“You better be dying.” I mumble sleepily into the speaker piece, answering my phone which was blaring a few moments ago, “Because other than that there is no freaking reason I will forgive you for disturbing my sleep.”
A chuckle sound comes through the phone.
“Come outside,” Alec says, his voice bringing me back from my sleep.
“It is two in the morning, and there is nothing in the world which is more important to me than my bed at this moment.” I snuggle more into my bed, “So, fuck off!”
"Please, come outside, Avery,” he says please mockingly.
“I don’t entertain booty calls.” I sigh loudly, “So either put your hand to use or find some other helping hand.”
“Geez, girl, have you ever heard about the filter?” He sounds stunned, “Because you need one.”
I nearly drift back into the sleep when I don’t hear him speak for a few moments. But then I hear him exhale loudly.
I think his situation is handled.
“I am waiting for you outside, and I want to show you something, so come out,” he says, slightly impatient.
“That should better be worth it,” I say, coldness hit my bare legs when I throw covers off of my body, “And if that thing loosely resembles anything phallic then the police will find your body inside the nearby sewerage line.”
“Yes, you definitely need a filter.”
Opening the door I get inside his car, which he has parked in the corner, obscured by darkness.
“What do you want me to show?” I turn in my seat to face him, roughly grabbing my hair into a ponytail.
Shifting slightly, he stretches his arm towards the backseat, then hands me a jar.
I look at the jar in confusion then back at him. I open my mouth to speak, but he puts his finger on his lips motioning me to be silent and then point at the jar.
I bring the jar closer to my face and look inside it. Surely, there is something in it like flies and then it happens.
My mouth falls open in wonderment and awe, slowly a grin spread across my lips. I glance at him, he is looking at me with raised eyebrows and his lips twitched in a small smile.
“Language!” He rolls his eyes stopping me in mid-sentence. But I am too engrossed in watching little flickers of light inside the jar.
“Fireflies!” I whisper in awe.
“How did you get them?” I ask still keeping my eyes on the jar.
“I was just at the right place at the right time,” he says without explaining anything further.
“They are so beautiful.” I smile.
Worth sacrificing my sleep.
“Thank you.” I look at him and smile, to which he just lightly shrugs with a smile of his own.
“You just wait here, I will be back in a moment.” I open the door and dash inside the house, without waiting for him to reply.
Quickly, changing my slippers with my shoes I run outside the house taking my coat with me.
“Come on, let’s go.” I put on the belt as soon as I get inside the car, holding the jar securely in my lap.
“Where?” he asks, but nevertheless starts the car.
“We have to take them back from where you captured it.” I tap the lid of the jar.
“I wanted to see them and thanks to you, I have,” I tell him when he doesn’t respond, “But now we should take it back where they belong and release them.”
He gazes me for a moment or two then smiles while putting the car in gear.
“You are something,” he says while maneuvering the car through the streets.
I ignore him, as I enjoy the dancing lights until it lasts.
I glance away from the jar when I notice the scenery around us has changed. Instinctually, my body goes slightly rigid when I observe the familiar path. This the path to the cabin. It is true Alec has been slowly paving his way towards earning my trust, but still I am not ready to share the part of myself which is hidden from the eyes of the world. The part which always keeps the real Avery alive in me somewhere.
He must have sensed the shift in my mood, as he gives me a sideways glance.
“Where are we going?” I try to keep my tone light, “This is not the place where we met that day in the forest.”
“Yeah, I have found this place recently.” He briefly looks at me then shifts his eyes to the dirt path.
My shoulders visibly relax when he takes a different route that doesn’t lead towards my cabin.
I am territorial as hell, I don’t easily share what is mine. And thinking about someone wandering in the same place which is like a safe haven to me makes me irritated. For others, it might not make any sense but that’s how I am.
I waste no time jumping out of the car when he says from here there is a ten minutes walk and then we will reach the spot.
I can’t wait to see fireflies in their own sanctuary.
“Woah, easy.” He chuckles holds out his hand to steady me as I stumble over some old tree root.
“I am so excited.” I grin ignoring the stinging sensation on my scraped leg.
“I can see that.” He raises his eyebrows and smiles.
Exactly after ten minutes, we stop near the small clearing in the woods. The area is dimly lit as moonlight filtered through the clouds. I silently stare ahead as I notice some twinkling. Seeing fireflies in a jar was no doubt beautiful, but watching them in their natural habitat is magical.
Looking down at the jar in my hand, I smile.
“It is time for you to join others,” I quietly say and admire them for a moment.
Then walking a little further, I open the lid and place the jar on the ground. Returning back to my original spot, I wait from them to fly. One by one, all of them escape out of the jar and joins the rest.
After quietly observing from them for a few more moments, I turn to Alec who has been a silent observer all this while.
“Thank you.” My lips lift up in a grateful smile, as I thank him again. He just smiles in return.
The walk back to the car is also silent, apart from the sound of dry leaves or sticks crunching under our shoes and cricket singing the background.
Males crickets are trying to get lucky.
When we near the car, I walk ahead of him towards the passenger side.
“What is that?” He asks his eyes narrows at my leg.
“My leg, I was born with it.” I point at my leg, “In fact, I was born with two.” I tap my other leg.
He arches his eyebrow and looks at me impassively, not at all amused.
“I don’t know, maybe it got scratched when I stumble over that root.” I shrug nonchalantly as I look at the angry lines across my right leg.
“I am sorry.” His face falls, “I should have been careful,” he says in a guilty tone.
“It is fine,” I shake my head, “It is not your fault that I tripped over the tree.”
“And you are apologizing as if you have given me these scratches.” My tone teasing as I arch an eyebrow at him.
“Avery.” He exhales a long exasperated breath while slowly shaking his head.
Climbing back into the car I check the time on my phone, it is almost around four in the morning.
Mistakenly, my eyes move towards his hands. Mistake... yes, it is a big mistake as now I can’t move my eyes away from his arms.
I am totally captivated by his arms. The way his arm muscles flexes when he shifts the gears makes it difficult for me to look anywhere else. While the other hand on the steering wheel is giving me a full show of protruding arm veins.
Clearing of the throat forces me to tear my eyes away from his arms. When I look at him, he is already glancing in my direction and arches an eyebrow questioningly at me while small smirk visible on his lips.
I shrug and turn my face towards the window, while in my mind slideshow of his arms and fireflies are running. Well, these two were the best things I have seen in a few days, so I think these images will stick in my mind for good.
I frown as my stomach lightly growls. I didn’t have my late-night snack so obviously, my stomach is calling food.
“Alec,” I call him.
“Hmm.” He hums in reply.