The Face of Reality

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Chapter 27

We dropped Augustine’s ex first before heading to his house, which was nearer on the way than mine.

“Just stay here tonight, Soph. . . phia,” he added awkwardly the next second.

Did he just call me Soph?

In the spur of the moment, he’d just uttered my pet name which obviously had a tag of endearment and fondness attached to it. Only the people really close to me on a highly emotional level called me ′Soph’. My mom and Poppy called me Soph. Few best friends from high school called me Soph. Benjamin, who once I thought was the best guy in the whole world, called me Soph. Of the new friends I’d made in Coasuta, Remy called me Soph. Shirley and Timothee called me Soph. Marlon called me Soph once in a while because he’d always been frank and friendly with me. Sure, Augustine and I weren’t arch enemies but he’d never called me Soph before. Not ever.

And the first time he accidentally uttered Soph, which is today, he managed to deliberately add ′phia′ at the end because, God forbid, rectification is a must. And it was awkward.

So far, Augustine and I hadn’t exactly attempted to murder each other off. We were nice friends to one another. However, at times, it was impossible to exactly tell what we were to each other. Are we just friends or really good friends? Or are we more than just friends or even less than friends. Our relationship was honestly. . . complicated.

But no matter what we were, we made sure to stay in our own guarded circle that doesn’t intersect. An unwritten law prevailed between us – that we should not cross the virtual demarcation we have as the relationship boundary lines between us. It’s quite an ironic thing given that we’d slept together once.

And God, it was good! He was gooo. . .

STOP, SOPHIA!!

Anyway, I’d once tried stepping over the limit by telling him I loved him. I couldn’t help but feel silly now. What was I thinking?

Then a week later, he tried the same adventurism I did. In return, I gave him a rejecting response for some reason. What were we both thinking?

Pure mess.

“Will you? Stay?” He asked further when I simply sat there drowning in my own thoughts without answering him.

“Yeah. Sure. I can’t wait to get some sleep,” I responded as I unbuckled my seatbelt.

After all the events that had happened, I had barely an ounce of energy left in my system to survive. My whole body was begging to get under the comfort of my covers.

Before entering the house, we went to get Ari from Sonya’s house. She and her husband were still up watching TV. Ari lay sleeping soundly in Camilla’s bed with her, hugging her bunny closely to her chest.

She stirred a little but remained asleep when Augustine picked her up in his arms. Sonya and her husband asked us about the cut on my cheek and the bruises on Augustine’s hands, we managed to come up with some excuse but they hardly bought it. But thank God, they didn’t interrogate us further since we had a sleeping toddler with us.

At the house, Augustine and I tucked her in under her blanket and went down to the living room.

"We need to do something about the cut on your face. Come to the kitchen once."

"Wait. I have make-up on. Need to wash my face first," I said and headed toward the bathroom.

The first time I splashed water on my face if it didn't feel like I had rubbed salt into the wound.

"Shitshitshitshitshit," I hissed and opened the small cabinet behind the mirror for some cotton.

I slowly cleaned my face with it, careful not to touch my wound, then brushed my teeth and finally came out of the bathroom to find him sitting on a couch in the living room. He signaled at me to sit down next to him and I did. Feeling a little weird.

What next?

He had a band-aid in his hand and he tore it.

“I’ll. . . I’ll do it on my own,” I quickly suggested, starting to feel awkward and shy.

“Just sit still,” he instructed calmly without any consideration for my suggestion, meaning he was doing it for me.

Is he for real?

I met his eyes but he remained unhinged and un-awkward unlike me, who was starting to feel gigantic butterflies in her stomach.

Once he removed the bandage strip, he shifted his body toward me. I sat up on the couch, glancing into his vigilant eyes once before dropping them to the floor. Carefully, his hands came and gently pasted the bandage on my cheek over the cut. He let his thumb run beside it once before meeting my eyes. He was still not over it. The guilt in his eyes burned still as clear as day.

“How bad did he hurt you?” He asked, cupping my face tenderly.

I shook my head. “It’s. . . Not bad. Just. . .”

“You have a wound on your face, Sophia. That’s bad enough,” he reminded me rigidly.

“I think he might have a ring on. It was only. . . Two hits. . .” I ended in a timid tone, turning my eyes to the floor again.

“He hit you twice,” Augustine stated lowly with a significant edge of anger in his voice. Then I saw his jaws form rigid lines as he clenched his teeth.

“August. . .”

“I’ll kill him.”

“I think you already did. . .”

“Well, I’ll kill him twice,” he persisted stubbornly. “Who did he think he was? Laying hands on you. No one can hurt you, Sophia. No one. I will kill him.”

Was it the words he said or the earnest look in his eyes, I felt my chest tighten inside. I had never experienced him show this much care for me. It unnerved me. It completely melted my heart.

“August. . .” I called wordlessly, staring deep into his eyes.

“Sophia. . .” He returned softly as he mindfully grazed his thumb just beside my wound again. Guilty.

The very next moment, his face moved in and I felt his lips seize mine, gentle and firm. My whole body bloomed with a new, good feeling at his touch and my body subconsciously leaned into him for more, letting him kiss me. My subtle move encouraged him to kiss me deeper and he did. He kissed me deeper.

For a while, I felt that I was on the same page with him, that I wanted this just as much as he did but soon, my skin started to crawl in revolt as flashes of how Benjamin forced himself on me appeared uninvited before my closed eyes.

No.

No.

Stop.

Please.

I suddenly pushed Augustine away from me without another thought when I sensed his tongue on mine. I couldn’t. . . I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t not think about it. My eyes blurred with tears as I met his astonished eyes.

“Soph. . . Sophia. . .”

“I’m sorry,” I said to him, tears dropping down from my eyes.

He shook his head. “No. I’m. . . Sorry if you didn’t want this. I. . . I thought. . .”

I quickly wiped away my tears and said, “You didn’t do anything wrong. I just can’t. . .”

He nodded willingly, “Yeah. It’s alright. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” I nodded too, wiping my eyes dry again.

“Come on, Sophia. What happened to you? What did he do?”

“Nothing. . . Nothing.” I said.

Just then, we heard a car stop outside followed by Romeo’s voice. He stepped inside a minute later.

“Hey!” He greeted busily as he stepped in and locked the door behind him.

“Hey,” I returned.

Beating the bushy bangs in his head with a hand, he asked, “When did you guys reach? Woah. What happened to your cheek? Wait. Are you the girl they were talking about? The girl that guy. . .” He formed a fist and prodded it forward to symbolize beat-up.

I shrugged and gave him a rueful smile.

“Man, I saw that guy getting arrested. I should’ve given him at least a punch!” He jumped and groaned in regret.

“Your brother already did enough.” I smiled at him.

“Really?!” He suddenly smiled brightly. “Yeah. No wonder. You should’ve seen his face. All. . .” He made a face and moved his palm over his face to indicate badly-wounded. Smashed. “He deserved that.”

“Yeah. Get to bed. It’s late,” Augustine instructed calmly.

“Goodnight, guys,” Romeo smiled for the last time before obediently hopping up the stairs and bobbing his head to ‘Radha on the dance floor’.

I laughed after him, for a split second forgetting all about tonight.

“I think we should get to bed too,” Augustine suggested, “You must be tired.”

“Uh. . . Yeah. Sure.” I immediately got up from the couch.

We quietly walked toward our door, awkwardly wished goodnight to one another and disappeared into our respective rooms.

With my back on the door, I quietly screamed and kicked my feet on the floor in frustration and regret. I had obviously messed up a supposedly wonderful night with August. Worse thing was, I might have made him feel rejected twice. Sure, the first time I deliberately rejected him. But tonight, I honestly didn’t mean to. I didn’t. Mean. To. At. Allllllllll. . . And yet I did.

I threw myself down on the bed, bit the pillows, assaulted the bedsheet with my frustrated fists as I huffed and rolled around like a mad woman in heat.

Why did I have to be like that?

Finally, there was nothing left to do. I changed into my night-suit which was shorts and a tank top and then I slipped under the covers, throwing the blanket over my head and feeling mad at myself.

Twenty minutes went by and I lay awake.

Another ten minutes later, it started to pour outside. I lay still listening to the sound of rain beating on the roof and the walls.

Another ten minutes later, I tossed and turn in my bed. Still frustrated. What actually bothered me was that after tonight, who knew how long it would take for August to make another move. The situation and the atmosphere between us had been so perfect out there in the living room and I just had to ruin it. If that hadn’t work, what would? Augustine probably was convinced I no longer wanted him at all and he definitely wouldn’t approach me unless I give him a clear signal. And here I was convinced, I still wanted him, that I still loved him.

God, Sophia!

I slammed my fists into the pillow hard before bolting up from my bed at last. It was past midnight now as I slowly stalked out if my bed. For a few seconds, I stopped just outside his door thinking over. I decided – take it or leave it. Chewing on my lips and calling onto the God of Courage, I turned the doorknob and stepped inside.

Augustine immediately shot up from his bed and looked at me astounded through the darkness but he didn’t say a word. He just stared at me. He hadn’t yet changed out of his clothes. He’d just been lying there on the bed in his jeans and t-shirt.

Okay, now that I'm face to face with him, I'm obviously lost for words.

I began to stutter and inarticulate, “I. . . I just. . . um.”

Without a word, he got up from the bed and came to me. Heartbeat galloping within me like a racing horse, I stood there watching him approach me. My breathing increased with every step he got nearer to me. The moment I came within his reach, he reached out for my waist, pulled me in and slammed his lips into mine. Readily, I wrapped my arms around his neck, squeezed my eyes shut and kissed him back with all my might.

Pinning my left hand over my head as his other hand stayed around my waist, he pushed the door closed behind me and pushed me up against it as our lips battled for more.

More.

God, more.

It didn’t take me long to start gasping and moaning over his lips at the way he was kissing me, wild and hard; as he rubbed his body against mine.

“God, August! Take me. Take me, please. I need you,” I panted in need, begging.

Fuck, Benjamin. I don't care. I just want you, August, to ruin me, make me yours. . . Take all of me. Everything. . .

He groaned deeply before carrying me to his bed and throwing me down on his soft bed. From the wild look in his eyes – the darkness, it's clear he'd also been craving for this. We both needed this.

He pulled off my tank top over my head in within seconds and then he yanked down my shorts too, leaving me in just my two-piece. Even just by the touch of his palms on my skin as he took a second to look at my body, all my senses came alive. Then he proceeded to remove my bra, placing a kiss on my neck, followed by my underwear. With each move he made, he drove me crazier.

And when he grasped my breasts and sucked on my perking buds, my body jolted up on the bed under his body in excitement. With his face buried in the crook of my neck, I pulled onto his shirt, desperate for him to strip too.

He moved away to stand on his knees. I watched him remove his shirt in anticipation, revealing his sculpted, toned body packed with muscles. My eyes lingered on as he unbuckled his belt, unbuttoned his jeans and yanked down the zipper.

He didn’t even wait to remove his jeans before he drove into me at one thrust. Deep.

“Ahh!” I jerked up at the blissful intrusion, eyes closed in pleasure and head pressed into his bed.

He groaned against my neck, jaws clenched, and said, “Fuck, Sophia. You’re going to be the death of me.” And then he pushed in again.

God!

Panting, my body arched up against him in complete surrender. I felt his hands move from my breasts to cup my behind. All my frozen nerves, my frozen emotions thawed beneath his body at his touch. His hands continued to push my hips up against his with each thrust he delivered, seeking to penetrate deeper into me.

My body shuddered at the sensation.

So good.

Putting his right hand under my head, he pressed his forehead onto mine and sped up his thrusts. The bit of air left in my lungs gushed out in my gasps and my nails dug into his back, holding on to him. In blinding speed, he took me and I came undone in within seconds, my orgasm crashing all over my body, every nerve.

Yet, Augustine kept going, slamming into me.

“August! I can’t. . .” I gasped.

“Just a bit more, Soph,” he panted in return as his thrusts became sloppy.

Hardly breathing, I held onto him until I felt him shoot his first splurge of his release into me.

“Fuck!” He cursed and immediately pulled out of me, cumming all over my stomach.

Groaning as he came, he said, “God, I’m so sorry, Sophia. I forgot to use condom. I completely forgot,” he panted, sweat glistening on his forehead and eyes blazing like fire.

“I forgot too,” I gasped back.

“I’m really sorry,” he said again, burying his face into my neck and relaxing on top of me.

“That’s alright. My period ended just two days ago.”

“You sure?”

“Yes! I know!” I laughed through the series of gasps.

He looked up, smiled at me warmly and said, “I love you. I love you so much, Soph.”

If my heartbeat still had some potential to speed up, it did and a burst of butterflies exploded in the pit of my stomach.

“I love you too, August. A lot,” I replied, framing his face with my hands.

He gazed into my eyes briefly before leaning down and kissing me. I kissed back and in the process, he finally removed his jeans and pushed into me again. I moaned out loudly in surprise. Placing tender kisses on my face, he soothed me whilst pressing his full body on top of mine. I put my arms around him and this time, he went slower, his movements deliberate and filled with tenderness and love. . . I closed my eyes and softened into his embrace.


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