Acceptance

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Chapter Three

ETHAN

I woke up to the sound of Roxanne’s barking. Opening my eyes, I looked towards the shaking door, she must be clawing at it.

I sat up yawning, looking towards the window to look at the early morning sun. I winched my eyes, trying to remember what I was supposed to be doing today. The streams of yesterday’s events came to me. The university.

I’m going to school this morning. I realized before jumping out of bed and heading towards my room door. I turned the keys a few times before Roxanne was able to smash through and pounce on me.

“Hey, stop!” I demanded, pushing her head down, but she only got rougher. What is up with her?

She growled playfully before running out the door again. She was back again, pulling at the end of my trousers this time.

“You want me to follow you?” I asked as I watched her pounce around me. She ran out the door again and I took the opportunity to shut the door. I shook my head before heading for the bathroom.

I brushed my teeth before washing my face. I looked up at the mirror to stare at myself, the rays of light escaping the window curtain bounced on my reflection making my ordinary features look a bit exciting.

Why would he kiss me? I found myself asking and mentally slapped myself for the thought. I closed my eyes as memories of the kiss flooded my senses. My cheeks filled with heat at the mere thought of it. What will he do now? Ignore it? Embrace it?

I sighed. The latter sounded very unlikely. I opened my eyes to stare at my figure again. I’m not a child anymore, I can handle it. I looked away from the mirror and engaged in other things associated with the bathroom.

*

“Oh, you’re here,” Andrew said, turning to give me a smile. I nodded feeling heat run up my cheeks again. He turned, returning his attention to the eggs that now sizzled in the frying pan.

“Can I help?” I asked, moving to stand by him. My eyes half dropped from the smell of shampoo coming from him.

“Sure, but there’s not much to do. You could set the tea things,” he said, brushing his hair back with his free hand.

“Okay,” I said, stretching to pick stuff from the cupboard above us. The kitchen was tiny with the both of us squashed up inside, and Roxanne Snooping around. When I noticed him sigh I looked to find him lifting his feet.

“It’s not necessary...” he trailed as I went to retrieve a sofa throw pillow form the living room, before gently placing it under his feet. Although he complained, I didn’t miss the look of relief he had afterward.

“Why don’t you have a caretaker?” I asked him, watching him dish out the eggs onto clean ceramic plates. They had that shining look to them; like they were rarely used.

He visibly stiffened at first and then he relaxed. He ran his hand through his hair as if thinking about what to say. The dark circles under his eyes were lighter than they were a day ago.

“I don’t think I need one. I can take care of myself and Roxanne helps,” he said, taking the two filled plates from the counter before handing one to me.

I nodded understandably. Roxanne seemed to do a lot, but she couldn’t make him eat. I looked towards him wondering if I should mention that.

“Could you get the bread? It’s in the fridge,” he soon asked, dazing me out of my thoughts. I nodded, turning to open the fridge. That’s how small the place was. I handed him the loaf and watched him pick a slice of bread out of it. He then handed it the back to me.

I took out four for myself and took out an extra one to place on his plate. He gave me a questioning look, but he didn’t say anything.

We ate in silence. I watched as he nibbled at the bread barely finishing half a slice before setting the rest down for Roxanne. He talked with me after that; explaining that he’d be in the cabin all day and I could take the car with me. He also gave me the spare key to the place, just in case he was asleep when I got back.

I came out of my room dressed to meet him in the sitting room watching a documentary with Roxie.

“I’m leaving,” I said, running my hand through my hair. He looked up and then smiled.

“I’ll see you out,” he said, getting up from the sofa. Roxanne stood up, running around him in circles. He pushed her to the side fondly, before heading for the front door, where I was standing.

I felt nausea, both from the closeness and the mere sight of him. I licked my dry lips, watching him unlock the door. I shook my head. I really have to get it out of my system.

“And thanks for yesterday. It meant a lot,” I heard him say, snapping out of my thought. I felt my face heat up in guilt; he must have been talking for a while.

“It wasn’t a problem,” I said looking away, not wanting my senses to be screwed any further.

“You know, I’m not really confident about how I look,” he said with a harsh chuckle, as he pushed the door open.

“But being kissed made me feel at least decent enough to be wanted. So, thank you,” he said as he walked out of the house. My heart was beating in my chest like sled hammer against a wall. I caught him by the shoulder before he could get any further away.

Pulling him up against me I tried to connect our lips, but he let out a surprised gasped and pulled away.

“I...” I muttered, turning away. I couldn’t be more embarrassed than I was already.

“It’s... It’s okay, let me just see you off, okay?” he said, turning to continue out the porch and towards the car. I took a deep breath and mentally slapped myself before I followed behind him.

I got into the car, listened to the directions he gave me, explaining the routes to me. Throughout I peeped at him from the corner of my eyes, wondering what in the world he thought of me now.

“You better be going now, you have about an hour till your first lecture,” I heard him say. I nodded refusing to look at him.

“Ethan,” he called. I stiffened up, realizing I might just get the telling off I predicted would happen.

“You mother called yesterday, she asked if you needed anything,” he said, caressing the half wound up glass of the car’s window. I frowned. When did my mother start to care?

“I don’t need anything,” I said stiffly. I think he noticed because he sighed.

“And Ethan,” he said, making me look towards him.

“I’m not mad at you,” he assured smiling lightly. I nodded, not sure if I should believe him.

“Take care then,” he said, leaning off the window. I nodded not knowing what to say, before winding up the glass and starting the engine.

As I drove out of the compound, I spotted him waving me off from the side mirror. I felt a small smile creeping at the side of my mouth. At least he didn’t hate me, I sighed in relief. Making the drive into town, I promised myself I wouldn’t do something so foolish again.

If I really wanted this, I’d take it slow.

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