THERON II

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ONE.

THERON

Apparently, they all live here.

They each have a bedroom and that bedroom has a personal bathroom so the cabin is gi-fucking-normous. Oddly enough though, there is only one guest room and that went to Bug, not me...

I told Lina I could sleep on the couch. I mean, I have slept in worse areas before so even a couch seems heavenly right now but she insisted I take her room. It was literally the most she’s talked to me since I found her so my dumbass never did consider the consequences of staying in her quarters...

Now, I regret not arguing further.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice space. There’s a large window that takes up the whole wall and proudly showcases the mountainous landscape. The room itself is painted a cool, calming blue with a matching bedroom suite made of gray wood. It’s rustic and homey and obviously a matching set.

An expensive matching set.

Jesus, what do these people do for a living and where can I get a job like that?

I shake my thoughts away, returning them instead to this room I presently and thoroughly despise. Its a raging war inside me--one side fighting for the right to walk away and take residence on the couch and the other yearning desperately to roll around on the bed like a fucking dog because her scent is deliciously overpowering.

And it isn’t tainted with the other males in the house which pleases me a bit more than it should and when I say that, I am not referring to the emotional proclivity aspect--that would be a blessing at this point but no. Its this fucking demonic beast inside me that suddenly cannot keep it in his pants.

I roll my shoulders ignoring my throbbing cock. In two fucking years it has not even mildly twitched and now, less than six hours with Lina, it decides to finally squash my fears and confirm I definitely do not have a case of perpetual limp dick. Unfortunately, I hold a grudge so it will not be receiving any satisfactorial release from me.

Well... not tonight anyway.

Noticing the clothes she pulled from her closet, I can’t help but also wonder why there is no additional male scent here. Obviously another man lives here--I can’t imagine any other purpose for having a closet full of men’s clothing. Staring at the gray sweatpants and plain white t-shirt, I frown. I’m further confused when I cannot locate a defining scent... infact, they do not smell particularly specific at all and yes, I did fucking inhale those clothes like a goddamn Gain commercial.

Regardless, they won’t fit. I already know that. The shirt will be too short and too tight and the sweats will not even cover my ankles. It will be manageable but not fucking comfortable, thats for sure.

I rub my face and groan in frustration. The last thing I want to do is look like a tool.

My ears zone in downstairs. Everyone is still on the first level and they are talking about me...

I can hear them.

Their voices carry up the ventilation system with ease, crystal clear for being so far below where I am. And while I shouldn’t use my supernatural powers for evil, curiosity outweighs guilt and I’m going to chance it. It’s not like they know what I am anyway.

Hell, I don’t even know myself.

“Why can’t we just tell him? He should know,” the voice sounds like Kai. The one with the hair that kinda ticks me off. I mean, shit, there is just so fucking much of it that it doesn’t make sense. It’s like it sits in girthy waves on top of his head to purposely annoy the piss out of me. I really just want to turn him upside down and mop the damn floor with it--at least then it would be useful.

But I’m also along the same lines of thinking as Kai: why can’t they tell me? Literally, the only thing they’ve divulged to me is that they thought I was dead. No details in why they thought that or how I supposedly died... no one will tell me that.

“We can’t just push memories onto him. We cannot tell him how he is supposed to respond nor can we ask him if he remembers anything. It has to come back naturally,” Marius answers. His voice is deep and husky and as unforgettable as his bothersome eyebrows. They are overly perfectly defined and animated and move in a highly exaggerated way to drive me fucking nuts.

“He should at least know about his relationship with Lina.”

Now that--that perks me up.

Thank you DeLoren, you big bearded snarky motherfucker--what was my relationship with Lina? I am also intrigued to know.

“Not happening,” the sound of her voice makes my pounding heart immediately halt. It drops to the floor with an unceremonious splat, taking all my hopes and dreams right along with it. She offers no room for discussion and I can’t understand why. The coldness she exhibits has me considering if she was ever amicable to me in the first place.

She seems to hate me.

Why would my soul be so insistent on locating someone who absolutely abhors me?

“I agree,” Rhys Not Like the Candy Bar chimes in and I snort in response. Of course that fucking kiss ass agrees with Lina.

I’m not dumb.

I see the way he looks at her... the way his eyes soften, the corners lifting slightly upwards; the way he scans her body and the sharp scent of arousal that assaults my nose each and every time... Yeah, no, I hate that little chocolatey bastard.

He adds, “We don’t know if he’s legit.”

Legit.

They don’t trust me.

Lina doesn’t trust me.

“Oh please,” DeLoren snickers, “The only reason he was even allowed inside this house is because you are torn. If you had been one hundred percent sure he wasn’t really Theron, you would have killed him on sight! What does instinct tell you?”

Lina raises her voice now, anger and vexation coming to the surface, “That I don’t need your two fucking cents!”

Suddenly, I no longer care to eavesdrop. It’s not worth the pain and frustration and I have exhausted too much time racking my brain as to the reasoning behind their distrust. I am Theron...

Aren’t I?

The mirror in the bathroom is wet, covered in a dewy, liquid fog and when I swipe it off with my hand, the reflection gazing back is no more than a stranger. I cannot actually remember the last time I looked in a mirror and now I understand why.

My hair is too long.

My face needs fucking mowed.

My body is hulking, missing only the green tinge of a superhero... although, if I had gone another day or two without bathing that may have no longer been an issue.

And the longer I stare at the stranger before me, the more enraged I become.

This.

This is what Lina saw today.

This is what told her It thought of her...

Searched for her...

Longed for her.

What a fucking joke.

Embarrassment flushes my cheeks and pinches my heart. The pain is sharp, like a thousand knives stabbing the only organ in my body that is meant to keep me alive and I wish I had had more concern for my appearance instead of locating a needle in a haystack. I wish I could turn back time... not just to get a second chance with Lina but maybe prevent ever dying in the first place.

That sounds fucking spectacular.

She hates me.

She doesn’t believe me.

She doesn’t trust me.

And she will never reciprocate my feelings... whatever those may be because all I feel is kinda tragic right now.

Snatching the scissors that lay on the counter I attempt a full on assault on my despicable appearance... her words ringing in my head, playing like a broken record, “That is not Theron!”

But I am Theron.

I may not remember being Theron but the name feels right. This place, these people, Lina... all feel like home. And I have not felt home since I woke up. So, who the fuck does she think she is telling me I am not who I feel I am?

Who the hell made her boss?

And why the fuck do I even care what she thinks?

What do any of them think?

Fuck them.

Fuck her.

“I am Theron,” I snarl, smashing my fist into the mirror. It shatters, splinters and webs outwards distorting my face and my sense of self into nothing but fractured pieces that should bring about some sense of foreboding symbolism but does not.

“I am Theron.”

***

The sun peeks over the mountains and I squint my eyes against the brightness, groaning. I can tell by the barely fading darkness of night that it is very early morning but sleep did not find me much last night and I doubt it has altered its tactic due to the rising sun. With a regretful sigh, I abandon the king size bed that smells like Lina but refuses to bring me peace and tranquility.

Quietly, I descend the stairs, not wanting to wake anyone. The scent of bacon wafts in the air and currently I am just a slave to my nose, following it into the kitchen.

Lina is at the stove, flipping a pancake intent on adding it to the already sizable finished stack. My heart skips at the sight of her and I just want a tiny moment to watch her... even with her back to me, she is still just as beautiful.

The sunlight illuminates her ruffled hair, the maroon colored tint shining against the rays of the early morning. Dressed in a tank top and fluffy pajama pants she is humming an unfamiliar tune, bobbing her head and enjoying the stillness of the house.

I feel almost regretful that I am about to break it.

Almost.

But I don’t need to speak. I don’t need to let her know I am here because her head raises and her back straightens. Her body becomes rigid and I can hear her heart increase in tempo. That steady thump, thump is now wildly erratic and a bittersweet symphony to my ears. Somehow, some way, I know she knows I am here... how she feels about that though is highly debatable.

“Good morning Theron,” she confirms my suspicions, not sparing me a glance.

“Hi.”

Hi?

Ugh.

Really?

That’s the best you can do?

Idiot.

I roll my head back, exasperation and embarrassment consuming every pore in me. She finally acknowledges me and all I can say is “Hi?”

What a fucking moron.

Lina, whether intentionally allowing me to save face or unintentionally ignoring my faux pa who knows, moves on, “How did you sleep?”

“Okay.” I mean, it isn’t really a lie, I’ve just had better. She hums, flipping the bacon in the process and the air around us turns awkward in the lingering silence.

She doesn’t know what to say to me.

But I have a shit ton of things to say to her and I’m going to start with the most pressing, the one that kept me awake most of the night, “Why don’t you like me?”

My forwardness takes her by surprise. Her body tenses for the second time and she scrambles, “Wha.. I... It’s just...” Taking a deep inhale and one loud, long exhale, she finally turns around.

She finally faces me.

“It’s not that I don’t like you, you’re just diff--” her eyes widened in flabbergasted astonishment “--ferent. You cut your hair.”

“Uh,” I rub my head, now somewhat self conscious about it. It’s kind of a hack job really. I did my best to recall the popular styles I saw in New York but in the end, I just settled for shorter sides. “Yeah. It was too long...” I shrug a single shoulder casually and suddenly I cannot bring myself to look at her.

The counter seems more interesting.

Oh look, a speck of dried food...

“I like it,” she assures me and when our eyes meet, I know she isn’t just saying that. I know she means it. “The clean shave looks good on you as well,” she smiles and I feel a burst of confidence explode inside me. It’s powerful, forceful... and new.

And maybe I sit a little straighter.

Maybe my chest puffs out a tad bit more.

Maybe there is hope after all.

“So... you don’t hate me?” My question is slow, careful. I feel like I’m treading over eggshells here--one wrong step and she may change her mind.

“Oh Theron, no,” a sudden melancholy washes over her. Her eyes show a deep anguish I didn’t know she was even capable of, “I could never hate you.”

Never.

She said ′never.′

“Who am I to you then?” I refuse to let this conversation end with only ′never.′ I need more. She has to tell me more or I may actually lose my mind.

I am so close.... So close to the answer I want most and my heart beats faster. My breath is held tightly within my lungs, refusing to risk the possibility that I may accidentally blow this candle out by doing something as menial as breathing. All my attention falls to her open mouth, ready and willing to finally put me out of my misery--

If only I was that lucky.

In case anyone is wondering, I am not.

“Morning lovely girl!” DeLoren saunters through the door heading straight for Lina and engulfing her in a massive bear hug. He’s followed by Kai, Marius and Rhys who all do the same like showering her with affection is some kind of fucking morning ritual.

DeLoren winks at me as if he knows he just ruined my moment but only minimally pretends to care. “Sup, T?” He asks with a nudge to my arm in feigned innocence. Marius and Kai join him, sitting on the bar stools beside me while DeLoren chooses to simply lean.

Rhys, however, is a totally different story. His glowering pouty ass stands close to Lina. “Do you need help with anything?” He asks her--way too close for my liking and I curse myself for not thinking of asking the same. She pauses, considering, “Yeah, why don’t you set the plates, please.”

Damnit.

I could have done that.

Kai turns to me. His eyes are filled with ornery mirth and I’m instantly skeptical of his intentions. “Have you met Theon yet?”

Theon?

No.

Who is Theon?

Rhys groans, rubbing his face in irritation but I ignore him because he is the least important person in this room. Lina, however, is eerily unresponsive and now I am certain I know who’s clothes I am wearing. “No,” I choke out the pleasantry I don’t genuinely feel and put on a smile I definitely don’t fucking want, “I haven’t.”

“Welp,” he slaps my back, “you’re about to! ...Nice hair cut by the way.” I do not care if he is joking or not. It’s Rhys and Lina I am focused on... Rhys and Lina who are huddled close, speaking in hushed tones. “I thought we weren’t doing that,” he smiles through gritted teeth as if he is going to fool everyone else into thinking he’s okay with whatever is about to happen.

But I am not tricked by his phony politeness.

“I changed my mind,” she retorts and anxiousness kicks me right in the fucking gut. I don’t want to meet this Theon. I don’t want yet another male standing in between me and Lina and all my body desires right now is to crawl under a rock and die.

Of course there’s another man.

Why wouldn’t there be?

The scent of baby powder and pine and coconuts mix and blend together reminding me of what a lakeside beach smells of and my brows quirk in curiosity.

More people are coming.

New people.

And the guy named Theon is among them.

I glance at Lina who is fucking staring at me like she is expecting some specific reaction to this little soiree and now I am more confused than ever.

Around the corner struts a woman with hair the color of fire. It is tipped red, orange and white to appear as if it is rising up the ends, raging ever closer to the black head of hair on which it falls from.

I haven’t met her yet.

Beside her is the Anthony kid from last night. His damn baseball cap is pushed back over his forehead again and I consider the fact that he might just sleep in the damn thing.

But it is the baby in the female’s arms that is the most interesting to me. When his big brown eyes connect with mine, they come alive, widening and gleaming with both shock and exuberance, and suddenly a toothy childlike grin stretches across his small face,“Da!” He screeches, his tiny arms reaching for me as if we have known each other since the day he was born, “Da, Da!”

The room goes deathly quiet.

It’s suffocating with uneasiness and incredulity and the weight of it all pushes down relentlessly on my shoulders and makes it hard to stand and even harder to reach for him. I sense every breath in the room has been put on hold and I am not sure how I am supposed to react so I tentatively force my arms up as The Coconut hands him off to me.

He throws his little head into my chest, rubbing his snotty face into my shirt. “Da! Oof! Oof, Da!”

Lina clears her throat, slicing through the tension of the room and effectively killing it, “Theron, meet Theon. My son.”

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