Facade

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Why?

THEA’S POV

The first thing that catches my eyes when I reach the cliff is the blanket laid out on the ground and the basket on the plaid cloth.

Jar fairy lights lie randomly around the blanket and despite the daylight, it looks magnificent. Perhaps it has something to do with my obsession with fairy lights.

It’s hard to wipe the grin off my face as I step closer, taking everything in and trying to find the person responsible for this.

On cue, a pair of arms wrap around me from behind and I lean back instinctively into the familiar hold.

“You like it?” His breath tickles my neck, sending goosebumps all through my skin.

“Love it,” I breathe out, unable to find my voice. His close proximity seems to have turned my mind into liquid.

“Come on,” he moves his hold from my waist to my hand and pulls me along to sit on the blanket.

We sit facing each other as he begins to take out assortments of food, placing them down one by one and I watch him do so. There’s something amazingly captivating about watching Xavier do this because my eyes are glued to his form, refusing to look anywhere else.

God, he’s so beautiful.

Desire flares up in me when he looks up to meet my eyes. He knows what I’m thinking because I watch his eyes darken as I lick my lips.

Suddenly, food is the last thing on my mind and that’s saying something considering how much I like eating. At the moment, however, the only thing I want to taste is him.

“Stop.”

His husky voice sends a shiver right to my toes. “Stop what?”

“Stop looking at me like you want me to take you right here.”

I gulp. “What if I do?” My question comes out a whisper and I hear him inhale a sharp breath.

“Thea,” he moves closer until our knees are touching, “if you don’t stop, I won’t be able to control myself. And as much as I want you right now, I also want to take care of you.”

The smile he gives me makes my heart clench painfully at how beautiful he looks and how much he makes me feel with that single smile.

I want to capture this moment, freeze it so I never have to move on from it.

I poke the slight dimple on his cheek making him laugh out. “What are you doing?”

“I like your dimple. And your smile.” I notice the tips of his ear turning red so I move my hands to cup his face. “You’re amazing.”

“What’s with the compliments?” His tone is casual but by the way his ears are changing colors, it’s clear my words affected him more than he lets on.

That makes me a little sad. He deserves to be complimented more.

“Just telling the tru—mmph!” He shoves a chocolate-covered strawberry into my mouth before I can finish the sentence.

“Mhmm. You were saying?”

“Hey!”

He holds up another strawberry to my lips and I open my mouth to take it in. His eyes don’t leave my mouth, watching as I wrap my lips around it.

The hunger in his grey depths makes my stomach turn. Forget butterflies, I feel like someone just burned an entire forest inside me with the way my body is heating up under his watchful gaze.

I barely swallow before his lips come crashing down to mine, sliding his tongue in before I have a chance to even think. My eyes close on their own, my body surrendering itself to him without hesitation.

His arms come around me and pick me until I’m straddling him His hands move everywhere, igniting flares on their way, instinctively making me arch my back and press myself closer.

We pull at each other, trying to mold into one as our hands roam each other, tongues tasting each other.

I want to get lost in him and maybe I already am because all that I can think about is him and his mouth on mine.

Only when my head turns dizzy do I pull back, both of us panting as our breaths mingle together.

“Xavier,” I breathe, not being able to come up with words to describe what I’m feeling right now. My fists clutch onto his shirt as our foreheads stay connected, lips merely inches apart.

“Thea,” he gulps, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down. A strange look overtakes his expression as he stares at me. “I think I’m in love with you.”

My lungs forget how to breathe and my eyes don’t blink. I’m pretty sure my entire body stops working at this point, my organs shutting down. I still on his lap, not moving, not breathing.

Ten seconds pass by. Twenty. Thirty. Thirty-six.

“Breathe, Thea.”

God, I love when he says my name. He makes it my favorite word.

His eyes are gentle, understanding, patiently waiting for me to say something.

Say something, you stupid woman!

“Why?”

Stupid, stupid, stupid fucking idiot!

That’s what I have to say to that?!

To my horror, he chuckles. I feel the vibration in my entire body, all the way from my head to my toes.

One of his hands come up to touch my face.

“Now that I know you,” he says softly, the back of his knuckles trailing a feather light touch down my cheek, “how can I not love you?”

I’m pretty sure he’ll have to mop me off this ground because I melt at his words. The look in his eyes as he says those words have me sighing.

“People say, you can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself,” he gives me another of his heart throbbing smile, “But I love you. I love you so damn much that I forget to hate myself.”

I feel my throat clog up, tears threatening to spill but I refuse to cry. Somehow, I always end up being pathetically vulnerable around him but he never lets me feel bad about it.

“You don’t have to answer right now. I know it’s unexpected but I just wanted you to know how I feel about you. Don’t feel guilty. Take your time.”

How can someone be so sweet?

“I—”

The universe must hate me because the ringing of a phone cuts off my most cherished moment. When I realize it’s my phone that’s ringing, I let out a string of curse words making Xavier laugh which makes me smile.

I frown when I see the caller is Giovanni. Xavier sees the name and gives me a nod.

“Hello,” I say after accepting the call and putting it on speaker but my mind is too distracted with the way Xavier keeps playing with my hair.

“We found your biological father,” he cuts straight to the point making me tense. Xavier circles his fingers to release the tension and I relax in his hold. “His name is David Lawson.”

This time, I feel Xavier tensing under me, his eyes snapping towards mine.

Who the hell is David Lawson?

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