"Ass!" I spat, seeing it was James again. I went to answer it, but Jake grabbed my wrist.
"What are you doing?" I snapped, snatching my wrist away, but he reached for it again.
"Let me answer my phone!"
"Clodagh, you're furious. You'll say something you'll regret, trust me."
I answered my phone anyway, and Jakes eyes rolled in frustration.
"Clodagh? Clodagh, are you there?"
A twisted smile started to curl on my lips.
"What was that voicemail about?"
I didn't answer, planning how this was going to work out.
"Did you know that mum kept a diary?"
"It was from before I was even born."
"Do you have it?"
The grimace on my face spiralled even more.
"Yeah. I've been reading it too. Doctors orders, y'know? It's very interesting. She wrote about everything in there. Absolutely everything" I finished off slowly, b
Jake frowned at me, and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I knew James would be in a state of some sort, knowing what he had done, but I don't know if I was happy about that or not. It felt good in a vengeful sense, but the knock to my conscience played at my stomach.
"That was surprisingly.. calm" Jake said, slightly dumbfounded.
"That's because I know I've won this battle already."
"And this makes you sad because..?"
"Because it makes me feel guilty."
"Is that because you're in the wrong..?"
"No!.. No.. he's done some really bad things, trust me.
"Clodagh.." he sighed. "I hate to ask, but I'm so lost in this situation that it's unbelievable." I merely looked at him. It would probably sound so trivial to him.
He bit his lip at my silence.
"Here." He handed me a piece of paper. "If you want to meet up and talk or whatever.. Just give me a ring."
"Thanks" I said softly, hating how ungrateful I sounded.
"Do you do hugs?" he blurted.
I let my eyes wander up to his spherical orbs of chocolate. They were like little galaxies constantly pulsating, and maybe there was a genuinely caring soul behind them. But agreeing to this meant giving a physical contract of trust, and I don't know if I'm ready for that. I don't think I'm ready to become more vulnerable than I already am.
No. It's not happening.
But whilst these thoughts were going through my head, I had unintentionally agreed. Dammit.
A small grin had appeared on his face, and he scooched over beside me, and gently wrapped his arms around me.
I expected to feel smothered and scared, but even though I was very aware that I didn't give too much on the ways of signing this physical contract, I felt weirdly comfortable and awkwardly safe. I hadn't had a hug in years, and was socially unfamiliar in what to do. My nerves kept my breathing erratic, so I carefully placed my hands on his back, feeling he meanders and crevices of his clothes upon his skin, his ribcage rising and falling.
Then I noticed how good he smelled. Oh my God, it was so good..
But then I felt his grip tighten and then disappear as he let go.
"Sure you're not ready for a relationship?"
I glared at him, but then I felt my expression soften at his hopeful face.
"Don't even tempt me."
"Would it help if I told you my secret?" he asked, taking hold of my hand.
"Your secret?" I asked sceptically, my voice annoyingly high pitched.
He flexed his eyebrows, looked away, then slowly, sexily, dragged his smouldering eyes up to mine.
"I'm Batman" he announced huskily.
I hit his arm and laughed.
What an odd feeling laughing was. I hadn't laughed in a very long time. Longer than I cared to remember.
"Too late for that now, idiot" I said playfully.
"Awh!" he moaned, pulling a puppy face. Our eyes interlocked. My smile dramatically lessened and I awkwardly looked away.
"Sure you're not ready?"
"Pretty sure" I answered softly. "Not yet."
"So maybe one day?" he asked hopefully.
I smiled, again allowing myself too much.
"And maybe always means yes!" he said triumphantly, nudging me with his elbow. "I'd better go before my mother has a heart attack. Call me if you need me. If I don't answer, I'm out with Robin, protecting society."
"I'll keep that in mind" I nodded, pretending to be serious.
He bent his head to kiss my cheek, and quickly got up. I looked up at him, his face dappled in sunlight.
"See you" he said nervously before speeding away.
I watched him for a while, then proceeded to unscrunch the piece of paper he gave me, and smiled fondly.
'You didn't seem to have time to write down my number so I wrote it down for you.
Jake Edwards, a.k.a, Batman.'