Facade

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Haunted

THEA’S POV

At first, Xavier just stands there awkwardly in the middle of grinding bodies. So, I take his hands in mine and guide him.

Slowly, he starts to let loose as the alcohol kicks in. Then, as the seconds tick by, I don’t think anymore.

I watch him let loose and close his eyes as he moves in sync with the music. Before we know it, we’ve both surrendered to our surroundings.

Heart pumping along with the beats, the buzz tingling my veins making me feel lightheaded. I’m not drunk but I am tipsy.

So, it takes a moment for me to understand that a hand is snaking around my waist from behind, holding my body close to its owner.

I stop moving.

The guy behind me doesn’t notice my lack of movement as he continues to grind his body on mine.

I push him and his hold relaxes a little before tightening again. I bring my foot down on his, hard.

He yelps and stumbles back. “Bitch!” He slurs, clearly intoxicated. I must say he’s persistent as I watch him try to hobble towards me again but another hand snakes around my waist and his wide chest comes into view.

The man walks into his back and stumbles back again, mumbling curses under his breath. But my eyes are on Xavier’s as his intense stare warms my inside.

Quick as a flash, he turns me around and brings my back to his chest. His fingers graze down my neck, shoulder, brushing gently over my arm causing me to shiver under his touch.

As his head lowers to my shoulder, my heart threatens to burst out of my chest.

His face nuzzles the crook of my neck and I can feel his hot breath on my skin causing goosebumps to rise. Inhaling deeply, he lets out a small groan against my shoulder.

A small sigh escapes my lips and my eyes close as I relish the feel of his body against mine.

Everyone around us fades away along with the music. All I can feel is him. All I hear is his breath against my skin.

I don’t know Xavier enough to know if I like him romantically but I do know that I’m attracted to him. Terribly, horribly attracted.

And I want him. Badly.

He pulls away abruptly leaving me feeling cold and empty.

“It’s getting late. We should head home.” He picks his bag up from a chair where we deposited them earlier and starts walking away. I pick my own bag up and follow silently.

*****

Upon Xavier’s insistence, the Uber’s first stop is my house. The car ride is spent in utter silence as neither of us dares to break it.

When we reach my house, I hesitate before getting out of the car. As I turn around to say goodbye to him, I watch unblinking as I see him get out as well.

He closes the door behind him and stands in front of me with his hands in his pockets, just staring at me with those stormy eyes.

I fidget nervously under his gaze, unsure of what to do.

Xavier opens his mouth to say something but closes them again. He runs a hand through his hair as he glances away.

Before I can help myself, my arms wrap themselves around his torso, holding tightly, and bury my face in his chest.

He stills under my touch. He stops breathing as I hear the erratic beating of his heart. A smile forms on my face.

“Breathe,” I whisper softly into his chest and he obeys, dragging in a large inhale. “Thank you for coming with me today even when you didn’t have to.”

Silence. His arms remain limp at his sides but my smile remains.

I tilt my head to look up at him, resting my chin on his chest. He blinks at me, and I swear my heart melts at the sight of his confused expression.

“Goodnight, Xavier.” With that, I pull away.

It takes him a few seconds before he gives me a small nod and gets back in the car, driving away.

*****

The cool breeze gently caresses my skin. The waves wash over my feet, foaming to a halt before lulling back into the sea.

I close my eyes in content, breathing deeply. An agonizing scream rips through, forcing me to jerk my eyes open.

I move my head frantically, looking for the source of the scream that haunts my mind—a scream so familiar and chilling.

However, I’m no longer at the beach. Instead, I’m standing in a pool of blood, soaking up my foot, leaving bloody prints as I start to run. There is no breeze around me anymore, only the pungent smell of death hanging in the air.

The white dress I have on has splattered blood in them. Another scream reaches my ears—this time it’s mine.

Blood. It’s everywhere—my hands, legs, dress.

“Thea,” a gentle voice breaks through my frenzied state. I whirl around to see a woman. She looks exactly like me. Same hair, same eyes, the same nose—we’re almost identical except her hair ends at her shoulders while mine cascades down to my waist...also she looks older, more mature with a sense of wisdom in her eyes.

I recognize her instantly. “Mom?” My expression brightens through my tears. “Mom!”

I leap towards her, stretching my hand out. Just a little more…

Her smile vanishes from her face. Blood blooms on her stomach. Her lips part and crimson liquid flow out.

“No!” I cry out to her, desperately. “No! Please, don’t. Don’t go!”

It’s too late. She’s already gone.

I wake up gasping for breath as cold sweat dots my skin. My heart beats wildly in my chest, threatening to burst out. I cross my trembling hands over my chest with my palms resting on opposite shoulders and close my eyes.

I gently tap my shoulders, alternating between each side. Continuing the butterfly hug method, I try to even my breathing.

It’s something my previous therapist had taught me, something I always use to calm my racing heart.

When I can finally breathe, I lie back down and burrow my face into my pillow willing myself not to cry. My fingers dig into my skin unconsciously but I don’t feel anything.

My heart wrenches in my chest making it impossible to breathe. It’s too much...everything is too much…

And then, nothing.

Numbness washes over me like a bucket of ice, rendering me cold and empty. I shiver from the lack of internal heat.

“Go away, go away, go away…” I chant over and over again in a whisper as if physically willing my nightmares to go away.

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Please let me know your thoughts on this chapter and what you think of Thea’s character :)

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