The Gentiles

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The heat beneath my glare could’ve burnt a whole right through the clock on the wall. Five minutes. I furiously tap my pen onto my notebook, refusing to clean up the handouts and stationery that littered my desk.

The seconds flew by quicker than I anticipated and the ring of the bell followed by the sudden rush of people hurrying to get up and out of the classroom jolted me from my silent vigil. I didn’t know what I’d expected.

For him to come crashing through the door and cause havoc deep inside me like he always does, is what the stupid little voice inside my head had been chanting. But I knew better. In fact, I should’ve known this will happen. I was just too orgasm-blind to see it earlier but now that I’ve calmed down, it’s like I’m seeing clearly once again.

I curse as I remember how I’d forgotten to tell him the reason why I sought him out in the first place. I just had to choose the wrong person to get caught in my lie. And I’m not a good liar. I don’t know what evil possessed me to cover for the little miscreant but boy, am I regretting it now. There wasn’t even a dirty secret to hide then. So what if I went with Abe? Can’t two cousins hang out with each other? Skip school, you mean. And you didn’t exactly “just hung out”. Whatever. Well, if I just told the truth, or at least a part of it, I wouldn’t be tangled in a much bigger mess right now.

Heat fills my cheeks as I remember what I did with Abe at the rooftop. A shiver ran through my body, as if still feeling his breath, his touch. Before I can catch myself, my arms lifted up and two of my fingers ghosted my parted lips. The beat of my heart pounded against my chest, up my throat, spreading though my upper arms and climbing up to cause ringing in my ears.

Suddenly, I find it difficult to breathe so I raised my head to desperately swallow some air only to clash eyes with Mr. Bolin. His blue eyes are piercing, his playful smirk during the class discussion was gone. I feel myself flush, wondering how I haven’t melted into a puddle yet. He was the one who sent Abe to the guidance counselor. Shouldn’t he be checking on him now? I mean, it’s been a while. Yeah, Abe probably already skipped classes but he’s our teacher, even if he’s just a substitute. Shouldn’t he make sure that he’s back in class?

I swallow a lump in my throat and break eye contact. I hurriedly gathered up my things, just dumping them all into my backpack, and start for the door. Maybe Abe would be in his next class, no matter how far stretch that could be. Who knows where nook or cranny he’s hiding in now.

The thought has my stomach in twists. Surely, he wouldn’t try and avoid me now, right? I mean, not after what we did. I feel myself gush, down there, feel my perspiration dripping from my scalp down to my temples. I need to go make a quick trip to the toilet as I try to erase Abe’s smug smirk, curling and rubbing his fingers against the thin barrier that separates him from my hot flesh.

The mental picture is so vivid in my head that it clouds my vision became and I didn’t see the person standing right in front of me. Smashing my front to a wall of a person, I would’ve stumbled backwards humiliatingly if a pair of huge hands hadn’t gripped me in time. When I looked up, all air leave my lungs entirely. My eyes went huge and the beating of ny heart betray my guilt. Like I’d been caught. I’ve been so wrapped up in my own thoughts that it felt like they’re projected around my head. It feels like he’d seen what I’d been thinking, heard my consciousness.

His name is a nervous breath on my lips. “Harry.”

The heat from his eyes pierces through me, the warmth seeping from where he held me by my upper arms firmly but not tightly. He leaned down, lips brushing my ear.. I shiver.

“Naughty little girls who escape from their guys while they’re sleeping should be punished.”

My eyes widen in fear, my guilt intensifies. Has he figured it out? Whether he has or not, I didn’t have time to think what excuse I’d come up with because his perfectly white and even teeth bite the shell of my ear, pulling at it playfully before letting go.

I sway against him, my hands finding his waist and grabbing them for support. He did not just do that in the hallway where students walk by us. I’m afraid to look up, to see how close his face is to mine from what I could assume as I feel his hot breath on the side of my face. My fingers bunch up his shirt to push him away but he beat me to it when we both hear Mr. Bolin’s voice not far from where we’re standing.

“Miss Lane,” he halted his steps, head snapping towards Harry. “Mister, ah… Cristo.”

I’m not exactly sure where the awkwardness came from of him calling Harry by his last name, or why.

Harry straightens up and nods his head. His mood shifting from threatening to light and cheerful in a split second. “Hi, mister. How’s it going?”

Even weirder is the way Mr. Bolin eyes our tangles arms with a slight frown on his face. It’s not a look of suspicion, which would’ve made me feel even more mortified. It’s a look of disapproval. Like he knew something no one else doesn’t, accepted that very same fact, but didn’t approve of it nonetheless. Now that made me petrified to the bones. I back away from Harry but he quickly slips an arm around my waist, pulling me to his side in a solid embrace. I have no choice but to clutch my skirt in a death grip for fear that I might actually fall as I actually feels like the floor had been ripped away from underneath my feet.

“We’d better get going.” Harry’s voice stayed cheery but knowing him as I do, I heard the slight tension it was laced with. “Don’t wanna be late.”

I open my mouth to say something but thankfully, Harry has already swerved us through a group of boys talking about anime and manga., or else I’d have said something awkward. Harry slides his arm up my shoulder as we pass room after room and I notice the slight limp in his walk.

“Why didn’t you bring those crutches?” I question, my arm coming around him. “Are you still in a lot of pain?”

I feel him shrug, straightening his back. “It was just a little twist. Don’t mind it. I don’t.”

Somehow, I feel his tension and I wonder if he’d thought the same thing I did about Mr. Bolin’s reaction. I’m probably just overthinking it. Yeah, that’s it. Both Abe and Harry have messed up my mind real good I’m starting to feel paranoid.

“Who’s he?”

I thought he knew? Then again, the way he was approachable to anybody could’ve looked anyone into thinking he’s friends even with people he just met.

“Miss Holly’s sub.”

Harry’s steps falter. He quickly recovered and continued to turn left and walk through the end of the hall where the Biology labo is. Does he know more than what he let on? “I hope she’s not in trouble.”

It’s my turn to stiffen.

“Why would you think she could be?”

His somber eyes look at me with empathy. He knew Miss Holly is one of my role models. “Let’s talk about this later, maybe during lunch?”

I watch him for a second before nodding. I don’t wanna know but I wanna know what’s on his mind. He’s the one who saw her. We hadn’t really been able to discuss anything other than the strangeness of that late night emergency visit.

We’ve stopped at the door of the lab and from the corner of my eye, I could already see the room full of students. Fely is absent and she’s usually my lab partner. I guess I’d be paired up with a teaching assistant or end up in a group of three’s.

Harry turns me to him, his knuckles tilting my chin up to face him.

“Don’t be alone in a room with that guy, okay?”

I frown, knowing he’s talking about Mr. Bolin. Before I could even ask him why, he beat me to it with a sigh.

“I don’t like the way he looks at you.”

I swallow a lump in my throat and nodded. He noticed it, too. A look passes between us, laced with both worry and admission of the boundaries that we’ve crossed, one that we could never turn back from. The only way to move is forward.

“Hey, Harry.”

One of his teammates, a classmate of mine, slaps him on the shoulder. Harry jerks his head as a greeting before looking back to me. I focus on the crease between his thick blonde brows to avoid eye contact. I don’t think I can handle him, too.

“We’re eating dinner at uncle Ken’s later.”

Just the mention of our uncle’s name made my stomach flip. Would Abe be there? This is ridiculous. Why am I feeling nervous? He lives on his own, remember? There’s no way he’d be there.

But what if he is? Do I wish that he is?

Harry clears his throat and my attention snaps back at him. “Aunt Denise insisted. Your parents are probably gonna be there, too, since they’re in town.”

I feel him gauge my reaction and I pray to god my features are not betraying the fear and excitement that’s coursing through me. “Okay,” I reply meekly.

“When are you going to meet up with Abe?” His voice went up at the end, sharp and almost accusatory.

Like a dear caught in headlights, I meet his gaze and fumble with my words. “Wha-what?”

Harry’s eyes locks with mine, as if digging into the very corner of my soul. As if he’s trying to claw something out of me. “You’re tutoring him, right?”

Oh, sweet mother. Way to bust yourself, Callie. I’m screwed. There’s no way Harry could’ve been fooled by an incompetent liar like me.

“Y-yeah.” No way to go but down now. “He… He…”

“He what?” Harry demands.

I need to come up with something really convincing. “He… Something came up.” Okay. Not really a lie. I don’t know what came over me but I bravely clashed my eyes with Harry’s and saw the change in his face the very second he realize I’m telling the truth.

“I’m not sure he’ll be available for today.”

Good, good. As much as it causes a pang in my chest, saying the truth about what I really think saves me from having to lie to my cousin. “Most likely not,” I add, for good measure.

Harry regards me for a few more excruciating seconds and then his lips pursed one final time before his face relaxes and that cheeky grin is back on his pink lips. He kisses me on the cheek and I’m surprised at how it burns so hot unlike his other kisses before.

“Have fun in class.”

His lips travel to my forehead, leaving another searing kiss there. “Study well and behave.”

An unexpected shiver passes through my body. I feel Harry’s smirk on my skin and I bite my lip to trap the whimper in my throat. With one final, intense look, he turns and walks the same way we came just as the bell rings.

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