Shifted

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Chapter 9

“So I get that you’re finally alive enough to head home,” Bennett said as a way of greeting, lazily scrolling through his phone.

He was leaning against the granite kitchen counter by the double-door fridge with legs crossed at his ankles in front of him. Dressed in a simple, regular-fit white polo t-shirt and blue shorts, he held a cup with what smelled like coffee in his left hand and looked as though he had run his hand through his hair way too many times. He seemed a bit knackered, but that didn’t do much to his usual allure.

Whereas I...

Well, I still had dark blotches of mascara under my eyes that I couldn’t get off without a proper make-up remover. I was also pretty much drowning in the navy-blue t-shirt and baggy grey trousers I had to roll four times so that I wouldn't trip on them and kill myself in the process.

Good thing Bennett never spared me a glance as he flickered his thumb up and down the screen. Whatever was on his phone, without a doubt, was much more interesting than a chick whom he despised and who had to crush at his house only because she got too drunk too easily.

Which reminded me -

I was going to strangle Emmie.

Couldn’t she take me in for one night and save this embarrassment? I totally got she was grounded and what-not, but, honestly... If I had been so out of it like everyone said, how could she leave me at her male cousin’s mercy?

What a friend I had...

Not to mention that the whole situation was ridiculous anyway. Until yesterday, I had never passed out after a cup of beer. I could hardly believe something like that had happened.

Unless...

Unless someone had spiked my drink.

I cringed internally and ran a hand through my damp hair. If someone had drugged me, it would explain why I felt so disoriented and why I couldn’t remember anything at all...

Gosh, it was all so weird.

“Yeah...” I answered absentmindedly, too preoccupied with my internal turmoil to react to Bennett’s jab.

Funnily enough, that actually got his attention. I could feel his cool gaze on me as soon as the words left my mouth. But I was already distracting myself by admiring the kitchen to pay him any mind.

I had to admit, after a boho-nightmare, I expected all kinds of madness in terms of decoration. I was wrong. The kitchen was surprisingly modern and spacious. So spacious, actually, that it could easily accommodate at least a dozen of robust men.

“Are you okay?” Emmie’s cousin asked out of the blue, snapping my attention back to him.

If I didn’t know better, I would even say he was concerned.

“Do you really care?” I replied drily and harsher than needed. Almost immediately, I felt bad - yet another surprise of today. I sighed tiredly. “Nevermind, just please take me home. This situation is strange enough.”

Bennett regarded me with an enigmatic expression on his face - one I wasn’t even bothering to decipher.

“Yeah, your right...” He admitted slowly after a pause. “C’mon then. We don’t have all day.”

“My thoughts exactly,” I mumbled under my breath, following him outside.

We ended up on a large driveway that led to a garage so big it could easily fit at least four cars.

I had a feeling Bennetts were loaded, but never in my dreams had I imagined they would be that rich. Their house looked more like a craftsman style lodge house rather than a home for a family of four. Even the yard seemed vast: the fence was stretching on end, disappearing somewhere in the sun-clad woods.

I squinted my eyes, trying to figure out where exactly did it stop, but failed miserably. What I did notice, however, was some kind of animal hiding in the bushes. It was the size of a pony, but besides that, I couldn’t tell much about its appearance. I had a feeling it was observing me carefully, ready to pounce at my oblivious self any time. It made me think of the wolf from the other weekend, and I shuddered.

Creepy...

Bennett opened a white roller-shutter garage door and headed for a black Jeep Cherokee. I hurried after him, suddenly having this urgent need to get away from here as fast as possible.

Emmie’s cousin started the engine and the silence was immediately cut short by the blasting of electric guitars.

“Do you want to listen to anything in particular?” Asked Bennett, turning the volume down.

I eyed him suspiciously. Was he trying to be considerate?

Could this day become any weirder?

“Um... no, not really. I’m fine with whatever.” I answered. “Let’s just go and put this nightmare of a day behind.”

He did not comment on that. Instead, he grabbed my headrest with his left hand and, looking over his shoulder, put the car into reverse, accidentally brushing my tight while doing so.

I jolted in surprise, all of a sudden feeling a wave of pleasant heat that shook my body and caused my lower abdomen to squirm. Something in me stirred, yawned, and shook as if waking up from a deep slumber. All flustered, I moved away from Bennett, literally gluing myself to the door. Turning my head away, I pretended to look out of the window so that the boy wouldn’t be able to see how red my cheeks were...

Or how aroused that one little touch made me feel.

The car rolled back, and we hit the street.

When I finally got my body under control, I dared a peeked at Bennett.

He looked generally unbothered - his sole attention was directed to the road ahead as he drove us within speed limits.

“Why did I ended up at your place instead of Emmie’s?” A sudden thought occurred to me.

“Auntie and uncle aren’t your biggest fans at the moment, as you probably know...” He started without looking at me “...so they wouldn’t have been as accomodating as my mum. Plus, my folks are quite used to housing guests. It was simply easier to take you to mine rather than go through the painful process of explaining to Emmie’s parents why keep you for the night with how pissed you were and such. ” He explained patiently.

True, but...

“First off, I still don’t get how I got that drunk. Despite what you may actually think about me, I’m not the kind of girl who would drink herself into oblivion. I only had one beer. And secondly, Emmie’s parents haven’t even met me. How can they assume I’m bad?” I complained angrily.

“It doesn’t matter,” he deadpanned, making my temper flare.

Just as I was about to open my mouth to tell him where I had such an answer, he muttered under his breath. “It’s happened anyway.”

I most definitely wasn’t meant to hear that, but I did nonetheless - and got even more vexed.

“You make no sense, you know? Exactly what has happened?” I asked, looking at him pointedly.

Bennett stopped the car.

“We’re here. Say hi to your mum.” Was all he said.

“Bennett...” I started.

“Matthews...” He countered with a challenge in his cyan blue eyes.

I suddenly wanted to punch his face. I fisted my hands, barely holding myself back.

“Just so you know, we’re not finished here,” I said through gritted teeth, conceding.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” he smirked and leaned towards me.

His smell surrounded me - a faint but heady mixture of musk, sandalwood, and resin - clouding my senses. For a second there, I forgot I was livid. I could only focus on this smell and his full lips that were suddenly so close to mine that if I moved just a tiny little bit, I would...

“Matthews...”

“Huh?” I sounded breathy.

“Don’t forget to greet your mum,” Bennett said as he opened the passenger door for me with a twinkle in his eyes.

I felt as if someone threw a bucket of freezing water over my head. Startled, I jumped out of the car faster than you could say Jack Robinson...

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