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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7. San Diego

 

CECILY

 

“It will be a great opportunity for all of you”, Doctor Rayden said at the end of his lecture, “I expect you all there. Anyone who doesn’t attend the conference does not get his or her certificate, also every lecture will be content of the exam at the end of the semester so I advise you to go there. Further, you are representing the new elite of soon-to-be dentist and it’s a privilege to get to see three of the world’s most renowned maxillo-facial surgeons and implantologists who are going to read a paper about the newest implants especially applied to patients that …–”

I couldn’t hear Doctor Rayden’s speech anymore. Everyone was talking about that big and important conference in San Diego this weekend and although it sounded really exciting and interesting, I actually just wanted to relax.

“Girls, that is going to be awesome!”, Cassy beamed.

“Huh? Sine when are you so excited about going to a conference?”, I replied.

Rolling her eyes, she added, “I’m not looking forward to the conference, but the road trip! And my parent’s beach house in San Diego! We could all spend the weekend there! My parents are still in Jamaica and they wouldn’t mind!”

Ruby, Anna and I exchanged quick glances, not sure if they really would be okay if some students would just spend the weekend at their house.

“Come on, it’ll be fun! I already talked to Josh and Eric and they are coming, too! There are a couple rooms and a whirlpool, a sauna, the beach is not so far and we could just relax before the conference starts!”

After listing other tempting things their house had, we all agreed and packed our things as soon as we arrived at home.

 

“Who is even going to be at your parents’ house but us, by the way?”, I asked as we were on the highway. Cassy was being cryptic about the whole beach house thing which made me a little uncomfortable. It’ll be just one night and tomorrow we will be occupied with the conference the whole day, but still.  

“Oh, just a few. You know Josh, Eric are going to stay for the night. And maybe Aro and Lucas since Eric basically pleaded me to invite them. Oh, and Ace.”

Oh Lord…

“Why, oh, why Cassy? Why did you invite all of them?” Especially Ace and Aro.

Although Ace had shown me a gentle and polite side, I still didn’t trust him. He could still be mean to me at any time or throw insults at me. Aro already hated me, or rather ignored me. Yet I shouldn’t complain. After he had treated me disrespectfully, I decided to go at distance with him. He was not one of the good guys and I wondered why and how Eric could endure his presence. He was just too polite or maybe intimidated by Aro to tell him no, thus he always helps him with his work on patients.

Sighing, I leaned back on my seat and kept listening to the girls’ chat while my mind was overthinking how I was going to survive this weekend.

“Don’t worry, Cecy. Lucas and Aro are probably going to be elsewhere the whole night. Also, there are a few guest rooms, so everyone should have their privacies.”

“Uh-huh”, was all I said.

Somehow, I don’t believe her that things are going to be that simple yet I didn’t say anything. Maybe I’m just being paranoid with my negative thoughts.

After nearly two and a half hours of driving, we finally arrived. As I unpacked my things in one of the rooms, someone rang at the door bell.

“Oh, that must be the boys!”, Cassy shouted as she rushed downstairs.

After greeting them briefly, I decided to relax a bit in the whirlpool when I put on my swimsuit. I don’t know why I like my swimsuit more than any bikini but I just feel more comfortable in a one-piece suit. And there is no one to impress so I had just stuffed it in my bag when I had packed my clothes for the trip.

Taking off the towel, I plunged into the warm whirlpool.

As the bubbles swirled around my body and the cool air tickled my warmed body, I felt every muscle relax, my eyes shut closed.

Just when I opened them, I saw Ace’s intense stare, a killing smirk around his lips. His sudden appearance nearly gave me a heart attack, he was as silent as a wolf. And as leeringly looking.

“What?!”, I snapped. Feeling suddenly sheepish, I slid down, and let the water reach under my chin.

“Nothing, you baby. Just enjoying the view.”

I didn’t scold him about his insult – again, or his inappropriate glance. I guess his gentleness during the presentation was a one-time-thing, as expected. But the fear of him joining me here gained the upper hand.

“Could you go away? I would like to get out.”

As if I was saying the complete opposite, he just kept standing motionless there, his arms folded across his chest.

“Are you naked?”

“W-What?! No, of course not!”, I shrieked.

“Then you can get out, whether I’m standing here or not.”

Such a rude nonchalance.

Coming closer to me, I decided to plunge more into the water, if that’s even possible as he kneeled at the pool border.

The sun was setting, reflected in his eyes and picturing ice on fire. It was magnificent.

“Here. I’ll help you.” Smiling, he held out his hand.

Huh, I could pull a joke on him. Grabbing his warm hand, I tried to pull him down into the whirlpool, but – oh crap! – he quickly seemed to know what I was about to do as he tensed his body and grinned devilish.

In a blink of an eye, he pulled me out as if I weighed nothing and wrapped his arm firmly around my waist. “Did you just want to do something stupid?”

I put on a fake smile, trying to sound as innocent as possible. “Huh, fail. But still thanks for pulling me out. And now I really, really have to go somewhere.” Just somewhere where his stare wasn’t stripping me.

He didn’t loosen his grip, instead his eyes seemed to glow even more.

“Such a bad girl. You know what, I take back my gallantry.” As his other hand wrapped around my legs, he lifted me up, making me squeal in surprise. 

“Ace, put me dow–!” Before I could complete the sentence, I was in back inside the whirlpool, coughing when I surfaced.

“Ace, you’re a stupid donkey!”, I screamed as I watched him entering the house.

 

After drying my hair with a blow-dryer, I felt the urge to paint. I had been nothing but calling Ace every hateful name that had crossed my mind when I was taking a shower.

Shaking my head, I arrived at the balcony and let the view distract me. It was more than perfect. The sun was setting, turning the sky into an orange mantle mixed with pink shades up above. It was cool outside but I was wrapped in my jogging pants, scarf and coat. Mixing the colors I had brought until I had the ideal shade, I first started with a red, like fire blazing from the bottom of the frame. I put everything the sky was showing me in those flames; the dancing blaze like fingers trying to kiss the sky, becoming slowly a burnt orange and the spikes golden. Now the sky: At the very top, I applied dark blue – almost black until the cyan blue whirled like a storm across the painting, separating the black from the orange. It was as if my pencil was smoldering, the energy through my body was channelized in my hands. They were moving as swiftly as they were usually during a treatment with a patient; fast and every line carefully placed, like a pianist. Or during surgery.

This was art.

But there is something missing. Something electric and cold. Looking up at the sky, I realized it was already dark outside; Ruby had turned the lights on for me.

The stars were shining like pearls around me. Stars… that’s missing in my picture. Like jewels decorating the sky, I applied tiny little points at the top of my picture.

Waiting until it dried, I put it aside and looked at it one last time before entering the living room.

It was as if the flames and sky were almost kissing each other. The thought somehow sent a shiver down my spine; it must be chillier than I thought.  

Cassy and Anna already prepared dinner, the smell of lasagna filling my nostrils.

“Girls, why didn’t you tell me that you were cooking? I could’ve helped you.”

“Are you kidding, Cecy. You were totally on another planet”, Ruby said.

Well, she was right. When I was in paint-mode no one could stop me. Sitting on the only place that was free, I was facing Ace opposite me. Aro and Lucas were talking about something else when Anna and Ruby were giggling at something Josh or Eric said.

I lifted my head and watched everyone focusing on their meals – everyone but Ace. He was scanning me with his eyes, his mouth about to form a sentence.

“Can we see your painting?”

“No, absolutely not!”

As a result to my yelp, everyone looked at me. Clearing my throat, I added, “I mean, it’s not finished. I still have some ideas and until then no one can see it.”

I hoped this appeased his curiosity. From all people, Ace was the last person that could see my work. He would just mock me or tease me or something. My art was my art. My work. And very personal.

“Yes, Cec, why can’t anyone see your painting?”, Aro called from across the table.

Rolling my eyes, I didn’t bother scold him for calling me Cec.

“Because–”

“Can’t invent a new nickname for Cecily, huh, Aro?” Ace’s icy stare hit him from across the table. Aro’s smirk vanished as they kept their mute killing glance until Ace smirked and dug his fork into his meal. Exchanging quick glances with the girls, saying What is going on with them?, they just looked as confused as me.

They shrugged their shoulders while Anna kept talking about the conference tomorrow so that this awkward moment could be forgotten.

 

“Okay, now what’s going on between you and Ace?”, Cassy said when we were in our bedroom.

“What? Nothing.”

“Oh please, we all saw you at the whirlpool.”

“What?!”, I gasped, looking at the others. Anna flushed when Ruby giggled.

“Unbelievable. You three are unbelievable! No, there is nothing going on.”

“Yeah, right”, Ruby mocked. “You were totally flirting there when he lifted you up.”

I turned my head to her so fast I thought I heard something crack on my neck. “What?! I wasn’t flirting. We weren’t flirting. In case you didn’t notice, we hate each other.”

“Oh Cecily! He doesn’t hate you.” Cassy seemed confident, utterly sure.

Oh Cass, if you only heard the times he had insulted me or creeped me out!

“Cass, just stop it. He’s not the right one. He’s just arrogant and unfriendly–”

“Hey, let’s talk about something else!”, Anna intervened.

Turning confused to her, I realized she was red-faced and tense.

“Is everything okay, Anna?”

“Yeah, yeah… just a bit tired and I don’t like gossiping about someone.”

Since when, I thought but bit back the comment.

Instead, we nodded and talked about something else while I put on my pajama shorts and went to sleep.

 

It had been a bad idea to sleep in the same room as Ruby.

I woke up in the middle of the night; the urge to go to the restrooms was too great. Tossing and turning, Ruby’s snore was on full blast.

Great. Once again, I tried to fall asleep but it was too loud. How could the others sleep with such a noise?

I walked to the living room, hoping a movie or TV show was going to make me sleepy again. I didn’t bother turning the lights on when I walked to the couch yet in hindsight, I should have. I fumbled for the remote when the pillows felt kind of funny.

“Ouch! Who’s there?”

Yelping, I jumped up and banged my tibia against the marble table.

“Ahh!” That hurt.

“Cec, what the hell are you doing here?” Oh, it was just Ace.

As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I saw Ace’s body lying on the couch.

“I could ask you the same, you nearly scared me to death.”

Turning to his side, his hard, defined muscles caught my eyes as I saw them getting visible the moment he started moving. With only his pajama pants on and tousled hair, he looked… forbiddingly hot. He’s a douche, I thought, calming my libido.

“I couldn’t–”, he started and yawned a loud wolf-life howl as he rubbed his sleepy eyes. It amazed me how Ace accomplished to piss me off with his rude behavior every time. “I couldn’t sleep upstairs”, he finished.

“Why?”

He shrugged his shoulders, “It’s too hot there, I guess.”

“Let me guess, because you’re already too hot.”

An eyebrow rose. “Feisty, you baby.” The corner of his lips curled up but I just rolled my eyes.

“Why are you here?”, he asked.

“Well, don’t tell anyone, but Ruby’s snoring. Yeah, she snores. And I can’t sleep with that noise.”

Once again, he yawned as I spoke but I just ignored his impoliteness.

“Well, lucky for you that I don’t snore”, he slurred casually as he slid to the side and continued lying on his belly.

Oh…. OH!

“You’re kidding, right? I’m not going to sleep next to you!”

“You can do whatever you want, you baby. Either you sleep here or upstairs with Ruby’s snore or on the floor ‘cause I certainly won’t put my amazing body on the floor.” His tone was bored as he turned the back of his head to me.

My heart beta sped up as my mind debated what I should do. Dammit. I suddenly felt naked. I wished I had brought some long pajamas and not a tank top together with these sleeping shorts. The bunnies pictured on them weren’t helpful either.

“If your hand or any other of your body parts land on me I promise you, I’ll cut them off.”

“You don’t have anything a man would want to lay his hand on, Cec”, he mumbled.

“And you don’t have anything a woman would satisfy enough”, I hissed as I laid down next to him.

“You’re not a good liar.” I could swear I could almost see the smirk on his lips. Laying sheepishly next to him, I grabbed the only blanket and covered my body as much as possible.

“If I weren’t so tired, I would show you how satisfying I can be.”

Holy moly! I could handle his comments at some point but not sexual allusions. “Hey! And also no dirty talk here. My ears aren’t as nasty as your mouth!”

“You’re even nastier.” My heart was racing as hell. How can I sleep next to him? This is going to be a long night yet I had to make sure I’ll wake up before anyone would see us or the girls won’t leave me alone with their theory about us.

As a few seconds passed, I thought Ace had already fallen asleep, but then he asked, “Why can no one see you painting?”

“I told you, it’s not finished.”

“And I told you, you’re not a good liar. I’m sure it isn’t that bad.” He turned his head around and looked at me, his head propped up on his elbow. A wide grin spread across his lips. Not a good sign.

“Oh, admit it, you drew some nasty things. It’s me naked, isn’t it. If you need a model, I’m always available. Can’t blame you for wanting to draw my perfection.”

This was not happening. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of successfully annoying me, so I mentally stitched my lips together.

“Nice pajamas by the way. Did you buy them at the children’s section?”

Breaking my promise, I said, “Shut up. And are you out of your mind? Of course I didn’t draw you, you idiot.” Well, only the color of your eyes. “I drew the sun set as a burning flame glowing from the bottom and up above the sky with its electric blue shades. But it isn’t finished. And when it’s done you won’t see it because it’ll be in my room at home.”

“And what if I come visit you in your bedroom?”

“That is literally never going to happen. My dad would kill you.”

“How old are you that you’re that dictated by your parents?”

Frowning at his rude comment, I felt heat rising my body. “I am not dictated by them! My parents and brothers are just… protective.”

“How many brothers do you have?”

“Two. They are older than me. One’s married and lives with his wife in Santa Maria. The other works in New York and my younger sister is twelve.” I tried to sound as calm as possible when I talked about my brother being in New York. No one at the clinic knows that he actually has been in jail and is now staying at some friends’ house in New York. Unemployed. Traced by the tax fraud investigators. And once again, I asked myself why the hell I am babbling about private things.

He was listening poker-faced, his stare making me gulp. “Do… you have any siblings?”

It felt like an eternity has passed until he spoke.

“An elder brother.”

How unexpected; he always seems so solitary. “And your parents–”

“It’s late. We should go to sleep. We have a long day tomorrow.”

Clearly, the conversation was over.

He turned his head away from me, still lying on his belly. I felt my eyes turning to his direction to catch a glimpse at his scars but then I remember what last time happened, so I just stared at the ceiling. I would really like to know what kind of accident had caused those scars but better not risk it.

The moon was shining through the windows, turning the room into a cold, whitish place.

“Good night, Ace.”

Hearing his soft respiration and watching his shoulders rise and fall frequently, he must have already fallen asleep. I chose to believe it’s because of that and not out of his typical rudeness.

Laying on my side, I closed my eyes and focused on Ace’s breaths until I fell asleep, too.

 

I woke up from a twitch. My leg and arms seemed to have twitched, the movement woke me. As I realized that I was in the living room, I remembered fallen asleep next to… Ace… on the couch.

Yet, we weren’t entirely lying next to each other anymore. I could feel his hard chest against my back while his arm had made its way under my top, entangling me, enveloping my body, his fingers almost reaching the beginning of my breasts. Why couldn’t I have a tall belly, so my breasts would be farer away?!, was the only thing I could think about right now.

In an attempt to get some space between us, I moved farther away from him yet his head was lying on my hair, stopping me from moving an inch. With every exhalation Ace made, his breath tickled me on my ears. I could smell his scent all over me. It was a mix of a soap and eucalyptus and something else I couldn’t quite identify. Maybe cedar? Whatever it was, it smelled mesmerizingly nice.

The blanket was covering both of us, heating up my body in addition to the heat Ace was already radiating. He was literally like a radiator; too hot against my body.

I tried to get away again, but his grip reflexively tensed as he pulled me more against him. I couldn’t breathe anymore. He was too close to a very private place, his long fingers almost squeezing my sensitive skin.

As he laid still, something soft tickled my shoulder. His lips.

He couldn’t be possibly that close to put his lips on my shoulder, could he?! But then, his hand was almost on my breast…

Despite the heat, his lips totally sent a chill down my spine.

I needed to sleep or I’d wake up like a zombie and sleep during the presentations.

Trying to put my hand under his arm so that I could somehow shove it away, I slowly slid mine under his. Just when my hand was under his, I suddenly didn’t feel the urge to shove him away anymore. That’s crazy, my rationality was shouting at me. The moment my reason gained the upper hand over my hormones, the tips of his fingers slightly wrapped around mine.

Closing my eyes, I tried to calm my freaking heart down and ignored his whole body.

In vain, of course. He was closer to me than anyone ever was – and I really didn’t know if I should like it or not.

 

***

ACE

 

What time is it? Too early. Although sunshine poured through the window.

For a second I forgot where I was.

I slept on the couch. With Cec.

I was laying on my back, the blanket shoved on the floor. Her head was laying across my chest, moving with every breath I took while her leg was spread between mine. A wrong move and she could kick my cock.

Not that she didn’t want to do that a long time ago.

Without realizing what my hand was doing, my fingers circled something on her bare hip. Something tiny and round. A beauty patch. She has a beauty patch on her right hip?

Interesting.

The thought of me knowing something about her body while she was clueless somehow made me grin. Her skin was so soft, so silky, making me want to explore her body even more. I let my fingers wander more on her skin, stopping at each beauty patch, scar or slightest mark.

As my fingers came closer to her breasts, she mumbled something. I stopped.

No, it wasn’t a mumble. It was more a moan. She moaned as her fingers tensed around my waist.

Great.

Feeling something wet on my chest, I looked up and saw her drool over my skin. This was getting better and better.

Just when I wanted to sigh and shake her off me, she moaned again, her leg tensing around my cock. My hard cock.

Fuck, I needed to get up. And get under a shower. A cold shower.

While lightly moving my shoulders and coughing, I tried to wake her up again, yet her eyes were still closed. She was like a brick.

Grabbing her wrist, I tried to slip out of her arms when a pair of big, green eyes looked at me in surprise.

She blinked a few times, slowly realizing where she was.

“Good mor–”, I started when she jerked back so fast I couldn’t believe that was possible. Just when she was about to fall from the couch, I moved without thinking straight, wrapping my arms around her to soften her fall.

Fuck. My wrist hit the fucking marble table the moment we were about to crash on the floor.

Being inches apart, I could examine her face clearly with the sunlight falling on us. Her almond-shaped eye form, her rosy cheek, her swollen mouth from waking up – even her scent. Something flowery, jasmine I think or sandalwood? So unique. So…

“Beautiful.”

The words slipped out of my lips before I realized it.

Quickly I added, “Great job, you little baby. Because of your ninja action I nearly had a heart attack. Next time you want to wake me up, you don’t put a stunt like that.”

Getting up before she could reply anything – or feel me harden – I went upstairs. The bathroom was at the end of the corridor.  

The moment I locked the door, I slipped out of my pants and boxers. Stepping into the shower, I let the cold water drip over me, roaming every square inch of my body. I hoped it appeased the fire igniting in the depths of my stomach but it was no use.

Fuck, it really didn’t help.

Grabbing my cock tightly, I let my hand wander quickly from the base to the top, the heat inside of me growing.

I closed my eyes and felt the tension rise in me every time my hand reached the shaft. My heart was banging against my chest, each thrust resonating through my whole arm, reaching my tight fingers. My thoughts were blurred as the fire inside of me turned into a blaze, making me gasp as my grip tightened.

Fuck, this felt good.

Cec.

Tearing my eyes open, images of her body filled my view. I kept running my hand faster along my length as I felt electricity shooting through my body, like a bolt of energy filling my legs, my feet. My hand was getting slippery through the water mixed with the lubricating cum, making it easy for me to rub it faster.

Cec.

Again, her body kept haunting me. Those lips, her breasts – even though they’re smaller than the size I usually prefer, yet I couldn’t help but imagine how they would feel in my palms, my thumbs circling her nipples, my mouth sucking them while she would surely squeak or moan. Much louder than she had in her sleep. It would be a soft sound, or rather a plead. She would be pleading me to continue, she would be doing this to me, her tiny hand around me while–

My mind was getting blank as the tension in me reached its climax. My orgasm was running like a current through my whole body, making me groan.

Breathing heavily against the cold bathroom tile, I let my head fall back, my face feeling as hot as a burner despite the coldness of the water.

I released my grip.

The water ran over my body for a while, my limbs unable to move as pictures of her body kept crossing my mind.

What the fuck is wrong with me? I didn’t come to L.A. just to let someone get under my skin.

Wrapping a towel around my waist, I rubbed my hair with another when a sting on my wrist made me flinch.

There was a purple bruise, spread over the bone of my wrist joint. Crap, it was my right hand and I have a patient on Monday. Whatever, it’ll heal fast. I hoped.

Just when I managed to banish every thought of Cecily, I opened the door just to find her standing at the end of the hall, looking at me with wide eyes and flushed cheeks.

 

***

CECILY

 

What a nice morning to start this stupid day.

I was a morning person – even without coffee since I never drink some. But waking up next to a person that pissed me off while I fall from the couch and him being so close to… that was too much. Of course this day could only get worse, couldn’t it?

As I walked upstairs to my room, I turned left just to find Ace coming out from the shower, a towel hanging low around his waist. Feeling my cheeks heat, I shook off the view of his defined body and focused on his face instead.

“What do you want?” His tone was harsh, making me reluctantly think I had done something wrong.

“Uh… nothing, I was just about to go to my r-room.” And the awkwardness was about to start.

Just when he ran his hand through his hair, I noticed the bruise on his wrist. When did he–? Oh… when he softened my fall…

“I’m sorry”, I said almost inaudibly.

Cocking his head to his side, he pierced me with his stare. “And what exactly are you apologizing for?” At least his tone wasn’t harsh anymore.

“For that bruise. It’s my fault, so I’m sorry.”

Scratching his head, he exhaled deeply. “It’s not as bad as it looks, actually.”

Liar. His arrogance knew no limit.

Taking some steps toward him, I stood in front of him and wrapped my fingers around his wrist. I squeezed it harder and harder until he flinched, his face contorting.

“Don’t lie to me, you’re clearly in pain.”

“It’s nothing, it’ll go away in a few days.”

My consciousness still didn’t want to shut up. “Let me at least get you an ointment and a bandage.” That was the least thing I could do.

He arched his eyebrows, his face in pure astonishment. “You brought those things with you?”

“Of course. I prepared a first-aid kit. I’ll be right back. I’ll wait for you at the kitchen.”

Turning around, I made my way to my room, ignoring his chuckle or hiss – I didn’t know which one of them he was actually doing and I didn’t care.

Ruby was still snoring as I entered the room and searched for my bag. Where was that stupid kit?

There, stuffed between my panties and thermals. I closed the door silently so that the girls wouldn’t wake up and start firing questions at me.

 

Ace was waiting for me, pretty bored, as expected. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a white shirt, the tips of his dampish hair hanging wildly around his neck and forehead, emphasizing his luminous eyes more than usual. Focus, Cecily!

I took out the bandage and the ointment from the bag, ignoring his hawk-like stare.  Holding out my hand, I signalized to place his in mine.

I examined the bruise for a second and let my eyes wander around his arm. I could see nearly every superficial vein on his forearm, a couple scratches and few beauty patches sometimes. His knuckles as well as his fingertips were rough, callused – probably from the work in dentistry. During our studies, our hands, our fingers get stronger and the fine motor skills increase.  

“Are you done examining my body?”

He arched his eyebrows, his face unsmiling as usual. Clearing my throat, I fumbled for the ointment and bit my tongue to prevent me from saying something to him.

After smearing the cold salve around it, I carefully placed the bandage around his wrist, each turn not too tight and not too loose.

It was– “Perfect”, he said, examining my work.

Patting lightly my head, he smiled. “Thanks.” And for the first time, I think he really did seem thankful.

“You’re welcome”, I said meekly.

Getting up, I nodded and made my way upstairs to wake up the girls. We needed to go soon to the conference and my stomach was howling now. I was hungrier than I thought.

 

“So, where did you sleep, Cecily?”, Anna asked at breakfast. I nearly choked on my toast.

I took a sip of my orange juice. “Uhh, here in the living room.”

“What? Ace, didn’t you sleep here, too?”, Eric said, shocked. Now everyone stopped eating and was looking at us.

This was a nightmare. I wished I had telepathic prowess like some superhero. I would tell Ace that if he dares tell the truth now, I will–

“Yeah, I slept here on the floor while Cec took the couch”, Ace said surprisingly believable. No stuttering. No nervousness. No guilt. As if he had the answer ready since we woke up. Maybe he even had.

“Aww…that’s so honorable of you” Cassy said, bumping my ribs.

Huh… Ace and honorable?! If you only knew! Ace is just unearthly good at lying. Eric seemed appeased and the others continued eating.

But I kept staring at Ace. As he lifted the cup to his lips, he abruptly turned his gaze to me, smiling whimsically before giving me a devilish wink and continued eating as if he slept every night like this. Probably, he did. As that thought crossed my mind, I felt a pinch inside my belly.

 

After finishing our breakfast, I put on an ironed, black skirt, hanging tightly around my waist that reached my knees with a white blouse stuffed into it. I gathered my hair into a neat ponytail and stepped into a pair of genuine, black heels.

I resembled a professor.

And that was exactly how we should look like today.

“Ready, girls?”, I asked as the others were looking just as severe with their black or navy blue dresses, blazers, and blouses.

Nodding, we made our way downstairs where the boys already waited for us.

“Wow, you look good!”, Josh said as we arrived. I noted his bright smile and his traveling eyes when Cassy walked past him.

“Thanks”, she answered and gave him a pat on his shoulder. 

We were all ready, the boys looking just as good as us.

One last time, I plucked my skirt and made sure my blouse was perfectly stuffed.

“Stop it”, a husky voice behind me said. I turned around just to find Ace leering at me, his eyes restlessly looking at me from head to toe.

“You look… tolerable.”

I guess in Ace’s world, that was a compliment… or he was trying to insult me once again in a subtle way. Either way, I couldn’t read his poker-face. My eyes wandered along his body, his look was more than “tolerable”, I had to admit. Over his white dress shirt he was wearing a black blazer that fitted him winsomely, his appearance spreading such an imposingness and maleness that it made me blush even harder. He looked handsome. Very handsome.

Ignoring my red cheeks, I chose to give him a neutral “Thanks” when I got inside the car.

 

The conference was tiring. Extremely tiring.

Everywhere doctors from the clinic, our student colleagues or professors walked around in their most expensive suits and talked with almost each academic that was giving a speech.

They gave a speech about almost every field – from pediatric dentistry to implantology; some were interesting, yet near the end my concentration faded as my eyelids felt heavier until Ruby shook my shoulders during a speech. Apparently, I had fallen asleep.

“So, Cec. How are you doing?”, Eric said once we were outside. The last speech was too much for my eyelids, so I played with the idea of drinking a coffee. The girls were still sitting in one of the big conference rooms but after a few students had left the auditorium, I had weaseled out, too.

Wait… Cec? What the hell was going on with them to call me like that all the time?!

“Uhh. Good…and don’t call me Cec.” I hit him jokingly on the shoulder.

“Why? Everyone has a nickname for you.” His shoulder bumped with mine.

“Yeah, but Cec reminds me of Ace”, And I didn’t want to be constantly reminded of him. “Just stick with Cecily.”

“And what about you baby?”, Aro called from behind. His grin was just as mischievous as his whole appearance. “I must say that sounds pretty accurate.”

I frowned. “No. It’s already exhausting that Ace calls me like that, I don’t need you to imitate him.”

“Yeah, ‘cause I’m the only one who calls her Cec and you baby.”

A thick arm wrapped settled around my shoulder. I turned around and saw Ace looking coldly at both.

“Yeah, and I wish you wouldn’t.” I shoved his arm away. He didn’t seem to hear me, his eyes were too focused on them, especially Aro.

“Anyway, we should go back inside.” I didn’t want things to get ugly and this weird atmosphere wasn’t helpful at all.

Instead, they all made their ways to different directions. Aro sure was going to smoke a cigarette while Eric really went back inside, mumbling something to the others before he disappeared. Ace just went to the counter and ordered a cup of coffee.

Didn’t I want to drink some, too?

Whatever. That black liquid was just too disgusting.

 

The last speech finished just as I sat on the bench, far away from Ace’s hawk-like stare, and read a book.

Once Anna was outside, she kept talking about each lecturer and what studies they are working on. She was beaming.

We just nodded, unable to absorb any more information about whatever we were just hearing for hours.

We parted and said goodbye to the boys, finally hitting the road back to Los Angeles.

What a weekend.

 

 

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