Part 6: A Change of Heart

See disclaimers in part 1.


The weekend was spent mostly sleeping for our duo only getting up for bare necessities and once with the delivery of Michelle’s new permanent bed. Things were finally getting back to normal… well, except Alex. With her cast on she was going to need help carrying her books and such. She was very irritated at that but Michelle put her foot down and told her agitated friend she’d get help from her whether she liked it or not. Still, the stubborn woman wouldn’t accept it so the blonde pulled her ace.

"Please let me help you Alex. I already feel bad that you can’t practice for six weeks. Plus it’s my fault that you got hurt. Ah ah ah, let me finish." Alex was about to protest that it wasn’t her fault but that bastard rotting in jail right now. "You saved my life. Carrying a few books for you is the least I can do."

How could she refuse? "Fine, but only from the bookstore. I can carry them just fine when I go to class."

"Deal!" As a parting shot just to irritate her friend, "And hey, we could even meet for lunch so I can carry your tray for you." She quickly walked out of their room and so missed the scowl that was directed at her.

Their first week of school came and went in a blur. On the outside, it seemed that nothing traumatic happened last week if you discount the cast. Both of their bruises had practically faded away to nothing though Alex was quick to point out that hers had faded faster over her forced lunch with Michelle. Even though she said she could carry her books to class, the blonde still walked with her just in case. Her reasoning was that since both of them had similar schedules, why not enjoy the company. Alex couldn’t argue that point since she enjoyed her roommate’s company immensely.

But on the inside, things were far from normal for Michelle. Nightmares started the night after it happened. At first they weren’t so bad, she’d only feel emotions really. But then the images of him started surfacing. She’d wake up in a sweat on those nights. Things just kept getting worse though. The next night, she could actually see herself in the car as it was happening. It was like she was a silent witness to the events unfolding before her. No sleep at all when those started.

When the weekend rolled around, the two roommates breathed a huge sigh of relief. Michelle was lying on her bed trying to fight the effects of no sleep.

"Damn, if one more person had asked me what happened to my arm, I think I would have snapped," said Alex flipping through the channels.

Yawning, "Yeah I know what you mean. I was ready to bitch-slap the next girl that wanted to know what happened."

<Whoa! She looks wiped. Must have had a tough first week. > "Ha! You should have pointed them out. I would have gladly shown them what happened," she said while flexing her good fist. She sent a worried look over toward the other bed, "So, what are your plans today?"

"I don’t know, maybe finish my homework." Giving a little laugh, "You know in English? The teacher wants me to write about what I did in the summer?!?" Michelle gave a perplexed look. "Imagine that. That’s what I used to write about in elementary. Isn’t that silly?"

"Yeah. I remember I had to do that when I took that class. But it’s just to see how advanced your writing skills are I guess." Thinking up a plan, "The first week always wipes me out," forcing a yawn and getting one in return, "so I was planning on taking a nap."

Alex saw the panic cross her friend’s face. Now she knew something was up. "Is something wrong Michelle?"

Hiding the look, "Uh, No. Nothing’s wrong." She tried to laugh it off, "I’m just tired."

"Then why don’t you take a nap too…we could go out to dinner after. How about it?"

Dinner did sound tempting but she really didn’t want to go to sleep if she didn’t have to. So thinking quickly, "I can’t take a nap. It’ll screw up my whole sleep pattern at night. But go ahead and take your nap. I’m going over to Susan’s to do my paper." With that she left a baffled Alex in her wake.

The taller woman ended up taking her nap anyway. She’d only meant to sleep a few hours but by the time she got up it was dark already. She glanced over at the clock and it read 8:30. <Shit! I’m going to be up all night now. Maybe a nap wasn’t such a good idea. > As she got up she remembered that Michelle wasn’t telling her something. Determined to figure it out, she went in search of her roommate… and food.

What greeted her as she passed the common room could only be described as a crash site. There was paper all over the floor with books covering every available flat space making it look like a little fort. Susan and Capri were both crashed out on the sofa with Michelle barely conscious on the other.

Sitting down next to her nodding off roommate, "Damn! What happened in here?"

Michelle nearly jumped out of her skin, "Shit Alex! Don’t scare me like that." Trying to get her heart rate back to normal, " Why? What happened?"

"The mess? I didn’t know we were being invaded." Alex smirked.

"Oh. Well, we just wanted to get a head start on the semester. You know…go through all the books a little so we won’t be surprised when we get slammed with it."

"Freshmen," Alex snorted. "So excited to get started. Don’t worry, that attitude will fade in no time. Oh well, its time you got to bed."

"No way! You promised me dinner remember?" She did a better job at hiding the dread she felt from showing.

"That I did. But I better not give you soup or you’re liable to drown." Standing up she held her hand out. "Come on, I promise we’ll do it tomorrow."

She tried a last resort; "I’m really not tired yet." Seeing her dubious look, "Plus I gotta clean this mess up." Alex still held out her hand. "Please? Just a little while?"

"You look like you’re ready to fall down as it is…Don’t make me carry you to bed," she said looking serious.

<No. I’d enjoy that too much. > "Okay, okay. Help me up?" She took the hand that was offered.

It was either Alex didn’t know her own strength or if Michelle stumbled but she ended up with their arms wrapped around each other. They both stared into incredible eyes for what seemed like forever till Alex pulled away. Michelle was so surprised by the move that she would have fell forward to the ground if her friend hadn’t reached out and caught her.

Trying to hide her embarrassment now, "Guess I AM more tired then I thought." Before she knew what was happening, she was lifted into strong arms. "Ack! Put me down!" She tried to sound indignant but failed miserably. "What about your cast? Come on, I’m too heavy."

Alex pondered on that and with a mischievous look, "Hmm, let’s check shall we?" Watching green eyes widen, she tossed the smaller woman into the air causing a giggle to escape. Catching her easily, "See? Not too heavy at all. Don’t worry about my cast either. It doesn’t hurt. Just feels like I stuck my hand in a block of cement."

"Well then, I stand corrected." Putting her head down on the taller woman’s shoulder and throwing her arms around her friends neck she thought, <I could get used to this. >

"Stand? Whatever. To bed with you." Alex made the trek to their room. When she looked down she noticed her roommate’s eyes were closed and soft snores emerged. Since she didn’t want to disturb her she did a little juggling to get the door open and tucked her precious cargo into bed. "Goodnight Michelle." She kissed her on the forehead and left to clean up the mess.

She poked Susan and Capri awake and shuffled them off to bed as well. They offered to help with the mess but Alex wasn’t having any of it. <I need something to do tonight since I slept the day away. >

As she was cleaning up she thought about what almost happened earlier. <Damn! I was ready to kiss her back there. I’ve never felt this way since…well lets not go there. > She turned on the TV for some noise. It was too quiet. <I wonder what would have happened if I did. I bet she’d slap me silly. > Shaking her head she stacked all the papers in a pile. <I’d never do it anyway cause I’m not into women…I’m not. It was just a phase.> She thought with determination. If she said it enough times to herself she might actually believe it.

Since Alex was so far away she couldn’t hear the whimpering coming from her room. Michelle was having another bad dream. Tonight was the worst so far. She was no longer the silent witness but she was back in her own body feeling everything all over again. She tried to struggle but everything felt so heavy that she couldn’t move. She could even hear everything that was said…smell everything. It was torture. She kept wishing that Alex would show up like in real life but it kept repeating over and over. Finally she jerked herself awake before it could start again. She was heaving in breaths and shaking like a leaf. <Shit! That was the worst one yet. Thought it was supposed to get better over time…not worse. > Normally after a bad dream Michelle would look over to see a peaceful Alex with snuggles pulled tightly to her. It would calm her nerves and bring a smile to her face, but not tonight. She wasn’t even in bed. The clock read 1:30, <Where could she be? > Since she knew that sleep was impossible after that she decided to investigate.

What she saw made a smile break across her face. Alex was stretched out on the sofa with her arms around one of the cushions that she ripped from it. Taking a closer look, she noticed Alex was asleep. Sitting on the other couch across, she just stared at her. <She almost kissed me tonight. I saw it in her eyes. Wonder why she didn’t? > Thinking harder, <Wait! She has a boyfriend. Why did she almost kiss me if she’s not gay? > So lost in thought she didn’t notice the curious blue eyes staring back at her. < She could be like me. I like both so why couldn’t she? Maybe I shou…> She was startled to see she was being watched. "Oh! Hey Alex. Didn’t mean to wake you."

"Hey yourself. What are you doing up?" Yawning, she sat up.

"Ah... told you I wasn’t tired." Looking around the spotless room, "Good job by the way. Were you cleaning all night?"

"Yeah. That nap screwed up my hours. Surprised that I dozed off again." She said rubbing her eyes.

"See! Didn’t I tell you that would happen?" She said smugly.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Then what’s your excuse?"

Michelle just shrugged her shoulders.

"If something’s bothering you…well, I- you can talk to me if you want." She knew something was up but again didn’t want to push.

"I don’t want to keep you up." Michelle said trying to get out of it.

"Well it looks like we’re already going to be up for the duration of the night. Let’s get some popcorn and we can just watch TV. How bout it?

"Sure. Sounds good."

They were each on their own beds. Bowls of popcorn in each of their laps. The TV was on with Michelle just staring into it. Alex had one eye trained on her. <Don’t push it. She’ll tell you when she’s ready. >

After a few minutes past, Michelle took a deep breath and just came out with it. "I’ve been having these dreams." Looking over to gage the reaction she went on. "Bad ones."

"About what?" When she saw Michelle’s disgusted look, she knew. "Oh. How long?"

"Since it happened. At first they weren’t so bad, but now… well I’m afraid to go to sleep." Tearing up, she looked up at a fast approaching Alex.

She wrapped her good arm around her crying friend. When Michelle finally quieted again, "Why didn’t you tell me sooner? You can tell me anything you know."

<I wonder if that’s true. > "I know, but there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them. I didn’t see the point."

"Well doesn’t it feel good to not face these things alone and get it off your chest?"

<This feels good. > "Yeah. I do feel a little better."

"There you go. Now lets get you back to bed." Michelle was about to protest but Alex stopped her. "Just try. You need the sleep Michelle." She tucked her in and tried to leave the bed.

"Alex? Could you just stay till I fall asleep?" An already drifting Michelle asked.

"Sure. No problem." She knew she’d never fall asleep with her this close. She remembered when her friend first moved in and how every move she made would wake the taller woman. It got a lot better since and now she figured it would only bother her if she was right next to her. So Alex just held her hand the whole night while she watched TV.

When Michelle woke up, she was fully refreshed. Her friend was nowhere in sight. <I can’t believe it! No nightmares last night. Maybe talking about it did help. >

Her missing roommate came in baring a tray of food. "Hey sleepyhead. Look, I cooked us breakfast."

"Hi Alex. I can’t believe I slept so late. It’s already 9 am."

Alex set the tray down with a laugh, "You call this sleeping in? Getting up at noon is a sleep in."

"So what’d you make?" She looked at the tray and snorted, "Cook? Cook what? Heat’s not required for any of these foods." The tray consisted of cereal with milk, toast with jelly, bagels with cream cheese and two glasses of orange juice.

"Hey! I had to cook the toast," The older girl protested.

"Because no one’s ever made me breakfast in bed I’ll let that one slide." Michelle reached for the bagel. "Thank you by the way. And not just for breakfast. Did you get any sleep last night?"

Alex took the cereal. "Yeah, a little," she lied.

"So what did I do to deserve this?" Eyes twinkling in memory of their first morning as roommates.

"Oh… um, well my dad used to make me breakfast in bed whenever I had a bad night…so I just thought…" She trailed off.

"Thank you. Its very sweet…He sounded like a great guy." Giving her hand a squeeze.

"He was." They ate in silence for a while; "Did you sleep better last night?"

"Oh yeah! No nightmares at all."

"That’s great. Maybe they’ve stopped for good. You do look better today."

"Hopefully. So as I recall, you promised me dinner tonight?"

"How could I forget." She replied dryly. They sat there making plans for their night out.

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