FATHERLY LOVE


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19. • THE CALM •

Kai

Russell's spontaneous invitation made me realize, that I didn't have much Food in my House. I neglected grocery shopping, but unaware of why. The past few weeks have been rather eventful, since I was still too worried about Russell. I also wanted to forget it and figure out a way to get Home, before the storm got any more violent that it already was.

Admittedly, Russell was a decent and civil host. And it bothered me that he didn't chew me out, about getting the Police involved despite his wishes. I was tense, and filled with a copious amount of dread. Just waiting on him to blow up.

I refused to ask him about the Court process, and other legal steps that were being taken. In fear of him pushing me out, or literally putting me out of his House. And even though it wasn't healthy to be thinking so negatively, I had to.

                 'This storm isn't letting up for a while.' Russell commented beside me and I huffed frustratedly.

Just as I'd feared, the storm came howling down just as soon as me and Timothy arrived at the Adams' House. Unfortunately for me, the bridge leading into my nice little Community was closed off and twelve miles away. I was utterly peeved and anxious, not looking forward to exchanging awkward glances with Russell Adams the whole night. Then again I came for his famous Lasagna, and I was baffled as to why I'd accepted.

The storm was raging outside, making me somewhat fear the thought of even driving in that type of weather. I could see the trees, swaying heavily and holding on to the ground that held them in place. It seemed like it was the only exciting thing that happened in Russell's neighborhood, considering it was relatively quiet most of the time.

                 'I don't know what I was thinking, I need to get home.' I sputtered heavily, turning away from the window and completely forgetting that I'd been invited to have Lasagna with him and Timothy.

                   'As much as you don't like me, you're gonna have to deal with it for a few more hours. It's suicide to even go out there in that Storm.' Russell warned, but I was too distracted with the thought of being there.

With him.

What was I afraid of? No clue. And why would he think I not like him? That was utterly ridiculous.

                  'This storm isn't ending until three in the morning I have homework and pop quizzes to grade.' I argued and he held onto my upper right arm, stopping me in my tracks.

                  'Look, I invited you over her because I wanted to thank you like a normal person. And I thought it would be nice to not have you hate me. You will have to kill me if you plan on leaving this place, and I don't think you have a chance at doing that.' He challenged and I grimaced, rolling my eyes slightly as fatigue set in.

                    'Fine, I'll have your Lasagna. But as soon as the storm lets up I am leaving.' I added and he hesitated, before nodding reluctantly.

                    'I'll drive you.' He offered and I rose an eyebrow.

                    'You don't have to do that. I know my way around this city and a steering wheel. Plus I have a Car you know." I quipped, glaring up at him.

                    'Not up for discussion. Now are we gonna have dinner or what?' He asked and I folded my hands across my chest, hesitation setting in.

                    'I hope this Lasagna isn't anything like your attitude.' I drawled and he shook his head, showing the amusement in his eyes.

                    'The main ingredient is rat poison.' He joked as I halted, glaring up at him.

                    'Sure, I use it to season Chicken.' I flashed and his smile faltered instantly, but I fought the laugh that wanted to explode from my throat.

                   'Oh that's just low.' He said deeply, nudging me hard with his shoulder as he pushed past me.

                   'Ok I know you have big muscles and all that. But try not to plow me out of the way.' I sassed pushing at his shoulder.

He paused, and my heart rose as he spun around. A sinister smirk on his face, and by the time I could blink Russell Adams had me pinned to the wall of his narrow hallway. His face dangerously close to mine. So much that his warm minty breath blew in my face, making me swoon.

                   'Be careful, I might be in one of my bad moods.' He spoke huskily and my breath hitched in my throat, forcing me to swallow heavily.

                 'I-, you are not scary in the least bit.' I stuttered and he rose an eyebrow, clearly unconvinced.

                 'I have my moments,' he nodded his head to the side, then quickly settled his blue gaze on me.

                 'Well I nursed you back to health, and made you Chicken, and let's see,' I mused lightly, as I rubbed my chin dramatically. 'Oh yeah. I kinda did save your ass. Who kills a person like that?' I asked and he chuckled.

                 'I guess I'll be keeping you around then.' He said pulling away from me, turning towards the kitchen.

I was breathing harshly, trying to gather my scattered thoughts to see if I could decipher the close proximity. Moreover, I was trumped knowing that I'd be leaving soon. I shouldn't have been coming around him this often. Mainly because I didn't want anyone getting used to having me around. Or me getting used to them being around. I couldn't begin to picture Timothy's face, but he was just a kid. I doubt he would be affected by it in any way. Kids changed teachers all the time, and sometimes we apply for bigger jobs.

••••••

To my surprise Russell's Lasanga was heavenly, and I savored every bite. Holding myself back from asking for seconds, mainly because my diet was still active. Timothy had joined us after he'd gotten a bath and dressed in fresh clothes. Though it was slightly awkward at the table, since both adults were too tense to start a conversation. I thought we'd past that boundary, and I could tell I was the reason for the awkwardness that fell. Seemingly locking myself in a shell, wondering if I should leave.

I replayed the past events in my head, and I seemed to be doing a lot of that lately. Things just weren't making sense, with Russell now burying a place in my heart just as his Son did. His heart wasn't gonna be broken, but mine was and I was very sure it will happen.

                  'I don't hate you.' I spoke up after Timothy had left the table, after his Father ordered him to watch cartoons until bedtime.

                  'That's a surprise,' he droned and I let out a deep groan.

                  'I mean, I've heard you say that I do. But I really don't. It's just that I've had a hard time trying to figure you out and it's kinda frustrating.' I spoke boldly and without regret. To my surprise, the man reacted rather positively to it.

                   'Thanks for being honest.' He nodded primly, as his fingers circled the mouth of his glass. 'To tell you the truth, I was too caught up in my own world that I didn't want to let anybody in. Timothy would stay all by himself at home, so I figured it was the same with him at school.' He explained, but I didn't quite understand where he was going.

                   'I'm not sure I understand but I'll just let you continue." I chuckled, and for the first time Russell Adams smiled genuinely since I'd met him.

A smile that heightened my heartbeat, and accelerated my breathing by another margin. My breathing then became shallow, as I attempted to act normal. Nonchalant if you will, for he was foreboding and it was a bit painful in an emotional sense.

                    'Until I met you,' I rose an eyebrow but he continued speaking. 'I saw Timothy with you, and how happy he was with a friend. All this time I thought he was alone, and I kept fearing that he would turn out like me.' I nodded in complete understanding of his statement.

                     'Timothy is a great kid, and beyond all that hard engineer. There's a very lonely man and I'm very sure he's quite lovely.' I spoke seriously, and he gazed at me as if considering my words.

                      'Why do you try to hide your accent?' He asked and I shrugged, chuckling to myself rather.

                     'It's actually it's still there but I just find it weird sometimes. And trying to hide it sounds like another accent.' I flashed my right hand dismissively.

                     'It's really not that bad, it's actually quite exotic.' He said simply shoving a forkful of Lasagna in his mouth, chewing slowly and almost seductively.

                     'Hah, you are terrible conversationalist Russell Adams.' I commented and he rose an eyebrow, propping his elbows atop the table.

                    'Says you?' He asked and I rolled my eyes.

                    'I happen to have Friends. I just don't hang out with them that much.' I shrugged trying to avoid his steely blue gaze.

                     'And Calum?' His question caught me off guard, leaving me frozen and unable to find the words. I knew Calum was my Friend, but then he kissed me and things just felt awkwardly different after. I wasn't developing feelings for him, but I wasn't even sure if we were Friends anymore.

                    'He's just a friend and colleague.' I flashed dismissively, avoiding his gaze.

And as much as I hated to admit it, I knew I wouldn't be hearing from Calum when I left for Chicago. 'I think he likes you.' Russell said, his voice lowering as well as his gaze.

                     'Well I don't like him like that, it's too complicated.' I dismissed swiftly, avoiding his gaze.

                     'You like somebody else?' He asked and I narrowed my eyes to slits.

                      'No,' I lied blatantly.

                      'I think you do.' His voice became higher, and I blushed with a scoff.

                      'I haven't liked anybody for a while. I doubt I've ever been genuinely in love with anybody. People and relationships are complicated, and maybe there's a reason I've avoided anything like that for most of my life.' I decided to stop speaking, since my life was of no relevance to him.

                       'I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume that you got hurt,' he remarked with an odd look, and I gazed at him befuddled as to why he assumed such a thing.

                       'I've been stood up before. But have I ever been hurt you say? Nope.' I paused watching him gaze at me with deep interest. 'I-, well. Never gotten close to it. But I've been hurt, just not in the way that you think.' I finished and he nodded, taking a quick sip from his glass.

                       'What about you?' I queried and his lips pursed. 'Have you ever been hurt?' He hesitated for a moment, before even thinking to respond to my overly blatant and forward question.

                   'I've only ever been in love with one person, and that was Mrs. Adams.' He answered looking down at his glass. 'After Timothy's Mom died, I never really put myself back out there to like anybody, much less to love.' He chuckled some, but I could see the sadness in his eyes the and there. It was soon masked by a poker face, that wasn't exactly fooling me after what he'd just said. 'I've been so much of a recluse, I even forgot how to flirt.' He mused and I chuckled with him.

                    'Do you ever plan to?' I asked shyly, but he didn't answer immediately for his eyes settled on me for a few fleeting seconds.

                    'To flirt?' He asked chuckling deeply and I rolled my eyes.

                    'Not to flirt. But to put yourself out there again, and date and do normal stuff that's not reclusive.' I finished and he only shrugged.

                    'I do actually,' he answered simply, but I wasn't curious anymore than trying to keep the conversation going.

Or was I? Was I trying to feel him out, towards my own silly hopes and dreams. Or was I positively, genuinely just concerned for his happiness?

                        'Well that's good. What made you decide?' I forced a tiny smile, as I remembered him being highly interested in my other colleague Ashley James.

The way he was looking at her, had left me feeling awakened. Me and Ashley were close but not close Friends because we shared the same last name. Some times she would even tell people that I was her Husband. It was a wild and fun Friendship whenever we butted heads, but schedules left us apart majority of our times out of Teaching.

                    'Because unlike you, I actually like somebody.' He said but I felt a slight twinge of jealousy inside me.

Not that I was in love with the Man, but admittedly I grew a small crush that just left me feeling awkward and unsteady. This is what I was afraid of, and why I tended to stay away from people.

I was developing feelings for him, and it wasn't healthy.

•••••••

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