The Face of Reality

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Chapter 28

At the early crack of dawn, the chilly air of the rain that had been pouring since the night before by fits and starts woke me up. Drawing in a deep breath, my eyes slid open to the heavy shade of light and dark. It took me a moment to recall what had gone down between me and Augustine the night before.

We had sex.

Crazy, crazy sex. . .

We made love.

Amazing. . .

Flashes of the night sparked in my memory and I felt my heartbeat picking up speed at the memory of it.

Our bodies between the sheets

Skin entangled. . .

The kisses

The touches

The goodness

The look in his eyes. . .

I turned back to look at him. He lay sleeping about six inches away from me. When I moved, I felt his arm which was draped across my stomach pull me closer to him. And then he opened his eyes. My heart skipped a beat and I lay wordless in front of his eyes. For some reason, I felt a tad bit. . . Unsure.

I turned back to look at him. He lay sleeping about six inches away from me. When I moved, I felt his arm – which was draped across my stomach – pull me closer to him. And then he opened his eyes. My heart skipped a beat and I lay wordless in front of his eyes. For some reason, I felt a tad bit. . . Unsure.

The last time we had sex, I'd been amazing too at night. But the tables turned in the morning. Augustine flipped it upside-down. Given that experience, I wasn't quite sure what to expect now.

With the groggiest, laziest expression on his face, he pulled the cover over my exposed shoulders and drew me into his arms. His body heat flooded me all at once and I hadn't exactly called for it when he planted a kiss on the side of my head as he warmed me. I stared up at him rather surprised at the sweet gesture.

Unbothered, he stared back at me through his half-opened eyes and murmured gruffly, "Morning, gorgeous."

I felt my face light up amused and smitten at the way he simply was – sleepy, unbothered and gruffly calling me gorgeous while his hand roamed up and down my side, stroking and feeling my body.

"Morning," I whispered back with a small laugh as I wrapped my arms around his neck and snuggled closer to him, kissing him on his jawline and his Adam-apple.

Groaning softly in appreciation as he closed his eyes, he smiled back and said, "Let's sleep some more."

"Mhmm." I nodded, rubbing the injury on my face onto the bedsheet. "Ouch!"

"Hey. Careful."

I nodded again faintly with care before pressing my lips hard on his. I pulled back to take a look at his face and saw him slowly smile at me again. And this time, the soft surety smoldering in his eyes washed away all the doubts and fears I'd had about our relationship. This time, each and every touch of his fingertips on my body made me feel deeply loved. . . wanted and adored.

When I finally woke up to the bright blaze of sunlight beaming in through the window, August was no longer by my side. I rolled around in the big, wide bed for a while, stretching out, before finally resting on my back. My eyes wandered about the room looking for any sign of Augustine but found nothing. I figured he must have gone running.

I sat up on the bed with the cover over my chest and stared at the window for no reason about five minutes until I moved down from the bed and slipped into Augustine’s t-shirt and my shirts which were lying on the floor. I went into his bathroom and opened the cabinet behind the mirror looking for mouthwash since I wasn’t in the mood to brush yet.

Lazily, my eyes scanned the contents inside. Face wash, shampoo, shaving cream, hair gel, some face and body lotion, condoms that we forgot to use yesterday. . .

Okay. . .

Here. Mouthwash.

I washed my mouth and face, then left the room. Only when I stepped into the living room did I hear Augustine’s voice coming from the kitchen. Mingled with the low lull of his voice was the soft, whispers and giggles of Ari.

“Stir. No! Not too much!” She gasped. “I’d like my eggs soft and delicious. Thank you.”

“Okay.” Augustine chuckled.

I quietly trod across the living room and peeped into the kitchen. Augustine stood in his jeans, shirtless, in front of the stove with his back facing me and holding Ari by his side with her bunny as he made breakfast. With her little arms wrapped around his neck, Ari was giving him instructions when and how to stir the eggs.

“Now. Stir. Nice and slow,” Ari instructed.

“Like this?” Augustine asked her.

“Exactly. Remember. Nice and slow. Else you’re making the eggs look ugly.”

“Yes. Your highness. And when do I turn off the heat?”

“In five seconds. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Now!”

Augustine immediately turned the heat off and Ari laughed at his quick move. I did too. They were absolutely adorable.

“Stir again! Stir again!” Ari leaped in his arms.

Augustine followed her commands. Then he toppled the skillet over a bowl.

“Great!” Ari cheered delightedly as she peered over the bowl.

“You like it?”

“Yes. It looks good,” Ari beamed at him.

Standing at the door, I cleared my throat to get their attention. Both of them turned back at me right away. In the first fraction of a moment, Augustine’s bright green eyes looked at me warmly without a word like he saw something in me more than just who I was. . . like he was reliving each and every second of the night. And for the first time, I saw pure relief and delight in his eyes with no veil to mask what he was truly feeling inside.

I smiled at them and asked, “What are you guys doing?”

“We’re making scrambled eggs for breakfast,” Ari answered as Augustine sat her down on the kitchen. “August forgot the recipe so I’m helping him.”

“Cool!”

Judging by the way Augustine was standing beside Ari rather lost with his eyes glued on me, he looked like he had something to say to me but when I met his eyes, he said nothing.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” I laughed at him as I settled on a stool in front of Ari.

He immediately smiled back. “Nothing. Coffee?”

“Thanks.”

Romeo appeared a minute later in PJs. He sat next to me on another stool as his brother poured coffee for us. Purring drowsily, he dropped his head on the counter and ran his hand into his hair.

“What plans today?” He asked his brother.

“The usual. We clean the house after breakfast, do the laundry. Then, you’re free,” August replied as he gave us our coffee.

Nodding willingly, Romeo grabbed his coffee cup and took it to his mouth.

“Chutiya,” I said to August for the coffee and Romeo immediately coughed out his coffee on the counter.

“Ewwww!!!” Ari exclaimed and moved away from the counter.

Augustine picked her up in his arms while throwing a kitchen towel down on the counter. Coughing breathlessly and hitting his chest, Romeo quickly got up and wiped off the coffee from the island.

When the coughing began to die down, Romeo turned to me, “What did you say?”

“Me? I said thank you. Chutiya. Didn’t see that coming, did you?” I grinned at him, cocking an eyebrow with all my sass and pride.

From the other end, Augustine snorted. When I saw that he was fighting to suppress his laughter and moreover, with the bombshell look on Romeo’s face that seemed to traumatize him a little, I started to smell something fishy.

“That’s what it means right? Thank you.”

“Yes,” August answered.

“What?” Romeo frowned. And then he laughed. “Thank you? Who taught you that?!”

“Is it wrong? Your brother taught me.”

“It’s correct,” Augustine replied in place of Romeo as he divided the scrambled eggs into four portions.

Romeo gaped at his brother and then at me, his eyes flitting back and forth between us.

“You’ve been tricked, miss decent. Thank you?” He laughed again as he plopped onto his stool. “It’s something like fuck you! Fucker. . .”

“He said it!” Arizona exclaimed at once, pointing her finger at Romeo. “He said the bad word!”

“Language,” August reminded Romeo with a chuckle.

“For real?!” I gasped in shock while Ari chided Romeo. “You should never say the bad word. Never.”

“Okay. I’m sorry.”

I turned to August and found him laughing at his end. At this point, I was speechless. For how long I’ve been thinking it meant thank you when it actually meant ‘fuck you’. I honestly didn’t expect this from August when all he seems to be was being serious all his life.

“You probably heard it wrong. I never told you it means thank you.” Augustine shook his head at me in ease as he drank his coffee.

I stared at him incredulously for a thirty seconds before I burst out laughing. To have him lie straight on my face, it felt funny. “You did! You totally did! Don’t lie.”

“Who’s lying?” He smirked in response.

“That’s like the only Hindi I know and you totally betrayed me.” I looked at him with full accusation in my wild, wild eyes as he continued to laugh.

After breakfast, Romeo and August cleaned the house while I stayed with Ari in the front yard with Sonya’s kids. Even when I volunteered to help, they refused and made it my duty to stay doing nothing with Ari. The boys went about the chores with barely any discussion. Since they were already acquainted with the job distribution and their own roles, the major cleanliness drive was done in within an hour. Then Romeo went out. August, Ari and I stayed at home with Sonya’s kids.

While Ari played with them, Augustine studied and I spent my time writing new chapters and mulling over plot points on Augustine’s bed. Once in a while, I looked toward him where he was sitting on his desk with black-rimmed glasses over his eyes and furiously scribbling away in his rough notes.

“Doing calculations?” I asked him lowly from the bed.

“Mhmm.” He nodded subliminally while his attention stayed engrossed in the problem or whatever he was solving.

I smiled to myself at the manner of his study. I’d had my eyes glued to him for a while, watching his movements, the way he read his book with a slight frown on his face, the way he turned to his laptop once in a while for reference or something. . . I liked it. He looked even hotter when he studied.

With a small laugh, even I turned my attention back to my writing. About half an hour when I was fully engrossed again in my book, I felt the bed dip and Augustine plopped down beside me.

Lying on his back, he looked up at me and asked, “What are you doing?”

“Writing.”

“Tell me about your book.”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“It’s embarrassing.”

He snorted and rolled his eyes. “What’s there to be embarrassed about?”

“Everything. You reading. My bad writing. . .”

“Your writing isn’t bad at all,” he mumbled back trivially with his eyes on the ceiling and arms folded beneath his head.

As good as that sound, it made my pulse sped up on the contrary.

“How would you know?” I demanded.

“I mean. . . I don’t think your writing is bad,” he corrected but it was already too late. A very thin veil covered his lie.

“Oh. My. God. You’ve been reading my book?!” I threw down my phone on the bed in shock.

He jerked up from the bed and said, “Only the first chapter.”

Lies!

I grabbed a pillow and hit him on his face with it, following it with a traumatized cry of embarrassment. “WHY DID YOU READ IT?!”

“I was just curious!” He laughed as he moved away from me.

I followed him with a pillow in my hands, screaming, “You shouldn’t have read it! I TOLD YOU NOT TO READ IT! I’m going to kill you.”

Chortling loudly at my reaction, he ran out to the living room where the kids were playing while I charged after him with the pillow raised over my head, determined to knock him unconscious with it.

“Look. I’m sorry I didn’t ask first but. . . Your write well. Really,” he tried explaining to me as he ran in circles around the couches but I didn’t care.

“I don’t care!” I shouted, throwing the pillow behind him.

Ari, Camilla, and Leon watched us from the floor with wide, astonished eyes as the two adults in the house ran around like two idiots – one laughing almost to death, one screaming with a red face. No doubt we would have appeared to the kids like we escaped from a mental asylum.

Finally, Augustine slipped on one of the toys and his heavy body slammed into the floor. I took my chance and hit him on his face again with the pillow.


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