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34. In Over My Head

He holds me in his arms as the sun rises beyond the rolling hills of fog. We just sit together, hands holding one another, our fingers softly sliding apart then back together, as we stare into eyes that reflect us.

Tonight was one of the most amazing nights of my life. I’ve never known a person who can pull so many emotions out of me. Someone who can make me feel awakened to a chance at a new life. A different life. One filled with love and openness, one filled with acceptance and hope.

His hands and eyes are doing that thing again. It feels like he’s studying me, memorizing this moment. Cataloging it into his brain for the day he won’t have it in front of him. I can’t stand it.

“I love you,” I whisper, running my hand through his hair, playing with it between my fingers.

His eyes eyebrows draw together as his forehead wrinkles. A pained expression that shows me everything he’s feeling.

“I’ve never said it before. I’ve never felt this. I’ve never heard it fall from someone’s lips when they were looking at me like you are now,” he swallows, his jaw tightening while looking back and forth between my eyes.

“I love you. I love you, I love you.” I repeat it again and again, needing to fill him up with all the times he’s never heard it.

He smiles, biting the corner of his lip before placing them softly against mine for a sweet, sensual kiss.

“Is this real? God, I feel like I’m dreaming,” he whispers, running his fingers softly along my cheekbone, down to my jaw and lips.

“I know the feeling,” I reply, feeling a tightness in my chest.

“How do we climb back down from our cloud?” he asks, looking around at the fog surrounding us in the hills.

We are in our own little world up here, hidden in the trees, looking down the dark reality that lies beneath us, just waiting to wreak havoc on what we’ve so recently found.

“We do it together,” I say, grabbing for his hand in mine. “Together.”

He looks nervous, anxious, unsure. Knowing it’s not going to be easy.

I’ve been gone all night with him. I don’t even know if Patrick knows I’m not home. My phone is empty, without messages, without calls. He could very well have been sleeping while all of this occurred.

I make the trip back home with Hawke riding next to me, his hand in mine. We pull into the driveway seeing Patrick’s car. I take in a shaky breath as I exit the vehicle. I walk into the quiet house with him on my heels. I don’t think Patrick’s even awake yet. I didn’t plan how I would explain us walking in together, but truthfully, I kind of hoped he just saw us so we could get this all over with. How horrible is that?

But he wasn’t up yet. Hawke went to crash in his room for a while, lingering by his door before he did, waiting for a kiss. My heart fluttered nervously as I gave him a quick kiss. He smirked at me adoringly, not wanting to let go of my hand as I slowly pulled away.

I immediately got into the shower, reluctantly washing away the memories of the night. If I could bask in the smell of Hawke all day, I would.

After exiting the shower, I walk out into the bedroom Patrick and I share, gasping as I see him sitting up at the edge of the bed, his elbows on his knees, face in his hands.

He knows.

“Oh, my god, I didn’t know you were awake,” I comment, my heart racing in fear.

He sits there for a moment, looking at the floor, then drops his hands, looking up at me with a straight face that slowly turns into a big grin.

I’m terrified, feeling the iciness of his look travel up my spine, and I’m sure it shows.

“About ready to head out?” he asks with an upbeat voice.

“Um, huh?”

“The family brunch. Why don’t you finish getting ready and I’ll get some coffee going.”

Does he know I came in late this morning? Did he hear me with Hawke? Did he see us? Did someone else see us? I can’t gauge what’s happening right now.

“Oh, yeah...okay. Perfect.” I stutter out, trying to keep my cool whilst figuring this all out.

After drying and curling my hair and getting into a comfortable sundress, I try to apply my light makeup with shaking hands, contemplating how I’m going to go about this. I don’t have any sort of plan, no speech prepared, nothing.

It’s all happening so fast.

I walk out into the kitchen nervously biting my bottom lip, turning the corner, surprised to see both Hawke and Patrick sitting at the kitchen table together.

Patrick sees me first as his face lights up with a smile at my appearance.

He must not know.

Hawke sees Patrick’s face change and turns his head, leaning back from his seat to take a look at me. Patrick gets up, walking towards me for a hug but all I see are Hawke’s eyes taking me in from head to toe. He sits up in his seat, seemingly uncomfortable, as Patrick’s hands wander from my lower back to the bottom of my ass, cupping where the skin meets my thigh.

I swallow nervously, watching Hawke’s fist curl into itself, before Patrick pulls back and I plaster on my fake smile.

“I’ve got the ingredients for the potatoes in the car, figured you could just pop them in over there while everything else is cooking,” he mentions, grabbing my purse for me that’s hanging on the chair where Hawke’s sitting.

He leans forward so Patrick can retrieve it as we exchange an awkward glance. I’m showing him the pain in my eyes for this situation. I have to get out of this.

“Pat, I’m feeling a little off. Maybe I can make the potatoes and just head home for the afternoon, I think I’m coming down with something.” I touch the back of my hand to my forehead, wincing my eyes.

“Nice try, Nic, you’re not going to get outta this one that easy.” He rolls his eyes, chuckling as Hawke glares at the back of his head, then tension in his face evident.

I have unfortunately used this excuse before to not hang out with his family. I’m screwed.

“Your throat hurt? Kinda sore? Mine’s been a little sore, kinda dry too.” Hawke grabs his neck, clearing his throat. “Must be something going around.”

He’s trying to help me. Ugh, I love him.

“Kinda, yeah...” I nod, agreeing.

“Nic, please.” Patrick scoffs. “We don’t have to stay long, I promise.”

He grabs my hands in his, giving me a sweet smile.

“I just need to wash up real quick, then we can head out. Gimme ten minutes.”

He gives me a quick peck on the cheek while Hawke stares the entire time with narrowed eyes from his seat at the table. Finally getting into the shower, I breathe a sigh of relief.

I walk over to the counter where the coffee pot is, bending forward with my forehead against the cool surface as the coffee continues to drip next to me.

I hear Hawke approach me from behind.

“You alright?” he asks quietly.

I sigh against the surface, then straighten, turning towards him. “Yeah, I’ll be fine. This is just...just, I don’t know. I’m sorry.”

He looks down at me through the dark locks hanging in front of his eyes, moving in closer to wrap his arms around my waist. His hips pin me in place against the counter. I know we’re pushing it, pushing our luck by doing this with Patrick literally thirty feet away, but it’s uncontrollable at this point.

“I had to come back out of the room and make sure you were alright. I knew he wasn’t about to let you off the hook with this family brunch shit,” he comments, his hands traveling from my hips to my lower waist, over the hump of my ass to the same place Patrick’s hands just were. “Plus I couldn’t wonder what his hands were doing to you. I had to know for sure.”

“Cam,” I wince slightly, hating that it hurts him so much, when in reality, Patrick’s touch means nothing to me anymore. Not in comparison to his.

“Tell me you’re mine,” he whispers, leaning in closer, running his lips against mine.

I suck in a breath at his ability to make my stomach feel like I’m dropping twenty stories with the slip of a few words.

“I’m yours,” I whisper breathlessly.

The door to the bathroom opens as we immediately pull away from each other, Hawke grabbing for a cup out of the cupboard, me opening the fridge and bending over and trying to breathe while anxiety cripples me in half.

I hear the door to our room close so I know he’s in there changing. I stand up, turning to look at Hawke with a worried face, showing my stress. He shakes his head, running a hand through his hair, looking over at me.

“It’s fine, he didn’t see,” he says under his breath, practically mouthing the words.

I have to stop this. I have to clear the air between Patrick and I. I need to be honest with him, but how honest, I haven’t yet decided. He can’t know it’s Hawke. I can’t risk him getting kicked out on his ass while he’s trying to pick himself back up. It’s a strange situation I’m in, we’re all in.

“Ready babe?” Patrick asks, walking towards me in his mint green zip up sweater with his slacks on, his hair parted on the side and slicked back.

It’s peculiar how even for family, they all feel the need to present themselves by getting dressed up. I look down at my dress quickly, wondering why I’ve always felt the need to impress these people, when with Hawke, I could be wearing at black, plastic garbage bag and he’d make me feel like the most exceptional person in the room.

Your insides don’t matter to these people. It’s the outside that counts, the appearances.

Hawke leans back against the counter with his cup of coffee in hand, eyeing us like, well...like a hawk.

“Enjoy the place to yourself for a few hours. Call up your wild thing, show her a good time.” Patrick wiggles his eyebrows at him.

I wish I could slap the scowl off Hawke’s face, but he quickly changes his expression himself. A sexy grin pulls at his lips before he licks them.

“She showed me a good time. Last night.” He runs his hand along the back of his neck, tilting his head to the side.

Patrick laughs. “Man, I don’t know how you do it, so many women.”

I’m so uncomfortable standing here for this conversation. I don’t want to look Hawke in the eye from behind Patrick, but I can’t even help him. My eyes slowly drift upward and lock onto his.

“Nah, there’s really only one,” he says, looking directly at me.

I swallow, looking down at the floor as I take in some oxygen to survive.

“No shit, eh? Finally locking it down?” Patrick asks, pausing with his hand on his hip, astonished.

“Crazy, right? She’s fucking incredible though. Wild as fuck, drives me crazy,” he continues, a twinkle in his playful eyes. “I’m in love with her, it’s insane.”

“Incredible. Well you should bring her by sometime, we could all have dinner one night,” Patrick offers as my mouth drops open slightly behind him.

“I just might,” Hawke responds with a knowing grin.

“Alright, well we’re heading out.” Patrick gives him a little wave, then heads out of the door.

I grab the knob, going to close it, while taking one last look at Hawke against the counter. I bite the corner of my lip, trying not to smile at his words replaying in my head. He leans his head back confidently, looking at me through his sexy eyelashes while his tongue toys with his lip ring.

Butterflies everywhere with that look. I’m so in over my head with this guy. In over my head with this whole situation.

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