Engulf, verb: (of a natural force) sweep over (something) so as to surround or cover it completely.
Fearful, adjective: feeling afraid; showing fear or anxiety, causing or likely to cause people to be afraid; horrifying.
Grimace, noun: an ugly, twisted expression on a person's face, typically expressing disgust, pain, or wry amusement; verb: make a grimace.
“…and this year’s top marketing rep is, Cassie Roberts!” Mark’s announcement was met by applause and eyes all turning in my direction.
I forced a smile onto my face and hoped it looked like a smile and not a grimace. Each new set of eyes was like another wave of panic as I slowly stood and walked towards the stage. The further I walked the deeper I became engulfed in the panic that had started at a slow boil when I learned I was even in the running a few weeks ago.
Later Derek would tell me that he might have been the only one to recognize that the look in my eyes wasn’t a happy glint but a fearful pleading to make it all stop. I told him that look was directed right at him and he didn’t make it stop. He hugged me and the anxiety of the last month started to fade away.