’t heard anything about her before this. Where’s she
from? Where’s her family?”

That struck a nerve.

“She lives right here in Oregon, in Ashland where she goes
to college.”
And I live in Colorado.
Dude, it’s weird to suddenly know
things about my life. It’s like I remembered that just now but knew it all
along too. I started going through memories of back home, but it hit me. What
would it mean for Avery and me?

I realized my dad was waiting for an answer to something.
“Huh?”

“Does her family live here?” Dad repeated. Why was he stuck
on that?

“Dude, it doesn’t matter. She doesn’t have family. Her
parents are gone. She has her friends, and me.”

At that, Mom’s face softened, and she asked, “How is she
doing with all of this?”

Damn, I only had a few minutes with Avery. I didn’t know how
she was doing. I couldn’t read her mind anymore or feel what’s going on inside
her. It’d be useful right about now too.

But this was better.  We could really be together now.

My parents waited on me. We’re close, but they haven’t
treated me like this in a long time. This whole mess must have really shook
them up.

“Well, I don’t tell you everything going on in my life.” I
didn’t want to hurt them but I couldn’t explain all of this to them yet. Maybe
they’d forget what I said about Avery hearing me. Somehow I had to smooth this
over. “Listen, you trust me, don’t you?”

“I’ve always trusted you, son. But right now, you’re not
thinking clearly. Your body’s been through hell and your mental state can’t be the
best right now.”

“I need Avery here.”

Mom put her hand on dad’s shoulder. Neither said anything.

“She makes me happy. I want her here right now.” I decided
not to let them argue with me about it. “Listen, we’ve got other things to talk
about.”

Mom sat down next to dad. I guess I don’t think about what
my parents look like that often, but now I noticed how salt and pepper dad’s
hair had gotten. Along with those thick glasses, he looked older than I
remembered, with a few more wrinkles around his eyes. Mom looked washed out,
like this had sucked the color right out of her skin.

“Why don’t you focus on feeling better?” Mom started. “We
can take it slow.”

“Listen, mom, dad,” I said, my chest getting tight. “I’m not
stupid. This might change things. I might not make it back to the next games.
Or even onto a board…”

“Might.” Mom jabbed a finger in the air. “Might change
things. But you’re a hard worker. We don’t have any reason to think you can’t
work your way back.”

“I don’t know if…” I stopped. I wasn’t sure about anything.
I hadn’t spoken to any doctors yet.

“We’ll be here for you, son,” Dad said, his voice breaking.
“No matter what happens, okay?”

This was the parents I knew and loved.

“I just don’t want to let you down,” I said hoarsely.  

Mom tilted her head, a tear rolling down one cheek. “Marcus,
you could never let us down. You’re worked harder than anyone I know.” She turned
to my dad and they took each other’s hands. “We thought we lost you, but now you’re
here and awake. That’s all that matters right now.”

“We’ve always been so proud of you.” Dad stared down at the
floor for a long, silent minute. “Mom’s right. The rest can wait until later.”

“Yes, we’re rushing this.” Mom patted my hand. “We don’t
know how you’re doing yet. You just woke up! Let’s be happy about that for
now.”

I was. More than she knew. I was so happy to be awake,
alive, in one piece. My mind still felt foggy, but everything was starting to
come back and gel into a picture. God, a few days ago I thought I was going to
die. That was going to be it. And I had accepted it.

“Yeah, I’m alive,” I said, laughing. Thanks to Avery, I was
alive. She fought like hell to save my life. “Listen, can you let me see Avery
again? That must have freaked her out when I didn’t remember her. I want to
make sure she’s okay.”

Mom studied me for a minute while Dad got up. They weren’t
sure what to make of this. I wasn’t either. Not really. But I wasn’t going to
question it too much—Avery saved my life.

BOOK: In My Dreams (First Tracks Book 2)
11.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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