Lay With Me
~I got all I need when I got you and I. I look around me, and see a sweet life, I’m stuck in the dark but you’re my flashlight. You’re getting me through the night~ Jessie J.
Chapter Theme Song: ′Flashlight’ by Jessie J.
“Rainey! Ice-cream is here!”
I locked myself in all day. Not playing with my toys, but just staring at the sticker stars on my walls. I was young, so I had thought that somehow the dolls were the reason I was punished that way by Greg, and maybe if I kept playing with them, he would keep doing what he did. The mere sight of the toys I once loved became the most fearful thing and I began to break my dolls apart, using scissors to destroy them.
However, I still had an undying love for ice-cream and my mother’s announcement was the only thing that got me to leave the room. My rubber slippers tapped against the hard board as I chased down the stairs, but who I saw in my living room caused me to instantly halt my steps.
“Rain, your favorite uncle is here.” My mom smiled as she exited the kitchen. “And he brought you ice-cream.”
Greg crouched over, and at that moment he resembled a gigantic monster, the type I saw in cartoons and kids’ movies. The villain. “Hey, Princess, guess what I got you.”
My whole body began to tremble, and I took a few steps backward, my eyes widening in fear. My mom looked at me in wonderment, and Jeff tried to keep me quiet with his eyes.
Greg pouted, feigning sadness. “Aren’t you happy to see me? I am hurt, Rainey.”
I ran behind my mom who gazed down at me in confusion. “What is wrong with you?”
“I don’t want to see him…” I muttered, gripping her shirt tightly in my palms. “Make him go away…”
“Stop acting like a spoilt brat,” she rebuked. “He bought you ice-cream, go say thank you. Have some manners, child.”
Tears welled in my eyes and my lips trembled. Seeing this, Jeff quickly outstretched his arm. “Hey, don’t force her, babe. She’s probably not ready for ice-cream.”
Greg smirked, straightening his spine. “Come here, Rainey.”
“Go to him.” My mom gripped my skinny arm, trying to push me in his direction, but I squirmed from her grip and chased up the stairs in a swift.
She tilted her head to the side while she watched my tiny figure sprinting away like I had seen a ghost. “What on earth is wrong with her?”
Greg laughed. “She’s probably still mad.”
My mom narrowed her eyes, turning her attention to a smiling Greg. “About what?”
Jeff glanced at him, and he shrugged. “Yesterday she said she wanted chocolate ice-cream and I got her mint chocolate chip instead. She cried all day.” He chuckled, shaking his head. “Kids. They sure know how to hold a grudge.”
My mom knew deep down that something was off about that story. She knew that the mint chocolate chip was my favorite flavor, and still is, so there was no way I would have gotten mad if someone bought that for me. But as usual, she chose to ignore it, to pretend it was not suspicious, to pretend his words were not distrustful.
“Oh…well she needs to learn to be grateful for what she gets. I need to go discipline her,” she begins to move toward the stairs, and Jeff tried to stop her.
“Babe just let her be. Kids her age are just trying to find themselves. She’s at that molding stage.”
“Which means I should put some respect in her before she gets older and it becomes too late,” she hurried up the stairway and prowled into my room where I sat on the ground with my knees up to my chest. She sighed, crossing her arms against her bust.
“What is wrong with you, child?”
“I don’t want Greg to come back here…” I said softly. “Please don’t let him come back here. I fear him…”
“Why? Greg has treated you so kind, why are you—” She trailed off when she saw the dismembered dolls, and her eyes widened in shock as she grabbed a torn-up limb from the ground. “Jeezus heavens, did you destroy these toys?”
My eyes welled with fresh tears. I was such a weak kid, so gullible and fragile.
My mom pushed her hair back, fuming with rage. I saw how red her face was, how the veins stood up firmly in her neck.
“Rainey Slate, do you know how much money I spent on these damn toys? Do you?!”
I sniffed. “I am sorry…I don’t want to play with them anymore…”
“Do you think you are all grown up? You are ten. Freaking ten! You are a child. At such a young age you are becoming so ungrateful! Greg got you ice-cream and you didn’t even tell him thanks, now you destroyed all the toys I gave you, saying you don’t want to play with them anymore, how old do you think you are?!”
I buried my face on my arm and began to cry, and this made her angrier. She firmly grabbed my arm, her nails digging into my skin as she yanked me off the ground like a rag doll.
“You won’t be having any ice-cream until you learn how to value your belongings!” She yelled, pointing her finger to my face. “You will learn to be more grateful for what others give to you! I will teach you a damn lesson!”
“Rainey…” Ansel waves his palm in front of my face, and I jolt out of my thoughts, shifting my head to look at him.
His gaze softens as he exhales heavily. “I’ve been calling your name for a while now…you seem absentminded.”
“I am sorry…” I mutter. “Thanks for taking me up.”
He nods his head, reaching his hand out to test my temperature. I close my eyes at the feel of his soft palm against my forehead.
He blows his cheeks out, worry written all over his face. When he looks at me that way, I cannot help wondering if I am about to die or something.
“You have a bad fever…how long have you felt like this?”
I lick my lips, sighing heavily. “Since I woke up this morning…”
My throat is dry and parched and I am almost positive that I look extremely unattractive right now. My hair is unkempt, and I am not even wearing a bra under my tank top. With Ansel sitting just one foot away, his piercing eyes taking in every little detail about me, I cannot shake off the feeling of insecurity.
“I am going to try to get your fever down, okay? Where can I get a towel?” He asks.
“In the bathroom…” I mutter, closing my eyes. I feel extremely cold to the point that I am shivering, yet my forehead is drenched with sweat.
Ansel gets up and moves to the bathroom, then returns in no time with a damp towel. He sits on the chair beside my bed, hauling himself forward. My eyes open to meet his as he gently wipes my forehead.
He tries to smile, but his eyes blaze with unease. “You’ll be okay soon; I won’t leave you. Have you eaten anything?”
My eyes drift close again, and I breathe heavily. “No…I’m not hungry.”
“I am going to get you some medication from Crossview’s Pharmacy, but you’ll need to eat something in order to take it…I’m going to cook you some chicken soup when I get back, promise me you’ll drink it.”
I sigh. “You really don’t have to Ansel…you should go home.”
“I am not leaving you, Rain,” he insists. “Does your mom have chicken and stuff like that?”
I shake my head. “She only has beer and ham…she only eats take-outs…”
“Oh, I’ll leave this towel on your forehead, don’t take it off, alright?” He gets up from his chair, and I raise my head to look at him. Although I told him previously that he could go, fear comes over me when I think of the fact that he may leave.
“Wh-where are you going?” My voice comes out sounding needy, and Ansel ceases his strides, turning his head to look at me. The lamp in the room causes his eyes to glisten as his lips pull up in a smile. “To the pharmacy.”
“Oh…” I lower my gaze sheepishly.
He chuckles lightly, his flawless dimples showcasing as he returns to my side. “Are you thinking that I’ll leave you?”
He pulls the duvet up to my chest and I shake my head in denial. “No…” I avert my eyes to the mat by the bathroom door but at the corner of my eyes, I can still see his radiant smile.
“I’m not leaving you, Rain, so don’t worry. I’ll be right back, alright?”
I nod my head as he turns away and leaves the room. Feeling contented, I shut my eyes and immediately fall into slumber.
Some minutes have passed when the slamming of the door downstairs jolts me from my sleep. I hear footsteps moving up the staircase and immediately perceive them to be Ansel’s. I can tell his footsteps from a mile away; they tend to be soft and decisive.
He enters the room with a clear bag of groceries. His dress shirt is unbuttoned and rolled up at his elbows, revealing his white tank which is drenched with perspiration. He sits by the chair, swinging me a smile.
“I bought some medicine. The pharmacist told me that these are the best for a fever.” The bag ruffles as he grabs a packet of pills, flipping it over to read the label at the back. “They say here…two capsules after a meal.”
He looks up at me, a smirk on his face. “So, I’m guessing you’ll have to eat something.”
My eyes catch the foodstuffs he bought, and I purse my lips together. “I’m sorry for putting you through so much, Ansel…I will pay you back for those.”
He sighs, pushing his damp hair back. “No, you do not need to pay me back, Rain. Doing this for you is not a bother for me. So, please do not think it is.”
I smile weakly. “Thank you…”
He nods, half his lips quirking up. “I’ll go make you some soup so that you can take your medication. I’ll be right back.” He gets up from his chair and quickly leaves the room again.
Someone once said, stay close to who or what makes you happy. For me, that person is Ansel. Whenever I am next to him everything feels alright, and although it is not healthy to become too fixated on another human, there are just some things that cannot be controlled.
In no time, the delicious aroma of Ansel’s chicken soup can be smelt from my bed, and my stomach grumbles despite my lack of appetite. The weather has now drastically changed to a pitch-black night sky with light showers of rain hitting my rooftops. However, the chilly climate is not of aid to my current condition, but instead, makes it worse.
Goosebumps trail my skin as I attempt to get myself warm under the duvet. The door opens to reveal Ansel, he is carefully carrying a bed tray with chicken soup and a glass of water. The cold air flowing through the small creases of my window disseminates the delicious scent all around my room. I pray I will find the appetite to eat it, I do not want to appear ungrateful after all his hard work.
I try to sit upright while Ansel sits by the chair, setting the tray to stand above my lower body. His gaze drops to my arm, and I insecurely gawk at him.
“There are goosebumps all over you.” He frowns. “You must be really cold…do you want me to get you a sweater?”
I nod my head. “Thank you. It’s in my second drawer.”
He nods and willingly gets up. He pulls out the instructed drawer and begins to sift through, but after a few seconds, he turns his head to look at me. “I don’t think I’m in the right drawer.” He chuckles.
I twist my lips in confusion, but when I recall that I had changed the second drawer to my underwear section last weekend, my cheeks tinge to bright pink. “Oh, I am sorry…it’s the first drawer.”
Accepting the fact that he just saw my whole bra and panties collection, I discretely press a palm over my face in humiliation. He pulls out the first compartment then returns to my side, holding the hoodie he had given me in his hand. “Glad to know you keep this safely inside there.”
He smiles and I take it from him with a crimson face. “Thank you.”
I pull it over my body and Ansel finds his seat again. I reach for the metal spoon and my hand quivers as I grip it in my palm. I flash my hand, attempting to stop the shaking.
“Do you want me to feed you?”
I look at him, thinking he is joking but his expression is unsmiling and filled with concern. I clear my throat, shaking my head. “I’m fine…thanks…”
I scoop up some of the soup and put it into my mouth. Instantly, my taste buds call for more and I go for another spoonful.
Ansel gives a lopsided grin. “Like it?”
I nod my head, taking another slurp, then another. Ansel is quite a good cook; it is hard to believe that a person could be this perfect. He is good at everything. The soup is not too spicy, and it is not too thick or too thin, it is exactly right. It tastes like something you would purchase at a restaurant.
In no time, the bowl is empty, and Ansel gawks at me in disbelief, his mouth hanging open while he tries to smile at the same time. The sight is cute.
“And you said you weren’t hungry.” He chuckles. “Good girl…”
For some strange reason, the last statement causes my cheeks to flush and I lower my gaze from his admiring eyes to ease the unsettled butterflies in my stomach.
He reaches for the packet of pills and hands me two capsules, then reaches for the glass of water and gives it to me. I take the pill and Ansel retrieves the glass before removing the standing tray from my bed.
“The medication will start kicking in soon, and you’ll feel alot better.”
I smile at him. “Thank you…” Despite wearing Ansel’s cotton hoodie, I am still cold and shivering. My teeth clamp together while I use a hand to rub my arm.
He notices the action. “Is there a heater in here?” His eyes rake over the room.
“No…my heater got broken and my mom hasn’t fixed it yet,” I tell him.
He nods his head while I jerk my legs, attempting to warm myself up. Experiencing chills must be one of the worst parts of having a fever. I pull the duvet all the way up to my neck, closing my eyes. I hate this feeling.
The bed dips, and I open droopy orbs to see Ansel getting in beside me. I look at him apprehensively, swallowing hard.
“I’m going to attempt to warm you up, I don’t want you getting sicker,” he clarifies, pulling his dress shirt off his body. I watch him uneasily, my heart rate instantly speeding up when my eyes encounter his smooth biceps.
“Y-you don’t have to do that…” I mutter, a lump forming in my throat.
“I want you to get better, not worse,” he says, his forehead puckering with great concern. He curls his fingers under the hem of his white tank and pulls it over his head. My gaze drops to his hard abs and my face flush as I look away.
“Ansel…what are you—”
“I read somewhere that the best way to warm someone up is to do it without barriers….”
I cannot look at him right now, my face is burning up and another glimpse of his naked torso will probably catch my house on fire.
“One has to be shirtless, so the other person can feed off his or her body heat,” he further elaborates.
“I’m really fine, Ansel.” My voice comes out sounding awfully shaky and I close my eyes, inwardly scolding myself.
“You’re not fine…I can tell.”
I shift my head to look at him, avoiding his chest at all costs. “But aren’t you going to be cold?”
“Not at all. We’ll be under the duvet anyway.”
I nibble on my lower lip nervously, and his eyes drop to the gesture. “Would it be uncomfortable for you?”
I shake my head quickly. “No, no…it wouldn’t be.” Being a smitten girl has never been my style. I don’t know why I am being this weird and sheepish. “How do we do it?”
He shifts his body so he can lie down while turning his chest in my direction. “Lay down and turn your back to me…” he softly instructs.
I do as he says, my heart unhealthily hammering against my ribcage. With my back to him, and my chest facing the window of my room, I close my eyes, nervously waiting for what he will say or do next.
I feel the bed moves as his presence comes closer. He wraps an arm around me, and my eyes automatically fly open as he pulls me into his bare torso. He hugs me from behind, my back pressing against his toned chest while my thighs are trapped between his.
He buries his face in my nape and my breath catch in my throat at the feel of his soft lips against my skin.
“Do you feel warmer now?”
I blink my eyes, forgetting how to respond to a question.
I nod my head. It is the only thing I can do since the position is quite nerve-wracking, disabling me from speaking. He smells fresh and immaculate despite having a long day at school, and his arms are warm and cozy. He grips the duvet and pulls it over our cramped bodies, tightening his hold on me.
“Are you cold?” I ask in a whisper.
His head moves against my neck while he shakes it. “No…you feel warm.”
The blushes intensify, and he lifts his head to press it against my hair. “Sleep tight…I won’t leave you.”
I smile softly at his words, closing my eyes in bliss.
I’ve never experienced heaven…but this? This is probably close to how it feels.
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