I exhaled out sharply, then caught his hand to stop him from removing the mask. His fingers were quivering. I knew he was afraid and it wasn’t the best time for him to show everything. Maybe later or tonight or maybe tomorrow. Oliver and the others would be joining us later.
“I would love to see you, Brandon. I promise that I’m going to accept you no matter what because it’s never about your mask. I just don’t think now is the right time.” I kissed his mouth that softly. “I did mention that you are a beautiful man, right Brandon? Whatever happened to your face did not reflect on how great a person you are.”
He chuckled and his eyes softened. “This is what I love so much about you. You lift me up all the time when I didn’t know what I did for you.”
I bit my lower lip, smiling. “Because of you I have a nice bank account,” I kidded. “No, seriously, because of you, I could finally send my brother to college and it’s not just that—you make me happy. You are different, but to be honest, you are also someone I should hold on to because you are too broken. I wanted to take care of you.”
He sighed, “I should be the one who’s protecting you and taking care of you, but I can’t if I’m like this.”
“But you are getting better.” I reminded him.
“I am, but it’s not enough,” he sighed, staring back at me. “I—I think I should tour you around first. I’ll show you our room.”
I grinned, “Of course. I’d like to see our room.”
Brandon and I went upstairs, leading me to an open bedroom. I wasn’t exactly sure if it was a bedroom, but the particular floor had no door. The sight of the beach was even greater. In the middle was king-sized bed in pure white sheets and fluffy looking pillows. The entire flooring was bigger than the living room and it was probably the brighter area in the entire house.
The right side of the wall had book stands, an audio component, and a huge pile of CDs and music collections. Anyone would not believe that there was no one using the house.
“Wow. This is so unique—and stunning. This is like the whole second floor. Are there other rooms?”
“There are other rooms, but this is the best.” Brandon pulled me closer, wrapping his arm around my waist. He smelled my hair and kissed me softly. “You smell so good, but would you like to unpack before our afternoon snack? I’ll give you time.”
I shivered by the electricity he was giving me. “Y-yes.”
“Hmmm, yes? Yes, what?” Brandon’s mouth went on the back of my head, sending more sensations down my core.
“Oh, God…” I spun around quickly then enfolded my arms around his neck.
He grinned seductively, “What?”
“Nothing. You asked me if-if I want to unpack, right and uh…” I sighed. “I can’t imagine myself living without you anymore like you’re already part of my system. I couldn’t stop thinking about you every moment each day.” I shook my head, “I just—I just can’t.”
Brandon’s face hardened, “Likewise,” he uttered, but there was a heaviness in his voice. “You don’t know how much you changed me.”
“But I just got the feeling that I won’t be seeing you for a long time. All of this means something, I know, but I am hoping that it’s just my intuition. You’re not going to leave me, right?”
He heaved out a sharp breath, “I will always belong to you and you are to me, no matter what.”
I curtly nodded, then slipped my arms around his body, embracing him tightly. I lifted up my toes then I kissed his mouth again—so deep, sniffing every scent I could inhale just to feel him and taste him even more. Brandon’s hand palmed the back of my neck, responding to my kiss. He was slow at first, teasing my top and bottom lip, sucking them one after the other. His other hand went down to my waist, slipping it inside my shirt and then gave a soft squeezed on my back.
He pulled back a little, leaving me cold and still wet lips, “Hmm… You need a shower and to unpack your things. I’ll be downstairs.”
I hadn’t even recovered from the kiss yet. “Oh God, you are such a tease,” I complained.
He grinned, “Why? Do you want me to join you?”
I gawked at him.
“What? I will let you peek.” He shrugged.
My eyes grew wider than it ever was.
He left out a soft laugh. “Okay. Go and take a shower. The bathroom’s over there.” He pointed the other door on the right corner.
After an hour of a soothing bath, I stepped out of the bathroom still wrapped with bathrobe, I jolted as I saw Brandon lying on the bed, reading a book. By the look of him, he had already freshened up as he was already on a black tank top and gray sweatpants. His hair was still glistening wet.
“I thought you’ll be waiting downstairs?” I asked. I tightened the bathrobe knot.
“Yes but,” he responded, his face and eyes were still on the book. “you’ve been inside the bathroom for two hours. I thought something happened to you, then I heard the water so I guess you’re fine.”
“Two hours? I thought I was there for an hour.”
He chuckled, “I’m just exaggerating. Oliver and Betty are already downstairs for the snack.”
I blinked. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ll get a dress quickly.”
He stood up and came closer. He cupped my face then kissed my forehead softly. “Hurry up, baby. I won’t be able to stop myself next time you show up to me wearing that and nothing underneath,” he uttered harshly. He leaned over my ear, “Your nipples are peeking.” Brandon backed away then winked at me. “We’ll wait for you in the living room.” He gave me another peck on the lips then walked to the stairs, leaving me open-mouthed.
I quickly gazed down my chest and noticed that he was right. I groaned inwardly in embarrassment.
I came downstairs found everyone gathered in the living room. Betty was telling something Oliver and Brandon that seemed serious with. Their faces were hard and worried, and then they stopped talking when they saw me then avoided each other’s eyes. I abruptly thought that they were talking about me, which was odd.
“Hey!” Betty called me, smiling. “There you are.” She put down the orange juice she was holding on the center table.
“Uh… Hi.” My tone sounded like a question. “What are you talking about just now?” I asked, trying not to sound snooping.
“Nothing important,” Oliver answered immediately. “Oh so, shall we eat now? We pretty much over prepared the snack.” He informed.
I grinned. “Then, let’s taste it!” I suggested.
“John is already there.” Oliver stood then Betty followed him to the dining room.
“Wait.” Brandon caught my arm as I was about to go with them.
“Oliver is taking Betty to the hot spring this afternoon. You should see it, too.”
I blinked, “Sure. Are you coming?”
He shook his head, “No, but I will later. I think you should come with them see it,” he whispered, but his face didn’t look pleased with all.
“Then why would I go without you? Your cousin is going to go with Betty. It’s like being a third wheel,” I said. “Though, the hot springs does sound great.” I shrugged.
“Then you should go and see it,” he smiled slightly.
“Okay, but promise me that you will come.”
He chuckled, “Of course. It’s not every day we come here. I just needed to do something important then I will follow you there. I promise.”
“What are you going to do here?” I asked, suddenly curious.
“It’s business, something came up. I just don’t want you to get bored staying here waiting for me. At least you can have a fun time with Betty.” He suggested, his hands sliding up my arms.
I smiled, biting my lip. I could picture myself now relaxing and soaking in the spring’s water. I would also love to have a girl’s talk with Betty. “But can’t you just ditch work for a day, please? I thought this is our time? Come with us.”
“Trust me, you don’t want me occupied while I’m with you.”
“Okay, okay.” I sighed. “I’ll wait for you.”
“For now, I have to make a phone call and wait for me at the dining.” He smiled at me, then kissed my cheek.
I watched her as she strolled to the dining. Damn it, this was a bad timing. I called Cassius number promptly when I knew there was no one else around me. He answered right away.
“Cassius,” I breathed out.
“Hey, thank God,” he sighed. “I thought you’re not going to call. Did you see my message?”
“Yes. Did you found out who it was?”
“No. It was sent to me anonymously. Did you tell Oliver the plan? What the heck is wrong with you? You know that it is still dangerous for you to come out that far and you went there with Alayna?” He rambled, his voice furious.
“I know. I wasn’t thinking. I was planning to tell her about our plan—your plan for my treatment. I tried calling the number you gave me, but it was already out of coverage.”
“I just got back home, come on!” He bawled. “Mom’s going to kill me if I leave again. You know the risk. Alayna’s life could be in danger, too, and so as my brother and his fiancée. Tell Alayna everything this evening and when you are done, you’re coming with me.”
“Whoever the fuck they are, they are here. They followed us. They know that I’m here,” I said firmly. “They are tracking me again.”
“Did you tell Alayna about the hot spring? About our first move?”
“Yes, she’s going with Betty near the town.”
He exhaled in relief, “Good. I’ll try to track the sender again. What happening is not good anymore, Brandon. Alayna’s in the picture and so as Oliver’s fiancée. I’m afraid and cautious. We can’t let them repeat the history. I’ll see if I could travel back there to get the girls first and then stick with Oliver while we’re away.”
I guess I had no choice, but to follow the lead. “Okay. Thank you, Cassius.”
“Sure,” he answered briefly, then he hung up.
I breathe out sharply then stared at the photo they sent to my cousins. It was a picture of the four of us in front of the villa, taken just this morning.
Please not again, I won’t be able to live any longer if something bad happens to Alayna.