Then You Look At Me

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Always have, Always Will.

~Nobody said it was easy, it’s such a shame for us to part.~ Coldplay.

Chapter Theme Song: ‘The Scientist’ by Coldplay.

Warning: Chapter contains mature sexual content.

••

Third-person Pov

“So, when will your dad be leaving?” Alaric asks, taking a swig of his beer.

Rainey and Riley along with the brothers are all sitting on a large blanket on the front yard’s dewy grass, gazing up into the starry sky with sour spirits and hearts of despair. The night is chillingly windy, and the atmosphere is humid, transporting the scent of grass and concrete.

“I am not sure.” Rainey purses her lips, sadness spiking within her. “He hasn’t given me a date yet.”

“Oh. Well, the time has been chasing away like a bullet these days.” Arden smiles. “In the blink of an eye, you’ll be back.” His tone is hopeful.

“Will you be leaving too?” Alex pulls his knees up, looking over at Riley while the wind whirls his thick hair around. She gloomily nods.

“Yeah, her dad asked me to come along. To keep her company.”

He sighs, pulling his face away and downing some of his beer. “He’s taking everything…”

Aiden picks a stalk nearby and begins plucking the leaves off, throwing them on the grass. “I am going to miss you guys. Make sure to facetime us often.”

Rainey musters a smile, but it fades faster than it came. “Yeah, …we’ll do that.”

“And call us too, write, maybe send a messenger bird or something. Or travel on one of those camels they have in Dubai to visit us.”

Rainey and Riley bursts in laughter as the brothers barely crack smiles.

“No seriously, don’t forget about us,” Arden states wistfully.

“That’s impossible,” Rainey assures. “You guys are the best thing to have happened to me lately. I will never forget you guys. Plus, I’ll be back very soon.”

Alaric nods. “Keep your promise, kid.”

She smiles. “I will.”

A small sniffle pulls their attention into Arden’s direction. His head is hung as he quickly wipes his eyes with his wrist. Aiden bends his head, gawking at his twin brother in disbelief. “Dude, are you crying right now?”

Arden, whose eyes appear wet, blinks at his brother in denial. “Crying? What, hell no.”

“Dude, you’re really fucking crying right now.” Aiden’s mouth is agape. “You are actually shedding tears.”

“I am not, the wind is heavy and it’s cold out here.” Arden tries to plead his case, but the glistening water smeared beneath his eyes are a giveaway.

“And you said I didn’t stop drinking from a baby bottle until I was six.”

Arden shakes his head.

“Let me see your eyes, turn your face to me.”

Alaric uses his handkerchief to sling Aiden in the head, and he mewls as he gropes the spot, darting a flabbergasted gaze to his older brother. “Ow.”

“Leave him alone.”

Rubbing his head, he gawps at him obediently. “That stings, Ric.”

The girls smile softly, as Ansel reaches for his beer sitting on the grass. Discovering that the bottle is now empty, he exhales harshly and puts it back down. “Is there more beer inside?”

“Yeah, on the kitchen counter.” Alaric takes a drink of his.

“Ansel, that’s enough alcohol for the night.” Aiden chuckles, and Alex and Riley cackle between themselves.

“Why?” Ansel folds his feet beneath him, resting his elbows on his legs.

“Because we don’t want poor Rainey to feel the wrath of your hormones. We all know how sexually wild you get when you’re intoxicated. You’d jump-start your first night together.”

Everyone starts laughing but Rainey and Ansel now look weirdly flustered. She is nibbling her lip nervously while Ansel’s face is noticeably red. The brothers notice their suspicious and oddly quiet behavior and gasp in realization.

Riley covers her mouth in awe, and Alaric smirks with highly raised eyebrows.

“Woah, wait.” Alex’s orbs are the size of melons as they flicker between the two blushing people. “Don’t tell me you guys have already done it.”

Rainey and Ansel remain quiet, both shifting in discomfort.

“Oh shit.” Aiden slaps a palm over his mouth. “They did…”

“I’ll go get the beer; I need some water anyway.” Rainey quickly states, hoping up hastily as if the ground is on fire. She scurries away from the inquisitive faces while the brothers attempt to interrogate Ansel, who refuses to solve their nosey curiosity.

Aiden slides closer to him. “So, did you guys….”

“Don’t even.” Ansel deadpans him, and he smoothly glides back into his spot like a timid puppy, causing everyone to crack up in laughter.

Rainey enters the kitchen and grabs a glass from the dish tray, placing it beneath the tap. Waiting for it to fill up, she idly gazes at the foaming bubbles.

“Hey, sweetie.”

She glances behind as Melissa approaches her, a bright smile on her beautiful face. “Thought you were already asleep.”

“Oh, no we are outside, talking and chilling a little,” she smiles as she turns the pipe off.

Melissa beams, her warm eyes twinkling under the kitchen lights. “I see. Normally the boys would be out at some party on the weekend. They are staying in more often these days now that you are around. I love that.”

Rain pulls forth the best smile she can muster. She raises the glass to her lips in efforts of creating some amount of distraction. The more she thinks about it is the more disappointed she feels that she’ll soon be boarding a plane to leave this city.

Melissa sighs, shaking her head. “That man—Ron Moretto—he has ruined a lot of things for our family, and as if he has not already taken it all, he’s meddling in the one good thing my boys have gotten these past few weeks. We have been trying so hard to avoid him, but he is just determined to come at us.” She looks at her with a sullen expression. “It’s sad that your father has decided to take you with him back to Dubai. Austin and I tried to talk him out of it, but your safety is much more important.”

Rainey tightens her hold on the glass as new desolation grows within her.

“My husband and I are going to miss having you around.” She smiles sadly. “And I know the boys will too.”

“I’ll miss you guys too,” she purses her lips, turning to the pipe to rinse the utensil. She is close to getting emotional but blows her cheeks out to repress the doleful feelings.

Keep it together. You’ll be back soon. You’ll be back soon.

Melissa lifts a hand to rub her back, and the gesture is enormously comforting that Rainey has to bite her lip hard to avoid breaking down in front of her. Her mom doesn’t console her like this anymore and considering all that has been happening between them lately-she probably never will.

“I want you to know that we’ll always be here; we’re not going anywhere. We’ll wait for you until you come back. Hopefully, that’ll be soon.”

I hope so too. Rainey thinks as she places the glass into its respective place.

“Will your friend be leaving too?”

“Yeah. My dad doesn’t like us being apart. He knows she’s the only family I got. So, he spoke with her parents and they agreed. They’re nice people so.”

Melissa brightens at this. “Good. I love that she’ll be there with you. In no time, you’ll be home with us again—” She stops herself quickly, chuckling in embarrassment. “I am sorry, I just said home. Getting ahead of myself.”

Rainey shakes her head quickly. “No, this house more feels like home than anywhere else I’ve ever been in my entire life,” she says genuinely. “This is home for me.”

Melissa’s lips break into a smile, and her eyes shine with misery. “You’ll be back soon, don’t worry. Come here.” She opens comforting arms and wraps it around the distraught seventeen-year-old.

Rainey must admit that not even confrontations with her mother have ever hurt her this much.

••

Rainey

The boys are good bleachers, and Riley and I just could not keep up. We almost dozed off on the wet grass, and the cold night air was starting to make us stuffy, so we signed off before them and retired upstairs for a good night’s rest. The brothers are seemingly immune to low temperatures since they were only wearing tank tops and shorts yet somehow, they were not freezing one bit.

The slumping of the bed, followed by the faint scent of Old Spice deodorant, tickles my senses alive, and I open my eyes to find Ansel wrapping his arms around me from behind. The room is dark as I twist my neck to look up at him.

“You’re here…” I smile tiredly.

“Yeah…” He breathes, tightening his hold on me.

“Mm. What time is it?”

“About 2 am.” He whispers, pressing a kiss to the side of my head.

His voice is slightly slurred, and I identify a strong smell of alcohol. I furrow my brows. “Are you drunk?”

“Maybe…” He sighs.

I reach an arm out to switch the room lamp on, but he quickly grabs my wrist. “Don’t turn it on.”

The smell of liquor heightens, and I sigh. “You drank a bit too much, mm?”

“Whose fault is it?”

My neck starts to hurt from being in this position and so I turn my torso to him, gazing up into his glistening eyes.

“Mine?”

“Yeah…if you’re the one boarding a plane to leave me soon, then yeah.”

I chuckle and watch as he slightly frowns.

“You’re interesting when you’re drunk,” I whisper. My smile settles into a line when I notice the sadness glowing in his eyes.

“You can just tell me to stay…” I say softly. “And I won’t leave…”

Sighing deeply, he presses a palm to his forehead and rotates it there, grimacing slightly. “I can’t…”

My brows draw together. “Does your head hurt?”

“Yeah, a little. I think I drank a bit too much.”

“Do you have aspirins?”

“Yeah…I think I have a single packet in the bathroom’s cupboard…”

I get down from the bed and mince delicately to the bathroom. Riley is a light sleeper and can easily be awakened by the mere sound of footsteps.

I switch the lights on and tip on my toes to open the white cabinet in search of the aspirin. A sound from behind captures my attention as Ansel enters the space, gently closing the door behind him.

“Why’d you come?” I ask as I continue my search, flipping over a packet to read the label at the back. “I would have brought it out to you if you had waited until—”

The feel of his chest against my back shuts me up instantly, and my face takes on a deep shade of red. I tightly grip the packet in my hands, nervously settling onto the soles of my feet.

“I don’t need an aspirin…” He whispers, gently taking the pill from my hand. “I just need you, Rainey.” He places it onto the counter and my breathing picks up.

“But your head—”

“My head isn’t what’s hurting right now.” In a swift movement, he whirls me around and lifts me onto his countertop, immediately finding his way between my legs.

Capturing my lips in a hard kiss, his palm goes around to hold my nape as he thrusts his hot tongue into my mouth. I am taken off-guard as my palms grip the counter edge to stop myself from falling backward.

He’s drunk, and I know he gets a little out of hand when he is.

“Ansel…” I quickly pull away, fighting to catch my breath as I tightly grip the edge of the counter. That kiss held so much supremacy, where did all that come from?

“What is it?” He comes closer and I press my hand onto his chest.

“You’re drunk,” I say softly, bearing in mind that Riley is sleeping just a door away.

“I know what I am doing, Rain.”

I look up at him. “Then what are you doing?” I ask, trying to test how sober he is.

He presses his palms on both sides of me on the counter. “I am kissing you…” He whispers, watching my lips.

I gulp uneasily as I see the lust shimmers in his dazed eyes.

“And we are about to take things a little further than that.”

My cheeks flame at his words. The drunk side of him appears sexually bolder than any other side of him I’ve met.

Before I can offer a reply, his lips press against mine with a similar hunger as the first kiss. His tongue moves against the walls of my mouth skillfully as he keeps his palms on the marble counter. The smell of mint mixed with alcohol prompts me alive and I grasp the sides of his shirt as I kiss him back with equal need. Our breathings tangle together, our mouths moving wildly. Ansel reaches a hand over to switch the pipe on in an action to drown out the noises beyond the door.

If he could think of doing that then maybe he is not so drunk after all.

Demanding. Eager. Dominant; are three strong yet somehow not-good-enough words to describe the energy Ansel is bringing forth. He presses into me, leaving no room in between, and the small cream dress I am wearing has now ridden up to expose my thighs. His hand gropes them as he moves his kisses down to my neck, then to my collarbone before kissing the top of my breasts. The fact that I am without a bra makes the tedious process of undressing a lot easier, and Ansel reaches a hand to the cupboard above my head to retrieve one more of those shiny packets. He tears it in a rush before latching his lips to mine again, his hands fiddling with the white strings of his sports shorts.

I am lost in the kiss, having no idea when he slid the rubbery covering onto his arousal. His fingers tug at my underwear before he slides the thin fabric down to my ankles. My cheeks become rosy as the cool rubber brushes against my inner thighs. Ansel breaks the kiss to gaze into my eyes, his lips swollen and red while his eyes are lidded with passion. I swallow hard. We have done this before but somehow my stomach is still welled up with anxiety. He notices and kisses my forehead, whispering against my skin.

“It won’t hurt this time. I promise.”

He gropes my bottom cheeks under my dress, then gently slides me along the counter and onto his length. I gasp breathlessly as he enters me, and he lets out a harsh sigh as his head falls back. His chest moves as he breathes, his jaws clenching tight out of pleasure. The sight is glorious.

“You feel so good, Rain…” He stills inside me, looking me in the eyes. “You alright?”

“Mm.” I can only utter a noise close to an answer as my palms firmly clutch the counter ledge, my temperature becoming a burning fever pitch.

He tethers me closer, filling me supremely. A distinct moan passes through my lips, the water splattering into the face-basin drowning out the breathless reaction. There is a small sting, but it is quickly soothed by the hunger and desire.

Ansel begins to slowly thrust into me, his lips skimming my neck as he quickly picks up pace. He straightens up to look me in the eyes, and his palm presses against the side of my neck as he massages my throat with his thumb. With every long and firm stroke, a soft breath falls from my lips and I watch as his face flushes at each gasp that leaves me.

With all prior gentleness washed away, he plummets into me relentlessly and my moans follow suit. He kisses my neck again, his warm breath fanning the area as he nips at my skin. The counter is cool against my bare thighs as the force of his strokes forces me to glide along the surface.

“Hold onto me tight.” He breathes.

I wrap my arms around his back, burying my head in his T-shirt. The noises of our intimacy bounce off the walls, as his hips rapidly roll against mine. Skin crushing skin. We are slicked with perspiration, and the air coming through the bathroom window is unable to cool down our heated bodies. Closer and closer toward my peak, I cling to him for dear life, and he speeds up, sliding in and out of me in a fast rhythm.

I won’t last long.

I am moaning his name and he’s uttering mine as the familiar feeling builds up in my stomach. Five more long and hard strokes are all it takes to push me over the edge, and Ansel follows right after, our moans and groans overpowering the sound of the running pipe.

His body shudders against mine and I am a heaving mess as my sweat seeps through his thin T-shirt. I gesture to pull away when he holds me tightly to him, nuzzling his face into my shoulder.

“Don’t move away. Let’s stay like this for a while. Please….”

Sorrow is laced in his tone and I swallow sharply as my heart melts with grief.

“Okay…” I shut my eyes.

“I love you.” He squeezes me.

Those words, though said by him many times, never ceases to move my heart. They sound fresh each time he utters them, as if every second, every minute, he gains added affection for me.

Our bodies are squished together, and I can hear his rapidly pumping heart as he lays his head against my wet neck. My lips break into a soft smile as I tiredly rest my chin against his soaked back.

“I love you too, Ansel.”

Always have. Always will.

~

~Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard. Oh, take me back to the start.~ Coldplay.

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