Me: Yes, Andi? I'm kind of in the middle of something. Did you need something?
Andromeda: I don't like that! Change it!
Me: Change what?
Andromeda: The title!
Me: *scoffs* I'm not changing the title. That would mess up the flow I've got going on.
Bastian: I like it.
Me: Thank you, Bastian :)
Andromeda: His opinion is invalid! *whispers* I'm pretty sure he's missing a few brain cells up there!
Bastian: I can still hear you, you know. And all I've got to say is that you've deeply wounded me. I'll never recover.
Andromeda: Stop it! You're ruining it! *turns back to me* I'm being serious, Grace! Change it!
Me: So am I, Andromeda! Now zip it.
Andromeda: Bu--mmph! Mm! MM!
Bastian: Thank you, Grace T . T
Me: Now that that's taken care of, ON WITH THE STORY!!
*cuts the scene as Andromeda lunges at me*
I am engulfed in its beautiful and cozy sensation.
It's like when you take a towel fresh out of the dryer; that feeling of serenity. I never want to leave this place. It feels like home; a sense of belonging. I feel safe, innocent of the cruelties of the world outside. Here, I can rest without a care in the world.
I turn on my side, giving myself a little space from the magnificent sensation. As a reaction to my rejection, the warmth returns with full force by bringing me back to my place of origin. It wraps itself around my waist and sears my back in a fiery kiss. A little unsettled and unused to this type of attention, I rotate my body so that I am now facing the foreign phenomenon.
My hands begin to explore the warmth, desperate to be my eyes as my real ones refuse to open. It becomes firm under my palms, tense to my touch. Its tautness seems to go on for miles, surpassing even the length of me.
Deciding my eyes are finally ready to become my vision, they shoot open, eager to find the source of warmth, and connect with Bastian's steely grey ones. He regards me with a darkened look, clearly affected by my touch. Another indication of our new predicament is the undeniable presence of his arm tightening around my waist.
EEK! Did I just turn him on? How do I turn it off?!
"Clumsy." His voice makes me shiver and grip his biceps under my shaking fingers. It's raw and full of sleep, but it is so sexy at the same time. I can hear the lust beneath the sleep that matches the throaty vibrations of his voice. It makes my toes curl and my heart leaps at the sound of my nickname on his lips. The way he said it made it seem like it was a piece of art to behold. Call me a silly school girl, but I want to hear him say it again.
Hm, I could live with this.
My mouth is dry. How am I supposed to explain this? I didn't mean to turn him on, it just sort of happened! Dammit, once again, I've captured the affections of another lover.
Haha, just kidding. This never happens to me.
Or at least, I thought it didn't.
It doesn't help that my stomach is also gnawing me with want. I have to get out of here, and yet I don't want to escape his sweet embrace.
Stupid hormones! You ruin everything!
We stare at each other for what seems like forever, unable to look away from the other. Our eyes are trapped in a heated exchange, frantic to decipher just what the other is thinking and all the secrets held behind the mysterious windows.
Abruptly, his eyes flash before he immediately lets me go as if I am on fire, and springs out of the bed.
Well, damn. Am I that ugly?
He heads off towards the bathroom, not even giving me a second glance. I sit there un-moving, unsure of exactly what to do.
What was that?
I can hear the distant drum of the showerhead, and it reminds me of my own need to wash the grime from yesterday off. I throw off the covers and get up to head back towards my room and away from this epiphany of embarrassment.
The warm water feels great against my clammy skin, washing away my dirt and humiliation. The water swirls beneath my toes, becoming a portal exposing my innermost thoughts with only the slightest provocation.
The images of last night's nightmare keep crawling into my mind sending my body into tiny convulsions and I can't stop thinking about the way my mom sounded on the phone; the way she sounded so frightened.
What if I never see my parents again? What if I can't find them or save them? What if they're already dead?
I didn't realize I'd started crying, tasting the salt before seeing the sodium drops, and watching as my tears slowly mixed with the shower water and tumble down the drain.
So many things that I never would have regretted until now plague my mind. Did I take them for granted? It sure as hell felt like I did.
It's amazing how you really never know what you have until it's gone. I love my parents with all of my heart, and I'm not ready to let them go. I can't. Did I tell them I loved them enough for them to not doubt it? It feels like I never said it enough times.
Somewhere inside me is still that scared little girl who needs her parents to comfort her and tell her everything is going to be alright. It has to be.
I've got to make this right somehow.
Stepping out of the shower, I grab the towel on the counter and wrap it tightly around myself, shielding my vulnerability from the sharp thoughts. I begin to smooth lotion into my skin to avoid looking like Casper the ghost and to ward off any other negative thoughts, walking out of the bathroom once I'm finished. I yelp as I notice a half-naked Bastian sitting on my bed looking bored, his arm thrown over his face to cover his eyes.
He only has jeans on, leaving his upper half bare to my eyes. His hair is plastered against his forehead, still damp from his shower. Little droplets of water dot his chest here and there, and I painfully force myself to look away.
Damn, did he have to be so fine?!
Wait a second, I'm in my room alone with a half-naked boy. This can only lead to trouble.
I like trouble...
Gods, what is this guy doing to me?!
"What are you doing here?!" My voice comes out in a terrible squeak, causing me to flinch. Bastian sighs and sits up before plopping his head on my pillow.
Great, now I'm gonna have to smell him when I go to sleep.
That's technically not a bad thing...
"You were taking so damn long I had to see what was keeping you. Although now that I'm here, I see I made it just in time for the show." He gazes at me, a playful smirk gracing his features. I try reading his face to gauge his reaction to what had happened earlier, but there's no trace of disgust or...anyway, there's no trace of anything.
My face begins to burn as I finally register his words, and throw the pillow resting on the armchair next to me at him. "Pervert!"
He chuckles as the pillow smacks his face, finding a home on top of the irritating masterpiece. His words are muffled, but I'm pretty sure he said something close to "Only when it comes to you."
Well, he certainly knows how to make a girl question her celibacy.
Fortunately, this girl has had years of practice and is not easily deterred.
A strangled cry leaves my throat as I mutter, "Flirt."
I quickly dash into the closet, eager to get away from his prying eyes and sinful temptation and get dressed as fast as I can. I pull on a pair of black ripped skinny jeans and a loose green top, topping it all off with black high-top Converse. I'm not exactly sure how this room is stocked full of clothes just for me, but I guess that's another Hades' secret.
Bastian's voice rings out in annoyance, sounding closer than it should've if he was still on my bed. "Are you done yet?"
I roll my eyes while exiting the closet. "Yes, I am, drama queen."
Any words that were to follow get caught in my throat because Bastian isn't on my bed anymore. Instead, he's standing in front of me with his arm propped up on the doorframe. I feel my cheeks burn and a shiver runs down my spine as I think about how long he'd been standing there.
"Were you watching me get dressed?!" I can barely meet his eyes, deciding to focus on his chin rather than the inquisitive pair.
Did I mention he's still shirtless?
"Why? Did you want me to?"
I clench my hands into fists, my jaw set in a hard line. Gods, why did he enjoy playing this game? Doesn't he know how flustered he makes me?
Maybe that's why he keeps playing it...
So, then I'll just have to show him that he has no effect on me whatsoever. Piece of cake.
I walk over to my bed, Bastian following suit, and sit on the edge, careful not to touch him. He is still lacking upper coverage and the gods know how much I need to keep my eyes above if I'm going to win this little mind game. I can't let him nor anyone else distract me from saving my parents. "So, what's the plan?"
"You're asking me?"
"You're kind of the one in charge here."
"Oh, right." I clear my throat. "We've gotta figure out who took my parents."
"Yeah, I figured that part out on my own, thank you. I was thinking maybe we should head back to your house to find any clues. Maybe the kidnapper left a ski mask or something?"
"Haha that's so funny I forgot how to laugh."
"Hey, it's a possibility! Have you ever been a kidnapper before?"
"No, but I've watched enough detective shows to know that that's not how these kinds of things go down." I narrow my eyes and purse my lips at the thought.
"But it could," he mumbles.
Rolling my eyes, I ask, "Why are you helping me anyways? I barely know you, and this isn't even your fight."
"What makes you say that?"
"Were your parents kidnapped?"
"Well, no, but--"
He sighs and runs a hand through his hair, clearly frustrated. "Let's just say, I'm here to settle a score."
What does he mean by that?
"Guess we're playing Monopoly: the Olympic edition. "
"More like Devil's Advocate."
"Either way," I say while getting up, "I hope you brought your A-game."
"Never leave home without it," he says, standing up with me. He comes closer to me, looking down at me challengingly.
"Do you think you could put on a shirt?" My voice comes out in a whisper as my eyes burn into his chin.
Don't look down. Don't look down. Goddamit, Andromeda, do NOT look down!
"Why?" He steps closer to me so that we're barely a breath apart. "Do you find it distracting?"
"I find it--" I gulp. What do I find it?
Clearly, I know the answer to that, but I have to win this game.
"I find it repulsively uncouth." Turning on my heel, I exit my room without looking at him so he can't see that I mean the exact opposite.
I don't even know him, and yet here I am putting all of my trust in him.
I must be crazy.
I head towards the kitchen, my stomach making it apparent that I'm starving. I open up the cabinets with way more force than is needed, but hey, I'm hungry. Disappointingly, there's nothing but fluorescent light and bare shelves. I race over to the refrigerator, desperate to find something to slake my hunger, but again, nothing.
"Dammit," I lament.
"What's wrong?" Bastian appears out of mere shadows, thankfully wearing a sweatshirt.
I slam the fridge door in frustration. "There's a whole closet filled with clothes but no damn food in this kitchen!"
"Okay," he says slowly. "Why don't we just eat out?"
"That can't be our solution every day!"
"No, I mean, we'll eat out for breakfast, drop by your house, and then go grocery shopping afterward. How does that sound?"
Okay, I'll admit, it sounds rather nice. It's not like it would be a date or anything, but if it was...well, I'd have a hard time saying no.
But only because I'm hungry.
I'm not attracted to Bastian in any way.
...Okay, that may be a lie, but that's beside the point.
The point is---is---that I'm hungry and this conversation is distracting from that fact, so leave me alone!
"Hm?" I snap my attention back to him. Crap, did I space out?
"You got a little spacey and didn't answer my question."
"Oh, yeah, that sounds good."
Wait a second, I can't wear this outfit on a date---er---I mean, an outing of partaking in the morning meal with a member of the opposite species!
Exclusively as friends, of course.
If I'm going to be in public, I need to look the part. Besides, I can't stand next to Bastian looking like, well, a cute mess.
"Uh, do you think you could give me a minute?"
"Yeah, sure. What for?"
I begin walking back towards my room before he can stop me, transitioning into a sprint as I call out, "To change my outfit!"
I can hear Bastian groan as I close my door. "Gods, no. It's going to be another hour before we leave this place!"
Chuckling, I head back to my closet to pick out a cuter outfit. I settle for a coral blouse, a white skirt, and white lace-up heels. I don't hesitate to accessorize the outfit, completing the look with a fresh layer of lipgloss. After a quick application of eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara, I deem myself worthy to exit my room.
Wow, that was way faster than any other time I've tried getting ready quickly. That has to be a new record.
"Gods, what took you so long? Again?" Bastian is sitting on the couch in the living room, scrolling through his phone, and not even glancing my way.
"I couldn't leave this place looking crazy!"
"You looked fine to me."
"Yeah, well, I wasn't trying to impress you." Okay, that might be a tiny lie, but who's counting?
Bastian finally gets off the couch and looks at me. He makes a face. "Why are you wearing that?"
"Are you trying to tell me I look ridiculous?" I scrunch up my face like I'm about to cry, my voice rising several pitches to match the gesture, but then convert it into a look of indifference as he opens his mouth to refute what I'd said. "Just kidding. Your opinion is invalid. I look good and I'm going with it."
I walk past him, grabbing the keys dangling from his fingers on my way by. He doesn't say anything until I get to the door.
"Well, okay then. That was pretty sexy."
Bastian ends up picking some hip new breakfast bar near the coast. The location is relatively perfect as it's not too far from my house and there's a grocery store on the way there. As he pulls the car into a parking spot, I slide on my shades to add to the effect of my outfit.
Bastian rounds the car to open my door and gives me his hand. Like the dramatic bitch I am, I take his hand and slowly rise out of my seat. On my journey out, I don't fail to notice the excitement sparked between us by our skins colliding.
Ugh, this again?!
As soon as I'm fully standing, I snatch my hand away from Bastian's, eager to quell that ambitious fire. I dart my gaze away from his as well, not wanting to see his questioning or confused look.
"Hey, look!" I point to an area with wooden picnic tables and umbrellas. "Let's sit outside!"
Bastian grabs my hand, trapping me in the firework explosion, and guides me toward the front door. "First, we have to request a table, silly. Don't you know how these things work?"
I gulp. I really hope he means eating out and not--er--dates.
Because one: this is not a date. And two: No, I don't really know how they work because I've never been on one. But that's a story for another time.
"Hello, and welcome to Ocean Waves. Is it just the two of you?" The girl at the front of the restaurant gives us a pleasing smile.
"Yes, and would it be possible to have an outside table?" Bastian flashes her an equally friendly smile, but if you ask me, it was too friendly. I shift a little, uncomfortable with watching the exchange.
"Certainly! Follow me this way." The girl gestures for us to follow her, leading us through the side of the restaurant and towards the outdoor seating. As soon as we take our seats, she hands us our menus.
"Can I interest you in anything to drink? Appetizers, perhaps?"
"I'll take coffee. Black. And she'll have--" Bastian turns to me, his eyebrows raised.
"Uh, chocolate chip. I mean, orange juice!" Geez, where did that even come from?!
My brain is so random sometimes, I swear.
"Someone's eager to order." Bastian nudges my knee with his own, causing me to tense. I try to laugh it off, but it ends up sounding like a gasp for help from a fish.
Eh, some things never change.
The girl pretends as if she didn't hear that atrocity and smiles at me. I don't blame her. "Great. I'll be back with your drinks in a moment."
She leaves, the silence growing with the lack of conversation.
"So, uh, what do you think about this weather we're having?" I clench my hands on my knees, the cringiness of the situation making me uncomfortable. What do people even talk about in these kinds of situations?
The people around them?
The damn weather?!
But that feels so unoriginal. I need something with pizazz that'll totally make this moment memorable.
"Uh, so, have you ever tried burping the alphabet?"
Bastian looks at me as if I just grew two heads.
What?! Was it something I said?
"What the hell?" He squints, leaning into my personal space. "Are you sick?"
Uh, rude. I'm like, the healthiest person alive. "I was just trying to make conversation."
Shrugging, I look down to observe the wood of the table. "All I'm saying is, rubbing alcohol has a pretty good scent."
"They should definitely make it into a perfume. Ooh! And hand sanitizer too! Maybe Lysol...I'd definitely wear that shit," I say thoughtfully.
"Oh, my gods, you've lost it." Bastian's face pales as he looks at me with what can only be described as horror.
Okay, now I'm confused. I thought you're supposed to break the ice with these sorts of things by being honest. Are my innermost thoughts not acceptable for the action of discussion?
Maybe someone should write a book on what to talk about because I don't have a freaking clue.
I smile sheepishly at Bastian, raising even more alarm in his eyes. "Uh, do you think you could forget everything I just said?"
"I wish I could, but it's playing on repeat in my brain right now."
"No!" Gods, like I haven't mortified myself enough. I lunge toward him, rubbing my hand against his temple in a measly attempt to erase the hideous memory. "Forget, forget, forget! "
"Clumsy," Bastian chuckles and grabs my wrist to stop my movements. It's then that I realize I'd gotten so close to him that my face hovered centimeters from his, my lips only a pucker away from his plump ones.
I kissed those lips.
I kissed those and, boy did I---
No, no, no! Bad Andromeda!
"You, I--uh--" I pull back, but Bastian doesn't relinquish his hold on my wrist.
"Are you uncomfortable? Do I make you nervous?" He leans closer so that we're back in the position I'd awkwardly put us in before.
Aah, help! I need an escape route, quick!
If only I had tranquilizing darts on hand...
Shoot. My options are limited, but they'll have to do.
All I need to do is knock him out, maybe do a backflip towards the car--
Wait, I'm wearing heels.
Ah, who cares?
"Oh, look! The drinks are here, haha!" Grateful for the distraction, I take the appearance of the beverages as an opportunity to scoot as far away from Bastian as the bench will allow me. Thank gods the waitress showed up with our drinks. I might've had to go all ninja in this piece, had she not shown her face.
"Have the two of you decided what you'll be having this morning?"
Crap. I knew there was something I was forgetting!
My eyes quickly scan over the options before finding something that piqued my interest. "I'd like the Bacon Breakfast Quiche with a side of avocado toast, please!"
"Great choice! And for you, sir?"
Bastian is still staring at me as he gives his order. "I'll take the Bacon, eggs, and hash brown bowl, thank you."
"Ooh!" My eyes catch on an item on the menu. "Could I also get a cinnamon bun?"
"Sure thing! Anything else?"
I open my mouth to add about ten billion things, but Bastian cuts me off. "No, thank you. That'll be all."
He hands her our menus and I huff in annoyance.
Pardon me, but this girl likes to eat.
And Bastian just got in the way of that task.
Such treason should result in death...
I narrow my eyes at him, trying to figure out the best way to end him, but he seems unfazed by my menacing stare. Bastian checks the time on his phone and sucks his teeth. "We shouldn't waste too much time here."
I nod, becoming weighted by the waiting gloom of returning to my house. My knee begins to bounce, anxious to dispel the distress rising within me.
I shouldn't have even agreed to this date--I mean--casual outing, to begin with. My parents' safety is at stake and I need to put that first.
As soon as the waitress returns with our food, I scarf down my order then wait impatiently for Bastian to finish his. Before the last hash brown can even touch his lips, I'm pulling him towards the door that leads back into the restaurant.
"Whoa, hey. Clumsy, slow down!"
As if determined to prove him right, in my haste, my heel gets caught between the wooden floorboards and causes me to twist, plummeting straight for the ground. Bastian is quick to secure his hands tightly around my hips, stopping me from having a makeout session with the ground.
"You really are clumsy, aren't you?" He smirks down at me, but I push him away as he pulls me back up.
"Stop playing around! We have to get to my house asap!"
"What, no thank you?"
"Thanks. Now, come on! " I tug on his arm, pulling him towards the front desk. We quickly pay for our meals before heading back to my car.
Bastian pulls up to my house about fifteen minutes after leaving the restaurant, sensing my urgency to get to the dwelling. A lump of panic rises in my throat as I steel myself for what I might face, but nothing could prepare me enough for what stood on my porch as I exit the car.
I roll my eyes skyward as I see Mrs. Peters banging on our already broken door. Does this lady not have a hobby? You know, other than torturing my very existence. I briskly walk up the steps to glare at the grumpy elderly woman.
"They're not home, Mrs. Peters! Quit banging on the damn door!" The words leave a particular sting in my throat, but I try my best to push the unnerving sensation aside.
Mrs. Peters whirls around and points a fleshy finger at me. "Andromeda! This is all your fault! I swear to the God above if he doesn't wage wrath upon you I certainly will!"
She takes off her sandal and begins storming my way.
I might be too big for a spanking, but that doesn't ever stop Mrs. Peters from smacking me senseless when she gets the chance.
I meet her glare with a challenging one of my own.
She thought she had it bad?
The very thought of our contrasting situations made me boil with anger.
The most she could be angry about is her goddamn petunias. Meanwhile, my parents were missing. Not to brag, but I think I won the 'Shitty day' award.
Bastian appears out of thin air, defusing the situation by placing himself between our casanova beings before she can begin whacking and I can begin yelling.
"Listen, Miss, there is something really important that's going on and we need to—"
"Who the hell are you?! There's no way you're this she-devil's boyfriend! The last time I checked, the last guy that wanted Andromeda was in the third grade and picked his nose as a hobby!"
"Mrs. Peters unless it is dire, please bibbity boppity get off my fucking property!" That was a little harsh, but hey, she's the one who came at the wrong time!
It's only natural that I act that way!
Plus, if I didn't get rid of her soon, she'd start sticking her nose where it didn't belong. In my business.
The old woman looks as if she just chugged across the entire continent with the amount of steam blowing from her ears. Her face turns a bright red, her plump body shaking as she waves her sandal in my face.
Bastian stands protectively over me, shielding me from whatever nonsense that will come out of her mouth. "Just wait until your father hears about what you've said to me and what you've done to my poor flowers! And you! " She points her sandal at Bastian. "I'm watching you!"
With a final huff and returning her shoe to her foot, Hurricane Peters stormed back over to her house, and I thought that was the last of it. But of course, it wouldn't be our usual antics if Mrs. Peters didn't embarrass me, scream her famous line, or both.
This week's edition, it was both. She whirls around to fix us with a glare that would make Hell's fire look like a candle, yelling, "And tell your boyfriend to stay out of my goddamn petunias!"
The slam of her door echoes down the empty neighborhood.
I glance up from my fixated stare on Mrs. Peters's door to stare at Bastian. He's looking at me with an unreadable expression.
I wave a hand, dismissing his concern. "Yeah, it's just Mrs. Peters. She's always like that."
"But you seemed so--"
"Eh, that's our thing."
Bastian scratches the back of his neck, mumbling something incoherently.
"I just have one question. Did you really tell her to 'Bibbity boppity, get off your fucking property?'"
I look up at him surprised. "Uh, that's just one of my—catchphrases, you know? Give 'em the ol' razzle-dazzle, am I right?"
Geez, why am I like this? Just bury me right here, right now. It's what's best for society.
I slap my palms together, trying to move the train from one depressing station to the next. "Well, now that you've met my lovely neighbor, why don't we just go inside?"
Bastian fixes me with a boyish grin, tilting his head. "Anything for my girlfriend."
I groan. "I'll punch you."
Gods, why does Mrs. Peters make my life so difficult sometimes?
Holding the door open for me, Bastian awaits as I step through the doorframe. Immediately, a gasp escapes my lips, and tears surface in my eyes.
I dunno why I put that little skit at the beginning, but it was in my head and I thought it was cute lol. I'm weird like that ;P Lemme know if you guys wanna see more of that in the edits.
This is the kickoff chapter for our adventure!
What will Andi and Bastian find in her house?
Thoughts on their dynamic?
Who could've taken her parents?
Predictions on the next chapter?
Don't forget to: