Show Me Your Soul

What happens if life throws you off track? What if someone asks you to trust him, even though you know nothing about him? Would you trust him?
Cecily Martesse is a normal student in her second year at college. Just when the next normal semester starts, she meets Ace - a handsome boy that throws her life upside down. Compelled by his words, his voice, his behavior, she finds herself getting dragged into a world full of secrets, unfaithfulness and deceit.
Just when she hears some devastating news about her brother, she has to face things she never knew she could endure.
A story about love, trust and friendship. Rated Mature for adult language and hot love scenes.

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19. Hope and Miracles

 

CECILY

 

Saturday was just as awful as at Eng’s Touch.

Well, awful for me. Dexter and Anna seemed to enjoy their time together. They kept talking about college, their weird hobbies, e.g. to always question everything the professor says (what the fuck?) and their common mindset to treat as much patients within the shortest time as possible to maximize their chance to get some good points from the Doctors. Ugh…

He even gave Anna some advice how to study for the next courses. Double ugh...

I just wanted to go home and cuddle with Zazzy while watching my favorite telenovela on the internet. Oh, and then I should study, too. But I’ll do that at midnight – as usual.

After finishing their coffee and me eating some delicious cheesecake, they exchanged their phone numbers and he proposed to drop us at our houses, but Anna shook her head, saying she needed to go shopping at the mall. Because I didn’t want to be twenty minutes alone with Dexter and his exams-patients-talk, I decided to go to the bus station together with Anna.

As he drove away, Anna grabbed my arm, looking at me with sparkling eyes. “He’s so cute, isn’t he?!”

Huh? Um… yeah, well, he was tall and slender. He had short brown hair, clean-cut features and round, hazel eyes like a teddy bear which were indeed cute but… he absolutely is not my type.

He was good-looking, but something was missing. He just hadn’t…

Electric blue eyes with tousled black hair and full lips?

A shiver ran down my spine and my stomach twisted. “Yeah, sure! He’s great”, I quickly said so that I could forget this stupid, stupid and extreme unnecessary thought.

“He’s so experienced! All those advices, I’m sure he’ll be a great dentist!” She beamed with delight.

Oh Lord… I tried not to roll my eyes; I didn’t want to take away her happiness. It has been a while since I have seen her so joyful and sunshiny.

I smiled and hugged her when I got into the bus that brought me on the fastest way home. Looking out of the window, I noted her flushed cheeks and her school-girl-smile which made me smile, too. Well, well, it looks like I’m good at being Cupid!

 

As I walked through our front door, I heard some noises from our living room. I walked through the hallway and saw to my surprise that Noah was sitting on the couch with Mom, Dad and Marlene.

Salut, Cecily”, Noah greeted me. He was calm and didn’t seem to have an argument with Dad.

“Hey…”, I said a little carefully. Even when Noah is having a fierce argument with our father, he could always switch to the calm, kind version when he talks to me or Marlene. So, maybe I just entered the middle of a tornado and I’m about to witness the upcoming, real fight between them. “Noah, tu ne nous as pas dit que t’allais venir”, I remarked and hugged him. “Ben, tu m’as rien dit. Vous le saviez?” I turned my gaze to the others but they just shook their heads.

“Yeah, I wanted to surprise you.” He smiled as I sat down next to our parents. He talked about New York, his friends and search for work. I sensed Dad getting tenser, and I prayed he won’t snap at him for being still unemployed which would definitively cause a fight between them, I knew.

But Noah’s lips cracked a grin when he cleared his throat. “Um… now that we’re all gathered, I want to tell you some good news.”

“Oh?”, Mom squeaked, her eyes wide.

He nodded, rubbing his cheek.  “I didn’t want to say it on the phone. And… um, I also kind of had to come.”

Okay, now I was getting curious, the others, too. Dad’s hands unclenched, his gaze left the screen of his laptop to look at his son.

“I-I got a job interview at Electronic Foundation as an IT engineer in San Francisco next Monday.”

He bit his lip, waiting for our reaction. We were speechless. For a while no one said anything and even Marlene’s jaw dropped.

“Um, I booked a flight for tomorrow in the morning”, Noah added, a little meekly. I guess, he had expected an enthusiastic reaction.

“But… that’s… great”, Mom said sheepishly, glancing at Dad. We all didn’t know what to say. It was a good chance for him and if he got that job it would mean he won’t be as far away as he would in New York. But there’s also –

“I know, I know. I don’t want to rise my hopes too high, too. There’s still the chance that they won’t take me; the concurrence is just too big. My counselor found the job offer by chance and told me they needed an IT engineer who has almost the exact specifications as me.” He was excited, listing the advantages of the company and the opportunities for his career.

I was happy for him; it had been a long time since I had seen him this excited. He had been gloomy when he got out of jail; he had spent most of the days at home, and after every IT company he’d applied to rejected him after they found out about his stay in jail, he had been devastated. Depressed, even, and driving Mom and Dad insane with his unreasonableness.

My lips curled to a smile when I walked to him and hugged him tightly. “Noah, that’s great! I am so happy for you!”

He nodded, hugging me back.

I sat down next to him, words failing me when I thought about a possible rejection. I just don’t want him to be disappointed in the end, to suffer that kind of pain again.

“Noah”, I started carefully, staring at his bright eyes. “I–We all wish you good luck and hope that it will work, but please don’t be too disappointed if it… you know.”

To my surprise, he smiled, nodding. He was so reasonable today, it made me second-guess if that was really Noah sitting in front of me.

“I know, Cecily. But the good thing is that the CEO already knows about my stay in jail three months ago. My counselor said it would be a good idea if we were straightforward and honest from the beginning, maybe.”

Huh… maybe he’s right. Then it’ll all depend on how Noah will be on Monday and if his skills are needed there.

“And if I’ll get the job, I could make a request to the bank to get a credit”, Noah added silently. He looked at the table and waited until one of us would say something.

“That… that would be really great”, Mom said. Noah looked up and she smiled warmly at him. He nodded slowly, returning her smile.

Putting her hand on Dad’s knee, she cleared her throat. “Mathieu, if the bank is going to give him a credit”, she began silently and her voice sounded suddenly so hopeful, “Maybe, we could celebrate our anniversary with the money you just earned with that project and go to Inagua like we had planned for so long–”

“Julie, don’t raise your hopes too high”, Dad said instantly. He was still looking firmly at Noah; his brows knit.

Oh God, now here we go…

But Noah just mumbled something about preparing his interview and walked upstairs. Wow, this was way too unusual. I know he just wanted to snap at Dad, to pick a fight with him, accusing him to never believe in him and being always pessimistic about everything. But he bit his tongue and controlled his emotions.

This was weird. This was just too weird.

“I’m going to prepare dinner”, Mom mumbled, heading to the kitchen, Marlene following her. I could see her sad face, the lump in her throat that she swallowed. She was looking for their anniversary for a long time she had told me. She had even planned to go on vacations with Dad, to the same place they had gone when they were just married. But after Noah’s debts she had buried the thoughts.

Dad and I were alone in the living room, both of us absorbed in our thoughts.

“Papa”, I said after a while and he turned his brown eyes to me. He looked so tired and with all those business trips and extra work he was just exhausted.

Oui?”, he said and held my hand. He caressed my knuckles with his thumb and gave me a warm smile, so different from the cold look he had given to Noah just a minute ago.

He still didn’t forgive Noah for the mistakes he had done…

I wanted to tell him that he shouldn’t be too harsh to Noah and that he should try to encourage him. And that he shouldn’t take away Mom’s hope. And that maybe they could celebrate their anniversary if Noah’s debts will be paid.

I even wanted to ask him when or how he had known that Mom was the right one. The one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. His soulmate. His best friend. The one.

But seeing his warm smile and tired eyes, I couldn’t bring myself up. I didn’t want to make him a bad conscious or burden him any further. Or make him think that there is someone who’s crossing my mind every minute, making my stomach loop and me lose my appetite.

“What’s going on, poussin?”, he asked.

Biddy … he always calls me that since I was nine months old and wore a romper suit that had little baby chicken on it, my Mom had told me. I used to hate it when I was a teenager, but now I couldn’t imagine another nickname for me from his mouth.

“Nothing”, I said smiling and hugged him tightly.

He hugged me back and caressed my back while my mind was finally not overthinking everything. I just inhaled Dad’s scent and relaxed in his arms.

 

It was heavily raining the whole Sunday morning.

It rained so rarely in Los Angeles, but when it happens, it’s fiercely. We even feared Noah’s flight will be cancelled, but after we arrived at the airport, they told us that the plane is departing regularly. We wished him good luck and he promised to call us when he’s in San Francisco and after the interview.

The rest of the Sunday, I spent with painting and reading a bit in my pharmacology textbook until the topic about some antibiotics, anesthetics and other painkiller literally got on my nerves.

After giving up on trying to watch my telenovela on my laptop since the screen had frozen a couple times, I grabbed Pearl of China from my nightstand, my thoughts anywhere but the story I was reading.

 

Noah called the next day as promised and told me that the job interview went great – better than expected, in fact. The CEO talked to him and seemed to be very interested.

“What about your stay in jail?”, I asked on the phone, sitting on the bench at the clinic. It was a sunny day, the flowers here blooming and filling the air with a mix of grass and lavender. The fact that no students goes to the little garden across the street had always surprised me, but then, it’s convenient if you want to have a moment for yourself.

“He was… uh… surprised, but he didn’t seem to be bothered.”

“Really?” I put down my sandwich, placing my phone on my other ear. “Wow, that’s great, Noah!”

“Mhm…”, he mumbled.

He told me they were going to give him an answer during this week, saying that he’ll be back in L.A. tomorrow. I was glad to see him so soon. Noah was cheerful and happy; things he hadn’t been for a while and I missed spending time with him, seeing him or simply hearing his voice.

 

The whole week passed in a blink of an eye. Ruby, Cassy and I went to our lectures, treated our patients and attended our practical courses. I was even allowed to assist my former professor in excavating a dent which was really awesome!

Anna was a little distant toward us since she was almost glued to Dexter. Every time I walked through the foyer, I saw them sticking their heads into a textbook or vigorously talking about the subject and laughing when one of them realized that he or she made a mistake. That was actually cute… in a weird way. But cute.

“They seem happy”, I said to Ruby and Cassy at lunch when I turned around and saw Anna giggling with Dexter at the table across the room. Her face was red and her glasses laid as usual askew on her nose but then he gently adjusted them which turned her face even redder.

“Ugh… it’s giving me nausea. I can basically see rosy hearts and flowers whirring around their heads like in cartoons”, Cassy sighed. “I mean, everyone can see that they have a crush on each other. Their lovey-dovey is totally obvious! Josh and Eric already fired a couple questions about them at me and even Ace–”

What?!”, I almost shouted.

She and Ruby grinned wickedly and after sipping her soda, she continued, “Oh, look, Ruby, who’s interested in what Ace told me.”

“No, I’m actually not interested at all”, I said casually and took a bite of my pasta. Of course, I was dying on the inside to get more information. My stupid curiosity was annoying me but I kept chewing and looking as indifferently as possible.

“Fine. Then I won’t tell you that he asked if Dexter and Anna were a couple and that he almost seemed kind of… huh… relieved when I told him you just saw him on Saturday because you wanted him to meet Anna. Well, it’s hard reading Ace’s face expression, but his smirk was definitively a sign that he was relieved.”

You did what!?”, I said shocked. “Cassandra Marie Lance, why did you say that!?”

She giggled, “Relax, Cecily. I didn’t know you didn’t want me to tell him. Why does it bother you? Technically, I’ve done you a favor.”

“I beg your pardon?”

She shrugged. “Yeah, well, now you know he’s interested in you!”

Okay… that was definitively not a proof. I know he’s interested. But not in something serious with me but rather having fun with me. He wants to enjoy a good time without being in a relationship or admitting that he has feelings for me. His dislike toward Dexter is only caused by his feeling that this is a competition. That is definitively not out of love.

“Okay, there is something I need to tell you…”

I told them what happened at the frat house party, but without mentioning Noah or the I love you or the whole hotel night a couple days after that. I just stopped after saying, “I was wasted and we made out until my head started throbbing and he drove me home.”

Cassy’s jaw dropped and even Ruby’s fork slipped out of her hand. “Oh. My. Gosh! Why did I miss all of that? And why didn’t you tell us before?!”, Cassy shouted and I had to “Shush!” her so that the other students won’t hear any of this.

“See? So he’s totally into you!”, Ruby exclaimed.

Uhh…

“He doesn’t want a relationship. Or date anyone. Also, I was drunk and not myself when I kissed him.”

“Are you sure? Maybe he just said so–”

“It was pretty clear, Ruby”, I cut her in, “He doesn’t want something serious. He was just curious, that’s why he asked about Dexter and Anna.”

And now he knows I lied. Well, it’s not like I could have pretended to have more dates with Dexter when he’s obviously stuck to Anna. Also, what do I aim to achieve with that? Make him jealous? As if that would have worked. As if he would have made a move.

They leaned back and sighed deeply. Yup… he’s not interested – enough.

“Phew, you two are just too complicated”, Cassy said. “But who am I to judge…”

I turned my gaze to her and arched an eyebrow, “Everything okay between you and Michael?”

She sighed and pushed her plate back, “Yes – no, ugh… I don’t know. I got into a fight with him, lately. Maybe that’s why I can’t stand seeing lovers now.” She smiled but I could see that her eyes looked sad.

“What happened?”, I asked carefully. Not that I was the right one to discuss relationship problems with but maybe she just needs to tell someone what’s bugging her.

“We had a date on Wednesday at six, but I had to treat my patient until past seven, so I came kind of too late. It already happened twice last week and he waited for me until I had left the clinic, but this time he cancelled. I was mad at him but he’s also angry at me for not keeping my word. But that’s not my fault that the treatment takes longer than expected or when Rayden wants to check every step I make which also takes unnecessarily time!”, she bubbled up.

Yeah, Rayden can be very picky and is sometimes annoying with his distrust toward collegiate work.

She sighed, “And it’s also not my fault if Mrs. Andrews or Mr. Hastings always call me when I have a date with Michael!”

“What? Your patients call you in your free time?”

“Yeah, that’s new. Doctor Meyer gives the patients our phone number when they fill the registration paper so that we’re always available if they have questions or come later to the appointment.”

So that’s how Victoria got my phone number! Huh, not a bad thing after all, even if she didn’t call because of a dental emergency.

Cassy was angry and hurt, which is understandable. Michael should comprehend that we can’t just bail on the patient and go have fun before finishing our work.

We tried to cheer her up and told her that maybe he was tired or had a bad day and is probably soon going to apologize to her for being such an idiot. I hope.

After finishing lunch, they went to their treatment rooms and I rushed to the changing rooms. I didn’t want to have another fiasco with the ketchup sauce like last time, so I decided to put my dental clothes after eating my lunch.

As I rushed downstairs, a couple students walked past me – among them… ugh… Ace.

He walked cozily and when he passed me, I thought that he wouldn’t even give me second glance or just look at me with his bored or cold eyes.

But when he locked on to my gaze, there was a hint of a smirk. Or am I just imagining things? No, he definitively tried to suppress a smirk.

He ambled upstairs and disappeared in the hallway.

Great. Now he won’t stop smirking at me because he knows that I faked my date with Dexter. I should have told Cassy not to tell him! But I’ve never thought that he would ask her about them.

Either way, it doesn’t change anything between us.

 

On Friday, the CEO from Electronic Foundation called Noah. He almost jumped off the couch but disappeared in his room the moment he said “Hello?”

We waited impatiently in the living room and after a while he ran downstairs and said breathlessly, “I got the job! I’ll start working next month!”

Mom flew from the couch and showered him with kisses. She beamed with delight and even Dad congratulated him and was almost proud. No, he was proud. He just didn’t want to show it too much.

Noah was excited and signed the contract they sent. Afterward, he drove to the bank and made a request for a credit. He told us the banksman gave him the papers, explained him the conditions and consequences in case of not paying but he agreed immediately.

“But isn’t it too early, Noah? Is your contract without notice?”, Dad asked skeptical.

“No, no, it’s fine! Um… don’t worry, they can’t sign me off for a year – at least.”

Dad nodded slowly, but his frown didn’t leave his face. Noah must have noticed that, too, so he added silently, “Papa… please believe in me. Just…just be happy that you don’t have to pay my debts next month. You can keep your money and… and go to Inagua with Maman!” He looked hopefully to Dad.

I turned my gaze to Dad and saw a him smiling dreamy. “Papa, that would be really great. We can organize a party to celebrate your anniversary! I mean, it’s your wedding anniversary and something special! We haven’t done that for ages… and Maman would be really happy if all her friends would come.” Even I started to get excited. Last time we had a party in our garden with catering, good food and many people was on my 18th birthday.

After persuading Dad that it would be a nice opportunity and that it could unofficially be celebrated because of Noah’s new job, too, I headed to my room and called Francine, a friend of Mom’s who’s a party planner.

She was glad to hear that we’re going to celebrate such a wonderful thing like a wedding anniversary and said she’s going to prepare everything and promised not to tell anything to Mom.

Unfortunately, she heard my conversation with Francine a week later, so she asked me what we’re planning.

“Um… nothing Maman! That was nothing!”, I said in a high-pitched voice.

She narrowed her eyes and grinned widely, “Ah non, Cecily, I know you! Your father is so secretive, too. What are you planning?”

I shook my head but she was persistent, “If you tell me now, I’ll tell you what kind of surprise I have for you.”

“You have a surprise for me?”

She nodded, her grin growing wider. Oh, my badass mother did know how to get me. I sighed and told her what we’re planning. “But you have to promise to look immensely surprised!”, I added. She was already on cloud nine and nodded dreamily.

“And what’s my surprise?!”, I asked.

She smiled, “You’ll get my car.”

Oh! I looked at her wide-eyed. “I know, I know, it’s not the best or most beautiful car but at least you won’t come late anymore – I hope.”

“No, that’s great! I like your car and it’s better than taking the subway or bus!”, I said excitedly. “But what are you going to drive?”

“I’ll buy a new one. We gathered some money to pay Noah’s debt next month, but now that we don’t have to pay anymore, we can use the money for other things. You can have the car now of course.”

That was great. Really great. I thanked her very much and she showed me what car she’s going to buy next week on the Internet.

We talked about the party and she helped me with the guest list. “Susan has to come, with her husband and your cousins, Stefan and Sandra, too – call them and tell them they can come this Friday.” She gave me the phone number of her friends that I should invite and Dad’s friends, too. “You can bring yours, too!”, she added. “I’d love to see Alex, Cassy and Ruby again. Even Josh and Eric hadn’t been here for a while. Oh, and what about Ace?”

“HUH?”

She giggled, “Wouldn’t it be nice? He’s so gallant. And very friendly!”

And a scumbag.

“Um… I don’t think that’s a good idea, Maman.”

“But why? I know he’s not your boyfriend but you could invite him as a friend. Like Josh and Eric.”

Yeah, but I haven’t made out with Josh or Eric.

I sighed. It’s her party. And I didn’t want to explain how complicated things are between us right now. And there’s also a chance that he won’t want to come. I nodded and started to call Aunt Susan, Mom’s friends and Alex. They were all excited and agreed to come.

I was happy. Truly happy and delighted. I haven’t felt like this for a very, very long time. It was fun discussing with Francine the food, flowers, table decoration and calling Mom’s close friends. And it was a relief to come home at the end of the day and find my parents happy and relaxed and not this tense atmosphere.

 

When I drove with Mom’s car – no – my car, I plucked the AUX cord into my phone and started singing in my car, which I haven’t done for a long time.

I even started humming the last song I heard through the hallway.

“Wow, Cecily. It has been a while since I’ve seen you being so gleeful. And even singing”, Ruby said as she tickled me lightly on my rib.

“Yeah, Cecily… could that have something to do with the information I gave you about Ace?”, Cassy added impishly.

I rolled my eyes, “No! Definitively no! Not every time a girl is happy, it means that a boy is responsible for it.”

They grinned and exchanged their typical Cassy-Ruby-glance. I sighed and continued, “It’s because of my parents. They’re celebrating their anniversary and they want to make a dinner party. Also, my brother, um, changed his work and is moving to San Francisco which is great, now that he doesn’t have to travel across the country just to visit us.”

“Oh my gosh, that’s awesome! When is this party? Are we invited? Oh my God, I need a new dress!” Cassy was in her element.

I laughed and told them they and if their parents would like to come this weekend, they would be of course invited, too.

Ruby smiled sadly. Oh, crap! “Sorry Ruby, I forgot about… um…. your parents.”

“No, it’s okay. Dad moved out a couple months ago and they’re soon going to sign the divorce papers.” She shrugged her shoulders. “I think it’s for the best. They didn’t get along for a while. But I think my Mom would like to come, nonetheless! I could call her. She hasn’t seen your Mom for a long time. My Dad can keep an eye on my siblings, I don’t think they’re ready to be in a room together – unless you want a little dinner drama”, she chuckled.

“Are you sure, you’re okay, Ruby?”

She nodded and told me not to worry about her. True, her parents have lived separately for a long time, so the divorce makes it just official, but I know what it’s like to have parents who don’t talk to each other, don’t want to see each other or sometimes act childishly.

I hugged her and told her she can always come talk to us if there’s anything bugging her.

“Thank you, Cecily”, she said and hugged me back.

 

Okay, I was really in seventh heaven the whole day. That song didn’t want to leave my mind and I was humming it constantly. I heard another song during our midday break, but then I got an earworm of that one, too.

I plugged my earphones and even started dancing in the orthodontics lab when everyone was gone since it was my turn to clean the room.

Galanterie, égérie, marchande d’amour, remplie d’ennui… blah blah blah… Elle aime trop ça, les gros lauds-sa, elle aime trop ça, elle aime trop ça, elle aime trop ça, les gros lauds-sa… blah blah… blah blah…”
“I don’t think she does sing ‘blah blah blah’, Cec.”

I almost had a heart attack.

Removing my earphones, I slowly turned around, cursing myself that I didn’t close the door. The moment, I saw Ace leaning against the doorframe, his eyes glowing and his mouth playing with a candy he was swaying with his tongue, I really had a heart attack.

I gulped and tried to ignore his leering glance and irritating tongue. “First, it’s a male singer. And second, why are you spying on me, you perv?!”

“I wasn’t spying. Also, this is a public place for us students”, he said and cocked his head to the side. “What’s the name of this song that made you do those… interesting moves with your hips?” He crunched his candy between his teeth.

Oh, shit… it was a dirty song… with dirty moves… double shit.

“As if I’m going to tell you, Ace.”

He chuckled. “Then tell me at least what’s making you so cheerful”, he said and his face turned serious.

I sighed. I was happy. And not even this douchebag could take away my happiness. “Come in and close the door.”

He arched his eyebrow but didn’t ask further. When he did as I told him, I continued, “My brother, Noah, got a job in San Francisco!”, I said and couldn’t help myself from smiling.

His eyes widened, smiling, too. “That’s great. Congrats.”

“Thanks. And… um… my parents are celebrating their wedding anniversary this Sunday. Unofficially, it’s also a party to celebrate Noah’s new job.” I don’t know why I am so immensely honest to him. But he already didn’t tell anyone about Noah being in jail or me being drunk at the frat house or anything else. “And I can bring some friends… um… Josh, Eric and the girls are coming, too. And my Mom wanted to invite you, too… um… if you want…”

He looked down at me but I just focused on his chest or the tables next to me.

“You want me to come to your family party?”

Oh God, he was right – what was I thinking? Heat flowed through my cheeks and bit my tongue for even playing with the thought that he would come.

“Yeah, you’re right, it was a stupid idea. Just forget it”, I babbled and turned around to continue cleaning up the room.

He sighed and grabbed my arm, forcing me turn back to him, “Where did I imply that it was a stupid idea?”

“Because…”

He snorted, “Because you always jump to false conclusions.”

I felt my cheeks burning as if they were on fire. Surely, he must talk about Victoria and all the insults I hurled at him back then.

He sighed, “I’m sorry, I can’t come, Cec. I need to work.”

I shrugged my shoulders, indifference radiating through every cell of my body. “Whatever. I really don’t care, I just promised my Mom that I would ask my friends.”

His eyebrow rose. “And you don’t mind at all if I come or not.” His voice is raspy as he took a step forward.

“Nope.”

He came closer until his chest was inches away from my face. “You’re a terrible liar”, he said and placed hand against the wall, his body towering me. “And we’re anything but friends. Admit it. You want me there because you’re crazy about me.”

His breath was making me dizzy. I could smell the orange flavor candy he was eating with every breath he released.

“I’m not”, I breathed heavily. “I’m not even attracted to you.” Lie. Lie. Lie. Lie. Every cell of my body was saying Lie.

“Not even the bit?” He lowered his head, his lips brushing my cheek.

I shook my head. “No, you’re arrogant… and…”

“Yes?” Heavy, hot breaths tickled my skin, driving my heart into a serious cardiac situation.

“Insolent”, I gasped.

“And?”

“Commanding. A jerk-face.”

“And that’s exactly what you like. Your cheeks are burning.” He ran his index finger along my jawline, “I can almost hear your heart speeding.” He let his hand wander along my throat to my upper sternum, “And your eyes are basically pleading me to kiss you.”

I stared at his energetic eyes that were full of desire and lust.

But not love.

“I’m not, asshole”, I repeated but this time keener and shoved his chest a couple inches away.

“Then why did you lie to me about your date with Dexter?”

Because I wanted you to tell me how you feel about me; that you’re in love with me. But he didn’t. And maybe never will. Yet he expects me to admit that I’m the one who’s in love with him and risk to embarrass myself or make a complete fool out of myself if he doesn’t requite my feelings.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but it is men who are supposed to declare their love first. Not women. And the only two reasons I can come up are that he’s either too proud to admit it or he doesn’t love me at all.

If he’s too proud then well, screw you, Ace Aurenglade. I’m not going to wait for him if he’s not man enough to tell me how he feels.

And if he’s not in love with me… well, then... what am I doing here?

The moment I opened my mouth, the door burst open.

“Cecily, do you want – Oh!”

Josh and Eric came in and I explosively wrested myself away from Ace’s arms.

“Hey, guys!” Shit, my voice sounded so damn high-pitched!

I looked at them as innocently as possible and cleared my throat. Ace was running his hand through his hair, looking slightly annoyed. He sure wanted to hear an answer to his question. Well, then I could kiss Josh and Eric right now!

“Sorry, we didn’t want to… uh… interrupt something”, Josh grinned.

“No, you didn’t!”, I said. “What did you want to ask me?”

“Do you want us to drive you home? I came by car this morning and can drop you at your house – if you want”, Eric said. His eyes paced nervously from me to Ace when he spoke which made me feel uncomfortable. Now, they will have theories about us and annoy me with this scene for the rest of my life. But it was nice of him to ask if he wanted to drive me. Sometimes, he and Josh used to drive me to the bus station when we had finished with our courses late in the evening. How thoughtful of him to offer that.

“Oh, thank you, but I came by car, too.”

“Oh, okay”, he said. He looked so cute with his thick glasses and shy glance at the floor that I felt bad about declining his offer.

Ace started to go past them when Josh turned his gaze to him, “Oh Ace, I remember: Aro was looking for you, earlier. I don’t know what he wanted exactly, just something–”

“Thanks, Josh. I think I know what he wanted.” He nodded quickly and left the room without giving me a second glance.

What the hell was that?

 

 

 

 

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