Then You Look At Me

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Secrets

~You bring good to my lonely life, honestly. It’s hard for me to look into your eyes. When I say that I would be nothing without your love, I feel the rush and it’s amazing~ The Weeknd & Lana Del Rey.

Chapter Theme Song: 'Prisoner' by The Weeknd ft. Lana Del Rey.

°°

Rainey

The warm morning sun kisses my face through the window of the room, and I scrunch my face up as I roll onto my stomach. I open heavy orbs, blinking owlishly while I reach a hand up to itch my eyes. When my vision finally becomes clear, I realize that Ansel is not in Alex’s bed.

Sitting up, I grab my cell from the table beside me to look at the time.

6:00 am.

I have school this morning and I need to head home first to get a fresh suit of uniform. A note sits on the lamp table, along with a toothbrush.

Good morning, you seemed tired, so I didn’t want to wake you. Here’s a toothbrush, feel free to use my bathroom. I’m helping my mom with breakfast, come on down when you’re finished.

-Ansel

I stare at the cursive script for longer than necessary; even his handwriting is amazing. I smile to myself as I put the note down and grab the sealed toothbrush from the table. I pull the covers off me, yawning as I get out of bed bare feet. I wince at the cold ground, quickly mincing my way to the bathroom. The room smells of body wash and soap as I strip my clothes off and get under the shower.

I enjoy the celestial feeling of the cool invigorating water streaming down my body while thinking about how disheartening it is that I will have to head home to that wretched house soon. I hope my mom and Jeff won’t be there, but bearing in mind Jeff’s unemployed status, he probably will be.

Jeff doesn’t work. He depends on my mom for everything and she doesn’t mind, ensuring that he gets his paycheck every month for just being there and doing absolutely nothing. I think he is with my mom for her money, but she thinks otherwise, and who am I to intervene in their so-called love?

I get out of the shower reluctantly and get dressed in yesterday’s uniform. I slip on my leather boots then lazily catch my hair in a messy ponytail. I make the bed and gently open the door, quietly stepping out unto the aisle. Immediately, I notice Alaric. He’s shirtless, in just his grey sports shorts while he whispers on the phone. His back is turned to me while he leans on the wall beside his room door.

I turn around to close the door when unintentionally, I overhear his conversation. It sparks my interest, so I stand still, pleasing my inquisition. I am not one to eavesdrop, so I mentally scold myself for being this nosey.

“No babe, I miss you just the same.”

Babe?

“No, no you can’t stop by. I’ll come by yours later after work so we can spend time together, okay?” He scratches his forehead, then I hear him sigh exasperatedly. “No, my son is here...Fuck, come on baby, I said I’ll come by to see you. Yeah, I know but you can’t come here, my girl is here.”

I purse my lips. Poor Sam.

He ruffles his hair. “Yeah, me too. See you later…I tell you I love you all the time, Bee. I don’t need to say it again…yeah, I’ll see you later.”

He hangs up, cursing under his breath while he taps on his phone. I pretend I am just stepping out of the room, closing the door intentionally loud.

He swings his head around, and when he recognizes me moving in his direction, he smiles. “Good morning.”

“Good morning.” I render a smile back.

He turns around to face me, tapping his cell on his palm while he leans against the wall. “Rainey, right?”

“Yeah.” I nod, shifting my weight.

“I am really happy my brother isn’t wasting his good looks,” he chuckles. “He’s always burying his head in a book all day long. It’s nice to see you over, I like it. So, how long have you guys been…doing this?”

My cheeks are crimson as I shake my head quickly. “No, we aren’t like that. We aren’t dating or--”

The door to the room opens, trailing off my speech. Sam steps out in her robe, pushing back her messy hair from her eyes. As soon as she sees me, she grins. “Hey, Rainey. Did you sleep well?”

I don’t know why, but I feel so guilty to her. But it’s not my business so I should stay out of it.

“Yeah, it was the best I’ve had in a while.” I chuckle.

The response is sad, but it’s the truth. Sometimes when I am not insomniac, I tend to twist and turn all night. I am never deeply asleep.

“Awesome.” Her lips pull up in a bright beam and I take notice of how pretty she is. I don’t understand why Alaric’s cheating on her, but again, it’s not my business.

“You should come over again.” She finishes, and I nod. “I would love that.”

She smiles then turns her eyes to her boyfriend, who doesn’t even have a glint of guilt on his face as she wraps her arms around his neck, placing a kiss on his cheek.

“Who called, babe?” She asks softly, nuzzling her face in his neck.

“My boss,” Alaric answers mercilessly, without a break or hint of suspicion in his voice. “He said I have to work late tonight.” He kisses her forehead, maybe to seal the lies he just spilled to her.

She pulls away, pouting her lips. “Really? I was going to leave Anthony at my mom’s so we could have some alone time tonight. I was thinking maybe we could watch a movie or--”

He wraps his arms tightly around her. “I know babe, but it’s work, and you know my boss has been on my case lately.”

He will be going to hell.

“Okay.” She smiles sadly.

“Come on baby, don’t look like that,” he kisses her neck. “I’ll be home by ten, you know I can’t be without this sexy body of yours for too long.”

That statement is enough to have Sam giggling as Alaric places small kisses along her neckline.

I awkwardly force a smile. “I’ll be downstairs…”

°°

The food was delicious. It’s a good feeling to have a real breakfast, instead of cereal which I would normally have in the mornings.

The egg, bacon, and waffles that Melissa prepared tasted like something from a five-star restaurant. Again, I took notice of everything at the dining table. The way they held hands and bless the food, the way they spoke among themselves and the humility they possess. If only they knew what they have.

Ansel’s Dad does construction and he’s currently working on a building at the twins’ university. They left half-way through breakfast since Aiden and Arden had a group work to finish up at school. Melissa works at the town’s diner, so she left right after breakfast, telling Ansel that he should lock the house up properly when he’s leaving. Sam and Alaric left earlier with Anthony, not bothering to have breakfast. I kept thinking of the conversation I overheard and felt guilty when Sam threw me her sweet smile while they left.

Ansel had to get ready for school, so while he went upstairs, I take a stroll outside to take in the neighborhood I wish was mine. People are leaving their homes, on their way to school and work and I can smell the delightful aroma of breakfast in the air.

Alex is swabbing a car in the garage. The cool morning wind slaps my face as I plod over to him.

He looks up, a smile forming his features as soon as he sees me.

“Woah, is this yours?” I smile, tucking an unruly strand of brown hair behind my ear as I analyze the car.

It’s not new, but it’s not old either.

“Yeah, meet Lucy, my Honda-baby.” He smiles. “But she has been acting up lately, maybe because I’ve been spending more time with Alaric’s Chevelle.”

I giggle. “Girls like attention, you can’t do her like that.”

He titters, lifting the trunk of his car. “Speaking of girls…Riley, when will she be back in town?”

He grabs a pack of cigarette lazily thrown down somewhere, slipping a stick from the box and extending the container to me. “Want one?”

“No. I don’t want to be high for my first History class.” I chuckle. “She’ll be back on Friday. Why do you care so much about Riley?” I smile, crossing my arms.

“Well, she’s cool. Does she perhaps…have like a boyfriend or a ‘kind-of’ boyfriend?” His smile stretches while he retrieves a lighter from his back pocket.

“What’s a ‘kind-of’ boyfriend?” I giggle.

“A boy that she perhaps talks to from time to time, but it isn’t official.”

“Well, the last time I checked, nope. Riley’s more into saving stray kittens and watching ′The Walking Dead’"

“Damn, we could be good friends.” He takes a long draw of his cigarette. “Or more maybe.”

He swings me a mischievous smirk, and I chuckle, my mind flowing right back to Alaric and his cheating on Sam.

“I don’t trust you though. I mean…I can’t trust any of you ‘King’ boys.” I simper.

“Why?” He squints an eye while he inhales the drug, a thick fog of smoke emitting through his nose and mouth. “But you trust Ansel though, right?”

That’s a good question. Somehow, I feel like I can trust Ansel despite knowing him for a few days. Although he is quite mysterious, there is something about him that makes me feel safe.

“Yeah…I guess.” I shrug.

He smiles, plopping down on the trunk of his car while he looks ahead of him. His tattoo of the snake coiled around the numeral five becomes visible, right between his ear and his neck. I can’t believe this whole time I hadn’t noticed it there. It was right in front of my eyes; although, for the short time I have met Alex, it was always dark out or he was always wearing hoodies, or maybe I’ve spent all my time gawking at Ansel that I hadn’t noticed.

He takes another hit of his joint, puffing out air as he turns his face to meet my gaze again.

“Mmm. What if Ansel is the one you should be afraid of?” He smirks, winking his eye.

What does that mean?

“Don’t let Alex feed you nonsense, Rain.” Ansel suddenly appears behind me. I almost jolt in surprise while Alex grins, slipping his cigarette between his lips again. “I wasn’t feeding her anything.” He muffles.

Ansel’s fresh scent bombards my nose as he passes by me to open the backseat of the car. He’s now dressed in his uniform. His immaculately white dress shirt is perfectly ironed and tucked into his trousers. His plaid tie is neatly tied around his neck and his hair is a bit tousled but glistening with whatever hair product he used. His glasses are tucked inside the top pocket of his dress shirt, and I can’t deny how good he smells.

“Alex, you’ll be late for school, let’s go. Plus, we have to drop Rain at home to get her uniform.”

Alex throws his joint away and dusts his hands on his blue jeans. “Think about what I said about me and Riley, Rain. We could be beautiful.” He raises his brows and I smile.

We get into the car and begin to leave the neighborhood. There is a weird feeling in my chest as Ansel’s house disappears into the distance. I wish I could have stayed.

Our neighborhoods are literally less than fifteen minutes away from each other. In no time, we have arrived at my place. The large house in front of us makes me sick to my stomach and I let out a deep sigh as I open the door of the backseat.

“We’ll wait for you, okay?” Ansel tells me.

I nod. “Thanks.”

I walk up the pathway to my house, earnestly hoping my mom or Jeff isn’t in there. My wishes are demolished when I thrust open the door to discover my mom at the kitchen island. She’s wearing a silk night robe with a mug of coffee in her hand. Why is she not at work?

“Fuck,” I mutter as I close the door behind me.

“Well, look who decided to come home.” She begins, tapping her nails on the tiled table while she tightly grips her mug in the other.

I roll my eyes as I begin heading in the direction of my room. Her eyes peer through the transparent windows behind me, and she tilts her head to the side. “Whose car is that parked at my gate?”

I continue my journey, refusing to respond to her.

“Rainey!”

“Why do you care?” I turn to her furiously. “Don’t act like you give even the slightest damn about me because you don’t. You didn’t even call me last night.”

She places her mug on the island’s table and lays a hand on her hip, swaying to the side. “You are the one who should have called and apologized to Jeff. He told me you were flirting with some boy at a café and when he asked to take you home you had him thrown out on his face.”

“I wasn’t flirting with anyone. He’s a fucking liar.”

“Language, young lady!”

“And he deserved getting thrown out of the café. He has no right to embarrass me in front of others. He’s not my father, and he doesn’t own me, nor does he have the right to tell me what to do.”

“He has a right; he has a right to do that. When your father wasn’t around, Jeff was here. He is always here.”

“Don’t talk about Dad. You don’t have the right to do that. You ruined our family!”

“Oh, so is that what all of this is about?” She scoffs. “Father tantrums and daddy issues? You need to grow up. Jeff is around now, and he is a father figure to you. He has always cared for you; he’s always looking out for you.”

“By doing what? Huh? Ruining my fucking life and taking advantage of me?”

She narrows her eyes. “What did you--listen to me young lady, do not let me hear you talk that way about him again. I will not tolerate it.” She points her finger at me, a defensive tone in her voice.

I shake my head, stepping back.

“Can you do me the favor of leaving me the hell alone? I really hate both you and that son of a bitch.” I curse, turning away and racing up the stairs.

She watches me leave. Her mouth opens to say something, but she decides against it, raking her hair back instead. She swallows hard as she turns away and heads towards the sink.

I storm into my room, slamming the door close behind me. I yank off my worn uniform and get dressed in a fresh suit. I throw on a hoodie since the morning is a bit chilly. I check my timetable on the back of my door, then empty the books from yesterday on my bed, replacing them with the books needed for today.

In no time, my heavy boots are stomping on the wooden steps as I hurry back downstairs. My mom is still at the kitchen’s island, but I don’t spare her a glance as I prowl towards the door.

“Would you like some tea?!” She calls behind me. I don’t provide a response as I leave the house.

I hop into the backseat of Alex’s car, slamming the door with force; I am positive I almost broke it.

“Wow, what a rage.” Alex chuckles.

“Sorry,” I mutter, jamming my hands in my sweater.

I look up, and Ansel’s looking at me through his side mirror. I lower my eyes from his. I don’t want him reading them today.

Alex starts his engine up. “You okay, Rain?”

I look out my window as the car pulls away. “Yeah…I am fine.”

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