Killian had been sitting in front of the fire for an hour now. For the past ten minutes, I’ve been watching him silently, my thoughts still lingering on what had happened last night. Surely that was what he was thinking of now. To make peace with him somehow, since I was finally growing tired of fighting, I had approached with the intent of placing my hand on his shoulder. That is until his cold, hard voice caused me to flinch away.
“Last night will not be repeated,” he continued, cutting me off. “I will not be denied and humiliated like that again, do you understand?”
My jaw clenched. True, I didn’t want to start a fight, but I wasn’t about to let him pull that on me.
“How do you think I felt?” I asked as nonchalantly as possibly, balling my hands up at my sides.
He laughed humorlessly, slowly rising to his feet to turn and face me. His amusement only made me angrier.
“I think you only felt what you should have been feeling, love.”
“Oh yeah? And what’s that?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about.”
Blood boiling, face flushing, knees trembling, I turned to walk away from him. He caught me firmly by the elbow to pull me back. His face was mere inches from mine.
“Do not walk away from me when I am talking to you,” he said in a low voice.
“I do whatever I want,” I snapped, glaring at him.
A glint of amusement brightened his eyes as the corner of his mouth twitched up in a sly grin.
“As do I. And I want you.”
When that comment should have revolted me, it instead ignited a heat inside my core. I swallowed and averted my eyes to look at the fire burning behind him.
“You still haven’t told me why,” I said quietly.
“What do you mean?.”
“Why me? Why now?”
For a moment, he looked down at me silently, his eyes speaking a thousand words. Then, he said:
“If you think you mean anything to me, you are horribly mistaken.”
Coming from his mouth, it should’ve been a meaningless thing, if not relieving. It shouldn’t have affected me the way it did. I swallowed the lump that had formed in my throat. A horrible twist in my stomach nearly had me hurling. My body was betraying me, and I wasn’t exactly sure how to handle it. What was wrong with me? I mean, it’s not as if I’ve known him that long, yet here he was, breaking my heart when it hadn’t even opened up to him in the first place.
“I need to take a walk,” I said weakly.
Surprisingly, he let me go, though I could feel the tension in the air as I turned my back on him and walked away. As soon as I closed the garage door behind me, I started running down the street, around Wyler Road, and far beyond the city square. If I got tired, I would slow down, but never went slower than a fast walk. I cursed and kicked at the pebbles in my path, I growling as I cursed some more. There had been so much anger inside me, balled up so tightly that it was bound to come out exploding like this. I had never been so angry before in my life. To my surprise, my rage brought me all the way to the other side of the city. The humidity in the air made it hard to breathe. My eyes stung from the sweat dripping from my forehead, but I ignored it. All the emotions I had been feeling this morning were mostly washed away by the time I made it all the way back to the other side. By then, it was already midday.
What was I doing with my life? It’s only been a week and a half since I let Killian stay with me, and he was already driving me to insanity. Granted, it wasn’t exactly healthy to be alone all the time, but certainly that was better than being with a mad man like him every second of the day. I came across the park as I started jogging back home. It was vacant, as always, so I thought I might as well take a break. I collapsed on a swing under a dead tree to catch my breath.
“Shit,” I muttered under my breath as I stared up at the angry storm clouds in the sky.
I sighed as the first drop splattered on my forehead and I stood up to jog back when something caught my eye. A little girl was sitting by someone on the ground. A woman, I think. I couldn’t see the her, but it looked as if she was crying, with her knees pulled up to her chest and her head resting on them. She was lifeless, I then realized, and that disturbed me. It had to be her mother. The girl looked so lonely. It only led me to wonder if that’s why I have been so lonely all this time. I didn’t have friends or family. I didn’t know where my mother was. Something told me that she was still alive. Gods, I hope she was.
What am I doing here? If she’s still out there, then why haven’t I tried to look for her? Then, an idea came to mind.
Music. That was the first thing I heard when I returned. There was no Killian, though, which surprised me, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t here. I checked anyway and called out his name. No answer.
I followed the music to the office where a brand-new gramophone stood by the opaque window on the other side of the room. The only light came from the gloom outside. Slowly, I approached it to remove the needle and turned it off. Now, everything was strangely silent and still.
“Killian?” I called out once more.
I noticed then that another locked door had been opened. It was slightly ajar when I approached it. Before entering, I peeked through the crack to see what was inside. I gasped and jumped back. He was sitting in a tin tub full of water, completely naked with his head leaned back, already looking at me. I turned away from the door.
“Sorry,” I said. “I didn’t know you were in there.”
In response, the water stirred as he moved around. I listened to the drops of water as he stepped out of the tub. After a moment, the gramophone came on again, causing a chill to run down my spine. I stood there, waiting for him to say something until his wet, warm hand touched my arm. My body went rigid at his touch. His breath brushed softly against my neck as he leaned in close behind me.
“Welcome home,” he said. “How was your walk?”
I swallowed hard, and said in an unsteady voice, “Are you…naked?”
His grip on my arm tightened. “Does nudity make you uncomfortable?”
“N-no,” I stuttered, my cheeks flushing. “But…I’ve never seen a naked person before.”
Suddenly, he turned me around to face him, but I slapped my hands over my eyes before I could see anything. He chuckled as he gently removed them from my face. It took everything in me to keep my eyes looking up.
“Dance with me,” he said quietly.
I shook my head, saying, “I don’t dance.”
“I don’t know how,” I mumbled, trying to pull away.
He didn’t let go. Instead, he put one of my hands on his shoulder and rested his on my waist comfortably as he led me systematically across the floor in circles. My feet stumbled over each other, making it harder to keep myself from looking down. For the millionth time, I tripped over them again, this time falling forward into his chest. He held my waist tighter and pushed me back to stand upright. I felt that he would be annoyed, but when I glanced up at him, he looked down at me calmly with a slightly amused smile on his lips.
“You are an abomination,” he said.
I ignored his comment and asked, “You stole all this while I was gone?”
“No,” he said. “However, I did steal the money to buy it.”
I don’t know why, but this made me grin. I bit my lip to hide my obvious amusement, only to no avail. A girlish giggle escaped my lips, which made him laugh. For that split moment, everything was fine between us. We were able to share it for a split second, and then it happened. He pressed his lips against mine tenderly, yet hungrily. I moaned into his mouth at the tiny explosion in my heart that set fire to the blood in my veins. It only sped up from there. He held me closer to his body, possessively holding the back of my neck to keep me still. Something pressed up against my stomach within a matter of seconds. It could only have been one thing.
He backed me up into the desk where he lifted me up on the edge. In this position, he ravished my neck with sweet suckles and nibbles on my skin. I gasped at the sensation, wrapping my legs around his waist desperately. My heart was pounding again as it had last night, only this time it was more frantic, more animalistic. His wet skin slid across me and the water from his hair dripped on my face and chest. I could feel his mouth travel down lower to my collarbone, and even lower still to my chest just above the collar of my shirt. It suddenly became very hard to breathe.
“Killian,” I gasped, tangling my fingers in his thick hair. “Please stop.”
He didn’t answer, and continued his journey lower and lower, tugging my shirt down. I tried pulling him back, but he growled, pushing me down on the desk so that I was lying on my back. With his large hands, he pinned me down and leaned in to kiss me again. I squirmed underneath him, squealing into his mouth in protest. Finally, he pulled back.
“Gods,” I whispered. “Get off of me.”
“Killian,” I warned. “I’m not ready. Please get off.”
“Begging won’t help you, my little temptress,” he said with a sly grin.
When asking nicely wasn’t good enough, I struggled against him.
“Don’t fight me,” he said.
My throat started swelling up as tears blurred my vision. This was it. Nothing was stopping him. My purity will be taken so selfishly from me right here on this desk in an abandoned auto shop on an abandoned street, and no one will care. At this thought, I started sobbing.
“Please, Killian,” I wailed. “Don’t make me hate you. I don’t want to—really, I don’t. I’ve never hated anyone before. It’s such a horrible feeling, and I would be devastated if the first person I hated was you. I don’t know why you’re doing this to me, but I assume it’s because you’re lonely and I’m lonely, too, so I guess I understand. You have so much anger built up inside you. You’re looking to take it out me—someone who’s weaker than you are—and I get that, but please don’t do this. For three years, I’ve been living on my own without speaking to anyone or opening up to the world because I didn’t want to go through that sorrow I felt with Hyler. Even though you’re insane, I feel like you’re the closest thing to a friend I have. I trust you more than I trust anyone else. Maybe you don’t feel the same way about me, but please, if you care about me at all in any way, don’t break that trust. Don’t give me a reason to shut out the world, because I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be the clueless person I’ve always been all my life. I suppose, in a way, I need you, Killian. You’ve become a part of my life now, and even if it was by force, that still means something to me. Don’t make me regret letting you in. Please.”
A long silence followed after my speech. Killian had looked away from me about halfway through to stare down at the floor. My limbs had gone numb from the raw emotion that had spilled out of my mouth. The words had been spoken from sheer honesty, I realized. They had been masked by what I wanted to feel for the longest time. He drew a slow, deep breath, and exhaled, but still said nothing. I propped myself up on my hands to look at him closer. Then, I slowly brought my hand up to brush my fingertips down his neck. I realized too late that comforting him didn’t exactly comfort him. To my surprise, he didn’t lash out or try to take advantage of me as I expected him to. Instead, his features softened at my touch and he turned his head to look at me.
His irises seemed to swirl as his gaze overtook me. I flinched when he raised his hand to my face as well, but he ended up wiping the tears from my cheeks with his thumb. A smile split across my face as more tears spilled out onto his hand. They were tears of happiness this time and I laughed in relief. Suddenly he stood up, sliding off the desk to cross the room. I was too happy to be hurt by my abandonment as I sat at the edge of the desk. He closed the bathroom door behind him as he disappeared into the room. The music was still playing on the gramophone. It seemed less menacing than it did before. Even if Killian was mad at me for what I had said, I didn’t care. I had never been happier or felt more liberated before. He had respected me again, which I’m almost positive is rare for him to do with anyone. Once again, I had accomplished something I never thought I was capable of doing.
Within a few minutes, he came back out again, this time wearing clothes. He avoided my eyes as he sauntered to the gramophone to switch records. When he placed the needle again, my ears were greeted by a soft melody on the piano and a voice that sounded like an angel. That’s when he faced me with his hand outstretched.
“Shall we dance?” he said with a voice just barely audible over the music.
My earlier encounter with him had been so miserable, I almost declined. Had it not been for his innocent-looking eyes, I would’ve passed. I smiled tightly, sliding off the desk to go to him. I took his hand and resumed the position from before. He continued guiding me through the foot movements, gradually adding in a few things here and there. All the while, his face was serious and unchanging. He simply watched me as I grinned at the fancy movements and tripped over my own feet clumsily. I hugged him when the song slowly ended. His body tensed, and he stood completely still. Eventually, he rested a hand on my head, holding me to his chest. Even long after the record stopped playing, we held each other, swaying back and forth in the middle of the room without anything else to do. What could we do? It wasn’t as if we had the world on our shoulders or anything special to do. Unless…
That’s right. Before I came home today, I had run across the city and back. While I rested at the park, I had spotted the child with her mother. Naturally, I began to wonder about my own mother and the picture that was nailed to the wall in the garage. That was when I promised myself to run away in the hopes of finding her. Strangely enough, it almost felt like that didn’t matter anymore. However, I knew it was important. I couldn’t change my mind just because I delivered a heartfelt speech to Killian. My mother was another missing piece to the puzzle in my life. While friends were important, family came first…right?
His voice interrupted my thoughts. “What are you thinking?”
We had stopped completely at that point and just stood there. I looked straight up at him. The whole point of running away was to keep it a secret from him so that he wouldn’t follow me, but I had made that decision to do so when I was still mad at him. In this moment, I felt slightly different about that idea. With a sigh, I told him everything.
“But I know you have your own family to find,” I finished. “That being said, I think you should stay here. I don’t expect to return any time soon, but you should be trying to find your way back to Earth. It would be better for both us, you know?”
Silence. Then he said, “I’ll come with you.”
“Killian, you don’t have to.”
“I’m leaving town anyway. I must go to Nou Vil if I have any hopes of returning to my home planet. It is my only chance. If it’s all the same to you, I would like to accompany you in your journey for the time being. Once I have found a way, I will no longer be a burden to you.”
He seemed strangely passive as he spoke. I frowned at his tone, but kept quiet about it. Instead, I gave him a tight smile, nodding my head.
“Alright,” I said. “I need time, though. Unlike you, I need to prepare myself physically and mentally for this.”
He smirked, and said, “Of course. How much time do you need?”