Then You Look At Me

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A Glimpse At Your Scars

~Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones. And I will try to fix you~ Coldplay.

Chapter Theme Song: 'Fix You' by Coldplay.

°°

Rainey

The sound of the running shower melding with the raindrops provides a feeling of pure relaxation.

I plop down on a chair at the corner of the room and slip my cell from my knapsack, immediately noticing the thirteen missed calls on my home screen. I am not at all surprised that not one of them is from my mom, who perhaps is feeling contented with my absence. They are all from my dad and one text from Riley; a picture of her and a strange cat she probably found on a sidewalk.

Riley is a sucker for animals. She’s the type that would climb a tree and end up breaking her arse just to rescue a stray kitten. Her image reminds me of how much I miss my best friend. I quickly shoot her a text to ask if she’s fine, then I dial my dad’s number and press it to my ear, jerking my legs idly while I wait for him to pick up.

He answers after three rings, his deep voice breaking through the phone line.

“Rain. God, I was worried sick.”

“About what?” I press the cell between my ear and shoulder, while I slip an elastic band off my wrist and pull my hair up into a messy bun.

“Your Mom says you’re not home and she has no idea where you are, God, I almost had a heart attack, Rainey. I have been trying to call you all evening, immediately after she told me that.”

I roll my eyes, tucking one foot under the other. “She’s the one who said I should stay off her porch tonight.”

“She said what?” He curses under his breath, then a deep sigh leaves his lips before he speaks again. “I am calling her right now; I hope her son of a bitch of a man does not pick the damn call up or I’ll tell his ass off.”

“You don’t need to call her.” I disapprove, grimacing at the thought of Jeff’s embarrassing behavior at the café this evening. “I am fine, I need the break from that house anyway.”

My dad is silent on the line for a few seconds, and I remove the cell from my ear to see if he’s still on the line. Realizing that the call is still running, I press it to my ear again.

“Dad?”

“I’m sorry, Rain.” His voice is low and remorseful.

He’s not the one who should be feeling guilty about this at all; it should be my mom and she sure as hell couldn’t care less about breaking the family apart, so why should my dad feel culpable? He treated her with nothing but love.

I exhale heavily. “About what?”

“Not being there for you,” his voice breaks. “I am truly sorry.”

My Dad is an emotional man, even more so than my mom. She’s the ‘rough’ type who thinks everything should happen the way she desires. My dad is more compassionate, and often just allowed her to have her way at the expense of his discomfort.

“You don’t need to be,” I reassure him for the hundredth time. I always tell him that none of this is his fault. “I mean, you top my card up every month…I guess that’s enough.”

It’s not, and he knows it.

“Don’t say that. Money can never replace anything.” He objects. “I am truly sorry Rain if I wasn’t so-”

The door to the bathroom cracks open, signaling that Ansel is finished with his shower. Not wanting to discuss personal matters in the ears of others, I sigh, ending the call quickly. “Dad, I’m fine. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Are you safe where you are? I am not in the country right now, if I was-”

“Dad, I know. I’ll call you tomorrow, I am tired, okay?”

“Okay, Rain…I love you.”

“I love you more.” I pop a kiss through the phone and with that, end the call in a swift.

Ansel steps out of the bathroom, swinging me a small smile. I offer one back, but I feel it slowly fades while heat rises to my cheeks as I take notice of his attire, or rather, his lack of attire.

He’s without a shirt, just his trousers laying low on his hips. I subtly take notice of the perfect rows of abs on his washboard stomach, residue from the shower trickling down his chest in a race to his abdomen. His hair is messy and damp, landing over his eyes in a freely bouncy motion.

Right, his eyes. He’s not wearing his glasses, and it gives me time to take notice of how beautiful his orbs are. His hair doesn’t offer a clear view to scrutinize them, but I can still see amply from where I sit. I have never seen him without his glasses. This is the first, and it’s quite a sight to behold. He looks like a different person, and it’s interesting.

His eyes drift to me and I lower my gaze quickly, pretending I am consumed with my cell when in truth I am repeatedly scrolling down and up my Instagram feed like a mentally ill patient.

He moves over to his closet, turning his back to grab a shirt, and I take the chance to steal another glance. His tattoo, which is always hidden finally becomes visible, and I squint my eyes in efforts of identifying what the drawing is.

After almost straining my eyeballs, my curiosity is solved. It’s the snake coiled around the numeral five. The same design at the parlor, and the same one Alaric has. What does that design even mean? I recall the tattoo artist saying that it was specially designed.

Ansel pulls a white T-shirt over his torso, whipping his hair back into place. Lost inside my head, my eyes are unconsciously glued to his bicep. He swings his head around, studying my distant gaze while I creepily gawk at his arm.

He chuckles, his forehead creasing in curiosity. “You okay?”

I snap out of my trance, realizing that I’ve been sitting and staring at his arm quite disturbingly.

“Uh, yeah…I was just-”

I can’t even find an excuse.

He smiles. “Just what?”

“Lost in my head for a moment,” I admit.

His smile is relentless as he moves over to me. “Lost inside your head while looking at me?”

A deep blush rises to my cheeks, and I open my mouth to say something but snap it shut when I realize I have no idea what to say.

He titters, sitting on the bed beside the chair I am seated on. “I’m just pulling your leg, Rain.”

He looks me in the eyes, and now that he’s not wearing his glasses, it makes it so easier to fall in them. I shift my eyes to a fuzzy mat beneath my feet.

“Uhm…which bed is yours? You forgot to tell me.”

“This one.” He says, raking back his damp hair from his eyes as he gets up to move toward the opposite bed. “I’ll crash on Alex’s.”

“Okay, thanks.”

I get in, settling under the covers while Ansel gets in Alex’s bed. I lay on my side facing him. His smell is on his pillow and I resist the urge to audibly sniff as I snuggle my head against it.

“Do you sleep with the lights on or off?” He questions, laying onto his back as he looks over at me.

I hate sleeping with the lights off. Mainly because when I was younger, the monster who visited me at night, only came when my lights were off.

As I told Ansel, I am not afraid of burglar and mobs. But the dark? As silly as it sounds, it creeps me out. It reminds me of things I want to forget.

“On,” I answer quietly.

He stares at me. “Okay.”

I half-smile while closing my eyes, mainly to avoid eye contact.

Sometimes, I feel like Ansel knows more than I want him to. I hope this time, my feelings are wrong. I don’t like being read like a book; it takes away from the power I have. I learned that oftentimes people assimilate your weaknesses and in the long run, use them against you. It’s crazy because Ansel has only known me for a few days, yet it feels like he knows me for a lifetime.

Today hasn’t been a good day for me, and I thought it couldn’t get worst, but when the thunder hits heavily and the lights of the room go out, I realize that it’s never too late for a shower of rain.

“Power outage.” Ansel sighs, pushing his covers off him and getting down from his bed. “This happens a lot when the rain is heavy.”

I sit up, pushing a loose strand of hair from my eyes. “It’s okay, I’ll sleep without the lights.”

That is hard for me, but I won’t appear weak.

“Nah, we can just light a candle.”

I can barely see him in the dark, but his white T-shirt offers me some redemption. He switches on a flashlight while he lights the candle, and I pull my knees up to my chest, idly watching the flame flaring as he places it on the bedside table.

He gets in under his covers again and I attempt to go to sleep, but I keep twisting and turning. Ansel hears the movements and his voice breaks through the heavy raindrops.

“Rain, what’s wrong?”

I frown. “I can’t sleep…”

There is silence for a few seconds before his sheet ruffles and he gets off his bed. My round bewildered orbs peer up at him as he moves over to me.

The bed dips as he gets in next to me, and my breath hitch in my throat as I shrink away nervously.

“Wh-what are you-?”

He sits up beside me, his head against the headboard as he looks down at me. “You say you sleep better with the lights. So…when I was younger and I couldn’t sleep, my mom would get in bed beside me and we’d talk until I feel sleepy.”

“Oh…” The only good thing about this power outage is that Ansel will not be able to see how red my face is.

I stare at him, blinking my eyes.

He titters. "Is this uncomfortable for you?"

I shake my head, sitting up beside him while I fold my legs beneath me. I won't lie, I am grateful for the company.

"No, it's not..."

He smiles, his eyes drifting from my eyes to my lips, and then to every feature on my face. Sometimes I wish I could tell what he's thinking when he studies me like this.

I clear my throat. “Uh, your mom…she’s nice.”

He nods. “Yeah, she is.”

“I…kind of wish my mom was like that,” I mutter, staring at his room door. “But she’s not…she hates me.”

His gaze softens. “I have witnessed her for myself and she can be a little…difficult. But what about your dad? Where is he?”

“He doesn’t live with us. He and my mom got divorced.”

“Oh…so why don’t you live with him?”

“He’s busy…always busy. So, he doesn’t want me home alone.” I sigh, looking at my fingers.

A silence falls upon us, then the bed dips again as Ansel shifts to face me. I raise my eyes to look at him.

“How about we play a game?” He smiles. “You get to ask me three questions, and I get to ask you three questions. Three questions only, to which you will answer truthfully.”

I think about it for a few seconds. It sounds like a good way to pass time until the lights come on. I nod in agreement. “Okay, sure.”

“Okay. Go first.”

I scratch my temple, pondering on a question to ask him.

“Uhm…why weren’t you at school today?” I tilt my head to the side, genuinely curious.

He nibbles on his lower lip for a second, probably finding the most brilliant way to answer the question.

“I had to work full time at the café. My mom needed the extra money to help pay the bills, so I decided to help out.” He answers.

His response is quite impressive. I want to learn more about him, he seems to have so many depths within him.

“My question.” He smirks, and I suddenly have a feeling that I will regret playing this game. “I know I wasn’t supposed to see that but, I saw something earlier…on your back, you had a huge tattoo of an eagle with these chains on its feet…what does that mean?”

I swallow.

“It just means I want to be free…from the pain and memories holding me back.” I summarize, grateful that he can only ask one question and won’t be able to dig deeper.

He nods slowly, but I can tell he has more probing questions on the matter. “Okay…fair enough. Your turn.”

“What does yours mean?” I point to his arm and watch how his expression morphs into an unreadable one.

He raises his arm, scrutinizing the inked art. “Uh, it’s an oath. My dad was a part of this… group and this symbol was used as their identification. My brothers and I; however, decided to carry on the ‘tradition’ and so we use the symbol as a mark of our loyalty to each other.”

“Oh…so all your brothers have that tattoo?”

Ansel chuckles. “Only one question, Rain.”

“I know, this is my last card, I’m using it.”

He smiles. “Okay, yeah they all do. Alex has one on his neck.”

“Oh…that’s cool.” I smile.

He nods, smiling a little. “Yeah… my turn?”

“Ask away.”

“What happened at Freetown High?”

He doesn’t hesitate before posing his questions, almost as if he has them all written down. I knew this one would come up sooner or later.

I shrug. “I did something pretty bad…I almost murdered someone; you could say.”

Ansel stares at me with a face of pure curiosity. I swallow and switch the topic. “My last question?”

He nods, but he hasn’t recovered from the last response. “Why do you hate to sleep in the dark?”

His questions are just too much.

“Because that’s when monsters come to get you,” I answer simply.

He stares at me, his eyes peering deeply into mine. “Your answers… are really deep.”

I half-smile, lowering my eyes from his. Ansel gives the vibe of a psychiatrist, snaking their way into your mind and somehow attaining information without your knowledge.

“But you know, Rain…monsters are only fearless with little kids.”

His statement makes me look up at him.

He reclines onto his palms. “In movies, have you ever wondered why the parents could never see these monsters at all? There is a strength that comes with growing up, being able to protect yourself…I don’t think they’d hurt you now, they wouldn’t dare to…not when you now have the power to protect yourself.”

My throat goes dry as I stare at him. He knows something, he must know something. Why is he so accurate? Our gazes are steady on each other, until there is a loud knock on the door, pulling our focus from each other.

Ansel gets off the bed and moves to the door. He opens it to reveal a fidgeting Alex, who’s holding his center and squirming.

“I need to go!”

Ansel makes a face. “What?”

“I need to pee! Please, just let a brother in…!” He pushes past Ansel as he wiggles his way into the room, swinging me a grin as he hurries to the bathroom.

I try not to laugh, and Ansel shakes his head. “He literally walked all the way here just to pee when he has a bathroom in the twins’ room. I just don’t think my brother is sane at all.”

I chuckle.

The toilet flushes after a minute and the door opens. Alex steps out, smiling in satisfaction. “I thought I was going to die. Thanks for having me, lovely people, you just saved a bladder.”

“Alex, isn’t there a bathroom in the twins’ room?” Ansel questions.

He frowns. “Yeah, but Aiden is having a bloody phone sex with some girl in the bathroom for over a damn hour and I wasn’t going to piss my pants.”

Ansel titters while his brother swings me a smile, raising his eyebrows. “No lights, just you two, heavy rain…it’s quite romantic, don’t you think?”

“Alex, get out.” Ansel ushers his brother out and closes the door.

I smile softly.

Instantly the lights come back on, and I am secretly disappointed. I was enjoying the little talk between us.

“Well, Alex just jinxed that.” Ansel chuckles.

I force a smile. “Well…thank you for the talk. It was fun.”

He smiles. “Yeah, it was for me too.”

He moves over to his bed, blows out the candle then gets in under his covers. He lays onto his back and I lay on my side, facing him.

He looks over at me. “Goodnight…the monsters won’t hurt you…at least, not with me around.” He chuckles, his white teeth are brighter than the lamp in the room.

I smile, rendering a nod. “Goodnight.”

He closes his eyes; I do the same. He’s just a few feet away, and he’s not aware that I fall asleep thinking about him.


^A/N: Hi :-) ❤Many thanks for your support, it is greatly appreciated, lots of love❤ and please keep safe!❤

-Tiffanyluvss❤

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