Love and War

Bonnie can't help but think life would be so much easier if she didn't have to make choices. If she didn't have to choose between family or a future. If she didn't have to choose between Eli or Alfie. If she didn't have to choose between success or loyalty. If she didn't have to choose between one kind of love of the other.

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7. Seven

"This is it." Alfie says, grimly. "You can find your way home, right?"

I nod. "Yes."

"Have fun." he says with a bitter tone in his voice.

I know that Alfie is simply just looking after me but I wish he wouldn't just be mean about it. He's making me feel like I'm doing something wrong by enjoying myself. This could be a perfect thing but he's tainting it a little. 

I walk into the bar. There isn't a party or anything tonight and although it's still rowdy and cheery, it's not quite as hectic as the last time I visited here. I suddenly realise that maybe I should have made an effort to fit in but it's too late now. I let my eyes wander around the bar, knowing they'll find exactly what I'm looking for. I spot Eli at the bar and a thrill runs through me as I go and sit with him. He turns his head when he senses me sit and raises his eyebrows, smiling his smile. 

"Bonnie." he smirks. "You're back."

I feel unwelcome. 

"Yes." I say, unsure. "But I can leave."

He frowns. "Why would you leave? I mean, apart from the obvious." he gestures to all of the drunk people. 

"I feel like I'm annoying you with my presence." I tell him.

He laughs- really laughs. It's not sarcastic or cheeky or anything like that, it's just an amused laugh and it doesn't seem like he's laughing at me which makes me feel better. 

"What?" I demand but I laugh a little as well. 

"You're not annoying me in the slightest, Bonnie." he says, his laughter turning to a chuckle. His trademark smile returns as he takes the pins from my hair again, pulling it around my shoulders and he looks at me. "I find it hard to believe that you could annoy anybody."

His eyes start to wander, still looking at me, but not looking me in the eye anymore. I keep looking at his eyes. 

"I think you would be surprised." I say, quietly, not wanting us to be around all of these people.

"I think you will surprise me." he agrees, looking me in the eye again. "So long as you give me enough of your time to be surprised."

"Are you implying that you would like to see me again?" I ask with my heart thudding and a smile on my lips. 

"I would." he nods, his smile crossing his lips. "But I'd also like to see you right now so I do hope you aren't leaving."

"I'm not leaving." I say, laughing a laugh I'm pretty sure I've never laughed before. "Not yet."

He looks at me, his hand holding mine for a moment before running up my arm and finding my waist. He gets up off of his stool and steps closer to me, wrapping both arms around my waist and says "Good".

We go and step outside of the pub where it's cooler and more quiet and Eli wraps his arms around me again. I feel myself blush and I keep my arms by my side. I really have no idea what to say or do right now. I wish I could just exist and remember how it feels for him to have his arms around me forever, but I know I can't. I have to respond. 

"So, how are you?" I ask, awkwardly. 

He laughs that amused laugh again. "You have no idea what to do do you?"

I chuckle, embarrassed. "No, not really."

"Why is that?" he asks, curious. Right now that arrogance still exists as much as ever but there's also this new side to him that I'm seeing. A more real side. I like it. 

"Why don't I know what to do when it comes to men?" I ask. 

He nods, his hands still linked on the small of my back. "Yes."

I shrug. "I have never really had the chance to. The only sweetheart I've ever had was Alfie but that wasn't anything real. We barely did a thing, just tiny kisses and hand holding."

"What about other men?" he asks.

"The only other men I really meet are because of my parents. They push me towards men that I may marry one day and that just puts me off a bit, I suppose. I don' like being forced to do things."

He smiles with a glint in his eyes. "Let me guess what these men are like."

I smile the same smile back. "Go on."

He lets go of me and rushes over to a low nearby wall and puts one foot on it, heroically and puts his fists on his hips in a similar manner. He puts on a posh voice when he next speaks.

"Oh Bonnie, I believe I can offer you so much through a relationship with you." he says in the snobbish voice and I laugh at how much he really does sound like them. "For example, money, food, a home, money, happiness, success- did I mention the money? You'll marry me? Did you say no? Oh of course you didn't say no, I'm rich!"

I laugh, clapping him as he grins, stepping down from the wall and coming to greet me. 

"I'll bet all the money I don't have that they stand with you like this." he says back in his usual voice. He links his arm through mine and stands properly.

"Yes." I say, still amused. "It's exactly like that. It's all so boring."

"Well with me you can stand like this." he smiles his smile as he takes my hands and links them behind his neck before wrapping his own arms around my waist like before. "And I think that's a lot better."

I stare at his eyes, fascinated all over again. "Yes, I agree." 

"You're so pretty, Bonnie." he murmurs, one hand coming away from my back and resting on my cheek. "Not just with the way you look, it's how you act as well."

I want to say 'You too' but then I realise what I'd be saying so I just manage a "Thank you" through my wonder. I'm pretty sure it's almost impossible to distract me from Eli but I notice something familiar over his shoulder, out of the corner of my eye. Alfie stands there, his hands in his pockets. I sigh, looking back to Eli. 

"I have to go." I say quietly, as if saying it quietly will mean it's not true. 

He frowns. "I wish you didn't."

I think he might have wanted that to be a bit of a deep, sentimental moment but I'm so flattered that I can't help but giggle and blush. A small smile crosses his lips. 

"You're sweet." I press my lips together, trying not to laugh again. 

He smiles and then a worried look crosses his face. "When will I see you again?"

I don't know the answer so I just tell him. "Soon."

He nods, letting go of me. "I can live with that."

I laugh, flattered again. "Goodnight, Eli."

"Night, Bonnie." he murmurs, kissing me on the cheek before walking back into the pub. 

I let myself sigh happily for a moment before walking over to Eli. He looks annoyed and I let myself become annoyed as well. He's meant to be happy for me. 

"I thought you weren't going to walk me home." I say coldly as we start walking. 

"Well what would have happened if I didn't?" he replies.

"I don't know." I say, honestly. "But I would have been fine."

"You don't know that." he snaps, tightly. "You don't know him."

"Well I'm trying to." I snap back. "Will you take a minute to stop being horrible and to be happy for me? I thought it was you who wanted us both to find people we really loved rather than being forced to marry somebody? Alfie, I have found somebody who I really like, why are you suddenly against that?" 

He sighs, harshly. "Bonnie, I'm just telling you to be careful because I'm not going to be there all the time."

"I'm not asking you to." I sigh the same sigh and storm into my house. I manage to pretend I'm calm before the housekeeper Sophie walks into the hallway.

"Miss, did you have a nice walk?" she asks with a kind smile. 

"Yes, thank you." I smile back. 

"Your parents have gone to bed, miss. They told me to tell you goodnight and that they hoped you enjoyed your walk. Would you like me to make your bed?" 

"I shall do it, thank you Sophie." I smile. "You can go home for the night, I'm sorry to keep you here so late."

She takes my hand, squeezing it and grabbing her coat. "Thank you, Miss."

"Call me Bonnie." I tell her for what has to be the hundredth time. 

Once I am sure that the house is okay for the night, I make my bed for the night and put my night dress on. I lie in bed, thinking about that evening. I refuse to think about Alfie. We have childish fights like this every now and then, we will both be over it soon. I think about the great parts of the evening instead. It seems worlds away now that I was sat in a pub with Eli, the most beautiful man I have ever met. It seems worlds away now that we were both holding each other. I think back to how that felt and how it felt to look into his eyes.

It was terrifying in a wonderful, exciting way.

 

 

 

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