Then You Look At Me

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Hold Me Tight

~Hold me close, through the night, don’t let me go, we’ll be alright. Touch my soul and hold it tight, I’ve been waiting all my life~ Tori Kelly & Ed Sheeran.

Chapter Theme Song: ‘I Was Made for Loving You’ by Tori Kelly ft. Ed Sheeran.

°°

Rainey

The warm, vibrant rays from the morning sun scorch my face, pulling me from my sleep. I open my eyes but wince when I am immediately hit with a piercing headache.

I think I had too much to drink last night.

I sit up, pressing a hand against my forehead with a pained face. I look around with swollen eyes, yawning prodigiously, then instantly grimacing at the insipid taste in my mouth.

My eyes squint in confusion when I take notice of my surroundings, my cognitive ability finally working again.

Ansel’s room? How on earth did I end up here?

I groan, pushing my messy hair back. The scary thing is, I can’t recall anything from last night. I could have stripped myself in front of him or done something even crazier during my drunken state. Upon instinct, I pull the covers off me, sighing in relief when I realize I am still wearing my jeans and T-shirt.

I wrack my already hurting brain for even a slight remembrance of the events of the night before. I recall drinking a crazy amount of liquor, and then there was a blurry image of Ansel’s face while I laid on that couch; he must have taken me here since I was too out of it. And then—

“SHIT.” I curse out loud as soon as the foggy memory of my drunken self, tightly hugging Ansel from the back, flashes across my mind.

What on earth have I done?

“Oh, God…”

The pain worsens in my skull, and I clutch the spot. The terrifying truth is that I can’t remember anything else. The unclear imagery of me embracing him is not enough to resolve my ignorance. I must have said or done something else. Something worse.

God, Rainey, you are never drinking ever again!

I sigh as I get down from my bed, shivering at the cold ground as I squat to find my shoes. I grab the boots from the bedside and slip them on hastily.

I can’t believe I hugged him! God, what on earth was I thinking?

The bland taste from last night’s alcohol makes me nauseous so I hurry to the bathroom. Luckily, the toothbrush I was given last time is still present, so I quickly brush my teeth, wash my face and leave the room.

I should apologize to Ansel for my weird behavior last night, hugging him was not my intention. Well, deep down somewhere it’s what I’ve been secretly wanting to do since that time I rode with him on his bike. But not like this, not in this weird and creepy way.

The loud sound of a game system booms off the walls as I descend the stairs. Riley is sitting on the couch with Alex and the twins playing a PS4 game. As soon as she sees me, she grins, but quickly focuses her eyes back to the animated screen while she fiercely presses the controller in her hands. “Good morning, sunshine!”

Alex looks up from the bag of Lays he’s eating, smiling while waggling his brows.

He does that gesture when he’s thinking smut, and I can’t help but wonder if that’s a sign that I did make a complete ass of myself last night. If I did something crazy like kiss Ansel or came on to him, I don’t think I would be able to face him ever again.

“Rain, your friend is something else, she’s one hell of a gamer. I mean she’s even good at Fifa, that shit ain’t normal.” Aiden chuckles while he too is pressing his controller as if he wants to break it in half. I can tell Riley is giving him a run for his money with that racecar game.

“Yeah, she isn’t human, she’s probably from some unidentified planet.” Arden agrees, smiling while he takes the Lays from Alex. Taking a chip from the shiny bag, he gazes at Riley with a face of admiration. “I’m not lying, I like her.”

“Yeah, you like everyone, Arden.” Alex frowns at the statement, snatching his snack back from his brother. “Get your own food.”

“Sorry to break up your little game time guys, but can I borrow Riley for a swift second?” I request, pinching my thumb and index finger together for visual.

Riley puts the controller down, darting her finger over the boys. “Any of you dare to touch my game, I will murder you all!” They chuckle at the warning as she hurries over to me.

I sigh, gently pulling her to a corner. “Riley, what happened last night?”

“Oh…” Her face lights up, and I have no idea why my heart skips a beat. I cringe, hoping she will not be responding with something that will scar me for a lifetime.

“Ansel slept beside you,” she informs, smiling widely with a dreamy look on her face.

My eyes grow wide, and she chuckles. “You should have seen how wrapped up you two were, your leg was all over his thigh.”

“Jeezus.” I gasp. “Are you playing with me, Ry?”

I know Riley can be a bit exaggerative at times, but this time I have a feeling she’s not sprinkling sauce on the ordeal. I hugged him; I remember that much. I probably forced him to lay with me too, and I wish the earth would open and swallow me up.

“No, I’m not playing. Ask Alex, he saw it as well.”

I bite my lower lip a little too hard that I taste blood. I suck on it to ease the discomfort. “What happened before that?”

“That I don’t know, I was out of it all night.” She grins again, savoring the dilemma at the expense of my turmoil. I don’t think Riley gets the severity of the situation; she’s enjoying this way too much.

“If you are so curious though…ask Ansel.” She points her head to the kitchen. “He’s making breakfast.”

I follow her direction with my eyes while a sigh leaves my bruised lips. I am not sure I can face him but avoiding him is impossible since I am in his territory.

°°

The sound and aroma of frying eggs bombard me as I step inside the kitchen. Ansel stands by the stove making breakfast. His hair is disheveled, and the white tank and sports shorts he’s wearing reveal flawless skin, glistening with perspiration. His skin is so smooth; I don’t think he has ever gotten acne in all his years of living.

He swings his head around and upon noticing my presence, his lips quirk up in a bright smile, to which my cheeks fire up profusely.

“Good morning.”

“Good morning,” I reply. My voice comes out unclear from the sudden anxiety, and I clear my throat, mincing my way over to him.

“Breakfast is almost finished, just give me a second, okay?”

“Yeah, take your time…”

I watch him as he flips the eggs with the spatula, his gaze fixed on the pot as he narrows his eyes from the popping oil. His teeth sink into the flesh of his bottom lip in concentration, and his hair is moist from the heat of the stove.

I want to bring up last night, but I am not sure how to, and I don’t want it to come out sounding awfully wrong.

“Uhm. Is there…anything I could help with?”

“Nope, it’s okay.” He spares me a glance. “I’m almost done anyway.” He reaches a hand around me to grab the pepper, his body brushes against mine in the process and I shift forward, my stomach pressing against the counter.

I feel a slight pain in my head, and I grip my forehead for a second as the ache slowly disappears again. Hangovers are the worst.

“Yeah, but you know I hate the idea of just lazing around, are you sure you wouldn’t want me to lend a hand? It’s really bothering me…”

I hate that he took me home last night, put up with whatever weird antics I may have done in my addlepated state, yet woke up to make me breakfast. The least I can do is be of some assistance.

He looks at me with a small smile on his lips. They look a lot pinker today for some strange reason, resembling ripe raspberries. I flash my head a little. I think the alcohol is still in my system.

“It’s really fine, Rain…but you can just fetch some plates for me if you really want to help. They’re in the cupboard.”

“Sure.” I smile. I move around him to get to work while he pulls on his mittens and lifts the pot from the stove, transferring the perfectly fried eggs into a glass basin.

I swallow. “Uhm…about last night…”

“What about it?”

I reach a hand up to the cupboard, feeling the heat already rising to my face at the blurry memory of me embracing him. “I am really sorry about what I did…”

He chuckles a little, sounding partially confused. “What are you apologizing for, Rain?”

I frown when I realize I am too short to reach the wooden cabinet. I tip on my toes, and stretch my fingers out, painfully straining my muscles while I try to offer a response. “Uhm...you know…for—”

I don’t want to say: ‘for hugging you’ so I choose to just drop the case, the stubborn cupboard suddenly annoying me way more than my partial amnesia. I blow my cheeks out when I realize that even attempting to be a ballerina offers no avail to my predicament. I had no idea I was this short, and I hate failing at anything.

I jump a little, attempting to grab ahold of the cabinet’s handle when a presence appears behind me. I settle back on my heels, my back bumping into a sturdy chest. “Oh, sorry.”

Ansel chuckles behind me. “It’s okay, I’ll get it.”

Resting a hand on my hip for support, he reaches up and effortlessly grabs a stack of the plate from the cupboard. My breath hitch in my throat and I am immensely nervous from how close he’s standing to me. His palm that’s gently positioned on my slender waist brings my thoughts back to how he firmly gripped me at Club Naked last night.

His touch does things to me. Weird, strange things.

He smells fresh and immaculate, and I can feel his muscles beneath the thin tank he’s wearing. He places the plates on the counter, but he doesn’t move away, I can still feel him behind me, his warm body heat offering a cozy, heavenly feeling.

Before I can comprehend what is happening, Ansel brings an arm around me and pulls me into his chest, hugging me from the back.

I gasp involuntarily as my body presses into his hard torso.

What is he doing? What’s going on?

I blink my eyes, swallowing hard at the sudden action.

“A-Ansel? What are you—?”

“Is this what you’re apologizing for?” His voice is low, and it sends a shiver through my body. I am unable to utter a response, so I just grip onto the counter instead. “Rain?”

“Yeah…I didn’t mean to hug you like that--like this, I mean—” I close my eyes. I am tongue-tied and not fit to speak right now. I am not sure what he's doing, and I am not sure my heart can survive this.

“You don’t apologize for hugging someone,” he says. “You don’t feel sorry about it either. There is nothing there to apologize for. We all need a hug sometimes, don’t we?”

I open my eyes, lowering them to the white tiles of the counter. I am not sure what to say to that. His hold is comforting as if he’s telling me everything will be alright. It feels like he knows something about me, and I hope I didn’t end up spilling my secrets to him last night.

“Why are you so tense, Rain?” I can feel his minty breath against my neck, and goosebumps travel my body. “Let go a little. You’ll see how good it feels…”

I close my eyes, allowing myself to relax against him. I am always tense; always feeling like the world is ending. I am a huge wad of anxiety; merely existing and not truly living.

He encircles his other arm around me, and I didn’t think my heart could beat any faster until he nestles his face into my neckline. I suck a breath in, praying I don’t end up having a heart attack.

He was right. It feels great. Like a heavy load is being lifted off my shoulders. I haven’t been hugged this way in a while. It’s like time has stopped and it is just us two in the world. The only sound I can hear is my heart furiously hammering through my eardrums and Ansel’s steady breathing against my flushed neckline.

The hug lasts for a minute, then he releases me, my whole body suddenly becoming cold and empty again.

I catch a breath I didn’t realize I had been holding and slowly turn around to look at him. My brown orbs peer up into his in bewilderment.

I want to know why he hugged me like that, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself thinking he likes me or something. He treats me nice, but to be honest, Ansel is super polite to everyone. Then there is his ex-girlfriend Lea, they might have broken up, but he probably still has feelings for her deep down somewhere. Do feelings just completely fade away so fast?

He places his palms on either side of me on the counter, then leans down to my height. My petite figure is trapped between the walls of his warm torso. His eyes fall to my lips, but he pulls them back to my eyes in short order.

“See? A hug isn’t something to feel bad about, Rain,” he whispers, his cute smile surfacing his lips again. “There is no damage done. I did it too, so you don’t have to feel weird about it. We’re even now, yeah?”

I smile a little, offering a nod of my head since it’s the only response I can offer. I still haven’t recovered from our close contact just now, and I think it’s going to take me a while to start forming sentences again.

He stares at me, his captivating eyes piercing through mine like a firm bullet. His head begins to move in closer, and I hold my breath, thinking he’s planning on kissing me or something. I did see the way he stared at my lips a second ago. It might have been for a short second, but I saw it.

I swallow the lump in my throat, my face on fire as I stare at him with an expectant expression; however, to my disappointment he reaches around me and grabs the plates from the counter.

I blink my eyes, lowering them instantly so he doesn’t sight the wave of embarrassment in them. I look up beneath my lashes and he’s wearing a smile as he moves away. “What kind of tea do you prefer? Chocolate, or lemon?”

I clear my throat, praying I don’t sound like a choking cat as I offer a response. “Chocolate’s fine.”

He reaches for a kettle and places it on the stove. “I like chocolate too.” He smiles at me and I render one back.

His beam is bright and beautiful, and I can feel my heart swelling in my chest. I don’t think he knows how much I am falling for him.


^A/N: Hi😊 Many thanks for reading, it means alot!❤ Your support is greatly appreciated. ILY!💜

P.S: If you like my story, even a tiny little bit, don't forget to hit that like/heart at the bottom, thanks a lot!💜

-Tiffanyluvss❤

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