Caleb sat opposite me sipping a coffee, he kept his eyes on me. We had been meeting up and going for coffee a couple of times a week now.
I noticed him watching my every movement, I noticed his smile, which he couldn't suppress when I looked at him. Never, had anyone ever looked at me like he did. Like he wanted to consume me entirely and at the same time, he wanted to keep me safe. No one had ever wanted to keep me safe before. Not my father, not even my sisters. They depended on me to keep them safe.
There was something to it, the idea of letting go, of letting Caleb take care of me. I stared at him and found myself dropping the last of my tension, my shoulders relaxed, my powers relaxed and dove deep inside me.
For the first time in my life, I spent hours talking to another human with no desire to kill him, or anyone else near me.
I listened to him talking, his stories. I didn't understand them all, but he tried to make jokes, tried to get me to smile, to laugh.
When he finished the bitter drinks that he enjoyed much more than I did, I watched as he went to pay and then came back to the table and took my hand. It wasn't the first time he did so.
His hand was bigger than mine. He was bigger than me in every way, he seemed bigger than most people. I liked the way his hand covered mine entirely, I liked the solid frame of his body, radiating warmth and safety beside me. His kind face, the warm honey colour of his skin, the way his muscles seemed to want to break free from his clothes.
He held my hand as we walked down the street. He spoke to me about his studies, about his father, about his friends who he left behind in Detroit. He'd prod here and there, to find out more about me, but I wasn't up for talking, I just enjoyed listening to him.
As we walked he'd point out shops, talk to me about historical events, there was so much I didn't know. He didn't hesitate to go into detail when I asked, he never made a face, never refused to explain something. Though I could imagine my utter lack of knowledge on most subjects must have been shocking to him.
Caleb showed me the different landmarks in the city, we stopped in front of the Painted Ladies and he told me about their construction and fame.
"Hey Eris," he breathed after he'd finished his lesson. I glanced up at him, excited to know more. A strong breeze was blowing, picking up and playing with the frills of my skirt.
"I can't help but have a lot of questions. And I'm worried, about you and your sisters. I think you need a lot more help than just me," he pursed his lips, watching my expression darken. I pulled my hand out of his, feeling sudden rearing of my powers. "Before you walk away from me," he cracked a small smile. "I don't want you to worry, I won't tell anyone about you if you don't want me to. I'm going to keep you safe Eris. I'm just not sure I'm the right person," he finished.
I noticed a pink tinge to his cheeks, he gazed down at me. His fingers lifted and caressed my cheek with a feathery touch. My powers decimated inside me, disappearing completely the longer he touched my face. I could feel my skin warming under his touch.
"I can't stop thinking about you," he breathed. I could feel his strength, I could feel his life force, I could also feel his nervousness. The wind swooped around us.
"Caleb what-" I was interrupted as the wind hit suddenly, ripping the hat I'd started to wear to cover my hair off violently. I gasped in surprise watching the hat fly up into the air, my hair pouring out.
Caleb immediately started running after the hat, and for a split second I watched him run, then I found myself running after him. He caught the hat in the air and spun around grinning at me. I was already too close to him and barrelled into him. He caught me easily, grabbing my shoulders and stabilising me, laughing loudly at my bewildered expression.
He danged the hat in front of me and I reached for it but he pulled back just in time. I gasped in surprise. I had to hold back from using my powers to snatch the hat back. He was grinning, I gazed up into his eyes the corner of my mouth lifting.
“Aren’t you gonna give me my hat?” I asked.
He cocked his head to one side and then grabbed my shoulder gently. He pulled me a little closer to him then fitted the hat back on my head leaving my hair out. But I had understood his game.
Probably a game he had been playing all his life. I grabbed his sunglasses from his head and took off with them. I heard him swear and run after me. I headed down the hill, falling more than running. Letting out shrieks of laughter, noises I had never heard myself make before.
Caleb caught me at the bottom, he grabbed my wrist and twirled me towards him. I tried to pull away but he was too strong. I bent over protecting the glasses with my body. He wrapped one arm securely around my waist and made a grab for the glasses. I giggled and collapsed onto the grass. He rolled next to me grabbing the glasses out of my hand. I lay back giving up, enjoying not using my powers, enjoying letting someone else win.
Caleb was sitting up fitting his glasses back on his face laughing at the same time. I gazed up at him, his hair looked brown in the sunlight. He glanced at me his glasses back on and grinned.
“Nice try Eris,” he teased, I grinned and shoved him gently. He laughed and stood up. I sat up slowly and reached towards him. He hesitated for a second grinning then grabbed my hand and pulled me up easily. I brushed myself off grinning.
“Where’s your hat?” he asked bluntly looking around. I tapped my head then gasped. I couldn’t see it anywhere. I turned around in circles for a few seconds until I realized Caleb was laughing. I turned on him my eyes narrowing, my grin widening. He held my hat above his head, way out of my reach. But I went for it anyway. Jumping up and falling against him to get it back. He roared with laughter then finally had mercy and handed it back to me.
We moved back towards town slowly, I hid my hair up into the hat again.
“I like you Eris,” Caleb told me as we walked. I smiled at him my gaze warm.
“I like you too,” I admitted. "I feel safe with you."
Caleb shyly, running his hand through his dark hair.
"I want to take you out Eris, on a date," he spoke softly.
"You take me out all the time," I cocked my head to one side, confused by his confession. He gave me a small smile.
“Eris can I try something?” he asked. I cocked my head to one side. We’d stopped walking.
“Depends what it is,” I teased. He smiled and leaned towards me. I watched his hand pull away from mine gently and reach up to touch my cheek. I let him stroke it. His soft touch dissipated my powers, calming me.
“What is it?” I asked realizing I was enjoying his hand against my skin. I wanted him to touch me again. Caleb glanced at me shyly.
“Nothing,” he shook his head slowly. “Nothing I was being stupid. You are way out of my league.”
“ League? What league. Caleb?” he was starting away again. Confused I followed him taking a few fast skips to keep up.
“Caleb I’m confused,” I admitted as I caught up with him. He laughed bitterly.
“Obviously. I’m sorry. Listen I was being stupid.”
“Why? Caleb, please explain,” I begged. He glanced at me.
“I’d love to Eris. But I’m just not sure it’s the right thing to do.”
“Caleb please tell me.”
“Eris I uh…” he blushed slightly.
I held up my hand shushing him as two policemen appeared at the far end of the street. They were walking slowly towards me their eyes wide and wary. I glanced around at the large buildings. I couldn’t walk back. Even though I was wearing my usual hat as a disguise it didn’t change much.
“Damn,” I swore. “ I’m sorry Caleb.”
“What do you mean?” I heard him ask. I turned away from him, my eyes clouded as I faced the police officers who were staring at me.
"Eris-" Caleb's voice was urgent in my ear.
Suddenly he grabbed my waist and twirled me so my back was against the building wall. His arm slipped around my waist pulling me against him, his hand cupped my face and his mouth pressed gently against mine.
I was too surprised to move. My powers dissipated immediately. He was kissing me, harder, more vigorously, passionately. His lips were soft but urgent, I could feel his tongue pushing through my lips, his hands moving slowly up my body, holding me closer to him.
I felt like I was falling, a weird, eccentric feeling. My heart was racing in my chest, my breath shallow, I felt like I had been running for hours, but I just wanted to keep going.
I loved the feel of his solid body enveloping mine. The way his fingers gripped my hips, the way his chest pressed against mine, his lips burning.
I allowed my hand to reach up into his soft black hair and pull him down closer, he let out a small moan that sent tingles through my body. He seemed to be enjoying our kiss as much as I was.
I didn’t know how long our kiss lasted. My eyes were closed. We could have been there for hours, days I wouldn’t have noticed. I couldn’t even feel my powers in the pit of my stomach.
When Caleb pulled back I held on to his shirt my eyes wide. He smiled.
“Are they gone?” I whispered, my breath still coming in small gasps.
“They left a while ago,” he answered his grip tightening again.
This time I was ready, I pulled him closer to me brushing my lips against his. He smiled before kissing me again. Again I was falling, everything was churning, disappearing, we were the only people left. I felt my powers pounding in me, filling me with such joy. They didn’t burn, they warmed me. I had never felt this way before. When he let me go again my eyes had clouded over completely black.
I blinked letting it fade.
“Uh yes,” my voice was small.
He smiled and stroked my cheek again.
“Are you okay with this? I don't want to force anything. I feel like I'm taking advantage of your innocence," he breathed.
"Caleb, no one will ever be able to tell me what I can and can't do anymore. No one will take advantage of me ever again. I want this," I admitted.
He kept his hand tightly around my waist and started down the street. We didn’t talk, I just let him lead me all the way back to the beach. It was close to empty, some people were mingling around on it. Some even in the water. I sat down in the warm sand on one of the dunes, Caleb lay down next to me his hand in mine. I gazed towards the sun, it made my head swirl so I looked back at Caleb, he had the same effect on me, only in a nice way. I smiled and lay down as well resting my head on his chest. He slowly pulled my cap off and let my hair tumble white onto the sand. I felt him stroking it slowly. I smiled, never had anyone touched me as he did, never had anyone’s touch feel so nice. I hadn’t even realized I liked him that much.