Damaged

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Chapter Thirteen

B E L L A M Y

I hadn’t bought as much coffee in my life as I did in the following days. Every day I went to the shop to grab some, hoping I would hear if I was hired or not.

By the time I could hear colors a week later, it finally happened.

Just like every day, I woke up early, shooting on some clothes and running out of the house to get to the coffee shop.

Before I went inside I stopped to catch my breath, trying not to look like a lunatic—all sweaty and breathing heavily.

Once I had collected myself, I walked in, smiling at Kelly. She had been here every single morning, and I started to wonder if there were other people working here.

“Hi.” I beamed, pretending to be studying the menu as if I hadn’t memorized it a couple of days ago. “Can I have a black coffee and a latte?”

Kelly nodded with a slightly more relaxed expression on her face, turning to the coffee machine.

“Ah, Bellamy!” I heard, and David came walking in. “Just the woman I wanted to see.”

Ok, stay calm.

I turned to face him. “Please, call me Bella.”

Keeping my emotions somewhat at bay, I looked at the man, waiting for him to say something.

“I was about to call you,” he said, and I began to become impatient. “We’ve had some other people coming in applying for the job...”

Oh, come on.

“And?” I tried to sound calm and collected.

“Well, we’ve decided that we want you to come strengthen our team.”

I looked at Kelly for a second, who shrugged and finished my order.

“Really?” I questioned

David chuckled. “Yes, really. How soon can you start?”

Shifting on my feet, I figured out my answer. Tomorrow was Dad’s birthday party, but that was in the evening. Or maybe I should just start on Monday? Then again, I need all the money I can get and I was pretty excited to start.

“I’m free tomorrow until five,” I replied, and David nodded.

“Ok.” He walked around the counter and rummaged through a drawer until he found a certain piece of paper. “Kelly and I won’t be in tomorrow morning, but Reed can show you the ropes. He works the weekends, but knows practically everything.”

“Thank you,” I breathed out, getting slightly nervous.

After David had handed me what appeared to be a contract and talked me through, I payed for the coffees and skipped out of the shop.

The sun was shining, I had a new job, and the coffee in my hand smelled delicious.

I normally didn’t get one for Isaac, simply because I had to get up really early to catch him on time, but I knew that on Fridays he started a little later.

A little less than a ten minute walk later, I came home.

“Isaac!” I yelled into the house as I closed the door behind me, trying not to spill our drinks everywhere.

“What?” he yelled back, skipping down the stairs.

“I brought you coffee.” I placed the black coffee on the dinner table, smiling up to my brother as he walked up to me.

“Thanks, but I got to run.” He quickly peck me on the forehead and hurried out of the room, grabbing his car keys from the table next to the front door.

I blinked a few times. And he couldn’t have taken his cup with him?

I shrugged, sipping my latte, and was about to go upstairs, when a thought hit me. Does Noah want coffee?

“Stop,” I scolded myself, shaking my head and taking a step closer to the stairs.

But it would just go cold out here.

Rolling my eyes, I turned and grabbed the cup, making my way to Noah’s room with nerves swarming my stomach.

Sure, I was always nervous when it came to Noah, but it felt a little weird. Like the energy between us had changed.

I didn’t like it.

I took a deep breath before I knocked on his door, painting a neutral expression on my face.

The door swung open and my breath hitched in my throat when I was met with an unexpected sight.

“Oh,” I whispered, my eyes lowering to his naked chest.

I had it seen before, of course. That one time I—

But this was different. I couldn’t help but stare, study the intricate artwork that covered his chest, and my eyes lingered on a scar on his stomach.

Did he get that in prison? Was he hated there? Loved?

“Can I help you?” he droned, snapping me back to reality.

“I...uhm. Yes,” I choked out, holding out the cup of black coffee. “I brought it for Isaac but he was late for work, so...”

I kept my eyes on the cup, rolling my lower lip between my teeth.

“So...” Noah repeated, placing two fingers under my chin and forcing me to look up at him.

“Maybe you want it?”

He retracted his hand, his face unreadable as he looked at me.

“Is there sugar in it?” he asked, crossing his arms.

I shook my head, turning on my heels to go back downstairs. So we were doing this. Going back to the kitchen to put fucking sugar in Noah’s coffee.

He followed me down, pulling a shirt over his head. Thank god.

I mean...maybe he’d get cold.

“I can do it,” he said from behind me, and I jumped slightly when I felt his warmth against my back.

Then there was this scent of his. Not sure if it was some sort of cologne or that it was just him, but it was intoxicating.

He reached around me and grabbed the sugar, grazing his fingers against mine as he did.

The contact send sparks up my arm, and as if his touched burned me—which wasn’t very far from the truth—I turned around and pushed him back.

“Whoa, ok.” I felt my cheeks heat up, especially when I looked up at him.

I was surprised he didn’t jump from my touch, since it was all he did in the last couple of weeks, but I tried not to read into it too much.

He just looked back at me with raised brows. Now it got weird.

It was hard to describe, but somehow I couldn’t look away. I could step away either.

I was glued to the spot, regretting my reflex of pushing him away because all I seemed to want in that moment was him closer.

For the past couple of days I had been trying to fight it, the urge to touch him, be near him. And it angered me that my body betrayed me.

“Can I still have the sugar?” he asked, slowly stepping closer.

I swallowed, trying to create distance between the two of us, until my back made contact with the kitchen counter. I was going out of my mind.

“Yes...” I mumbled, staring wide eyed into those pools of green that were hiding something more, maybe even special.

“Yes,” I said firmer, giving him the coffee and watching him unscrew the lid.

He turned away from me, and I couldn’t help but stare at the muscles in his back moving under the fabric of his shirt as he poured some sugar in his coffee.

Without thinking, I sighed heavily.

Noah faced me again, sipping his cup, and he raised a brow. “Are you ok?”

It was a simple question. Or—it was supposed to be. But somehow, it felt heavy, loaded.

“I...” At first I thought about making a snarky remark or give a sarcastic comeback, but weirdly enough, I felt comfortable with him. “I am.”

He kept his eyes on my face, but stayed silent. Was I supposed to ask him now?

More importantly, were we having a somewhat civil conversation for the first time in forever?

“Are you?” I questioned, narrowing my eyes at the slight change in his eyes.

Noah Taylor had always been a mystery to me. I knew nothing about his family, his upbringing, or what he enjoyed most.

Given I wasn’t his friend, let alone close to him, it was not unexpected that I didn’t know. But I did wonder.

“Fine.” The way he spit the answer at me told me something different, and he probably didn’t know that the look in his eyes betrayed him even before he uttered a single word.

“Hmm.” I stared at my feet, not daring to ask more questions, though there were a few aching to be asked.

Again, a comfortable silence surrounded us as we sipped our coffee, and though I desperately tried to suppress the feeling, I felt something spark inside me.

After wondering if I should speak up or not for about five minutes, I finally asked the question I wanted to know the answer to for the past four years.

“Why don’t you like me?”

He choked on his coffee, placing the cup on the kitchen counter behind him and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

“Excuse me?” he replied, his hands gripping the edge of the counter so hard his knuckles turned white.

“You’re always an asshole to me and I want to know why. What did I do to deserve it?”

Oh, I had woken the dragon inside me and there was no stopping now until I had my answer.

I was dying to know.

But he didn’t answer. He threw his half empty cup down the drain and turned to leave, but I was getting angry.

“Answer me, Noah.” I grabbed his arm—the muscles I felt under my fingers almost making me release him as soon as I did.

“Bellamy,” he warned, pulling his arm from my grasp.

“No,” I responded, determined to make some sort of progress with this guy. “You owe me an answer.”

“Drop it.” His chest rose and fell at an alarming pace, and he clenched and unclenched his hands into fists. If those weren’t a sign that he was hiding something I didn’t know what was.

“Noah!”

He snapped his face in my direction. “You wouldn’t understand.”

It wasn’t the answer I was looking for, and certainly not one that would make me feel any better. If anything, it made my blood boil.

“What? Because I’m too young?” I barked, tears appearing in my eyes for no fucking reason. “Because I’m just Isaac’s little sister? Stupid and weak?”

He seemed startled by my reaction, getting a little fired up himself.

“Because it was easier that way!”

I opened my mouth to say something, but Noah threw his hands in the air and walked away, leaving me even more confused behind.

This guy was the definition of complicated and mysterious.

What was easier this way?

I had actually enjoyed our tiny ‘normal’ conversation, even though he didn’t answer honestly.

There was more to him, and I got the nasty feeling that my body was desperate to find out.

My mind? Still in denial.

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