Making Sacrifices

“Jonathan, stop the car,” Amy demanded, her features resolute. “Right
now. This minute.”
His head swiveled around. “Are you insane? It’s two in the
morning,” he pointed out incredulously. His grip on the steering
wheel tightened until his knuckles were white. “I’m not going to let
you walk home from here.”
Amy inhaled deeply, mentally counting to ten. Then to twenty.
It didn’t help. Her eyes fairly burned. “I’ll call a cab from a
payphone or something. Just stop the car and let me out. I don’t
want to spend another second with you. I-I don’t understand how you
can be such–Ugh! Just take stop this car. Please.”


Jonathan glowered at her, but it was useless. Her mind was
made up and he knew she was more obstinate than anyone of his
acquaintance. Jonathan slowed down the car and came to a stop next to
a phone booth. Amy emerged from the car, slamming the door angrily.
She called for a cab, but refused to wait in Jonathan’s car for it to
come. She stubbornly remained in the lit phone booth, her face set in
angry lines. Jonathan thought better of attempting to coax her back
into his car.
The wait for the cab seemed to take forever, but it eventually
came cruising down the road. Without a word to Jonathan, Amy quickly
got out of the phone booth and into the back of the cab. Stale smoke
and various other odors left behind by the previous occupants
assaulted her senses. Amy wrinkled her nose, as if trying to get the
smells out of her nostrils.
“Where to, miss?”
Amy paused for a moment, not sure where she wanted to go. She
had no desire to go home just yet. In her present state, she would
wake her roommate and there would be questions. Questions which she
didn’t feel up to fielding tonight. A name flitted through her mind.
Before she could think twice, Amy gave the driver the address,
fighting desperately to hold the scalding tears at bay.

Dean grunted and sleepily rubbed his hands over his face. Who the
hell would be knocking on his door at this hour? He peered through
the peephole. Amy? A frown wrinkled his brow. Dean stepped back and
opened the door. And the petite, dark-haired waif launched herself
into arms.
“Hey!” Taken unawares, Dean staggered for a moment.
Fortunately, he swiftly regained his footing. Dean wrapped one arm
around the woman clutching him tightly and closed his front door with
the other. Used to the role of big brother with her, he stood there a
while, letting her take comfort from him, gently stroking from her
waist-length hair down to the small of her back. He could feel the
hot wetness of her tears dampening his chest. Dean sighed, wondering
what his idiot baby brother had done this time.
When her sobs dwindled to sniffles, Dean gently finger combed
her damp hair back from her tear-ravaged face. His darkened eyes
traveled over her face, his concern evident. “Feeling better?”
She didn’t say anything; she simply nodded, inhaling a
shuddering breath. And pressed her left cheek against his
hair-roughened chest, seeking comfort.
“Do you want to move to the living room so you can sit down?”
Once again, she nodded. But she made no move to release him.
Dean chuckled. Amy, pressed up against him as she was, could feel the
vibrations of his chest. A small smile curved her lips. The smile
turned into a grin and a startled laugh when Dean slipped an arm under
her knees, scooping her up against his chest. Amy instinctively threw
her arms around his neck. Dean deposited her on his black leather
La-Z-Boy. Amy forgot to untangle her arms from around his neck until
he gently removed them. But she wasn’t embarrassed. This was Dean.
He had seen her in much more embarrassing situations.
Amy kicked off her shoes and curled into a ball, knees drawn
up and tucked under her chin. Her head found the perfect notch in one
thickly padded corner. This had always been her favorite seat. The
ultra-plush, creamy-smooth chair seemed to envelop her, soothing her.
“Comfortable?” he queried, amusement laced in his deep voice.
“Hmm.” Amy smiled lazily at him, feeling ready now to drop
off into a nice, deep slumber to forget everything that had went wrong
earlier in the evening.
“I’ll be right back,” Dean said, satisfied that she would be
able to cope without him for a few brief moments. He dropped a box of
tissues on top of the end table next to her. “That’s just in case you
need it.”
Dean returned shortly with a warm, damp facecloth and a glass
of water. An amused smile touched his lips. Amy, apparently too
comfortable in his favorite chair, had closed her eyes and was dozing.
Her long, flyaway hair had fallen forward and was once more covering
her face. Dean, taking great pains not to disturb her, lifted a long
fall of sable hair to wipe her face.
Amy stirred. Her lashes slowly lifted. Dark eyes met clear
gray ones. Surprised to see him so close, her eyes widened and were
held by his. In that fleeting moment in time, she took in the eyes
she had always thought were too beautiful for a man; the hard, sensual
mouth; and the black stubble on his tanned face. Tall, lean,
athletic, he looked sexily disheveled, like someone who just emerged
from his bed. Which he had, Amy thought cheekily, but she found no
amusement in that. She swallowed, not sure if she liked the direction
her wayward thoughts had taken.
Seeming to snap out of whatever it was, Dean drew back
swiftly. “Here,” he said, unceremoniously holding out the facecloth.
Amy took it, still reeling from the sudden turn of events. She shook
her hair back and wiped her face. Her cheeks were pink by the time
she finished, but her eyes were clear. Dean took the facecloth from
her hand and replaced it with the cool glass of water. “Drink this.
Your throat’s probably dried out from all those tears.”
“Thank you.”
“Want to tell me what happened tonight?” he asked, falling
back on the sofa across from her, quite at ease in his boxers and
nothing else.
Amy, still busy drinking, held up her index finger, telling
him to wait one moment for her to finish swallowing.
“Sorry.” Dean ran both hands through his dark hair and
settled back into the sofa.
Amy finished the glass of water and set it down. “That’s
alright.” She sighed and closed her eyes. “It’s a little late for
this, but I want to apologize for bursting in on you like this.” She
smiled ruefully, and offered, “You can kick me out now and I’ll
He frowned. “I’d never do that you, Amy. And you know I’m
always here for you.”
Her eyes opened and a slow smile curved her lips. “I know. I
just hate taking advantage of you this way.”
“Amy, I don’t mind in the least.”
“You’re my best friend, you know that?”
He grinned. “I’m honored,” he quipped, only half joking.
Then his expression became serious. “Are you through dodging my
initial question?”
“Yes.” He knew her so well, Amy thought. She opened her
mouth, ready to tell him about the disastrous chain of events that
eventually led her to his door. However, the words wouldn’t form on
her tongue; they remained lodged in her throat. What had happened was
beyond embarrassing. It was mortifying. She couldn’t just sit there
and tell it to him face to face. Even though there were no lights on,
the moonlight streaming through the sliding, glass doors leading to
the balcony eerily lit the room. She was a coward, she admitted. She
needed the protection of darkness. Or, at least, facelessness.
Dean, seeming to have read her mind, understood the strange
play of emotions on her face. He knew the dilemma she faced. He
extended his hand. “C’mere.” Amy eagerly accepted, allowing him to
pull her onto his lap. His arms were linked loosely about her. “Want
to tell me about it now?”

<i>”Oh, Amy,” Jonathan moaned weakly when they both came up for air.
Their gasps for air filled the interior of the 1992 Dodge Ram. Then
the sounds were muffled once again when their lips crushed together.
Jonathan thrust his tongue deep into her mouth, seeming to aim for the
back of her throat. His greedy hands pulled her shirt from her jeans,
wanting to feel the warm flesh covered with lace underneath.
And Amy froze. Ice water replaced the blood flowing her in
veins. Then she was mindlessly pushing and shoving Jonathan away.
Utter fear took over when she thought he wouldn’t heed her and stop.
But he did. Finally.
But it still took too long.
Jonathan pulled back to his side and twisted in his seat to
better glare at her. “I don’t understand you, Amy,” he bit out
angrily, frustration evident in his tone. “We’ve been together for
almost a year now and you…” He trailed off, seeming to choke on his
own words. “Why?”
Amy, trembling, wrapped her arms protectively around herself
and swallowed hard, making a concerted effort to control her foolish
fear. “I-I can’t explain it, Jonathan. I just can’t. You have to
understand. I-I just need some time.”
Jonathan slapped his hand against the dashboard. “I’ve given
you a year! How much fucking time do you need?” He blew out a
breath, frustrated and confused beyond his belief. Was something
wrong with him? Was there something about him that turned her off the
moment he tried to remove her clothes? Was this some warped game she
was playing? Dammit, what the hell was wrong with her? “The guys
were right. You are frigid.”
Amy’s lips tightened, anger beginning to warm her. She
welcomed it; being angry was a hell of a lot better than being afraid.
“Is that the only reason you went out with me?”
That threw him off stride for a moment. He recovered swiftly.
“No, of course not,” he denied hotly.
But his cheeks were flushed. Amy knew he was lying. “Take me
home, Jonathan,” she quietly demanded.
“Dammit, Amy, I’m sor–”
Amy waved a dismissive hand. “Forget it. I just want to go
home now and chalk this night–and this relationship–up as a big
“No,” she stated in a chillingly detached tone. “It’s over
between us, Jonathan. If you can’t accept me that– I just can’t
handle this anymore.” Amy squeezed her eyes shut, as if she could
deny this was happening. “I can’t believe I’d misjudged you so
Jonathan kept quiet, knowing it would be useless to argue with
her when she was in this mood. He would be wiser to wait until
tomorrow or the next day to apologize. Jonathan made a mental note to
come calling with flowers tomorrow.</i>

“Then he said something stupid again and I made him pullover and let
me call a cab,” she finished. “He thought I was playing some idiotic
mind game.”
“It’s okay, Amy,” Dean soothed, stroking her back. The
rhythmic touches putting her at ease, allowing the words to flow
freely, as well as her long pent-up emotions. He tenderly cupped her
cheek, forcing her to meet his eyes. Something clenched around his
heart when he saw the silvery tracks of tears running down her cheeks.
Throat tight, he brushed his thumb over her cheekbone, smoothing away
the silent tears, and repeated, “It’s okay.”
“Thank you.” Acting on impulse, Amy turned her head and
planted a soft kiss in the centre of his palm. And immediately
regretted the move when she felt his body tense beneath her hands.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t–”
“Don’t be,” Dean interrupted, a finger pressed over her lips
to halt the wavering speech. There was a flash of insight, and
everything made sense to him, awful, horrific sense. Ice slowly
formed in the pit of his stomach, stealing all his warmth. Finally,
he looked at her steadily and carefully chose his next words. “I’m
not going to misconstrue your intentions and turn into a ravening
beast, Amy.”
Amy could feel the blood draining from her face at his words.
Her skin chilled, and a quiet, maddening, helpless rage swept through
her at the memories–no, nightmares was a more apt depiction. It was
a quiet rage because even had she yelled, no one would have heard, no
one had ever heard.
Dean could see her throat muscles working as she tried to
check her emotions. Burning fury on her behalf made him see red.
What he wouldn’t give to have her attacker in front of him at this
moment! He tightened his hold on her until she was crushed to him.
But Amy didn’t mind. She gratefully welcomed a man’s touch for the
first time in twelve long years.
Amy, overcome, burst into fresh sobs. She buried her face in
the side of his neck, not caring that she had broken her vow countless
times this night not to cry in front of an audience. But this wasn’t
just anyone. This was Dean. It was his name that she thought of when
she had been so lost earlier. And he was hearing what she had kept
inside for so long without her having to say a single word.
Amy, noting the angry tension in him, found herself trying to
soothe him even as she cried. She nearly laughed at the reversal of
roles. And she would’ve, had she not been so touched and overwhelmed
by him.
“It’s alright, Dean,” she whispered. “It was over a long time
“No, Amy.” He pulled her back to gaze directly into her eyes,
as if willing her to understand the depths of him and what he was
feeling at that moment. “No, it’s not alright; no, it’s not over.
It’s not over if you’re still feeling like this. If you still can’t
be intimate with a man because of it.”
Amy thought that by now she would have no tears left, but her
eyes proved her wrong as they filled up again. Dean didn’t say
anything. He merely cradled her to him, wanting to do more but happy
to do even this much.
The silence of his apartment was broken only by her dying
tears and his comforting, nonsensical sounds. One hand cupped the
nape of her neck and the other rubbed the small of her back. Dean
leaned his head back against the sofa and squeezed his eyes shut,
wanting to know what to do to make her stop hurting so his pain would
go away. Inside, he felt as if everything was torn and bleeding. And
each of her tears was another lash against a newly opened wound.
The tears stopped long after the point he thought he couldn’t
take anymore. Dean somehow managed to reach over and grab the box of
Kleenex without stirring the bundle in his arms. Amy, sniffling and
hiccuping, took a few tissues and mopped up her tears.
“I was seven,” she began, “and it was my mother’s second