The soft click of the lock had my head turning towards the door.
Was there someone out there just now?
I was about to stand up to go have a look but Callie’s weak squeeze on my hand seized my full attention. I eased back on the bed and smiled down at her.
“Is that a grimace or a smile? You know you look like a Monet to me now, right?”
A deep rumble vibrated in my chest.
Only this girl could comfort my nerves when she was the one I was worried about and who needed the comforting.
I slid under the sheets beside her, gently scooting us both so I wouldn’t be hanging off the edge of the bed. I slipped an arm under her head, careful not to bump it, and she raised it up lightly before settling in. I gave her bandaged forehead a soft kiss, reaching out for her glasses that were placed on the bedside table. I unfolded and slipped them on the bridge of her nose.
“You should really consider wearing contact lenses, sweet,” I murmured in her hair, filling my lungs with the familiar white musk scent that I loved so much.
She snorted, my lips curling up at the sound.
“I tried. Got itchy eyes the whole day, remember?”
I glanced down at her to see her cute nose scrunch up at the memory.
“Never again,” she said firmly with a sigh. “Besides, imagine me losing consciousness while wearing them, it’d be a pain when I wake up and they would have slipped right at the back of my eyes.”
My eyes darken at the mention of her attack and from the way she peeked up at me, I knew she noticed my sudden frigidity.
“How bad was it?”
Goddamn, I hate the way her brows furrowed in worry. This wasn’t her fault. It’s those girls. Damn, I should’ve protected her better. This was all on me.
I laid another kiss on her forehead. “Don’t you worry about it.”
I’ll handle it. That’s a promise.
Nobody hurts my baby.
Callie tried once again to sit up, slowly this time, but she still had to pinch her eyes close due to vertigo, most probably.
“Easy.” I tried easing her back to the bed but the stubborn girl shook my hands away from her shoulder. I didn’t let go but loosened my grasp.
“Am I in trouble?”
My involuntary intake of breath made her visibly shiver. The tight expression on my face loosened at her reaction and I tightened my arms on her shoulder.
It wasn’t her fault.
Before I could comfort her, a nurse came in.
Oddly, she was carrying a brown paper bag on one hand while she had a board on the other holding it against her chest.
“Excuse me,” she said, eyes locking on Callie and I on the bed together. “I’m sorry to interrupt, just need to check on her.”
I made a show of moving a little bit to provide some space, but I didn’t get up neither did I remove my arm from around Callie.
The nurse approached carefully, waiting if I’d actually move, shook her head when she realized I won’t, and proceeded to round the bed to get to Callie’s side. She placed the paper bag on the bedside and asked Callie a few questions about how she felt.
“Dr. Brennan will be with you in a moment,” she said, finishing her scribble on her chart. “Oh, and someone brought this for you,” she motioned with her pen towards the brown bag before leaving without another word.
Callie’s tiny squeal permeated my ears.
“You ordered this for me?” Her tiny head came up from peering deeply into the paper bag on her lap.
I helped her take the contents out. There were three containers with different types of sushi and sashimi. There was also wasabi and soy sauce included.
Callie excitedly opened up one. I grabbed her wrist before she could pop one maki in her mouth.
“I didn’t order these.”
She just shrugged her shoulders and continued moving her hand towards her opened lips. I moved in quickly, swallowing the pungent piece of raw fish and rice and barely touching her sweet red lips with mine. The shiver that ran down my body almost made me paralyzed.
In seconds, I had chewed the disgusting maki in a mush and swallowed it hard. This time, the shiver had nothing to do with Callie.
“Still gross,” I firmly stated, grimacing with my tongue out.
When I looked back at her, I saw her cute little face in shock, gaping at me. I used a finger to close her mouth.
I swear I could still taste her sweetness despite what I had eaten.
I would have pried her lips open with my tongue if I wasn’t afraid that would wake her up, freaked out, and thus losing my chance.
“Have you ever heard of not taking things from strangers?”
I stood up to grab two water bottles from the fridge and handed her one. With it, I washed the fishy taste off my mouth, wishing it was her juices instead riding my tastebuds off the revolting flavor.
I watched Callie take huge gulps of the water, her throat bobbing up and down, putting me in a trance.
The many things I dreamt of doing with that tight throat of hers.
I had to be wary of my growing erection at the sound of her deep sigh when she was done drinking.
“I never knew I was this thirsty.”
Her glistening plump lips were not helping nor did that comment about being thirsty.
She regarded me with slanted eyes. “But you ate it. And you’re fine.” Her arms crossed under her young bosoms, hard tiny nipples protruding through the thin hopital gown. “Besides, how do we know Fely didn’t send it?”
Get a grip on yourself, Harry.
I gave her a smile. “You’re welcome, sweetheart. I just risked my life so you’d know if it’s safe to eat that garbage.”
Callie stuck her tongue out at me, “It’s much healthier than your greasy preference.”
This girl was just riling me up, even if she didn’t mean to.
“But you’re right.”
I gave her a raised brow.
“I haven’t thanked you for saving my life.”
That beautiful face that had been haunting my dreams day and night, whether she was with me or not, gazed at me so deeply and full of emotions. The urge to run to her and claim her mouth with mine was so strong I felt my fists clench in an attempt to restrain myself.
“Thank you, Harry.”
I don’t know what to say.
I knew what I wanted to do, though. I wanted to wrap her tiny body in my arms and smother her with kisses. Confess my love for her in its most honest and raw form, what I had felt since the moment I laid eyes on her. I wanted to take her far away and keep her for myself. All I wanted was to love her.
We both stared at each other for a few heartbeats, Callie looking away first with a hint of embarrassment on her soft cheeks.
God, I love this girl.
She deserved the whole world. She deserved someone better than a sick fuck like me, hiding behind his reputation and good grades and good friends. The dirty things in my mind would shock everyone to death if they were exposed. The naughty things I dreamt of doing to my underage cousin were a sure way of getting me a ticket to hell.
The moment I denied it, I made the mistake of pushing her away.
I was stupid not to wait and give in to my physical needs.
What made me think that I could just forget about her when I fucked other girls?
The look on her face that night when she… God. There was no going back from there. I knew right then that I should finally let her go. Let this evil lusting die along with her affection for me.
Even though I knew of her crush on me, I couldn’t just very well take advantage of her innocence. What I feel for her was stronger than what she does for me, a lot darker, a lot dirtier.
It would ruin her.
I would ruin her.
And she was too precious, too important to me for me to allow that to happen.
Many times, I had been determined to turn off my feelings. The last straw was when she caught me in bed with a girl.
I hated that I couldn’t explain myself to her, that when all I wanted to do was assure her, I just couldn’t bring myself to say my defense.
I needed her far away from me.
The devil knows what I’ll do if my string finally snaps and I jump her bones.
I really thought I’d be able to do it, walk away.
Again, stupid of me to think it would be that easy.
One call from her, one cry, a single tear, and I had no choice but to crawl back to her waiting arms. In her embrace where it always feels like home.
Seeing her hurt with blood on her head solidified my resolve.
I’m never going to leave my girl ever again.
I’m already knee deep in the pits of hell, what’s the point of
I strode back to the bed and started putting the rest of the packages back in the bag.
“What are you doing?”
“Throwing the garbage in the garbage.”
I don’t like how someone just sent Callie these. Nobody knew which hospital she was taken to, except the school administration through the nurse who went with us. After a short while, I had convinced him he could leave us alone, I’m basically an adult after all, and could take care of my cousin. He said he’d leave the room which made me think he might still be around the hospital and we just haven’t seen him yet. Maybe he’d come back in later. Not that I mind. I’d like to have my girl all to myself. I wouldn’t have had the chance to relish her soft lips otherwise.
Also, I’d already made the necessary calls that I’m sure Callie would be against. Good thing she didn’t bring it up just yet.
“Hang on,” she stopped me by grabbing on my upper arm, her forehead creased as she realized something.
Shit, I spoke too soon.
“Did you tell - ?”
It was too quick of a reply. I knew I’d given myself too quickly.
“Well, yes,” I admitted, rubbing the back of my head. Callie looked mortified.
I put my hands out in defense. “I didn’t tell them about the stitches,” I amended, sitting beside her. “I told them that you bumped your head pretty badly and might have a concussion that’s why you needed to be taken to the hospital.”
It was the truth. The doctor did say that she might have a concussion.
I was watching her reaction as it softened a little and I hate that I was about to bring the frown back in her beautiful face.
“Before they could ask for details, I assured them I could take care of you,” I continued. I’d been taking care of this girl my whole life and have never failed, not until recently. I feel so disappointed with myself. “They were relieved but said that they would be back tonight.”
It’s not like the school wouldn’t inform them either so I just managed a little bit of a white lie. Well, omission of the truth.
Callie groaned frustratingly.
“How am I going to explain this to them?” She pointed at her head. I grimaced at the sight. I should’ve waited for her like I used to and walked her to her next class. I should have known that just talking rationally with Kim wouldn’t make her back off.
Now my girl was hurt and it was all my fault.
I’d have to come clean and confess that it was because of me that she’d been harassed by a group of seniors for over a year, something she begged me not to make a big deal out of when all I wanted to do was have them expelled so they wouldn’t bother her anymore.
“I don’t want them to know,” she said quietly.
My girl was so strong that she stood up to the bullies for a long time before someone gave her support and protection. She doesn’t share her problems and always chooses to fight her own battles. She’d stand her ground and pull out her claws to hit back, she was never one to allow herself to be bullied, but she was still too fragile, too weak, to actually win.
If I didn’t see it with my own two eyes, she’d just deny the rumors of her being bullied by a girl I used to date and her minions who were always trying to find ways to get close to me.
I never get that. If those girls were friends with someone I used to be with, why would they want to hook up with me, too? I’m so not into it and I find it weird and uncomfortable. I’d never date someone one of my buddies had been with.
The doctor came in and after a thorough check up, suggested that Callie stay overnight for further observation, a news the little girl opposed violently.
Dr. Brennan guffawed at the look on her face and I couldn’t help the wide smile that stretched my face, too.
“It was only what I recommended, child. If your guardian,” he shot me a glance, “could take care of you and watch you overnight at home, then that’s fine, too. We just wanted to observe whether you have a concussion.”
He turned to me, saying in a stern voice, “So any signs of extreme headache, nausea, dizziness, loss of balance, or even if she vomited or had problems with her memory, she needed to be taken to the hospital, stat.”
The nurse from our school entered then, and Callie and I both froze at who followed him closely behind.
Callie was the first one to bravely break the silence.
“Hey, mom. Hey, dad.”