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27. If Looks Could Kill

The next morning I wake to the sound of light breathing. I had to orient myself for a moment, feeling like everything that had happened yesterday was a dream.

It’s funny how a few quick moments can drastically change the entire outcome of your life, causing everything you thought you knew to turn upside down. One decision leads you into another life, an entirely new direction. Anyone who says they can’t control their own fate has never tried.

I hadn’t tried before Hawke. I was sucked into the belief that the power was out of my control and that I should consider myself blessed and lucky to be where I was and let that be that.

By no means am I saying I’m not lucky. I’m healthy, I’m alive, I have the freedom of choice. But that’s where the power lies. I have choices. Many. Choices I need to make to find myself, and what I do with that will be monumental.

Hawke stirs next to me before sighing and pulling me flush against him again, dragging the blanket over me. I smile to myself, loving the fact that he’s seemingly doing this in his sleep. It’s just natural for him to nurture.

I lean up above him a bit, staring down at his relaxed face, his pouty lips begging to be kissed. I press my lips against them feeling the cool metal of his lip ring. I pull back and grin at his sleeping face. I’m enjoying indulging in this without him knowing.

I lean over to the side of his face, brushing the inky hair back away from his forehead. I just barely touch my mouth to the shell of his ear, whispering words from a poem I’d read that made me think of him, “You’re my calm in the soul, crazy in the flesh.”

I leave a soft kiss on his earlobe, then find his lips again and get another fix. He inhales a breath, then slowly begins moving his lips against mine, waking up and figuring out what’s happening.

“Mmm,” he hums against me, making my heart skip a beat. “Busted,” he whispers with a cracked tone. “Now you know how I felt.”

I break out into a smile, remembering the time he kissed me and woke me up after cuddling. He couldn’t help himself, and the idea he was thinking what I’m thinking warms me all over.

He blinks his eyes open, looking at me through squinted lashes. His forehead wrinkles as he looks around the room.

“What time is it?”

“Nine,” I say, looking at my phone.

Yep, no more messages, no missed calls. As if I didn’t exist at all. It’s honestly starting to anger me more than anything else, I’m not even sad about it anymore.

“Shit,” Hawke says abruptly. “I gotta run.”

He sits up quickly, standing to run a hand through his hair, pulling up the sweats that are hanging off his hips, making me feel a tingling ache in my core. His shirtless form never fails to get me excited. He bends over and begins folding the blankets from the floor.

“I got it. Don’t worry about it. Just do whatever you need to do,” I say, grabbing a blanket from him with an easy smile.

I have no idea where he needs to be or why, but I’m assuming maybe it has something to do with a new job.

He ignores me, folding until all the blankets are put away and the pillows are piled back where they belong, clearly not letting me do it myself. Quickly changing into a pair of jeans and a new t-shirt, he slips on his boots, grabbing for the keys to Kid’s car, or what used to be his.

“I have a couple things to do today, but will you be around before work tonight?” he asks, walking towards me.

“Um, oh shit. Yeah, I go in early tonight, so no. There’s some poker tournament at the VFW today and many of them head to 9-5 straight after. I told John I’d open.”

He licks his lips, looking down to the ground, then back at me, seemingly disappointed.

“What time do you work till?”

“I’ll probably get done around nine as long as it’s not too busy. Most of them crash early because it’s an all day event.” I shrug.

“Alright, I’ll be there later,” he says, looking at me with a grin pulling at his perfect lips.

“You will?” I ask, matching his grin.

“Of course, I’ll need to see you,” he answers, like it was crazy to assume he wouldn’t.

I can’t contain the smile that he puts on my face. I shouldn’t ever try.

“Well...I guess I’ll see you later then?” I bite the corner of my lip.

I can’t help but to be a little disappointed. I thought maybe we’d have the day to spend together.

He notices my sudden shift in energy. Gazing at my lips, his tongue toying with his lip ring while watching me. He grabs my waist, pulling me into his so we’re flush together.

“I can’t wait to see you,” he whispers, still staring at my mouth.

“You’re seeing me now, silly,” I chuckle, my heart racing again at the closeness.

“And I miss you already,” he says in a serious tone, pressing his forehead against mine.

His hands wrap around me, one behind my back, the other at the side of my neck, the thumb at the edge of my jaw, tracing the line.

“Last night was amazing,” I mutter out, then mentally slap myself for sounding so stupid.

“All of yesterday was amazing,” he replies, staring deeply into me. “But, everything with you always is.”

I suck in some air, feeling faint at his words. He makes me feel so rare, so incomparable. As if me being in his life has changed him. No one has ever made me feel so important, my existence so crucial for their survival.

He dips his head down, as if he’s about to kiss me, but stalls suddenly to check my eyes for permission. I nod as he finally presses his lips to mine softly and sweetly, before kissing my forehead. He rests his head upon mine again, as if knowing he has to go, but hanging on to this moment as long as the moving speed of time will allow.

After his departure, I spent a few hours cleaning up the house. I wash dishes, thinking of him. I wash a load of laundry, thinking of him. I make coffee, thinking of him. He’s the only thing on my mind, his presence now captivating my entire consciousness. It doesn’t seem healthy. I can’t get him off my mind and yet I can’t seem to get in Patrick’s at all.

I’ve thought about calling him, but why? So I can feel like I’m pestering him again? He can call me if he wants to, he’s the one that left. As soon as he comes back, we need to have a serious talk about where we go from here, how we move forward, separately. I’m nervous just thinking about it because I know in my heart, it won’t be easy.

I spend the rest of the afternoon working on sending some documents for a final draft I’ve been editing to the publishing house, while curiously wondering where Hawke is and what he’s been up to. Sitting back into the chair at my desk and taking a sip of tea, I hear a knock at the door, startling me.

Strange. Hawke wouldn’t knock, nor would Patrick. No one comes here besides us three.

I make my way to the door, opening it, and seeing a large, burly man holding a clipboard in front of me.

“Good morning, Ma’am!” he says kindly with a perky tone. “Just dropping off. Need a signature.”

He’s not holding a package, or any mail at all for that matter.

It’s then that I notice my car parked in the driveway. It’s been delivered. From the bar?

“O-oh, yes, of course, “I stutter, having no clue as to how it got here.

“Needed a new battery. Mr. Hawke said to have it here before three for ya.” He smiles a tight smile while I sign the paper, noticing the name of the shop stitched on his uniform.

Mr. Hawke, huh?

I feel that thing you don’t want to feel in your heart again. That strong tightness, that inability to breathe properly, insinuating something that shouldn’t be. I try to hold back my grin before handing the clipboard back to him and saying goodbye.

I stand there with my arms crossed leaning against the open door, staring at the car, the cool morning breeze sweeping across my face, doing nothing to cool the warmth burning inside of me.

Work is busy.

It appears this poker tournament had a great turnout this year. The bar is crawling with new faces, along with the old, most of them already on their way towards passing out early. I can’t help but gaze longingly at the door, waiting for him to come. I know I’m being stupid for doing this, but I can’t help the excitement that I feel every time that door swings open at the chance it might be him.

John comes in a few hours later with a big smile. This guy is just always genuinely so happy, it’s infectious to be around.

“Nic, Nic! There she is!” he declares, walking around the back of the bar, giving me a little side hug. “How are ya darlin’?”

“Good, it’s busy as hell today,” I say, nodding towards the commotion of people.

“I know, you should’ve called me, I could’ve came in earlier to help.”

“Eh, ain’t nothing I can’t handle.” I wink at him before the door opens again.

It’s insane, I feel his presence before I see it. The hairs on my arms raise and I get instantly anxious, yet calm at the sight of him. It’s the strangest feeling, one I’m clearly not used to.

There he is, in his black ripped up jeans, loose black t-shirt clinging to his form, his tattoos, the perfect accent to the entire look. His hair is slightly slicked back again with those pieces that drop forward hanging into his eyes, his tall statuesque form making the people around him seem so insignificant.

Kid walks in behind him as they make their way to the table in the back. Passing through, Hawke turns his head, connecting his eyes to mine. His hard face breaks into a shy, half smile while a piece of my heart breaks off and drops into the pit of my stomach.

We are in on our own little secret and I’m completely turned on just knowing that not even twenty-four hours ago he was inside me. He runs his hand through his hair, before licking his lips as his eyes gaze at me flirtatiously. I bite the corner of my lip, and sigh as he starts talking to Kid.

“You guys seem to be getting along again, huh?” John’s voice snaps me out of my gaze with a startle.

“Uh, yeah...we’ve been getting along fine,” I spit out quickly, turning to stir the ice in the cooler that doesn’t need to be stirred.

He leans back against the back of the bar, crossing his arms with a questionable smirk, staring at Hawke then back at me.

“I think he has a crush on you,” he says as Hawke looks over at me from the seat he’s sitting in making me feel flush.

He’s leaning back in his chair, an elbow on the back of it, one of his legs splayed out casually while he chews on the tip of his thumb like he does, staring at me like he's envisioning all the things he wants to do to me later.

“That’s preposterous,” I reply to John, still staring back into Hawke’s eyes, unable to peel them away.

“I mean that would explain the anger. He was fighting his feelings for you, probably hates seeing you with Patrick, wishing it was him holding you late at night. That’s gotta be awkward, eh?” he laughs jokingly before pushing off the bar and grabbing some freshly washed glasses and stacking them.

I could just die. If only you knew.

“Shut-up John.” I playfully push him in the chest as he continues laughing then swats a bar rag at me.

Hawke eye’s narrow slightly at the touch as he sits up in his seat watching us. I flutter my lashes, feeling a little overwhelmed before shaking my head of the conversation and returning to work.

John and I are working amazing together as we always do, shuffling back and forth, filling drinks for each other, putting drinks on tabs, taking payments while the other mixes up cocktails. I go to make a rum and coke for someone when the coke from the fountain runs out.

“Shit,” I whisper to myself. “John, I gotta connect another coke in back, I’ll be right back.”

He shoots me a thumbs up as he leans over the bar, trying to hear another guy over the loud music.

I make my way to the back hallway to the supply room. Opening the door, fingers grasp around my upper arm, pushing me in through the tiny, dark space. I gasp before I see who it is. Turning to face Hawke leaning over me with a playful grin, he helps me into the small closet area, closing the door behind him.

He presses his lips against mine forcefully, finding my tongue immediately. I moan, falling back into the opposing wall while his hands cup my face. I run my hands along his lower back, finding my way beneath his shirt and touching his warm skin as we continue the kiss. It's so necessary, this need to touch him, the need to taste him again. He pulls back, seemingly out of breath, before smiling his perfect half grin again.

“Cole, what are you doing to me?” he asks before placing soft sweet kisses all over my face.

I grip his shirt in my hands, pulling him into my body, needing to feel that part of him against me again. He presses himself into me, pinning my hips against the wall. I lean into him, licking the side of his neck, finding a small area of skin just above his collar bone and suck, dragging my teeth roughly. He groans deeply letting his head hang as I leave a mark.

“Fuck,” he says breathlessly, pressing his erection into me, lifting the edge of my shirt and finding the skin above my hip.

“Hawke, I gotta get back out there.” I giggle as he starts kissing my neck.

He groans, dropping his neck in the crook of my neck.

“I know, I just couldn’t help it. I missed the taste of you.” He traces his lips along my jaw.

I pull him back a little bit by his shoulders so I can look at him. I cup my hands around his neck, thumbs along his jaw.

“This morning, you left to get my car fixed?”

“Of course, you had to get to work today,” he says like it was idiotic for me to think he wouldn’t.

I sigh, gazing from his lips back to those sweet, soul crushing eyes.

“Thank you. So much. I can’t-”

“Cole. Stop,” he interrupts. “I’d do anything for you.”

My stomach flips as I feel the butterflies of his words unleashed inside of me. I stare at him in awe, letting it all sink in.

“C’mon, let me hook this up for you, then you can get back out there,” he says, taking the box from behind me.

We both walk out at different times, him a minute before me, making sure as to not have been caught by anyone. I smile to myself, hopping back behind the bar, when I realize no one did as I continue filling drinks and taking orders.

I pour up some shots for a group of older men when I hear a slight commotion coming from the back corner. Hawke’s corner.

“Guess we’re drinking with scum today!” a man, who’s clearly inebriated yells.

My head snaps up at his words. He’s looking at the table where Hawke, Kid, and a few of their friends are sitting. He just sits there, staring up at the guy with narrowed eyes, his body relaxed with his chin tipped up, his brows knit together, clearly not entertaining him.

“Fucking junkies everywhere!” the man yells again.

John is on the other end of the bar helping some customers over there, oblivious to the commotion, so I make my way over to the disruption. Hawke sees me approaching and an immediate look of anxiousness fills his face.

“Waste of fucking space. Gotta keep animals like you locked up,” he says, directing his anger at Hawke.

My mouth drops open at his disrespect as my eyes travel between him and this man.

“Sir, you need to leave,” I say sternly, approaching his side.

“What?” He turns to face me. “No, fuck no!” he yells into my face.

Hawke snaps, standing up sending his chair flying backwards to place himself between us abruptly, staring down at the man dangerously. He looks so intimidating and threatening all of a sudden. A far cry from the soft, gentle guy who just met me in the back room.

“Kid, get her out of here,” he says calmly through a clenched jaw, eyes never leaving the man in front of him.

Kid gently grabs my upper arm. “Come on, let’s let them handle this.”

He starts walking me back towards the bar when I take his wrist in mine, twisting his arm around backwards to free myself of his grasp.

“Ah! Damn girl!” he shrieks.

I march back towards the man who’s in Hawke’s face, approaching the side of them, ready to push him out of the door myself if I have to.

“How’s it feel to be a literal piece of shit?” he growls at him with a disgustingly smug smile.

I can’t take this anymore. He’s baiting him, degrading him while knowing Hawke can’t do anything about it. I’m assuming he knows who he is by the way he’s talking down to him. He clearly knows his story and the fact that he went to prison.

The look on Hawke’s face is enough to break my heart. I see his pain, I see his anger. He narrows his eyes, clenching his jaw so tightly with his fists curls at his sides. He’s irate and emotionally distraught, but in the position where he can’t express that.

I gently place my hand on Hawke’s shoulder, hoping to bring him some sort of calm, but he flinches and abruptly dodges my touch, scaring me slightly. I suck in a breath and back off, suddenly intimidated myself.

“Say it, I fucking dare you,” Hawke threatens through his teeth at the man, his chest heaving in anger.

“Oh, yeah? What are you gonna do? Kill me?” he replies with a knowing face.

A knowing face with a word that sends an immediate chill down my spine. The kind of chill that shakes me to my core.

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