Then You Look At Me

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I Will Be Your Guardian

~I will be your guardian when all is crumbling, I’ll steady your hand~ The Fray.

Chapter Theme Song: ′Never Say Never/Don’t Let Me Go’ by The Fray.

°°

Rainey

He stills his movements, and I stare at him dumbfoundedly while his eyes pierce through mine like a sword. His expression is one of endearment while he scrutinizes the features of my face.

“You’re really pretty, Rain,” he whispers.

Fresh heat spreads across my cheeks, and my breath catch in my throat, hindering me from uttering a response. He stares at me for a while, and I am secretly wishing he would kiss me; however, he swallows hard then pulls away, leaning back against his chair.

I drop my gaze to hide the dissatisfaction as silence falls upon us. Why did he move away? I didn’t want him to.

I really didn’t want him to.

A bright light projecting onto my porch breaks the awkward atmosphere, and I audibly groan as I realize that my mom and Jeff have arrived.

I sigh, reaching for the lid of the ice-cream tub. “Well, I guess that’s my cue to go lock myself in.”

“Would you like me to take you up?”

I shake my head, offering him the best smile I can muster. The fact that he didn’t kiss me is a lot more disheartening than my mom being home. “I’ll manage, it’s not severe.”

The front door opens as I shuffle down from the stool and limp to the fridge. Ansel conjures up from his seat while my mom’s voice flows through the once quiet house.

“And that lady that was sitting right in front of us, oh my, her hairstyle was so disgusting, did you see it, Jeff? God, I would murder her hairdresser—” she trails off when she notices Ansel standing in the kitchen.

“Oh, you’re still here?” She smiles at him, but it fades away as soon as she sees me putting the tub into the freezer. “Rain, you can’t be serious. You know you can’t eat ice-cream this late, that’s very unhealthy, you should know that.”

“Okay, okay I get it, I’m putting it back, see?” I slam the fridge door with a roll of my eyes. She never misses a chance to ridicule me.

I amble over to Ansel, giving him a tired smile. “I’ll see you at school on Monday.”

He nods, his eyes crinkling with solicitude and something else…pity? God, I can’t bear that look right now.

“Safe travel home…” I begin to move off, but he gently grabs a hold of my arm, his fingers softly denting my skin. “Let me take you up, yeah?”

“What’s wrong with your foot?” My mom questions, not an ounce of sympathy in her tone.

“Nothing, it’s just a little bruised from the heels,” I grumble.

“Oh, I forgot you’re only used to wearing those heavy boots. Jeff, take her up to her room.” She says dismissively, throwing her clutch onto the island’s counter.

Jeff looks at me, and I frown.

“No.” I sternly object, avoiding eye contact with him. “I don’t want him touching me. I’ll manage on my own.”

Ansel catches sight of Jeff’s eyes, which are glued to my bare legs revealing from my shorts. Jeff, sensing his stare, tears his eyes away from my body and looks at him. Ansel narrows his eyes, and Jeff glares back at him with equal resentment.

The two are having a stare-down while my mom places her hand on her hip, tilting her head to the side. “I don’t understand you, Rainey. You’re in pain and yet you’re still managing to be defiant. I am your mother, and you will do as I say. Jeff will be taking you up to your room and that’s final, you are in no position to object, I call the shots in this—”

“No, I will be taking her up. I’m sure she’ll prefer that.” Ansel interjects, his tone is demanding and angry as he shifts his body to me, his eyes boring through Jeff’s. “Put your arms around my neck, Rain.”

I oblige because I rather Ansel taking me up than that pervert. He brings a hand under my thighs, the other supporting my back as he lifts me into his arms. I tighten my hold on him while Jeff clenches his teeth, looking away from the scene as a muscle twitches in his face.

Ansel holds me close to his torso as he leaves the kitchen. He takes me up to my room and puts me to lay against my bed. I sit up, taking notice of the infuriation on his features.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah.”

His tone implies the complete opposite, so I gaze at him worriedly, not believing his words.

“Did I do something, Ansel?”

“No, no you didn’t, Rain.” He shakes his head, sitting at my bedside. “It’s definitely not you, get some rest, alright?” He forces a smile, and I return one, laying onto my back while I peer at him. He looks mad, and it’s so obvious.

He pulls the duvet up to my chest. “I’ll see you at school on Monday. If anything happens, call me, alright?”

“Okay. Safe travel home.”

He smiles, and this one feels a lot more genuine than the first. “Thanks, get some rest.”

I nod my head as he turns away to leave the room. I watch his every step, observing how he walks with a unique swagger. It makes him appear confident and sure of himself. Even his ‘walk’ is admirable, I doubt he knows that.

He stops at the door, turning to give me one last smile. I tiredly reciprocate the gesture as he pulls the door up behind him. As I hear his footsteps fade down the wooden stairs, I conjure up from my bed and limp to my door. I close the four notches; I won’t be able to sleep if I don’t. I settle back under my covers and go to sleep, thinking about how great it would have been if he had just kissed me.

°°

My ankle feels a lot better today, but to avoid the severe ache relapsing, I take one of my mom’s car to school. I check my watch as I stroll toward the entrance of the school’s building.

7:00 am.

I have an hour until math class. I woke up quite early today, with the thrilling thought of seeing Ansel being my only motivation. The hall is quiet with just a handful of kids roaming the aisle, and I make my way to the girls’ restroom to take a swift glance at my reflection.

I didn’t spend much time on my hair this morning. I simply pulled it into a messy bun and left the house, not wanting to run into my mom who normally wakes up at 6:45 to have coffee at the kitchen’s island. We had a heated argument yesterday about my music being too loud, and I closed my door and stayed in all day, only leaving my room at night when I knew they were asleep.

I don’t think my mom and I will ever go back to the way things used to be. When she divorced my dad, claiming the love wasn’t there anymore, I didn’t only lose my family, but I lost her love too, and the harsh truth is; I might never know why.

The door to the restroom thrusts open, interrupting my thoughts. I pull my gaze in its direction to see Jace casually strolling inside. I narrow my eyes at him as Olivia and Lisa follow in behind.

“Can we talk, Rainey?” He leans against the wall beside the large mirror, mischief glimmering in his eyes while he crosses his arms.

Olivia closes the door to the restroom while her friend looks at her with a smirk. I don’t know what their motive is, but I honestly lack the energy for the drama today.

I clamp my teeth down, staring at Jace with suspicion. “No, I have a class to get to, if you don’t mind.”

I motion to move around him when he glides in my path. Lisa and Olivia chuckle behind him, and a sigh of exasperation leaves my lips.

“No, you don’t, babe. It’s seven-fifteen. And yes, I do mind.”

My lips press into a line while I cross my arms, glaring at the smug look on his upsetting face.

“Could you please buzz off?”

He sniggers and the girls copy him, exchanging amused glances. I am unsure of what is so funny.

“You have one hell of a sassy tongue. I must admit, that’s hot. But I’d be careful if I were you, I tend to lose patience easily.”

I glare at him incandescently, his words not phasing nor scaring me one bit.

“Anyway, since you blocked my number, making this unnecessarily hard for both of us, how about you just give me your Instagram profile? Are you on Facebook?”

“Excuse me.” I hiss, attempting to push past him when he grabs a hold of my arm, pushing me against the wall. My back hits hard, and Oliva giggles with her friend as Jace presses his palm above my head, leaning down to my height.

“You seem to prefer ill-treatment, is that what you’re used to?” His brows furrow, as he stares at me with fury. “I am here politely speaking to you like you’re a fucking goddess and you dare to shove me?”

Olivia pulls her cell out, and it appears she’s videoing the scene as her friend moves in closer to watch it from the phone screen.

“Now all I ask is that you go out on a date with me. That shouldn’t be so hard, baby.” He trails his knuckle along my cheek, and I slap his hand away, my teeth clenching painfully hard. This guy must be hard of hearing.

“Are you not used to rejection? I will not go out on a date with you. Not in this life, or the next. Please, take a hint and leave me alone.”

He narrows his eyes, my words causing a muscle to tighten in his face. He swallows while I stare at him daringly.

“Do you think you’re all that, Rainey Slate?” He begins, his voice low and taunting. “No, you aren’t. Don’t you ever think for once that you’re worth chasing, you don’t cut it for me. You will never cut it for me. You’re just a slut, you’ve only been here for what? A week? Yet still, you’re somehow already fucking Ansel King. I must say, you sure have some self-respect.”

“What did you just say?” I squint my eyes, and Olivia covers her mouth to stifle her laughter, Lisa cackling next to her like a hyena.

“Should I repeat?” He brings his face closer. “I said, you’re fucking Ansel King like a little—”

My fist collides with his nose, and he cries out in pain, slouching over while Olivia and Lisa gasp in shock.

"Holy shit!” He curses, looking at his hand to see the evidence of his injury. Red, thick blood gushing from his nostrils causes his eyes to widen, and he shifts his gaze back to me. “D-did you just hit me?”

“Watch what you say, you know nothing about me,” I warn. “And be careful how you speak about Ansel…you’re no match for him.”

Olivia scoffs, and Lisa stares at the scene slack-jawed. Jace bolts forward, grabbing a hold of my tie and pulling me toward him. I bump into his chest, and I try to pull away, but he wraps the fabric around his fist, almost restricting my airflow. Despite, I glare at him fearlessly, and this makes the fury raises within him.

“You want to repeat that, Rainey Slate?”

“Fuck her face up.” Olivia urges. “Teach her a lesson, Jace.”

He balls his hand at his side but doesn’t raise it. Olivia frowns at his hesitation. “Do it, Jace! Stop being a coward and do it!”

At the word ‘coward’, he raises his fist to collide it with my face when the door to the bathroom bursts open. My eyes widen when I see Ansel prowling over to us, anger in his every step. Olivia gasps in astonishment but grabs a hold of his arm as he’s passing by her.

“A-Ansel, we—I can explain. We were just—”

He shoots her a look, and his eyebrows lower as he glowers at her hand around his bicep. “Take. Your. Hand. Off. Me.”

Olivia gulps at the order, his expression terrifying her as she releases him and takes a step back. He grabs a hold of Jace’s shoulder and swings a fist straight to his cheekbone. Olivia and Lisa scream as they jump back, and I gawk at the scene in awe.

Jace grips his face as he shuffles on the ground, peering up at Ansel in what appears to be astonishment.

“Come, get up. You wanted to fight someone, right?” Ansel jeers. “Then come on, let’s do it. Man to man.”

Jace gawks at him in stupefaction. Clearly, he has still not recovered from the blow he got to his face. It was swift and unforeseen.

“What? Don’t I cut it for you? No? Why?” Ansel tilts his head to the side. “Is it because I’m a male? Do you only have strength for girls?”

Jace scrambles to his feet, raising his fists forward. He charges over to Ansel who kicks him straight in his stomach, sending him flying into the wall. He falls against the ground, and Ansel wastes no time to sit over him, pulling him up by the collar.

“You’re a coward. An insecure coward for attempting to put your filthy hand on a girl. How dare you touch her? Who gave you the right to?”

He throws a fist to Jace’s face, followed by another, then another. Jace tries to escape his captivity but Ansel pushes his head down against the ground, pressing the side of his face into the cold tiles.

“I’m going to teach you a lesson. This is what happens when you mess with her.”

He pulls him up again and begins to rapidly and repeatedly punch him; he’s doing it so fast that it all feels like a blur. Jace’s eyes begin to get hazy, rolling to the back of his head.

“Ansel, stop!” Oliva cries out, pressing her palm over her mouth. I freeze in my spot, watching the scene unfold. Olivia narrows her red teary eyes at me, gritting her teeth. “This is all your fault!” She shrieks. “You caused this!”

I ignore her words and lurch over to Ansel, gripping his forearm. “Ansel…stop.”

He unconsciously nudges my hand off and continues to beat Jace. I press a hand against my forehead while the sound of Jace's groans bounces off the walls. I have never seen Ansel this angry, the sight is frightening, and I don’t know what to do. I try to catch sight of his furious eyes, panic settling in as I realize the severity of the situation.

“Ansel? Ansel, stop, please? Look at me.”

Blood is gushing from Jace’s nostrils and I realize that this will probably end badly. Olivia is crying while Lisa is screaming out in terror.

Realizing that my efforts are failing, I kneel on the ground, wrapping my arms around his waists and firmly hugging him from the back. I hope this is enough to grab his attention, he may do something he will regret and it will be because of me.

“Ansel, please stop…” I bury my face in his nape, my voice pleading with him. “Please?”

I feel his movements halt. He’s breathing heavily against me, and I can hear his furious heartbeat thudding against my eardrum. My lips part and a sigh of relief leave them while my body finally relaxes.

His anger dies down, and I slowly release him; however, he grabs a hold of Jace’s collar and pulls him forward. Jace’s eyes are glazed as he stares back at Ansel.

“Let me warn you. If you ever touch her again, I promise you that next time, I won’t stop.”

Jace’s lips rise in a smirk, blood staining his teeth. Ansel narrows his eyes, fresh anger surfacing his face, but the door to the bathroom plunges open and Principal Cameron steps in.

“All of you, in my office, now!”


^A/N: Hi😊Thank you so much for reading!❤Keep safe, and please stay tuned for more! ILY!💜

P.S: If you like my novel, hit that like/heart at the bottom. Thank you!💜

Please note guys, this book isn't fast-paced, so if you prefer fast-paced romance, you may not like it lol, and that's fine, everyone to their tea. Thanks for reading. :-)

-Tiffanyluvss❤

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