Then You Look At Me

All Rights Reserved ©

Rain-ey, Dark Clouds

~Wake up, stay with me. Through the flood and through the fear. Right now I need you here, I need you to stay strong, to remind me where I came from and where I belong.~ Nilu.

Chapter Theme Song: ‘Are You With Me’ by Nilu.

••

Riley

It is not Trigonometry to know that something is wrong with my best friend. Not only did she blow off her boyfriend this morning, telling him she won’t be coming to school and that he shouldn’t stop by, but now here she is, refusing to see him and instead, asking me to deliver her message.

“Come on, Rainey. He’s ringing the doorbell. At least go talk to the guy.”

“I can’t right now, please just go. Tell him I just need some time and space.” She shifts onto her side, turning her back to me while she stares out her window conclusively.

I frown. “Why are you blowing him off? The rain is about to tear down anytime soon, and he ensured to stop here on his way home, just to see you. You’re being such a ‘b-word’ right now.”

She sighs and shuts her eyes for a moment, a sad look passing over her face.

“Please just do this for me this one time, Ry.”

Letting out a deep breath of frustration, I throw my hands in the air and make my way down to answer the door, forgetting that I didn’t put my bed-side slippers on and so my feet are freezing from the cold tiles. Grimacing, I grip the knob and open the door, smiling when Ansel shoots me one while he glances over my shoulders.

“Hey, Ry. Where’s Rain?” His brows furrow in wonderment.

I can tell he genuinely cares for her. He rode his bike here straight from school and the concernment in his eyes is so easy to identify.

“She, um…”

He stares at me expectantly while I attempt to find the best way to deliver the message. Dark storm clouds settle above us and the atmosphere is humid; already smelling of rain. I need to offer him a reply fast, so he doesn’t get caught in the rainstorm that’s pending.

“She says she just needs some time and space…”

He sighs as if he already knew that would be my response. “Alright. I figured she wouldn’t want to see me; she has been ignoring my messages all day. Is she okay?”

“She’s fine physically, I guess, but emotionally she’s not being herself.”

His forehead puckers with worry as he reaches a hand up to ruffle his hair. “Oh…and I really can’t see her?”

I shrug. “Well…”

“It’s okay, I’ll respect her wishes. Tell her I’ll call her later.”

I nod. “I will.”

He gives me a small smile as he turns away and heads toward his bike. Blowing my cheeks out, I close the door and whirl around to find Rainey standing behind me. Her eyes are fixated through the window where Ansel is riding away down the street.

“Don’t you dare stare at him in secret.” I frown, reaching for the curtains and pulling them across the transparent glass. “Why did you do that? He rode here to see you and you just blew him off.”

She sighs. “You wouldn’t understand, Ry.”

I rest a hand on my hip, raising a brow. “Oh really? Enlighten me then.”

As she parts her lips to plead her case, the house phone begins to ring from the center table. Sighing heavily, she reaches for it and presses it to her ear.

“Hello?”

I hear indistinct chattering on the opposite end and watch as Rainey’s expression morphs into an unreadable one. She looks almost astonished yet relieved.

“Alright. See you later then.” Is all she says before she sets the phone back into its respective spot. She twists her lips, her eyes narrowed in thought while I regard her with inquisition.

“Who was that?”

“My mom…” She answers. “She said Jeff is at a hospital out of town. He got hurt pretty badly and is in critical condition.”

I gasp. “Oh my God. What on earth happened to him?”

She shrugs unempathetically, plopping onto the couch in the living room. “I don’t know. It’s whatever though, I don’t care.”

I stare at her as she gazes at her fingers. There is no trace of sympathy on her face and my mind immediately flows back to what I told Alex at the mall. He did not take the news of Jeff’s onslaught lightly and promised to pass on the message to Ansel. I saw the inhumane look in his eyes when he said they would handle it, and so without a doubt, Jeff’s hospitalization has a lot to do with them.

I clear my throat and sit next to Rainey, glancing at her. “Rain…has Jeff ever done anything to you?” My tone is cautious. This is a sensitive topic for her which is why she probably kept it hidden from me.

At the posing of the question, she lifts her head to look at me and I sight the deep hurt in her eyes. “What-what do you mean?”

“You know what I mean.” My expression softens and she looks away, swallowing sharply. After a few seconds of what seemed to be mental contemplation, she finally responds with a subtle nod of her head.

I feel my own orbs welling with salty tears. “What did he do to you?”

She sighs, her eyes crinkling with strong melancholy. “He…” As if she is unable to say the words, she lowers her eyes to the floor, fighting back the tears.

“He what, Rain?”

“He abused me…” She finally reveals, reaching a hand up to wipe her eyes.

I had an idea of it but hearing the words from her mouth breaks my heart into a million pieces. I stare at the floor, unsure of where to start. I have never been in the position before and I cannot imagine how painful this must be for her.

“I am so sorry…I am so sorry, Rain.”

She shakes her head. “I am fine.”

“How long has he been doing this to you?”

She attempts to find her voice and I can tell that talking about this is difficult for her. “Since I was ten.”

Awe transforms my features. “Ten?”

What the fucking hell?

Rainey nods her head as her tears begin to flow freely. She quickly wipes them away as I shift to face her. I know she hates sympathy which is why she refuses to meet my gaze.

“Did you tell your mom? Does she know?”

She shrugs, then nods as if she is slightly confused and I exhale deeply, pushing my hair back.

“Then what the fuck did she do about it?”

I am getting extremely livid at this point. How could her mom know yet not do anything about this?

“She kept saying it was all in my imagination; that Jeff would never hurt me. She loves him more than she loves me anyway…”

Tears escape and roll down my cheeks, and I sweep them away with the sleeve of my sweater. “Did he…did he rape—”

“No…he didn’t. He tried to, but it didn’t happen. My mom came home. But he might as well have because it still hurts.” She presses a palm to her eyes. “It still hurts so fucking much.”

“It’s okay.” I pull her into my arms, gently patting her back. I close my eyes as warm tears seep beneath. “It’s okay, Rainey.”

Seeing my best friend in pain makes me feel just as devastated. She is always portraying this strong image but deep down she has been hurting this whole time and I had no idea about it. I feel as if I have somehow failed her. I have, right?

She reels away from my hold, sniffing softly as she wipes the last of her tears. “It won’t happen again though…”

It won’t. Not with me around.

“So that explains why there are so many locks on your room door?”

She nods.

“That fucking son of a bitch. I hope he stays in that hospital forever. If not, I’ll personally rip his balls off.” I do the action to top it off and Rain slightly titters, causing a bright smile to appear on my face.

She has such a pure soul, and for something this awful to have happened to her, I can’t explain how distraught I am feeling. I won’t ever be forgiving her mom for turning a blind eye to her daughter’s pain.

I rub her shoulder comfortingly. “I am so sorry, Rainey. I should have noticed the signs.”

“It’s not your fault.” Her voice breaks slightly.

I pull my hand back, playing with my fingers guiltily. “But you know…the day I caught Jeff coming onto you in the kitchen…I kind of told Alex about it.”

She looks at me in awe and I nod my head timidly. “And Alex must have told Ansel…and I have a strong feeling that they were the ones who did something to Jeff.”

Rainey is in a state of bewilderment as she stares at the floor, and I begin to feel bad for hiding it from her.

“I wasn’t expecting that they’d retaliate like that but knowing what that bastard did to you, I can’t say I am feeling the least bit sorry for—”

Abruptly, she springs from the couch and hastens toward the exit. Standing to my feet, I narrow my eyes in confusion as she opens the door to reveal a tar-black sky and thick raindrops hitting the earth.

“Where are you going, Rain?”

“I’ll be back, Ry. I need to talk to Ansel.” She puts a hand over her head as she hurries down the slippery pathway.

Sighing, I plod over to the doorway, squinting my eyes from the water droplets gusting into my face. “At least take an umbrella, Rainey!”

I doubt she heard me due to the heavy showers that are rapidly increasing. Thunder roars and strong lightning illuminates the dark sky as I watch her figure disappears down the street.

I sigh. She sure is something else.

••

Third-Person POV

Perhaps it would have been wiser for Rainey to have begun the journey when the rain ceases, or better yet take one of her mother’s car instead, but she is much too eager to seek confirmation from Ansel that she hadn’t put much thought into that.

Was he the one who had hurt Jeff?

She genuinely could not care less about Jeff’s hospitalization, but the consequences Ansel may face as a result of this can be disabling to his future. She is already feeling terrible that their encounter has brought him nothing but disaster, and to now discover that he harmed a man for her sake is nothing but added remorse.

Though she had decided to stay away from him, she needs validation, or she just will not be able to sleep tonight. Not that she would have been able to do so in the first place.

“It’s okay, Rain. I know what they did, I know what they did to you.”

The words he had uttered during her disorientated state now makes perfect sense. He knew all about her secrets before she had told him, yet he said nothing, and she is confused as to why he did not. Perhaps he wanted her to mention it on her own timing; he did not want to reopen her wound until she was ready. He respected her that much.

She arrives at Ansel’s house resembling a trembling, soaked puppy. Her short brown hair is stuck to her head and neck as she makes her way up the cemented pathway. She is freezing but it’s the least of her concerns as she knocks at the door with a quivering fist.

It opens to reveal a messy-haired Alex. Despite the cold weather, he is only wearing a black tank top with a pair of grey joggers. His eyes appear dazed and Rainey immediately assumes that she probably interrupted his sleep. But his lethargic appearance is not the only thing she notices. His facial expression is noticeably strange as he looks almost uneasy.

“Rain…wow, your hair…” Awe transforms his face, and she pats her hair down in slight insecurity.

“Yeah…I cut it. I look too much like a boy, right?”

He smiles brightly. “No, it’s nice. It suits you.”

She manages a small beam as he takes in her dripping figure. “You walked here, in the rain. Is everything okay?” His brows pull together in worry as she nods her head, her mind returning to her purpose of visit.

“Yeah, is Ansel home?” Cold vapor emits from her mouth as she shifts a little, feeling her body freezing at every passing second.

“Uhm…” Alex begins to scratch his head and his prior nervous face returns, causing her to narrow her eyes. “Y-yeah…but he’s—”

Without awaiting his further words, Rainey gently pushes past him and immediately heads toward the stairs. She is impatient and needs to speak with him as soon as possible or her conscience may just eat her alive.

Aiden and Arden’s eyes bulge from their sockets when her petite figure sprints past them, sending them a small smile as she climbs the stairs.

“Fuck, Alex.” Aiden shakes his head. “You know she’s going to misunderstand, why didn’t you shoot Ansel a text?”

“Look, I was caught off-guard, alright?” Alex frowns at his brothers who are sitting on the couch, each holding a pint of ice-cream. “You two idiots are filling your faces while watching Supernatural; I am the one who had to undergo that nerve-wracking situation, so please don’t talk unless you’re in my shoes. Greedy assholes.”

Arden sighs, shoving a spoonful of chocolate ice-cream into his mouth. “Things are about to get quite chaotic, and it will be all on you, Alex.” He points his spoon at his brother who fans him off dismissively as he walks to the kitchen.

Rainey is eager to solve her curiosity and so without much thought, she encloses her hand around the knob and thrust the door open.

“Ansel, we need to—”

She stops short when she notices the scene in front of her. Lea is sitting on Ansel’s bed, quite comfortably while he sits on a chair just a foot away. The two seem to have been indulging in a conversation but snap their heads in the direction of the door where Rainey is now standing motionlessly.

“Rain.” Ansel is shocked to see her, and his brows furrow in concern as he takes in her soaked figure. “Is everything okay?”

A strong surge of jealousy and resentment spring within her and she digs her nails in her palm, swallowing the huge lump in her throat.

Maybe this is for the better, right? She brings him nothing but danger anyway.

“Yes…sorry to interrupt.” Her tone is stern as she walks away from the doorway.

Ansel sighs, pushing a hand through his hair. He knows that look on her face all too well; she is angry and hurt. She has already been going through so much lately and adding to her troubles is the last thing he wants.

Lea purses her lips apologetically. “I think she misunderstood…”

Exhaling sharply, he quickly gets up to catch Rain before she leaves. Her small feet hurry down his stairway but being a lot taller, he will catch up to her in no time.

His guilty brothers watch them with apprehensive faces as they dash past them, the couple’s quarrel now being far more critical than an episode of Supernatural.

Ansel grabs her small hand as soon as she reaches by his door, and she halts her strides, blinking back the burns in her orbs but refusing to look at him.

“Rainey, it’s not what it looks like. I can explain why she’s here.”

“You don’t need to.” She drags her hand back and opens the door. The cold air from the rain slaps her in the face instantly and she sucks a breath in as she hastens down his driveway.

“Rain, stop!”

Despite his order, she keeps it moving, her feet heavily stamping into the puddles formed along the pavement. The hard rain and wind are stifling her, and she finds herself almost regretting the choice of cutting her warm hair. But that notion is presently at the bottom of her current list of remorses.

“Will you just stop and listen to me?” Ansel grasps her arm as she is about to head through the gate. His hair is already dripping wet from the downpour, his white tank top clinging to his torso.

“The rain is heavy, just come back inside.”

“Let me go.”

“Rainey.”

“Just let me go, Ansel!” She snatches her hand away, and Ansel’s brows pull together in a frown. He looks a mixture of hurt and angry; a look Rainey has never seen on him before.

“Why are you being like this? Is it that you don’t trust me, Rain? I thought I told you last time that I was over her and that there is nothing between us.”

She scoffs. “But yet she’s sitting on your bed. I mean, why didn’t she use a chair? I guess she’s so used to being in your bed that that’s the first place she headed for.”

Ansel narrows his eyes.

That was rude. Rainey knows it, but she cannot help how livid she gets whenever he’s around that girl. Her insecurities have already been plaguing her mind all day, and now for her to come by and see this is added gasoline to her flame of pain.

“Just go back to her.” She shakes her head, her broken voice competing with the loud splatters of rain. “I think you’ve done seen how fucked up I am, so you don’t want me anymore and that’s fine. I’m sure she doesn’t freak out when you touch her or have a messed-up family as I do. She is perfect for you, and when I look into it, You and I-we aren’t compatible at all!”

“Stop it, Rain. Because none of what you’re saying is true. Let’s talk inside, I don’t want you to get sick.” He reaches for her hand, but she steps back, her eyes welling with tears once again.

She has been crying so much lately that she desperately wishes she could just switch the feelings off. Things were so much better when she suppressed her emotions but ever since she met Ansel her walls have been tearing down one by one and she hates it.

“I think you should just leave me alone, Ansel.”

“I know you don’t mean that Rain.”

“Yes, I do.”

“You don’t.”

“I do…I think that will be so much better for you and your family.” Water droplets cling to her eyelashes as they both stand beneath the open skies. “You wouldn’t have to deal with a fucked-up girl with fucked up problems.”

Ansel shuts his eyes. “Don’t talk like that.”

“Trust me, I’m doing you a favor. You will be better off without me. You’re a nice guy…you won’t have any trouble finding someone better than me.” She turns to walk away, but Ansel grasps her arm, pulling her back to face him.

His eyes reel with anguish as his brows knit together. “You’re wrong about so many things, Rainey.”

Her eyes peer up into his intense pair that are partially hidden by wet strands of hair. She tries not to observe the water dripping from his lips and how his entire body is printing through the soaked fabric of his tank. Such thoughts will only waver her decision.

“I am not a nice guy,” he says. “And I don’t want anyone but you. So, you cannot tell me what will be better for me, I get to choose that, Rain. I wouldn’t be better off without you, so stop talking nonsense.”

Unable to offer a comeback to those strong words, she stays rooted in place as he keeps his gaze locked with hers, ensuring she sees the deep love within them. The rain is pouring down on them both, and even though she is as cold as Jack was in The Titanic, the heat can still be felt as it races its way to her cheeks.

He’s too good. Way too good. She can’t help wondering what she did to deserve someone this perfect.

She loves him. More than he knows. And that is why she cannot be selfish. She cannot keep causing him trouble.

“Let’s just talk inside…” He grabs onto her hand and motions to pull her with him, but she wriggles her wrist from his grasp and steps back. Ansel sighs and runs a hand over his face. He is getting exhausted.

“Rainey, stop being so stubborn. Or I’ll just have to use a different approach.”

“Goodbye, Ansel.” She whirls away with finality as she begins heading toward the gate.

She uses a hand to wipe her eyes as she tries to convince herself that walking away from him is the best choice she will ever make. He will get over her one day, she is sure of it. Things will go back to normal and he would not have to worry about her burdens anymore.

But Ansel has never loved a girl as much as he loves her, and though he is respectful and understanding, he cannot allow her to leave.

Not this time.

Suddenly, two strong hands are on her waists as he lifts her and throws her over his shoulder in a swift action. She gasps as she is now faced down, only able to see his feet as he moves with her in the direction of his porch.

“P-put me down, Ansel.” She attempts to set herself free but is of no avail as he uses one hand to grip her tightly against him. His arm is positioned on her bottom and her breath catch in her throat at the fact that he’s probably feeling everything through the thin wet material of her shorts. She cannot believe she impulsively chased out of her home in just a T-shirt and pajama shorts; she must have lost her mind for a moment. Her cheeks resemble tomatoes as she beats at his back. “Put me down!”

Her current concern is not that she wants to keep her distance from him but the insecure fact that she’s not wearing a bra and can feel the globes on her chest pressing firmly against his back.

“I can’t do that. The rain is heavy, and I won’t allow you to walk home.”

“I am serious, Ansel, put me down.”

“And so am I. Behave.” He hisses. “Or I’ll just have to punish you for being this stubborn, Rain.”

She cannot deny the deep blushes on her face when he utters those words, and though she promised herself that she would stay away from him, she can already feel her plans wavering.

A part of her is immensely happy that he didn’t allow her to walk away.


~

~Don’t give up, not yet. No matter how hard this gets. We come into the world worse for the wear but the wars of our fathers are not ours to bear. Don’t give up.~ Nilu❤



Many many thanks for reading🙂❤. If you like my story even a tiny bit, don't forget to hit the heart/like at the bottom, and follow me (if you'd like to lol) to get instant notifications of when I post updates and everything concerning Ansel and Rainey❤❤. Thanks so much for your support!!

Also if you’d like to, you can check out my short texting/dialogue story called ‘Friendzoned’ in the meantime. It’s a quick and light read, nothing too serious.

Much love and stay tuned for more!!

-Tiffanyluvss❤

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.