Everlasting Bonds ( A Reverse Harem Story)

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Chapter 36

POV: Greyson


“So, are you ever going to tell me who the girl you stare at when you are supposed to be teaching is?”

Cartwright looked at me slyly over his glasses, pausing briefly from the grading he was currently making his way through. Thursdays were his office hours and I usually joined him in the mornings to help with the Creative Writing assignments.

I was a little taken aback by the question, but not all that surprised. I looked at Cartwright almost as an Uncle. After everything that happened when I was a kid, he was the first man that I was able to look up to.

He had a way of checking in on my life that bordered on nosy, but I appreciated that he cared enough to ask.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about James. I look at everyone in the class... that’s kind of my job as your TA”. I didn’t take my eyes off my computer as I scanned the story proposals the class had sent in. They ranged from crazy good to plain bad, but I enjoyed how much thought most of the class had put into their submissions.

“Sure,” he snorted. “Just like it’s my job to spot when people are bullshitting me”.

“How is that your job? You’re an English Professor”.

“It’s in the fine print. We just don’t share that part with students so that they keep thinking we are all clueless old people who can’t tell when they are cheating on our tests or assignments”.

Laughing loudly I looked away from the computer to roll my eyes at him. “Your secret is safe with me”.

His answering smile made wrinkles appear next to his eyes and not for the first time, I wished the two of us were actually related. “Stop deflecting from the question Greyson. The girl. Tell me about her”.

He gave me a pointed look before turning back to the papers on his desk.

The funny thing is I wanted to tell him about her. I wanted to tell him that being around her felt like being in a gravitational pull. Her smile, her mind, her graceful presence had a magnetism that forced me to pay attention to her. I wanted to tell him that she inspired many of the heroines in the poems and stories I’d written. Heroines that he commended – or at least the writing of them anyways.

But I couldn’t tell him any of that. Not without telling him our whole story.

“She is just a girl that caught my eye. I’m taking her to a poetry reading tonight”.
“Hmm if you say so. Is this poetry reading... a date”, he questioned.

It was my turn to look at him pointedly over the top of the computer screen. “Yes. It’s a date”.

He must have sensed that I wasn’t going to give him any sordid details because his questioning stopped. The two of us fell into a comfortable silence and when I left a few hours later to head home he gave me a knowing smirk, accompanied by his well wishes.

**************************

Lark: Hey! I’m leaving my place now – see you soon.

Rushing around my room to grab my shoes, I quickly texted her back.

Greyson: Sounds good. See you soon.

I spent way too long trying to figure out what to wear. I wanted to look nice, but not too nice where she would think I spent a lot of time thinking about my outfit.

As I was tying my shoes, a knock at my bedroom door slowed down my pace. Luka had one hand in his pocket and the other still rested on my door.

“Are you going out with Lark tonight”, he asked me. Something about the way he asked told me it was a weighted question.

“Yeah. I’m taking her to a poetry reading at Birdies. Is that... ok?” It was no secret that we all had feelings for her. Aidan and Colt might have been in denial about it due to their complicated relationships, but Luka and I had been honest with each other and them.

After his date with her last weekend, something about him changed. He seemed more self-assured – less burdened. We hadn’t spoken about it but I knew that whatever happened with Lark on that date must have been the catalyst.

Concern washed over his features. “Of course it’s okay. Sorry if I seemed weird about it... I’m glad that you are getting to spend time alone with her. She sleeps in Colt’s room at night and went to lunch with Aidan a few weeks ago, so I think you’re the only one who hasn’t gotten to be with Lark one-on-one”.

I felt my shoulders relax a little at his reassurance. “Thank you for saying that. I’m nervous about it but I don’t know why. It’s Lark”.

He gave me a wry smile. “Exactly. It’s Lark”. We were both quiet as we walked out of my room into the hallway. “I kissed her, Grey. And she kissed me back and it felt... Fuck it felt amazing. I’m not saying this to warn you away. I just want you to know that I think she feels the same way about us as we do about her”.

“Why are you telling me this?“.

“I’m telling you because I think she feels guilty about those feelings. After what she told us and what she went through, we might need to help her sort out how she feels about all of this. Let her know that she isn’t doing anything wrong - she is allowed to love in whatever way she wants”.

As the two of us walked down the stairs and into the living room he squeezed my shoulder and made a beeline for the couch as I made my way to the elevator.

Knowing that Lark and Luka kissed didn’t change the way I felt about her. I was surprised that I didn’t even feel jealous. I mostly felt happy. She had been deprived of love for so long I was glad that Luka was able to make her feel wanted.

I wanted to do the same.

******************

“Grey this place is amazing! How long have you been coming here?”

Lark and I were sitting on a green crushed velvet loveseat in the middle of Birdie’s Café. It was my favorite place in the city and sharing it with her just felt right.

“I’m glad you like it. When the guys and I moved to New York I wanted to find somewhere to practice sharing my work publicly”. That was something I always had trouble with when we were younger. She used to be the only person that had ever heard me read my poems out loud.

“I passed a flyer on campus that advertised an open mic night at Birdie’s and the rest is history. I’ve been coming here ever since. They do a bunch of different nights to pay homage to the arts scene in the city”, I explained.

She gave me a nod as I finished talking. Watching her take in the environment was adorable. Lark had a way of observing the world that made you want to know what she was seeing.
“When will people start to perform-

“Welcome everyone to another Poetry night at Birdie’s!“. Lark had been cut off by Xander, the manager of the café. His dark green hair took on a blue hue under the stage lights. The packed café let out whoops and hollers at Xander’s introduction to the night. “You all know how this works. Add your name to the list, believe in your work, and support everyone who steps up to read tonight”.

With that, he read off the name of the first person on the list. Vivi Banford was a regular at the café – I wasn’t surprised that she would be the one to kick off the night.

Poet after poet walked up on that stage and each time the snaps got louder. The crowd tonight was great, and I was thankful Lark got to experience this atmosphere. The smell of espresso beans and chai tea wafted through the air, creating a homey environment for people to pour their hearts out to.

“Grey, when am I going to get to see you up there?” Lark had slowly gotten closer to me as the evening when on, and she had to lift her head from my shoulder to look at me as she asked the question.

“Umm I don’t know. Next time maybe? I don’t know if there’s any room on the list for tonight”. The frown on her face made me wish I had thought to put my name on the list earlier. I hadn’t thought she’d want to see me perform. I was just focused on spending the night with her.

“That’s okay. Next time there’s a poetry night though you have to bring me along so I can see you”. She squeezed my hand and went back to rest her head on my shoulder.

“I’ll be right back”, I said gently.

As I walked away I looked back at her.

She looked completely at ease here.

Watching her slowly start to make New York her home was a sight to behold. This city was our dream when we were growing up. The white picket fences of Connecticut never felt right for any of us. This place though... this place molded to each of us.

It nurtured Luka’s creativity.

It helped me find my confidence.

It refined Aidan’s strength.

It challenged Colt’s control.

For Lark, it was bringing her back to herself.

I spotted Xander leaning against the back wall with the clipboard of tonight’s lineup resting against his chest.

“Xander, you got any room left on there?”

“Greyson I didn’t even see you here tonight man or I would have asked if you wanted me to sign you up”, he said as he clasped me on the arm. He looked over the sheet of names before meeting my eyes again. “We have two spots left. Which one do you want?”

“I’ll just take the next available one. I’m not interested in being the closer tonight”. He nodded as he wrote down my name.

“Well, you are up next then”.

Shit.

I hadn’t thought of what I wanted to share.

I looked back over to Lark. Her head rested on the back of the couch and she had her coffee cup in her hand, intently listening to the poet up on the makeshift stage.

There was one poem that I had been working on recently. I wasn’t sure it was ready yet but fuck it.

As I watched the guy ahead of me take a bow as snaps rang out through the building, my nerves started to kick in. Xander gave me a thumbs-up as he headed back up on stage to introduce me.

“Up next we’ve got another Birdie’s regular. Let’s give it up for Greyson Trent people!“.

I didn’t look at Lark as I made my way to the stage.

I probably would have chickened out if I had.

She had heard me read my poetry before, it’s not like it was anything new to her. But this one... this one was different.

Standing up on the stage, I took a deep breath. No turning back now.

There was a roaring in my head.
It started off as a sound that made my steps falter.
There was a roaring in my head.
It slowly formed legs that I could never catch up to.
Every night and every day this roaring never left.
It was in my dreams.
It was in my thoughts.
It made me catch my breath.

There was a roaring in my chest.
It made a home inside me, I knew it wouldn’t leave.
There was a roaring in my chest.
It slowly formed hands that I ached to hold in my own.
This roaring began to sound like a voice I longed for.
It was in my dreams.
It was in my thoughts.
It made me catch my breath.

Her voice rattled my heart and bones.
It caressed my skin with promises of memories.
Her voice rattled my heart and bones.
It slowly formed a face that I knew to be my home.
She was in my dreams.
She was in my thoughts.
She made me catch my breath.

As I finished my piece, I tuned out the noise of people snapping and whistling. I only looked at her.

Her whose face that I knew to be my home.

Her eyes were glassy, the tears barely kept at bay. But it was her smile that threatened to bring me to my knees.

As I walked back over and sat down by her side, she whispered something in my ear.

“You are in my dreams too, Grey”.

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