Long Winding Road Trip Away From The Asylum Part Six

Missed Sunday, but for a good reason! <g> Tons more Asylum fun coming for all of you!

For now, let's get back to the road trip, there's still a long, winding way to go! lol

Happy Reading!


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

The soft sound of water, lapping the shore. Wind...not against a window. Trees…

Where am I?

Shoving toward the surface, waves came at him, dragging him to an empty shore. In the depths his Dom whispered to him. Out of reach, but Wren still clung to him. His mind wouldn’t accept the simple fact. Rejected it on every level.

You. Are. Alone.

The sand, the strange trees, all closed in around him. Part of him knew he wasn’t there anymore. A small part that would slip away if he let it. If he gave in to the panic edging in on the darkness.

What if I don’t find the others?

He knew. He’d always known. With his lack of skills, Lawson would die. The state his mind was in...would he even notice?

The horror of the movies he loved had nothing on what he saw now. Those dark green eyes sunken in, an imagined smile as a voiceless Lawson told him things would be okay. Visions, keeping him trapped in place. Anything beyond the four unstable walls was too hard to face.

Don’t be gone. Please...I need you.

A sob escaped as he tried to wrench free of the nightmare. For so much of his life, he’d been alone. Been fine that way. The taste of more made it almost impossible to look back, but there was always the chance he could end up there, the life he never wanted to lose nothing but a memory.

Endlessly walking over the sand, through the trees, then back. No hope. No escape.

Glasses on the med kit all that remained to comfort him.

Seeing something that wasn’t there.

None of it is real.

Except the glare of the sun. The waves. The ocean, dragging him down...

Gasping, Wren braced for the slap of water against his face, but it never came. He sat up, shoving at whatever wrapped around him. Blankets...no, a sleeping bag. Something sweet drifted on the fresh air, along with a crispness of dirt and leaves. The tent filtered out the bright sunlight.

A small gap at the base of the opening to the tent was just enough to catch a glimpse of Noah’s boot. He crawled forward, not caring about the damp earth under his palms, soaking into the thick flannel of his pajama pants. Took something he rarely did, climbing right into his Dom’s lap just to feel him close.

“Hey, there.” Noah’s arm came around his waist, steadying Wren as he twisted, trembling when he caught sight of Lawson, taking in every inch of him to erase the one locked in his mind. Stroking his back, Noah spoke in a low, calming tone. “What is it, my little bird? Look at me.”

Shaking his head, Wren did his best not to blink. If he blinked, those dark green eyes, all those features, from the brow creased with concern, to the slightly parted lips, would become something else. That strong body would crumble away to dust. “You were dead. Why didn’t I know? I found...found the med kit. I gave you stitches. Not perfect, but it should have been enough for you to hold on, just a little longer.”

“It was, Wren.” Coming around the campfire, where he’d been making some kind of sticky treat with Reed, Lawson crouched down in front of Wren. Took his hand and brought it to his cheek. “The nightmares can be so damn real—believe me, I know. The experience left its mark on all of us. But do you feel that?” He smiled, pressing his lips to Wren’s palm. “I’m here. Alive.”

The warmth of Lawson’s skin eased away some of the fog, his touch, his voice, grounding Wren in the present. He nodded, lowering his gaze and swallowing as it hit him how much he must have worried Noah, worried both Doms, by reacting this way. He was supposed to be better. Mentally sound enough to be taken on this trip.

Others had suffered much more than he had. Jamie and Curtis had been stuck there. Needed help for months to recover, both physically and mentally. What right did Wren have to fall apart now?

It was a bad dream. If you don’t get overly emotional, you can see how well constructed it was. Like a good book. Like a movie. The monster doesn’t have fangs, it’s…

Being away from The Asylum. Away from all that was familiar.

I didn’t want to leave…

He hadn’t then either. Which would have kept him safe, but then Lawson would have been alone. Beyond help.

Losing Jared or Noah or Jamie would be unbearable, but he couldn’t see his world without Lawson in it either. He trailed his fingers down Lawson’s jaw. Took in the shadow of stubble that always appeared partway through the day. There had been more when they’d been on the island.

“Your corpse didn’t have any stubble.” Wren stroked Lawson’s cheek with barely there touches, the textures of soft skin and removing any last trace of doubt as to what was real and what wasn’t. “It was still handsome, but not as much as when you have a pulse.”

Lawson smiled even as Noah chuckled. At the other side of the fire, Reed snickered, sucking melted marshmallow off his fingers, his eyes sparkling as he met Wren’s eyes.

After a brief questioning look at Noah, Lawson lifted Wren up into his arms, holding him close. Voice was so quiet, the breeze would have stolen it away if he wasn’t listening carefully, Lawson whispered in his ear. “I am alive. Because of you. And any time you need to hear that again, any time you need to feel my pulse, to see I’m whole? Find me. I promise I will never be out of reach.”

“Yes, sir.” Of course, Wren would agree, but he should probably point out that wouldn’t always be practical. “What if you’re too far?”

Shaking his head, Lawson pressed his lips to Wren’s temple. “For you? That’s impossible, my boy. You’ll figure out a way to find me.”

Reed popped another marshmallow in his mouth, this time without cooking it. He grinned as he spoke around it. “Maybe you can convince him to get a new phone so he can keep that promise.”

“Please do. As much as I enjoy hearing from Matt, it’s starting to feel intrusive. I’m sure he wouldn’t want me seeing those texts… He misses you very much.” Noah reached out and curved his hand around Lawson’s arm. “If you need to go back—”

Lawson’s eyes narrowed as he jerked away. “You don’t know my boy very well if you think he’d want that. We need to stick to the schedule. Unless you’re the one who’s considering turning around.”

“Not on your life.” Noah lowered his hand, a determined expression on his face as he went from looking like he was ready to get into a heated argument, to something more calm and controlled. “We should swing by the closest mall and pick you up a new phone. I know you like getting a long use out of the few gadgets you do indulge in, but when it stops holding a charge, it needs to be replaced.”

Lawson’s lips twitched with irritation, but this time, it didn’t appear to be aimed at Noah. “I’d planned to order one so I could avoid pushy salespeople.” He held up his hands when Reed frowned at him. “I know it’s their jobs, but I wouldn’t bother going to a store if I didn’t already know what I wanted. It’s hard to keep being pleasant when someone insists you need a dozen useless accessories. Repeatedly.”

Popping to his feet, Reed started putting out the fire, a playful smile on his lips. “I bet they do that because you’re hot and they don’t want you leaving too quick. I’ll save you from your admirers, sir. Me and Jamie are pros at managing to get in and out of stores with everything we want, leaving very happy staff behind. You should’ve seen, last time we were in Manhattan? The store manager was so happy, he ordered everyone pizza. But even when we don’t buy a whole bunch, just being chatty and going with a few suggestions can make a difference. Or being honest and saying you can’t afford it.”

Halfway done taking down the tents, Noah jerked his head up and stared at Reed. “Why would you ever have to tell them that? I don’t think it’s necessary to lie to—”

“He’s not lying. Reed asked Matt to help him learn how to budget better. Both Curtis and I make sure he always has what he needs, but he has limited funds of his own.” Lawson smiled at Reed, lowering Wren to his feet and going to help Noah. “Which he’s getting much better at not spending to the last cent between Phil’s candy store and the all-that-sparkles boutique.”

Noah blew out a breath, shaking his head and dusting off his jeans as Wren finished getting dressed and began loading all their supplies back in the SUV. “All he really buys for himself is candy and outrageous clothes. I don’t see why there should be any limits.”

“Because there’s such a thing as closet space. He doesn’t need to be excessive to be happy, Noah.”

“I didn’t say he did. I taught him better than that.”

“Then I’m not seeing a problem.”

“The problem is anyone under my care ever having to say they can’t afford something.”

The arguments continued over the drive, not getting terribly heated, so Wren didn’t worry. A few times Reed groaned, pressing his face into Wren’s shoulder and muttering ‘Save me’.

At least the phone debate was over. Seeing Lawson struggling to get the thing to work had been getting Wren a bit twitchy. He decided to give the poor salespeople some relief and talk Lawson into getting the newest version and a few things he wasn’t sure how the man managed without. He understood Lawson had a thing with careful money management, but there was no need to be stingy with essentials.

It wasn’t until they reached the mall that it hit him that a mistake had been made.

If a grocery store with Noah and Lawson was challenging, how in the world would this turn out? Could they manage to avoid fighting long enough to get one cell phone?

“Can we stop by Hot Topic?” Reed got out of the SUV, already backing in the direction of the store. “I was thinking some of my stuff might be a bit snug after surgery.”

“Sure.” Noah grinned, patting Lawson on the shoulder when his lips parted. “Let the guy have some fun. It’s a reasonable request.” He pulled out his wallet, then his credit card, handing it to Reed. “I expect to see you do some real damage. Don’t disappoint me, my boy.”

Reed hesitated, his hand partway out, glancing to Lawson. “If it really bothers you, sir…”

“Go ahead.” Lawson huffed out a laugh, smiling as Reed finally took the card and bolted. “There’s no way I’m going to be the tight wad here. Curtis loves bringing him to that store, they always find the strangest things.”

That was true. Wren’s lips quirked as he remembered the novelty bath matt in Reed and Curtis’s bathroom, which had Jamie letting out a high pitched scream when he’d stepped on it after grabbing a quick shower to wash off the body paint they’d been experimenting with. The bath matt was made to look like there was blood wherever it got wet. It was a very creative idea and Wren had enjoyed it.

Jamie...not so much. Until after he was assured he wasn’t actually leaving blood footprints everywhere, in any case. And he stopped being embarrassed at how hard Curtis had been laughing.

Lost in the fond memory, Wren startled a bit when Noah tugged at his hand, keeping him close to his side as they approached the outer door of the store. Reed was nowhere to be seen, but his voice came from the far end of the racks, where he was laughing with a salesperson.

“It’s huge.” Reed made a soft sound of awe. “Curtis is going to love this.”

Cocking his head, Wren glanced over at Noah, who was watching Lawson checking prices and muttering to himself. His Dom was likely going to tease Lawson again, but there was another matter Wren wasn’t sure either of the Doms had considered. “Where are we going to put everything?”

Both Noah and Lawson froze.



Part 7


As always, comments welcome! At the end of each month when a serial like this is running, I'll choose one commenter to send merch from The Asylum to. This month, it'll be either a face mask or socks, winner's choice!

Winner will be chosen at random and announced before the first segment of each month. All comments made before then will be entered.

Good luck!

If you want to discuss spoilers or what you think might happen next, make sure to join the spoiler group HERE. Let's see who's paying attention. Winners will also be chosen from the group!


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