unraveling

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Chapter 6

MADDEN

He was cooking again. "You look hot in glasses, by the way," I comment offhandedly. He did. He wore them only in his study, while he was working.

His kitchen was state of the art. Stainless steel appliances, gorgeous marbled countertops, shiny, clean, perfectly tiled. Sure the rest of his house was just as impressive, but he seemed to have quite a bit of fondness for his kitchen.

His back was turned towards me so I couldn't see his expression, but he was silent for several seconds before he responded. "Sure."

He sounded almost skeptical and I smiled. "You do," I insisted. "It matches with the whole sexy professor theme."

He turned around, his gaze genuinely quizzical. "What?" he asked, his voice flat.

I grinned at him. "Why do you sound like you don't believe me?"

Castien's eyes narrowed at me, his lips pressing into a thin line. "Shut up," he mutters.

"No," I said, curious now. "Why don't you believe me?"

I swung my legs off the side of the kitchen island as I watched him. I couldn't tell what he was making, but it was still fun to watch. Actually, it was oddly satisfying to watch. He was so meticulous. I'm not sure why I expected anything different from Professor Castien himself, but hey. His kitchen itself was neatly organized, the drawers running down the sides perfectly categorized and stacked with all sorts of equipment. Oh, and his pantry. Shelves and racks of ingredients are labeled and tucked in secure spots.

Then of course there was the best part of the kitchen, Castien himself. "Shut up," he repeats.

"But-"

Castien grabs the back of my head, forcing my jaw open and shoving a tomato in my mouth, effectively cutting me off. I could feel the skin of it burst just a bit, tangy juice hitting my tongue and forcing me to swallow around it. He meets my stare, apparently finding this an effective way to mute me. I made a noise of protest. He lets me go, looking satisfied and I ungag myself. "I should do that more often," he mused.

"No," I pout. "You shouldn't."

He smirks, pulling at my bottom lip. "But you were actually quiet for a few seconds. It was blissful."

"There are better ways to shut me up, professor," I remind him.

He looks at me for several unblinking seconds, expression inscrutable, before he pressed his lips against mine, pushing heavily against my tongue. Every time we kissed, no matter how sloppy or how many times we did it, it never failed to make my heart race.

He pulled away suddenly. "I still think gagging you is more fun," he mutters, eyes still on my lips.

I smiled. "Is it?" I murmured, cupping his face gently in one of my hands. His eyes met mine and for a few hearts fluttering moments, he stared right back at me.

Gently, I pulled on one of his earlobes where he was currently wearing a simple diamond stud. "Explain to me again how I never noticed these."

He rolled his eyes, pulling away completely. "I don't wear them to class," he admits.

"Why not?" Still. I didn't understand how I actually never noticed. I didn't notice a lot of things about him until now.

He gives me a dry look like I was dumb for not knowing. Well, I guess I was. The earrings did little to make him any less scary, but I suppose it wouldn't quite a shock to see him wearing those at school. As it was seeing him wear them at all.

"For the amount of time I spend staring at you, you would think..."

He turned his back on me, seeming to ignore that comment. It was still quite a bit of getting used to it. I felt like I was pushing the boundaries of any social contact he probably had, but he wasn't stopping me. He was proving to be more and more interesting the more time I spent with him. Which was way more then I cared to admit. "How are you single again?"

He glared at me. "Stop asking stupid questions," he snapped, voice sharp and cold. It didn't bother me anymore. He was always a bit scary.

"It's not a stupid question," I said genuinely. To my knowledge, Professor Castien was 35 years old. How the fuck in those thirty-five years no one has jumped on him yet, I had no clue. "I keep thinking, it just doesn't seem possible."

He pressed his lips into a thin line, face still dark. I was given no answer. For some reason, this particular topic seemed to bother him. Not irritate him like everything else that came out of my mouth, but sincerely bother him. I had no way of telling for sure because he wasn't human and didn't give nearly enough facial cues, but I'm taking a shot in the dark. It bothered him. I brushed over it. "What are you even making?"

It was a question I had been pondering at the back of my mind for the last few minutes of this conversation. Castien scowled. "You can't be serious."

I blink, confused. "What?"

He gives me an almost disgusted look. "How do you not know?" he asked flatly.

Actually, I had been staring at his hands working for like a good hour or so, but no. I had zero clues about what it was. "I don't know. The same way you know something except the opposite."

He stares at me, glowering. "It's like losing brain cells just by talking to you," he replied in a monotone voice.

My mouth popped open. What was I supposed to say to that? "I've been so nice," I said defensively. "What the fuck?"

His eyes shot me a flat look. "Nice?"

"Yes," I agree indignantly.

"You're a brat."

"I'm not-" I paused. "Okay, that doesn't make me not nice."

Castien's face remained blank, save for the slight amusement twinkling in his eye. "It's salmon."

I frowned. "Isn't salmon grey?"

"Get out of my kitchen," he muttered stressfully. It wasn't just that Castien cooked. It was that he actually enjoyed doing it. At least, I assumed that he did considering how much he did it and how big his kitchen was. He had a hobby, one I never would've guessed.

I laughed. "I'm sorry. I don't cook."

"But you eat," he emphasized. I got the sense that I had genuinely offended him by not knowing what salmon was.

"I'm in college," I protest. "I run on coffee, hormones, and the weight of shouldering America's awful education system."

His lips twitch which gave me a small sense of satisfaction. He didn't say anything for a few minutes, his hands busy. "You don't drink coffee," he said quietly.

I don't think I hid my shock very well. He was right. I didn't drink coffee. I never developed a taste for it. But how the fuck did he know? "How do you know?"

His jaw tightens and he seemed to go back to being irritated with me. He didn't spare me any answer yet again, but the effect had been had. He knew enough to show that he at least cares a little bit about me.

Conversations with him were so comfortable and easy, which was surprising considering how difficult Castien made it to talk to him. But it was starting to feel like my life was one big movie drama and there would be these moments that just made me heart pound and my head spin.

I just sat there, silent now. Over the course of the past several weeks, I had started having a bit of an obsession with his hands. His hands were large and strong. They were slightly calloused and I could feel it whenever he touched me, each of the bumps gliding teasingly over my bare skin. They gripped me so tightly, I threatened to just break. He used them to pull me every which way and as at the same time, they were also the very hands that he ran absentmindedly across my skin in an oddly relaxing gesture without him even realizing. I was a bit tempted to just lick his hands. It was turning into a bit of a fetish and that was definitely not a good thing. Fuck, the things he could do to me with just those hands.

I squeezed my legs together, my thoughts again running wild with possibilities. "What are you thinking?" Castien's deep, husky voice commanded my attention and I looked up, flushing slightly.

"Nothing important," I mumble. He was always too quick to spot when I was thinking something dirty.

His eyes narrowed and he puts his hands, the very ones I had just been thinking about beside either side of my hips, trapping me against the corner of the kitchen island counter. His eyes bore into mine and I wet my lips, swallowing the arousal that had already started climbing its way through me. "I'll give you three chances to answer that question properly."

"What?" I squeaked.

"Two," he drawled.

He was counting down, I realized. I squirmed on the countertop. It really didn't take much for him to make me want to cream my pants. He was so fucking...powerful. His gaze alone was probably enough to get me on my knees. Hell, his gaze had been enough to get me on my knees. "I...um..." What had I been thinking? With the starved expression he was pinning me with right now, I couldn't exactly think straight.

"One," he growled.

"I don't know," I whispered.

"You're out of chances," he said darkly, a cynical look dawning on his face.

A good half an hour or so later, I was sprawled on Professor Castien's kitchen floor, hurting and quivering in the best way possible. He was still on top of me, the muscles in his arms straining on either side of my head to keep his entire body from falling and crushing me. "You still haven't told me what you were thinking," he murmured, smirking.

I covered my face with my forearm, shielding my eyes from his smug face. I sniffled. "Leave me alone."

I had nowhere to go, trapped against the floor by his body. His lips captured mine, forceful and hungry yet again. He claimed me, my mouth melting and molding into his. "Tell me," he demands, teeth near piercing through my lip.

I made a soft whining noise at the back of my throat, unwilling to defy him. I ignored how warm my face was getting. "I was imagining all the things I want you to do to me with your hands."

Castien arched a brow at me. "My hands?" he repeated slowly.

"Yeah," I mumbled shamefully. Probably shouldn't have told him.

"And what exactly about my hands?" he asks. I couldn't read his face but there was a slight taunt to his tone.

I groaned, turning my head away, still flushing. "Go check on your salmon," I mutter. He chuckled and the sound warmed me from the inside out.

"No, tell me," he persists, his voice low and raspy. "Tell me what dirty thoughts you've been having."

I whimpered, my body throbbing in response to him. "No."

"No?" The echo of the word rolled off threateningly. "You sure?"

Oh, I was so fucked.

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