Damaged

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Chapter Sixteen

B E L L A M Y

Friday evening, I had put on a blue dress with thin straps and did my hair up, hopefully not looking like I tried my best with my appearance.

Reed was just a friend, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t dress up for dinner.

Quickly grabbing a pair of white sneakers, I made my way out of my room and down the stairs.

Noah was watching another documentary—no surprise there—but I walked to the couch anyway.

What would he think of my outfit?

“Whoa,” I exclaimed, scolding myself for wanting him to like it in the first place.

Noah looked up at me with a frown, and his gaze went to the television before he snapped his head back in my direction.

He took me in from head to toe, and I swore I saw him swallow hard, but I ignored it.

Dropping my shoes next to the dinner table, I plopped on the couch next to him, though trying to sit as far away as possible.

Now I just had to wait until Reed came to pick me up.

The true-crime documentary Noah was watching turned out to be quite interesting, and I found myself glued to the screen at one point.

Until something black caught my eye.

“Ahh!” I screamed, jumping up on the couch but keeping my eyes on the huge-ass spider that just crawled from under the sofa.

“What the fuck, Bellamy?” Noah exclaimed, looking up to me with a scowl.

I lost my balance and grabbed his shoulder for support, making shrieking noises as I pointed to the animal the caused my fear.

“Holy fuck,” Noah said, jumping on the couch next to me.

“Get it!”

He looked at me with a brow raised. “Me? You get it.”

“What?” My eyes flickered from the spider to him, but neither one of us moved. Luckily, the spider stayed put too.

“Why should I get it? Get it yourself.”

I looked at him with wide eyes, having nothing more to say.

We stared at each other for a minute, before we both looked at the spider, hoping it would just disappear into thin air or something.

“Ah!” The both of us screamed when it moved, and I lost my balance again, almost falling back.

Noah grabbed me just in time, one arm around my waist and the other on the back of the couch to support himself.

“Shit,” I mumbled, his fingers burning into my flesh through the fabric of my dress, reminding me how dangerous it was to be so close to him.

We straightened up on the couch and looked away from each other, an uncomfortable silence settling between us.

But, fortunately for us, Isaac came to save the day.

“What...” he trailed off as he walked in, slowly closing the front door behind him.

“There’s a spider. Oh, Isaac, can you get it?” I asked, pouting at my brother.

He shook his head with a smile, grabbing a glass from the kitchen and trapping the spider, ready to take it outside.

“Really, dude?” he said to Noah, but he just shrugged and sank back into the couch when Isaac walked outside.

I quickly stepped off too, grabbing my shoes and putting them on.

“Where are you going?” Isaac asked when he walked back into the house, closing the sliding door behind him.

“Do you remember Howard Reed, from high school?”

“Yeah. Little short, brown hair, always followed you around like a lost puppy?” he replied, and I rolled my eyes.

“Well, we’re having dinner tonight.” I twirled around in my place, the skirt of my dress flaring out a little as I did.

“How fun.” Isaac gave me a kiss on the head and walked to the fridge, grabbing a few things for dinner.

My smile faded when my eyes fell on Noah, who quickly looked away, though I could tell he was mad about something.

Was he...jealous?

No. He would never be jealous about me.

Shaking the thought out of my head, I looked up when the doorbell rang.

“There he is,” I said, waving my brother goodbye before skipping to the door. It’s been a while since I had a proper dinner date. Maybe Maria and I should have one soon.

“Oh, Bella?” Isaac yelled from the kitchen and I turned with my hand on the handle of the door.

“Yeah?”

“I’ll be at Katy’s tonight.”

I let out a soft groan. It was about time he broke up with her.

“Bella?” he added when I didn’t answer.

“Ok, see you tomorrow!”

I quickly walked out of the house—feeling a certain pair of green eyes burn a hole in my back—and gave Reed a hug when I reached him at his car.

“You look beautiful,” he said, walking around the car and stepping in behind the wheel.

I opened my door and got in as well, getting ready to stuff my face with sushi at the all-you-can-eat restaurant we were going to.


“I’m stuffed,” I groaned, sitting back in my chair and placing my hands on my stomach.

Reed chuckled, his dark eyes sparkling.

“Room for dessert?” he asked, putting his last piece of sushi in his mouth.

I scoffed. “Always. Maybe we could—”

“We could go back to my place?” he interrupted me, eagerly waiting for me to answer.

Where did this question come from?

“I—”

“For dessert, I mean,” he spoke, holding up his hands in defeat. “That sounded wrong, I’m sorry.”

I was glad that he corrected himself, especially since I didn’t want to stay up too late today. Sure, it was a Friday, but with a full stomach, my eyelids would drop very quickly if my head hit the pillow.

“No worries,” I said, smiling away his comment. He probably didn’t mean it like that. “Maybe we could do one drink? I’m a little tired.”

Reed nodded, smiling up at the waitress as she came to clear our table.

“I saw a couple of cocktails on the menu here, maybe one of those? To end the night with?” he offered, and I licked my lips. Yes, a mojito would make me sleep better tonight.

“Good idea.”

We ordered our drinks and the somewhat awkward feel in the air lifted.

The minute the cold drink hit my tongue I felt like I had a tiny orgasm, the sweet and sour flavor of the lime and mint waking me right up from my after-dinner dip.

“This was a really good idea,” I said, almost emptying half of the cocktail in one go.

Reed smirked, sipping his virgin White Russian, and he nodded.

“It’s so nice to see you again, Bella.”

“You, too.” I sat back in my chair, sipping my cocktail. “So you only work the weekends at Harvey’s?”

He placed his glass on the table, crossing his arms. “Yes. I wanted to make a little money before I started studying again, but I do love my free time.”

I couldn’t agree more, even though I finished college about a year ago and still didn’t have a job that fit my degree.

“Makes sense.”

“You work more?” he asked, and I nodded.

“Just until I know what I want to do with my life.” I chuckled—made a joke out of it—but in reality, I was dead serious.

Reed studied my face for a second before he beckoned one of the waiters and asked for the check.

The drive back home was silent, but not weird. Tonight, we had fun, ate fantastic food, and were able to catch up with each other.

“I’ll see you at work then,” I said when we pulled up in front of Isaac’s house.

“Bella?”

I froze with my hand on the door handle, turning back to face him. “Yeah?”

He chewed on the inside of his cheek, his gaze shooting from one of my eyes to the other. “Oh, never mind.”

I gave him a last smile and got out of the car, waving him off as he drove down the street.

The somewhat chilly evening air made me wrap my arms around myself, and I hurried to the house, ready to crawl into my soft bed.

I tried to open the door quietly, hoping I didn’t wake Noah up.

“Finally,” I heard softly after I had locked the door and walked further into the house.

Only one light was on, and Noah was sitting next to it on the couch, jumping out of his seat when he saw me.

“Uhm, hi?” I mumbled, kind of confused about why he was waiting up for me.

“Had fun?” he questioned, taking a step in my direction.

“I did, actually, thank you for asking.” My sarcastic tone obviously rubbed him the wrong way, because before I could reach the stairs, he grabbed my arm.

“Noah,” I exclaimed, looking from his hand to his face. “What’s your problem?”

He scoffed, releasing me and rubbing both hands over his face. “Are you blind?”

I raised my brows, wondering where this little episode came from and what the fuck I did wrong now.

“Excuse me?”

“He’s so fucking in love with you, people on the other side of the world can see it.”

Of all the things he could’ve said, I expected this the least.

“What? No, he isn’t,” I defended, crossing my arms.

Noah rolled his eyes, throwing his hands in the air out of frustration. His chest rose and fell quickly, and I could tell that his breathing was uneven. Was he angry at me?

“What the fuck is your problem?” I bit back, wishing I could’ve just gone to bed.

The look he gave me alone gave me chills—I felt my cheeks heat up, and my heart pounded frantically in my chest. I expected to be angry, annoyed, or just done with his shit. But I couldn’t deny that I felt a different kind of tension.

Jesus.

"He is my problem,” he took a few steps in my direction, pointing his finger behind him as he did.

I blinked rapidly, staying glued to the spot. What was happening?

“Noah,” I said calmly, though within all kinds of shit was happening. “Why do you care?”

He kept his eyes on me, searching my face and occasionally lowering his gaze to my lips.

Oh, no. Trouble.

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