Ansley (A Stalking Love)

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My heart was thudding against my ribcage so vigorously that even a single thud further would have broken my ribs.

I stood inert at my spot while he rose a brow, looking perplexed of my question. "What am I doing here? I should be asking you that. You don't walk area like this at night."

I remained quiet. My eyes held an unvoiced accusation as I continued to stare at him. There was coldness and dread shrouding my eyes as they shifted to the gun he was holding.

He seemed to have met my line of vision as he immediately tucked it behind the waistline of his jeans, hiding it under his brown jacket as he breathed out a frustrated sigh. "It's not safe out here. Let me give you a ride back to your place."

I shook my head as I had a step back. "I'll be fine."

I knew it was a foolish thing to walk all the way back to my apartment alone. But more than the desolated roads, I was scared of him.

Back then I didn't know if I could have ever looked at him any way rather than love. But now I knew.

And it was pure dread.

I didn't know for sure if the suspicions I held against him were true or not. But he didn't seem to give me any chance to deny them.

He had grudge against Janice.

Janice was half dead.

He was overly possessive for me.

I was being stalked.

And it all started when he was back in Fresno.

Even if I wanted to fight off my suspicions. I couldn't. He really had temper that couldn't be overlooked.

My answer didn't have seemed to sit well with him. Those mocha eyes were narrowed in a slit. "Really? You didn't seem to be fine when herded by those guys."

A rush of agitation flashed through me. "I appreciated your help. Thank you. But leave me the hell alone!"

I shouldn't have acknowledged his intent to help. I should've been grateful. But all this. His presence all around my world was driving me crazy in dread. More of the suspicions brewing inside me. And it was welling an indignation inside me at the same time.

I was frightened.

But I was angry too.

I erected my stature as I met his vision. They were addled yet he managed to throw a glare at me. I tried to look past him as I strode away from there trying to ignore his very being.

I had just taken few steps past him that I felt an iron grip on my arm, jerking me back. I whirled to him, darting him a glare. "What the hell is your problem!"

His Jaw was clenched. "No! What the hell is your problem!"

I frowned. Annoyance was crystal on my face.

"I don't know, Ansley, how have you come to loathe me this much. I'm just trying to help you here." his words started out in anger but in the end they held a tinge of hurt.

My expression softened. I didn't know how to act around him. It had been years I hadn't seen him.

He was gone without a word.

And he had to be back when everything in my life was a mess. A mess that was intently created.

Why was I being like that? I didn't know if I had to be wary of him yet. That he was the reason for every catastrophe in my life.

A countenance dripped in exhaustion crossed my face as I let in a deep breath. I meant to speak something kind. But that didn't happen. "You should ask for yourself."

His eyes bored at me. His fingers dug in my arm, giving me a strong pull to him. Our body merely apart by an inch. His jaw clenched as he spoke harshly, "I did. But nothing came to me. So now you tell me. Why you have come to loathe me. The guy you couldn't get enough of." anger was sound in his words while my body was stiffened at the proximity between us.

I could feel the thick tension in the air getting heavy by each passing second.

And looking in those raging mochas had my anger egressing too.

I didn't know why or what was happening. But I seemed to slipping into somewhere I hadn't been before. Like it was somewhere in the depth of my very being. An anger towards him. "You left without seeing me. You left without a damn word!" I gritted out each word with a raging spleen.

He was surprised as if he didn't expect this to hear.

Maybe he didn't.

I knew it was unreasonable of me to say this to him. I broke up with him without stating any reason. So why'd he even tell me before leaving.

But then,

When had we two ever sought reasons between us?

He remained quiet. There was a struggle in his eyes. He knew his answer would have not sufficed my anger. With each passing second, I could feel myself burning furious.

A scowl making its way in my features as I tried to wrench my arm away from his grip.

But he didn't let go.

Abruptly, he filled an inch of gap between us. His lips pressed against mine.

I was frozen.

My heart was pounding so hard that it felt any instant longer, and it would be bursting.

His lips were tender. But the way they moved were delicate yet fervent.

And I couldn't even lift a finger to push him away. I couldn't evoke it in me to do it because his kiss was the replica of the days when everything in my life was beatific. And it somehow was able to send me into a deep sense of nostalgia.

All my supposition. My wariness.

Melting away.

He pulled back. His eyes closed as he let in a shaky breath, seeming to be in a tremendous struggle.

I was still glued to my spot while my eyes were looking his way. A storm of emotion blowing inside me.

He opened his eyes. They were now calm and restrained. His fingers glided from my arm to my wrist as he had a step back, pulling me with him. "We should go now."

His words didn't process in me. I just followed him without an utter of protest. Following his lead as in enraptured in a hazy daze.

He pulled the front door to his car open, gently ushering me inside. A warmth surrounded me as I sat, settling inside his Volkswagen.

He was in few seconds behind the steering.

But I didn't dare to look at him. I was stupefied of what just happened. Of the way I just stood there, letting it happen.

He didn't speak a word. And I did the same. But when I once glanced at him. His demeanor was composed. He was more calm than before. He swept the fingers of his freehand through his sleek copper brown hairs while the breeze from the half down window bedraggled them as his other hand smoothly steered, making a turn to the left.

On the other hand I felt wrecking with nervousness. Everything inside me was in a clutter. I was disconcerted.

I pretended to look at my boots as if they were the most intriguing thing of the universe on my feet. But my thoughts weren't definitely on them.


He stopped near the parking of my apartment building while I looked at him with a frown.

He seemed to have read my frown as he immediately answered, "I live here too."

This had me looked at him in bewilderment. This wasn't what I expected. Josh living here. "Since when?" this was the second time I heard my voice in the entire ride. First time being when I told him the way to my place.

"Since the day I moved back to Fresno," there wasn't a slightest of hesitation in him as he shared this. As if us sharing the same apartment building was the natural thing of all.

So this explained why he was there...I could feel a chill crept down my spine. The day someone broke into my place.

Again something didn't settle well with me. Like there was a nagging feeling at my back.

I should have said something. But I didn't. I just turned to pushing the door open.

"Ansley?" I heard him call me.

I turned to look at him. There was empathy gleaming in his eyes. "I heard about your parents... I know you must have heard it a lot. But... I'm really truly sorry for your loss."

A pang twisted, pricking at my chest as I lowered my eyes and nodded. "Thank you."

I half expected for him to apologize for the kiss. But I had known him for years to expect that. He never apologized for things he didn't regret.

I breathed, looking at him again before leaving the car. His eyes were looking at me with an emotion sparkled in them. It was hard to read. But whatever it was. It was intense. If something further happened, I couldn't stop him. And he knew this.

He had known me very well. But I had known him well too.

I knew the longer I would look, harder it would be to not drown in those mocha. I had once been lost there. And I didn't want to again.

I scooted out of the car without a word as my chest rose in heavier breaths. All the while trying to flush away all his thoughts grasping my mind.

I climbed up the stairs to my floor, trying to shake away that kiss I had with him.

I had been once in love with him.

And knew very vividly how intoxicating his every touch was.

But not again.

I didnt want him to have any ideas either.

He was my past.

And like dad used to say to me all the time. Never dwell on your past.

I strode through the hall to my door. But I stopped in my track as I saw someone standing outside.

A guy had his hand stuffed inside the pocket of his green jacket. Seemed to be have discovering that no one was inside right now.

I walked closer, looking at the person. He seemed to have sensed my presence as he turned, looking my way. A small smile spread on his lips.

I tried to hide my unexpectancy to see him with an addled smile. No one had been coming to see me. Except for Rayon which was a week ago, checking on me, giving tabs on me to grandma probably. "Derek?"

"Hey, it's been a while..." he spoke feeling a little awkward.

It somehow felt refreshing to see him. And it couldn't elude the smile formed on my lips. "Yeah. It has been a while."

"I'm glad to see you doing alright now. It had been weeks. You didn't seem to answer any messages or voicemail." his voice held a genuine concern and somehow it made me feel kind of warm inside. "I thought of giving you a visit after work through my way back to home."

"Thank you, Derek." I said softly as he looked at me with an assuaging eyes.

There was something very rejuvenating about the way he looked at me. Like there was genuine happiness behind his eyes at my sight. Like I wasn't just someone's need.

And looking at him was my epiphany.

Just few seconds here. I had forgotten to all the distress I carried. I smiled to a person. For no reason in particular. Just because he was here. And here I was smiling again. Even if it was just a small one. I hadn't had smiled in days.

"You do have a mirror?" he asked me out of blue. A genuine curiosity on his face.

I frowned as I drawled, "Yes."

"Then you should've known that smile on your lips suit you the most." he said with a soft, enlivening smile, tucking a lock spilling on my eye, behind my ear. "So just keep smiling."

My gaze at him turned mesmerized as to how he could be so aloof to sorrows. The way he could just make anyone smile.

I saw him glancing at his watch. And I immediately knew he was about to take his leave. For some reason, I didn't feel like being alone with my thoughts. Not today.

I looked at him hopefully as I asked, "Would you like to have a cup of coffee?"

I didn't know why but I just looked at my side. Might be because I knew somewhere in my head he could be there. And he was there. At the corner most apartment. Josh's hand on the door as those mocha eyes darted daggers my way. But I didn't seem to care about them. I didn't want to.

"I would love to." Derrek accepted gleefully with mirth gleaming in those sea blue eyes as I unlocked my door.

I could feel Josh's burning glare melting a hole at me. And his raging presence was making my mind replay that whole kiss again and again.

Even though, Josh meant me now nothing. His kiss had created a contradiction to this thought.

I wanted him to think of us with no hope either. To let go of what was in the past.

Next, I did the most irrational thing of my life. I whirled to Derek, stretching on my toes. And I kissed him. It was just few seconds long peck as I pulled back soon. I looked at him, assessing his features. To know his consent further.

There was befuddling surprise as he stared at me.

But then his eyes shifted to my lips and my kiss was slowly absorbed by him as something raw clicked in his eyes.

He leant onto me. His lips pressing to mine, moving them delicately against mine. My palms clutched at his shoulder as our kiss deepened. My lips nibbling at his while his hand laced around my waist pulling me closer, making our body flush together.

An angry slam of door resounded in back.

And somehow,

I didn't seem to get weighed down with any guilt for that as my lips moved against Derek's in an ardent movement.

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