Porcelain Skin

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Did You Just...?

Trevor and I are sprawled across my bed, both of us in our own world of research. We’ve already come to the conclusion that my creepy dream about the man in the shadows with chains around his ankles may represent helplessness. I can see that someone in my life is in need of rescuing or guidance, but I’m clueless as for how to help. This makes sense when you consider that bugs coming out of my hair could mean that I’ve got something weighing on my mind, which is what our Google search revealed to us.

This may all sound like a good interpretation, but in reality, I’m not buying it. The reason being that I already have my own theory, and it has nothing to do with feeling helpless.

It’s strange that I don’t feel like I can confess my theory to Trevor. It’s not like it’s really a secret, but there are parts of my past that I prefer to keep hidden. Revealing the meaning behind my dream would awaken a whole slew of questions that I’m not ready to dive into quite yet. So instead, I tell myself that it’s not wrong to keep it from him since dreams don’t technically prove anything. It’s not like I’m lying if I don’t tell him what I think it means because, in reality, my own interpretation could be wrong. Plus, dreams don’t always mean something. Some people just have wacky imaginations.

“So you ever gonna tell me who you’ve got a crush on?” Trevor asks while lying across the end of my bed on his stomach.

His arms are hanging off the side to where his computer sits on the floor. He doesn’t appear the least bit comfortable as his fingers fly across the keyboard. When I don’t answer him, he pushes himself up enough to rest his elbows on the bed and turns to look at me.

“Trevor.” His name escapes my lips with an exasperated sigh.

“What? Why won’t you tell me?” He begs playfully, a smile lighting up his face. This only heightens my annoyance. It’s like a game to him; he’s not actually taking my emotions seriously.

“Why do you keep doing this?” I question, brushing my fingers through my hair in frustration.

My throat feels oddly thick with emotion. I hate that he keeps pushing this issue because he should know the answer already, and him trying to force me to confess my feelings for him is just making it seem like he’s doing it for his own entertainment. There’s no way he’s dumb enough to not have figured it out by now.

He must sense the defeated tone in my voice because he pushes himself into a seated position. Bending one leg, he props his arm lazily on his knee, allowing his hand to hang loosely in the air. He spins a pen casually between his fingers; his eyes roaming back and forth between my own as if the answer somehow lies beneath their depths. I turn my gaze towards my lap when his scrutiny becomes too much. Fear clutches at my chest because I’m suddenly feeling vulnerable, as though he’s somehow able to gauge every emotion swirling inside my wild heart.

“I’m sure whoever this guy is, he’d be thrilled to know how you feel.” His words are gentle, as if he fears that speaking too loudly may shatter my weakened state.

A sarcastic laugh erupts through my stern lips.

“I highly doubt that,” I tell him as I adjust the computer in my lap. Pushing a strand of hair behind my ear, I finally look up to meet his sober stare.

“Is it the guy in your dream?” he finally asks, never tearing his eyes away from mine.

I know he’s analyzing every one of my features for a clue: the twitch of my lips, the lift of my brow, the clench of my jaw, the flutter of my flustered fingers, everything. It’s impossible to control my body under such inspection.

“Yes,” I finally mumble, hoping that it will be enough information to satisfy him for now.

I peer at him from under my lashes to see him nodding slowly, his face void of any emotion. I’m not sure if I prefer the unreadable Trevor over the teasing Trevor. The mystery behind his eyes is driving me mad. What could he possibly be thinking? Finally, a tight smile pulls at his lips before he leans over the bed to grab his computer off the floor.

Over the next few minutes, we work in silence, and I’m strangely wishing that I had just confessed my feelings for him. Maybe then this uncomfortable blanket wouldn’t have settled around us. The air is heavy with uneasiness.

“Alright. Here we go,” Trevor says, shifting himself so he’s sitting beside me. He points to his screen and begins to read while I follow along. “A red robe can sometimes mean that you have a personal issue that needs confrontation, or it might mean that you have a secret desire to let loose.” He stops reading to look sideways at me. “Which one seems more realistic for you?”

My eyes are still on his screen as I shrug. I turn to meet his gaze. “Both actually.”

“I also found this,” Trevor continues on. “It’s about the lake. It says that raging or disturbed waters can equal emotional turmoil.”

“That would make sense,” I comment. “With my dad and all. I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from that, so it could be the turmoil I’ve been experiencing.”

“True.” Trevor turns slightly to face me better. “Do you really think that’s the emotional turmoil you were dreaming about?”

I don’t know if it’s the curiosity behind his question or the fact that he seems to already know that the dream has nothing to do with my father, but in seconds rage has boiled up from my stomach and out of my mouth.

“Trevor!” I growl. “Just let it go okay! I’m not going to spill my emotions to you. You can keep digging all you want, but who I like and whoever is causing my emotions to swing all over the place is really none of your concern.”

My eyes swing to my lap again because I can’t face him. My humiliation is too overpowering. I’m not one to let my anger overtake me anymore, and I feel like I’ve just backpedaled with our relationship.

I risk a look at Trevor, and he appears completely unfazed by my emotional outburst. Curiosity is churning in his eyes, and I suddenly can’t take any more of his snooping. I push my computer off my lap and scoot off my bed. Without a word I make my way to the bathroom and lock the door behind me. Grabbing a hold of the counter, I dip my head to avoid my reflection in the mirror.

I hate how he has so much control over how I feel. If I could just turn off my emotions I gladly would, but he has captured me completely. His persistence to unravel the mystery behind who I like is causing tension to eat away my nerves. Once he discovers the truth, he’ll be hightailing it out of my life. The easy friendship we’ve created will be like dust blown away in the wind. I can’t risk that. I need him to be a part of my life even if I never get the full satisfaction of his affection.

I exit the bathroom a minute later, feeling just as crappy as I did when I went in. I prepare to offer an apology for my rude behavior, but when I look up I find Trevor sitting on the floor with yarn and knitting needles spread before him. The words freeze in the throat. He looks up at me with a boyish grin on his face.

“Are those my supplies?” I ask as I cautiously make my way over to him.

He glances down at the array of knitting needles and yarn that he’s organized on the floor beside him and then grins before returning his gaze to me.

“Yep,” he says. “I’ve been meaning to give them back to you for awhile, but it kept slipping my mind. I figured now would be the perfect time for you to teach me.”

He looks down at a ball of yarn that he’s playing with, and he suddenly seems slightly insecure. My heart warms at the realization, and I carefully sit down across from him.

“I felt like we needed a break from dreams,” he explains.

I smile at him when he lifts his head to look at me.

“Good idea,” I agree, grabbing a pair of knitting needles from off the floor and tapping them against the carpet.

Trevor continues to mess with the string while I watch him.

“I’m sorry,” I finally admit.

He looks at me again with a tight smile. “Actually, I’m sorry,” he responds. “I’m just a curious guy. I shouldn’t have pushed you like that.”

“Why do you care so much?” I ask before I can convince myself not to.

His tight smile finally blossoms, and for a moment I can’t bring myself to tear my gaze from the temptation of his full lips. I can feel his eyes on me, and I shift my focus to see a knowing gleam in his perceptive perusal of my features. I don’t blush often, but I can feel my face heat because, somehow, I know that he’s aware of more than he’s letting on.

“I have my reasons,” he answers with a confident smirk.

“You know who I like, don’t you?” I find myself asking, and I want to bash my head in with a wrecking ball. Why am I bringing up this topic again after he so graciously gave me the opportunity to escape it?

“There’s no way for me to know until you tell me,” he replies with a nonchalant shrug. “But, I have my suspicions,” he adds after a moment.

Great. He knows. He knows! But if he really does know, wouldn’t he be running as far and fast away from me as possible? And yet, here he is, waiting patiently for me to snap out of it and teach him some knitting. I shake my head and meet his gaze with as confident of a smile as I can muster.

“Okay, Trevor. Moving on.” I put down the needles and pick up a ball of yarn. “How ’bout those knitting lessons, huh?”

“Alright, M&M. Show me how it’s done,” he responds while relaxing his back against the side of my bed as if he’s settling in for a good movie.

I try to ignore the nickname and the painful burst in my chest that accompanies it.

“So,” I begin as I unravel the wad of string. “What you’re going to do is tie a knot around one of the needles.” I pause as I do this. “Then with your right hand create a lazy ‘L’ shape with your thumb and pointer finger like this.” I demonstrate as I speak.

Trevor reaches out to grab his own needle and string and begins copying my actions.

“Now,” I go on, “grab the string and wrap it loosely around the ‘L’ of your right hand. Then you’re going to twist your wrist to create a loop before slipping it onto the needle. Tighten the loop and slide it down to meet the knot you formed.” I pause to watch Trevor.

“Here,” I say as I reach out to help.

My fingers brush over his and we both pause. My gaze darts up to meet his and my breath evaporates from my lungs. I laugh nervously while gently grasping the string and sliding it over his fingers. I can sense he’s not focusing on anything I’m doing because I can feel his eyes boring into the side of my head. I dip my chin to allow my hair to fall, slightly obscuring his vision from my warm cheeks.

“Just loop it like this. You’re basically just creating a coil of yarn around the needle,” I explain nervously.

My fingers become fidgety as I quicken my pace, showing him how it should be done. I’m relieved when I notice him nodding at my explanation. Backing away, I inspect him as he attempts to loop the string as I’ve shown him.

“Good,” I say when he correctly mimics my example.

I patiently show him each process of knitting a simple scarf, and I’m impressed by his ability to pick it up so quickly. He’s successfully knitted about five rows before he sets the needles down with a dramatic sigh.

“Should something so completely monotonous be so exhausting?” he asks as he tips his head back to rest it on my bed.

The tendons in his neck strain against the movement and I’m completely fixated on the strength of his jaw as it slopes down into the muscles of his neck and shoulder. He’s just spent hours learning a skill he cares nothing for, which only proves one thing: he did it for me.

My chest constricts as my heart races to keep up with the emotion flooding my veins. There’s no doubt that my feelings for him are very real.

I laugh at his bored tone as I finally pull my gaze from his throat and focus on his somber face.

“Yeah,” I say. “It’s not the most exciting activity on the planet, but at least you can say that you know how to knit now.”

“Right,” he guffaws. “Just what every man hopes to achieve. I’ll be sure to share my new accomplishment with all my buddies once they return from their soccer scrimmage.”

His sarcasm is laced with amusement, and I can’t help but laugh.

“Some girls find it sexy,” I assure him as I continue knitting another row into my scarf.

He doesn’t respond right away and I glance up to meet his questioning face.

“Hmmm. Interesting,” he says after a moment. “Who could possibly find this sexy?”

He holds up his attempt at knitting and a grin forces its way onto my lips when I glimpse the sloppy, uneven rows of yarn.

“Hey, it was a good first try. It just takes practice,” I encourage, and his expression freezes in terror.

He’s already shaking his head dramatically from side-to-side before speaking. “Nuh uh,” he mutters. “I don’t think I can put myself through another minute of this torture.”

His dramatics cause a chuckle to bubble from my throat.

“I’m positive that this will be one of the levels of Hell,” he complains.

“Okay, drama queen,” I laugh. “What do you suggest we do now then?”

I reach out to grab my iPod that’s resting on the floor near Trevor’s bag.

“Not that,” he rushes to say.

I look up at him quickly. “Not what?”

“That.” He nods toward my iPod. “I refuse to sing Katy Perry with you. I admit that some of her songs are catchy, and I find myself singing them when I’m positive no one is within hearing range—I wasn’t lying about singing in the shower—but, I’m not exactly a fan of her style of music. Besides, I’m a man. If I waste another moment knitting or listening to teen pop I may never be the same again.”

I laugh, shooting him my best sympathetic face.

“Fine, fine, fine,” I say, skimming through my list of music. “Here.” I select the shuffle button for my Indie-Folk playlist and look to Trevor to see if he approves.

“Ah,” he signs as he relaxes against my bed again. “That’s more like it. Good choice.”

His eyes are closed as he taps the rhythm against his leg, and I take the opportunity to slide my gaze over each of his features. I’m so wrapped up in daydreaming about how soft and warm his lips must be that I don’t notice that he’s watching me. He clears his throat and my bones nearly jump out of my skin.

“See something you want?” he asks with a surprising hint of arrogance.

“Pfft. Yeah, right,” I scoff. “Actually, I was just looking at the dried toothpaste on your lip.”

It’s a poor attempt at hiding the truth. I bite my lower lip as Trevor’s mouth stretches into a toothpaste-free grin. He doesn’t even bother to try wiping at them because he knows I’m lying.

About ten minutes pass as we listen to music in silence. I’m lying on my back with my arms behind my head. Trevor hasn’t moved from his spot against the bed. It’s relaxing. I can feel tension unraveling from my body as I absorb the melody stirring the atmosphere of the room. My eyes are closed while I hum softly.

“I’m starved.” Trevor’s tenor breaks the mood and I glance over at him. “You got any food?”

“Uh, yeah,” I answer as I prop myself up. “It’s under here,” I say as I shuffle my way across the carpet and peek under my bed.

Trevor is so close that I can smell the cinnamon radiating off his skin. It has my mind swirling to the point that I can’t concentrate. Blame it on my lack of mental thought or uncontrollable curiosity, but the words slip about before I can even think twice.

“Why do you always smell like cinnamon?” I ask, stretching my arm under the bed to reach my box of snacks.

I pause when Trevor doesn’t answer right away and glance over to see him wiggling something out of his pocket. Once it’s freed, he holds a tube of Chapstick between his thumb and pointer finger so I can see the label.

“Lip Smackers?” I read aloud. “I think I was twelve the last time I owned a tube of that stuff. I always wondered how they were able to flavor them so perfectly.” I smile at him as I pull the box the rest of the way out and begin sifting through the contents. “Does it taste how it smells?”

When Trevor doesn’t answer immediately I tilt my head up to read his expression. He’s got a smug look plastered on his face.

“Why don’t you find out?” He challenges, and I’m frozen in place for a moment as I digest the meaning behind the question.

Knowing he couldn’t possibly mean what I hope he means, I return to pulling out bags of Skittles, M&M’s, and Twizzlers.

“Emma...” My name leaves his mouth with a disappointed sigh. “How many clues could you possibly need?”

“W-what?” I sputter, my hands freezing their snack-sorting pursuit.

My wide eyes make contact with his cautious gaze, and before I can even process his words I feel his hand slide behind my neck and pull me towards him slowly. I tense from his touch and fight the desire to break free. My gaze ventures downwards as he dampens his lips with his tongue. I can’t breathe. The intensity of his sharp green irises has my chest fighting to pull in air. And then his lips are on mine. So gentle. So alive. The emotions whirling within me are too overpowering and I pull away with a sharp intake of air. Trevor’s hand falls away from my neck and I allow my shoulders to relax.

“Did you just...” I whisper in shock.

Something flickers in his eyes, and I’m wondering if I’ve hurt his feelings by breaking the connection. This is the moment I’ve wished for since high school. This is what I’ve longed for, and yet, I just ruined everything.

“What are you afraid of?” he whispers, and I can see the distress in his wounded gaze.

I’m reminded of the response he gave to one of my dreams. His words, I think we’re who we want to be in our dreams, echo inside my skull. I had possessed this uncharacteristic courage when I kissed Trevor in my dream, but in real life that would never happen. What am I afraid of? Well, I was afraid of rejection, and losing any hope of friendship, but apparently, he wanted that kiss since he instigated it, right? There should no longer be any fear of rejection.

With this thought I allow my dream-Emma to take over my body as I slide my fingers into his hair and pull his mouth to mine. I feel the shock jolt through his body at my adventitious behavior. He doesn’t move for a moment, and I carefully pull him closer. In that moment, it’s as if I’ve awoken something deep inside him, and his mouth parts to allow me in. I feel his hand slide behind my neck as his fingers tangle into my hair, but I’m too wrapped up in the feel of his skin against my own to really give the touch of my neck a thought. His other hand slowly glides around my waist, pulling me towards him.

I had imagined this moment, but I had never dreamed it could feel like this. I’m fighting the need to breathe because, right now, his lips are more essential for my survival than air. I need him, and I prove it by deepening the kiss further. He mimics the action, tightening his grip around my waist. It’s a dance of perfect rhythm and unmistakable harmony. The only thing going against the flow of passion is our uneven breathing, since neither of us seems keen on disengaging even long enough to take a proper breath. This only adds to the hungry fervor of the moment.

I’m not sure how long the moment lasts before Trevor moves both hands up to my neck and pulls me away gently. His eyes search mine desperately as I fight to regain my breathing. Trevor’s breathing isn’t much better, but he gains control more quickly.

“Sorry,” he whispers between breaths as he rests his forehead against my own. “I know I’m a confusing mess. I’m just tired, you know? Tired of trying to do the right thing.” He laughs softly to himself, grabbing a fist-full of his hair. “And selfish—I’m really selfish.” He releases his grip, leaving several strands of hair to stand at attention in the most adorably messy way. My heart is still pounding with exhilaration as he speaks. “But, you couldn’t sit there looking that cute and not expect me to do something about it, could you?”

A smile tugs my lips upwards without permission. “You think I’m cute?” I ask innocently.

He leans forward and groans into my neck. I shiver away with a giggle.

“You really never picked up on that?” he asks, shaking his head side-to-side as if he’s disappointed in my observation skills.

“I don’t know,” I defend. “I always thought you were joking, or that you didn’t actually mean it the way it came out.”

I laugh nervously as Trevor’s gaze absorbs each of my features. His thumb gently glides over the contours of my cheek, and I smile when his eyes meet mine once again.

“That was...” My voice fades off when I discover I have no words to describe the moment we just shared.

“Yeah,” he agrees as he pushes a strand of hair behind my ear.

He leans forward again and lightly brushes my lips with his own before reaching over to his phone and checking the time. My body relaxes once his hands slide away from my neck.

“Shoot!” He gives me an apologetic glance before looking back down at his phone. “I promised I’d meet the guys for some pool tonight at eight.”

“Oh,” I respond as I carefully scoot myself away from him. “What time is it?”

“Seven after.” He grins. “I guess we got a bit carried away.” He laughs nervously, and somehow, knowing that he may have been just as nervous as me is adorable.

“It’s fine,” I assure him. “Go have fun with your buddies.”

“Ok.” He stands while collecting his bag off the floor and shoving his computer inside. “I’ll text you tomorrow. Maybe we can do coffee or something before class.”

“Absolutely.” I smile giddily.

He kisses my forehead before exiting my room.

Taking a deep breath I fall back onto my bed with a goofy grin plastered to my heated face. That was way better than my dream predicted.

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