Starting Over

Alex just shrugged at my confusion. “You’ll have to talk to the prince of darkness himself. He’ll be by tomorrow if you need him before you get back to New York.”

“And the fact that I bound someone to me doesn’t bother you? ‘Specially him.” I was still terribly confused.

He held out his hand and waited for me to join him. I kicked off my shoes and took his hand and he pulled me down into his lap. “You’d think I would be. But it explains a lot.”

“Like what?” I asked.

“Like how you feel about him. It’s not an ordinary friendship like it is with Sage. I’ve never met him, but when you talk about him, it’s normal friendship, with Ant it’s always more. Like you felt him more. I mistook it for an attraction, love you were fighting. I don’t know but I was wrong.”

“Are you admitting you were wrong?” I grinned at him.

Alex shoved me and I slide off his lap catching myself before I fell to the floor on my ass. Alex pursed his lips and offered his hand again, “Graceful.”

“You have no idea.” I said.

Alex gave me a quick once over. “I’m going to watch another movie. I’m not tired. I hope you don’t plan on sleeping in that.”

I unbutton my jeans and Alex smirked as I slid them down my legs. I tugged the hoodie off and thought about pulling off my t-shirt. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust Alex… But that was the very reason I tugged the hem of my t-shirt over my head and folded my clothes neatly and set them on the table and climbed into bed next to Alex. He was under the sheet and the top covering was strewn down around his feet while he proped up against the fancy headboard.

I laid my head on his thigh and sighed contently. His hand rested on my back and I tensed at his touch, his fingers gently caressing a single spot before he stilled when he realized what he’d been doing. “It’s okay Alex.” I looked up at him, “My body is all yours. I trust you, which is why I took my shirt off in the first place. You really aren’t reading me?”

“I’m really not reading you pretty boy.” He looked down at me, “It’s hard.” He smirked.

I licked my lips and resisted the urge to press the palm of my hand against his crotch to make it harder. My fingers clenched Alex’s opposite thigh to keep my hand where it was. Alex chuckled as his fingers traced a particularly deep trench in my back which made me freeze against him with my eyes squished closed so tight I saw stars.

“Since we are starting over, tell me about the scars.” I looked up at him, and he ran his thumb over the scar on my left cheek. “Start with this one. I want the truth and the lie you tell.”

“The only scars I had growing up were the ones on my back. Ironically the other’s all happened 5 years ago.” I said softly as I put my cheek back on Alex’s thigh and his fingers traced another mountain range on my back. It felt like he was memorizing them. The TV became background noise as I told Alex all about the girl and the ghost who sliced my face with her knife. The truth was far more unbelievable than the lie – it was from a broken window I’d been crawling out of sneaking out of girls bedroom when her father came home.

I told him about the human dragon who breathed fire from his human throat, and how I lopped off his head before passing out. I lied and said I fell into a camp fire with my friends. I even told him how Sage would vouch for me. How they tended to my wounds and we spent months playing board games.

I started to tell the tale of my mother’s death. Alex shook his head. “I know that one. We don’t need to go over it. I don’t want to dredge up old wounds Nox.”

“I don’t mind. I’m not mad at my mother anymore. I got two brothers out of it. Two loving brothers who are so much more than the ones I grew up with. Even Nick isn’t what Rider and Laker are to me. I forgave her before them, but I forgave myself for them.”

Alex grabbed my chin and turned my head back towards him. He pressed a kiss to my lips softly, “You are so amazing sometimes.”

“I’m not amazing. I just learn how to be a better me.”

“And that’s pretty amazing.” Alex said. “I don’t think I forgave my mom for dying.”

“How’d she die? If I can ask.”

Alex froze. His hand stilled against my back and I could hear that he was holding his breath, his heart beat faster. He didn’t want to talk about himself. “It’s okay Alex. You don’t have to tell me.”

“Yes, I do. It’s not fair. You just accept it, Nox. You need to stand up for yourself.”

I shrugged, “It’s not that important Alex. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. That’s important to me, making you happy. It has nothing to do about me. And everything to do about you.”

“But you give and give and all I do is take.”

I sighed. “Alex.” I sat up and pulled my legs up into a crossed leg position and looked at him. “Alex you give without even thinking about it. Earlier you made me eat. Yes people will say you were being bossy and manipulative. But sometimes, that’s exactly what I need. You give yourself to me in other ways. I know you don’t want to talk. You’ll tell me when you are ready.”

“What if I’m never ready?” Alex interrupted.

“You’ll be ready one day to let me know all of you.”

“Nox…” Alex said looking away, “I don’t deserve you.”

“I don’t deserve you. You are willing to let it be about me.”

“Only because I don’t want to talk about me.” Alex laughed.

“No, I promise I’ll take care of you. And I know you’ll take care of me.”

Alex sighed and pulled me against him. “My mom died in a car accident. Nothing nearly as fantastical as a were-bear killing her. I was supposed to be with her.” Alex went on to tell me about her. It was the first time I’d heard him speak about her at any length – even in all the dreams I had remembered.

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