Falling For You (Unbreakable #3)

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3.

In fact, it didn’t take a third of a nanosecond.

Until I was fully awake.

Until it dawned on me.

Where I was lying.

Why I was so hot.

Whose hands were wrapped around my belly.

In fact, it didn’t take me even a third of a nanosecond to remember what happened last night. Whom I let stay in my bed. Well… I didn’t need the damn alarm clock to be completely alive.

To perceive vividly.

I didn’t dare to move or at least open my eyes. Yet, I was pretty sure I was leaning with my back against his chest. His calm breath burned my neck, letting me realize how close his lips must have been to my face. And our legs were entangled in a weird way.

I understood that he was already awake too when he ran his fingers gently through my forearm to caress me. And he didn’t stop.

Great.

Soooo, whose idea was it, huh?

Dear heart, it was yours, right?

Shush! Save it! You don’t need to say anything! I know it was your idea!

You rather tell me now what I am supposed to do!

And my demon pulled the duvet higher to cover me with it. As if he had no idea, I was on fire right now. He brushed my hair away from my forehead, he… Goddammit! I swear he ran his nose through my shoulder only to take a deep breath. And then he laid his face next to mine again. I could feel it.

Dear Lara, can’t we keep him? Like forever? C´mon! I know you want to. With love, your heart.

He put his hand back on my arm. And drawing something on my bare skin with his fingers, his chest rose and fell against my back in the most fascinating and peaceful way. Oh, how many times had I been dreaming of it lately?

Fuck!

Before the rational part of my torn self could react, I managed to move somehow. He froze behind me, I was aware of it, and the drawing on my forearm immediately stopped. But I didn’t care.

Because there was nothing else for me at that moment, just the warmth of his embrace.

I turned to him, I simply turned to him to rest my head on his shoulder. And his whole body relaxed. He didn’t hesitate to put his hands back around me as he ran his nose this time through my face.

“Good morning, Princess,” he whispered in my ear.

And I failed to stop the quiet laugh.

“Hi Eric,” I muttered in a sleepy voice, “you’re taking me to school today.”

Oh, the light vibration of his chest, as he laughed softly too, felt incredibly nice. And the need to slide with my hands under his T-shirt almost overwhelmed me.

“You have no choice,” I warned him. “It’s only your fault that my car´s still standing at the school parking lot.”

He didn’t stop laughing, he didn’t stop sending chills down my spine as his every breath tickled my neck. “Well, what do you know, Princess! Maybe I didn’t think it through yesterday. And maybe it was my intention to make you wanna drive with me in the morning.”

What?

I couldn’t help but burst into fits of giggles. Enjoying his scent, enjoying his fingers stroking my back, I was suddenly happy. I was exhilarated, to be more precise.

Damn, we snuggled up to each other and it felt fucking amazing.

I would believe that it was just another dream, that I was still sleeping but the stupid alarm clock started ringing. It announced the end of my little euphoria, yet Eric was still there with me. I exhaled heavily before I sat down. Before I tried to sit down as my demon refused to let go of me.

Yes, it made me smile again.

“Stay here until Jim leaves,” I told him.

“In your bed, Dove?” He muttered as he sprawled out there even more. “No problem.”

And only then did I learn what temptation really looks like. However, we had to go to school which meant I had to get up. And head to the door before I would lose my mind.

“Hi honey.”

I jerked, dammit, it scared me to hear Jim’s voice as soon as I left my room. Perhaps I could only thank to all my lucky stars that I managed to close the door quickly. I had no idea how he would react to the guy in my bed, even though it was Eric. He was still the best Uncle in the world, nothing had changed about it, yet something told me he might not like it.

“Jim,” I smiled… Well, yeah, I was truly smiling. “Can I go to the bathroom?”

I realized it. Hell, I understood that I must have had a stupid dreamy look on my face when he raised his eyebrows at me.

“Sure. I´m about to leave,” the corners of his lips twitched, as he looked me up and down. “You slept well, didn’t you? You’re literally glowing.”

Perfect!

Thanks, Jimmy, thanks!

My demon didn’t need to hear it, as there was no doubt that he was the reason of it!

By the time I was ready with my morning routine, Jim was gone, and I opened the door to my room quite nervously. Just to find my demon still lounging on my bed. He sighed with displeasure as he understood what I wanted from him. “Go away, I need to get dressed.”

I saw it. Oh, it couldn’t be overlooked as he lifted the corner of those divine lips into a crooked smile. I was sure he had something on his mind, and for the sake of my mental health I couldn’t let him speak. “No, no,” I interrupted him when he opened his mouth, “I’m not negotiating. Go.”

It cost me a lot of effort not to burst into guffaw as I watched him getting out of my bed with obvious reluctance. But he obeyed, he left me alone. And as soon as I was ready, I ran downstairs to the kitchen just to find him preparing morning coffee.

“You can borrow some Jim´s T-shirt if you´d like to,” I suggested as I assumed he wouldn’t want to go to school in the one he´d slept in.

And my demon looked at me. He raised his eyes, he redirected his attention from our mugs to me, and I swear, this only one demonic gaze of his was enough for the butterflies in my stomach to wake up.

“No, Dove,” he smiled, “this one smells like you.”

He took my mug from the kitchen counter, approached me to hand it to me, making those lunatic butterflies to go insane and start to flutter. But I didn’t blame them. Not when he reached out and stroked my cheek gently with his fingers.

“Thank you,” he whispered softly.

I wasn’t sure what he thanked me for, and I was also afraid to ask. If he answered me with this gaze, he was looking at me with now, I might not be able to endure it. The brown color of his eyes that had left imprints on my soul seemed even deeper this morning. And I felt dazed again. However, the lack of food had nothing to do with it this time.

My demon fell silent, he just leaned himself against the kitchen island, saying nothing more. I didn’t know what so say either and we drank our coffee in silence. Yet it wasn’t weird which… was weird.

We didn’t talk for two weeks; we barely saw each other. Then I found him in my room at two a.m., I let him sleep in my bed, we snuggled up to each other. And none of us felt the urge to comment it.

But that was probably good.

I knew it would catch up with me, that my brain wouldn’t stop thinking about it. I could only be glad it hadn’t woken up yet. That I was still a little bit sleepy. I didn’t solve my dilemma, actually I solved nothing at all. I was still annoyed because of the last two weeks, yet this morning was really perfect for me to want to ruin it somehow.

And he?

There was breathtaking calm, hovering around him, shining from every part of his body. I saw that he was contented. I had the impression as if his mind found peace. But I also had the impression as if he was thinking about something.

Well... I wasn’t wrong.

“What would you like to have for a breakfast?” He interrupted my thoughts with the only question that could make me frown this morning.

“There’s nothing in the fridge,” I shrugged, telling the truth. A long shift was awaiting my uncle, he supposed to come home tomorrow morning. I knew I wouldn’t have to cook which meant I hadn’t been shopping. “I promise to buy something at school and eat.”

Of course, he checked it. I was just wondering what occurred to him when he looked into it and sighed, defeated.

“Alright, Princess,” he smiled but it wasn’t a happy smile, “then let´s go.”

It surprised me.

I surprised me a lot as it was quite early for us to leave. I won´t lie, the thought crossed my mind. That he simply regretted sneaking through my window in the night. That he wanted to leave as soon as possible. I almost suggested him to go ahead, to not care about me. I could walk after all. But I was also too lazy, and he was to blame for not having my car.

It didn’t take me long to understand his intentions. We left sooner because my demon wanted to stop by the little café near the grocery shop. Okey, fine, it surprised me even more as we already had one coffee like ten minutes ago. However, he returned to the car in two minutes and a paper bag with freshly baked croissants landed on my lap.

“Thanks, Dad,” I hissed, only making him burst out laughing. And I suddenly couldn’t decide whether I wanted to punch him or kiss him. Or punch and then kiss him. Once again, my split personality didn’t know whether I should love him for taking care of me, for making sure I would have something to eat. Or whether I should get upset because he was poking his nose into something that wasn’t his business in the first place.

“Eat your breakfast, Princess, okey?” He said to me with a plea in his eyes as we reached the front door of the school building, and it was time to say goodbye. “Do it for me, would you?”

Maybe I wanted to tell him something ironic, something pretty sarcastic, but the gentle kiss on my forehead undoubtedly suffocated all the words coming from my mouth.

“I’ll see you later,” he smiled.

And then I made the biggest mistake I could have made.

I believed him.

I honestly believed that he´d meant it, that he wanted to see me later. At first, I thought he would stop by. Then, willy-nilly, I searched for him in the corridors of the school as I was heading to my classes. But he was nowhere to be found. And finally, the moment came. That one damn moment when I realized how pathetic I was.

And out of the blue, my apathy returned.

I felt as if the last twenty-four hours were just a dream I´d had. As if it hadn’t happened at all. To survive the last class was a great challenge for me and then I just ran away. I ran home as fast as I could, but it didn’t help me forget.

Because my fucking bed, the duvets remained scattered. And one, the only one memory of him pulling me closer in the morning was enough for those huge tears to start falling down my face. But I deserved their bitter taste. I deserved it all, all the pain that overwhelmed me.

Because I allowed it, because I voluntarily let him in.

All my effort was useless. If I managed to get used to the fact that he wasn’t a part of my life anymore, now, it was gone.

I cried; I cried a lot. I even pulled his teddy bear out of the deepest corner of my closet. And with it in my arms, I fell asleep so I could recharge the energy I was missing because I´d ignored lunch once again.

***

“Lara, I’m in a big trouble,” Jess said to me with a frightened face. “Kyle wants me to meet his mom!”

I was quite happy when she´d called me and asked me to go out with her. It was definitely a better idea than staying home alone.

Actually, I was very happy when we ended at Bill’s. I needed to think about something completely different than was my bleeding heart and watching her drink a large beer in one go, was definitely a spectacle. But I didn’t blame her, its taste was exceptionally good today.

“Laraaa, what if she doesn’t like me?”

I burst out laughing because she looked like as if an asteroid was hurtling to hit the Earth at the very moment. Yes, at first, I didn’t understand why she was making such a big deal of it. It was a clear evidence that Kyle liked her, that he wanted to take their relationship a step further. But Jessica explained to me very quickly that his mother was quite exacting, and my best friend was simply afraid of their first encounter. Because she wanted to impress her.

The way she kept throwing her hands expansively, her indignation, even her hysterical outbursts made me laugh until my mouth ached. Or maybe it was the third beer that made me so cheerful. However, I managed to calm her down only when I promised her that once they pick a concrete date for a family dinner, we would go shopping and make the most beautiful and sophisticated girlfriend out of her.

No, I didn’t have the heart to warn her that I didn’t know much about stuff like that. Because I’d never dealt with anything like that before. I grew up surrounded by… well, nicely said, piglets.

I won’t lie, I admit, the thought crept into my head. I thought of a person who could help her, someone who literally indulged in these things. But I also had no idea how Tamara would react to my plea.

If I spotted her brother rarely, for her it was almost never. Even though she always treated me kindly, I had no idea whether she was involved in all the conflicts between me and my demon. She was his sister; it was expectable that she would take his side. I also always took his side, especially when I was fighting with myself.

Damn!

Why do I always end up thinking about him?

I decided to leave this option open, not to say anything to Jessica yet, and I rather ordered another beer. Unfortunately, Jess couldn’t stay any longer. I couldn’t blame her as she had to finish some kind of an essay. At that moment, I was quite grateful that we didn’t share history classes together.

I didn’t want to go home yet.

My blood alcohol level was already increased and suddenly, all the colors were richer. Somebody managed to load the jukebox with a million great songs, Bill was too talkative, and Dereck kept smiling at me. And all demons lived somewhere on another planet. Faaaaar, far away from here.

I wanted to have fun.

I assured Jessica that I would be fine. That I wouldn’t stay long. But when a white Russian landed on the bar in front of me, I realized it might have been a bit of a lie. I had nowhere to hurry, except for reality. Jim was working, there was just an empty house awaiting me. And a bed full of memories of Eric.

Fuck, Lara! Stop it!

The pub was half empty on Thursday night, I could enjoy the attention of the owner himself. At first, he rebuked me for not showing up for a long time, but I was more than willing to make it up to him now. However, he narrowed his eyes at me, looking a little amused when I was beginning to speak thickly.

“My dear girl, is everything okay?” He finally asked softly but I didn’t overhear the worry in his voice.

“Sure,” I winked at him. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

He studied me carefully for a while, and I maybe began to sweat as it suddenly dawned on me. What he was referring to.

“I’m just surprised to see you alone,” he confirmed my worst suspicion. “Where´s Eric? He’s always been watching over you.”

C´mon!

I came here to forget!

“Oh,” I throwed my hands casually, trying to cover up the stab I felt around my heart. “We had a few disagreements, but we´re already good. Besides, Jessica asked me to go out with her. Chick chat you know. No room for boys.”

He smiled at me, but I saw the recognition in his eyes. He understood, he understood very well that the Eric-topic was taboo. And I probably felt a little relieved when he had to go pour a beer for some guy at the other side of bar counter. He was like my grandpa, he cared for me, and I really appreciated it. However, I appreciated it a little less when I noticed that he was checking over the number of glasses I´d already drunken.

Thank heavens, his son didn’t.

I liked the way Dereck always stopped by and filled my glass when empty. And I must admit, he mixed the Russians excellently. With the crooked smile he always placed my drink in front of me, I easily got the impression that he was hitting on me. And the more drunk I was, the less it bothered me.

I always recognized the moment when I had enough. But the problem was that it usually involved my full stomach. Now that I hadn’t eaten anything again, my boundary had shifted, and having no idea how, I´d crossed it. I just realized that if I didn’t stop drinking, I wouldn’t get up and probably start to see twice.

I pulled my phone out of my pocket and began to pray that Jim was still awake so he could pick me up. I was even willing to bear a few of his remorse, only when I wouldn’t have to walk in this state, at this hour.

“Sweetheart, how do you get home?” Bill’s worried voice interrupted me from my attempts to focus on the little letters on my screen. “Shouldn’t Dereck drive you?”

“I’m already calling Jim,” I smiled, showing him the phone. Well, he actually had a right to be worried as it almost fell out of my hand.

“Well, he’s gonna scold me!” my favorite old man chuckled, returning to his customers.

I opened my favorite contacts as I gave up trying to find Jim’s name in the long list. It was simply too complicated for me at the time, and I needed to prepare myself for him not being excited about me calling. He picked it up almost immediately.

“Hello,” I heard on the other side. Yet, something was wrong.

“You’re not Jim,” I exhaled heavily as I recognized the voice.

Shit!

My demon burst out laughing, and I immediately began to apologize with my head in my hand. “Eric, I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I wanted to call Jim; I must have tapped on your name. I still have your number saved in my favorite contacts? Why do I still have your number saved in my favorite contacts? Haven’t I deleted it yet? I’ll delete it, I’ll delete it now, I promise.”

I was aware of how stupid my blabbering sounded. And the alcohol - now circulating in my veins instead of blood - only multiplied my embarrassment ten thousand times.

“It’s okay, Dove,” he replied. “Although I must admit, I´m a little disappointed that you aren’t looking for me.”

Really?

“Hey pretty girl, is Jim coming for you?” Dereck´s voice distracted me, and I looked at him as it took me a moment to process his words. “´Cause I´m at your service.”

I burst into a guffaw as he bowed formally, and I might not have stopped smiling if the fact that I was still holding my phone to my ear hadn’t brought me back to reality.

“Where is Jim supposed to come for you?” I heard Eric ask suddenly in a tense voice.

“Don’t worry about it, Eric, I …,”

“Your uncle is at work, Dove,” he interrupted me sharply. “Where is he supposed to come for you?”

Oh!

Fuck!

“Damn,” I sighed defeated as my head dropped to my palm again, “I totally forgot about it.”

But I immediately look ahead again, searching for Dereck to accept his offer. But the boy had already disappeared somewhere as he saw that I was having a call.

“Lara, where the hell are you?”

Uhm.

Excuse me?

I straightened up when I heard how angry his voice sounded in an instant. Hell no, it almost lifted me out of the bar stool. As if he had the right to ask me at all!

“That´s none of your business, Sweetheart,” I whispered.

Because it wasn’t.

He didn’t care the last two weeks; he didn’t have to start caring now.

Why the fuck am I still talking to him?

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bother. Have a nice evening.”

I hung up the phone as there was nothing else, I wanted to tell him or hear from him. But I didn’t even have time to put it back on the counter when it started ringing. And I seriously have no idea why I answered it.

“What do you want?” I snapped at him.

“Did you just call me Sweetheart?”

Wha…?

Oh!

Really, Lara? Really?

He threw me off balance, and I couldn’t tell whether he was amused or upset. And maybe I would have thought about it, maybe I would have tried to weasel out of this if my drunk mind hadn’t been occupied by lovely melody coming from the jukebox. A heartbreaking melody that had the power to get me to my knees that night.

Holy mackerel!

Maybe I haven’t cried enough today!

“Yeah, I did,” I replied to Eric and then I turned searching for the person who was responsible for playing this song.

And I saw Dereck, coming in my way with a boyish smile.

“November Rain?” I frowned at him. “Seriously? A ballad?”

“Lara, you’re drunk,” my demon’s voice took on a pretty pissed tone. But who cared! The demons could only break your heart anyway.

“Especially for you, Pretty girl,” Dereck interrupted my truly meaningful conversation with Eric. He reached out his hand for me as he approached me: “Dance with me.”

And I couldn’t overhear the sharp breath my demon took.

This was just too much for me, I needed to cut one of them off. And I didn’t think twice about which one it would be. I laughed as well, I burst out laughing as Dereck made a weird pirouette.

“No, Eric, I’m not drunk,” I kept giggling as I was unable to stop. “I’m totally wasted. And now, if you would excuse me, I have to go dancing. Thanks for the chat though. I´ll see you again sometime in two weeks. Bye.”

The phone ended up in my bag so it couldn’t disturb me anymore, and I ended up in Dereck’s embrace.

He wrapped his arms around me, and I laid my head on his shoulder as I let him lead me. And it felt nice, it did, I felt nice…, but…

He had wide shoulders and his embrace was warm. He smelled good, actually quite hot. And I was fine, fine enough not to complain when he rested his face against my hair. My head was spinning, I preferred to close my eyes, but I still couldn’t help but think.

That this felt completely differently.

Despite of my inward protest, it occurred to me that Eric’s shoulders were wider. That when he wrapped his arms around me, he completely hid me in his embrace. It occurred to me that his touch could burn me, and his scent was driving me crazy. And I couldn’t do away with the desire for him to hold me now.

We danced in the rhythm of the ballad. My vision slowly blurred, but I still felt it. That Dereck’s hands disappeared from my back, that he pulled away from me a little. I found it weird, too weird not to react. I looked at him, but he didn’t return my attention. Instead, he was staring somewhere behind me. A bad premonition overwhelmed me, and I turned very slowly.

Just to find my demon standing there with his arms crossed on his chest and watching Dereck’s every move with a murderous look.

“Perfect,” I sighed heavily. “The fun´s over.”

How…?

How is this even possible?

Did he really find me in six minutes?

And those demonic eyes rested on me. I swear I spotted amused sparks flickering in his irises. And I didn’t miss the corners of his lips twitching as well.

“I’m taking you home,” he told me. Like I was lost, and he was doing me a favor.

I took a breath to hiss something pretty juicy. However, I wasn’t so fast. “Don’t even bother to protest, Dove,” he said, grinning. “It won’t help you. Say goodbye.”

Yep, I wasn’t so fast, and he didn’t give me a chance either as he headed straight to the bar, to Bill.

“Did you withdraw because of him?” I turned back to Dereck, shaking my head. I felt nice with him. Already when I met him for the first time, I had the impression that he seemed like a perfect buddy to enjoy a beer with. And I wasn’t wrong. I didn’t want him to stop talking to me because of my demon.

“I’m sorry, Hon, but the boy scares me sometimes,” he smiled embarrassed and just kissed my hand. “Thank you for the dance. And stop by more often, okey?”

I dissolved into laughter at his statement, and I also wanted to tell him something. But the hand which wrapped around my back, and pulled me away from him, prevented me from doing so.

“Bye, Dereck,” Eric said it instead of me, leading me to exit. Fortunately, I heard him answer and laugh.

“Hey, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” I scolded my captor. However, the attempt to free myself out of his grasp failed. “My bag´s still there, and I want to say goodbye to the old man. And I have to pay my bill!”

But my demon just led me further as if I was a small child. As if he didn’t see my efforts to dislocate his shoulder at all. He raised his hand only to make me realize that he was holding my bag. And then he calmly told me: “The old man says that he loves you and you should get a good sleep. And come back sometime soon. And the bill is paid.”

In an instant, hearing his words, I suddenly raged, turning sharply to face him: “Dammit, Eric!”

I wanted to shout at him at least for the paid bill, but he grabbed his chest with his hand and looked at me huffily: “What? No Sweetheart anymore?”

And just like that, my rage disappeared, and I became tamed.

I was pretty embarrassed.

“You won´t stop reminding me that, will you?” I asked quietly, expecting the worst.

“No, I won´t,” he burst out laughing at my expression, but he didn’t hesitate to put his hands on my waist again and drag me to his car. “I could get used to it.”

I interrupted his laughter with my punch into his chest.

Well…

No.

In fact, I didn’t interrupt anything.

He laughed even more.

And to complete my embarrassment, I climbed the stairs only thanks to his support. He helped me to get in the car and then nothing. That was all I remember.

***

It was grass I felt under my palm.

Soft, young, smooth, I suddenly couldn’t get enough of touching it with my fingers. Of stroking each of its stalks. As if I was lying on an absolutely perfect carpet.

I heard it; I heard the melody playing for me from somewhere. So sweet that my heart sang along with it. A wonderful song that caressed my ears, and I never wanted to stop listening to it.

Moi je n’étais rien et voilà qu’aujourd’hui, Je suis le gardien du sommeil de ses nuits.

The sun gently caressed my face with its rays, a tender breeze was playing with my hair. Even the air smelled differently, more delicious. I couldn’t open my eyes yet; I was afraid that this little paradise of mine would end. I realized that I was lying but that was all. Then there was nothing left but my lovely melody.

I used to be nothing but here I am now, watching over the sleep of her nights.

My own heaven, I knew it was heaven where I was. And I enjoyed it until I registered a slight movement next to me.

I opened my eyes only to spot it. Only to let my breath to be taken away. I was lying on the cliff, the same cliff where Eric had taken me to in November. Exactly the same place where I first admitted to myself how much I had fallen for him. Everything seemed so familiar. The rocks, the sea, the sky. Still so hauntingly beautiful, yet I didn’t have time to enjoy it anymore.

Because my demon was lying next to me, and he could manage to rob me of all the oxygen in my lungs in much precise way.

I smiled at him, suddenly feeling happy that he was here with me. But he just frown.

“Why are you frowning?” I asked. I had to know so I could drive away those clouds from his eyes. “It doesn’t suit you.”

He released his eyebrows only to raise them and I found myself captured in his intense gaze. “You suit me, Princess.”

I laughed but he still remained serious.

“I’m frowning because you’re too far away. I´m done with this silence.”

It was my turn to raise my eyebrows as I didn’t quite understand what he meant. It could have been ten inches that divided us. And if this bothered him, damn, I had no problem to pull myself closer to him.

He opened his arms for me, and the calm his embrace radiated, immediately engulfed me. Right after he wrapped his arms around me. And my melody kept playing.

She’s erased the numbers on the clocks around here. She’s made of my life.

And only then it dawned on me that he could have meant a completely different kind of distance. I myself missed him desperately much after all.

“Why is it so hard?” I asked. Who else would know the answer if not he? “To stay away from you?”

My demon’s chest fell as he exhaled heavily. As he kissed my forehead gently. As he spoke softly: “Do you remember this place?”

I nodded, unable not to look at the bracelet he was still wearing. One word engraved there, one bound that had grown between us.

“When you were here with me, and I looked at you,” he whispered, “it was like my enlightenment, Princess. I looked at you and then there was something inside me, something that immediately asked – Where have you been for so long? I’m already waiting for you.”

I took a deep breath. The unbearable urge to tell him what he meant to me almost overwhelmed me. But he didn’t let me.

“We cannot be apart, Dove,” he answered my question. “That´s not what soulmates are made for.”

And I understood.

Suddenly it was clear to me what was pulling me so hard towards him. What bound me to him, that I would never be able to let him go.

And my melody was still there with us.

She does her best to live her opaline dream. She dances through the forests she draws.

I looked at him, at my demon, I saw the tenderness in his eyes. I felt the warm of his embrace, and he was holding me as if I was the most precious thing, he could ever hold.

“Why me?” The question simply slipped out of my mouth. The way he was staring at me made me ask. Exactly the way which made me swear to be forever his.

And he sighed again. Out of the blue, his face took on a confused look. As if he didn’t understand how I could have asked something like that. As if I was missing the most obvious fact in the world.

“Do you even realize,” he said, shaking his head softly, “how beautiful you are to me?”

He pulled himself even closer just to run with his nose through my nose. And maybe it wasn’t enough for him as he raised his hand and hugged my cheek, making me face him.

And my melody kept playing there.

She’s built bridges between us and heaven. And we go across them each time she doesn’t want to sleep.

“It felt as if everything around me died,” he muttered. “As if the world around me stopped making sense. Everything that mattered to me suddenly disappeared. The point of my whole existence simply changed.”

And I stopped breathing.

“And then there were only you, Princess,” he added quietly.

I wanted to lift my head up, I really needed to look at him properly. But I couldn’t.

“Eric, I’d love to kiss you right now…,”

But I really couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even move as the nasty pain inundated my whole body.

My head, my chest, my stomach, even my fingertips ached. Yet, there was more cruel feeling, overwhelming me. I wanted it back. I wanted my melody, I wanted the cliff, I wanted my demon. I wanted to return to my dream.

This was a damn obnoxious awakening.

I felt warm, yes, because there was something draped over me. But I wasn’t lying in my bed. I was sitting on something firm and soft at the same time, and my head suddenly seemed too heavy. The fatigue overpowered me, I felt arid, and at that moment I was quite sure that I wanted to die. Because even death had to be more pleasant.

Only when I moved did I notice those arms being wrapped around me. Also, that the heat didn’t radiate from the blanket that was covering me. I jerked, I startled as I couldn’t remember anything from the night before. But the scent that hit me in the nostrils immediately made me feel safe.

“Dove, how do you feel?” He asked quietly. I guess it was his fingers that gently stroked my arm.

And that moment came.

Exactly the one when I realized.

When I realized it all.

I was sitting in his arms.

Half naked.

Suddenly my skin burned, I swear, it simply burned.

“I want to sleep,” I said. Or someone else said it, as I didn’t recognize my voice at all.

He laughed softly; his breath tickled my neck. Or it could have been his lips as he pressed them to its curve. “How are you feeling?” he asked again. “Can I take you to bed? Are you able to handle a horizontal position?”

I heard the slightly amused tone coming from his voice, but I could only nod. And that was my greatest effort, I didn’t have the energy for doing or saying more.

He put one arm around my back and inserted the second one under my knees. And then he lifted me up. And that finally made me open my eyes.

The dark brown tiles seemed so familiar to me. After all, I always studied them while showering.

Oh…

Damn!

Are we in the bathroom?

What are we doing in the bathroom?!

No….

Please!

Please, I pray it’s not what I think it is!

But the bad premonition didn’t simply leave me, it didn’t disappear.

I felt grateful to him for helping me, I really did as I was unable to even move. And he carried me to my bed. But when he pulled away the blanket, covering my body to cover me with a duvet instead, I couldn’t overlook it.

“Why am I wearing only my bra?”

And my demon burst into a loud guffaw: “You threw up, Dove. A lot. Trust me, you would not want to stay in your T-shirt.”

Fuck!

No!

Has he been here the whole time?

Has he been here when I was…?

Noooo!

Did he undress me?

I needed to focus on something else, just so I wouldn’t feel so embarrassed. I didn’t even want to think about it. And there it was, a proper distraction offered itself to me on a silver plate as soon as my vision sharpened.

“And why are you half-naked?” I looked him up und down. With my narrowed and pretty suspicious gaze.

“You were cold,” he shrugged casually. A second later, his shoulders began to shake with quiet laughter again. Most probably because of the look on my face. “A direct body-to-body contact. Have you never heard of it?”

Huh?

A crooked smile appeared on his face. And it didn’t vanish as he lay down next to me. I knew I was in a big trouble when he pierced me with his suddenly too shining eyes in a way that melted my brain. Oh, yeah, that useless thing in my head was already turning into porridge, and my demon finished me completely.

“Do you not trust me?” He asked, raising an eyebrow.

I didn’t know what to say, what to answer. I was only in my bra, and he had no T-shirt. The fact that we both were still wearing our jeans was my only evidence that I didn’t miss anything.

Not that I didn’t believe him.

I didn’t believe myself.

Myself and alcohol.

And my demon leaned to me. He wasn’t waiting for my answer, he probably knew that I wasn’t able to say something anyway. He totally knocked out my heart rate as he slowly ran with his lips through my neck and stopped at my ear.

“If…” he whispered softly into it but then he got stuck. Hell, he got stuck for a brief second only to correct himself right away. “When I´m gonna be undressing you out of the reasons you´re thinking of now, Princess, it will be in your full consciousness.”

I snorted.

Twice.

Just to be sure that he would hear it.

Just to hide what his words did to me.

Because they did. I suddenly needed no duvet anymore as my whole body was on fire.

I turned away from him. I closed my eyes, clenched my fists in attempt not to perceive his quiet chuckle. His whole damn captivating demonic charisma.

“There´s painkillers on your bedside table,” I heard him suppress another laugh behind me. Yet, he failed again, he burst into guffaw when he had to help me to take them.

And the last thing I know, his arms lulled me to sleep again.

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