Without you

16 year-old Eliza Roberts is from a well-known, wealthy family, but despite that, she does not fit into the local High School and keeps to herself. That changes from one day to the other when Thomas Martins begins at the school, one year above her.


6. Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Tuesday morning at school, Thomas informed me that his parents had invited me over for dinner that very same night. So when I was released from school, I hurried home. While I was in the shower, I was wondering about what to wear. I wanted to make a good first impression.

After a lot of pondering, I decided on the dark blue dress I wore to school the week before. To spice it up, I dug out an old piece of jewellery that I had inherited from my grandmother. It was a gold necklace with a heart, the heart covered in little carvings of flowers. The heart rested on the curve of my collarbone, making my neck look very elegant somehow. I dragged black stockings over my legs and did my best to tame my hair.


On my way in the car, I got more and more nervous with every turn the old car took. My hands felt shaky on the steering wheel and when I finally pulled up in front of the address Thomas had given me, I was sweaty. I was desperate to give a good impression, but socializing had never been my greatest skill. I sat in the car, taking deep breaths. Then I heard a knock on my window, and I jumped in the seat like a frightened animal. My heart raced, hammering against my rib cage. It was only Thomas, though, standing there, looking at me with a frown. I opened the door and stepped out.

“Are you okay?” he asked me with concern clear in his voice. I nodded.

“Yeah. Just nervous.” I reassured him. He put his arm around me and drew me close. I closed my eyes and took in the sweet smell of his jacket. My fingers curled around the fabric on his back. Then we broke apart slowly.

“Come on. My parents are waiting inside.” He said, grabbing my hand and dragging me toward the house. The house was, just like ours, a two-story house. It was white, camouflaged in the snow. The windowpanes were painted a shiny black and the roof was covered in black tiles. A big old oak rose behind the house, stretching its crown over the roof. The front porch was in black wood, one of those hanging benches from the canopy. All in all it was quite beautiful.

Inside, the house was much more modern than I expected. Thomas held the door open for me, and I was met by a hallway with a grand staircase to the upper floor. Most of the room were in black and white, very clean and open. Thomas helped me out of my jacket and put it on a hanger in a big black build-in cabinet. With a hand on my waist, he led me deeper into the house.

The kitchen matched the hallway. White furniture, black surfaces. In the kitchen, a woman in her early forties were decorating a big plate with salad and a stew. She looked up at the sound of our footsteps. She had a kind, mild face and blond hair, blue eyes.

“Hello,” she said, standing up straight, wiping her hands at the apron around her waist. “I’m Emily. It’s so nice to meet you, Eliza.” She moved towards me, stretching her hand forward. I took it as gently and lady-like as I could.

“Please call me Ellie.” I said, smiling at her. “Thank you for inviting me.”

Just then, a man entered from the dining room. His hair were retreating back across his scalp, greying at the edges, but otherwise a blond-brown colour, his eyes the same dark colour of the wooden dining table that I could see behind him. His face was as kind and welcoming as his wife’s.

“I thought I heard you out here. I’m Bryan, Thomas’ father.” He introduced himself, also offering his hand. I took it, again as lady-like as I could. I wanted to impress them so much. Thomas had given of the best impression with my parents; they had barely been able to shut up about him since he left my house the night before. Thomas’ hand stayed on my waist.

“Thomas tells me that your parents are lawyers?” Bryan asked.

“Yes, they are.” I answered. He smiled at me.

“I’m guessing you’re on your own quite a lot. I know a few lawyers, and they spend too much time in the office.”

“They do, at times. But I have a younger brother who is at home when I am often, so it’s not too bad.” I replied. I wasn’t not sure if I felt comfortable or not.

“Dinner is ready in a little while. Go just be the two of you for a little while.” Emily said, winking at me. I smiled thankfully to her, and followed Thomas out of the kitchen. His hand stayed on my waist as we mounted the stairs.

“You shouldn’t feel so nervous. My parents already love you. Don’t worry, Ellie.” He said when we were halfway up the stairs.

“I’m just not very good with people. And I want them to like me.” I admitted. He laughed.

“You’re silly. They like you, I said. Just be yourself.”

We turned down a long, wide hallway. The first door stood wide open into what I assumed would be Thomas’ parents’ bedroom. Down a few doors Thomas opened a door and let me step inside first.

The room had just as many books as my room had. The walls were covered in movie posters. In the corner stood a bed, across the room from it stood a big desk. Beside the door a closet. The room was not messy exactly, but not as neat as my room was. But of course, I was pretty maniac about my room. I took a few steps inside, and then walked to the window.

The view was absolutely gorgeous. It was dark outside, the horizon barely lit by the falling sun. Streetlights lined the roads, and we could see the coloured lights from the middle of town. The snow glowed a warm yellow as the light from windows all over hit the pale white surface, turning it into a glowing wonderland. I felt Thomas’ arms snake around my waist, his chest pushing against my back, and my heart started beating fiercely. I draped my arms over his, leaning my head back against my shoulder. Even though I had never tried this boyfriend-thing before, this felt natural. It felt natural, being with Thomas, despite my rapid heartbeat. I looked up at him from his shoulder and saw him smile, leaning his head against my forehead.

“You’re amazing, Ellie.” He whispered. I closed my eyes slowly and squeezed his arm.

“You’re more amazing, Thomas.” I whispered back. He pressed his lips to my temple. I couldn’t help but smile.

And that was what we did until Bryan called for us to come down. We just stood there together, to talking. It wasn’t necessary. Not talking was fine - the silence between us was comfortable and nice, all we needed to do was holding on to each other.

Thomas sat beside me at the table, his mother across from me and his father across from him. The food was delicious and seemed extremely expensive. I was overly attentive of not dropping the food on the table or on myself the entire time.

“So, Ellie. Which year are you in?” Emily asked me after we sat down.

“I’m a sophomore. I’m in the literature class with Thomas, though. My teacher thought it would give me more to have more advanced teaching.” I told her. She nodded acknowledging at me.

“That’s quite impressive.”

“How did the two of you actually meet?” Bryan intervened. Thomas answered for me.

“I asked if I could sit with her the first day during lunch. She said yes, and we started talking, basically.” He said, smiling softly at me. I felt a blush in my cheeks and quickly looked down into my food. Nobody commented at it, though.

“What did your friends say to that, though?” Bryan asked me.

“Oh, my friend Maria moved to England before we started High School. So I was sitting alone.” I said, and immediately wondered if I had said too much, if I sounded weird. Emily creased her eyebrows, but not in a disapproving way, more like she was felt pity for me. I did not like being pitied.

“So you’ve been sitting alone all of high school? Poor you.” She said. I shrugged.

“It’s not too bad, really. Most people at school are not really the types I would want to spend my time with anyway.” I thought about Melissa. She certainly wasn’t the type, but if she had not made me her target, I might have had friends. There were people at school that I could talk to. Just not many. “But if I had been sitting with a bunch of friends, I wouldn’t have met Thomas. So I feel okay about it.” I said, looking up at him, the smile he sent me making my knees feel like jelly, so I was happy that I was sitting. I felt his parents looking at each other, and when I looked, there was a certain look in their eyes - happiness. They were happy about me and Thomas meeting too.

The rest of dinner went peacefully and nice. I grew more and more comfortable around his parents as we talked. Still, when they excused us and we went back up to Thomas’ room, I felt relieved. When he closed the door behind us, I smiled at him and pulled him into my arms. His arms wrapped around me, big and strong, and he held me close. He pushed his lips against mine gently, slowly, as if savouring every single second. My heart started racing again.

Then, suddenly, his fingers were around my waist and he started tickling me. I tried breaking away, already laughing, but he kept me there, so much stronger than me. He threw me on the bed and tickled me until I was breathless with laughter and my stomach hurt with laughter cramps. He lay down beside me on his side, holding his head with his hand so he could look down on me. I felt a little weird, lying on a bed with a boy. I grew silent and picked at my nails.

“What’s wrong?” he asked me.

“It’s just that I’ve never really… you know, tried this before. Being with someone. It’s very new to me.” I admitted slowly, hesitantly. He caressed my cheek gently with his thumb.

“It’s okay. We’ll do everything at your pace.” He said, and I smiled at him. Then a question popped into my mind, and it escaped my mouth before I could stop it.

“Have you had a girlfriend before?”

He was silent for a little while. Then he spoke. “I did, for a few months. Like, a year ago I think. Does that bother you?”

I shook my head. “Not really. And then again… I feel a little inferior. I know nothing about anything.”

He smiled at me. “That’s not entirely true,” he said, leaning close to me, kissing me gently. He leaned back again. “You’re a damn good kisser.” He said, and I laughed.

“That’s good.” I said. His hand was resting on my cheek, his fingers wrapping around my neck.

He looked at me wonderingly, a slight frown around his eyebrows.

“It wasn’t anything like this, though. This feels… I don’t know, real.” He said. I smiled a little at him. I knew what he meant. “Real and unreal at the same time, though. Too good to be true. But also so real that it feels like I’m burning up from the inside.” He continued. His thumb ran across my cheek slowly. That time, it was me who kissed him. I wrapped both my hands around his neck and pulled him down to me, our lips meeting and pressing against each other.

This was passion. The way he kissed me like a drowning man fights to the surface to get air into his lungs, like a starving animal devours its prey - I was something he needed to survive, and he was something I needed to survive, and I felt it in that moment for real. How much I had missed someone holding me that close. I couldn’t break away from him even if I wanted to. I clung to him for dear life, and his hands held onto me so tight it almost hurt.

And that is what love is. Love is that need, I think. A need for another person, a person that completes you, and makes you the best person you can possibly be. That was what Thomas was to me. He made my life into a beautiful story.

I felt his breath on my cheek when he backed away. His face was but an inch from mine, hovering above me. I stared into his eyes, those blue, blue eyes, and my heart was beating hard and fast. His hand pushed a strand of hair from my forehead, his eyes following the movement, and I just stared at him, wordless. Then he leaned down again and kissed me gently, as if I were an autumn leaf, as if he were afraid that I would break at the slightest touch. Then I wrapped my arms around his upper body and we snuggled up together.


“Ellie?” he asked me at one point. I lifted my head from his chest to look at him. “I think I need to tell you something.” He said, his voice weak. I felt myself frowning.

“What’s wrong?” I sat up, and he followed. He scratched the back of his neck.

“I don’t often tell people this. Ellie, I’m adopted,” he said, looking hard at me, as if challenging me. I opened my mouth to say something, but I didn’t know what to say, so I just closed it again. Thomas looked away. “I’m sorry. I just had to get it out.” I grabbed his hand, squeezing it gently. I now added what I had gathered - he didn’t look like his parents (or his adoptive parents, rather), and I was suddenly reminded of the way he said ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. It wasn’t like the words came natural to him. I looked at him with worry brewing in my stomach.

“Why were you adopted, Thomas?” I asked him gently, like I was comforting a child. In that moment, he looked so much like a child. He looked fragile, and small and scared, and all I wanted was to pull him into an embrace and hold him, but I had to know what was behind that look.

He met my eyes and turned his hand to braid our fingers together. “First of all, I wasn’t planned. Second of all, my birth parents were not in… a state where they should be parents.” He said, and I frowned at him, not really sure what he meant.

“They were drunks. And drugs. My mom was only 18 when she got me. She didn’t give me up for adoption immediately, though. They tried to make it work a year after I was born, but it was not a good solution for anyone. Basically I was taken away, really. My so-called dad used me as his private punching bag when things were not going his way.” I was completely silent. How could anyone do that to a child? His own child, even. I simply couldn’t believe it. I must have looked completely broken, because suddenly he was reassuring me, when I should have been reassuring him.

“Don’t worry; I don’t remember any of it. And I don’t have any scars or anything, it’s just… well, I know about it, and I react differently in some situations,” he said, scratching his neck again, looking uncertain. “I don’t like drunken people. At all. I get rather panicky around them, and I react very violently if I see someone being put down.”

I leaned in and hugged him, like I would with a child, and at first he seemed a little choked that suddenly he was the little one, but then he eased up and leaned his forehead on my shoulder, his arms around my waist. I ran my hand over his hair, nuzzling it gently.

“I’m so sorry, Thomas. I’m so, so sorry.” I whispered, and I felt his arms tighten around me. He needed this hug, I realized - not just any hug, but this hug. This hug that meant reassuring him about a scary past that he didn’t remember, but still bore mental scars from.

“That’s why you reacted like you did to Melissa’s gang cornering me in the bathroom, right?” I asked him in a quiet voice. He nodded against my shoulder. “And why  you stood up to me in the cafeteria.” I continued. He nodded again. I pressed my lips to the top of his head. Thomas was so, so good. From the bottom of his heart. I wouldn’t ever deserve him, he would always be so much better than me.


When I woke up the next morning, my voice was almost gone, my throat was sore and I really did not want to go to school. I did anyway, though. I dressed myself in black jeans, a grey sweatshirt and a huge, army-green knitted scarf, forced my hair into a bun and only just bothered with makeup because I didn’t want to look too much like a mess. Arthur looked at me with a raised eyebrow when we got in the car.

“You sure you should go to school?” he asked me.

“I’m fine,” I said, even though even I could hear that I sound like an old sailor who had smoked too much. “I’ll just not talk too much.”

He rolled his eyes at me and I started the car.

“So you and Thomas is a real thing now, huh?” he asked me, looking straight ahead.

“Yeah, I guess so,” I said. I felt his eyes on me, and looked back at him because of an uneasy feeling in my gut. “What about it?”

“Nothing,” he said, looking out of the front window again. He didn’t meet my eye. I locked my eyes back on the road.

“Arthur, what is wrong?” I said, and pulled into a side road, stopping the car by the sidewalk. I turned around in my seat, looking at him. His brows were creased and he looked out of the passenger window now, turning away from me. I grabbed his arm, forcing him to turn around. “Arthur, tell me what is wrong.” My older-sister-mode kicked in. I was worried about him. Arthur never acted like this. Something was really bothering him, and whatever it was, I had to protect him from it.

Finally he looked me in the eye. “I’m just afraid that you’ll forget about me, you know.” He said, and he almost sounded angry with me. I let go of his arm and retreated it from his personal space. “I get that you should be with him, I understand it, but I’m so scared of you forgetting about me. You’re not the only one who is almost without friends, you know!” he said, half-yelling. Right then, Arthur’s age shone through. He was smart, extremely intelligent for his age, but he was also insecure and 2 years younger than me.

“Please don’t say that. I promise I won’t forget about you, Arthur. You’re my brother and my friend, I couldn’t forget about you if I wanted to. It will change a bit now, yes, but I’ll still be your sister. We’ll still stay up ‘till 3 o’clock watching lame movies together. I’ll still be here. I promise.” I pleaded with him, pleaded for him to understand. He had always been my best friend, ever since we were small. We did pick at each other just like all other siblings, but we never fought and argued for real.

He leaned back in his seat, letting the air escape from his lungs. He covered his eyes with his hand. “I’m sorry. Please drive on. I don’t want you to be late.”

So I turned the car around and continued down the main road to the schools. We didn’t say anything else the rest of the drive. I could tell that he did not believe what I had said. When he got out, I told him to have a good day. He didn’t reply. I leaned my forehead against the steering wheel when he started walking up to the school. Then I straightened up and continued towards the high school, a knot forming in my throat.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I found an empty spot. I shut down the engine and leaned back in the seat, looking up at the ceiling. Then I closed my eyes. I just wanted to go home and snuggle under my cover, but I also just wanted to pull Arthur out from his class and yell at him. He was smarter than that, I knew it. He knew that I wouldn’t change. He knew me.

I slammed my fist into the steering wheel. It was just too much. Just as I found Thomas, I started to lose Arthur. I took a deep breath, trying to calm down. Then I grabbed my backpack from the backseat and left the car and went into the school.


I fell asleep during Physics. The teacher slammed a book into the table and I woke up with a start, the entire class laughing. I looked around gloomily and noticed a few people whispering together, then started snickering. I rolled my eyes at them and forced myself to stay awake through the remainder of the lesson and the lesson that followed.

When the bell finally rang, I yawned and got up from my seat. I saw Thomas in the hallway and pushed through the mashes of people. I grabbed his hand a turn from the cafeteria. He looked down at me startled, then realised that it was me, and the look of ‘what-the-fuck’ changed to a very pleased one.

“Hi there. Did you have a nice first few lessons?” he asked me teasingly.

“Absolutely not. I fell asleep during physics.” I told him, and he started laughing.

“You should really stop smoking man, you sound like I don’t know what.” I let go of my hand to slip his arm over my shoulders, allowing us to walk closer to each other. It only lasted a short while, though, because then we entered the line to get food. We ended up with some sort of soup, and we sat down at our table.

“I woke up like this, bro.” I said, flipping my head. That made him laugh as well. He grabbed the spoon with his left hand, and with the right one he grabbed my left hand under the table. I braided our fingers together and smiled at him. He kissed me on my forehead and then scooped a spoonful of the strange soup. He looked thoughtful for a minute, then coughed so violently that he almost spat out the soup. I laughed at him.

“This tastes like old socks” Seriously, don’t eat it, I would rather treat you to some food when we get off than I would let you eat this!” he exclaimed, eying me curiously. I laughed and looked at him.

“Are you asking me out right now?” I asked him, barely able to keep the laughter from my voice. He leaned back a bit, looking at me with an insanely charming glance.

“I might be. What of it?” he asked me back. I raised my eyebrows at him. I wished I could just lift one of them, which would look so much more awesome.

“Well, I don’t think I’ve been asked out before. But that was really smooth, I must say, though I think you had it planned.” I wink at him. He swings his arm around me, letting go of my hand.

“I’m not admitting to that. Not ever. But I can ask you directly if that’s what needs to be done to have you give me an answer. Would you let me take you out to eat when the let us out of this hellhole?” he asked me, looking at me daringly. I tried to supress my laughter.

“I would like that. But are you sure you really want to be seen with someone who sound like an old sailor who have spent too much time smoking?”

“Sure, there’s nothing I like more than that.” He said, laughing. Then he pulled me close to him and brought his lips down to mine in a brief but very, very nice kiss. When we leaned back, my cheeks were red and I felt eyes on us all over the cafeteria, which had suddenly grown very silent. I looked around, and at Melissa’s usual table I saw her smiling unnervingly. I shivered and averted my eyes from hers.

My mood fell, though the talking picked up again when I turned back to the tray in front of me. I was reminded of the hovering threat called Melissa Johnson. When I first started having the bad thoughts, they worked like magnets, pulling other bad thoughts to the front of my mind. I was thinking about the encounter with Arthur this morning. I looked into the soup that was already growing cold.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Thomas asked me. He leaned down to look at my face.

“Arthur. That’s what’s wrong,” I said, not really knowing where to go from there. He waited for me to continue, though, so I just ended up telling him about the talk in the car and the eerie silence that followed. Thomas was silent for a little while, and then he pulled me to him in a light hug.

“He’ll come around. He’s a smart kid, you know that.  He’ll realised. It’s just a little unusual for him to not be with you all the time, that’s all.” He said reassuringly. “If it helps any, I would like to spend time with him as well. I like him. He’s a good kid.” I smiled a little sadly at him. I was thankful that he would like to help. “But I think we should eat just a little bit of this sock-soup so that we can wait another few hours to eat something decent.”

And so we did.


Thomas and I went out to his car when the last bell rang. He wanted to drive, probably wanting to be a little macho. He actually did manage to get my mood to rise, and now I was happy and was looking forward to spending time with him away from the prying eyes of high schoolers. He held the door open for me. I was a little annoyed that I had chosen today to wear what-ever clothing, but despite my sore throat I really wanted to just be with him.

He brought me to a smaller restaurant a good drive from the centre of town, meaning that there weren’t many people around. The restaurant was nice. The interior had a nice glow to it, and we got a table by the window, which allowed us to look out at the shimmering snow, which had again begun to fall. Even though we were at the end of January it just kept on falling. It was also dark outside. The streetlights lit up the snow with a white light, while the light from the houses were a warm, yellowish colour.

We got sandwiches overflowing with fillings. Thomas had one with some sort of fish while I stuck to my favourite, chicken and bacon. We sat across from each other, and at some point a waiter showed up with a candle, apparently thinking that it would enhance the moment. I would agree that it did. The way the flame reflected in his eyes made them shine with a certain beauty, and I had my stomach twirling around every time he locked eyes with me. Under the table, our ankles touched.

When we were almost done eating, my phone started making noise from the pocket of my jacket. I picked it out and saw that it was my mom calling me.

“Hey honey,” she said when I picked up. “I’m so sorry, but dad and I will have to stay for quite some time tonight. A case came up and we have to deal with it tonight. Can you make sure that you and Arthur gets something to eat?”

“Yes, sure. I’ll figure something out. I’ll see you later.” I replied. This was good. It gave me time alone with Arthur.

“I’ll see you. Say hi to Arthur from me.” She said.

When I hang up, Thomas looked at me.

“Are you up for going back to my place afterwards? My parents will be home late, so I have to cook something for Art and me anyway. Do you wanna come?” I asked him, and he smiled at me, nudging my ankle gently with his under the table.

“Sure.” He said. “But it’s only four o’clock right now,” he said, after consulting his watch.

I raised my eyebrows at him. “You do know that it takes a little while to cook, right?” I asked him. He looked at me awkwardly. “Don’t tell me you’ve never tried cooking.” I face palmed.

“Not really, no. My mom usually does that.” He said, tugging at his hair. I leaned my head in my hand, elbow propped up on the table.

“Okay, so you and Art are going to stay the hell away from my kitchen,” I told him. “Do you want to do something with him, like play a game or something? He plays this car game all the time, I don’t know what it’s called-“

“Need for Speed?” he interrupted me. I shrugged.

“Might be.” I said. He smiled at me.

“It sounds like good fun. I’ll drop you off at school so you can get your car home as well, right?”


“Art, I’m home! Thomas is with me!” I called when I opened the front door.

“I’m upstairs!” he called back from upstairs, of course.

“Could you come down?” I yelled back. I listened for a few seconds then heard him scramble across the floor upstairs. I put my jacket on a hanger and kicked my shoes off. Thomas followed suit and when I got inside the kitchen and Thomas sat down by the kitchen isle, Arthur went through the doors.

“What?” he asked, but not in the rude tone that most teenagers would have had. Arthur was a special case.

“Mom and dad will be home late tonight. I’ll make dinner. I invited Thomas over to eat with us.”

“Cool,” Arthur said, sitting down next to Thomas. “What are we having?”

“I haven’t quite gotten to that yet. I’ll have to look through the fridge to see what we have. Why don’t you go and play something? Thomas is all up for your smash-all-the-cars-game.” I said, smiling at them.

Arthur moaned at me. “It’s called Need for Speed, Ellie, you know that. And I don’t crash all the cars.”

“If you do, I am going to kick your ass so bad.” Thomas said, smirking at him. As the true boy he was, Arthur took up the challenge immediately.

“Oh yeah? We’ll see.” He said and got up from the chair. “Come, my Play Station is in the living room.”

They went away and I grabbed my apron from the hanger beside the fridge. I tied it around my waist and opened the fridge, searching through it. I found some leftover meat from Monday, but that was all I wanted to do something with.

So I stuffed the meat in the oven at a gentle heat and started chopping up vegetables for a salad. When I had mixed cucumber, tomato, salad cheese, peppers and lettuce together I took of the apron and went into the living room from where I could hear the sound of roaring engines and wheels tearing against roads at high speeds.

They were sitting in the sofa, one more caught up in the game than the other. Thomas were laughing.

“I’m winning. Eat my dust, man!” he yelled.

“In your dreeeeeams!” Arthur yelled back, though both of them were starring intensely at the screen. I sat on the backrest of the couch, trying to make sense of what was happening on the screen. I didn’t learn much, and after a few minutes I just kind of gave up and instead ran my fingers over Thomas’ hair. He smiled at the touch, but didn’t react much more to it.

After sitting there for a little while I went back out to the kitchen and started cooking some pasta. I found three plates from a kitchen cabinet and put them on the kitchen counter. I couldn’t be bothered with the dining room, as my parents were very persistent on having tablecloths under the plates. I found glasses, forks and knifes and laid them out with the plates and put the salad there as well. From the fridge I got ketchup.

I bend down to get the meat out of the oven, but when I opened it, the heat hit me like a brick wall, making my breath catch in my lungs and my system to break into nervous panic. My heart raced to force my lungs to take in air, but all I got was hot, dry air from the oven. I pulled away, almost falling over my own feet as I backed off. I grabbed the kitchen island and steadied myself as I started coughing violently. When I composed myself I took the meat out of the oven. I wondered why I reacted so much to the heat, but wrote it off as part of the sickness I was starting to get myself.

When the pasta was ready I called for the guys to come and eat. It was a little past six by then, a little early for dinner, but Arthur seemed happy about eating already. Thomas also ate plenty despite the overflowing sandwich we had just 2 hours earlier.

We helped each other clean up afterwards, and I could feel a change in Arthur. He was far more relaxed than he had been the last few days, much more cheerful. He chatted happily with Thomas, and I couldn’t help but smile a little from a distance. They get along. And just these few hours had erased the sadness in him that I had seen the same morning.

“Wanna watch a movie?” Arthur asked us when we were almost done with cleaning up the kitchen.

“Sure. But no more cars.” I said, and turned back to the knife I was drying off. Then I regretted and turned to look at him again. “Or explosions.” I said. He moaned.

“Okay, then, I’ll go and put one on.” He said and strode out of the kitchen. Thomas snaked his arms around me and fitted his head on the curve by my neck.

“I could get used to this,” he said. I smiled.

“This, as in me cooking for you or in being able to cuddle me whenever you want?”

“Both sounds rather appealing to me,” he said, and pecked a kiss to my jaw, squeezing me against him briefly. I finished with the dishes. I threw the kitchen towel on the counter and turned around in his arms, braiding my arms around his neck.

“I could get used to both as well.” I said, kissing him softly. He kissed me back, pressing me against him with a hand on my back. 

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