Long fingers continue to gently stroke my hair as I lie on his chest.
It has been a day since we came back from the hotel. Thankfully, Xavier hadn’t ignored me like I had feared. Instead, he came over today, wanting to spend time with me.
With Caleb back in college and Beth out at work, I was stewing alone in the house when Xavier’s sudden appearance made my day much better.
And he came bearing gifts.
The guy went through the trouble of bringing me food. I swear I felt myself melt at the gesture.
“What are you thinking about?” His chest rumbles as he speaks.
I tilt my head to look up into his stormy eyes. “My parents,” I answer truthfully.
The cause of their death isn’t something I keep as a secret but I don’t go around announcing it to everyone either.
“You wanna tell me about it?”
I ponder on the question. Realizing I already have my answer, I sit upright, moving away from his hold. “You really wanna hear about me complaining?” I joke, indirectly making sure he’s not doing this just to make me feel good.
He frowns. “Thea, I want to know you. Everything about you,” his large hands cup my face, “and never hesitate to complain to me if that’s what you want. I can listen to you ramble all day.” He pecks my lips.
A small smirk graces my lips. “Oh? I ramble all day, do I?”
“Hmm. Like a non-stop broken record.”
That earns him a smack on his chest. His laughter fills the room, capturing my undivided attention.
I’ve never heard him laugh like this. Unbound and carefree. I notice the faint dimple on his right cheek. I stare at him, drinking in every feature, probably looking like a creep but he looks so beautiful.
God, it hurts. How can someone be this captivating? His grey eyes shine under the soft glow of sunlight streaming through the open windows, raven hair tousled in a mess, his dark t-shirt clinging to his biceps showing the faint outline of his defined muscles.
Everything about him calls out to me. I love everything he is—
My eyes widen at my own thoughts. Whoa, there.
“You’re so adorable sometimes. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re so innocent.”
The double meaning behind his words and the hungry look in his eyes makes me blush. I look away, tucking my hair behind my ear.
“Thea, look at me.” I don’t disobey him. I can’t.
So, I turn my head to gaze into his orbs. Sincerity swims in his glassy eyes. “You can tell me anything. You already know a lot about me. I’d like to get to know you too.”
I don’t answer right away. Instead, I nod my head and take a deep breath before starting with the fateful night.
I tell him everything.
About how four people broke into our house when I was eleven; how I watched them beat my father into submission before doing the same to my mother right in front of our eyes; how they gave my father a chance to save everyone by killing one of his children; how he chose to kill me, chose to put a bullet through my head, not once hesitating to choose between children.
I tell him about how it was a cruel game as he was shot before he could pull the trigger. I had watched as his mouth gaped open, blood flowing from the hole in his skull.
Three gunshots rang around again. And I had watched my mother fall to her knees, blood blooming on her stomach and chest as she collapsed on the floor.
Red. Everything was red.
I tell him how it was a planned murder.
What I don’t tell him...is how I felt relieved as I watched my father fall dead. I don’t tell him about how for months after, I hallucinated blood on my hands.
I used to be so distressed by the thought of blood, I would end up clawing at my arms, leaving bloody marks on them.
I tell him about my brother and how I found him dead in his room.
I don’t tell him how the first thought in my mind was ‘how convenient for them to have the same death anniversary’.
I don’t tell him a lot of things...because I don’t want him to think of myself as a monster. As someone so twisted and broken that probably doesn’t deserve him.
I probably don’t. But I don’t think I can let him go. I’m selfish when it comes to him. I don’t want him to be with anyone else other than me.
But I also know if he decides to leave, I’ll let him.
I can’t hold him against his wishes. He deserves much, much better than that. Than me.
Xavier holds me to him as I narrate everything in an almost monotone tune. As if reciting a memorized speech.
I don’t cry. I don’t show any emotion as I tell him everything.
I should be crying, bawling my eyes out, hiccuping with sobs but no, I speak in a deadly calm manner. My chest painfully hollow, my stomach twisting as my blood feels like ice flowing through my veins.
God, what is wrong with me?
By the time I’m done, silence ensues around us, stretching as time ticks by.
I don’t move my head from his chest. I don’t want him to look at me and see my dead eyes void of emotions.
His hands hold my shoulders and push me away from his chest, bringing my face to his sight. My heart thumps in my chest at a deafening speed, threatening to burst through.
His index finger tilts my chin up and I feel his soft lips on mine. He doesn’t move, just keeps his mouth pressed to me.
We stay like that for a few seconds before he finally starts to move his lips in a slow, agonizing kiss.
He may not have uttered a word but his gesture speaks volumes. When he pulls away, his forehead rests against mine but I keep my eyes closed.
“You’re not alone, Thea.” He whispers against my lips, warm breath hitting my skin. I feel a suspicious prick behind my closed eyelids. “I’m here. With you.” I gulp hard. “Open your eyes. It’s okay.”
I pry my eyes open and a tear slips through. His gentle smile turns blurry as I feel my eyes water from the overwhelming emotion. Damn, I might as well be bipolar.
“It’s okay. I got you.”
He knows. He understands my confusion, my feelings. Even I don’t understand my feelings.
The warmth in his stormy eyes causes me to let out a sob. He pulls me to him again, tucking my head in his chest with his chin on my head.
I cling to him as I feel the tears slip. Since when did I become such a cry baby. Xavier always manages to tear my walls down, breaking through the facade I’ve built throughout the years.
A ‘thank you’ is whispered into his chest and I feel his arms tighten around me, bringing a sense of peace I haven’t felt in years.
"Thank you so, so much."
Extremely sorry for such a late update. Hope you enjoyed this chapter.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!