24. Brick From A Wall
After pulling back into the driveway at the house, we both pause for a moment to awkwardly look at each other.
I bite my lip, holding back a grin as he leans his head back against the headrest toying with his lip ring, looking back to me with that sexy little smirk I’ve come to love.
We don’t know where to go from here, what to say.
“Let’s get outta these clothes,” he says pinching the shoulder of my wet shirt.
I raise my eyebrows suggestively.
“Because you’re soaked, ya nut. You’re gonna get sick or some shit,” he replies.
We head inside where I walk inside, facing the kitchen. The place is dark and cold and definitely void of Patrick.
I feel that pang of guilt stab me in the chest again, knowing I’ve added to my laundry list of transgressions. Getting lost in my head, my eyes become fixated on a set up before me.
There at the table is an array of snacks. I’m talking popcorn, Junior Mints, Sour Patch Kids, Mike And Ike's, Milk duds, Skittles, Butterfingers, Nerds, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, you name it. Every type of movie theater snack you can think of, stacked on the kitchen table. By the living room, all of the blankets you can imagine piled up on the floor with pillows strewn about making a huge bed on the floor.
I hear Hawke come up behind me, tossing the keys to the car on the counter, clearly watching me take it in. I clench my back teeth together, wincing as I attempt to hold back the pain.
“I know it’s not my place to do this, but I thought maybe a movie night, binging some mafia shit would cheer you up.”
I place a hand over my face as tears begin to fill my eyes.
“Hey, I’m sorry if I assumed you’d even want—”
“No.” I sniffle, interrupting him. “I just hate myself so much. I hate who I am. I assumed you were...”
“Don’t. Don’t hate yourself. It’s okay Cole. I understand what I’ve walked into here. You’re still in a relationship and I...well, I literally just got here, and I know I don’t make it easy,” he grins lightly, trying to cheer me up. “You’re an amazing person, you are...”
“I just can’t believe you did all this. And for me? I was so mean to you.” The tears keep flowing.
I can’t stand it. I can’t stand the fact that the guy who’s known me less than two months has done something more meaningful that the guy I’ve known for years. Buying new shit is one thing, putting effort into knowing what I enjoy is another.
My thoughts run to Patrick as my eyes drop to the floor. The sick feeling taking over again.
Hawke reaches for me, pulling me into his chest, wrapping his arms around me before lifting my head to face him.
“Cole, stop, I was a dick. I wanted you to feel the pain you made me feel so I acted like an idiot to try to fuck with you. I’m literally no better. Plus, if it makes you feel better, this wasn’t the reason I asked you to leave earlier.”
I swallow, nervous to know what was the real reason. I look back up at him, wiping my eyes, waiting for the truth. Praying this wasn’t a date set up for someone else.
“I didn’t want you to be here when my PO came by.” He sighs like it hurts him to admit it.
“Your Parole Officer?”
“Yeah. I just—” He stalls, running a hand through his hair, before grabbing for my hands in his.
I squeeze his hands gently, rubbing my thumbs over the backs to comfort him, knowing admitting this part of himself isn’t easy for someone as closed-off as he is.
“I just didn’t want you to have to ever deal with that side of my life. It’s not who I am, it doesn’t define me, and I didn’t want to put you in an uncomfortable situation.”
My heart breaks in half. I’m just a shit person. Here he is, making plans to try and protect me from his past, something that haunts him every waking moment of every day, then sets up a fun night of my favorite things to cheer me up, all for me to just shit all over it.
“Cam,” I say softly, reaching up to touch the side of his face. “You are so much more than a past.”
His body visibly sags as if my words alone lifted the weight he’d been carrying. The blue and green swirls of his eyes pour out the torture within him as he looks into the depths of me.
He’s questioning if I’ll catch him when he falls, knowing that day will come. There will be a time when he’ll tell me everything. The time will come when he can trust me with every secret he has. He just hasn’t learned that yet.
I tilt my head up, reaching for his lips in mine to give him a sweet, soft, and comforting kiss. Everything about his lips on mine feels like home. The place I need to be when the world around me is falling apart.
“C’mon. Let’s get you out of these clothes. You might get sick or some shit.” I reiterate the words he spewed off at me a minute ago with a suggestive smirk.
I pull him by the wet shirt into the bathroom. Once we get in there, the playful mood has shifted once again. Things are different now and as if we’re both aware of this, the smiles have dropped and the look of desire begins its takeover.
He removes his shirt, tossing his hair in the process, helping me with mine. I turn, starting the water in the shower as he quickly removes his pants. My mouth drops open at the sight of him standing naked before me. I feel like a virgin all over again, taking in the vision of a before me for the first time.
I’m blushing. The heat of my face mixed with the need pooling inside of me again is a dangerous set up.
He confidently strides forward, approaching where I’m standing frozen in place. He slides the straps to my bra down, one by one, eyeing me for a response.
“Hawke.” I swallow, feeling intoxicated by lust again.
“I’m sorry.” He puts his hands up, taking a step back.
“No,” I whisper while shaking my head. I walk forward to close the space he put between us, making him wrap his arms around me. “You just...make me a little nervous.”
He cocks his head with an concerned stare. “Why?”
“Because I can’t control myself around you. And I’m a pretty controlled person.” I grin.
He licks his lips, looking at mine. “Losing control is what you need to set yourself free.”
I think about that for a second, but before I can say anything back, he leans down, kissing me again. He licks my top lip with his tongue, then sucks my bottom lip between his before sliding his tongue through to touch mine.
Everything in the way he kisses gets me turned on. He’s so precise in his movements, changing up the pressure from gentle and soft, to forceful strokes of his tongue massaging mine.
He has a half naked body in front of him, but all he does is hold my face while we kiss, as if he can’t get enough of that alone. The way he holds both my neck and the back of my head is his large hands while making it clear that kissing me like this excites him, is enough to have me undoing my pants to join him.
He pulls apart from the kiss, resting his head on mine for a moment once he see's what I'm doing. He closes his eyes tightly, then licks his lips before abruptly backing up and stepping into the shower. I stand there taken aback by his departure. I watch him through the fogged up glass. He roughly runs his hands through the long hair at the top of his head, running his hands down his face before placing an arm out against the wall of the shower head, letting the water rain down on him.
He’s wearing a blanket of pain again. The bricks that were slowly being removed for me from that wall have stalled. He can’t let me in because he’s fearful of what may happen if he does.
I don’t know what to do. I know what I should do, and that’s leave this bathroom. But I can’t. I step out of my remaining clothing, kicking my wet pants aside and removing my bra before stepping inside the warm shower.
With my chest rising and falling and the feeling of fainting upon me, I approach him from behind, slowly and softly touching the tattooed muscles of his back. He sucks in a breath at the contact, then turns around to face me.
The water is sprinkling off him, raining down from his form to me. He parts his lips, searching my eyes for something, anything that gives him some sort of reassurance. I can feel his hesitation.
“You said you needed me,” I say softly, searching his eyes for truth. “Yet I get the feeling you’re not the type of person to need anyone.”
“I’m not,” he answers quickly.
I bite the corner of my lip, then look away.
“So what is this then, Hawke? What’s happening between us?”
He takes his wet fingers, turning me to face him again.
“I don’t know. But, it’s the worst feeling in the world.” The pain in the truth of what he’s emitting is palpable.
“What do you mean?”
He releases a deep breath, moving me so I’m against the back wall of the shower where he rests an arm against the wall above me, shielding me from the water. His other hand reaches up and pushes the hair back off my forehead before tucking it behind my ear. He holds the side of my neck, his thumb running the length of my jaw, before his eyes connect with mine.
“I’m staring at the only thing that’s got me feeling things after years of being numb. The only eyes that have ever made me question myself and who I am in their reflection. You’re right here in front of me, yet we’re just out of reach.”
I wince my eyes, knowing exactly what he’s referring to. He wants me, but is left with the assumption I won’t jump, left with the idea that I won’t fall along with him when he tiptoes himself off that ledge, assuming I’ll just stand there, watching as he plummets to the earth, alone.
“I don’t understand this,” I whisper, speaking my emotions, attempting to process everything.
“You don’t need to. Don’t try so hard to make it make sense. It doesn’t, it’s not supposed to.”
“I need it to make sense.”
“Why? To justify how you’re feeling?”
“Listen to me Cole, whatever this is between us, is real. Don’t ever let your own thoughts or anyone else’s get in the way of knowing that,” he says, pressing his chest against mine, the look in his eyes filled with a deep seriousness.
I take a breath, my mouth dropping open at the closeness. Yes, I’m a calculated person, but everything about him is a gamble. The part that scares me is I’ve never been more ready to play a hand, not knowing if everything I’ve got on the table will be gone with the flip of a card. It’s becoming more and more worth the risk, just for the chance to win him.
“You told me in the car that I don’t know what I want.”
“I don’t know that you do.” He shakes his head, looking back and forth between my eyes, sadness exuding him.
Our faces are inches apart as he gazes at me from my eyes to my lips, hanging onto my words like his next breath will only come by the next few off my tongue.
“But, I do. I want you.”
My bottom lip is quivering as I say the words. I’ve never felt so nervous, so scared, so vulnerable, so open in such a way. I feel as if I’m stripping myself of the body I was born into, shedding all skin and bone until my beating heart is the only thing left open to him. Exposed and waiting.
His face holds relief but is quickly replaced with pain as if a realization has come over him. He pauses, furrowing his brow, before tightening his jaw.
“You don’t even know me.”
He turns away from me quickly, stepping out of the shower to grab a towel, allowing the water from the shower head to reach me and warm the chill of what he words he spoke have just done.