IN LOVE WITH A SOLDIER
Jackson lay on the bed with Cherry tightly held in his arms. He took a deep breath and smelled the sweet scent around her that had always made him fall into her charming aura.
"Jackson, go to sleep, I'm a little tired," said Cherry, with her eyes closed. She had been busy all day long at the JS Group, and now all she wanted was to get a good night's sleep.
"Okay," gently replied Jackson, with his arms still tightly wrapped around Cherry.
He held his wife firm in his arms every night they lay together in bed. Cherry had already gotten used to this, so she closed her eyes and fell asleep almost instantly.
At midnight, Cherry suddenly woke up startled from a nightmare. She couldn't help but scream and gasp for breath, suffocated by panic in the total darkness of the bedroom. Her back was drenched in cold sweat trickling down in streams, but she couldn't feel it.
Jackson was also woken up startled by the sudden commotion. He saw his wife sitting stiff as a board on the bed next to him, and he immediately sat up and reached out his arm to turn on the bedside lamp. He put his hands on her shoulders, but before he could ask her anything, Cherry already denied him.
"Don't touch me!" desperately cried out Cherry. She then tightly gripped the quilt in her trembling hands and wrapped herself in it, as if she were defending herself from a ruthless and uncanny enemy, who was Jackson.
Jackson could feel that Cherry was trembling like a leaf in the wind under the quilt, and he thought that she must have had a very bad nightmare.
"Baby, it's me, don't be afraid. What's wrong?" asked Jackson. He didn't come close to her, but instead simply stared at her with all the love and tenderness that he could reflect in his eyes.
But Cherry didn't reply, and she just silently sat on the bed with her head lowered and still panicked.
It almost killed him to see her in that state. Jackson carefully reached out his hands and gently asked her, "Baby, are you alright?"
With one hand on Cherry's shoulder and the other under her chin, Jackson slowly turned her face to the light and gazed for a moment in her eyes. After he saw the horror written on her face, he gently asked, "Did you have a nightmare?"
After she saw that it was Jackson, Cherry began to slowly recover from her shock and slightly nodded.
Jackson then embraced Cherry tight in his arms. He spoke to her in a gentle voice, and comforted her, "It's alright, baby, I'm here. Don't be afraid, it was just a dream and it's not real."
As she lay in Jackson's arms, Cherry felt a lot more secure, but she still couldn't get the nightmare out of her head. She had dreamed the most terrible thing since she had married Jackson, and it had felt so real for her that she still couldn't convince herself that it was only in her imagination. She could still see the horrible scene unfolding right before her eyes.
Jackson comforted her in a soft and gentle voice, "It's alright baby, it's alright; I'm here with you."
After a long silence, Cherry slowly began to regain her composure. As she stretched out her arms and tightly clung to Jackson's waist, she thought to herself, 'I'll always be safe with Jackson around me. I'll never be in any danger and I'll never need to be afraid ever again, because he will protect me; he's promised me that he will always protect me.'
The moments she had spent in the elevator earlier in the day swarmed again into her mind. She had completely panicked when she was faced with the horrible event, but it was Mond, not Jackson, who had saved her. She wondered whether it was because of her dangerous experience that she had or something else that made her feel so extremely insecure and feeble. She had never thought about death before, but now she understood what it meant. She was suddenly afraid that she would lose everything that she had, her dear husband, her lovely son, their love.
"Jackson," whispered Cherry in her soft tender voice.
"I'm here," quickly replied Jackson.
"I don't want to leave you and Joe," earnestly said Cherry, acting like a child.
That was her absolute truth, and she meant every word of it.
"You'll never leave us, because we'll stay together forever and ever," said Jackson.
He knew that at the moment she desperately needed some sense of security, and she wanted to make her feel safe and protected. She was just like a fragile and vulnerable child, asking for the adult's comfort whenever she was in trouble.
"Jackson, please never leave me and Joe. I'm just so afraid," said Cherry. She remembered how she had lived overseas alone with Joe all those years, a tough, poignant and painful experience that she had to go through. It had been just like being abandoned on a desolate planet, two hundred light-years' distance away from Earth.
Jackson squeezed Cherry in his arms, and said, "Okay, baby, I promise. I promise that I'll never ever leave you or our son."
Cherry kept silent, but she felt a lot more safer. She was no longer wearing a panicked expression on her face, and it seemed that she began to gradually be herself again.
She slowly closed her eyes exhausted and fell asleep again.
When he saw that Cherry was already fast asleep, Jackson gently put her down on the bed next to him. He then lay down beside her and tightly embraced her in his arms as he always did.
However, Jackson didn't fall asleep so fast. In the dim light of the bedside lamp he furrowed his brows in deep thought, and felt that what Cherry had said and done after she had woken up from her nightmare made him a little uneasy.
Cherry slept through the night as if she had never slept before. When morning came, she slowly opened her eyes, looked at the clock on the bedside table, and realized that it was already time to wake Joe up for school.
Drowsy, Cherry slightly pushed Jackson aside, who was lying beside her, and said to him, "Jackson, it's time to get up."
"Okay," murmured Jackson, with his eyes still shut. He felt that Cherry left the bed and walked out of the room, and his sleepiness gradually started to fade away.
The family of four sat at the table in the dining room and began to eat their breakfast. Andrew clearly saw that Cherry wasn't in the best of moods, and asked her concerned, "Cherry, what's wrong? Didn't you sleep right?"
"Oh, no, it's nothing; I'm alright," quickly answered Cherry.
When Jackson glanced at the love of his life and saw that her face looked somehow drawn and gaunt, he instantly fell in a bad mood.
Joe also looked at her, and said, "Mommy, is it because you and Daddy went to sleep too late last night?"
After she heard him, Cherry stared at her son and said, "Just finish all of the food in your bowl, okay? Stop talking!"
"Okay," said Joe as he pouted a little and lowered his head to enjoy his food.
As he looked at his Grandpa, Jackson calmly said, "I think it's because she's been too busy working these last couple of days. She's a little bit more tired than usual."
"Is it?" said Andrew. As he looked at Cherry, he continued to say, "Don't go to work if you feel tired. You can stay and rest here at home."
"It's okay, Grandpa. I'll recover this weekend and I'll be fine," replied Cherry. She had never thought about slacking off on her job and responsibilities at the JS Group.
When he saw that Cherry insisted, Andrew nodded and didn't say anything to her anymore.
Cherry looked into Jackson's eyes with great affection and then threw her arms around his neck. Acting like a spoiled child, she said, "I'm not tired, and I mean it. I can go to work, it's okay, but you can still take Joe to school, so I can go straight to the company."
"Okay, I'll also come to the company to see you in the afternoon, " said Jackson.
"I'll be there, " replied Cherry.
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