28. Make Me Feel
“What are you gonna do? Kill me?”
I can’t get the phrase out of my own head. Why would he say it like that? It was like he was insinuating Hawke had killed before. I can’t imagine he’d be capable of something so horrible, so vicious. It doesn’t seem remotely possible. Not the guy I’ve come to know.
Shortly after the man got in his face, the tension was insanely high and I was legitimately terrified that Hawke would snap, but he never did. He stood there in the face of the insults, letting them bounce off his tough exterior like a shield he’d formed from the tragedies of his past.
He was so strong, holding it together with his fist shaking at his side, when all I knew he wanted to do was break. He knew what the consequences were for slipping up, even if he was in the right. I was in awe of his restraint.
John ran over from behind the bar, breaking up the scene with his loud, stern tone. He kicked the drunk idiot out along with his few friends who were starting to get rowdy too. He’s going to be a great dad one day with that voice. I was intimidated by him, even in his specs and Crocs.
Hawke turns to me, knowing we’re still being watched by everyone as the incident caused a bit of a scene.
“I’m sorry, I...I didn’t know it was you that touched me—”
I forget the mental place he’s still in. Always needing to protect his back. Never knowing who’s attacking next. Five years in prison will do that to you, I’m sure.
“It’s fine Hawke, I shouldn’t have intervened.”
“Let’s go man, head to the cabin instead,” Kid comes up beside him, slapping him on the back. “You don’t need this shit.”
He turns to him, running hand against the back of his neck before turning to face me again.
“I guess, I’m gonna go,” he says, lingering there for a moment as Kid walks towards the door.
“Yeah,” I reply, looking down at the floor, then back up at him.
I’m so confused. My heart hurts for him and his situation, yet something about it all terrifies me. How can you tell if you really know a person? Is it how they make you feel, or is it what they show you? Is it action, or is it emotion? Every time I think I know who Hawke is, I get struck with the cold realization that I don’t really know him at all. I don’t want to dig into his past, I want to trust him. But can I trust he’s not withholding certain things that would scare me away?
“You alright?” he asks softly, before reaching out his hand for my face.
He quickly pauses, curling the hand into a fist before pretending to scratch an itch, forgetting where he is.
“Says the guy who was harassed by some asshole who knew you couldn’t fight back. I’m so mad for you,” I grumble, folding my arms tightly across my chest and glaring towards the front door.
He rests his hands on top of his head, sighing while looking at me with a somber expression, almost appearing sad.
“What is it?” I ask softly at his strange demeanor.
“I just, well I thought maybe you’d...” he stutters, then shakes his head, stopping himself.
“What? You thought I’d be scared of you? You thought I’d listen to that guy? Take his word for who you are?” I ask, questioning what it was he was thinking.
He opens his mouth but the words don’t come out.
“I’m not afraid of you, Hawke. I know you’d never hurt me. And I can’t even begin to imagine what you’ve been through-”
“Hawke! Marion’s here! Let’s ride out.” Kid calls out, interrupting our conversation from the door.
He turns to hold up a finger while Marion pops her head in through the door. It’s that chick that was at our house that night. The one who had her tongue down Hawke’s throat. The idea of them all going to the cabin together bothers me. I’m instantly feeling a tinge of jealousy. This is such a messy situation.
I blink with a bland face, remembering the scene as Hawke turns back to face me. His face studies mine curiously as if he’s trying to figure me out. I get the sense that he doesn’t really want to leave, but can’t exactly explain to Kid why he’d want to stay.
“Well, I should go...” I point a thumb over my shoulder at the bar, interrupting the awkward moment.
He brushes up besides me as if walking past, but interlocks his pinky with mine. Facing the door with his mouth by my ear, he whispers in a deep, demanding tone, “Later. Me and you.”
It’s all he says before walking past me and heading out of the bar. A burst of excitement tingles my insides, lighting a fire deep within. Four little words from him can change my entire attitude like the flip of a switch.
Later that night, I got off around nine-thirty, finally making the trip back home. As soon as I get in the car, my phone rings.
I rest my head back against the car seat for a moment. Unsure of what to do. Do I answer it? Do I ignore it? Do I throw the phone through the window and drive off across the country until I run out of gas?
I make the decision to answer it on the last ring.
“Hey Nic,” he says softly. “How are you?”
I take a deep breath, calming my nerves.
“Um, I’m good. Just got off work, heading home.”
“So you got the car fixed? Everything was okay?”
“Actually Hawke took it in for me. It needed a new battery. He paid for it.”
I’m not even pretending not to be snarky with my response. Hawke took care of it. He took care of me, when he wasn’t around, in more ways than one.
“Really?” he questions in disbelief. “That’s surprising.”
“Yes, really.” I roll my eyes, shaking my head as I turn onto our street.
“Well good. Glad it’s fixed.”
My eyes narrow at his response. What kind of man is okay with another man taking care of their woman for him. He literally doesn’t care. Doesn’t care that he paid for it, that he stepped up to help, nothing.
I remain quiet, not even knowing what to say.
“Everything else alright? You and Hawke getting along okay? He’s not giving you any trouble is he? Sean told me he saw a few new cars on the block, thought maybe he was having a party or something.”
“Patrick, are you kidding me?” I scoff.
Of course. That would explain it. Sean, his older brother by a year and a half. He works in the family business too, but clearly didn’t go on the trip. No he’s just staying around town, spying on the house, watching my car’s whereabouts. He’s a prick. I hate Sean.
“Just making sure he isn’t messing the place up for you,” he comments.
“He’s been fine,” I say, clipping it short, as I park the car and sit back into the seat.
“Alright, just checking. You home now?”
“Yep, just pulled in, I’ll wave to Sean.”
“Not funny,” he responds. “But seriously...I miss you.”
As mad as I want to be, there is a small part of me that’s just sad. I’m sad for what I’ve done to him. I’m sad for how this is playing out. I’m sad for an ending that is on the horizon.
“Do you?” I ask, seriously curious.
“Of course, Nic. I know it’s been hard lately, but when I get back, I promise everything will be better.”
Ugh, god, I don’t even know what to say. I squeeze the steering wheel in my hand, closing my eyes tightly.
“But, I should get to bed. One more meeting tomorrow morning and then I’ll be on my way home to you.”
“Okay,” I say softly. “Well, goodnight.”
“Goodnight babe. I’ll see you soon.”
With that, he hangs up. I smash my forehead into the steering wheel, hating everything that is my life. I hate that I can’t say anything. I can’t tell him over the phone. I don’t even know if I can tell him at all. It isn’t just my situation that’s at risk anymore and that makes everything all the more difficult.
I walk into the dark house, flipping on the lights and throwing my bag and phone on the kitchen table. I immediately head to the shower, letting the warm water be the healing touch I need. I stand there under the scalding heat of the shower head, hoping for answers, hoping for clarity, but nothing happens. It’s just another shower over a guilty person who’s seeking resolution in places she’ll never find.
Changing into some leggings and a large oversized t-shirt, I let my hair air dry after combing it out. I walk out to grab a glass of water from the fridge when I’m surprised by the silhouette of a person sitting at the kitchen table.
“Jesus Christ!” I scream out, seeing Hawke. “You scared the piss out of me!”
He’s leaning back into the chair with an arm over the back, the tips of his fingers on my phone on the table, a strange look in his eye.
“How was the cabin?” I ask, not sure about the energy between us at the moment.
“Lame as always,” he says somewhat coldly.
His hand hovers over my phone for a moment before setting it on the table next to it. “Patrick forgot to tell you he loved you.”
His eyes snap up at mine for a moment as I feel like I’ve been hit with a brick to the gut. I take a breath, swallow what feels like glass in my suddenly dry throat.
“He called when I was on my way home from work. It’s not what you think-”
“Cole stop,” he says, interrupting me while standing up, raising his hands in the air.
I look around, desperately searching for the words right now, but I don’t even know what to say. He’s hurt, I can literally feel it. After everything he’s been through tonight, now this.
He walks towards me as I anxiously look up at him. He gazes from my eyes to my lips and back, as if suddenly, because of this text, there’s a barrier between us that wasn’t there before. He’s contemplating even touching me now.
“You don’t need to explain yourself,” he says softly.
The way he’s just standing over me, so close, yet seemingly miles away breaks me.
I grab the bottom edge of his t-shirt, pulling him to me before I wrap my arms around his waist. “But I do.”
The move shocks him, as his stiff form slowly molds around mine, his heart beating against my ear.
“I do need to explain. I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t even know if I am, I don’t know what I’m doing,” I say exacerbated, looking up at him, my chin on his chest.
“Come here,” he says soothingly, bringing me over to the couch to sit down with him.
He sits back into the couch, opening his legs for me. I move into the space, curling into him as he wraps his arms around me in a comforting way. He rubs my back softly with the tips of a few of his fingers.
“You’re not-” he stutters, trying to find his words. “You’re not hurting me. I understand where you’re at with this, not that it makes it easy. But I know it takes time to figure it all out.”
I turn to look up at him, leaning back into the crook of his elbow as he holds me. Being close like this, touching each other is such a calming and comforting place. I hated not being here a minute ago. I hated his hesitation to touch me. I never want to be back in that place.
“Remember when I told you that you don’t even know who you are yet? And that you hold yourself back, but I’ll be here when you figure it out?” he asks softly, running soft circles with his fingers on my thigh.
“I do,” I reply, remembering that moment between us in the car on the way back from the concert.
“Well you’re figuring it out,” he says proudly. “I’m here. And I’ll be here. Just...thought you should know.”
He’s basically telling me he’s not going anywhere. He’s waiting for me. Waiting for me to grow, to become who I am. He’s the net that’s set to catch me when I fall.
I turn to face him as he lays back, eyeing me for a response.
“I’m terrified of hurting you,” I admit truthfully. “I just need time to sort it out, but I will.”
“I’m a big boy, Cole, I can withstand a lot. I’d withstand more than what I probably should for you.”
“Just, don’t worry about me,” he interrupts.
He pulls me up to face him. We’re inches apart again, our eyes reflecting each other’s, seeing the soul inside, knowing it, and finding our lost home again.
“Wreck me, shatter me, destroy me, be the ruin of me. I don't care, just make me feel again,” he whispers against my lips.
“Cam,” I whisper, wincing at his words.
I grab for his face in my hands, running my thumbs over his bottom lip. I rub the ring in the middle, then slowly inch closer. I pause, looking up at him for approval and he gives me a little grin and head nod like I did to him this morning.
I press my lips to his and immediately I’m able to breathe again. He’s the source of all of my calm, the creator of my happiness, the inspiration I’ve always sought but could never find.
He groans in approval, slipping his tongue inside my mouth. Every kiss with him feels more erotic than sex alone. It’s so intimate and sexy how he works his tongue. It’s him communicating his emotions, his feelings through the power of his kiss alone.
One thing leads to another and before I know it, I’m on my back on the couch with him hovering above me again. He looks down at me with his hair falling into his eyes, his muscular arms bracing himself just above me, his breathing, already labored. We’re back to this without a hiccup, back to needing more than we ever seem to be able to get from one another.
“What are we doing?” I ask with an easy grin, running my fingers through a piece of hair in front of his eye.
He smirks back at me, studying my face beneath him, before his face turns serious. “We’re losing ourselves in each other.”
I swallow at his words, knowing each step we take, we fall a little bit further. Leaning down, he licks his lips before placing them on mine. He presses his weight on me, letting me feel all of him as we get lost together in our playground of darkness and desire.