After a while, I swiped the remaining tears off my cheeks before pulling away. About an armed distance, I stilled when realization dawned on me. I noticed our positions. I could still feel the heat on every part of my body that was touched by him. Unconsciously, I had become so close to Ryder that I couldn’t help from blushing at the intimate moment we just experienced. I could feel his breath, a warm yet chilling one touching my exposed skin once in a while. All too soon, I became so self-conscious over the way my body felt in his arms that the need to step back was empowering. Did he notice how thin I was? What would he think of that? That I am too fragile and not worth his time? I squeezed my eyes shut at the overpowering thoughts zeroing around in my mind. After mustering some courage and getting rid of those depressing thoughts, I leaned back, giving us back our individual spaces and let out a breath I had been holding. He loosened his hold, but not before frowning at my sudden actions.
Since he was completely leaning against the wall, I had to take several steps back to be at an appropriate distance. The embarrassment that I felt seconds ago was most probably still apparent on my face. I could feel the heated feeling that consumed my face, let alone my red nose and drenched cheeks. With the moonlight casting over the window, the light graced us with its presence, immediately lighting up the dark room. It wasn’t that bright with the dark curtains flying here and there with a swift breeze but it was enough since we could see each other well. The motion caused by the curtains caused some shadows to erupt up the walls from specific decorative objects, giving an eerie kind of feeling to the whole situation. I gulped once I imagined myself alone in here with no light. You wouldn’t know what might be lurking around and in the corners of the room. The light kept on flickering on and off on Ryder’s face which soon contorted to a grimaced expression.
Before I could question him, his body involuntarily slumped downwards. I unconsciously tried to hold him up against the wall but I could not sustain his body weight for long so I assisted him in sinking to the floor slowly. I removed my arms from around his waist and leaned back on my knees and heels beside him.
“What’s wrong? Are you hurt?“, I asked awkwardly, the shared moment between us long forgotten.
I couldn’t help my gaze from travelling down his body looking for injuries; from his chest to his arms, his stomach to finally settle on his right knee where his jeans were torn with blood oozing and coating that part of the cloth. It was quite gruesome to look at but I squinted to check how deep it was. I moved the ripped parts of the cloth aside to get a better view of it but froze when he winced and jerked away from my hands. He looked up and met my gaze. It was his facial expression that stopped me cold.
“I-I am so s-sorry!“, I stammered to apologize and pulled away.
“It’s okay”, he breathed in sharp and clenched his jaw in pain.
I hesitantly approached him again and peeked through the ripped parts of the jeans. This time, while being careful of where my fingers were grazing his sensitive skin. Soon, I found the slash despite the gush of blood and gulped at the deepness of it.
“Was it my f-father?“, I questioned him when I was not really eager to know the answer.
I needed the reassurance that it wasn’t my father but if it was, I do not think that I will be able to stay here and let him harm Ryder or the people surrounding him. I know that he is simply an acquaintance and someone who hasn’t left the best of his first impression on me but he is someone who is helping me. Even if I don’t know him that well, he is still a person and I would not be able to live with the fact that someone got hurt because of me.
“It wasn’t your father. It was a shitty asshole looking for trouble. Don’t worry, as long as I’m here, your father will never have you. He’ll be dead before even touching you and I promise you that. My job is to protect you and I never lose in any mission given to me”, I stared at him in surprise and then offered him a smile in gratitude. My recent thoughts flying away in the gust of wind flowing out of the window.
He simply glanced away and I looked down with a pained feeling crawling from my heart. I swallowed the uneasiness that settled in the pit of my throat from the churning of this foreign feelings in my belly. I guess he is just doing his job and nothing else matters.
“Looks worse than it is,” he whispered hoarsely. “Leave it alone.”
I didn’t even bother to respond, thinking desperately of some way to treat his wound. I know that the pain must be excruciating but I was simply grateful that he was alive and in one piece, well minus the tiny bit of skin that he might have lost.
He began to rise up but gasped and thumped against the wall. I swept down and grabbed his arm, aware of the fact that he violently flinched at my touch. Seeing his unwillingness of accepting my help, I wanted to back away to keep a safe distance, but I assisted him to his bed. He turned his back to the side of the bed to sit but stumbled ahead. I interrupted his fall by wrapping my arms around his waist. I could not help hissing as his body collided with mine though. I shifted my body weight on my right leg while wondering about my bruised ribs. I really hope they are healing.
Since he was quite tall, well compared to my 5'7 height, his 6'1 figure loomed over mine a little bit with my head reaching just above his shoulders. I jerked my head sideways so that we wouldn't be in another awkward position but alas. I felt his arms quickly wounding around my upper and lower back to support himself up. He pushed himself slowly and shakily away from me while keeping most of his weight on his left leg. I looked up once I felt him at an arm distance. His eyes were already set on me, staring. When I caught him looking, I got enthralled by the deepness of his eyes. I gulped and felt my heartbeat accelerating once I noticed the hooded look on his face. He unconsciously licked his lower lips. After a while, I shifted under his gaze, feeling a little bit uncomfortable at the closeness between us. He cleared his throat and looked downwards.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized, his voice almost like a soft whisper. He began pulling away completely but I stopped him by lifting his right arm over my head to settle it over my shoulders while keeping a firm grasp around the back of his waist.
“It’s okay,” I muttered despite wanting to get away from him after the way he treated me. I don’t want to admit this but I am afraid of him and he clearly does not want my help. What if he beats me because I’m defying his orders to get away from him? I got rid of the thoughts and slowly sat him down, pulling my body alongside him. He laid his upper body onto his side of the bed before shifting to a more comfortable position but his crooked position was enough to show that he was far from being comfortable.
“Leave!“, he suddenly ordained and shifted his gaze anywhere but at me.
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