My body is sizzling, probably being grilled at the moment, and seriously overflowing with sweat. I have never felt this warm in my entire life. I squirm around and roll to find any coolness to help my temperature drop, my hands grope the sheets but, instead of refreshing air, I grab on to something firm and hard.
My eyes slowly open and readjust to the morning sun; curiosity fills my mind as to what my hand has attained. It’s so bulky. I try to sit up, but a dizzy spell has greeted me with a full on smile, I help myself by throwing my hands to my head and lean down to catch my sight.
I look around, trying to acquaint myself to the environment. But my thoughts are quickly interrupted as something moves and groans beside me; I give out a small yelp, fully awakened by the surprise next to me, I raise my hand and the unfamiliar blanket follows, letting me peek at the mystery it hides.
Good lord, my eyes widen and I feel my jaw drop as I see Vincent sleeping peacefully next to me, wearing the same red shirt he had on when I first met him. Half of his body on mine, his hand draped along my stomach and I feel his hot breath, sending tingling shivers through my skin.
It then dawned to me, all the memories flashing through my mind like an endless waterfall. My art exhibit, Vincent buying one of my paintings, getting locked out of my apartment, walking under the rain, getting picked up by the same guy who kept me rattled in the gallery, waking up in his arms, the bath, feeling woozy and faint, painful medicine and… Pleading him to sleep next to me!
As these thoughts linger I hadn’t notice my body shuffling from side to side, waking sleeping beauty himself. Darn, I didn’t have time to really look at his face.
“Aurora, good morning,” he sits up and rubs his eyes. “How are you feeling?”
I pause to inspect. “Better, much better than last night.” I redden, remembering once again.
He smiles, his tousled hair perfecting his just-woken-up-look. “Glad to hear. But you still look a bit flushed.”
“Umm…” He raises his hand and presses it on my forehead, and I go on overdrive “I-I…” stuttering, my perfected language as always.
“Still feverish…” he shifts his body to the edge and stands. “I’ll get you some breakfast then you can drink some medicine.”
He leaves, without another word, and I am left hanging and confuse. I lie back down and rest my arm over my eyes, feeling the heat he was talking about steaming out my forehead. Though, right now, I don’t think it’s the fever that’s making me hot.
Vincent returns faster than I expect, he carries with him a silver tray with different varieties of food and the same medicine he gave me last night. Mmmmm, I snap as my mind dwells back with the image of me in his arms.
But, surprisingly, I don’t sense the need to fill my stomach, to be frank; I don’t really have the appetite to intake the fine looking food.
“Vincent, thank you but you really don’t have to do all this,” I am deeply flattered by his hospitality, but guilty seeing as he takes responsibility for my silly actions. “We’ve only just met and this…” I refer to the suite, the food, medicine, everything. “This is too much.”
He stares at me and takes in what I’ve just said. “I understand what you’re trying to say,” he sets the tray to the side table, where the lamp is positioned and looks me dead straight in the eyes. “But, Miss Foy, I cannot just leave you, a stunning and sick lady, out in the cold.”
Stunning? Who? Me?
“Besides, I am more than happy to do this for you.” he scoots closer, taking away my personal space.
My face melts at the heat and my head starts to spin, but I give not both away. “Your concern is very much appreciated, Mr. Waters.”
He leans back, looking satisfied as he sees the effect he has on me. “Eat up and drink some medicine, I wouldn’t want you fainting again.”
I take a deep and relieving breath, giving me the chance to inhale he’s scent, intoxicating, and he walks away, leaving me to compose myself. Seriously, this man is hard to read. One minute I’m comfortable with him, the next, I feel all tingly and weak.
I roll my eyes at the thought and look back at the tray he has left me, now I feel my stomach. It grumbles at the sight of waffles, ham, eggs, and orange juice, delectable.
After what seems to be hours I manage to finish my food and pop the pill inside my mouth, my headache has slightly surpassed and my body regains its morning energy. I jump from the huge bed, realizing it can fit five people, and make my way out.
The hallway is the same as I remembered it but, this time, with my head straight, it’s much more beautiful to admire. My mind must have been in the moment last night but the hallway doesn’t seem to be too long, unlike when I was being carried, it seemed endless.
I walk through and start to appreciate the paintings hung on the walls, most of them I’m not familiar with but are still very beautiful. I stop near the elevator, looking at the slightly opened door to the left and hear murmurs leaking out.
“Yes… I’m going to take her home before lunch….. No! Of course not…… Yes……. Alright….. I know, don’t worry……”
My body leans in too much and the door is pushed open, letting me see Vincent talking on his phone. He is dressed in a crisp white shirt, one button undone from the top, a pair of cut slacks, but bare footed. I feel like I could watch him all day. He turns to see me, possibly from the door creek, and waves; I shyly smile, snatching away my reverie, and wave back, but would not dare move from my place.
“I’ll call you back,” he shut’s his phone.
I lean on the door way and suddenly feel edgy and innocent with him looking at me like I’m some nervous child. “I’m done with breakfast.”
He nods, approvingly. “You look much better.”
“Thanks to you,” I hang on, tightening my grip, and diverting my gaze away, avoiding his very mesmerizing sea blue eyes.
I feel him coming closer, jerking my head up while my eyes wonder to that grin across his wonderful face “Ready to be of service, Aurora.”
At around ten-thirty I have bathed, brushed, dressed and managed to keep myself sane for the moment, Vincent has already arranged his car to be parked up front so we could leave anytime I wish, but I don’t really want to. I’m a bit sadden by the end of our morning, a morning I don’t think I’ll be able to forget, and was hoping to get to know my knight in shining armor more.
Vincent is seated by the mini bar as I finished fixing my personal things, I feel his eyes looking at me even though I’m not facing him and it’s been giving me this odd uncomfortable but exciting feeling.
I turn and catch a smirk on his face. “Are you finding anything amusing?” I smile with one brow raised.
“Just you.” he says softly, almost like a whisper.
“Oh.” my eyes dart away from him, feeling embarrassed. “Glad you’re entertained, sir.”
He gets up from the very expensive looking chair and motions towards me. “With you, Aurora, it’s been very entertaining.”
“Really now?” I grin, a really goofy grin.
He nods. “You have no idea.” his body, oh my, nearly an inch away from mine and his face, mmmm, so close, yet still so far!
Just as things were getting good we hear a knock on the door that makes both of us jump and step back from our position.
A tall brunette enters, but stares at Vincent first, completely awed, and blushes different shades of scarlet before regaining herself. She looks at me, probably to keep herself distracted from this God-looking man next to me, sheesh.
“I will be taking your luggage to the lobby, as per requested, ma’am, sir.” her voice sounds all shaken and I can’t stop myself from smiling, he sure can catch a girl off-guard.
Vincent nods and waves his hand to the luggage near his room. “Thank you, we’ll be down in a minute.”
“Very good, sir.” her face gives everything away but Vincent seems to be immune from the pheromone she’s excreting, or he may just be used to it.
As the lady disappears Vincent turns to me again. “After you, Miss Foy”
By the time we arrived at my place I was feeling more like myself, less worried about Vincent, since we’ll be parting, and more focused on the rest of my afternoon. Part of me wanted to stay with him, of course, but I know Andie won’t let me hear the end of it once she finds out. I need to contact her first.
Lunch was approaching and I know both my friends are worried sick for my absent text and call last night, one of their ways to show that they care about my well-being.
I step out of the car, more familiar with it than before, and admire the slick blackness it gave once more. Vincent rolls down his mirror and waves.
“I look forward to our next meeting, Miss Foy.” he winks.
“Back at ‘cha, Mr. Waters” I wink back, feeling all giddy and confident.
As the site of the CL-Class disappear to the nearest intersection I skip, merrily, to my own car and retrieve the only keys I have to get my belongings inside. Lucky bitch. The little voice inside my head echoes those words until I have them replaying again and again, but it’ll never bother me since I feel like I’ve had one successful night.
I reach the double doors to the apartment and find it unlocked, obviously. I sneak a peek inside to check whether Mary or Wilma, one of the keepers, and sometimes receptionists, are around the lobby.
Entering the apartment you won’t recognize it from its exterior since inside, it gives out a more modern and friendly look, whereas the bricked wall outside says ‘stay away’, with a few vines hanging and a black metal fence surrounding it with stony railings that looks like it couldn’t lift a few kilos of boxes, it makes security a little easy. But inside was a whole other story. The walls are white as snow, I’ve been tempted to color on them sometimes but wouldn’t dare for Mary’s rage, and the floors are covered with a grey carpet reaching until the elevator. Sofas and chairs are in every corner and a huge coffee table, stacked with magazine, is in the center. The reception area is near the door and the elevators are at the opposite side.
My place isn’t all that fancy, but it did shout luxury.
As the elevator pings I spot Mary stepping out the glossy silver lift with tons of paper work in her arms “Aurora?” she eyes me, her glasses falling to the bridge of her nose. “I thought you were upstairs.”
“Oh? Why? Did you let anyone up?” I walk towards her and grab some of the huge stacks she’d been carrying. “I couldn’t get in last night.”
One of Mary’s overly pampered brows lifts and I stupidly smile so she wouldn’t suspect, Mary had a big mouth, one of her many flaws, and information about me would usually reach Andie or Jake, or even the neighbors, before I get to my unit. I wouldn’t want my adventurous night spreading like wildfire in the apartment.
“I left my keys and slept in the car,” hoping she didn’t inspect my empty Elantra this morning, I give my fake honest to death look, pouting to add affect.
“If I had known…” she sighs and pushes her glasses up. “You should’ve woken us up, dear.”
“Sorry, it was really late and I didn’t want to disturb anyone.”
“It’s our job to take care of our tenants, and you’re also like a daughter to me so I would worry.”
My body tenses. Whenever Mary or Wilma would say those words to me I would feel a bit queasy and uncomfortable, probably because I have no idea what real parents would do, or maybe I wasn’t used to someone calling me their daughter since I didn’t know what being a daughter would feel like, either way, it gave me the chills.
“Well, thank you.” I manage to say.
Mary walks behind the desk and rummages around her belt full of keys, eyeing the sparkle through her glasses. “Here.”
She hands me the spare to my unit and I blush, this is really embarrassing. “Again, thank you.” I place the paper work on the counter and attempt to flee.
She smiles and I walk, faster than usual, to the elevator. It’s all silver and shiny, it didn’t look too classy but it definitely showed that the tenants had money. Not that I’m one of those rich tenants.
I look back and watch Mary take her position and organize the paper work she had. She was in her mid-forty’s with dark raven hair that’s always kept in a ponytail, she had unusual pale skin, maybe because she’s half Asian, and has droopy grey eyes that scared the shit out of me the first time I saw her.
I hear the sound that saved me from one hell of a night.
Elevator music quietly poured out from the unseen speakers and I waited patiently to arrive at the 7th floor. I stare at myself, judging once again, considering mirrors were my only walls. Not much should be said about my appearance, unlike my very eye catching friends; Jake and Andie. I was more suited to be in the pale-green-eyed-brunette with a too-skinny-figure category. In other words: Ordinary.
Whereas the other two; Andrea Chloe Ignacio, with her famous back-length fiery red locks and hazel brown eyes, she could make any man stop and stare, but not only does she have face value but she’s the most bodacious girl I’ve ever met, given her daily exercise regime. But if there’s a girl like Andrea then there should be someone who could match, or even top, her looks. That would be my good friend Jacob Williams. He had been the Alpha male back in Cranbook Academy and most of the girls hated me for being so close with him. He was nearly perfect, considering he was good at academics and sports, with a somewhat perfect figure, all muscle no fat, pleasant appearance, inky black hair that seemed like silk, cloudy grey eyes that made the ladies melt and a smile that could kill within seconds.
How could I even fit in the picture?
I step out and sigh. I’ll be so dead when they find out.
With the emergency key tightly in my hand I unlock the door to my unit, 7A, and start dragging my tired feet in the flat. My heels clopped on the wooden floor as I lazily, very unladylike, force them off my feet and sink myself to the nearby couch.
“Where the hell have you been?”
The hair on my nape rises as I hear the only high pitched voice and clumping heels coming out of my room, I eye it with fear and wish I could sink in my couch and disappear forever.
A baby blue dress shirt freely waves, giving me real proof who Mary had been talking about. I totally forgot! Andie storms out my room, after finally confirming that I was here, my stupid legs shifting around making noises around the leathery couch.
“Andie!” I smile, acting really happy and clueless to her unannounced visit.
She glares and grabs on to her skinny waist, a stance which meant she was serious “Bitch! Where were you?”
“Ermm…” I squirm in my seat and try to look as innocent as possible.
“Do you have any idea how fucking worried I was? How many calls I had to make? How much caffeine I had to drink? “
She doesn’t take the vacant seat I give her, instead, keeps her dominating stance, claiming her right as my friend.
“Christ!” she throws her arms in the air. “You didn’t even answer Jake’s calls!”
I catch my phone beside me and see the very evidence of Andie’s quandaries:
4 missed calls from Andie
3 missed calls from Jake
4 messages from Andie
2 messages from Jake
My teeth clench together as the Andrea Ignacio guilt trip began. She was always good with these kinds of things, even back in college.
“I was out, “If I start with I slept with Vincent then she’ll probably claw me to my grave “Thinking.”
She eyed me to continue, I sighed in defeat. So I explained the whole thing, this time bringing Vincent in the picture. I was sure my body was shaking when the story reached to the hotel part, having me explain in full detail as to what happened, I thought I would faint from embarrassment.
“Oh my God.” her face screamed terror; I was ready to dash out on her but kept my butt glued to the couch instead.
“Don’t,” I set my hand in front of her and she restrains her next choice of words. “I know what you’re thinking, don’t even start with me.”
I grab my phone and sent a text to Jake, having Andie witness my good intentions to my dear old friend; I politely smile at her like the good girl I am.
-HOME WITH ANDIE, SORRY FOR WORRYING YOU :)-
Facing Andie again her expression remains compose and calm, although I know deep inside she’s fishing for answers. I hate that part of her. It was connected to the guilt trip she’s expertly mastered, I was always a sucker for it.
“Just so you know…” I inhale and narrow my eyes at her. “Nothing happened.”
Her body, which was tense, relaxes and she looks unbelievably relieved. It was like a ton of weight was lifted from her shoulders; even her face gave it away.
“And that’s all I need to know,” she lunges herself at me, tightening her embrace while releasing the stressful air from her lungs. “Glad you’re safe, Aurie.”
I groan while rolling my eyes with a true blue smile, feeling relieved at how cooperative Andie is. “Worry wart.”
“Anywa-ay” she pushes away, checking me and debating to herself if I looked okay in clothes Vincent had gotten. Her eyes were clearly curious when I told her he had given me the outfit I was wearing; she is a fashion design graduate after all. “Waters seems to know your style, didn’t know you could work a blouse like that.”
With my nose scrunched I hiss at her. “Shut it, Ignacio.”
By four in the afternoon Andie and I were sent back to our pasts, having our couch potato routine in my flat, I suddenly miss all the hectic days of being a student, crazy days. Andie was my roommate back then and we instantly hit it off when we first met. She was from Oxford, a half breed of her posh English Mother and rebellious Spanish Father; I quickly understood why she felt off arriving in Cranbrook. I was an alien as well, always was when it came to new people and new places.
She was in a new country, a new school, with new people to worry about but had her family to run to. Unlike me, I was forever off. Everything, everyone, and every place were always new to me, I had nowhere to go home to but the shelter I grew up in where new people would always be.
Luckily for us, especially me, Jacob was there.
“Hello-o…?” I snap back to our present as Andie bumps her shoulder to mine, I look at her and wonder what she’d been telling me. “So? Do you think you can go?”
I blink. “Where?”
She scowls and rolls her eyes at me. “Costa Rica! Jake asked me if we’re available this weekend, he wants us to be there when they start their shoot.”
“Oh…” Oh! It took a moment of my time to absorb what Andie just said, I had to shake my previous topic out and force the new one in. “Jake has a shoot?!”
“What do you think I’ve been blabbering about for the past five-minutes?”
I blush and squeeze the cup in my hands.
“Whatever.” she brushes it off. “So? Are you in?”
I study her, her face looking very impatient, and I savor the look, it’s not every day I see her hanging like this, and it is a delight. “Oh, yes.” maybe a weekend away is what I need to get my mind off certain people.
I call Jake and he starts filling me in on the details, I am stoked, instantly wishing the next three days would just fly pass us so we could get to the port. Yes, a port! We’ll be sailing to Copa De Arbol so we could get some shots on deck after which Andie and I can spend the rest of the weekend relaxing by the beach, watching Jake do his thing as the producer he is. I had no idea he was on a roll!
“You do realize that we’ll be taking full advantage on your very kind offer.” I purr and Andie giggles, setting up the table for supper, she gives me a thumbs-up approval.
“A few tequilas, martinis, brandy perhaps…” hearing his sphinx like smile on the other end of the phone, I can’t help but duplicate the same action. “Maybe a blowjob or two?”
I choke on my evening tea. “Fuck!”
I catch Andie staring at me, waiting for an explanation, and hear Jake burst into a fit of laughter. Bastard! I wave at Andie, wiping the warm liquid that’s dripping on my-oh shit! - New blouse and inwardly curse Jake for being who he is.
“Oh, grow up, Williams!”
“You gotta admit, that was pretty funny”
Andie hovers behind me and snatches the phone away. My very petulant best friend manages to overwhelm Jake and his antics as I hear her taking the lead in the conversation, she can cope up with Jake and his shenanigans but when it comes down to disciplining his maturity level, she always knew what to do.
“A blowjob, eh?” she winks at me. “Maybe I could get Brenda to come with us?”
Yikes! Brenda, throwing out the big guns, was Jake’s last girlfriend; they ended up splitting after he found out that she had to move to the other side of the continent to pursue her acting career, given that that girl’s father owns one of the most successful entertainment corporations in Europe. She and Jake dated on our last year in Cranbrook and everyone thought nothing could break them apart; they were the golden couple of the whole school, they seemed inseparable. Brenda fitted perfectly with Jake. She had long dark hair that suited her white skin and pink cheeks, she was just above Jake’s shoulder, her figure wasn’t half bad, and she had a really strong sex appeal. To cut things short, she was famous among the guys.
“No?” I hear Andie once again, her amusement’s contagious and I find myself smiling along with her.
I try to take my phone from her, given the sudden silence, but catch her blushing with her mouth hung open. She looks frantically away from me and I try to get her in to view once more.
She places a finger in front of me, gesturing me a moment of privacy and I narrow my eyes at this mystery. I always wondered how these two, Andie and Jake, became such close friends when from the start they had not liked each other. Jake thought Andie was taking me away from him whereas Andie thought Jake was my long-term boyfriend who wanted all my attention; she reasoned out with much potency the number one rule of the girl code: Chicks before Dicks.
Now I wonder, idly, as to where that rule is now.
“I’ll just get the Pesto out of the oven,” I childishly and, to add effect, slowly walk away, trying to look hurt with my lips pouted.
She nods, no eye contact required, and walks to the couch to seclude me from the conversation.
I murmur to myself bitterly, Dicks before Chicks, before hearing Andie’s bubbly giggle. “Sweetie, you seriously need to make up your mind.”