Abandoned Lives

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Chapter 7: Candi...

Waking up next to Chris is just weird. He managed to stay on his own side last night, but I didn’t. I’m not cuddled up to him or anything, but I apparently wanted some kind of contact. Even in my sleep. I wake up with my hand latched onto his arm. He’s lying on his back, with one arm thrown up over his head and the other laying across his middle. That’s the one I’m holding onto. I just lay there looking at him for a minute. I’ve always thought Chris was attractive, but lately he’s even more so. His concern for me just makes him that much hotter.

He opens his eyes and turns to look at me. “Hi.”

I smile, “Hi.”

His eyes go wide and he jumps up out of the bed, “Shit. Umm… I mean… good morning. You ok, now?”

He won’t look at me, even going so far as to turn his back. “Yeah. I’m fine. YOU ok?”

He nods, “Yep. I’m good. See you downstairs… for breakfast.” And he bolts. Huh. Wonder what that was about.

Shaking it off, I get up and start getting ready for the day. Half an hour later I’m showered, dressed in jean shorts and a grey tank, and heading downstairs. I can smell bacon cooking and hear Cam and Chris talking. When I walk into the kitchen, they both stop talking and turn to me. Chris holds out a plate of bacon, eggs, and toast and motions me to the table. I sit down and scarf it down like it’s my last meal.

I don’t look up until Cam says, “Guess that answers my question.” At my raised eyebrow, he continues, “I was about to ask if you’re feeling better. But, judging by how fast you’re eating, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you are.”

I nod. He’s right. I didn’t really have much of an appetite yesterday, but I’m starving this morning. “Can I have some more?”

He reaches over, picking up my plate, and fills it back up. Just as I’m polishing off the rest, there’s a knock at the door. Chris walks into the foyer to answer and comes back in the room with Kieran following him.

I immediately start wiping my mouth, hoping my pigginess isn’t showing in the form of stray eggs all over my face. He walks over and says hi to Cam before walking over and sitting down at the table with me. He’s looking particularly good this morning, in a pair of loose fitting jeans and a form fitting white T-shirt.

Before he can say anything to me, Chris says, “Ok, guys, I’m out.”

“What?” I thought he was staying!

He looks down at me, “I’ve got work this morning. I’ll need to stop off and grab some clothes after and I’ll be back tonight.”

Relieved, I nod, “K. Have a good day.”

He gives me a small smile and leaves. Kieran finally speaks up, “You feeling better this morning?”

I nod. “I am. Thanks.” I’m turning into a bobblehead with all the nodding this morning.

“Good. Because I was wondering if you might want to hang out a bit.”

“Sure,” I shrug.

“You wanna maybe take a walk? There’s a trail out behind your house that goes up through the woods.”

I think about it for a minute and finally agree. I haven’t really gotten out much since I’ve been here… other than to drive to the stores. I’ve never really been nature girl, but I might enjoy being out in the woods, alone, with a hot guy.

He glances down at my feet, “You might wanna put on some tennis shoes or something. The path is pretty clear, but there’ll still be a few rocks and twigs. You don’t want to get those inside your flip flops.”

I nod and go upstairs to do as he suggested. As I’m coming back down, I hear Cam’s voice and I stop to listen, “Look, someone’s after her. This recent shit is the 2nd time someone was in the house. If you’re taking off with her without either of us… well… you need to pay attention and be aware of what’s going on around you.”

“Yeah, I got it. Don’t worry. I’d never let anything happen to her.”

“I’m trusting you with my sister, dude. But, you fuck this up and it’s gonna be me and you.”

Kieran lets out a laugh, “You seriously don’t need to threaten me. Again, I’d never let anything happen to her.”

“Oh, it’s not a threat. I’m just letting you know how it is. That girl is the most important person in my life and I’ll destroy anything or anyone that hurts her. The douche in New York learned that the hard way. And as soon as I find out who keeps breaking in here on her… well…”

I’ve heard enough, so I walk back into the kitchen, “Ready?” I turn a bright smile to Kieran. As soon as he nods and turns away from me, heading for the door, I glare at Cam. Of course, it has no effect. He just grins back at me and says “have fun”.

Kieran waits for me by the door and holds it open so that I can go out first. He motions towards the back of the house. It’s not until we get closer that I see there actually IS a path there. We walk side by side for maybe 10 minutes, when he pulls me to a stop by my hand.

When I turn to look up at him, he says, “I like you.”

I smile, “Ok. I like you, too.”

He shakes his head, “No, I mean… I really like you. Like… I want to be with you.”

My eyes go wide, “Um… Kieran… Um… I’m not…”

He cuts off my idiocy, “I know you’re not ready to get in a relationship or anything like that. I just wanted you to know. I’m not just coming around for the hell of it. Or because I need friends. Or whatever. I’m here because I’m interested… really interested… in getting to know you.”

I nod and smile, “Ok.”

He smiles back and leans closer. When his face is maybe an inch away from mine, he whispers, “Can I kiss you?” Before I respond, he says, “I know it’s not a relationship and I’m not asking for anything else right now. I just really want to kiss you. It’s all I think about.”

Rather than replying, I reach up and put my hand on the back of his neck, pulling his lips to mine. If he’s surprised, he doesn’t show it. He just moves closer, putting his arms around my waist and pulling me flush against him. It starts off almost innocent. His lips rubbing against mine, pulling away, and going back. Then he runs his tongue along the seam of my lips. When I open, his tongue sweeps inside, making me weak in the knees. As his tongue tangles with mine, he starts running his hands up and down my back, getting closer to my ass with each swipe. I arch against him, trying to convey that it’s what I want. He finally takes the hint and reaches one hand down, gripping and pulling me closer. I can feel his hardness through my shorts. His other hand goes into my hair, grabbing a handful and tilting my head to the right.

As soon as he has me where he wants me, he deepens the kiss. I’m panting, trying to get as close as possible, when he moves the hand on my butt and running it down to my leg, pulling it up around his waist. When he starts grinding into me, some sense finally starts flowing into me and I pull back.

I think I see a flash of anger in his eyes, but it’s gone so quickly I start feeling like I imagined it. Hell, my mind seems to be playing tricks on me left and right lately. So why not that too? He mutters, “Fuck” and leans down, putting his forehead against mine. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to take it that far.”

“It’s ok,” I whisper. “Just not quite ready for that yet.”

He nods, slowly lowering my leg back to the ground and backing away from me. “I get it. Sorry.”

He takes my hand and turns to continue walking. I’m a bit worried that he’s thinking this is more than it is, despite his reassurances. I can’t make myself pull away, though. I don’t want to hurt his feelings and, honestly, it’s nice to be wanted for me… not for what I have or what someone has perceived that I’ve done.

We start up a side trail and I start to get a bit nervous. This is completely uphill and it’s a smaller pathway. For some reason, I can rationalize going into the woods with someone I barely know if it’s on a trail that looks well used. But, this smaller one is obviously not very well known.

Before we get out of sight of the bigger path, I pull back on his hand. He turns to me in surprise, so I ask, “Can we go back?”

His brow crinkles and he says, “There’s a waterfall up here. I thought you’d like it. Are you tired?” When I just look away, he clenches his jaw, “You don’t trust me.”

I whisper, “I’m sorry.”

He drops my hand and turns back the way we came from. “Yeah, I’m sure you are. Come on, I’ll walk you home.”

We walk in silence for a few minutes before I have enough of his pouting. Who the hell does he think he is, anyway? He’s really starting to piss me off. Acting like a damn baby because I didn’t want to go on a trip in the deep dark woods with a virtual stranger.

I grab his arm and pull him to a stop… again. When he looks at me, I word vomit, “Ok, I don’t know what your problem is, but you need to realize I don’t fucking know you. You showed up in my life a couple days ago and, since then, I’ve been locked in my damn basement… in the DARK, for an entire night. So, real sorry if merrily trotting along with you to my possible death is not in my plans today. I mean, really, all this—“

He interrupts me… the bastard… “You knew me well enough to let me put my tongue down your throat.”

I’m seeing red now. “That was different. It was a moment. And, just to be clear? It’s a moment we won’t be repeating. NOT IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE BEING TOLD NO WITHOUT ACTING LIKE A FUCKING CHILD!!”

He just turns and walks away. Leaving me standing in the woods alone. Once I get myself calmed down, I look around and realize exactly HOW alone I am right now. Every rustle of leaves has me on the verge of a panic attack. I feel like I’m being watched… like something is going to come after me if I turn my back.

I see something on the pathway that I backed away from going down. I can’t tell what it is, because it doesn’t look like a person… but not quite like an animal either. It’s just standing there, watching me. I slowly start backing down the trail, towards home, when I run into someone behind me. Before I can stop myself, I scream and turn, throwing out a fist.

Kieran catches my fist and his eyes go wide before he says, “Hey, it’s just me. What the hell?”

I immediately drop my arm. All the adrenaline has me shaking. He reaches up and rubs my arm, “Are you ok?”

Annnddd I’m back. “You LEFT me out here! NO, I’M NOT OK!”

He winces and looks away. When I try to go around him, to go home, he falls into step beside me. “I know I did. I’m sorry I flipped out like that.”

I, of course, mock him by dropping my voice down in a pale imitation of his, “I’m sure you are.”

He barks out a laugh, “Yep, I deserved that.”

“And then some.”

“True. Look…” He touches my arm, “Can you just stop for a second?” When I turn toward him and cross my arms, eyebrow raised, he continues, “Look, I haven’t tried to be with anyone since my wife, and— “

I cut him off, “No you don’t. You don’t get to use her as an excuse to be an asshole to me. I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate that and neither do I.”

He blows out a breath, “No she wouldn’t. But… I’m not trying to give you excuses. I’m just trying to explain why I reacted “like a fucking child”.”

I motion towards him with one hand, “By all means.”

He nods, “Ok. As I was saying… I haven’t tried this in a long time. I’m rusty on how things work… on how to talk to people. I know it’s not ok to act like that and throwing that kiss in your face was stupid.” At my snort, he adds. “Really stupid. I thought we had a connection and I wanted to share something with you that I enjoy… something that I find almost as beautiful as you.”

I roll my eyes, so he says, “Come on now, that was a good line.” I get a quick grin. I’m not fucking amused by him at all. But he adds, “I’m really, really sorry I overreacted. If I promise not to do that again… do you think we can maybe start over?”

Again, with my eye roll, “Fine.” When he smiles, I feel the need to warn, “But just so we’re clear, you talk to me like that again, and you can forget where I live.”

I swear I hear him mutter, “Yeah that’s not happening.” But, I choose to ignore it and be the bigger person. So… we start back towards home. When we get to the porch, I turn to tell him goodbye. I have no intention of inviting him inside this time. I can pretend on the outside, but inside, I’m still pissed.

He reaches for my hand, “I really am sorry. Can I see you later?”

His freaking puppy dog eyes should be bottled for contrite men everywhere. I mumble, “Yes.”

He smiles, leans down and kisses my cheek, and leaves.

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