Everlasting Bonds ( A Reverse Harem Story)

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 60

POV: Lark


“Aid!“, I shouted from the bottom of the stairs. “Are you ready to go?!“.

It was almost 10 am and we were supposed to leave at 9:30. “He’s in his room”, Colt said as he made his way downstairs. I went to move past him but he caught my arm before pulling me into a kiss.

“Do you want to go somewhere with me this week? There’s something I’ve been wanting to show you”, he asked. I was surprised to hear nerves in his voice.

“I’d love to. You tell me when and I’m there”. I gave him another quick kiss before I sprinted up the stairs to go find Aidan.

I opened his door to find him nowhere in sight and I was about to leave and search for him elsewhere when I heard a soft scratching sound coming from the other side of his room. I walked in further and found him lying on the floor with headphones on, hidden by his bed, with a sketchbook in front of him and a pencil in his hand.

I felt like I was intruding suddenly. Aidan never told me like to draw and the way he moved his pencil across the page felt like an intimate scene that I shouldn’t have been looking at without an invitation. His work was beautiful. The lines were soft and unhurried, and the woman’s face looked heartbreaking.

When he turned his face and saw me staring at him, he looked embarrassed and I instantly regretted not leaving earlier. His headphones came off and he stood up, holding the sketchbook behind his back. “Lark, what are you doing in here?“, he said with a look of frustration.

“I’m sorry”, I said quickly. “I was just looking for you to see if you were ready to go grocery shopping. It’s already 10 and I know you wanted to leave earlier”.

He nodded before moving to place the sketchbook in a drawer. “I got sidetracked and didn’t realize it was so late. We can go now”. He moved past me to head to his door and I grabbed his hand.

“I didn’t mean to intrude, Aidan, I’m really sorry”.

He gave me a sad smile before squeezing my hand. “It’s okay”. He walked out the door and waited for me in the hallway before leading me out of the apartment.

***

As we walked around the grocery store, there was still some awkwardness between us that I didn’t understand. He was a beautiful artist, and I didn’t get why he wouldn’t have told me or why he seemed to be embarrassed about it.

The two of us worked in quiet tandem as we took turns reading things off the list and finding them off the shelves. By the time we finished our cart was piled high with everything from snack essentials to thanksgiving dinner ingredients. We both let out an annoyed sigh as we saw how long the line was.

“So much for beating the rush I guess”, he joked quietly.

“At least it’s done and we won’t have to do it again”, I said.

We were quiet again, moving slowly forward as the line moved at a snail’s pace.

“Em”, Aidan started, “I’m sorry for being weird about earlier”.

“You don’t need to be. I’m the one that invaded your personal space”.

He sighed and held my hand, forcing me to look at him. “You didn’t. You can barge into my room anytime you want. I was just embarrassed that you had seen me drawing”.

“But why? Aidan you’re really good. Like so good that you could sell it if you wanted to”.

“I’m not embarrassed about the art itself. I’m embarrassed about why I do it”. The look in his eye told me that even saying that was hard for him to admit.

I wanted to ask what he meant by that, but I looked around the crowded grocery store and thought better of it. “Later?“, I asked him.

He gave me a grateful smile. “Later”.

We finally made it to the front of the line and paid for our mountain of groceries. We made it back to the car and loaded up the groceries in the trunk. We had to play produce Tetris to get everything to fit right.

On the car ride back, I broached the subject again. “Why are you embarrassed, Aidan?“, I asked gently.

He turned the music down and took a deep breath before saying six words that I never expected to hear from him. “I was abused as a kid”.

“What?“, I breathed out.

He looked at me briefly before putting his eyes back on the road. “It was before I came to David and Maria’s. It was why I was sent there actually. My father liked to hit my mother, and when she couldn’t take it anymore, he would turn his sight on me. She died when I was 8 after my father pushed her down the stairs. She cracked her head open right in front of me and I can still hear the sound when I close my eyes sometimes.

“After that my dad only had me to take his temper out on. I used to show up at school in hoodies and long pants even when it was 90 degrees outside. I ended up passing out from heatstroke and when the school called the hospital, the doctors saw the bruising when they went to cut my clothes off so they could cool me down. Long story short, child protective services were called and they whisked me away into the foster care system”.

“Aidan”, I said with tears in my eyes.

“It’s okay Lark. It was a long time ago. I still have bad nightmares though, about him and her and all the stuff that happened in between. When I got to David and Maria’s I was so scared. I was terrified of David. If Colt hadn’t been brought there at the same time as me, I don’t think I would have stayed. I’d probably have run away. And then when you came a year later, you were such a force. I saw that same struggle to hold it all together that I felt and I wanted to help you the way Colt helped me”.

Silent tears slipped down my face as I listened to him. The gray sky outside seemed to reflect the mood in the car and I was wondering how Aidan was able to stay so calm.

“Do you remember that junkyard we used to go to?“, he asked.

“I loved that place. I always got excited whenever you left the license plate on my bed”.

He smiled. “I loved that place too. It’s where I needed to go when the nightmares came back or when I could feel myself slipping. After you were taken and we were all separated, I didn’t have that junkyard anymore. I only had myself and the dreams that felt like they were crushing me from the inside out. One night I woke up in a cold sweat and I thought about hurting myself and instead I tore into my backpack and got out a piece of paper and just started violently scribbling”.

We had turned into the underground garage now and Aidan put the car in park once we reached our assigned parking spot. “The scribbling turned into doodling which turned into drawing. It helps me let go of the nightmares. Or in some cases, it helps me remember too... I was drawing my birth mother when you came into my room this morning”, he said quietly.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that alone, Aidan”, I said into the silent car.

“I know. I’m sorry too. Art helps though. I want to get into painting and watercolors in the future, but for now boxing and drawing get me through”.

I nodded my head and thought back to the wild kid I had met when I was younger. A kid who was carrying the weight of something he didn’t deserve.

“Do the guys know?“, I asked.

He gave me a nod before opening the car door and getting out. “Yeah, they do. Colt has known since we were kids and I told Grey and Luka about it when we moved in together again. The nightmares got worse when we were separated, and I didn’t want them to freak out if they heard me screaming in my sleep. They all let me pick out the art for the house actually since they know how much art means to me”.

Together we carried the groceries out of the car and made our way to the elevator. “Thank you for telling me”, I said as we waited for it to reach us.

“I’ve been wanting to tell you for a while now”, he said quietly. “It’s why it took me so long to break up with Liz when all I wanted was to be with you. Hurting people and disappointing them is still a fear of mine. Logically I know that not everyone who gets upset with me is going to hit me, but I think I still try to minimize that possibility when I can. I’m working on it though”.

I went up on my tiptoes to place a kiss on his cheek. “If you ever want to go to a gallery or an art exhibit let me know. I’ve been wanting to check one out since I got to New York and keep putting it off”.

Some of the darkness from before was finally leaving his golden face. “I think I’ll take you up on that”.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.