Acceptance

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Chapter Twenty-five

[ETHAN]

There are many things I’ve learned to hate about Ace Parker. To be more specific I’ve started making a list.

For one he was so nice that it seemed unnatural, he had no respect for private space, he kept coming around the cabin when it was clear he wasn’t needed, and worst of all he felt as if he could buy Andrew’s affection with money.

“Ethan, could you help me put this aside?” Andrew asked cradling his caste as he tried to look pleaded at the gigantic box that was blocking the path in the hallway. Ace was doing it again; buying Andrew so many gifts that he started feeling uncomfortable

“What is that?” I asked, turning to look at the package from the living room Sofa. From what I could tell, it must have been some sort of machine to be packed in such a large box. I just hoped it wasn’t too expensive. The last time Ace gave Andrew a designer coat with a four-digit price tag Andrew almost passed out.

“It’s a new desktop, the latest model from a very good brand.” Ace walked in just then, giving Andrew that creepy smile as if asking if he approved. Andrew just smiled awkwardly at him before looking towards me as if asking for help.

“It’s okay I guess,” I said biting my cheek as I watched Ace’s smile fall.

“I bought it for Andrew not you,” he said, turning back to Andrew while ignoring my existence. I rolled my eyes as Ace started explaining the features of the computer to a not so attentive Andrew.

Andrew had been discharged from the hospital for about a week and Ace had been coming around like the pest he was ever since. He stayed in a close by holiday house with his niece and nephew and I almost cried in horror when I found out he had at least a week left here.

“You know, I bought it to celebrate the debut release of your book this week,” Ace smiled, his doe brown eyes shining with something that seemed like pride at himself.

“It was very thoughtful of you, thank you,” Andrew muttered as he watched Ace lift and move the package to another corner of the room.

“There,” he said as he dusted his hands on his jeans. “I can come help you hook it up later tomorrow—”

“Don’t worry Ace I’m sure I can help Andrew with that.” I cut in. There was no way I was letting him have an excuse to come here tomorrow. Ace glared at me before looking over at Andrew in question.

“I guess he can, I really don’t want to stress you,” Andrew agreed with a small smile. Ace sighed when he noticed that Andrew was not going to back him up. I smiled to myself, feeling like I’d just earned a brownie point.

“If you insist then...” Ace trailed as he inserted his thumbs into the pocket of his jeans. He looked at the floor awkwardly before looking back up at Andrew. “I’ll see you around I guess.”

Andrew nodded before leading Ace out the door.

“He’s such a suck up,” I commented wrinkling my nose as the door clicked closed behind him. Andrew chuckled before attempting to throw me a disapproving look. He failed hopelessly.

“Stop it. Some people can’t help being extremely nice,” Andrew said in Ace’s defense. I snorted, not believing it.

“Look, I know you’re still mad that we didn’t get to spend your birthday together as we planned—or alone...” Andrew trailed as he came to sit beside me on the sofa. My stomach felt fluttery from the nearness. There was something about having Andrew close by that made me lose my ability to think straight. Like right now I was looking at him with a big smile and a longing gaze. I almost forgot I was supposed to be mad about Ace.

“I don’t know why Ace came to the hospital that day, or why he refused to take a hint and leave us alone in the courtyard...” Andrew trailed as I watched him pick the threads on his jeans with his good hand.

His fingers are so slender and soft — really soft.

I thought to myself as I tried to summon the feeling of Andrew’s hands on me.

“Ethan, are you even listening to me?” Andrew asked, making me snap out of my fixation with his hand.

“Yes—maybe—not really,” I confessed as I made to take his hand.

He rolled his eyes in disappointment, but let me lace my fingers with his anyway. I placed our entwined hands on my lap, loosening and tightening the grip from time to time.

“You said you were going to move the computer, can you?” Andrew asked all of a sudden. My mouth formed a small ‘o’ before I resorted to chuckling. I wasn’t really thinking when I’d said that.

“Well...”

“You can’t, can you?” Andrew said stating the obvious. The computer’s package was unnaturally huge and I doubt I could carry it to the study on my own.

“Where’s Devein?” Andrew asked all of a sudden as he rested his head on my shoulder. I closed my eyes, taking a sniff of his brown hair. Even though Andrew’s smell was now mixed with the smell of the drugs and the spirits he used I couldn’t still imagine a better smell.

“She went for a walk with Roxanne,” I muttered into his hair.

“Oh,” Andrew said as he looked into space. It was a Saturday and neither I or Devein had anywhere important to be.

“I want to take a shower,” Andrew muttered all of a sudden. I smiled, undoing our laced fingers. Since Andrew’s had got into a caste he’s been completely hopeless in doing things that invoked the effort of two hands like dressing up or taking a bath.

“With the amount of time you want to take showers these days someone would think you just want to get naked in the shower with me.” I teased earning a gasp from Andrew.

“You’re so self-worshiping! I just want to get rid of the persistent smell!” Andrew argued. I laughed, a little pleased with his outburst. I knew he didn’t like the smell of spirits and drugs that came with wearing the cast.

“I’d like to stick with believing you want to get in the shower naked with me,” I said, earning a frustrated sigh.

“Come on,” I muttered, getting off the chair before offering Andrew my hand so he could get up. He took it, getting up on his feet before giving a mewl of pain. His ankle had gotten a little word from the incidence with Christopher.

My face fell. I was a little mad that Andrew refused to press charges on Christopher. He was still giving the excuse that Christopher had a career and he didn’t want to end it for him. Sometimes I wondered if Andrew was still scared of him, whether he was worried that Christopher would come after him again when he eventually go out.

“Lean on me,” I advised as I watched Andrew try to tag along with me with a scrunched up look of pain on his face. He nodded resting his weight on me as we continued to the room we shared together.

I watched as Andrew took a sit on the bed and attempted to undress. I laughed at the scene of him sighing in frustration at the sleeve of his shirt that got stuck around his caste. I watched as his cheeks took on a flushed color. He looked so frustrated and helpless.

“You could always ask for my help you know,” I muttered. Kneeling by the side of the bed before proceeding to help him get out of his close.

Andrew let out a sigh as I helped him out of his shirt. “I know, it’s just — I’m not used to asking you for so much help.”

“I don’t mind.” I quickly made clear as I ran a hand down his pale stomach before I let it settle at the front of his jeans. I didn’t like the tone of guilt I heard in Andrew’s voice. It was heartbreaking.

“Never hesitate to ask for my help,” I said as I unzipped the fly of his jeans. He nodded in understanding before wrapping his good arm around his chest. I helped him get out of his trousers and boxers, not forgetting to be careful when I got to his bad ankle.

I wrapped his caste with a nylon sheet to prevent it from getting wet in the shower. I crawled out of my own clothes soon after before helping Andrew into the bathroom. I sat him on the bar stool we’d bought on the doctor’s advice so that Andrew won’t put unnecessary pressure on his ankle while he was taking a shower.

I turned the knob of the shower, feeling under the shower head until the water turned lukewarm. I smiled at the sound of Andrew humming on the stool. I turned to see him hugging himself like he always did.

I was soon hovering over him with a bottle of body wash and a sponge, massaging his body with soap latter. I don’t know if I imagined the soft sounds that escaped Andrew lips as I washed Andrew’s inner thighs and privates but I’d like to believe they happened even if they were probably in my head.

Not being able to help myself, I bent to claim Andrew’s lips after he let out another imagined mewl.

“I love you,” I muttered in all sincerity as I helped his washed body to its feet and towards the shower head. He let out a small gasp as we got under the warm water, letting his good hand cling my waist in an attempt to stand properly.

“I love you,” I muttered again as I stopped the kiss we were sharing. Dwelling in the smell of body wash and the sound of Andrew’s soft mewls.

I couldn’t explain the sudden shyness that overcame me whenever my hardness brushed against Andrew’s stomach or whenever Andrew realized his death grip on my waist to pull back the wet strands of my long hair that kept splattering against my face.

My eyes widened then squeezed shut at the feeling of Andrew’s hand running down my tummy to rest at the end of my midsection. I let out a small gasp as his fingers brushed against my hardness.

I soon heard Andrew chuckle. “It really couldn’t go unnoticed,” Andrew teased before going through the process of relieving me.

*

“Thank you,” Andrew muttered as I dry his hair off with a clean towel. We’d just gotten out of the shower and Andrew was presently sitting on the bed with a towel wrapped around him.

“For what, the bath?” I asked as I processed to dry off my own hair.

“No, it’s not that...” Andrew trailed as I sat beside him on the bed. He gave me a funny look before running a hand through my towel dried locks.

“Thanks for taking care of me — dealing with me,” Andrew said as he turned his gaze away from mine. “I know I can be a burden sometimes—”

“You’re not a burden,” I stated firmly, taking a hold of his chin to make him look at me. “You can never be a burden to people who love you — I love you...” I trailed in a soft voice. Andrew bit his bottom lip, casting his eyes down.

“I can’t believe I got so lucky,” he said as a sudden smile graced his lips. I noticed his eyes became moist with instant tears, and I immediately began to panic.

“What’s wrong?!” I asked in worry as Andrew began to sob quietly.

“It’s nothing really, don’t just find someone that’s better than me too soon, okay? I know they’re everywhere, but I just want you by my side for a while longer — God, I don’t deserve you!” Andrew mumbled between tears as I tried to make sense of his words.

“What are you talking about, I don’t want anyone else...” I trailed as I took him in my arms. His body was cool from the shower but I could feel his hot tears stain my neck.

“Please don’t leave me...” Andrew choked, making me tighten my grip on him. It was painful — painful that Andrew still didn’t think he was good enough — painful that Andrew thought I would ever dream of doing such a thing.

I rubbed his back in comfort as he continued to plead that I shouldn’t leave. It was at times like this that got to know just how vulnerable and broken Andrew was. How much he needed to be reminded of what a wonderful and talented person he was. It was times like this that all I could do was hold him and tell him just how much I loved him — that I just wanted him. I just wanted Andrew.

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