Everlasting Bonds ( A Reverse Harem Story)

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Chapter 35

POV: Lark


Sitting at my kitchen table as the October rain splattered onto my windows and the city beyond, my thoughts started to drift from my homework. I had been spending a lot of time over at the guys’ place- so much so that my cozy studio started to feel less and less like home.

The peace I felt with Aidan, Luka, Greyson, and Colt was something I could almost tangibly feel at times. As if the softest velvet wrapped around my shoulders every time we laughed together.

Letting out a sigh for what felt like the millionth time today, I started thinking about what I was going to do. I loved all of them, Luka said that he loved me, and I had no idea how the others felt.

F*ck.

My inability to sort out my feelings for them could mean the end to that peace I coveted. But... I don’t know if I even could sort out my feelings for them. If I chose one of them, I could risk losing all of them. Even the thought of choosing made my head spin unpleasantly.

I didn’t want to. I wanted all of them. As selfish as that sounded it was the truth. Buried underneath layers of unease, self-doubt, and suffocating insecurities, was this small kernel of hope. Maybe...just maybe they felt that way about me too.

Laughing, I shook my head. There was no way this could work. And since I couldn’t bear the thought of choosing one of them, my choice had to be none of them. A pain in my chest that I knew originated from my heart made my eyes shut suddenly.

That kiss with Luka... that was the first time I had felt desired in a way that didn’t make my body tremble with fear. Even though I wanted to feel that with all four of them, I knew I couldn’t do that.

They deserve more than you. More than some broken thing.

Tears pooled in my eyes as I finished that thought. Even though it had been my own I heard it in Gio’s voice. I wanted to scream and break something. For the first time in nine years, I had something that made me feel so alive I thought my heart would burst out of my chest.

I had Aidan, Luka, Colt, and Greyson. I couldn’t – no, I wouldn’t lose them. Even if it meant putting my feelings for them behind me and watching them be with other women, I would do that.

They meant more to me than my selfish desires.

A knock at my door jolted me from my thoughts. My body tensed as the jarring sound bounced around my small home.

“It’s Aidan”.

A smile curled against my lips. Even though I had just seen him yesterday, the two of us hadn’t spent any time alone since we met for lunch almost a month ago. The wood floor felt cool against my bare feet as I crossed the distance to open the door.

He looked... perfect. Absolutely perfect. Leaning against the wall opposite my door, his black hoodie and grey sweatpants managed to look straight off a streetwear runway. I could tell he must have just finished a workout because there was dampness that darkened his normal blonde color.

“Are you going to let me in or stare at me some more? If I need to win some sort of staring contest to gain entry just let me know I can prepare quickly”. His teasing tone snapped me out of my admiration and brought out an easy laugh from me.

“Just get in here, loser. I wasn’t expecting you is all”. I stepped aside to let his large frame through the door. Even though all the guys were tall, Aidan’s boxer build made him seem almost too large for the tiny studio.

“Sorry to just drop by unexpected. I wanted to check on you and maybe watch a movie or something?“. His deep voice was playful as he kicked off his shoes and made his way to sprawl on the small couch. Even though he was probably half the size of that couch, I found myself loving the way he just made himself comfortable.

“That sounds perfect for a rainy day. Let’s do takeout... what are we feeling”, I asked as I walked to the kitchen to grab all the menus I had started to hoard since moving to the city. Splaying them on the small counter, I read out the options to him.

“We’ve got Thai, Chinese, Indian, a million different pizza places and-,” I stopped suddenly when I felt his arms snake around my middle and his chin rest on the top of my head. I wasn’t surprised at how good it felt to feel him like this. I was surprised that I didn’t flinch even though I hadn’t heard him get off the couch.

He made a sound that I interpreted as him considering his options. It rumbled briefly in his chest causing my back to tingle and my body to relax deeper in his hold.

“Pizza sounds good. It’s easy and you can get your half with those gross black olives”. I felt the chuckle that surrounded his voice and gave him a light elbowing to the ribs.

“They aren’t gross. You just have the taste palette of a toddler,” I huffed. “Do you want me to see if they can put pickles on your half with pepperoni?“.

“Yes, please,” he stated with a kiss on my head. Aidan was making it harder and harder to remember my earlier resolve to forget the feelings I had for him. He unwound his arms from my body and went back to sit on the couch. “Is it okay if I use your laptop to pick a movie to watch?”

I looked over my shoulder to see he hadn’t even touched my laptop yet, waiting for my answer to do even that. That simple feeling of respect washed over and it made me want to forget the pizza and the movie.

There was another reason that Aidan was especially off-limits. His girlfriend.

Putting the sharp and sour feeling of jealousy aside, I gave him a nod. “My Netflix account should already be logged into but I don’t have any other streaming services”.

“I think we have almost every streaming service available. You know how Greyson is with his movie addiction”.

I did know. I liked movies as much as the next person, but Grey loved them. Devoured them even. Sometimes I wondered if he ever relaxed and watched instead of analyzing every word the characters uttered.

I left Aidan to his devices and picked up the phone to call the pizza place. Luckily they only questioned my pickle request a couple of times until telling me they could put some on there.

Most places didn’t even have them as an option. It was something we used to do as kids when David would make homemade pizza during family dinners. It was strange at first, but the pickle taste cooked out and left a crunchy texture that enhances the pizza.

“All set,” I told him. “It should be here by 6:00 pm”. I plopped down next to him on the couch as he browsed the movie selection. Eventually, he landed on one that made me smile. It was the first X-Men movie.

He set the laptop down on the coffee table and hit play. Putting his arm around me, I snuggled into his side and appreciated whatever closeness I could get to him.

By the time the pizza arrived, we were well over halfway done with the movie. Aidan was one of those people that never talked during movies. His eyes moved quickly tracking everything on the screen and soaking up every detail.

“I forgot how much you loved these movies,” I said softly as I sat the pizza down on the kitchen table. His response came as I reached into the cupboard to grab a couple of plates and glasses for us.

“I did too. I can’t remember the last time I even watch that movie come to think of it. Sorry if it felt like I was ignoring you. I promise I came to hang out with you and not take up your whole couch and get you to buy me dinner.”

I laughed loudly as I walked back over to hand him his plate and a glass of water. “Don’t worry I know. I like how engrossed you get. It’s... dare I say cute,” I teased. I was surprised to see his cheeks darken with a shade of pink. Aidan didn’t get embarrassed often and I instantly felt bad for making my observation known.

He shook it off quickly and started shoveling pizza in his mouth. As we sat side by side watching the movie and eating our dinner, I desperately wanted to know what he was thinking.

We used to be able to read each other’s minds and we shared this spontaneous darkness that allowed us both to understand the emotions of the other easily. Now, I realized that darkness was still in both of us. It just changed.

For me, it was this twisted thing that took root in my bones. I could feel it every day. I didn’t know how his darkness has changed. Not yet anyway.

As the movie finished I found myself hoping he would stay. Despite everything telling me that he shouldn’t sleepover and my feelings would only get that much more cloudy I wanted to be near him still.

“Aid how would you feel about an X-Men marathon tonight? We could keep watching the movies and I have some popcorn in case you wanted a snack later”. I hoped I disguised the slight desperation I felt.

He gave me one of those rare Aidan smiles and I felt my cheeks lift in matching one. Aidan was gorgeous. I think even he knew that although his looks had always made him uncomfortable. But when he shared his uninhibited smile, he was breathtaking.

I think even the devil could be charmed.

“That sounds perfect. Can we move to your bed though? No offense but this couch was not made to be sat on for this long”. He stretched out his legs and back, reminding me of a jungle cat.

“I think that can be arranged”.

We moved our setup over to my bed and I almost regretted the change of location. On the couch, it was easier to keep that friendship bubble in place. In my bed, my thoughts drifted to less friendly places. Images of stolen kisses and soft caresses flitted in my mind before I could stop them.

He’s got a girlfriend Lark.

As we got settled I attempted to put some space between us with the mountain of pillows that currently rested on my comforter. He didn’t seem to get that memo though.

Instead of sitting side by side, Aidan picked me and deposited me between his outstretched legs; my back rested against his chest as he set the laptop on my legs and pressed play on the second movie.

The intimate position made it almost impossible for me to focus throughout the movies. Aidan seemed to mindless stroke my arms or would wrap his arms around my waist or shoulders periodically. It felt so natural that I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from loving him.

Even if he never loved me back.

Eventually, we finished the third, otherwise known as the worst, X-men movie and the sun had gone down. Checking my phone, I saw that it was almost 11:00 pm.

Behind me, Aidan cleared his throat and dreaded the goodbye I was knew was due.

“Would it, would it be okay if I stayed here tonight? I can sleep on the couch if you’d prefer I just... missed you,” he spoke softly.

Saying no didn’t feel like something my heart could do.

“Of course you can. But you don’t have to sleep on the couch, I can share the bed with you”. He gave me another one of those rare smiles and any hesitation I had felt before melted away.

We both got ready for bed, taking turns in my tiny bathroom before snuggling under the covers. I could tell he was trying to give me space.

What he didn’t understand is that I didn’t want that space between us.

I reached out to grab his hand. Loving the way his callouses felt against my skin. I don’t know if it was my touch that prompted him, but he slowly raised my hand to his lips. Giving me a tender kiss, he asked me a question I wasn’t expecting.

“Would you go back in time if you could? To change what happened to you?“. His eyes never left mine and my hand never left his. I didn’t have to think hard about my answer.

“No. Which... must seem crazy. I don’t think I would. There’s no way to guarantee that changing what happened to me wouldn’t also change meeting you, Colt, Luka, and Grey. I don’t think I would have survived without my memories of what a real family looked like. Or without my memories of every single time, the five of us supported each other, pranked each other, all the other stuff. So no. I wouldn’t change anything”.

Aidan didn’t speak for a long while after that. Instead, he seemed to search my face for an answer he was too afraid to ask me for. When he spoke again, it was another unexpected question.

“Will you come to my next fight, Lark? It’s in a little less than two weeks. All the guys usually come if they aren’t busy so you could tag along with them”.

Raising my eyebrows in confusion I spoke quietly. “I’d love to. You never need to ask though I’m happy to come and be another support for you”.

“I didn’t know if you’d want to be around that kind of environment. Violence is something I know you have seen enough of”.

Clarity washed over me followed by another feeling: gratitude.

“Thank you for thinking of me. Truthfully, I hadn’t thought of that myself but I want to be there. I can handle it Aid”. He gave me a small nod, bringing my hand up to his lips once more.

We didn’t speak again.

Instead, we drifted off with one hand wrapped in the others.

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