Emma slowly and quietly opened the door of Chloe’s room. She had showed the way out to everyone before climbing the stairs to check on Chloe. Noah, as usual, told Emma to take care of Chloe, not that she wasn’t perfectly capable of taking care of herself, but Emma knew that he loved Chloe and it was his way of telling her that he was sorry for what had happened with Steven even though it was obviously none of his fault. She entered the room and closed the door behind her, she turned toward Chloe to find her lying down in her bed with her face buried in her pillow.
Chloe relaxed upon noticing that it was Emma who entered the room. She was relieved that it wasn’t Steven, telling her how much he missed her. She didn’t miss him, not really. She was angry and disappointed because he gave up on her that quickly. Maybe it was for the best that he broke it off. It would have been a mistake to marry him, after all. But he broke it off when she needed him the most. Chloe still cared for him.
Emma approached Chloe’s bed and sat on the edge, Chloe sat up to face her.
Ethan stood up from his seat at the table once everyone was gone. Well, not everyone, Lana and Ian were in the kitchen with Jason. He wasn’t sure where Emma was and, to be honest, he didn’t really care, but he thought he saw her going upstairs after Chloe once everyone was gone.
Ethan walked toward the kitchen where he could hear Lana and Ian fighting about God knew what and Jason trying to get them to shut up which was a very difficult mission. He entered the kitchen to find Jason and Lana both cleaning the dishes while Ian was seated on the counter top like Emma had been before dinner.
“Ian, could you do something useful and help us please,” Lana said angrily.
“You already asked this a couple times and my answer is still the same. Nope. But it was nice to ask,” Ian answered nonchalantly.
Jason was about to say something when he turned his head and saw Ethan entering the kitchen. He saw a way to distract Lana and Ian by making them know Ethan was there, they would stop fighting and draw their attention on him, Jason was just hoping it wouldn’t bring another fight.
“Ethan,” Jason acknowledged his presence.
“Ethan, tell Ian to help us and you help us too,” Lana exclaimed.
Jason decided to change the conversation seeing that Ethan’s arrival didn’t change Lana’s mind. “It was really nice of you to take Chloe’s defense, Ethan.”
Ethan looked up nonchalantly. “It was nothing. Steven was being annoying all dinner and you were clearly not helping your wife when she tried to kick him out of the house,” he explained.
“It wouldn’t have been appropriate for me to ask Steven to leave the house, he was a guest,” Jason said.
“If I understood well he wasn’t invited so I don’t see where the problem is. And he was making everyone uncomfortable;” Ethan said louder.
“He wasn’t the one making everyone uncomfortable. The situation was making everyone uncomfortable.” Jason tried to explain without saying that it was because of Chloe, not that he was uncomfortable because of it, but he knew everyone else was.
“The situation?” Ethan raised his eyebrow.
“What Jason is trying to say is that everyone was uncomfortable all dinner because of Chloe.” Ian went straight to the point seeing that Jason was failing to do so.
“I don’t understand why. The girl can’t talk. You don’t need to be uncomfortable and cautious around her;” Ethan wondered
“The girl has a name,” Lana interjected but everyone ignored her.
“The situation is far more complicated than this, Ethan.” Jason turned around, now completely facing Ethan.
“Then explain to me what the situation is.” Ethan was obviously annoyed by now.
“No one really knows what-” Lana started but Jason cut her off.
“It is not our place to explain the situation,” Jason pointed out
“Oh, you’re being so boring, Jason,” Ian proclaimed, with a sense of drama in his voice. “Well, talking or not she is hot, right Ethan? Admit it! That’s why you took her defense. You want her to spread her legs for you!”
“No, and even if it was the case, which is not, you’re not the person to talk. What about Jessica? She is hot too, right, Ian? Maybe I want her to spread her legs for me,” Ethan noted, but inside he was angry. It made him angry that Ian said Chloe was hot and he had no idea why, it made him angry that a part of it was true and that he wouldn’t mind Chloe spreading her legs for him.
“You wouldn’t. I saw her first, Ethan!” Ian spoke angrily
“You both are talking about women as if they are meat. You are disgusting,” Lana stated.
“Of course I would. I don’t care that you saw her first. Look, our baby brother is in love,” Ethan mocked Ian. He had no intention on trying anything with Jessica. He had been looking at Chloe all dinner and wasn’t even sure he remembered the color of Jessica’s eyes. The only woman in his mind right now was Chloe.
“If you try something with Jessica I swear I’ll beat the hell out of you. And I’m not in love.” Ian stood up and approached Ethan
“I’d like to see you try.” Ethan took a step in Ian’s direction
“With pleasure.” Ian smiled, with anger quite noticeable in his tone. “And then maybe I’ll go and ask Chloe to clean my wounds, who knows what can happen,” he added, knowing how much this was going to affect Ethan. He wasn’t stupid, he had seen him looking at Chloe all dinner, and he had defended her. Ethan was really not the type of a person to defend anyone in a situation like this one.
And that was when Ethan threw his first punch in Ian’s jaw.
“I’m sorry about Steven. He wasn’t even invited and he just invited himself,” Emma began. “He’s a jerk! This son of a bitch thought it would be okay to come over and claim you as HIS,” She said angrily. “Does he think like an animal? Next time he’ll try to pee on you just to mark his territory! I mean, I love when Jason says I’m his and you can’t even imagine how erotic it is to say that. It’s really wonderful when he says it while we are having sex.”
Chloe didn’t really want to know what Jason was telling Emma while they were...doing it. But it made her realize that every time Steven had said she was his, even when they had been together, it had sounded weird, not right. It was exactly that, it wasn’t right, it didn’t feel right and it didn’t sound right. And she wanted someone to tell her that she was his, she wanted someone to say it during sex, hell she wanted to have sex.
“It’s really weird, you know?” Emma continued, breaking Chloe’s thoughts. “I mean, you could be thinking everything and anything and we don’t even know it. I’m talking to you right now and I don’t even know if you agree with me or not. And do you know what is even weirder? The fact that even like this I still love you, you are still Chloe, my best friend, the woman of my life. Do you remember that? We are wife and wife.” She paused. “Oh I know what you’re going to say. But Jason is my husband and you are my wife, it’s totally normal. And you, you have a wife, me, I’m just waiting for the guy who will try to take your heart away from me, but of course he will have to share like Jason is sharing me with you.”
Chloe couldn’t help but smile at what Emma was saying. She went closer to her and hugged her tightly. Of course she remembered that Emma was her wife, it was something they had started saying at the mere age of eleven. They got married in Chloe’s garden and Will had walked her through the aisle. They had sworn that they would never leave each other no matter what. And Emma was keeping her promise because she was still here. It was a promise made as a kid and Emma was keeping it, while Steven made the same promise as an adult and he had left. Chloe also realized that it had been a long time since Emma had talked to her like this, like nothing had happened, like she was herself, Chloe Pierce, her best friend.
Emma didn’t say anything when she saw Chloe smile because she didn’t want to break the moment. She wouldn’t say it but today she had seen Chloe smile twice, twice in the same day, and she had also seen what seemed to be anger earlier, and it was much more than she could have expected.
Chloe pulled away from Emma after a few minutes and grabbed a piece of paper and a pen. She quickly wrote on it before giving it to Emma, still with a discreet smile on her lips.
Thank you, Emma. I love you too.
Emma read the words that were on the paper and smiled too before placing a small peck on Chloe’s cheek and standing up to leave the room. She reached the door and opened it but before leaving she turned around to take a last look at Chloe.
“You know Chloe, I believe in you and I know you’re gonna be okay. You’re gonna get better. Do you know how I can be sure of it?” Emma assured her and Chloe shook her head to say no so she continued. “The middle finger, that was my girl!”
“Oh, and, I’m glad you and Steven aren’t getting married. He doesn’t deserve you. One day you’ll find a man who will make you feel like you are his queen, like nothing else matters in this world than you, he will love you unconditionally, and just know that I won’t let any man break your heart again, if they do they’ll have to deal with me.” She was about to leave when she heard dishes being broken. Emma frowned and walked out of the room.
Chloe stood up and followed Emma out of the room. They could hear shouts coming from the kitchen so they both quickly ran toward it. Chloe wouldn’t admit it but she was a little scared. What if it was a thief who could attack them?
But when Chloe and Emma entered the kitchen it wasn’t a thief in front of them but Ian and Ethan fighting while Lana was yelling at them asking them to stop. Jason was trying to pull them apart, but he was failing in his attempts.
“What is going on here?” Emma yelled. “MY DISHES!!”
At the sound of Emma’s voice Ian and Ethan both stopped fighting and looked up. Neither Ethan, nor Ian looked sorry about the fact that they had been fighting and that they broke some dishes. Ian’s nose was bleeding, he was clearly going to have a black eye and his jaw, now red, would probably have a huge bruise by morning.
Ethan’s lower lip was slit and blood was dropping from it, but except from this he wasn’t badly hurt. Chloe knew that Ethan was in the military and if she had been in Ian’s place, she wouldn’t have fought with him knowing this, but well, men...
“I knew it was weird that they didn’t even yell at each other. It’s unbelievable how you two can act like kids,” Emma yelled.
When Ethan noticed Chloe was in the room too he felt his anger rise again. He shouldn’t have punched Ian just because he had said he would sleep with Chloe. He shouldn’t care about Chloe at all. It had been stupid and it wouldn’t happen again. He wouldn’t let this woman be important for him, it was her fault that he had fought with Ian.
Chloe’s eyes found Ethan’s and she was taken aback by the anger she saw in them, anger that seemed to be directed at her but she had no idea why. He didn’t say anything and walked out of the room hitting Chloe’s shoulder with his because she was in the doorway. Chloe had to admit that he was quite scary with his dark stares and a split lip. She grabbed her shoulder trying to stop the pain. She looked toward Ethan and saw him turning around and looking at her with what looked like guilt before his stare became dark again and he left.
“Ethan! Can’t you at least apologize?” Lana yelled but he was already gone.
Chloe grabbed a piece of paper and wrote something on it, which took her at least a minute, before following the path Ethan had taken. He was probably in his room now but she didn’t care since she had to give him that paper even if he seemed to be mad at her. She should be mad at him but she had seen in his look when he had turned around that he didn’t hit her shoulder on purpose. She just needed him to read what was on the paper. She heard Emma following her but she didn’t stop and she just kept going.
She arrived in front of his room and stopped. She saw Emma approaching her and knocked on the door before Emma could try to keep her from talking to Ethan.
Ethan hadn’t hit Chloe’s shoulder on purpose but he knew that he had done it with sheer force. When he had turned around, she had been holding her shoulder and he had felt the guilt rising in him. He quickly came back to his senses and the thought was simply washed away. Now he was seated on the edge of his bed with his hands balled into fists. Someone knocked on the door. It must be Jason who was going to chastise him for fighting with Ian and not apologizing to Chloe.
“Go away!” Ethan yelled through the door but he wasn’t surprised when the door still opened. What surprised him was the person coming through it.
“I thought you were mute not deaf. I said go away,” He snapped angrily. He was so angry that it had made him angry hearing Ian say he would try something with Chloe, he wasn’t supposed to care.
Chloe approached him hesitantly with the paper still in her hand. She let the door open, she was just going to give him the paper and then she would go in her room and sleep like she was supposed to. Once she was in front of Ethan she handed him the paper but he didn’t take it. At first she thought he didn’t see it because he was looking at his hands so she approached the paper a little closer to his face. He looked up and snatched the paper from her hand before crushing it in his hand until it was a ball and throwing it across the room.
“I don’t want your stupid paper. You don’t talk, that’s your problem. I guess you’ll just never have a conversation with me because I prefer to talk with someone who can speak.” Ethan uttered but as soon as his words came out of his mouth he regretted them. He looked at Chloe’s face and saw the hurt in her eyes.
Chloe looked at him for few seconds before she turned around and walked out of his room. She was hurt, she hadn’t felt that much hurt since Steven had broken things off two weeks after the incident. But at the same time she was glad, Ethan obviously thought she was mute and he still didn’t act cautiously around her and didn’t hesitate to snap at her and she was glad for it. She didn’t need a new person to take care of her. She didn’t want him to know that she wasn’t mute; he would just start to act weird with her like everyone else. But she was still hurt about what he had said.
One moment he was taking her defense against Steven and the next he was looking at her with hatred and saying he didn’t want to talk to her, ever, because she couldn’t speak. What kind of person would say that to someone who was mute? She wasn’t mute but still, he thought she was. As she walked out of Ethan’s room she was met by Emma who was waiting at the door.
“Chloe, he doesn’t know what he is talking about. He doesn’t know you; if he did he wouldn’t say that he doesn’t want to talk with you,” Emma explained. Before the incident Chloe had always wanted to be accepted by everyone and Emma knew how much she was hurt when people pushed her away. “He is just mad because he fought with his brother.”
But Chloe didn’t even listen and continued walking until she reached her room. She entered it and quickly closed the door. It wasn’t a problem, Ethan didn’t want to talk with her so he should be happy she’s mute, and it was rare that she wrote what she had to say, she had just thought that she could try to write more to communicate with others but she had never thought that maybe it could bother them to read what she wanted to say all the time. Anyway, she didn’t want to think about it anymore, she just wanted to sleep so she fell on her bed and waited for sleep to take over her.
Emma was still at Ethan’s door when Chloe went to her room. She walked in the room not saying anything and picked up the piece of paper that was on the floor. She straightened it out and read what was written on it quietly and her chest tightened because she could understand Chloe’s words much more than Ethan would.
“I suggest you read what is written on that paper,” Emma said with a cold voice and Ethan looked up. “Tomorrow you will go grocery shopping and you will buy me new dishes. And you will take Chloe with you and apologize to her.”
“I don’t want to take Chloe with me,” Ethan confronted her, but there was no anger in his voice anymore.
“I don’t care about what you want. You will take Chloe with you, she needs to go out. I won’t let her stay at home every day like she did with her mom. She needs to live her life and meet people who are not jerks like you, people who want to talk to her,” Emma snapped before putting the paper on the bedside table and leaving the room.
Ethan watched Emma leaving the room. He stood up and walked to the bathroom and only then he realized that Chloe was using this bathroom too and that she was just on the other side of the door that’s was on the other side of the bathroom, he should have realized earlier seeing that it was where she had come when she had had her panic attack. He quickly took his clothes off and put his sweat pants on before going back to his room.
He sat on the edge of his bed and took the paper that was on his bedside table. He looked at it not reading it yet but noticing that Chloe’s handwriting was beautiful, he could read what she wrote for days and it wouldn’t bother him. He hesitated before reading it, she wrote it after their shoulders collided, so it was surely full of hate and insults. He finally decided to read it after a few minutes and he was taken aback by what was written because it wasn’t something he had expected at all.
I’m sorry that you fought with your brother and seeing the way
you were looking at me I feel like it is my fault even though
I have no idea why. And I don’t want to know why, I just want
you to know that you shouldn’t fight with your brother but
cherish every single second you spend with him, you should
be laughing together and not fighting. He is your family,
your blood. He is here now but it doesn’t mean he will
always be. One second he is here and the next second
he is gone leaving an empty spot in your heart, and you
regret every time you ever got into a fight with him, every time
you yelled at him, but it’s too late, because he is gone forever.
Ethan put the paper aside and couldn’t help but think that she knew exactly what she was talking about. He couldn’t help but feel sadness reading her words because she was right, things could happen and he could lose one of his siblings at any moment. Emma was right, he should apologize, it would be difficult because it was really rare for Ethan to apologize but he would try, he had to try. His behavior was horrible when Chloe was in question and she was just trying to be nice.
When Chloe woke up the next morning she quickly stood up and realized that she was still wearing her dress from last night so she quickly ran into the bathroom and frowned when she saw clothes on the floor. Clothes that belonged to a man, and clothes she had seen Ethan wearing yesterday. Emma already told her she would have her own bathroom but she had forgotten that Ethan was in the room on the other side of the bathroom. Saying she would have preferred to be warned about it was an understatement. What if she was naked and Ethan walked inside or the opposite, her walking in and being met with a very naked Ethan. Okay, maybe there was this small part of her that was disappointed that it hadn’t happened, she wouldn’t have minded seeing Ethan naked to be honest.
What? Of course she would have minded! Ethan was a jerk to her; he had clearly stated that he didn’t want to have anything to do with her and that she should stay away from him. She didn’t want to see him naked at all.
She locked the door that lead to Ethan’s room just in case and took a quick shower. Once it was done she put a large gray t-shirt on that was far too big for her, and her comfortable yoga pants. She looked at herself in the mirror and was met with the Chloe she had been used to see since the incident. No makeup, nothing that wasn’t necessary. She would stay at home anyway so there was no need to look pretty.
She unlocked Ethan’s door and walked out of the bathroom and back into her room. She looked at her bed and thought about making it but then she changed her mind and left her room barefoot not even closing the door behind her.
She almost ran toward the kitchen, she was starving. She arrived in the kitchen and no one was there, they must still be asleep and it wasn’t something Chloe would complain about, she preferred to stay alone.
She took her favorite cereals out and filled a bowl with it before taking the milk out of the fridge and pouring some over her cereals. Once it was done she left everything the way it was on the kitchen counter and took a seat at the small table that was in the kitchen. She started to eat her cereal quietly and looked at the mess she had made. Before the incident she would have cleaned everything, like she would have made her bed, but now she didn’t care about anything, she didn’t even care about herself. Of course Emma wouldn’t be happy about it and she knew it but even if she wanted to care she just didn’t.
But if she really didn’t care about anything, why did it hurt yesterday when Ethan had pushed her away and said he didn’t want to talk to her, ever. If she had been hurt it must mean that in some way she had cared and she had wanted to talk to him. He could make her blush and angry too so even if she wouldn’t admit it she knew that in some way she cared. Chloe was startled when a voice, that she wasn’t hoping to hear again, talked to her.
“What are you doing?” Ethan asked when he entered the kitchen and found Chloe in very ugly clothes. Chloe just turned toward him and frowned.
“We are leaving in a few minutes so hurry up. I’m taking you with me. We are going to the grocery shop to buy new dishes for Emma,” Ethan explained and Chloe shook her head clearly not wanting to leave the house today and especially not with him.
“Listen, I don’t want to take you with me either, but Emma would kill me if she finds out I didn’t take you with me,” Ethan argued and once more regretted what he had said as soon as it left his mouth. He was supposed to apologize and instead he was telling her that he didn’t want to take her with him. Chloe stood up with her bowl of cereals angrily and walked out of the kitchen.
“If Emma knows you are going upstairs with your cereals she is going to kill you. And hurry up I won’t wait forever,” Ethan yelled after her.
Chloe arrived in her room and closed the door behind her. She sat on her bed and quickly ate her cereals. When she was mad it took her a really short time to finish what she was eating. He didn’t want to take her with him, well, that was fine because she didn’t want to go with him either.
Wait, maybe it was what he was waiting for by saying that. Maybe he was hoping she wouldn’t come. Hell, he was dreaming. This man had the power to make fire burn inside of Chloe and all she wanted to do now was to do the contrary of what he wanted her to do. It seemed like she would go to the grocery shop with him after all.
She took her bowl with her and quickly went back downstairs. She entered the kitchen and put her bowl on the counter top before looking in Ethan’s direction and making it very clear that she was waiting for him.
Ethan looked at Chloe up and down and frowned, was she ready? Because she didn’t look ready at all. Saying she was ugly would be a lie, it was the same as before, she was beautiful, and he couldn’t help but admire how beautiful she was even dressed like a potato and with no makeup on her face, and let’s not forget that her hair was not done. She looked like a mess but a beautiful mess, Ethan found himself finding it cute, the fact that she looked like a mess. And he also found himself wanting to touch her perfect skin, her cheeks. He wanted to entangle his hands in her hair and try to make it look a little better. Ethan then realized that he was looking at her for far too long and he didn’t miss the way she was blushing, again, which brought him satisfaction.
Chloe started to feel a little uncomfortable under his stare. He was looking at her with hungry eyes and she couldn’t help but blush once more. He was always looking at her like she was a woman, which she was of course, and that was when he wasn’t angry. But the fact that even when she was dressed like this he was still looking at her as if she was beautiful was something new for Chloe. With Steven it had always been different, if she wasn’t dressed properly; with makeup and her hair made he would look at her as if she wasn’t attractive at all. But in Ethan’s eyes she felt attractive even dressed like this.
“You are not coming dressed like this, are you?” he asked after a few minutes and when he saw Chloe raising a defiant eyebrow he added, “you are dressed like a potato, a cute potato, but still a potato.” which earned yet another blush from Chloe.
Chloe kept looking at him and Ethan understood that she wasn’t going to change and dress any better and that it was a lost cause so he sighed and walked out of the kitchen.
“Okay, let’s go. But once in the grocery shop, just so we’re clear, I don’t know you.” He continued walking. Chloe looked at his back and smiled when she heard his words. She couldn’t help it, she just felt comfortable around him, he was comfortable around her so why wouldn’t she be?