"Thank you very much." Scott bows at me, dramatically.
"You're welcome, Mr. Taylor." I smile and do a curtsy.
I hand him the clothes that I've had selected for him, which he takes willingly.
I smile and turn around, when something catches my eyes.
Scott was still wearing a towel around his waist which had hung low on his hips. I stared at the left side of his lower stomach, tears forming in my eyes.
He has a massive scar.
And not a normal one - it was nearly two inches long and it seemed like someone had jabbed a knife into Scott with the full intention of hurting him...
I look up at him, on the verge of tears and ask him, "Wh-what's that Scott?"
He tears his gaze away from me and looks down and his eyes widen.
He curses out loud and runs his fingers through his hair, frustrated.
He drops his jacket and jeans from his hands and fumbles with his tank trying to cover himself.
While Scott was busy fumbling through the tank in his hands, I take a step forward and place my hand on his arm softly.
He looks at me, worried. I slowly shake my head no.
"Don't cover yourself." I whisper softly, looking pleadingly at him.
He simply stares at me and nods after a second and drops the tank from his hand.
The confident and cocky Scott was gone.
Instead a shy, scared and vulnerable Scott took his place.
I want my old Scott back...
I close the distance between us, so that our toes are touching each others'. I place my hands on either side of his hips, holding him tight, worried that he might run away, and look down at his wound.
I feel him looking down at me. I run my fingers from his hips in the direction of his wound.
I slowly trace my fingers over the mutilated and puckered flesh. It feels weirdly soft under my fingertips.
I hear him gasp softly and feel his stomach stiffen and clench in response. I don't know whether it was due to discomfort or something else.
I look up at him, to see him looking down at me, searching my eyes, waiting for my reaction.
A tear falls from my eyes, imagining what pain he would've gone through during this injury. I pull my fingers back from his puffed scar.
Sobbing, I rise up and hug him tightly, burying my face in his neck. He doesn't waste a second to put his arms around my waist pulling me impossibly closer to him and lifting me up.
"Who did this to you?" I murmur into his neck.
I expect him to just avoid the question like always but he surprises me by whispering, "My... my dad."
I gasp and pull away from his neck to look at his face and rest my forehead against his.
He closes his eyes for a minute but then opens up slowly, his baby blue eyes full of shame and hurt.
What does he have to be ashamed about?
He looks away , refusing to make any eye contact with me.
"Ace... Look at me." I whisper softly.
Without looking at me, he whimpers, "I can't, Brownie; anyone who knows bout my past, never looks at me in the same way that they used to before. I can always see the pity in their eyes. I can't stand knowing that you'll also look at me in the same way - like some wounded animal..."
"Scott? Please look at me." I plead again.
He shakes his head and closes his eyes.
A lone tear escapes his eye. I quickly wipe it with my thumb.
I whisper, "Scott Hunter Taylor... I swear to God if you don't open your eyes and look at me right now, I will literally spank your ass-teroid belt!"
His lip twitches.
"Scott? Open your eyes.... for me."
He takes a deep breath and slowly opens his eyes.
I smile softly at him.
Looking straight in his eyes, I ask, "How can you be so brave?"
He takes in my question and looks shocked with his eyes wide. "Wh-what?"
"You heard me." I reply.
"I don't... I don't understand. You don't pity me?" He looks confused.
"Of course I do. I care about you. But I don't think any less of you than I did five minutes ago. Ho-how could you live knowing that someone you may have loved did this monstrous thing to you... how could you laugh after going through such a harsh thing?" I softly kiss his cheek.
I look back into his eyes and continue, "I... I don't exactly pity you... my heart aches thinking what you'd had gone through... but most of all; I respect you. I can't imagine anyone who'd have courage like you to forget about their such horrible past and move on with their lives."
He stares at me for a whole minute. And then blinks twice.
I smile and pull away from him and poke his forehead and murmur, "You okay in there?"
His lips twitches again. But this time - he smiles his beautiful smile.
Before I could turn around and leave the room, I'm pulled against him, my hands pressed against his chest and his arms around my waist holding me tightly.
"You're amazing, you know that, right?" He whispers huskily, his eyes hooded.
"I don't really-" Before I could complete the sentence, he closes the distance between our lips and starts kissing me softly, nibbling my bottom lip between his. I melt against his lips and moan into his mouth, running my hand from his chest to the back of his neck.
He growls against my lips, and I swear to God it's the most sexiest sound I've ever heard.
Suddenly, our soft, slow kiss turns into a hot, passionate one. Our tongues tangling with each other. Each passing second making our kiss more hard, more intense.
Finally, we pull away, gasping for air, and rest our forehead against each others'.
"Wow..." I murmur breathlessly.
He chuckles and whispers, "Is it just me or does our kisses keep getting better and better each time?"
"You felt it too? I thought I was the only one feeling it." I reply, shyly.
"Yeah. I felt it too..." He whispers softly.
If he only knew what his whispers do to me...
"You ready to talk bout your past?" I ask him, softly.
He runs his fingers over his hair and says, "Yeah. I think so..."
I smile at him.
"First let me put some clothes on." He winks at me.
"Sure..." I smile at him, and get out of the closet and plop down on his bed.
After a while, he returns from the closet in just his jeans, shirtless with the towel slung over his shoulder.
How can a person look sexy all the time?
After nearly five minutes of staring at his body, my brain starts working again and I look up at him to see him grinning.
I roll my eyes and ask, "You said were gonna put on some clothes, right?"
"Yeah.. at first. Then I thought that maybe if I walked in shirtless in front of you, you would get distracted and I wouldn't have to tell you bout my past." He said, winking.
"Oh... haha." I exclaim sarcastically.
"I think it actually worked on some level... don't you think?" He asks, smirking.
"Oh! Shut up. You know, I think you're-" I pause.
"I'm what?" He says, wiggling his eyebrows.
I narrow my eyes at him and say, "Don't try to fish compliments from me, Ace. You know you're hot!"
He grins and raises his fist in the air, "Yes! She thinks I'm hot... Thank you, God." He says, blowing kisses in heaven's direction.
I smile at him, and pat the bed next to me, gesturing him to sit.
Instead of sitting down next to me, he bends and lifts me up in his arms, sits down in my place, and pulls down into him, sideways on his lap.
I rest my head under his neck.
"Time for a serious talk, huh?" He murmurs softly.
"Hmm..." I approve.
"So... from where do I start?" He thinks out loud.
"I dunno... how bout the beginning?" I say, sarcastically.
He chuckles. "All right, smarty pants. The beginning.... Okay, before, I became famous... before I met Rye and Drew, me and my family used to live in Chicago, Illinois. My dad was a investment banker and my mum was a stay home mum. She was really beautiful. She had blue eyes like me and really dark black hair. She was a musician in her college days. She had a really great voice. You know... the kind of voice that makes you forget everything else. Guess my musical talents comes from her."
He takes a deep breath and continue, "My mum died of leukaemia when I was 14 and Sam was still 12."
I gasp and squeeze his hand softly.
He looks down and smiles and continues, "My... my dad loved my mum more than anything. It was love at first sight for them. He.... he missed her a lot. He couldn't stand the thought of losing her. He tried to distract himself by working hard. Sometimes he wouldn't even come home for 2-3 days straight, he would work all day. I missed him, but... but I understood that he needed time. I took care of Sam in every way I could... but still... we needed a dad."
He pauses, looking away, playing his memories in front of his eyes. "At first I thought, when he would finish grieving her loss, he would come back to us. After all, he was my dad - the strongest person I knew... but days turned into weeks; weeks to month. I took on the role of a father, and tried to raise Sam as best as I could. But... but I was still 14... Sam had me to take care of her but... but who would take care of me? I had just lost my mom... I couldn't even grieve because I wanted to be strong for Sam."
"One day, dad came home drunk. I tried to help him but... but he pushed me away, saying he didn't need anyone's help. I injured my knee, trying to help him. The next morning, I expected him to apologise. But... but he saw my injury from last night and didn't even battle a eyelash, his face was totally blank, without any emotion. The father I knew was gone right in front of my eyes. In just a few weeks, I lost both of my parents."
A tear falls from his eyes. I quickly wipe it away.
He looks at me and kisses my forehead. "The days went by, he came home even more drunk than the previous day. Each day, he'd slap me or hurt me some way or another. He said... that I reminded him of mum and that he couldn't look at me and not think of mum. But she was gone... my dad felt like she betrayed him in some way, by leaving him all by himself to take care of us. He was hurt and at the same time he was angry at mum. He kept taking out all his anger on me."
I look up at him and softly ask, "Sam?"
He shakes his head, "Whenever he was home, I used to take her to her bedroom and lock the door."
"Why didn't you report it to the cops?"
"Because then Social Services would get involved and then Sam would be separated from me. She had already lost her parents... she was just a child... do you think she would've survived knowing that she'll be separated from her brother too? Plus, somewhere in my mind... I thought that someday, dad would come to his senses and become the man he was before." He chuckles humourlessly.
"But then... he got fired because of his drinking problem... the money just stopped coming altogether... all of the savings were taken up by dad, to buy his daily dose of alcohol. I had to start working, when I was 15. I worked as a bellboy in a five-star hotel. The pay was good, plus the co-workers were great. I used to take Sam with me to work."
"When did he did that to you?" I ask, referring to the scar.
"When I was 18, I returned home one day to see my dad slapping Sam. I didn't care what he'd do to me... but if he laid his hand on Sam... I... I just couldn't control myself. I pushed him away from Sam, and did whatever it took to defend us."
"But then... I dunno... something bout him changed. His attacks became more aggressive and rough. I think he saw me as a threat. He picked up a nearby knife from the fruit basket and before I could do something bout it.... he... he... did this." He says, pointing to the scar.
"I guess he missed the aim because he was slightly drunk... but the knife still stabbed me."
"When he realised what he had done... he looked ashamed... almost guilty... that was the first time I had seen any emotion in his face after mum's death. He quietly called a ambulance and walked up to me and said to take care of Sam and that he was sorry. He said he wouldn't ever disturb us any more and he just... left. And never returned."
He takes a deep breath and says, "I met Rye and Drew shortly after. They helped me overcome my problems. They are like my brothers that I've never had... So... that's my story, I guess."
I look back up at him and hug him tightly.
I pull away from his and kiss his cheek softly and whisper, "You're amazing, you know that, right?" I say, remembering his line from the closet.
"I.. I...er..." He starts to say, but like him - I cut him off by kissing him softly, tracing his lips with my tongue.
He moans into me and pulls me closer, and returns the kiss. The kiss wasn't like before, this one was soft and slow, like we had all the time in the world.
After a while, we pull away from each other, breathing hard. I lay my head back on his shoulder.
My hand unconsciously started drawing circles on his chest. He takes a deep breath and sighs.
"If I didn't know any better, I would've thought, that you're just with me because of my body." He murmurs.
I smile into him and mumble, "Hmm... I love your body."
He chuckles and says, "Glad you approve, babe..."
"Brownie?" He whispers.
"If you don't mind... can you repeat the whole 'I love you body' thing again?"
I pull away and look at him, "Why?"
"I don't think you're gonna repeat it sometime soon, so I was thinking of maybe recording you saying it."
"It was a slip of tongue, babe... not gonna happen again." I say, winking at him.
"Yeah... keep telling yourself that. I don't think you can resist me that long." He says, wiggling his eyebrows.
"Is that a challenge?" I raise my eyebrow at him.
"I believe it is... I challenge you that you will repeat whatever I want you to say in next 30 seconds." He says, challenging me.
I get up from his lap, and stand in between his leg, facing him and ask, "And how exactly are you gonna do that?"
"I have an idea..." He says winking at me.
Before I can say 'Ice cream', Scott suddenly stands up, and changes our position, my back facing the bed and Scott facing me. And then places his hands on my hips and pushes me down on the bed with him on top of him.
He takes both of my hand and places them above my head with his one hand over my wrist, holding them tightly there.
I tried to struggle out of his grasp but of no use. I look back up at him to see him looking down at me with a mischievous gleam in his eyes.
"What are you gonna do to me?" I whisper.
Wow! That sounded like, what a girl would say in an erotic novel before they do... you know...
"I would do nothing... if you just say 'I think Scott is the hottest man in the whole world'." He says, winking at me.
"No way, buddy... I'm not gonna say that." I say immediately.
"You sure.... this is you last chance." He says in all seriousness.
"I think, I'm pretty sure."
"Well, don't say I didn't warn ya..."
He leans his face into me, softly kissing the trail from my neck to my ear. He sucks on the soft skin under my ear making me moan.
He brings his mouth up to my ear and whispers, "You know... a little bird named Aria once told me that you're very ticklish."
I stiffen immediately.
He pulls his face away from my ears and face me looking in my eyes, grinning.
"No, no, no, no, Ace... I swear to God... if you try to tickle-" I get interrupted, when he starts tickling me.
"Oh my god... Scott... Stop!" I say, between my laugh.
"Say I'm the hottest man in the whole world!" He says.
"No... no... no..." I say to him. But, he starts tickling me more.
"Okay, okay... I think Scott's the hottest man in the world... now please stop." I say between my breaths.
He stops immediately, removing his one hand from my wrist. I relax immediately and sigh out loud, wiping away the tears from my eyes, from laughing out too loud.
He lays down beside, "Told ya... I never lose a challenge."
"Is that so?" I say, looking up at me.
"Are you challenging me, Miss Stark?" He says, his eyes twinkling.
"I believe so, Mr. Taylor." I say, getting up and sit on top of him, straddling him.
He folds his hand behind his head, looking amused. I start to tickle him on his lower stomach. But I get no reaction.
After nearly five minutes of tickling, my hands starts to hurt.
I look at him to see him smirking.
I pout and ask, "Why isn't it working?"
He chuckles and says, "Is it too late to say, that I'm not ticklish?"
"What? You're telling me this now." I yell, slapping his chest and getting away from him.
"What? You looked so cute, trying to make me laugh. " He says, laughing.
"Well, you're laughing now... aren't you?" I murmur.
He stares at me for a long time and says, "Yeah... I guess I am."
"But the most important thing is that you think I'm the hottest man in the whole world." He says, smirking.
I take a nearby pillow and throw it at him.
And... that's how our pillow fight starts.
My Scott's back...