Alex took my hand in his when we got out of the coffee shop. His fingers entwined with mine and I let out a breath I hadn’t known I was holding. He sent me a simple thought, If you’d called me we wouldn’t be having this problem, so this is all your fault.
I rolled my eyes. “You know that’s not fair right?”
Alex laughed. “You mean me looking inside your head?”
I nodded. “Yeah.”
Alex smirked proudly, “Life ain’t fair, didn’t your mother ever tell you that?”
I shook my head. “Probably, but not that I can remember anyway.”
“You’ve a crap memory eh?” Alex joked.
I cocked my head to the side. “Not really. I was five when my mother gave me to the Venatori. And I don’t remember a whole lot from then. And when I saw here as an adult we didn’t speak much before she died.” I wondered where the comment came from. It seemed to have some meaning to it but I didn’t have any idea what the joke was.
“My mom died when I was seventeen.” Alex said sadly.
“Eighteen for me.” I wasn’t sad about my mother’s death it was just a fact. I regretted a bit about it. But I wasn’t sad because she died. Though the sadness and anger of the moment had lead me to my blue eyed dream guy. Funny how life turns out. Maybe I should stay away from blue eyes… But then I looked at Alex and I felt a tightness deep with in. I wasn’t ever going to stop being in love with my dream guy but Alex was quickly taking up that empty hole. And the more I tried to fight it the more he pulled me deeper down. A glance, a few flirty words and I was putty in his hands… what the fuck was I going to do. “What happened?” I asked, “to your mother.”
“Car accident. One I was supposed to be in too but I’d told mom I’d meet her there I had something to wrap up before we left. It was a last minute thing.” Alex sounded guilty, like he’d done something wrong.
“I’m sorry. I understand survivor’s guilt. I felt the same way when my mother died.” I squeezed Alex’s fingers with mine and we walked in silence for a few blocks – each in our own thoughts.
Central Park came into view and I pulled us that direction and Alex smirked at me, “So bossy sometimes.”
I couldn’t help but grin back at him.
We walked a little ways into the greenness inside the City before Alex started quietly, “So I followed you last night.” i nodded acknowledging the fact that he had. I didn’t really care, it’s not like I was hiding anything, it’s the fact he thought I was lying that bothered me the most. “There was a kid, what happened to him?”
I shrugged. “He was with his mother when I left them. I don’t know yet. I’ve been filing reports all morning, and was going to go see how far they got on getting information from his mother after I talked with Liam. And gave you your phone.”
“You were expecting me to be sitting there?”
I nodded. “You have been for the past several weeks, don’t know why you’d change that now.” I said.
“Good point. I’m sorry I didn’t call you.”
I shook my head. “I know. You explained it already. I just don’t like lies. I have to tell so many of them out in the real world, keep things from people, but I don’t do that in my personal life, and I hate when someone lies to me.”
“Some lies are good.” Alex joked.
“No lies are good. Even the little white ones can come back to bite you in the ass. I don’t lie to the girls on the dance floor. I tell them straight out the gate I don’t want more. I don’t play that I’ll call or that I even take their numbers. Some girls don’t listen.”
“So what about me?” Alex smirked, “Where you going to say hey it’s only a one time thing? I don’t want more.”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t think I wanted it to be a one time thing.”
“But you were thinking about that night, what we could be doing instead of dancing. I wasn’t just some one night stand was I?”
“Maybe you were, but you aren’t now. We’ve seen each other everyday for the past three days since we met. That doesn’t seem like a one night stand.” I grinned at him, “Unless this is all just a game to you to get into my pants.”
Alex laughed and stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and pulled me against him. His hands on my hips gripping tightly and holding me against him. I wrapped my arms around his neck. Alex smirked and pressed a kiss to my lips and I let out a small moan. “Oh Pretty boy, I don’t have to play games to get into your pants.”
“Are you saying I’m easy?” I taunted back.
“Very.” He chuckled and I joined him while biting my bottom lip. “You have to stop that.”
“Biting your bottom lip.”
“Why?” I asked. I wasn’t even sure i could stop it was an unconscious action in most cases. I didn’t do it on purpose – most of the time.
He leaned in and pulled my bottom lip in between his and bit softly. And whispered in a husky voice, “Because all I want to do is bite it when you do that.”
I laughed and pulled back, “That sounds like a line.”
Alex grinned at me and broke apart sliding his arm around my waist, “It may be a line, but it’s the fucking truth. You have no idea what that cute shy act does to me.”
I grinned, “So, back to Drake. If you want, you can come with me back to the AU building and we’ll go check on him. He should be in the daycare rooms until they know what to do with him.”
“You know the kids name?” Alex sounded surprised. “Even though you were willing to use him as leverage.”
“It’s not what you think.” I defended myself. “She’s dead anyway. I don’t know what will happen to his father, he’ll go to jail or they’ll kill him too. I don’t know. It’s rare a human gets mixed up in Venatori business like this. And I certainly have never brought one in before. I can use his future as leverage. Promise to take care of him for information.”
“You mean the Venatori would take care of him?” Alex said.
“No, I mean me. I’d take care of him. Promise to keep him safe – personally.”
“Why would you do that?”
“So I can get the answers I want.”
“It’s a false promise.” Alex nodded.
I shook my head, “Nothing false about it. I don’t lie, Alex. Not even to get what I want. Tell me why I’d let a kid grow up in the Venatori like I did and become like me? An outcast, a nobody, feeling unloved, unwanted. Kids need someone to love them unconditionally. No strings attached. If it were in my power I’d never let any kid ever grow up like that.”
“So you’d take on some strange kid just because you don’t want them growing up like you did?”
I nodded. “I want a family. I have for some time. I may not get the wife and kids and the white picket fence, and honestly, I don’t want any of that. I want someone to love me like I love them, I want kids, blood, not blood doesn’t really matter to me. I want a home we can live in and be safe. I just want some semblance of normal.”
“You do realize you are very far from normal. You’re what, 25? And single, and have the chance to get whatever you want and you want to settle down?”
I laughed. “I don’t have that chance Alex. I’m Venatori, eventually, the Procreation committee is gonna be breathing down my neck making me have kids. And if I don’t choose someone, they’ll choose for me. And they don’t believe in science for procreation, but yet the AU building houses the finest genetics research labs and abilities – the best from all the world is right there under their fingertips and they insist on the old fashioned way.”
Alex pulled away and walked ahead of me then turned around with his lips twisted in frustration, “So this,” He waved his hands between us, “is what? A diversion. You’re going to marry some woman, get her pregnant and she’ll have your kids and this is nothing?”
I sighed, “No. I would never marry a woman. And definitely not because the Venatori said so. Alex, I don’t like women.”
“You could have fooled me with the way you fucked them on the dance floor.” He growled.
“I enjoy sex with them. But I’d never fall in love with one. I have too many trust issues when it comes to women. I can’t trust them to take care of me. And I already told you what I needed there. Alex, I’m not looking for Ms. Right, or Mr. Right…”
“Just Mr. Right Now.” Alex interrupted.
I groaned. “Alex stop.” I grabbed his shirt and pulled him close. “I’m here. Third day in a fucking row with a guy who keeps running away from me. With a guy who …” I didn’t want to say I loved, because even that was too much for me, but I had to say something, “A guy who I could love, who I want to at least give a shot, even though all we ever seem to do is fight.”
I sighed, “I will tell you the one truth that very few people know. I was in love once, you remind me of him. I don’t want to make a mistake with this like back then. I don’t know what I did, or what happened. But something did and he never showed up. I’m never going to ignore you even if I’m angry. But I need to know I can trust you. Because Alex, you can break me easier than you can snap a dried twig.”
Alex stared at me. I knew he was inside my head trying to find the lie, trying to find what I was hiding. I closed my eyes and let him look. Opened my thoughts to him and let him see everything. I wasn’t hiding from him , there was not a thing I wouldn’t tell him, or let him see. Even if he wanted to delve into the darkness of my mind. He was free have to whatever I had inside me.
Alex pressed his forehead against mine and pulled an image forward. “Is this what happens every night?”
The nightmare played in my mind and I choked on my own breath. The panic welled up inside and I felt the first lash land before I buried it again. Alex’s hands were on my face and his thumbs were wiping away the tears. “How does that translate to the scars on your back, Nox?”
I couldn’t answer him. I wanted to but I couldn’t breathe. Alex pulled me over to the grassy area and we sat down, he pulled me into his lap and wrapped his arms around me, “It’s okay. You’re safe.”
Funny thing was, I already knew that. All it took was his arms around me and I calmed drastically, my heart was racing but my breath was slowing just having him hold me. I was going to be so broken when he left me.
He held me for a, I don’t know how long, as long as i needed until I could speak again. “I’ve had nightmares of what Garrett did to me since I was six years old. When I’m stressed out or when the dream is really strong on particular nights, my own power leaves gashes in my back.”
“What do you mean, your power? You do this to yourself?” Alex sounded more like I’d hurt him than I was hurting myself.
I leaned back against him and took a deep breath. “I don’t do it on purpose.”
“Jesus, Nox.” Alex breathed against my neck. And we just sat there for a while.