Then You Look At Me

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Protective

~M16 on my lap. Korean missiles in the sky. No matter where I go on the map; you got my protection.~ Miguel.

Chapter Theme Song: ‘Banana Clip’ by Miguel.

••

Rainey

Spending time with Ansel is one of the greatest joys for me. Since Riley and Alex went about their business this morning, granting us and themselves space and time, Ansel and I haven’t stopped laughing since. I had a few pieces of stuff to get; a new cellphone and a few school supplies for Riley. After doing the relevant housekeeping Ansel and I spent some time window shopping and making a joke out of everything we see.

During our shared laughter and gimmicks however, I did notice a few girls openly checking him out. When we visited the stores, the female assistants would bite their lips seductively or sway their hips with obvious exaggeration. Ansel always remained oblivious to their efforts since he was busy making me smile. This resulted in a lot of the girls sending me cold stares and me pretending not to notice.

We decide that we are finally hungry and make our way to a restaurant Ansel recommended for lunch. The Sea Cottage. I have never been here before since I have only moved to Crossview some weeks ago. I am yet to become familiar with the many areas of this city.

After you, my lady.” Ansel forges a British accent as he holds the door open for me.

A whiff of roasted fish greets my nostrils as I laugh, stepping in past him. “Thank you, my lord.”

He gawps at my attempt and I smile sheepishly. “You sounded like a British just then, how on earth did you do that?”

I chuckle. “I have no idea and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that again.”

He laughs as he takes my hand in his, leading us to a table at the far back. “My parents love to come here; you know my dad takes my mom here every Valentine’s Day.”

“Aww, that’s sweet.”

“Yeah, but my mom is secretly tired of it.” Ansel smiles, pulling my chair out for me to sit then moving around to his side of the table. “They come here so often that my dad gets every meal on half-price.”

“Good afternoon. What can I get you?”

We look up to see a waitress. She is wearing a pink dress shirt with the restaurant’s logo and a tight black skirt. I look around and notice that all staff members are adorned in the same attire; the men wearing trousers instead. I admire the uniformity they uphold here, and I already see myself visiting this restaurant quite often. Maybe it will become Ansel and I’s little date spot.

My plans waver however as I take notice of the way the brunette waitress is staring at Ansel. Her eyes are drinking him in like an alcoholic, her big lips stacked between her teeth. For the first time today, Ansel seems to notice the open affection and swiftly shifts his eyes to me.

“What would you like, Rain?”

“Uhm, whatever you’re having. Recommend me something.”

“The roasted fish burgers here are nice. You should try it.”

I smile. “Fish burgers it is.”

He returns the gesture, looking back to the waitress. “Can we have two fish burgers with fries, please?”

“Sure.” She peels her eyes from him with a face of lustful seduction as she scribbles down on her notepad. I shift uneasily, hoping I can make it through this order without having to call her out. I am aware that it is a part of her jurisdiction to offer proper customer service, but her whole manner is one of endearment, the way she was blatantly biting her lip at every word that rolled off Ansel’s tongue.

“What would you like to drink, Rain?”

“Uh, do they have Coke?”

“Yeah, I think they do. Can we have two cups of Coke?”

“What size? Small, large, or medium?” Saying this, she boldly stares Ansel in the eyes, and I am immediately hit with the revelation that we are not talking about beverage sizes here. A chunk of infuriation wells up in my stomach.

Ansel catches onto her hidden meaning and he seems quite uncomfortable as he drags his gaze from her. “Which size would you want, Rain?”

“Small’s fine.” My voice is barely audible as the waitress scribbles on her notepad once again.

If she does not leave now…

“Okay, your order will be coming soon, thanks for stopping at The Fish Cottage.” She smiles. “Uh, I know this may sound quite unprofessional, but I am digging your shirt.”

I tilt my head to the side as Ansel leans his ear in her direction. “Sorry?”

“Your shirt. It’s nice.”

He drops his gaze to his attire then offers a small but awkward smile. “Thanks.”

“I’m sorry but do you mind if I ask where you bought it?”

What is wrong with this girl?

Ansel itches an eyelid in what appears to be a slight annoyance. “I can’t remember; it’s been so long. I think my older brother got it for me.” He nods and looks away, but the lady is not done trying her luck.

“Oh, he has a nice taste; it is a catch. It complements your eyes. I mean, wow, they are really pretty. What color are they?’

“You mean my shirt?”

“No, your eyes.”

“Blue.”

“Oh, they kind of have a shade of green mixed with this sea blue type of—”

“Uh, excuse me, we’re kind of hungry,” I clasp my hands, attempting to be as polite as possible but inside I have killed her nine times already and sharpening my ax for her tenth death. “So, if you could fetch our orders and stop mindlessly chattering, it’d be great. Thanks.”

She blinks her eyes at me, and I lay my chin on my knuckles, mirroring her expectantly. She forces a plastic smile, nodding her head. “My apologies, I’ll get to work now, ma’am.”

“Thank you.”

She sashays away, swaying her hips exaggeratingly as she does. I slightly grimace at her vanishing presence before a light chuckle from Ansel steals my attention. He is smiling at me from across the table while he nibbles on his lower lip. He looks so handsome under the incandescent lights and I see why these women go so crazy for him.

I cross my arms. “What?”

He shakes his head. “Nothing…I just think that you’re cute, that’s all.”

My cheeks redden and I look away, scowling slightly. He reaches over suddenly and presses his lips to mine. My eyes enlarge dumbfoundedly as he softly molds our lips together, rousing the butterflies in my stomach instantaneously. He keeps it modest and pulls away, sitting back against his chair with a cute smirk on his face.

I stare at him speechlessly and he titters. “I think they’ll get the message now.”

I look around and a few girls are scowling while looking away from us. Instantly I become aware of why he did that, and a smile forms my face.

••

Riley

“Stay away from me…”

“Will you stop acting like I’m a criminal? I just wanted to help you pick up the pieces.”

“You don’t need to help me with anything…just stay the hell away from me.”

“If you don’t move away from me, I will stab you—”

The words that were exchanged between Rainey and her mother’s common-law husband this morning is dancing around in my mental space. There is something suspicious about the way he was standing close to her and although Rainey may have appeared to be unphased in his eyes, I know my best friend well enough to know when she’s afraid of something or someone.

Jeff was trying to make a move on her, but the scary question is how often does this happen? When I am not around, who is there to stop the scene? I know her mom does not care about her and that makes me feel disheartened.

A sudden kiss to my cheek jerks me from my thoughts as Alex hugs me from behind, his sweet scent enveloping me as he squeezes me tightly. I giggle and raise my head as he plants a kiss on my lips. I was occupied with my thoughts that I had not seen when he had emerged from the public restroom.

“Finish spraying your waste?” I quip and he laughs as he spins me around to face him.

He takes my hands in his, playfully slapping my palms together. “Yes, I’m starving, what do you want to eat?”

I shrug, twisting my lips. I lack the appetite to eat anything, mainly because my mind keeps logging back to Rainey and the pervert.

Alex narrows his eyes then rests his hands on his waists. “Alright, are you ready to tell me?”

I shift. “Tell you what?”

“When I stepped out of the bathroom a second ago, I realized how absentminded you were. I was standing behind you for a good ten seconds, observing you.”

I feign shock. “You stalker.”

“You have slight bow-legs from behind by the way and a genuinely nice rear. But honestly, what is on your mind, is something bothering you?”

I sigh, nodding my head. “Yeah… I guess.”

“Come here.” He takes my hand in his and guides us to one of the outside tables at the Food Stop. I plop down and he sits next to me, keeping our hands intertwined.

“Talk to me.”

I exhale heavily, staring at my lap. I do not know where to start but I open my mouth and let my intuition guide me.

“Okay, I woke up this morning, right?”

Alex nods.

“But Rainey wasn’t next to me. I figured she was downstairs so I went down and as I approached the kitchen; I could hear her talking to her mom’s boyfriend.”

“Jeff?”

“Yeah, Jeff. She was telling him to stay away from her and her tone was so anxious. When I approached the doorway, he was standing dangerously close to her. His hands were on her waists and he was pressing himself against her.”

Alex narrows his eyes. “What the fuck?”

“Yeah it did not look appropriate at all, Alex. To him, she may have seemed fearless, right? But I know Rainey and she seemed scared. Her hands were shaking, and she was gripping the counter so hard that her knuckles became pale. Alex, I do not think this is the first time he has done this to her. Something about it did not seem foreign. The look in Rainey’s eyes was as if she was reliving some torturous moment.”

“That fucking—” Alex pushes his hair back, a look of venom flashing across his irises. “Have you told Ansel?”

“Not yet. I plan to tell him today. I am scared that he…did something to her, you know?” I shift to face him. “What if he abused her or something? I would not be able to forgive myself, Alex. Because I should have seen the signs. He is always staring at Rain. And even on the night you dropped us home from that party, she got into a fight with her mom after she told Jeff to keep his eyes to himself. I was upstairs and I heard everything.”

“I always felt like something was off about him. He is way too protective; Ansel said it too.” Alex gazes into the distance, his lips pressed in deep thought. He steers his torso to me as he squints his eyes. “Do you know where he works?”

I stare at him in confusion. “He doesn’t work…”

“Does he leave the house at any time at all?”

“I am not sure…” I observe the look of pure evil on Alex’s face and I suddenly have a feeling this will not end well for Jeff.

“Okay, don’t worry about him, we will handle him, yeah?”

“Handle him how?” I tilt my head to the side, and I sight a glint of iniquity in his eyes before he grins and playfully puts an arm around me.

“You don’t need to know that, sexy legs.” He presses a kiss to my head, and I frown at him.

“I am sorry, but I am the one who passed on the information, so I deserve to know the secret operations of the mission.”

Alex laughs hard. “Nooo, I wouldn’t carry my woman on the battlefield with me, never.”

‘Woman’. I think I’m going to sleep on that tonight.

I scowl and he bites his lip, pushing his face in to kiss me but I turn away. “No information, no kiss.”

“You can’t deprive me of my kisses, sweetheart.” He chuckles. “I’ll always take it when I want it.”

I gasp, turning around. “You cannot—”

His lips press against mine in a swift kiss and my eyes tear open as he pulls back, smirking in amusement.

I blink at him and he shrugs. “See, I take it when I want it.”

My face tinges red, and I play it off, rolling my eyes while shifting in my spot. He titters and throws an arm around me, pulling me into him. “Don’t worry. No-one can touch you girls and get away with it, okay?”

I nod my head as he brings his face down to plant a kiss on my forehead.

“No-one.”


~


“There’s a war on love, just look around you. It’s hard to know who to trust. I’m glad I found you.”—Miguel.


✨Thank you so much for your support and for sticking with me from Chapter One (Locker Guy) until now🧡It means a lot and I really appreciate it!! Stay tuned for more and if you like my story, don’t forget to hit that heart/like at the bottom and follow me (if you want to lol) so you can get instant notifications of when I post updates and everything concerning Ansel and Rainey💙

Alsooooo, if you want you can check out my short dialogue story: 'Friendzoned'. It is a quick and light read, nothing too serious.

✨Much luv and stay tuned for more!💛

-Tiffanyluvss❤️

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