“Rose! Calm down! I told you I wasn’t going to do anything. I just thought the rest of the conversion would be better with more privacy.”
I stopped struggling and biting. My heart was slamming against my chest. My breath ragged causing my arm to throb more than it was originally. I had to have injured it again.
“Are you going to scream?” He asked his whispered breath caressed my ear and neck. I shivered as I shook my head. Slowly, he removed his hand and started backing away from the door with me.
“Quinn,” my voice quivered, “what are you going to do?”
“First, I’m going to set you on the couch, a cup of water, and some ice for your arm. Then we talk about what you said.”
“No! It’s okay. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t see anything.”
He chuckled as he lowered me to the couch. I wiggled trying to escape from the blanket. He wrapped his arms around my upper chest. I froze.
“Rose? Are you afraid of me?”
“Yes.” I could feel my body trembling.
“Don’t be. I don’t want to do anything but talk and make sure you didn’t hurt yourself.”
My fear turned to anger, and I scoffed. “I didn’t hurt myself. The one that hurt me would be the one that grabbed me tightly.”
He chuckled as he unwrapped his hands and headed to the kitchen with my cup to get me more water.
“You don’t need to be afraid of me.” After filling my cup, he sat it back on the table. Sitting down beside the cup, he helped me untangle myself from the blanket. Reaching out he used the blanket to avoid direct contact and grabbed my arm.
“Looks like it got worse.” He muttered. I tried to pull my arm away and he tightened his grip.
“I know it’s worse. Now let go.” I tugged again.
“Stop it.” He looked up at me his eyes yellow. I froze and watched as his eyes changed back to gray. He looked back down at my arm. Loosening his grip, he gently placed the ice pack on the injury.
Holding the ice pack on my arm he reached around and grabbed the cup of water. Taking a big drink, he then handed it out to me. Slowly, I shook my head. I could barely open my mouth let alone drink. What was he? He said he didn’t want to hurt me and there were many times that he could have. If he wanted to hurt me he wouldn’t be acting the way he is. Would he?
He sighed, “Look I’m sorry I scared you. I really am not going to hurt you. At least not on purpose. I want to know why you think you can help me hide. Hide what from who?”
I swallowed. “I-,” my voice cracked. Quinn smiled and held out the cup to my lips. Reaching up with my trembling hand I steading the tip of the cup and drank. The water slid down my throat allowing it to work again. Slowly, I tilted the cup back down and met with his hand. I shivered and moved my hand. I looked down at my hand. Odd, it wasn’t as disorienting as usual. Was I adjusting to his waves? Why would I do that?
“Sorry,” he muttered. I looked up at his strained face as he sat the cup back on the table.
“Don’t be. I was the one that touched.” He looked at me in surprise.
I looked back down at my hand. “I would think it is easier to hide something when you have people working together. I just---,” I looked back up and took a deep breath. Please don’t let him be a spy or something.
“I’m not staying.” I finally managed. His face turned a little ashen.
“It's not easy to leave here.” He frowned, “Why do you want to leave? Don’t you have everything needed.”
“I shouldn’t have to live in fear. Waiting for the moment they take me as a super or a soldier. Now I could be forced to be with a guy I don’t know. Which in turn means—.” I paused and took a deep breath. “This isn’t a life. On top of that, I can’t find my memories stuck in these walls.”
“You need to know that the rumors about an underground group helping people get outside the wall is just a trap. Anyone that is caught in the trap is automatically killed. Once you’re in these walls the only way out is as a soldier or dead.”
I swallowed and felt tears threaten my eyes. I looked down blinking frantically trying not to cry. I let a deep breath and whispered, “Please tell me that was a bad joke.”
“I’m sorry.” I broke at these words. The tears flowed down my face landing on my legs. Quinn put the ice down, sat on the couch beside me, and pulled me into a tight hug the blanket between us. I turned and buried my face in his chest. I don’t want to stay in this compound. What am I going to do? I shuddered as my tears became heavier.
“Sshhh. It’s okay. I promise I will help.” Quinn whispered into my hair. He held me tightly until my tears slowed. I laid against his chest catching my breath. I felt him shift. Peaking out I saw him grab the cup.
“Here,” he brought the cup to me. Slowly, uncurled my fingers from his shirt, sat up, took the cup, and drained it. I started to stand.
“Don’t,” Quinn said grabbing the cup from me and standing up. I watched as he filled the cup again. Turning he walked back toward me.
“So, I’m stuck?” I asked as he sat back down beside me. He looked at me and lifted the cup up to his lips. Quickly, I put my hand on top of the cup. I gasped as his lips met the back of my hand. It was an odd sensation. The mix of his soft lips and the light waves that now come from him. Quickly, he pulled back.
“Are you okay?” He asked.
I could see and hear the worry. I smiled up at him. It felt good to have someone care about me. I shook my head trying to clear my thoughts.
“I’m fine,” I finally answer, “I just wanted you to know you don’t have to do that anymore. I trust you didn’t do anything to it.”
He chuckled, “That’s nice to know but I was drinking because I was thirsty.”
I removed my hand and looked down as my face heated up. There was no way I was going to blush in front of this man. I watched him through my hair as he leaned his head back and drank deep. My eyes roamed down taking in the man in my view. Jeez, how does a man stay so fit in this compound? Taking a deep breath, I pulled the blanket over my head trying to block out the ridiculous thoughts. There is no way I could ever say yes to his wants.
“Are you okay?” Quinn’s voice broke my thoughts. I jumped realizing the voice was closer than I thought.
I chuckled at myself, “I’m tired and no. Not okay, but I will be. Thank you.”
His strong arms wrapped around me and I let out a little scream as he pulled me on top of him as he laid down on the couch. I put my hands against his chest and tried to sit up. Gently, he tightened his grip around my shoulders. I felt his hand pull back the blanket enough to see my face. I looked up at him.
“Look I agree with everything you said about this place, but this is where we are, and I will make sure you are taken care of. I don’t want to see you hurt at all. I won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to. Please say yes.” I saw the sincerity in his eyes.
“But there are girls—”
“Stop. The moment I saw you they all became invisible. None of them compare to you. I don’t care what happens. I want to be here to help you no matter what.”
I looked down at the chest I was laying on. Blushing as silent tears fell. I laid my head down on his chest thinking. I nodded.
“Okay,” I whispered I looked at him.
“Yes.” I nodded.
A huge grin spread across his face, “Seriously?”
I nodded again. I let out a small shriek as he wrapped his arms around me pulled me up to him in one quick move. My face was right above his. His breath mingled with mine. My breath caught in my throat as he reached up never breaking eye contact. Those yellow eyes shined like gold. Gently, he pulled the blanket down over my forehead and finally breaking eye contact he kissed my forehead on top of the blanket. Geez, I hate this power right now. Turning redder than I was, I tried pulling away.
“Okay. Okay. You can let go now.” I muttered.
Quinn wrapped his arms around me tighter. He lifted his head up and rested it on the top of my head. Sighing, I closed my eyes and carefully nuzzled into his neck relaxing against him.
“You have no idea how happy I am to hear you say yes.” I could just picture the silly grin on his face as he held me. Wow, I have a man holding me! I frowned.
“I’m sorry,” I said my voice barely a whisper.
“What? Why would you be sorry?”
I looked up and frowned, “You heard me?”
“Yeah. Why are you sorry?”
I laid my head back down. I had to give him an answer. “I’m going to tell you the truth. You might not like it though.”
I took the silence as a go on. I couldn’t look at him though. “I feel like I may have tortured you. I wanted to say yes a long time ago. I just couldn’t justify bringing anyone into a place where the STC could take them away just because of me.”
He shifted beneath me I lifted ready to get off him.
“Hey,” he placed his hand on my cheek careful to keep the blanket between us, “that’s okay. I understand. There is a reason I never chose a match. But this way we can be paranoid together.”
I let out a small chuckle. He’s not mad. Carefully, I laid my blanket covered forehead on his and closed my eyes listening to his breath. A small smile played on my lips as his thumb caressed my blanketed cheek. I felt my smile fade. I opened my eyes meeting those beautiful golden eyes. He frowned.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
“Will you stay still?” I looked at him apprehensively.
He froze and watched me, waiting. Slowly I leaned towards him. I want to try. Quickly I lightly brushed a kiss across his lips. I hovered over his lips listening to the sensations that that small touch brought. Again, longer this time. Slowly, I pressed my lips against his. Holding it a little longer than last time. I pulled back a little and looked at this beautiful man’s face. I could feel all the waves that rippled from the touch, but it wasn’t making me sick. I lifted my hand to his face. Pausing for a moment I bit my lip, tentatively I watched as I gently placed my hand on his cheek. I looked at him and smiled. He smiled back.
“You feel okay?” He inquired.
“Yeah!” I gasped through a giant smile.
He frowned, “I don’t understand. You got sick earlier. Didn’t you?”
“Yes, but there were others who had touched me first.”
He glanced at his hand resting on top of the blanket on my cheek. Looking back at me, he slid his hand under the blanket placing his hand on my cheek. I felt his waves skitter across my skin like before. They didn’t make me sick. I was on the verge of crying as I closed my eyes and pressed my hand against his, enjoying the feel of his hand on my cheek. I can touch someone! I leaned back toward his face. If this is a dream I at least want to kiss him before I wake up. Quinn slowly slid his hand into my hair. Holding the back of my head, he pulled me closer capturing my lips. The world melted as his lips moved against mine, the waves moved beneath my skin amplifying the sensations of his contact. He broke the kiss not long after. I laid my forehead on his trying to catch my breath not worrying about contact for once. I just had my first kiss! Something I didn’t think would ever happen.