He was big. All broad shouldered and long legged and barrel chested. He was built like a defensive lineman, and the way he powered toward me, his face dark with anger, should have scared me. I should have screamed or turned and ran in the other direction, weaving through the bodies and counting on my much smaller size to help me get away. He was murderously, thunderously, angry and I should have been terrified of what he would do to me once he got his hands on me.
I wasn’t. There was never a time I was afraid of that man, and when he got close enough, I opened my arms to receive him. Because I knew the truth behind his expression. He was angry, yes, but not at me. He was ready to kill the guy who had hit me. I was safe. I was always safe in his arms.
His big hands swept the length of my body, checking for injuries that his gaze could not discern. I’d have a bruise from the seat belt, as well as other aches and pains I was sure, and though the car was pretty well dented, the air bag hadn’t even deployed. I was barely hurt. It wasn’t even worth talking about.
“You’re okay?” he finally asked.
I nodded and snuggled in when he pulled me close, loving the way he immediately put his face down against my neck and inhaled. Standing on the side of the road where the accident had occurred, I was relieved that he gotten there so quickly. I’d just gotten the all clear from the EMTs when he showed up.
Suddenly he lifted his head and squinted past my head. “That him?” He motioned with his chin.
I craned my neck to see the police putting the cuffed man in the back of the squad car. One of the officers had told me earlier that the other driver had been texting, and that alcohol appeared to be involved as well. At the time, the words hadn’t met much. I think I was still in shock. But seeing the man getting arrested, that made things all the more real. It could have been so much worse. Fatally worse.
“Take me home,” I breathed, clutching at his shoulders. I would have climbed him if I could have. “Please, honey. I need to be home.”
He nodded, and kissed my temple. Then he left me shivering on the sidewalk while he went to go talk to the police officer. I could tell by the way his eyes narrowed and how he pulled himself up to his full height that he didn’t like whatever the man had said, but eventually, he turned and walked back to me. He wrapped his arms around me with a defiant tilt of his head. I didn’t care if he was making a statement of some sort. He was warm and he kept me safe. That was all that mattered.
Eventually, my car was towed and we got to go home. He helped me shower, made sure I ate some soup, and then he tucked me into bed. It only took him a few minutes to join me, and I was quick to push into his arm.
“Not ever going to lose you.” His voice was gruff. He said it like a vow.
I smiled. “No,” I agreed. I yawned. “I love you.”
“Me too, baby,” he said, rolling to squash me under him because he knew that’s what I needed. I fell asleep a few minutes later, safe, warm, and loved.