The Gentiles

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There was nothing to do except head to my room. Not too long after I cleaned up and got to bed, I fell instantly asleep. I plugged my phone first and sent a message to Fely that I was fine but I did not wait for her response. I made a mental note to fill her in with what happened when I see her at school. If I failed to do so, she wouldn’t let the matter rest until my ears had bled from her constant begging.

Multiple worries crossed my mind as my head hit the pillow but I forced myself to shut them all out for the moment. Every single thing. Every single one of them. My eyes got heavy and before I knew it, I was blacked out and snoozing heavily. After everything that happened, I thought I’d be restless and won’t be able to relax.

Thank heavens, I thought. I must be pretty exhausted.

I was in such a deep sleep when a cough racked through my throat. My head pounded and my body moved with a weight. I slipped out of bed, and grabbed the water bottle I kept on my bedside table. I tried not to fully rouse myself and to just stay in a half asleep, half awake state, but to no avail. The moment the cool steel touched my lips and the water smoothed the dryness of my throat, my eyes were wide and my brain was alert. I really hated having to wake up in the middle of the night because once I’m awake, it’s hard for me to fall back asleep.

I tipped the bottle higher. Darn it, I breathed. It was empty and what I had was not enough.

A bit annoyed, I slapped my glasses on my face, not even bothering to put my bedroom slippers on, and headed for the kitchen. I sighed, and opened the fridge. Maybe milk would help. Afraid of taking too much time downstairs and thus not being able to go back to sleep, I decided against heating it. I even disregarded pouring it in a glass and drank straight from the carton. I’d just place it at the back of the fridge so mom or dad can take the one in front, I mentally noted. Though, I didn’t mind if Harry drank from it.

In hindsight, I should’ve had left it in room temperature even for just a while because the coldness of it made me cough once more. I barely screwed the cap on the carton when a huge hand circled my wrist. Naturally, I panicked and dropped the milk on the floor. The liquid pooled underneath my feet and the coldness made me jump. Into the arms of none other than -

“Harry,” I squeaked.

His other hand clamped on my mouth as he walked me a couple of steps back to the counter.

“Quiet, sweetheart. You’ll wake the whole house.”

There, he pinned me with his waist before grabbing both sides of my face. Our eyes clashed in the dark room. I had swallowed the scream that was about tear out of my mouth. My heart still stung from the pain he unintentionally caused.

What happened this afternoon at school. Ignoring and avoiding me when my mom lashed at me with her words and I was expecting him to defend me like he always does.

Somehow, staring into his eyes made me feel like I was looking at my own unshed tears. It’s notably hard to see, it’s hard to swallow, too. Hard to breathe. Hard to pretend I could just crush the feelings I have for him.

“Sh,” he murmured on my lips.

I was relieved to know it was just him and not some kind intruder. Didn’t mean I had also calmed down. The beating of my heart was uncontrollable. It was hard to miss especially to him who had his chest practically plastered against mine. A blush heated up my face as I realized he wasn’t wearing a shirt. We only had the thin material of my night dress separating our skin. By the way he molded our bodies together, it looked like he wanted no space between us.

“Harry,” I said once more, only this time in a whisper. My hands unconsciously reached for either of his upper arms for support.

A ghost of a smile appeared on his lips before he squeezed me to him, cradling the back of my head and kissing my temple. “You’re alright.”

“Yeah,” I answered on his chest even though it wasn’t really a question. The heat of his body calmed me, his scent sending comfort that was all too familiar. Intoxicating and addictive. I crave for the safety only he could offer.

“You almost gave me a heart attack. I was so worried about you, sweetheart.”

“Didn’t seem like it,” I breathed out without thinking. The thought was at the back of my mind. It can’t be helped when it had been nagging at me. I didn’t actually mean to say it out loud but his presence brought the pain back up that I had locked away while I was sleeping.

Harry looked down at me and frowned. Gently pushing at his chest, I braved myself and tipped my chin up to look at him. I didn’t need to say it. He knew what I was talking about. That’s how well he could read me.

“Sweetheart,” he sighed.

Why did I feel like a child about to be reprimanded by an adult?

I twisted my head away from his grasp but he didn’t let me.

“You have to understand…”

When my first attempt to break free didn’t work, I used my lower body to push him, inciting a growl from deep his chest.

“Callie!” He hissed.

Harry turned his head, eyes darting around, to see if someone heard him. He then faced me, his fingers gripping me firmly.

“Listen to me, Callie. Damn it. Stop trying to get away and let me explain. Your parents were there.”

That halted my writhing. My parents? What do they have to do with him basically pretending I didn’t exist?

Harry’s fingers kneaded my scalp, his thumbs were grazing my cheekbones. “I don’t know what I’d have done if I got to touch you. I - ”

The huge gulp that he took bobbed his Adam’s apple. My eyes got drawn to it before they landed back on his lips when he licked them.

“I could’ve lost control. I almost did. Fuck, Callie. Your parents are here,” he finished with a humorless laugh.

His grip on me loosened and I took the opportunity to take a deep breath. He said he almost lost control… It wasn’t an unfamiliar sight, my parents seeing Harry and I close to each other. There had always been tight hugs and kisses, caresses and cuddles. It’s not just him. I’m comfortable and close enough with the men in our family to both receive and give such affection. If Harry thought what he’d have done would warrant suspicion…

No. I was done with this. I’d promised myself: no more pining. No more false hopes. No more pain. This time, I had to harden myself.

“You didn’t have to ignore me completely. I was scared. Mom was - ”

Warm lips pressed hard against mine for a fraction of a second, making me lose my words, my thoughts, my senses.

“I know, sweetheart. I’m sorry. It killed me not being able to hold you but I just knew that if I so much as looked at you, I wouldn’t have cared if your parents were there or not. God, how I wanted to…” he paused, a scowl marred his face. “I thought something bad happened to you.”

There was a look of desperation on his face that I hadn’t seen before. Pleading, hurting. The constriction on my chest was sudden, making the muscles all over my body tender and weak.

“I’d have done something that would make uncle Ted hunt and murder me,” he said, his naughty little dimple showing. I returned it with a small smile of my own.

“Like kiss me,” I supplied bravely.

Harry looked taken a back, only a little bit. I looked away for a beat before chancing a glance upon his face again and this time saw not only satisfaction but pride. It made me feel optimistic. It shouldn’t.

“Like kiss you,” he agreed as he closed the space between us and brushed my lips with his.

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