Just one more hit! One more! Come on, you over-sized lizard, die!
I blasted magic at the bastard, but he wouldn’t even budge, and I was running out of spell slots. Weapons were of no fucking use, either.
I was so absorbed in the game, granted my senses were still slightly off, the high volume messed with my hearing, so I wasn’t sure if there was a knock on my door or did I imagine it.
Frowning, I turned off the volume, bounding for the door. The moment I stepped into the foyer, I froze. A scent I became so accustomed to, drifted from the other side. The one that haunted my every waking hour and as of late every night, too. The one I didn’t, I couldn’t stay away from, but mixed with another familiar scent.
Frown deepening, heart rate picking up speed, I was about to open the door when a familiar voice asked, “Are you sure this is okay? He could be asleep, he must be exhausted. See, he’s not opening the door. Let’s go, okay?”
“Wow Doll... uh.. T… that’s so sweet, but don’t worry, we won’t bother him. Trust me.” Luca cajoled.
“But...like won’t we also upset his family since we showed up unannounced?” Tara asked. “Huh? Oh, well, his mom... she’s gone…. But the Alpha...”
Stunned, my stomach bottomed out... Did he say Alpha? Dear Gods, this moron!
I could hear the exact moment the idiot’s gray cells caught up with his stupid mouth as his voice wobbled, and he covered his blunder with a clearing of his throat, promptly choking on his spit. Please die and save us all from your stupidity!
“...Male. Alpha male, you know, the head of the house,” he laughed, nerves cracking like fireworks as he added, “Nah, he isn’t here. Philip lives alone. The two don’t really see eye to eye, his dad and him, because the... the… his father…” I opened the door abruptly, promptly shutting down the idiot about to blab about my whole family history and who knows what else, eliciting a tiny squeak from Tara.
“Ah! Here is our favorite patient!” Luca smiled widely, relief obvious in his tone, but my eyes zeroed in on his hand resting comfortably on Tara’s head and my jaw ticked as his taunting words from this morning spun again in my mind, rousing that ugly feeling once again. The one that made me want to throat punch him. The ridiculous, over the top one I didn’t know how to deal with.
“Hey...” A soft, timid, unsure voice broke through my spinning thoughts and my eyes landed on her. She waved her hand, a smile pulling at the corners of her lips, and as her eyes caught mine I choked on air, lungs seizing, tongue glued to the roof of my mouth.
Fuck, was it really only a few days that I have seen her last? What are words really, why use them?
So, of course, driven by that philosophy instead of saying hi, I grunted like a neanderthal.
Luca cleared his throat, and with a self-satisfied smirk said, “Are you gonna let us in or are you just gonna stare at her?”
I blinked out of my haze, moving to the side to let them through. “Ah, yeah… sure, come in.”
Grinning like a Cheshire cat, Luca nudged an uncomfortable-looking Tara forward past me, “Go through there, that’s the living room,” he instructed ushering her through the arched doorway, but her gaze fell on me as if waiting for my approval, her eyes roving my face. I gave her a reassuring smile and gestured for her to go in.
But before she set foot in the living room, she turned back towards me, “Ah! Here,” she gave me a grocery bag, “I couldn’t come empty-handed. It’s some fruit and tea, since you’ve been sick… Oh, crap, do you even like oranges?” She looked at me, horrified, like she gravely offended me.
Dear Gods, I wanted to tease her. The temptation was too strong, but she looked nervous. And I didn’t want to make her even more uncomfortable than she already was.
“It’s fine, I like oranges. But you really didn’t have to…”
“Oh, bite your tongue, mister! My grandma didn’t raise an ill-mannered dolt, just your regular one.” Tara interjected, making Luca snort.
I chuckled as I gestured with my head towards the living room, “Okay, regular dolt, go take a seat. I’ll make us something to drink.”
“What?! No, you’re not!” she sounded appalled and slightly offended as she grabbed my hand, pulled me towards the couch and sat me down.
“You look pale.” she got to my eye level, assessing me, concern creasing her brows. She placed a palm of her hand on my cheek first, my pulse flat-lined at the soft, warm touch of her hand, but she was completely unaware of my predicament. Focus mode activated. She moved her hand to my forehead and placed her free one on her own. “Hmm... Ok good, you don’t have a fever.” No, but I’ll get one if you keep touching me, or I’ll catch death by suffocation as it seems I forgot how to breathe.
I could hear Luca muffling his snickering. The asshole. He was enjoying himself, but I resisted the urge to flip him off.
“Okay, you sit there. I’ll make us tea,” Tara announced, dimples in her cheeks popping as she took the bag from me and padded through the open plan living room to the kitchen.
I watched her unpacking the bag when I felt the couch cushion dip under Luca’s weight. “You didn’t tell her you don’t like tea.” he whispered, a grin obvious in his tone. I didn’t spare him a look, still tracking Tara’s movements in the kitchen, but I picked up one pillow off the couch and smacked him with it. “Shut up.” I like her tea.
My answer made him even more entertained, and he laughed. “I get it… she’s adorable, and really sweet.” He said and my head snapped towards him so fast I almost broke my neck.
Luca chuckled, raising his hands as if in surrender. “Chill, Romeo, don’t scowl. I’m not an asshole, bro. I wouldn’t go for your girl.” When I opened my mouth to deny it, to say she wasn’t mine, the words got stuck in my throat.
It would be a blatant lie if I said that I had never entertained the thought. That I ever only saw her the same way as Stephan and Luca. A friend. A girl that was a friend. It would be a lie to say I wasn’t intrigued or curious about what would it be like to hold her, to kiss her… to have her. All of her. Not only in a dream.
That those ideas and thoughts didn’t breed desire, yearning, brought out a greed I have never felt before for another... Or fear just as potent, just as great and overwhelming, that seeped into every crevice of my soul. As they clashed, twisted and turned, they formed a conviction that maybe I shouldn’t… That I wasn’t allowed, or even more so, that I wasn’t worthy of her affection. That I would fuck it up… Hurt her... And by doing so, I would hurt myself.
“I’m 99.9% sure the girl likes you… you listening?” Luca clapped me on the shoulder, pulling me out of my thoughts.
“I said,” he jutted his chin towards the kitchen, where I saw Tara peeling oranges, waiting for water to boil, “for some unknown reason the girl likes your grumpy ass, FYI, to be clear, she likes you like, LIKES you.” That greedy part of me barely contained its glee at this comment, stretching those needy, grabby fingers, gobbling it up like it starved, growing three sizes too big, making my chest heavy, full. Ache. Yearn for it to be true.
“Don’t bullshit Luca.” The tone of my voice, the words at complete odds with chaotic elation exploding inside me.
Luca snorted, “Nah, I shit you not. Dude, stop fighting it. You can deny it all you want, but it’s all plastered on both of your faces. It’s okay to like her, Philip. Go for it, bro. There is nothing wrong with that.” When did this dumbass turn into an advice giving guru? And why did I feel lighter as he said that, like I needed approval, reassurance?
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a pair of particularly long legs waiting to be wrapped around me.” he smirked, and winked at me as he bounced off the couch, making me roll my eyes.
And the dog is back. Decency has an expiration date with this one. He is hopeless.
“Hey, where are you going?” Tara asked, stepping into the living room, carrying a tray laden with cups and a plate of oranges.
“Sorry, doll, we’ll hang out another time. I forgot I have a date. See ya!”
“But... the tea…” She didn’t finish her sentence as Luca hastily waved at us and practically skipped out the door.
Tara looked bewildered for a moment, turning to me, and I shrugged.
Then it dawned on me.
It was just the two of us now… alone...in my home...
I swallowed the niggling nerves that sprouted suddenly and got up. The tray looked heavy, making her hands shake, “Here, I’ll take it…” And as I took it of her hands, our fingers brushed and the warmth from that minuscule, brief touch skittered over my skin like firecrackers that in my distraction I almost dropped the damn thing. I put the tray on the coffee table, only to find that Tara rooted in her spot in the middle of the room. She wrung her hands, biting her lip as she looked around, wide-eyed.
“Your house is nice. I love the vaulted ceiling, the stone walls. The vintage furniture, the paintings... It’s all so colorful, warm. Gives off a cozy vibe. I didn’t imagine it like this.” she rambled and I resisted a chuckle threatening to spill. She took a few steps forward, her eyes still roaming the interior, but she kept her hands in front, her fingers entwined as she continued, “From the outside it looks... hmm, somber, cold. Beautiful, still, you know… like those mountain cabins you see in the magazines… but on the inside… its warm... hmm… now that I think about it… it quite suits you.” Her eyes found mine, and she gave me a shy smile. A ghost of a dimple appearing as pink graced her cheeks. That look did something to me. Rather, whatever sort of necromancy power it held, it roused the dead thing in my chest, making it yip and warm.
Is that… how she sees me?
The thought and her unyielding golden-green gaze doused the warmth spreading through my system moments ago, leaving a chill to linger.
Uncomfortable, so I cleared my throat, looking anywhere but her, “Ah… Yeah… Most of the furnishings and paintings were my mother’s projects.”
“Oh, wow. That’s remarkable… She was very talented.” Tara said, approaching a painting near the fireplace, now placing her hands behind her back and it occurred to me she was scared to touch it. She was afraid she might break something, and that realization made me feel partly guilty, but also amused. Tilting her head, she regarded the painting.
I never could figure it out. The swirling colors that shifted, melded and waned together. The warm tones of reds, oranges, yellows and gold, silver, blues, and black splattered on a canvas in an intricate, seemingly random order.
“Hmm… this painting is beautiful, romantic.” She said, as I frowned. A bunch of colors were romantic?
Standing next to her, hunching forward, hands on hips and squinting at the painting. I was trying to see what she did, but to me, it was all still a mass of color. A soft giggle made me aware of her closeness, of the heat radiating off her slight frame as my elbow connected with her arm. Dragging my eyes to her, I asked, “What’s romantic about it?” My question coaxed another giggle from her.
“Tilt your head Crabby Pants. See here,” I did as she asked, her fingertips hovered over subtle dark lines on the painting, “Patterns… see… it’s a couple dancing in the stars…” I followed the trail of her fingers, mesmerized for the first time as a picture sewn itself together from the shades and burst of colors in my mind, and I indeed saw a couple dancing, intertwined with gold and red threads.
A vague memory itched to come out from the corners of my mind. The color palette tugged at it. A story… A folktale about a girl favored by the Goddess Ishaba and her love… I couldn’t recall the whole tale, I was a small child more interested in playing outside than to sit and listen to love stories, but my mother… I remembered she quite loved that story, guess that’s why she immortalized it into a painting…
Something pinched inside my chest at that, making me frown as I imagined her smearing paints in measured strokes on the canvas, paying much attention to detail, that blissful smile on her face. The radiant, happy one… The one reserved for a man least deserving of her, and I realized she didn’t immortalize the couple… she immortalized her love in it.
“Philip… Are you okay?” A warm hand clasped around my forearm, worried eyes on a lovely heart-shaped face scanned mine, and as sunlight streaming through the window caught the golden flecks in them, their warmth settled me, anchored me back in the moment.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“You sure? Let’s sit down, okay? The tea is getting cold.” She ushered me back to the couch, sat me down, then fussed about me, pushing pillows behind my back to make me comfortable, but she only made me more conscious of her.
The scent of her perfume, the subtle notes of vanilla and coconut. The smell of her hair as it fell over her shoulders in waves and in her fussing tickled my arms and side of my face, taunting me. And as a disturbed individual that I was, I inhaled deeply, hoping she didn’t notice. Not to mention that I was completely fine, but I found... I liked her concern for me, liked the attention…
Yep... I’m an asshole.
“Comfortable?” she asked, and I nodded, finding I was more than comfortable. One might say I was happy as a clam, but not me. I wouldn’t say that. She handed me a now lukewarm cup of tea, and took a seat next to me, holding her cup with both hands as she took a sip.
“Ooh, what’s this?” She asked, around the slice of orange, her eyes shining with interest, glued to the screen and the game I paused.
“Wanna try playing?” I scooted closer to her, the outer part of my thigh brushing hers as I reached for the controller on the coffee table.
“How do I use it? I was never much of a gamer, but it seems interesting.” She said, taking the controller, turning it in her hands, inspecting it.
I moved even closer, that greedy part of me that seemed extra deprived today, probably courtesy of a full moon as it apparently shed a few points of my IQ together with common sense and respect for personal space.
Her scent burned through my lungs and every part of me stood alert, aware. In tune with her every movement. The intake of her breath, the rising of her pulse, the tension in her muscles as she held the controller. Lashes fanned over her pink cheeks, eyes down-cast, following my fingers as I pointed at the buttons, explaining what they were for, but she gave no indication she registered my words. Frankly, I didn’t even fucking know what I said.
But wanting to tease her, I leaned in to whisper in her ear, “Hey, Shrimp, you listening?” The joke was on me though, as my question startled her and she spun. The tip of her nose brushed mine… so close.
Air lodged itself in my throat and a hover of hummingbirds took flight inside my stomach as my traitorous eyes slid from her wide ones to her slightly parted lips. And we both froze, not daring to move.
A breath away… If I leaned in more, but a few centimeters, we would connect…
All coherent thoughts fled at the gentle tug on my shirt, pulling me forward. Soft, warm lips, pressed against mine, the taste sweetened by the honey from the tea with a hint of tart of the orange.
But as my mind woke, processed that this was not a dream, my lips readied to reciprocate, hands hovered over her frame, intent on grabbing her, to pull her closer... She broke away...
Eyes snapped open in surprise at her own boldness as red colored her face, lips parting, “I’m sor…” I didn’t let her finish, swallowing her words with my mouth.
It was done. Too late. She took that leap. She braved the first move, and that was enough to undo the bindings of any restraints I had, shutting all conflicting emotions down, burying them. And there was only greed, need, and the pull she had on me.
There was no finesse to the kiss. None. Mostly because I had no fucking idea what I was doing. It was all clashing of lips, tongues, and teeth. Hands stretching and balling clothes, roaming everywhere, knotting in hair, pulling gently.
A raw, fervent urgency to get closer, and closer, but it never being enough.
Even when I grabbed her hips, lifting her in my lap, and she was flush against me, her hands around my neck, fingers twining in my hair, mine lost in the soft waves of hers, it wasn’t close enough.
Cupping her cheeks, I broke the kiss, resting my forehead on hers, eyes closed. The only sound in the room was that of our labored breaths, the fluttering of our heartbeats. And I realized with utter dread...
“Fuck, I suck at this…” I didn’t mean to say that out loud. Wincing, I dared to lift my face and look at her. Tara blinked, her cheeks flushed. She bit down on her lip, reddened from the messy kiss we shared. Well, more like my assault on her lips, immediately drawing my gaze there.
“Oh, me too…” she confessed quietly, bashfully, but her eyes held a sort of determination as the corners of her lips quirked up, and she lifted her palm to my face. Gently, she traced her fingertips over my cheekbones, her thumb skimming over my lower lip, her gaze intent on it and my tongue darted out to wet it. Lifting her eyes to mine, she shrugged. “Practice makes perfect, right?” Smiling, I couldn’t agree more.
And practice we did.
At first it was a chaste brushing of lips, then it turned into slow, exploratory kisses. We fumbled a lot, but I enjoyed every bit. The warmth, the feel of her in my arms, her weight on my lap, the delicate touches of her fingers on my face as she brushed wayward strands of hair off my forehead. Her smooth, supple mouth gliding over mine, and in between teasing nips, chuckling and giggling, we found our rhythm, our beat.
The two of us.
We were “us”, right?
I didn’t fucking know how this worked. I had never been with a girl before. I didn’t know the rules. But if this was only for now, only today, I was determined to make the best of it. To feed that greedy part, the one seeking, craving this connection, craving to tether itself to her to the fullest. I would take all she was willing to give.
Angling her head, I slanted my mouth over hers, deepening the kiss, my hand holding her waist, the other cupping her cheek as her blunt nails dug into my shoulders, too distracted to register my front door opening and small feet padding inside.
“Yo Pip! I came to play!”
The comfortable bubble broke with the high-pitched, childish voice of my brother, and the two of us abruptly pulled away, eyes wide in surprise, chests heaving.
Theo?! The fuck was he doing here?!!!
Hyelooo lovely Inkies!!! Thank you for reading!
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So....Um...I never wrote these kinds of scenes in my life, so I hope to all the deities it doesn't send you cringing to another dimension. Please do tell me if it feels natural and how did you find the chapter too read, it'll help me immensely to get better, thank you XD
Hope you enjoyed and thanks again for reading!!!
I'm working on the next, hope I'll have it during the next week XD