Beckie´s quiet laugh next to me forced me to return to the reality and turn my head and look at her. I guess she said something, I don’t know. I just nodded. And it must have been a sufficient answer for her as she grabbed her pen and wrote something into her notebook, forcing me to wake up for the second time and realize that we were still sitting at geography class.
My vision blurred; I suddenly didn’t have enough strength to redirect my attention back to views behind the window. I only counted the passing seconds along with the clock hanging above the door. I was pretty tired already when I woke up in the morning and now, after seven hours I felt like I was on my last legs as the lack of sugar made me perceive only marginally.
But I didn’t complain.
I didn’t complain at all because when I was dazed like this, the pain inside me seemed to be completely different. As if it wasn’t even me who felt it. As if I was perceiving the world somewhere from the Constellation Andromeda.
And that was good.
That was very good as I wasn’t fully aware of bumping into Eric during the main break. I smiled mechanically, saying hello to him. And then nothing. Maybe my brain didn’t manage to realize it. Or maybe my hemispheres didn’t pass the information on my heart. But I was happy, I was as I didn’t have the energy to think about whether it really had been concern, I´d seen in his still so fucking mesmerizing eyes.
I knew it would be good, I already got used to this daze. I also knew I should eat something to feel better. Nonetheless, every time I tried; my stomach just got upset. The only choice I had was to hold on till the end of this class, go home and sleep. That always helped me to recharge my batteries. Thanking heavens that there was no elective course or afternoon period awaiting me, I was determined to survive until I throw myself onto my bed.
However, I didn’t reckon with the haze which spread over me as soon as I got up after the school bell rang.
I managed to walk downstairs only thanks to banister, and I found Jessica only thanks to my sixth sense. Or maybe it was the quite strong perfume she´d gotten from Kyle which led me to her. I had to take few deep breaths before I approached her as I believed that the oxygen could work wonders for the brain.
Yeah, well, it most probably really could. But mine brain was simply exception.
Jess was just packing her stuff into her backpack when I leaned myself against the wall behind her hoping she wouldn’t notice anything. “Hey Lars, do you already have some plans for the weekend?” she asked me.
“No,” I let a heavy and long sigh escape out of my lungs.
But it wasn’t an answer to her question.
It was my reaction to the blackness, that appeared in front of my eyes as one of my hemispheres shut down. I assumed it protested against the withholding of energy source. My knees waggled and willy-nilly, I slumped down thanking the wall behind me to be my support, and not to let me hit the ground painfully.
And then, I was able only to sit down, curl up und lay my suddenly so heavy head on my knees.
“Lara!?” I heard Jessica´s voice somewhere a hundred miles away from me. “Oh my gosh! Are you okey?”
Of course, I am!
I opened my mouth, I wanted to calm her down. To tell her that no panicking was necessary.
However, not a syllable came out of me when I heard another voice. When I heard that voice. Exactly the one which made me forget all words anyway. The one I wanted to hear the least of all the voices in the world. The one which managed it even better, to rob me of my energy and my will to breathe.
Is this some kind of a new nightmare?
“Go away,” I muttered. “I´m fine! I just need to get some sugar in me.”
And my demon chuckled. “Alright,” he said, ignoring my request, “let´s get some sugar in you.”
And the ground beneath me disappeared.
It surprised me, it totally threw me off balance and I was suddenly able to rise my head and look at him. I did it, I really did it, completely forgetting to be careful. And there it was, my greatest punishment for my inattention.
His damn deep, beautiful eyes which he was piercing me with. It wasn’t just figment of my imagination, there certainly was concern hiding behind their brown color. Concern and uneasiness.
“Put me down!” I hissed as soon as I realized that he was holding me in his arms. “I´m just gonna get some coke. No need to make a drama out of it!”
Because there truly wasn’t.
Because I found it hypocritical of him.
Two weeks, for two fucking weeks, I was searching for any sign, even the slightest sign that he still wanted to be part of my life. But he was nowhere to be found. So what this supposed to mean now? Did he remember that I actually exist?
I wanted to pull myself away from him, to make him release me. However…, yeah…, with the terribly little energy I had left, I pretty much sucked at even trying.
“Dove, you don´t even have enough strength to fight with me,” he stated, amused. Yet, the seriousness overwhelmed his expression a second later. “Let me take you to the vending machines.”
But the envoy from the hottest circle of hell didn’t wait for my permission. He turned his attention to my friend only to announce her: “Jess, I will take care of her.”
I was waiting for my best friend to turn him down. To pick my side. But she nodded! She simply nodded with absolutely dazed expression on her face. Well, truth to be told, I didn’t blame her. I knew what it was like to be captured in charm of Eric Lestrad.
“Don’t leave me with him,” I practically begged her. Because I was really scared of what my heart could do to me.
“He´s bigger than me, Hon,” but that traitor in black-and-white dress just shrugged robbing me of my last chance of salvation. “And stronger. And besides, he´s right. Call me later, okey?”
I gave up.
I only let my head drop, I leaned it against his shoulder. I let him carry me wherever he wanted. Nonetheless, whether I wanted or not, I couldn’t stop perceiving his closeness.
“Are you afraid of me?” he asked and voilà, his amusement was back. “I won´t bite… Maybe.”
“You shouldn’t bewitch people like that,” I rebuked him for Jessica instead of answering his ridiculous question. I didn’t have the courage to look at him again. Yet, somehow, I just knew that the corner of his lips shot into a crooked smile.
“I don’t!” he defended himself. Quite poorly.
His hands around my body tightened his grip, making me realize that I truly wasn’t dreaming. My demon was here, and I suddenly didn’t know how to deal with it.
Because I wanted to stay pissed. At him for forgetting me. At him for not keeping his word. At him for Sophie. But the feeling of calm and safety I´d always felt in his embrace was back. And I missed it damn much.
“And how come I don’t bewitch you, Princess?”
I didn’t overhear the interest he asked another question with. I rather closed my eyes not answering him for the second time. After all…, yes, the boy had obviously no idea…
Dammit! Where did it all go wrong?
What happened to us?
Did I misunderstand him that night we spoke together for the last time?
I mean…, I was pretty dazed back then.
I didn’t open my eyes until he put me down on the bench. The heat of his embrace disappeared and I - perhaps only automatically - crossed my hands on my chest in attempt to fulfill the emptiness that stayed instead of him.
He stood with his back to me but then he pulled the coke out of the vending machine and turned to face me. He opened the can, and handing it to me, he knelt down.
I didn’t protest, I took a few sips. Just to shiver right after that. Yet, I wasn’t sure why. Whether because of the ice-cold drink that got into my tight stomach, or his closeness. And his piercing gaze.
For a moment, it seemed unbearable to me.
“I´m listening Dove,” he broke the silence between us as first. “How did you get here?”
All hints of amusement vanished from his expression, I found only firmness in his eyes. Exactly the one that was reflected in the tone of his voice as well. However, I didn’t have to be looking at him, I didn’t have to hear him at all, I would still have known what he was asking about. What he wanted to know.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged nonchalantly, trying to act as if I really didn’t know. As if it wasn’t important at all. As if we were talking about yesterday´s weather which was already pointless to deal with.
But the real guardian of hell´s gate fixed his burning eyes directly on my soul. And exactly as thousands of times before, I wasn’t able to free myself, to look somewhere else.
“You´re lying,” he sighed heavily. “Why haven’t you been eating?”
There was a rebuke shining from his whole attitude. And I felt like a little girl who had done something bad and was being scolded.
He tortured me with his gaze only, leaving me no opportunity to hide from him. Letting me know that he knew very well that I hadn’t been eating.
“Lara, please…” Oh no! He didn’t have any right to plead me for something. “Talk to…”
“It´s my stomach!” I snapped at him. Just like I really was a little girl, I wanted to stick out my tongue at him. “I can do whatever I want to do with it. It´s none of your business!”
He closed his mesmerizing eyes as if he needed to hold in something. I expected him to get upset with me, to argue with me. However, he only whispered: “That´s where you´re wrong, Princess.”
“Let me go, Eric,” I muttered. Because it was pointless for me to stay here. I wasn’t willing to confess myself, to tell him the truth. NASA colonizes Mars before I would be willing to admit that it all started with him, with his lack of interest. That without him I lost my life energy and it all turned into a flow of grey-and-black days. “Thank you for your help but I wanna go home now.”
For the past two weeks I dreamt of him taking care of me because he wanted to take care of me in the first place. And not like this. Not because he felt the urge to save me. I didn’t intend to be a duty for him, I didn’t intend to be his burden.
I finished the coke and then… well yes, the sugar also could work wonders and I was able to stand up. I wanted, I truly wanted to get away from him, from my screaming confused heart as far as possible. There was only one problem left.
A divine body of the hellish envoy that suddenly stood in my way.
And it all vanished.
There was no firmness in his eyes anymore, I couldn’t see the amusement as well. I spotted something much worse, I spotted a heartbreaking longing. For a second or two, I had the impression as if he was craving something. Before he took a deep breath.
“No,” he shook his head quite vehemently. “I´m taking you out for a lunch.”
I stared at him with my mouth opened but no, this wasn’t a figment of my imagination either. He really meant it, he really thought that he was right to ask me.
“No, you´re not.”
I turned away from him, I turned to step forward the exit. Yet, the warm hand that seized around my arm stopped me. No, actually no. It wasn’t his hand, but his silent words: “I´ll tell Jim.”
And I froze.
The name, that one name which came out of his mouth made me sober straightaway. And it was my turn now to take a deep breath as I really needed to breathe it through. Because my Uncle had been through a lot lately and the last thing, I needed was him to be worried about me. For no reason. For fucking dumb reason as I undoubtedly was dumb.
“Oh, I would,” he interrupted me without hesitation. “And I will if you don’t go with me. Go ahead, curse, I don’t care. I´ve already told you – I rather let you hate me than allow something or someone to hurt you. And that includes you too.”
I was close, I was so close to take his advice and start cursing. Instead, I had no choice just to accept his outstretched hand, let him lead me to his car and try damn hard to ignore the charming smile that appeared on his face.
I knew he was right.
I knew I should eat something. I knew that my inappetence didn’t necessarily mean that I should starve. I knew I was dumb and stubborn, and I hated that. And I knew that I would be even more stupid and stubborn if I was protesting or defying right now.
But… I noticed it, I realized it. Now, as I sat down in a booth for two in a small, cozy pizzeria - as I sat down opposite my demon, the boy who used to be my best friend, the boy who messed up with my head only to make me fall in love with him, suddenly, there were too delicious smells around me.
He broke the silence which hung between us since we got in his car, and it surprised me. It did as I couldn’t shake off the impression that he was being careful, too careful around me. Like he needed to think through first, what he wanted to tell me. Yes, it did surprise me enough to look at him.
The concern was back, it dominated his expression again. He was staring at me, he was studying me, making my urge to hide somewhere unbearable. I must have looked horrible just as I´d looked horrible for the past two weeks. But my demon let his eyes fixed on me.
“I´m begging you, please…” And he really was, I could hear it from the tone of his voice. “Are you alright? Tell me. Should I be worried about you?”
My gaze fell upon the table between us as I wasn’t able to face the fear that reflected in his face now. I wanted to snort, I wanted to hiss that he didn’t need to care just as he hadn’t cared since the ice-cold February night. But I forgot about all my rebukes when I felt the gently touch on my hand. He run with his fingers through mine only to entwine them. Only to wake up the strange electricity that started crawling down my spine.
“No,” I sighed instead of growling. “You don’t need to worry. I simply lacked appetite. That´s all. I know it was foolish of me.”
His whole body relaxed as if a huge load was taken of his mind. And I didn’t get it, I didn’t get him. I didn’t get myself and most of all, I didn’t get why I let him play with my fingers and didn’t pull my hand back.
I wasn’t even sure if I should be relieved when the waiter brought us pizza. Eric let go of me, that was good, indeed. That I had to eat it – not so much. My stomach was still upset, I was kind of scared what filling it might do to my gag reflex. As a matter of fact, I managed to stare at the pizza longer than he did.
He exhaled, shaking his head. And then I just watched as he grabbed cutlery, cut a piece of it, and rose the fork to my mouth. “C´mon Dove,” he said, amused: “one for Jim.”
And I… I burst out laughing.
I didn’t hold it in. Out of the blue, the need to laugh literally overwhelmed me. Because he looked so damn cute. Because this all was simply funny. He joined me, he burst into a guffaw too and for the first time in past two weeks, my body relaxed as well.
I took the fork from him; I complied his wish and put the piece of pizza in my mouth. And all of a sudden, the melting cheese touching my taste buds gave me a new meaning of life.
Did I really want to deprive myself of this?
I immediately reached for the whole slice and bit again. And again. And again. And I couldn’t stop. Suddenly, I didn’t understand how I couldn’t have eaten for several days. What the hell made me not eat.
Or… on the contrary, what made me eat again.
I looked at my demon in front of me.
He was watching me, still quite amused. The light smile on his lips was telling me all about the fun he was having right now. And I couldn’t ignore the quiet voice inside me which kept whispering that it was because of him.
The calm, the safety which his embrace had already offered me once today, I didn’t feel them since we decided to make peace. Since we became strangers. But that was different now.
The corners of his lips widened more and more, making me lose myself. Really, I swear I was lost. And found myself somewhere on cloud 9.
“You´re stuffing yourself like a 400-pound guy,” he dissolved into laughter again. “But I like it. Actually it´s pretty hot.”
“This?” My eyebrows shot up to the heavenly heights. I had to ask despite of my full mouth. “You find this hot? Really?”
The damn hot envoy from hell burst into guffaw again and I simply couldn’t stop gawking at him. I couldn’t get enough of him. I couldn’t decide. Whether I felt so awesome because of the extra delicious pizza, or whether it was because of the boy who was sitting opposite me.
They were back, the sparks ignited in his eyes, they grew bigger until I saw lively flames dancing in his irises as he was returning my gaze. And it felt like before. Before Christmas, before Leroy, before his ex-girlfriend. Out of the blue, I felt as if it was November last year again.
“Do you think that Romeo would give up if Juliet turned him down?” he asked, forcing me to chuckle.
“Oh, you´ve just ruined the point of the story. You know that right?” I winked at him. “Shakespeare must be turning in his grave right now.”
I told him the same thing he´d once told me and took another bite. Yet, I stiffened a little bit as soon as I realized that he was waiting for me to actually answer him.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged casually. Because I didn’t know it. “He was fifteen years old. Which means he was pretty crazy. And according to Shakespear, Juliet was his right one. So no, I think, he wouldn’t give up.”
Something flashed in his eyes, I was sure I saw it. A hint of seriousness that warned me. That told me to prepare myself for one of his typical confusing questions.
“Would you give up of something which your entirely existence depends on?”
Here we go.
“No, most probably not,” I shrugged the second time. I didn’t want to be serious again. Not now, not with him. “What about themes that normal teenagers talk about?”
I made him laugh, he laughed heartily but then it looked like he got lost in his thought as if he wanted to comply me a come up with something.
“I finished The Little Prince for perhaps the thousandth time this weekend,” he said eventually.
Neither could I suppress the smile; the biggest one I was able to conjure up with pizza in my mouth. I loved the book with all my heart!
“I love the story,” he added as if he could read my mind.
I rather swallowed before I would manage to suffocate myself only by looking at the cute expression on his face.
“Well,” I sighed, “I’m not surprised at all that we understand each other so well.”
I wanted to let him know that I felt about Exupéry the same way. That I shared the same admiration for his work. But I got stuck.
Because it dawned on me.
I realized what I´d just said.
I froze, I stopped chewing, I perceived each passing second too vividly when my demon only kept watching me silently. My brain must have replayed my words like million times in my head, before the boy who held my heart in his hands smiled.
Holy crap, he smiled charmingly!
“You´re my soulmate, Dove,” he whispered. “I was never surprised that we understand each so well.”
Something tender grew in his eyes and in that one damn moment, I just knew. I simply knew that there really was no way I could save myself from the demon in front of me.
Did he truly mean it?
Even now? After he forgot about me?
Why is he telling me such things then?
“You know, I´m pretty curious what you understand under the term soulmate.” I failed to suppress the urge to ask. Because I wanted to know. Because I was dying to know how he saw me.
He let his gaze drop; my demon stopped looking at me as if he was thinking. As if he was searching for the right words. And I don’t know, maybe I got scared that he didn’t even know what he was talking about.
But the boy rose his captivating gaze again to imprison me in it.
“Soulmate is someone who gets the best out of you. Someone who makes you complete. Someone who will make you be the most you that you can possibly be. And for me, it has always been you.”
I’d rather took another bite.
I’d rather looked away.
I didn’t want him to know what his confession had done to me. Because it had. Because he still had the power to throw me off balance.
And this? All that he had just said?
It was fucking beautiful.
“What´s your favorite part from The Little Prince?” I tried to hide my embarrassment with another question. But the smile on my demon´s divine lips clearly told me how my attempt sucked.
“It means to establish ties.” He answered me anyway. “I like the part with the fox.”
I smiled too, grateful that he wasn’t trying to disconcert me even more. Or at least I thought so. I probably wouldn’t have stopped smiling if he had remained silent. If he hadn’t kept talking.
He did it. He broke the short silence between us as he rested his chin against his hand. He pierced me with his burning eyes, reciting his favorite part for me:
“To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…”***
It all ceased to exist, the world around me disappeared. The heat in my chest grew only to burn my heart in unendurable way. The moment I realized it.
My demon was talking about the two of us.
He captured me in his gaze, and I could read it all in his eyes. All about the sadness they were suddenly reflecting.
“That was my fall, Dove. That’s how I felt every day when I was about to meet you,” he whispered. “It´s my favorite part because it reminds me of you.”
That burning heat spread like an electricity to every corner of my body. My hands slacked. My lungs were collapsing, longing for the air. But they couldn’t get it anyway. My brain was smashed to pieces, and I didn’t stop those two tears from streaming down my cheeks.
“What´s your favorite part?” he asked in return as he reached out his hand to wipe the wet path off my face.
“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose…”*** I gave him his answer too.
His shoulders dropped as if the huge load was back. He lowered his head and closed his mesmerizing eyes for a second. And I wished he would keep them closed so their shine would never hurt me again. But he looked at me again.
“I’m responsible for my rose,” his voice broke as he repeated after me.
Yes, it was indeed a beautiful story.
Of the little prince and his fox.
Not of me and Eric.
Not of me and my demon.
Not when he let me go, not when he didn’t miss me.
I wasn’t unique in all the world for him.
“I remember the first time I read the book,” I blinked few times, trying to suppress more tears. To suppress whatever the feeling was that wanted to tear my chest apart now. I really needed to talk about something else.
“My Dad built me a blanket fort; you know?” It was a rather weak attempt to laughter on my part. “I loved to hide there, and reading The Little Prince, I really lost myself in its story. My mom had to come check on me now and then to see if I still was alive.”
And now, all of a sudden, one look in the demon’s eyes was enough for me to be dying. Now, suddenly, being with him became unbearable to me.
“I’m not hungry anymore,” I let my gaze fall upon the other three slices of pizza. “I ate more than a half. Please don’t make me eat anymore, I swear my stomach is about to explode. Can I go home now?”
It all changed.
Those lively flames in his eyes went out, I was forced to face his desperate face. As if the rest of life abandoned him, my demon only exhaled, defeated: “Alright, Princess. I´ll drive you home.”
I wasn’t ready for that.
I mean, I really wanted to go home before my heart would burn to the ground. Yet, when he turned onto the last street and I spotted Jim´s house at its end, I must have admitted to myself that I wasn’t ready for our farewell.
And I didn’t have time to prepare myself for saying goodbye to him as well.
He stopped the engine in front of my uncle’s house, and I could only wish to be able to at least move. I stared at the dashboard as I couldn’t look at him. He was silent, he remained silent, yet I felt it, I simply knew. That he wanted to say something.
It was an incredibly nice afternoon I spent with him, and I subconsciously waited for something to go wrong.
“Thank you,” I whispered, “for taking care of me.”
I had to tell him, he had to hear it. And he smiled beautifully at me when I dared to face him again. And at that moment, I knew that I needed to go away. Far away from him, from his closeness, from his whole captivating personality.
I managed to smile too, I reached out to open the door. My gaze slid to my backpack, and I grabbed it.
“I miss you, Dove.”
Our neighbor Rony pulled a load of ads out of his mailbox only to throw them in the trash right after. The sun was still shining outside, giving me hope that a nice weekend was ahead of me. Blue sky, my backpack next to my feet, the dashboard in front of me, my hand hanging in the air. And if there was one piece left that held my heart together, he just torn it apart.
“I need to talk to you; I just need to fucking talk to you. About anything. Just literally talk to you. I could lie next to you and spoon you and not say a single thing, and yet I would be the happiest son of a bitch on the planet. And instead, all I have is the consolation that we are at least under the same sky.”
The dashboard, there it was, I saw it, it was still in front of me. In his car, in the same car I was sitting in now. Next to him, next to my demon, who was watching me. And I wasn’t able to look him in the eye. To say anything. To react somehow.
Because of the complete darkness in my head.
Eric, do you even know what it is like to really miss someone?
Does only the very thought of me wake you up in the morning, too?
Can´t you also sleep at night because I’m not with you?
Do you know how much it hurts to breathe? How torturous can every damn second of the day be?
“I miss you too, Eric.”
My brain didn’t control my mouth, nor could it stop that. I spoke out those words aloud. The words that were coming straight from the deepest corner of my heart. Of the biggest stupid traitor which now laughed happily in my chest despite of being on the verge of bleeding.
Rony went inside, no cloud in the sky, my backpack with all my stuff, the fucking dashboard in front of me, no oxygen to survive… I…
I had to go.
I’d never taken such big steps in my life as now when I needed to get to Jim’s front door. It looked like my last hope of salvation. Like it could help me hide from all my feelings. From my demon, from a real demon. Because I didn’t want to lose another piece of my heart. Because I had to defend what was left of it. Because what he´d said couldn’t be true.
He wouldn’t have ignored me; he wouldn’t have forgotten me. He would have searched for me instead. He would have longed for me just as I longed for him. And I did, I craved him, I begged, I turned into a mummy. While he was leaving school with his ex-girlfriend.
I hurried to the front door as I was truly scared that he would make me believe him. I was more than sure that my hemispheres would replay me his words like another thousand times.
I almost run to Jim´s house, convinced that nothing could stop me. But his voice managed to do so.
“What should I do to make you stop hating me?”
I stopped, he forced me stop and turn just to see him standing on the pavement in front of me. I had no idea when or how he got there but he was really standing in front of me. I had no chance to escape anymore but I didn’t care either. My urge to get away from him suddenly disappeared when the despair in his face robbed me of all my free will.
“I don’t hate you,” I muttered, totally confused. “I could never hate you.”
He took a deep breath, shook his head, yet nothing changed in his expression. “Dove, please, quit pulling my leg. False hope is gonna kill me.”
My backpack slipped out of my hand, the confusion in me grew into a colossal mess. I didn’t understand him, I didn’t understand what made him to think that I hated him. Was it because he revealed me who he truly was?
I didn’t even understand why I did it. Probably because when you want to say something honest to someone, you also want to look them in the eye. I simply shortened the distance between us, approaching him.
“I could never hate you,” I repeated, searching for his gaze. “There is nothing in the world that could make me hate you. Don’t you dare to think that again.”
He returned my gaze, he captured me with his brown eyes as if searching whether I told him the truth. Whether I meant it. But then, the corners of his lips slowly widened into a magical smile. And I… if I thought I couldn’t breathe few minutes ago, now it became only a desperate wish.
Something was wrong.
Something was fucking wrong with me.
After all, I voluntarily offered him my heart to break it.
“I gotta go,” I said subconsciously. Because it must have been my subconscious controlling my senses. As if it knew that one should protect himself against demons. And I needed to protect the foolish thing, pounding too fast in my chest.
And it must have been the desperation that crept into his expression again that I stopped thinking right after. Yes, I wasn’t thinking at all when I raised my hands and cupped his face.
“We’ll see us tomorrow, okey?” I whispered not knowing why I actually said it.
I stood on my tiptoes as he was too tall for me. Exactly, I didn’t start to think again, I didn’t realize what I was doing. And the problem was that he obeyed me. My demon bent down to me, and I kissed his forehead. Exactly the way he´d always kissed mine.
Ant then, it must have been some kind of cut-off, shut down of my brain, something.
I don’t know.
Maybe I was disconcerted by the time we spent together. Maybe it was because of his closeness. Maybe the deep breath, coming out of his chest caused it. Maybe his scent bewitched me. And maybe it was only because of him.
I don’t know why; I swear I don’t.
But as I was descending to my heels again and he raised his face to me, our lips got too close. And I pressed mine to his.
I collected myself immediately. That´s right, out of the blue, my brain turned on its circuits letting me realize what I´d just done. I pulled myself away, but it was too late. The damage was done.
Are you out of your damn mind?
Okey, alright, calm down. There´s no need to make a drama out it.
How many times have I kissed Joel like that? And he didn’t surmise anything.
It was just an innocent friendly kiss, okey? Nothing more.
Nonetheless the boy in front of me was suddenly shining. There was excitement written all over his face and only by the way he was looking at me, I could tell how much I screwed up.
“Have a nice rest of the day,” I smiled, knowing that I really had to run away now.
“You too, Princess.”
There was no sadness, no hopelessness in his expression again. I could swear I saw the wheels turning in his head. As if he came up with something as if he understood something. And I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to know. I rather turned and finally got to the front door only to close them behind me.
But my lips kept burning me.
It was pointless to lie to myself. He engraved an unforgettable imprint on them the first time he kissed me. And I couldn’t get rid of him, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So damn lost I was.
“You always come back,” he repeated, perhaps for a thousand time. “Whenever you try to escape, I don’t even have to look for you. You always come back to me.”
“What do you want from me?”
I shivered as the smile faded from his face and all that was left there was coldness and callousness. They dominated his expression; they dominated his eyes as he pressed his hand to my chest.
“Your heart,” he uttered quietly, “is mine.”
And then that unbearable pain paralyzed me.
I jumped into a sitting position, trying to get some air into my lungs. I let my hand fall down from my chest as it dawned on me again. That it was my nightmare I woke up from, just like every night for the last two weeks. I really needed to get my bearings, to realize that I was in my room, in my bed at Jim’s.
Yep, the book I was reading when I fell asleep was still lying next to me. The lamp still casted weak light. My duvet stayed wrapped around my leg in a weird way as I kicked it off again. And there was my demon sitting next to me on the bed too.
I jerked as I saw him staring at me. In an instant, the whole nightmare became a reality.
But this demon in front of me had the brownest eyes I´d ever seen. And instead of coldness and callousness, I spotted fear and concern, reflecting in them.
“Dove,” he broke the silence of the night, “are you alright? Is everything okey?”
I could literally feel the relief filling my body as I understood that this was no nightmare anymore but truly my demon looking at me. How many nights before did I desperately wish that he would come to soothe me? And now, he was really here…
What the hell…?
“Yeah, I am. I just had a bad dream,” I exhaled as my heart rate was returning to normal. As I fell back on my bed. I grabbed my phone only to find out that it was two in the morning. “What are you doing here?”
And the boy sitting next to me let his gaze drop as if he knew that he´d done something bad. “I’m sorry,” he whispered apologetically, and then he gave me his very logical reason: “I needed to see you.”
That explains everything.
Because yeah, it´s a completely normal, common thing to do at two in the morning.
Actually, I´m planning to visit Jessica tomorrow at half past two.
But one single glance at him was enough for me to lose the battle, raging within me. I didn’t have the strength, the energy to fight with the rational part of my brain anymore. I simply gave up. I turned my back on him to mechanically kick off all the things lying on the other side of my bed. I pulled a second pillow from under my head and placed it next to me. And my demon understood me.
And he didn’t hesitate either.
I didn’t dare to look at him anymore. The tiredness overwhelmed me again, that´s true. However, I was scared that the remorse would catch up with me. That I would realize what I was about to do. What I was about to allow.
But it all disappeared.
At that moment when he lay down next to me, when he covered me again and stuffed himself under the duvet too, it was all gone. The fear, the uncertainty, the bad conscience, it all vanished. And there was only the feeling of safety and peace left. Even in my half-sleep I could still feel his arms pulling me into his embrace.
*** The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry