Chapter 17: Time
Unravel Him Playlist on Spotify.
Song; (Lea Michele- Hey you) & (Lo Mimieux-Misericorde)
Whoever said waking up is a walk in the park, should get shot.
Waking up doesn’t begin with the sun shinning, the birds chirping and my makeup all done and lovely.
Waking up is a living nightmare.
Your eyes are all crusty, every movement you’re body makes is suddenly painful or numb.
Not only that, you’re also very hyper aware of your surroundings.
You hear and see everything vividly.
Which is why when I woke up, I immediately went back to bed for another hour or so before finally, finally getting up.
The minute I forced my lids open, I regretted doing so at the sight of sunlight spilling from beneath the black out curtains.
The clock on the wall, reads 7 am.
So much for sleeping in.
Rolling over on my back, I wince at the pain in between my thighs.
Biting my lip, I pulled the sheets and viewed my naked body before noticing the lumpy figure beside me who’s hands are splayed across the pillow while the other is nestled on my stomach.
Thomas is fast asleep.
His sandy blond hair is unkempt and messy with bits of black chalk.
Some of it even got on the pillow and before I could brush it off, his pensive expression stops me.
Everybody looks peaceful with their eyes closed but it was different for him.
Most times he was always so guarded, so prepared for when shit hits the fan.
Not this morning however.
Thomas was, for the first time in forever, relaxed.
I could think of a couple reasons why.
Last night’s activities sears in my mind permanently as I bring my fingers over to his hair, gently gliding down to the loose strands.
He shifted at the touch and lets out a muffled mewl.
Oh jeez, that was adorable.
Staring at him for hours would’ve been the typical choice but nobody had time for that, I had things to do, besides, waking him up is the last thing I’d want to do.
Carefully, I got up and wobbled my way into the bathroom to start my morning routine which usually consisted of me going to the toilet followed by washing my face, brushing my teeth and pulling my red hair back into a ponytail.
After much debate, I change out of Thomas’s shirt and put on a fresh change of clothes for the gym.
Sex apparently, has me in a mood.
I half expected Thomas to be up and awake with all the noise I made in the bathroom, but was pleasantly surprised to see he hasn’t moved once.
In fact, the heir of Graymoore looked positively knocked out cold. I could even hear him snore from here.
“Look at you now, Mr-I’m-so-powerful,” To think he wanted to ignore whatever I told him last night about going out.
An idiot really.
Taking a glass of water and an after pill, I tip toed to my sneakers and pulled them on.
I stole my jacket off the coat hanger before going to open the locked door.
The second I do, the door is pushed open and I retreated backwards, barely given the time to withhold a shriek.
David strolls into the room, ready to deliver a speech, maybe information, however he instantly halts at the sight in front of me.
Hastily, I searched the room for any evidence left of what we did last night but was relieved when all seemed normal.
The sheets were pulled up over Thomas so David couldn’t actually see he was naked.
Our clothes were all in a pile by the corner that could be mistaken as laundry.
Nonetheless, I watch his frozen back for several long seconds before he swings around to me, that red umbrella flashing boldly.
My guardians lifts his thumb and pointed at Thomas with a confused expression. “What is he-”
I pressed a finger to my lips and grabbed hold of the arm that was holding the umbrella before dragging him out.
He allows himself to follow me and once we’re out the room, I silently closed it behind me before turning to David.
“Vanessa please tell me it really is Thomas in there and not just my imagination.” David can’t help but say, a bit desperate. “Have I gone mad? Do I need my eyes check-”
“It’s him,” I nodded, crossing my arms over my chest.
That doesn’t give David comfort. In fact, it increases his stress level. “How? He’s been gone for weeks, why did he suddenly show up-”
“Thomas was never in Brooklyn,” I quickly stop him, knowing he was about to fire out dozens of questions. “He’s been here, in the City, it’s probably why were unable to find him in the first place.”
My guardian palms the side of his face. “That boy..."
I could hear his frustration mixed with an odd tone of anger.
“Is he staying this time?”
“Yeah,” I nodded. After what happened last night I’m sure he will. “He’s not going anywhere.”
“Well that’s a tremendous relief,” David flicks the loose dark gelled strands back up his hairline before letting out a sigh. “I suppose we let him sleep in?”
“As much as possible,” I agreed. “But just in case he does run off... do you think you can stay here? Just for a while? I gotta head to the gym-”
“That boy isn’t going to kick me out anytime soon,” He snorts, striking his umbrella against the marble floor. “You go on, I’ll keep an eye on him,”
A small smile fleeted my lips. “Thank you, oh and would it be possible if you get him a change of clothes? He’s a mess.”
“What am I, his mother?” Despite his annoyance, David takes out his phone and types something-probably asking someone to get clothes for Thomas-before eyeing me carefully. “We do not speak of this,”
The gym this morning is filled with patients recovering from their own injuries.
Although most of them are at the treadmills, I’m glad that my usual spot in the corner isn’t taken.
Once completing my stretches-with much difficulty- it took a solid hour before my body caught up with last nights events.
I was still sore but it didn’t hurt as much as it did.
So as long as I kept moving it didn’t bother me.
For now, the burns on my ankles had reduced to a dull throb.
I suspect it won’t take long until I can be discharged and sent home.
The image of home was starting to sound really good.
I must be the only student after Finals that was still stuck in the hospital while everybody else in my batch goes off for their holidays.
Come to think of it, I haven’t actually though about what I wanted to do in the future.
Now that I would graduate soon, the prospects of colleges are open.
I was counting on my results to get into GrayFell College so I guess that’s that.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have the money to go elsewhere, I just didn’t want to spend money I know will run out in the future.
Ethan’s money was too precious for that and given, I am a GrayFell student, it’s no surprise that I would go to GrayFell College.
The cost of living in this world is just too expensive. I had to think smarter.
“Shit!” Halting my punches, I whirled around, having gotten lost in my thoughts to realize Veronica was right behind me. “Crap, sorry, I didn’t see you there.”
She smiles at my reaction and uncrosses her arms to a shrug. “You looked like you had a lot to think about,”
Her gaze flicked over to the punching bag.
“I got carried away, won’t happen again,” Unlatching the gloves, I threw it at the bench and flipped my water bottle open so I could drink.
Veronica settles by the glass walls in front of me. “You’re in a good mood this morning.”
What gave it away?
“I had a good sleep,” Not necessarily a lie.
“Mmm, I can tell,” Her red hair blazed haphazardly against the lightning as she shifts her face. “Imagine my surprise when I find a boy in your room, instead of you.”
“That... was a friend.” What else could I say?
“Is this the missing friend, everyone’s been worried about?”
She hit the nail, spot on. “Yeah, pretty much.”
Veronica snorts and places her hands in her pockets. “Did you give him hell for leaving?”
“You can say that,” That and a few, couple, other things.
“Good. Face like that, they’ll think the whole world should bow to them.” There’s a protective tone in her voice that catches me by surprise however I’m in too much of a good mood to care.
“Under all that layer of dirt there’s actually a guy in there worth fighting for.” So as long as he was willing to fight for me, I’ll fight for him.
Veronica exasperatedly shakes her head. “You got it bad,”
“Can we change the subject please?” Rolling my eyes, I can’t help but feel like I was being backed into a wall. “He’s just a friend.”
“What about the other one? The one with the light brown hair? What’s his name again? Um... Mason?”
“He’s also a good friend. All of them are.”
Veronica tilts her head and grins. From the look alone, I know she’s trying to pry information out of me about my relationship with either of them.
“Push comes to shove, try not to use two of them.”
“There’s only one!” My voice raised an octave.
“Aha!” She points a bony finger at me triumph. “So there is something going on!”
Goddamn this woman, I forgot how infuriating she could be.
“Alright, fine, yes, there is something going on, but it's not-"
“Flying blind?” Was she a mind reader? How could she know what I was thinking? “You know a relationship is supposed to be like that. A love story isn’t scripted.”
“My life must be,” I snort. “Out of all the people in this world, I got chosen in the Lottery.”
She shrugs, actually agreeing with me. “Luck?”
“Oh no, if you were here over the past year, you’d know I’m anything but lucky.”
It’s only been a year and yet, I remembered the day of the announcement like it was yesterday.
Finding out there was a second Chosen had been world class news.
My life was drastically changed the moment Stella and Dave announced my name on national television.
Then there was the tour.
Mason was nothing but a pointless bully and Thomas was nothing but a mysterious creep.
Neither of them liked each other. They hated anything and everything related to either of them.
A memory of Matthew talking to me in the hallway comes back to me.
“That was a long time ago,” He answers, nodding his head in confirmation. “They say time heals all wounds and I’m still waiting for Thomas and Mason to patch things up.”
“You’re going to be waiting a long time.” The memory of what went down in the Cafeteria came to me and my shoulders slumped.
There’s still so much hurt between them. So much anger and rage.
“Honestly?” The corner of his lips quirked up into what I think was a smile. “I don’t think I have to wait that long.”
The war between Karen and I.
The fight with King.
Malorie’s jumping off the roof.
My father’s secret being revealed.
Had all this happened in a year?
Inexplicably, I realized that Veronica had fallen silent in front of me.
Something about my sentence must’ve done something because she no longer smiled.
Her expression showcased a mask of confusion and hurt.
Breathing deeply, she stutters to form a coherent answer. “You’re right... I-I... wasn’t here over the past year... So I wouldn’t know.”
Our heated discussion yesterday morning fleets in my mind.
I had forgotten about it having gotten lost in the bubble of peace between Veronica and I.
After crying our eyes out she had left the room, telling me she would try to make things right.
I spent the whole afternoon thinking about what to do and that was when Mason had came in and told me about Thomas’s whereabouts.
The rest is well... history.
After what Thomas and I shared last night, I can’t help but view the situation differently.
Everybody spent so much time in the past that they forget about the future.
That was what happened to me when I let my father’s death get tangled against my own personal life.
It was time to move on.
“This isn’t easy for me, Veronica.” Lacing my fingers together I release a tired sigh.
It isn’t easy at all.
“I know that-”
“No, you don’t get it, it’s going to take, time. Effortlessly, long, time.” I clarified making sure she could see my dead serious expression. “I’m not ready to forgive you.”
She nods her head vigorously, my words lighting excitement and hope in her eyes. “I’ll do it, I’ll do whatever I can.”
“How long have you been sober?” It was mean but I have been betrayed by her one too many times already. I wanted to make sure if it was real this time. “When was the last time you had a drink?”
“Six months,” She announces, without hesitance. “I gave up alcohol after I gave up cigarettes.”
Her honestly disarms me.
She looked like she was really trying.
But why do I still felt so conflicted?
Why do I still dig further into it?
Was I hoping to find an inkling of a lie?
Was I hoping to find that maybe this was all an act?
Tired by my worry-filled mind, I craned my neck backwards and shut my eyes in reprieve.
“Look, I know this is hard...” I heard her say, her tone sad. “I don’t blame you if you don’t trust me, but I’m going to do everything I can to make it up to you. If you want space, Vanessa, I’ll give you space.”
Did I really want that?
From my own mother that abandon me for years?
We spent so much time farther apart that I forgot what it felt like to have a parent.
“Just...” Swallowing my emotions, I blink back the tears. “Don’t go to far, I... I want you here.”
Her features softened. “Okay, I won’t be far. I’ve been staying in the motel across the street-”
“You can stay in the Apartment. We have an extra guestroom.”
She doesn’t question my abrupt reason to have her near me. Maybe it was because of a mother’s instinct. Maybe it was because she just knew.
I didn’t know myself.
“I’ll get going,” Standing up, she brushes her jacket and folds in on herself.
The air is suddenly awkward and frigid.
Our earlier conversation is reduced to nothing but bits of dust and fragments.
We were two people related by blood and yet farther then strangers.
“I’ll see you around,” I comment softly.
She frowns at my words but simply nods her head before leaving the gym, the edge of her red hair disappearing around the corridor.
Once alone, I stood up and clenched the water bottle tightly against my fist.
This had to stop.
The trust issues.
I wanted it to go away.
I wanted to start anew but why, why was it so difficult?
Twisting around to the glass walls, I catch my reflection staring back at me and glared. “What are you looking at?”
The reflection copied my words before I’ve thrown the bottle, making it bounce and land on the floor with a thump.
“What did the poor glass ever do to you?” Someone snarks out loud.
“It pissed me off,” Turning on my heel, I pivot my gaze over to Thomas who’s figure is resting over the concrete wall just beyond the room leading to the showers.
Sporting a pair of sweatpants and a grey T-shirt, Thomas, otherwise, looked fresh.
The chain on his neck was still there but his sandy blond hair is messy with evidence of it being wet.
I assumed he took a shower.
“Did you have a good sleep?” I asked feigning calm as I move to pick up the fallen water bottle.
Truth be told, I’m still shaken by the conversation with Veronica.
“Don’t play coy,” He scoffs, uncrossing his arms as he made his way deeper into the gym.
“It was just a question,” I defended, raising both hands so he could see I wasn’t making fun of him.
Thomas shakes his head in annoyance before gazing at me through that lofty height. “Why didn’t you wake me?”
He sounds accusing almost.
“You looked like you really needed it.” It was getting harder to breath. Harder to focus.
Veronica is here. She wants to be here. She wants to fix what happened.
“I swear you sound as worst as David,” He snorts, crossing his arms over his chest. “That guy won’t stop giving me shit.”
I should let her. I want to let her. Why... why won’t I let her?
“Hey,” Thomas tips my chin back, finger lightly grazing the bottom of my right cheek.
We stare at each other for a few seconds, neither of us saying or moving and inch as his blue green eyes locked to mine. “You’re sad.”
“I’m not sad,” Embarrassed over having gotten caught, I tried to pull away.
He reaches for a stray piece of red hair that had fallen out of it’s position and tucks it behind my ear.
The ball in my chest tightens and I feel my lungs shake with the amount of pressure I’m forcing on them to not sob right there and then.
“You can let me go,” Smiling forcefully, I squeezed his wrist gently “I’m alright, I promise-”
Thomas lets go of my chin and reaches for the corner of my eye just in time to catch a fallen teardrop.
“You’re not alright..." He tells me gently and I knew, somehow, he must have overheard our conversation. "You’re far, beyond, alright.”
Blinking hard, my eyes stung and my mouth trembles. “I-I swear, I don’t know why I’m crying,”
Hurriedly swiping the tears away, I swallowed the dread and emotional unbalance before willing myself to forget about it.
There was just too much on my plate.
I didn’t need anymore mental issues.
“Forget what you heard. I should be happy my Mom’s back. She’s back for good.”
Thomas doesn’t say anything to my change in subject. He’s watching me carefully, eyes alight with awareness and intentions.
“I’m okay, really, Thomas." Laughing pathetically, I shake my head. "My feelings just need to sort their shit out.”
"What you need," He breaths. "Is a distraction."
My eyes trace over to find his fists clenched by his sides. The strain of his muscles against his chest sends warning bells in my mind.
If it wasn't for the way he was gazing at me I would've brushed it off as something else.
“Stop looking at me like that,”
"That,” Pointing at him, I backed up on the punching bag. “Like you want to eat me.”
The corner of his lips turned up. “What can I say? I would’ve loved breakfast in bed.”
My belly clenches.
He knew exactly what to do to earn a response from me.
“No!” I hissed.
“Yes...” He leans forward so we’re face to face, a breath away, our lips begging to touch. “I though we agreed we’d continued practicing in the morning.”
Heat rushed up my cheeks and I blinked to remain adamant. “We had, practice.”
“Only two, three, six times...”
He was counting.
The bastard was counting.
“You should’ve slept on the chair,” I said mournfully, feeling his hands ghost up my hip.
“You would’ve joined me.” He states more to himself.
“Stop it,” Stepping away from his reach, I held my arms together and stared at him as though he was a poisonous snake.
Too much temptation.
He raises an amused eyebrow at my protective stance but doesn’t move any further. “You know there’s no point being embarrassed. With the way you screamed last night, everybody heard you.”
“I’m seconds away from breaking you’re face.” I concluded, despite feeling like the tips of my ears were on fire.
“Don’t worry, the walls are sound proof, it’s the one thing good about BourneFell Hospital.”
“You’re going to milk this until I’m dried up aren’t you?”
He’s staring at me with that sly smirk.
The smirk that would’ve had me running for the hills.
“We can always pretend it never happened.” He smiles innocently, showing a glint of mischief in his eyes.
“Really?” The hope in my voice is astonishing.
Would he really sweep this under the rug?
His grin grows wider. “But I can’t promise no ‘accidents’ will happen when I’m around you.”
That’s my cue to leave.
“I’m going to go to take a shower.”
Picking up my knuckle wraps, I tossed my jacket over my shoulder and headed for the door feeling his hungry gaze linger at the back of my head.
The elevators open and before they close, Thomas hops in, hands in his pockets.
“What are you doing?” I ask him, aghast.
He presses the button to my floor. “Are you sore?”
“W-What?” The question catches me off guard and the temperature in the elevator goes from cold to unearthly warm.
“Are you sore?” He repeats.
My mouth goes dry. “A bit...”
The elevators ping and open.
“Good.” Thomas turns, his gaze connecting with mine. “We’re not finished yet.”
A/N Alright you thirsty fools, I'm still editing the next several chapters so this will be it.