Fur vs Skin

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7.

โYou donโ€™t need to throw me to the wolves; they come whenever I call.โž


Time was flying. I havenโ€™t seen that girl, Grey, the two days Iโ€™ve been held in the cabin. Marcus stopped by some time yesterday and Santha told him what happened and he simply shut his eyes and heaved a heavy tired sigh, apologizing to me was another thing he did but I brushed it off saying that โ€˜it happensโ€™.

I watch Arsen chop wood outside again, his arms swinging the ax in the air then bringing it down upon the middle of the wooden block. Crossing my arms under my chest, I lean forward against the window sill my eyes observing; he was naked from the waist up, a small coat of sweat slicked against his back as he worked hard.

The urge to talk and get to know something about him was growing stronger each passing day; until now. Gazing for a second longer, I click my tongue at myself and finally decide. Moving away from the window, I shuffle toward the coat rack and pick out the thickest coat I see and push my arms through it and button it up.

My hand hovers over the knob after I push my feet into a pair of boots, my heart constricting tight within my ribcage at the thought of being close to him. The door swings open, welcoming the cold blast of air that nature controls as I step out into the world, shutting back the comfort I wish to return to.

The snow has stopped falling a few hours ago, the forest truly looking like a winter wonderland; the kid within me taking everything in with fascination. The tree branches were covered in light sheens of ice, glittering from the morning sunโ€™s light, leaves scattered around the base of them. My breath clouds in front of my face, white wisps of it filling my vision as I breathe out.

Arsen was still chopping away at wood but from the way his body is positioned now, he knows Iโ€™m out here. I stand in front of the door, looking around, every so often my gaze lingering towards him before I soon make my way down the few steps and into the snow.

The crunching beneath my felt satisfying as I advance a few steps in his direction, his body locks just as he swings the ax down with a loud thump!

My teeth dig into my lip as I tug at it, โ€œHello,โ€ I begin.

He stops mid-swing, fingers curling tighter around the handle as he casts a look over his shoulder, those hazel eyes claiming all the air from my lungs. He bobs his head โ€” in a sort of greeting โ€” and resumes his work.

I stay where I am, watching him and deciding if I should head back in the house or not. My feet decide for me, moving me closer towards him to a spot where I stand in front of him.

โ€œIs this for the fireplace?โ€ I ask stupidly, the answer already known.

He chops another wood cylinder.

Thump!

He nods.

My hands play with the lint inside the pockets, a chilling breeze swirling up particles of snow into the air in a disarray. A shiver vibrates down my spine with an intensity of going over a bumpy road, despite the thick jacket that covers my body, I still felt the cold seep in. It felt like it was below twenty degrees Celsius (around seventy degrees Fahrenheit) and not once did I see Arsen shudder from the loss of heat; he was actually shirtless.

โ€œAre you not cold?โ€ I wonder aloud.

He shakes his head, looking over towards me, staring for a little longer, he assess me up and down; lingering a bit on my face. When he didnโ€™t look away, I felt a slow burn start from the depths of my chest and move to my cheeks as I flush deeply from his gaze.

I clear my throat, โ€œUh, besides coming out here to ask you questions, I also want to thank you.โ€

One of my hands move from the warmness of the coat pocket to pull at the collar.

โ€œIf it wasnโ€™t for you carrying me for who knows how long, I would have been long gone by now: turned into a popsicle stick.โ€

I chuckle quietly, โ€œSo, thank you,โ€ I finish with a small bow.

He stares at me, the light hitting his eyes at an angle, making them seem lighter than they were, not wanting to embarrass myself further when he doesnโ€™t say anything, I throw up my hand in a farewell: I turn on my heels and head to the cabinโ€™s door, just as my hand grazes the handle the sound of shuffling fills my ears.

โ€œYou. . wel. . welcome.โ€

I look over my shoulder to see Arsen pursing his lips together, his eyes shining brightly. I smiled, the movement stretching across my face as my eyes squinted with the action.


I do my best to seem as useful as I can in this cabin as I try to figure out what Iโ€™m going to do, I donโ€™t want to be any more of a resource sucker if Iโ€™m just laying around on my รคss and staring off into space. As much as Santha reassured me, I took up the roles that a teenager would groan and whine about; I washed dishes, cleaned the bathroom, swept the floor and cooked a few dinners from here to there.

This was me showing my gratitude to the people who have shown me hospitably.

Later that day, I stood around in the kitchen, finishing up the last touches of chili with Marcus and Santha leaving the cabin to Arsen and me for a few hours. Arsen suddenly comes through the door, as if he felt Iโ€™ve been thinking about him, his arms carrying a stack of the wood he has been chopping outside.

He glances my way before shutting the door behind him and making his way to the fireplace, where he kneels and throwing a few logs inside the burning flames and setting the rest beside stone bricks that structure the fireplace.

He moves back and settles his bottom on the floor while leaning against the one-seater chair; watching the fire burn the newly added wood, the glow of the flames whipping across his face and lighting up his features in contrast with the darkening background of the sky as evening begins to arrange.

I dial down the knob of the stove to a low so the food could simmer, โ€œAre you hungry?โ€

Hazel eyes clash with brown, my breath is no longer mine at the intense look in his eyes attack me, I gulp watching his head bob up and down. Smiling in his grace, I move around to fix him a bowl. It didnโ€™t take long before I was leaving the kitchen with two bowls in my hands, I made my way to the coffee table where I settle the dishes down on the surface.

โ€œThere you go,โ€ I say, pushing his portion toward him.

As always he watches me as I sit on the floor, opposite of him and bring my bowl closer to me and pick up the spoon. His eyes flicker to the utensil then to his own where it lied inside the chili, almost hesitantly, he raises his hand and grasps the spoonโ€” still focusing on the way Iโ€™m holding mine. The spoon trembles in his hand as he slowly brings it to mouth before it reaches its destination, the utensil slips from his fingers and falls into his lap, food and all.

I quickly move from my place when he hisses, without thinking, I wipe away the food and essences it left behind on his lap before it could burn him further.

โ€œAre you all right?โ€ I question, crumbling the paper towel in my hand and placing the spoon on the table.

He nodded, his cheeks sort of puffing out as he glares at the spoon in anger as if it was the cause of him burning himself. I chuckle to myself, soon shaking my head when he looked at me questionably his eyes saying โ€˜what?โ€™.

โ€œItโ€™s nothing,โ€ I tell him, shuffling closer. โ€œHere this is how you hold it.โ€

I reach over and take ahold of his spoon and hold it in a firm grip, letting his curious eyes scan the way Iโ€™m holding it before I move to my knees and scuff a bit closer to where I stretch and seize his left hand in mine; at the contact, electric bullets run through the nerves in my hand, spreading through my body under a second.

The contact between our skins leaves me breathless and the moment our eyes attach, the further air seems to distance itself from my lungs, I watch as Arsenโ€™s pupils dilate with a darkening emotion that seems to chain and lock at my heart and soul.

I turn away, gathering my breath as I focus on the spoon and moving the utensil into his hand and arranging his fingers in a way he could hold the spoon up himself.

โ€œSee. . .โ€

I make him scoop up some of the chili, fully aware of his eyes on the side of my face while positioning the spoon at his mouth, my own focus on his plump lips and the way they part open for the spoon. The close proximity of us makes my body yearn to do something more than simply teach him how to properly hold a spoon.

My heart skips a few beats then uncontrollably pounds in my chest, a rhythmic song patterned against my ribcage.

โ€œ. . . and thatโ€™s how you hold a spoon,โ€ I whisper, pulling myself away from his side before things got dangerous.

I move back to my spot, tucking a strand of hair behind my hair and clearing my throat. Glancing from the side of my eye, I see him still chewing on the food in his mouth, his throat working as he swallows all while those dark eyes stayed locked on me.

โ€œDo you get it?โ€ I ask, squirming and avoiding his gaze.

The small movement of his head and his tightening grip on his spoon was all I need to start digging into my food, stuffing my mouth to prevent myself from talking anymore. A silent dinner consumed us until it was getting late and I was ready for bed.

I moved upstairs and gathered a few clothes from the draws in the room and headed to the bathroom to take a shower. Stepping into the steaming shower, bare, I let the water cascade down my spine and dampen my hair to my scalp while closing my eyes. A pair of dark hazel eyes fill the void beneath my closed lids and a groan escapes my lips.

There was something between us, something that even my body couldnโ€™t ignore, I stare down at the tile of the showerโ€™s wall in thought. There was more than him just being able to shift into a beast, a connection was stripped between us both like a cord, one I couldnโ€™t see but most definitely felt.

I left my thoughts at that, finishing the shower after I bathed and washed my hair. I stepped out and dried myself with a towel and slip my clothes on, a yawn slips from my lips as I remove myself from the bathroom. My feet carry me to the bedroom where I throw my dirty clothes in the hamper by the door and soon slip under the covers of the bed, just before I cut off the bedside lamp I catch sight of Arsen in the corner near the window.

โ€œAre you staying over there?โ€

He nods.

I press my lips together, โ€œAre you sure? It might get colder as the night drags on.โ€

He nods again and I only press my lips tighter together as my eyes scan around the room, soon coming across the extra wool blanket that lays at the end of the bed. I reach over and yank it from across the bed and toss it in his direction. He catches it looking down at it in question before meeting my gaze again.

โ€œSo you wonโ€™t get a cold.โ€

Staring a little longer, he nods and moves the material over his wide shoulders, not entirely covering him but it was still defining its purpose.

I settle myself further into the pillows and reach over to cut off the bulb, plunging the room in darkness, this time instead of feeling a distant aura of fear that something might come and snatch me up in the night, I feel nothing my calm and security. I turn on my side, pull the duvet up to my neck.

โ€œGoodnight, Arsen,โ€ I call out.

I drift off with a lingering thought that I wanted nothing more than to be wrapped up in someoneโ€™s arms and feel their warmth rather than the covers that surround me.

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