Facade

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Grey Past: Part 1

THEA’S POV

I clutch my chest, feeling my heart trying to beat its way out as I pant with my back against the door connecting our rooms.

Faint voices of Elijah talking can be heard from here but all I can think about how my lips are tingling. Without thinking, my fingers press to my swollen lips as I think about what just transpired moments ago.

We kissed! I feel like jumping up and down in glee but think better of it. I wasn’t this excited even about my first kiss and here I am grinning like a lunatic.

The cold shower earlier definitely did not work and warmth rushes to my core when I imagine Xavier’s hands on me, his soft touch gliding down my sides and messing with my senses.

My stomach growls reminding me that in my hurried state, I forgot to eat breakfast. Running a hand through my damp hair, I reluctantly decide to change so I can head down to eat.

*****

I browse through the thriller section of the library hoping to find something to read. To say I was astonished when I got to know of this place’s existence in the hotel, would be an understatement.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t help myself and rushed in here as soon as I had satisfied my empty stomach. As I move onto the next shelf, I spot someone I least expected to be here of all places.

“Since when do you read?”

He doesn’t turn around to face my but I spot the smirk on his face letting me know he heard me.

“Since twenty minutes ago.” The book in his hand remains open on the same page but his green eyes don’t stray from a brunette standing in his line of sight.

“Don’t tell me you’re here to read so you can flirt with her.”

“Who says I’m here to read? I’m definitely here to gawk at her.” Lucas winks at the girl just as she removes her gaze from her book to lock eyes with him. She smiles shyly and bites her lip.

“Alright, seen enough.” I whirl around unwilling to watch them flirt with each other. A deep chuckle informs me that he’s following me as I make my way to the plush reading chairs and plop myself down on one.

Luke occupies the seat in front of me.

“Why are you following me?”

“I’m reading.”

I glance at the cover of the book in his hands. ”The Bedwetter? Amazing choice. If you need to see a doctor, I can ask my aunt to search for one.”

With a dumbfounded expression, he looks down to see the cover of the book before letting out a laugh. “Bed is not the only thing—or should I say one—I can make wet.”

“Ew, no.” My grimace is as clear as day while he continues to feel amused at my disgust.

“I kinda wanted to ask you something.”

“About Xavier?”

His brows rise and his eyes widen. “How’d you know?”

I shrug. He rubs his hand over his nape. “Does he talk about me? Anything at all?”

I offer him a sympathetic smile. “Nothing.”

Luke nods in understanding but I spot the sad glint in his eyes.

“Luke?”

“Yeah?”

“You wanna tell me all about it?”

He eyes me for a while as he decides whether he wants to go for it or not. “You’ll listen without judging?”

“Always.”

He nods solemnly. “I guess you know about our parents. Their expectations are sky high and if not met, they tend to get...violent. At least my Mom did.”

“Your Mom is abusive?”

"Was. She was physically abusive on occasions only but mentally...that’s another case.”

“I’m sorry, was?”

He nods. “She died three years ago.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be. I’m not.”

I shrug in response. Luke eyes me with curiosity.

“You’re not gonna say ‘That’s a little harsh. She was your Mom’.”

I shrug again. “I did say I’ll listen without judging. You could be confessing to murder for all I care. Besides, I know what it’s like to not care enough about a parent’s death. Not everyone has a good relationship with their parents.”

He cracks a smile. “You’re weird. I like you.” The smile vanishes from his face as he continues. “I won’t go into details about what happened to Xavier because that is not my business to talk about.”

I give him a look of understanding and he looks down at his hands. “Elijah got a call one day saying Xavier was taken to the hospital. We rushed in there as quickly as we could. He was lying on the bed with an IV stuck in his skin and apparently by the time we got there, he was already in for six hours.

“He was awake and we thought, maybe the thought of losing their second child as well would make them realize something. Feel something. But no...do you know what they were doing to that twelve-year-old child?” Luke’s eyes are strained on mine but I notice the faraway look on his face telling me he’s lost in time.

Pain. Regret.

That’s all I see as I look into his green eyes. His voice drops to a broken whisper. “They were yelling at him about how worthless he was. About how they didn’t need him anymore.”

My eyes well up when I catch the man in front of me blinking rapidly to get rid of the tears gathering in his eyes.

My knuckles turn white as I dig my nails into my palms to keep the rage building inside me from showing. My heart tears for the grey-eyed boy I’ve come to care about so much.

Looking back, I’ve never actually seen him fully smile.

I breathe in deeply as Luke continues on, his voice hoarse with emotions. “After they left, Xavier just...sat there. He didn’t move. At all. Elijah had gone after his brother to talk some sense into him so I was the only one in the room.

“We didn’t really have a good enough relationship before so I didn’t know what to say. I decided to get Elijah because he’d know what to do. But before I could leave, Xavier spoke up. He told me I could take him with me. And when I didn’t turn around or reply, he left his bed and stumbled forward to hold my hand and—Thea, he—he was so weak. His little hands were trembling. He didn’t even have the strength to stand up straight and all I could think about was—how that was me before I left that wretched house.”

I imagine a smaller version of Xavier—pale with raven hair and stormy eyes, slim, fragile...

I have to choke back on a sob that threatens to escape my lips. Right now, I just want to run upstairs, right into his arms, and kiss the living daylights out of him.

“Do you know what I did?” My gaze settles on the brother in front of me when he scoffs. “I felt disgusted. Not at him but at myself. I had left him there. Alone in that house and he was forced to fill in for my position as well. But most of all, I felt scared. I was so afraid of seeing my reflection in him that I rushed out of there without a thought.”

Now I just want to smack his head and maybe hang him upside down from a tree. But I promised I’d listen without judgment so I keep quiet.

“And I went straight to Elijah. He was just about to head inside to see Xavier but I broke down. Right in the middle of the hallway. I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much as I did that day. Elijah had to hold me and calm me down so I could finally talk about what happened.”

I take it back. He’s an idiot but he’s a good idiot.

“I cried and I begged him to take Xavier in the way he had done for me. If it weren’t for him, I don’t know what either of us would have done. Elijah told me he was already going to take Xavier with us because Dad had refused to listen.”

“But Xavier doesn’t know that.” He shakes his head.

“No. He thinks I left abandoned him.”

“Why don’t you tell him?”

Luke runs a hand through his face, sighing in defeat. “He won’t listen and even if he does, he won’t believe me. After that incident, whatever chance we had about reconciling just went out the window. He hates me, Thea, and I don’t blame him for it.”

“He doesn’t hate you.”

“You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”

“No, I’m saying that because he doesn’t hate you. But he doesn’t like you either.” Luke’s eyes shine with newfound hope making my heart swell at his love for his brother.

And it’s true. I’ve seen the look in Xavier’s eyes when he talked about Luke.

He is disappointed in his big brother but he still hasn’t given up. He’s the only person who calls him Lucas as if physically distancing himself from Luke, constantly reminding himself to stay away.

It’s not my place at all to get in their business but I also want to help Xavier that way he helped me yesterday by being there, with me.

They’re both hurting and the only way to end this is for Xavier to know the truth. He has to listen.

And I will try everything to make sure that happens.

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What do you think of Luke’s character? Let me know in the comments.

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