Chapter 19: S is for Sentimental Men
I turned around looking at my reflection, did people even wear matching pajamas anymore? I rolled the way too long sleeves up again but they just slipped back down. I tugged at the pants folding them again and they sort of stayed without me tripping over the edges.
But the real question was, Can you tell I’m not wearing a bra?
Like this felt weird, skin on skin was gross but all my clothes were wet and even if I found the warmest place in the bathroom and tried to dry them but it was hopeless. And I tried wearing wet underwear but let’s just keep it at the fact that it was the most uncomfortable thing ever.
The top was extremely loose and I was surprised that it was this big on me. And it gave the all check, you coudn’t tell whether or not I was wearing a bra because it was that big on me and the material was thick. Any other top and I was a goner.
But I felt so uncomfortable walking around without anything on underneath. I hope my clothes were going to dry fast.
I opened the door wrapping my clothes in layers so my underwear was somewhere between the other mess, like imagine someone else seeing my lame polka dot underwear and red bra, like embarrassing much? Especially a guy. Hell I didn’t even let mum see it when I lived with them.
Reed was already changed in his own pajamas, striped bottoms and a tight grey shirt and was on the couch flicking through channels.
“Do you want me to put them in the washer,” he asked getting up, hands out, oh hell no like I was handing these over.
“I’ll do it!” I cleared my throat, “My hands are already wet so like ya know, don’t want to ruin your hands,” I said fast hoping my lie was pretty good but I doubt it. He shrugged pointing me down another corridor, “Last room I already switched everything on just press start,”
I nodded walking down the corridor, this place was bigger inside than it looked. I passed at least three doors as I went into the laundry room and saw the washing machine. His wet clothes were already in there and I unwrapped mine dumping everything placing some surf and switching it on.
I waited for it to actually start moving before I started walking back tugging on my pants. Man, did he had a belt or something I could use?
It didn’t help that his clothes smelled like him and my hair smelled like his shampoo and was wet annoying the bejeezus out of me. There was nothing worse than long wet hair all around your neck, under your shirt and the worst was when it got stuck under your armpits. Like what the hell were they doing there?
I was probably leaving a trail of water from where my hair was dripping, even if I dried it a few times.
“I made some hot chocolate, are you still sneezing,”
“Huh?” I looked up realising he was in the kitchen carrying two mugs to the lounge.
“Thanks,” I said sitting on the far seat grabbing the cup as he handed it to me. The cup was warm, no, scalding and I placed it on the coffee table. I get that hot chocolate was hot but I could never drink things that warm. They had to be lukewarm before they came anywhere near my mouth.
He sat down on the couch beside me switching on the tv, “Is there anything in particular you want to watch?” He asked flicking through the channels.
I shook my head, I just wanted my clothes to wash and dry extremely fast and then I could be dropped home. I still felt cold, or maybe it was the fact that my hair was dripping onto my shoulders. Pulling it to one side I grabbed the mug of hot chocolate, so I had something to do with my hands.
I turned the plain black mug around in my hand taking in the warmth watching the movie that was being played. It was a few minutes before he spoke up.
“For what?” I asked lifting the mug to my lips and taking a measured sip, still hot. Did he like boil this?
“For tonight, this obviously didn’t go to plan,” he said he jaw clenching.
I shrugged, “Well, I’m alive, you’re alive, and we didn’t get stung by jelly-fish, so it’s not totally all too bad,”
Reed chuckled shaking his head. “Well I take back what I said, the deals off,”
I frowned tilting my head, “What deal?”
Reed locked eyes with me, his green eyes looking even more vibrant under the lights, “Um...no. Nothing. Ignore,”
“NO, tell me!”
He shook his head increasing the volume of the TV and I narrowed my eyes, “Tell me, Reed I am going to throw this cup of hot chocolate on your f-hey that’s my drink,” I said as he grabbed it from me placing it on the ground.
“Not when you threaten me with hot drinks,”
“No, give me my drink back, see i’m sneezing, acho, acho,” and then I really sneezed and both of us went still.
“I’m sick, so tell me what deal it was,”
He rubbed the back of his neck, going a little bit red. And then I realised what he was talking about.
Just one date, and if it’s bad you can never see me again after, I swear
And I suddenly wasn’t sure how I felt about that phrase. I mean maybe a few weeks ago I would have been more than happy for this man to never talk to me again. But now staring at the child-like red face he had, I wasn’t sure what to feel about it.
So I did what came naturally to me, try and make a joke and make the situation more awkward than it was.
“Well there goes your chance, so if you can drop me off at home you can leave thanks,”
Reed paused for a few moments before nodding and getting up which confused me, “Yeah I guess so,”
I grabbed his hand as he was about to turn and raised an eyebrow, “I was joking,” He looked momentarily confused before letting out a breathe, “Joking?”
I shrugged, “I’m not that mean,” or maybe I was. Actually that would depend who you were talking too. His eyes lowered to my hand where I was still gripping his wrist, my bad, I let go like it was some type of electric shock but he grabbed mine before I could pull away, the roles reversing.
His thumb was around the soft inside of my wrist, rubbing circles against my veins making me shiver, and this time it wasn’t from the cold.
My eyes lifted to his face confused at what he was doing, the little action was somewhat ticklish and I wanted to pull my wrist back, but I didn’t.
“Violet,” he said leaning forward, I pressed myself into the couch behind me as the other hand rested just beside my neck holding him up, he still hadn’t let go of my wrist, the small motion continuing as his eyes darkened, “I want to ask you something,”
Well...that wasn’t what I was expecting, “Uh,” I said confused, “Sure?”
Why was it when someone said anything along those lines your heart just...stopped. We need to talk. I need to ask you something. Tell me the truth. You think of the worse.
I cleared my throat trying not to let my eyes be distracted when he licked his bottom lip, “Do you hate me?”
“W-What?” I asked, the hazy state being knocked out.
“For what I did, in high school,”
Oh, was he still on about this, “If I did, would I be here?”
He gave me a frustrated sigh before letting go of my hand and then stood up running a hand through his hair before placing them on his hips, and somehow he looked worse that I said that.
And I didn’t.
“I mean I was really angry about it, well it wasn’t angry at you I was angry in general, that you didn’t tell me this earlier! Well, we both do look incredibly different since high school,” whilst I could pick out some features, that was only because I knew it was him.
“Yeah, you look like a completely different person,”
“Wow, are you implying I was ugly then?”
“No!” Reed said hastily looking at me, “I just mean...like, no offence but you always had your braid in that horrible pony tail, and those thick glasses,” he said smiling, “And you wore those knee high socks no one else did, and you bl-,”
“We get it,” I said narrowing my eyes. Reed chuckled taking a seat on the couch, this side beside me, without half a seat between us, this time his leg brushed mine. And when he took my right hand into both of his, like a sandwich, my stomach flipped.
One hand held mine while the other traced down my fingers, “I just meant, you’re different now. Better. I like it. You aren’t quiet anymore, you say what you want,” his eyes were focused on the task of tracing one of the many lines on my palms.
Why did I have so many damn lines on my palms?
It suddenly made me self-conscious.
“And your sarcasm levels,” he smiled, “You were too scared back then to even tell someone if they borrowed your pencil and never gave it back,”
I frowned narrowing my eyes, “Okay, back then everyone was eight times my size alright,”
“We still are eight times your size,”
I scoffed, “I was really skinny and thin back then, now I’m a whale,” I said before even thinking this was Reed I was talking too, not Jenny. Well done Violet, just tell him about your problems, turn him into a psychologist or counsellor while you’re at it. But wasn’t your partner in half meant to be like that.
Someone you could talk anything about?
But not that I was thinking that Reed should be my eh, other half but, I wasn’t so opposed to the idea either. Because this man made me feel things I never felt before. And that scared me.
“You’re not a whale,”
“Um have you seen me?”
“I’m looking at you right now,”
“Well stop,” I said nudging him with my elbow, as much as I could move, “Stop,” I said feeling scrutinized under those sharp green eyes of his. He didn’t.
I turned my head to glare at him, but it was pretty hard to glare at his face, “You need to see what I see,” and I was afraid of what he sees. Or more, I was afraid of what everyone else sees.
“Most women I know would kill to have a body like yours,” I scoffed, “I’m not joking,” he said gripping my chin so I couldn’t turn my head away. It felt so weird to be staring into his eyes like that.
“Healthy is another word for chubby,”
Reed raised an eyebrow, “You’re not. You only feel that way because back then you were as flat as a surfboard, and now you’re uh- the opposite,”
My jaw slightly slacked and I slapped his hands of me, “You perve,”
“I wasn’t intentionally looking!”
“You’re not making this any better,” I said crossing my arms across my chest. Reed smiled leaning down and I felt his warm breathe on my neck.
“Well I don’t care what you think, because to me you’re perfect, and now you’re all mine,”
My breathe hitched as I felt his lips at the base of my jaw, and I wanted to push him off, but I was frozen.
“I thought we were talking,” I stammered trying to find a distraction but when his hot mouth was moving like that, my mind was robbed of thoughts.
“We can multi-task, what did you want to talk about?”
How the hell was he multi-tasking?
“Why did you change your name?”
His trail of kisses momentarily stopped which finally allowed me to turn my head, which may be a bad idea since I realised how close he was, and I could smell the soap from his skin. And it was enticing.
“My parents got divorced, so I took mums maiden name,”
Well that was a straight forward explanation. Why was I expecting him to tell me he was a fugitive that has to go on an alias? Probably because you never thought the teenage bully would end up becoming an architect.
A fucking architect.
I don’t even think I knew any other archit-my mind was mush. Someone ask me what two times two is. But I was pretty sure I wouldn’t even hear their question, my eyes closed when his lips traced up from my chin to my cheek and then back down towards my mouth.
And when out lips met, the soft caressing kisses ended. There was nothing caressing about this kiss. He sucked my bottom lip in before tracing my lips with his tongue, it was soft, slow, deliberate and made my heart race faster than Black Caviar in Melbourne Cup.
“Hmm?” I gripped his shirt, I felt like I was falling, and I was because my head came against something soft, the arm-rest?
I felt his fingers at the side of my waist, they went so cold against the skin that he was stroking, under the shirt sending shivers through my body.
I don’t even know what I was going to say anymore. And I wasn’t sure if my fingers were pulling him closer or pushing him away.
His elbows rested close to my face, holding up some of his body weight off me, he bit my lip making me wince and open my mouth in protest, or for him, what he was looking for. His tongue tangled with mine and he groaned.
And something about a man groaning, made you all flustered. I pulled him closer, wrapping my hands around his neck, wanting to close that little gap between us, an urgent need. A desperate need.
But it always felt like he wasn’t close enough.
It wasn’t till I pulled back for a breathe I realized where his hands were, rising higher under my shirt, and my heart skipped a beat.
I jumped when I felt his teeth graze against my collar bone, gently nipping on the skin.
Jesus, I was going to combust.
“Reed!” I let go of his neck and grabbed his rising hands over my shirt and he looked up, “What’s wrong?” he looked worried as I tried to regain my alphabet and speech skills.
“We eh,” I said clearing my throat, “I um, stop,”
His eyes cleared from the dazed dark look, “Sorry, too far,”
I nodded then shook my head, “No it’s just, I don’t have a bra on so this is quite awkward,” and I just realised what I said when he started to go red, “Oh shit,”
He groaned his face nuzzling my neck, “Violet, why did you tell me that, shit”
“Alex where the fuck are you man?”
We both froze as we heard a noise and I looked at him as he lifted his head swearing, “Are we getting robbed?” I asked the same time he stood up, his leg got caught between the cushions and he tripped over and I sat up quickly cringing as he narrowly missed the coffee table and fell onto the rug.
I looked up as I heard footsteps and awkwardly smiled seeing a guy stare at me, “Um,” he said looking behind his shoulder, “Alexander?”
I nodded pointing to the ground, “Down there,”
Kill me now (another synonym to describe this situation)
I banged my head against the dryer as I waited for my clothes to dry. What I wasn’t expecting was a random man to enter the house, this late, and take one look at us. I had fled saying I needed to check on my clothes, which thankfully were washed but now in the dryer waiting for them to dry.
And it was worse that when I jumped off the couch half my shirt was undone probably flashing the guy more than he wanted to see. I banged my head against groaning as I heard voices. Damn how loud were they talking that I could hear it all the way down the corridor.
I sighed standing up and leaning against the dryer, if I concentrated, I could make out what they were saying.
Something about a project they were working on. The timer of the machine went off and I hastily opened it nearly moaning at how warm the clothes were.
Grabbing them out I quickly looked behind me to make sure the door was still closed, I didn’t need to flash anyone again. I took a sniff of the amazing smelling clothes, I wonder what surf powder he used. I wanted it.
Moving my half wet hair out of my face I quickly changed, dumping the pyjamas into the little basket he had and running a hand through my hair.
Why didn’t he have a mirror in here? Did I look appropriate? Or was I still red?
I opened the door leaning forward, yep they were still talking.
Get the courage, go say hi.
But I don’t want to, the awkward introduction between Declan and I was enough to last me a life-time. To his credit he didn’t bat an eyelash, maybe this was a usual encounter. Reed on top of someone. Or maybe Declan was a good actor.
I liked the latter option.
Before I could chicken out and play hide and seek by sitting in the washing machine, I strode forward. Pretend you’re confident, people think you know what you-nope. I turned back around. I liked the hide-and-seek option.
You were raised better than this.
I turned back around, was I? Really?
Yes. I turned around and counted to ten, well three before I got impatient and hurried back down the corridor.
They were both hunching over the bench in the kitchen, a folder between them and I was about to run back to the laundry, but then Reed spotted me, tilting his head in a motion beckoning me.
A situation is only as awkward, as you make it.
I walked over towards them as I heard Declan speak, “Alright then, I’ll send these to your office,”
Reed nodded reaching for my hand as I walked over and pulling me to his side. Declan smiled at me, “I’m so sorry about earlier. I was knocking and this idiot didn’t tell me the bell was broken so I used the spare key, I wo-,”
“It’s fine, relax,” I said feeling my face heat up. It wasn’t like we both were naked or something, well, not entirely.
Reed cleared his throat, lifting his hand to rub the back of his neck, “I’ll see you at the office then?”
Declan nodded and picked up his things, “I’ll email you the draft by tomorrow, Nice meeting you again,” he nodded at me and I nearly raised an eyebrow.
Well we technically didn’t meet. I followed Reed, or he dragged me along, as we walked Declan out, “Laterz boss, sorry again you guys,” I watched as Declan lifted the tile up and placed a key there, wait, that was a fake tile? I was incredibly surprised and impressed.
Fake pot plants, and door bells and even rocks had keys, but a whole tile.
I scoffed, Architects.
Reed slammed the door shut sighing and I looked at him, “You tell everyone where your key is?”
“Just people I work with, they usually have to drop off drafts for me,” he shrugged.
“A boss huh?” I asked as we walked back, I had to get my bag. Reed shrugged,“Should’ve told me,”
“Why? Would it impress you?”
“Totally,” I said sarcastically, but indeed I was impressed, did he start his own business or-he pushed me up against the wall, leaning down. He was so close I could see the faint red mark from when he fell face first and I stifled a laugh.
“In that case, I’m the C.E.O, impressed?” he said, saying each word delibratley slow.
“Nope,” I said ducking under his arm walking towards the lounge, “And Liam won’t be impressed if you don’t get me back before my ‘curfew’,” I said grabbing my bag. Reed groaned behind me, “I hate that guy,”
“He’s just s kid,”
“Kids my arse, he’s old enough to be my grand-father,” Reed said grabbing his keys and I raised an eyebrow, “Fine, not my grand-pa, but he’s not a kid,”
“Whatever,” He said pulling at me side and throwing his arm around my shoulder, “Your hair smells good,” he said burying his head in it before placing a kiss on my forehead that made all types of funny feelings in my body.
“It’s your shampoo,”
He opened the door with the other and and we stepped out into the dark, cold, night, “I knew I had good taste,”
The walk back to the car wasn’t too long and I got in shivering as I checked my phone, shit, no battery.
Reed turned the heater on and I welcome the warm gust of air as he reversed out, the tide had come in a lot and I could see the water up close, the waves were bigger too and I shuddered. I think I was going to put off going on boats for a bit.
Or anywhere where my feet weren’t firmly planted on the ground. Maybe I should walk home.
“What are you doing tomorrow?”
“Planning your sister’s wedding probably,” I said and laughed at the look on his face, “Give me another shot, I’ll take you out to dinner,”
“I don’t know, I don’t think you quite earned it, ouch!” I said slapping his hand from where he pinched me.
“Fine,” I grumbled rubbing my hand. He laughed picking it up and raising it to my mouth and I watched curiously, was he going to “kiss it better,” apparently not when he bit me.
“What is wrong with you, you vile creature,” I snapped flicking him in the nose. What was with him today? He broke into laughter and I narrowed my eyes looking out the window.
The ride back was fairly short, and all I wanted to do was go home and sleep. Preferably with Charlie not trying to claw my eyes out.
I stepped outside grabbing my bag as Reed hurried over, “You know, you’re meant to wait for me to open the door,” he said as I picked up my fallen bag and stepped out, “Why though?”
“So you want me to sit in the car, and watch you walk out and then across and then open a door, nobody got time for that,” he laughed closing the door as I looked around. It was fairly empty the parking lot for the apartment underground, and sort of spooky if you were here by yourself.
The worst was when you had to take out the rubbish every night and come here, it was oddly spooky, “Well this is me, I’ll see you tomorrow,”
I started heading towards the elevator, the faster I get up, the faster I can wear comfortable baggy pyjamas, just thinking about my bed made me hurry.
“No goodnight kiss?”
I looked over my shoulder raising an eyebrow, “Really?” what the hell were we doing on his couch earlier, meditating?
“Come on, you’re not even inviting me up, therefore I demand a good night kiss,” before I could object he grabbed the back of my jacket pulling me against him and I welcome the heat from his body.
I pecked him on the lips and pulled away but his hands on my back kept me in position, “You don’t call that a kiss,”
“Oh really, what do you call a kiss then?”
He lowered his head in one swift move, his lips meeting mine, and like any kiss with Reed. You couldn’t stop with one. I felt his hands roam over my back before his hand tangled in my hair tilting my head up making me moan against his mouth.
“I need to go,”
“Are you sure about that?”
“I have to,” I said trying to pull back but his grip on me tightened, “You sure about that?” he repeated himself his lips connecting to the side of my neck. I sighed, leaning into him resting against the car. This man was dangerous, he was like playing with fire.
I knew that voice.
I pulled back quickly, Reed hand stuck in my hair and he hastily tried to remove it and I spun around to see the devil, “Mum?”
And she didn’t look happy. She looked between Reed, probably scrutinizing the fact he was in his pyjamas, it was the pants that gave it away, and then at me. I subconsciously leaned into Reed, can I just disappear right now?
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? Is that the blazer I got you, looks good.”
“Mum,” I groaned looking at Reed before I walked over grabbing my hand and pulling her to the side, “What are you doing here?”
“What do you mean? I am your mother, is this why you wanted to move out, to be a whore?” I winced.
“I’m old enough to date mother”
“Do you know what time it is? I’ve been waiting for an hour!” Sure you were, more like three minutes.
“Why are you here so late?”
She narrowed her eyes at me and I suddenly felt like a mouse being served on a platter to a hyena. “To remind you that the family dinner is on this weekend, and bring him,”
“Who?” I asked rubbing my hands together. Her eyes narrowed dangerously, “The man that was raping you against his car,”
I nearly choked on my own spit, “Mum! It was just a kiss,”
“I want to meet him,” She said making a move to go to him and grabbed her hand. “No! I’ll bring him for the family thing, Just go now.”
“Is he going up with you?”
“God no mum,” I said rolling my eyes. She pursed her lips giving me a hard look and then over my shoulder surely at Reed, “What does he do?”
I groaned, of course now she was going to complain how he wasn’t a lawyer or engineer or doctor, I grumbled under my breathe.
“What was that?”
“Later, You can interrogate him when you come,” I said starting to walk her to the car. She hesitated but fell in step with me.
Like hell I was bringing him, poor guy would be chewed to pieces. I waited till she got into the car and drove away before hurrying back, and Reed was still standing there. He looked up from his phone, a little red, “Sorry about that,” I said.
“It’s fine, I shouldn’t have um, probably-”
“That was my birth giver. Great meeting,” I said yawning, “I’m going up to sleep,” I said turning around.
Sleep was more important