I smile at her, overwhelmed by her worries. If one’s heart could explode with love I would sure be dead by now. “Yes everything is fine, don’t worry that pretty little head of yours,” I said with a chuckle, kissing her forehead but desiring for so much more. But this was Athelea, and I had to control myself.
"Are you sure you don’t want to party with them?" I ask. We could hear the noise outside and I wouldn’t judge her for wanting to participate. It seemed fun after all.
If there was something he wanted to tell me, I had no doubt that he would so I dropped the topic. We only had a bit of guaranteed time together and I didn’t want to spend it talking about something neither of us wished to talk about. “I’ll do my best,” I said with a small laugh.
"I’m quite fine right where I am," I said with a smile as I looked back up at him. There may be enough champagne in that room to make me forget the past week, but Jarel made my head spin enough that I didn’t need the help. His arms still around my waist were a very real presence and I locked my arms back around his neck, still reeling from the closeness of our bodies.
Her arms around my neck felt better than I could ever fathom and, in response, I placed mine around her waist, pulling her closer. I stopped existing for a moment, as our loud heartbeats mixed themselves together. It was strangely perfect . And I sure couldn’t get enough, so when she.pulled away from the kiss and then just completely, I felt a freezing sensation down to the core of my bones.
"What do you mean? " I ask, as casually as I can, tucking her hair behind her ear. "Everything is fine, " I add, trying not to worry. It would just make it more difficult to lie. Lies…what am I even doing?
I smile as he tucks the hair behind my ear, a gesture I had grown used to and was comforted by. We were closer than before, me practically on his lap with his arms still around my waist, and I was comfortable there. “It seems like something is bothering you,” I asked, my gaze still met with his. It took all the control I had not to lean in and kiss him again, but I refrained despite our proximity.
"Are you sure there’s nothing wrong," I asked with a small smile. If he told me everything was alright, what reason did I have not to believe him. After all, we both only had so much time until one of the drunken capitolites from the other room stumbled in here.
I loved how they leaned their faces into my hand, it made me feel like I could protect them from everything. Them? They? No, I can’t do this. Athelea and Jasmine. I can’t count those girls as a whole, or I won’t be able to handle this.
“Well, I don’t know you have the strength to catch, but you can always try,” I say, chuckling and showing myself before kissing her again. I don’t want to pull back this time. I just want to stay in this room forever, maybe let go of this pain inside my chest. Why can’t everything just get back to normal?
I was about to mention the sense of dread that seemed to wash over him before he simply leaned forward and kissed me. I expected it to be a quick kiss like they have always been, but he didn’t pull away. I wound my arms around his neck, not wanting to be the first one to break the kiss. With my heart hammering in my chest loud enough to where I was almost sure he could hear it, I pulled back and leaned my forehead against his. The smile on my face apparent, only lessened when I saw the look in his eyes.
I pulled back, resting my hand on his cheek like he had done to me so many times. “There’s something you aren’t telling me,” I said as I searched his eyes. As much as I had hoped the mood wouldn’t lessen, there was an elephant in the room that needed to be taken care of.
That sentence made me think. I don’t need to protect myself around you. In theory, she didn’t. I cared too much to hurt her. But I could do it. By mistake, as usual. “Well, you should let me protect you for a little while,” I say, with a smile. “I promise I will do an exemplary job.” I rest my hand on her cheek, rubbing her lips with my thumb for a second.
Her explanation brings a red color to my cheeks. I sat up on the bed, crossing my legs and grabbing her hand in mine. “Will you let me catch you, Athelea?”
I blush lightly and drop my eyes to the ground for only a second before I felt him rest his hand on my cheek. Subconsciously I leaned my cheek into his hand, feeling oddly comfortable just where we were. I glanced back up only to see a genuine smile on his face, one that I effortlessly returned. “I would love that,” I said, my smile never leaving my face.
Internally I was telling myself that him being here wasn’t for my sake it was for his, not a selfish act. But feeling the way I did for him was the most selfish thing I’ve done. And I regret none of it. I let out a small breath that I didn’t know I was holding, finally bringing my eyes up to meet his, my heart racing despite my attempts to control it. “Of course I will.”