Entwined

This is a story about Cheetah & Luce, two persons who are different in every aspect but love. Do you want to read the story about Cheetah & Luce and marvel at that universe, where you're always in danger and possibly close to love. So close, that you can burn yourself. So close, that you become confused. So close, that you don't know what to choose?
If you want this and much more, do read this story, and do not hesitate to leave comments, be they deep criticism, hate comments or slightly more resigned comments. This world is full of wonders, and I am not one of them :p

Just an afterthough;
We follow Luce & Cheetah in the past and the present. As in, before they meet, and after they meet and the happenings after.

Another afterthought:
How do you like the cover?

Another afterthought:
How do you (not) like the ending?

I would really, really like a real review of this story and some constructive criticism.
Thank you.

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11. Hatred, Part III

The past

 

Cheetah's heart is in his throat. The officer is standing just a few feet away from him and his flashlight will penetrate him, brighten him and freeze him on the spot in just a few seconds.

His thoughts are too slow. The light is on him in seconds. He closes his eyes and begs that whatever the officer finds will not be him. He doesn't hear an exclamation. He doesn't hear any surprise or anger or defeat in the officer's voice when he says, "It would be better to stay inside now, young lady."

Cheetah doesn't dare open his eyes.

He has to.

It's his left eye that meets the officer's back. How that luck came upon him, he doesn't know, but he takes it with open arms. His eyes roam the garden in front of him, until his eyes lock with Lucy's eyes. As to how, he doesn't know. But he feels it, deep into his core.

"Thank you for your concern, officer, but I don't feel sleepy at all. And here, I am quite safe if somebody wants to use the oppurtunity to attack me. Thank you again, officer."

They look at each other some more, then the officer walks away, his light shining on every dark spot on his way. Cheetah is impressed by his detemination, though he doesn't like the fact, that the officer's searching for him.

When he has been gone for a few minutes, Cheetah thinks of making his escape. Lucy would be none the wiser. She doesn't have to tend to his injuries. She doesn't have to do anything for him.

"Are you going to stay here all night?"

Her voice makes him jump. He looks up and meets her eyes in the dark. She is smiling, diamonds shining in her eyes.

"Dunno."

She pouts slightly, then settles down in the grass in front of him. He is amazed. She looks him over and he feels his cheeks burn in embarrassment.

"Nothing is wrong with me. Honest -"

"I see everything is wrong with you. We'll have to put some ice on that." She puts her finger on his cheek and he winces.

"And we'll have to disinfect these."

"You don't have to do this, ya know?"

She looks at him, her eyes full of determination, "Do you really think, that I would let you go after all this?"

He swallows, afraid of being interrogated if he stays; even if it is only by her.

She looks up over his head, seeing that the police officer is a long way from them.

"Just wait for me. I'll be back," and before he can even think of escaping, she turns around and points at him, "And don't you dare escape!"

He waits meekly inside the bushes, thinking that his bad luck must be stuck somewhere, because, how can he be talking to his girl, to Luce, the girl he has been after for a decade?

She is outside again, the door to the house still open. He wonders, how she can trust him like this. She must have drawn conclusions by now. And he is sure, that they all hit target. So why is she still here? With him?

"Move a little." She scoops down beside him, her knees touching his thigh. The sensation of getting electrified is all over his body. He tries hard not to move when she starts cleaning the blood from his face.

"Ouch." The word is out, before he can stop it. How could he say that? Isn't he supposed to be a brave man? He purses his mouth, the pain of the disinfectant searing through his body in  waves.

"I like men who show pain," she says suddenly, rubbing the disinfectant gently, "It's not as if I don't consider you a man, if you shout out in pain and scream and writhe, and whatever. And even though - " she rubs on another spot " - it's more manly not to shout out in pain, but it's still human, you know. And maybe one just have to find a middle ground, and maybe a man shouldn't care in the presence of the one who loves him and cares for him."

He looks at her then, intently and without hesitation, trying to read her face and her emotions. He is burning with curiosity, with questions and wonders, and he wants the answer to all of them. She stops hesistantly, meeting his eyes.

The silence between them is all-consuming. She looks at him for another minute, then continues tending to his injuries without talking. He doesn't know where to begin. His questions are whirling in his head, and dizziness from lack of food and tiredness makes him sway. When his head is dangerously close to kissing the ground, Lucy drops everything and holds his shoulders.

In a strained voice, she says, "You are quite heavy. And dizzy," she adds as an afterthought. She looks him up and down, her arms tense. "When did you last eat?"

Cheetah can't remember. Leaf didn't come today. He mumbles something, and Lucy blinks. She looks around her, making sure that the officer and the police car is gone.

"Think you can lend me a hand? I think it will be better for you to go inside. And it's not completely warm here." She releases his shoulders and takes his arm. She lifts him, nearly falling down on him. He mumbles something, and Lucy looks at him, questioningly.

"I don't want to trouble you."

Lucy purses her mouth and releases a sigh, "Can't you stop saying that? We're both tired, and you're heavy and I don't want my parents to wake up."

They reach the porch and step inside the open door. Lucy sees him to the stairs inside and goes back to close the door slowly. Whispering, she says, while directing him up the stairs, "We'll have to be real quiet, since my parents will get more than a heart attack, if they find out you're in this house."

Because of my gender or because of my background, he wants to ask, but doesn't dare reveal his fear. They reach her room on the first landing. Her bed is made, the light posts from the street shining down on it through the window.

"I have begged my parents to give me a room on ground floor, but they always tell me, that it would be too reachable by hooligans and whatever nonsense they have in mind," she says, while closing the door behind her, after putting him down on the bed.

Cheetah groons in delight. The bed is so soft, and his body tired. He doesn't notice Lucy go out and come back again with an ice packet and food.

She looks at him while he eats. Then the silence envelops them. Cheetah looks at her without talking, questions touching the tip of his tongue and vanishing just as quickly. Suddenly Lucy gasps softly and says, "Oh."

He narrows his brows, getting ready to take action. But then Lucy says, "I forgot to say something."

Cheetah looks puzzled. Lucy smiles, nods once and says, softly, "I forgot to say thank you."

Cheetah opens his mouth to protest, but Lucy slowly, but firmly, shakes her head, "Thank you."

They both look at the words falling out of her mouth, and they both start to talk at the same time. They stop and Lucy urges him to continue. Cheetah tries to gather his thoughts into one question, and finally finds his voice, "Why?"

Lucy opens her mouth, but doesn't say a thing. They both know what that word means. She wets her lips and looks down at the hands in her lap, as if they aren't hers. She talks softly, whispers even, but he can feel her voice all over his body.

"I - I trusted you, because... because you didn't push me. You - you just left when I told you to, and it was like I was the one directing you, and not you me. And even though you've been lurking around, and even though you have been outside my house in I don't know how many days and even though you have been following me, you - you didn't do anything else. You were just a presence, trying to find acceptance, maybe. I - you saved me tonight. If not for you, I don't know what wreck my parents would have woken up to. You - " she looks up at him, meeting his blue eyes, " - you risked your body for me. You were only one and they were five, but you tried, even when it didn't look like you would win."

"And I didn't win, " Cheetah breathes, feeling ashamed.

"No. You didn't win. But it doesn't mean anything."

"It does. If they find out who I am, then - "

Lucy bites her lip, looking as if a question is locked in place in her throat. She takes a deep breath and lets it out, and the question follows in a hurry, "Are you a gang member?"

Cheetah freezes. He knows it's the end. Before, Lucy hadn't been sure, now, she would be. He looks away, feeling invisble hands squeezing his throat, choking him, killing him. He closes his eyes and whispers, "Yes."

When she doesn't say anything, his voice touches the silence, "I think it's time to - "

"No."

The word doesn't come alone. Her hand is on his muscular arm, feeling the warmth of him, the feel of him. She doesn't peel her hand away before he looks at her, and not even before he reluctantly removes his arm away.

"No," she says again. He looks at her and meets her steady gaze. He falls then. He falls so hard, that he can feel his whole body shake, his breath repeat the vibration. He falls so hard, that his heart expands to twice its size, filling his breast, with hot, red blood, until he thinks, that he can't breath. He falls so hard, that his heart jumps up and down a million times a second. It's jumping so hard, his body can't stop shaking.

She looks away, red blood filling her cheeks, making Cheetah's heart stop in its tracks; in shock, in love, in amusement.

"You - you can stay here tonight. I don't think it'd be good for you to go home like this," she indicates his bruises, his swollen face and his tired body.

He looks at her, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, "But where are you going to sleep?"

She looks at him in mock horror. His laughter whispers through the room, shaking him and the bed together. Lucy's face, before red with shyness, now becomes red with anger.

"Well, of course I'll sleep on the bed. I was just thinking that you could sleep in our dog house."

Cheetah looks at her, tears jumping down his face, "But you don't have a dog house."

Indignation makes Lucy stand up, her hands fists in front of her. Then she does something that surprises both Cheetah and her. She takes a leap and lands on Cheetah, hammering her fists on his chest. She doesn't stop before he stops laughing. Then they look at each other, all thoughts of anger and amusement evaporated. What remains are two pumping hearts and two bodies. Lucy is looking into his eyes, trying to feel her legs, but not finding them. Cheetah is looking up at her, trying to discern her feelings and thoughts. 

His hand goes up of its own accord and falls real soft on her right cheek. They don't move, the first shock of touching running through their hearts. He doesn't take his hand away, and she doesn't leave him.

"I'll sleep whereever you want me to," his voice is soft, making goosebumps appear on Lucy's body. She shakes them away, delicately, and they're silent again.

A sudden noise makes them jump apart. The blood curls up in Lucy's cheeks, and the eyes, looking at Cheetah, are horrorstruck and dumbfound at how she has behaved.

"I am sorry," she whispers, looking into his eyes. He waves the apology away and groans when he straightens his body, "I should go."

Lucy tries hard to ignore Cheetah's feet by her knees. She takes a deep breath, looks away and says, "No! You can sleep on the bed. I can sleep on the couch downstairs."

"I am a gentleman, Lucy," he stops himself short, but her name is out. The sweetness of it fills his mouth. He looks apologetically at her, trying to erase the error. 

"You haven't told me your name."

Cheetah's tongue is ready to say Cheetah, but he quickly stops in his tracks, hoping to be seen as a normal boy and not a gang member.

"My name is Pete."

His hesistation doesn't go unnoticed in front of Lucy, but she decides to forget the matter. Instead, she offers her hand to him and says, "I am honoured to meet you, Pete."

His hand is big and warm, cupping her hand in his. They don't let go and just marvel at the fact, that they both feel safe.

"I am delighted to meet you, Lucy. Can I call you Luce?"

She nods. The silence fills the room again.

"Don't you have school tomorrow?"

"I have."

"Shouldn't you be sleeping?" Lucy asks.

Cheetah nods his agreement, "But I am not going to sleep here."

"Where are you going to sleep?"

Cheetah leaves the comfortable bed and walks toward the bedroom door. Lucy follows him, trying to talk reason into him, "You can't go at this time of night. And you're all bruised up and hurt. Pete!" She exclaims when he opens the door and walks slowly down the stairs.

"You can at least rest. It's ok, if you sleep on the bed! I have a mattress. I can do everything. Pete!" She nearly shouts when he opens the front door and steps out on the porch.

"Thank you for trying to tidy me up."

Lucy looks at him, trying hard not to pout, "You'll become sick."  

"I am too tough."

"I'll call a taxa for you."

"It's ok. I'll walk. My friends will pick me up."

Defeated Lucy leans back, "Will I see you around?"

Cheetah looks her firmly in the eye, "I will, if you want."

She nods and looks away.

"Then I'll see you around, Luce."

She only goes in when she can't see him anymore. Walking slowly through the house, she feels deflated and empty. A message pops through her phone. Surprised she looks at the screen, wondering who would send her a message at this time of night.

An unknown number flashes on her screen. She presses open and reads the message.

Make sure to hide this number away in your phone.

Yours truly,

Pete.

Questions about how he got her number swirl through her mind, but she finds that she doesn't care. She can't wipe the smile away and she doesn't sleep immediately.

And her dreams only show her Cheetah's brilliant eyes and his easy smile.      

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