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Fourteen

 Once I pulled myself together, I practically sprinted down the halls, until I found Jace’s room again.

               I knocked on the thick door. I really should get a key or something, I thought, shaking my head. There was no answer.

               I called, “Hey, Jace? It’s Ava.”

               Moments later, the door unlocked with a click. It swung in, Jace’s face greeting me with Sammy wagging his tail behind him.

               “Sorry about that,” he said with a smile, “but I was trying to get your dog under control. I don’t seem to have magic powers that calm animals.” I laughed and shook my head, leaning down to pet Sam’s golden fur.

               While I put on the façade, guilt caused my heart rate to accelerate. I had a loght coat of sweat coating my body, and I was extremely nervous.

               He glanced up at me. “Ava, are you okay?”

               “What?” I cried. “What could possible be wrong? I’m perfectly okay, thankyouverymuch.” My reply was quick and anxious, the words fighting with each other to see which could fall off my tongue faster.

               “Hey,” he said, resting his hand on my shoulder, “you can tell me. I won’t be mad.”

               “It’s… I’m okay. Nothing’s wrong.”

               There was silence for a few moments, and then…

               “What’s going on between you and Roman?” he asked me.

Jace

               I just wanted her to admit it. And I wanted to know why.

               I’d seen her kiss him.

               But she wouldn’t tell me what had happened.

Ava

            I bit the inside of my lip, remembering what I’d told myself before:

Not always. It’s just going to hurt him for no reason.

               It isn’t without reason! What if it becomes something more?

               Then you can tell him. But no sooner. What if it was nothing? You want him to be angry over absolutely nothing

                I shrugged off the thoughts before taking a deep breath. “I… Jace, I’m so sorry,” I whispered, trying to control the tears that were beginning to leave my eyes.

Jace

               Something inside me popped. I think it was my heart.

               Her cheeks and nose were bright red, and her hazel eyes were big and wet. She was staring down at the floor when she whispered, “It was just… a moment.”

               “Did anything happen?” I whispered, trying to keep my voice from cracking.

               “No.”

               Chills ran down my back, for some reason. “Don’t lie to me,” I said.

               “What are you-“

Ava

               “I saw you! **** it, Ava, I fuckin’ saw you kiss him,” he growled. I glanced up to his eyes, which were wild.

               I glanced down to his hands, which were folded into fists so tightly, I thought he was drawing blood.

               Suddenly, the guilt faded, and I was just ****** off. “Seriously, Jace? Seriously?” I demanded. “What the **** is wrong with you? I mean, yeah, he kissed me. But who cares? I told you that nothing happened. I mean that nothing emotional happened. You’re acting like a jealous ******** I dropped my voice. “And I thought I had something with you.”

               “Really? Because you sure as **** don’t know how to treat a guy that fuckin’ loves you!” he screamed.

               My heart stopped in my chest. “Love me?” I whispered, my lips barely moving.

               “I don’t know what to do,” he mumbled, running his fingers through his hair. Before my mind could register what was happening, he was in front of me, and he’d taken my hands in his. “I love you,” he said.

His eyes were as blue as the see. They were also all I could think about.

               I floated through the hallways the next day because Jace had told me to go and take a walk while he was in a meeting. I found myself walking past the pool area, past the restaurant, and out of the lobby.

               Fresh, cold air greeted me. I pulled the thin white sweater around me, sighing. I really do love the cold, I thought, making my way around the building.

               I found a garden, one with evergreen trees and dead flowers. I perched myself upon a small stone bench, which was cool to the touch. I leaned my head against my hands and just listened.

               There was the faraway sound of birds chirping. I could hear honking coming from a highway nearby. The trees rustled in the breeze, and the wind whistled in my ears.

               “What are you doing out here?” a voice wondered aloud, startling me. I jumped out of my seat and glanced up, the sun blocking my vision.

               I raised my hand to cover the sunlight. Once I recognized the face, I said, “Jace? You told me to go for a walk, and I-“

               He ran his hands through his hair. “**** it, I didn’t mean outside.”

               I stood up and raised my eyebrows, anger fuming inside me. “Who the **** do you think you are? I can’t go outside?” I demanded.

               “I-I’m sorry, Ava. Can we please just talk about this in our room?”

               “Oh, and now it’s our room? I can’t even be trusted with a key,” I spat.

               “You want a key? I’ll give you a key! I didn’t know it was a big deal.”

               “It’s not! It’s just the principle of it,” I snapped. I finally realized how stupid that sounded. “Jace, I- I’m just… Sorry. Never mind.”

               “Ava, if you-“

               “No, no. You’re right. Let’s go inside,” I mumbled, heading towards the front doors.

               He put his arms around me and led me inside. “Are you cold?” he asked, rubbing his hands up and down my arms, which only succeeded in sending shivers jolting through my body.

               “No, I’m alright,” I answered truthfully.

 

Jace

               Once we got inside, I had an idea. “Hey, how about we go out somewhere?” he asked, raising his eyebrows. “That can’t be a bad idea, right? We can go to the mall and get something to eat?” I suggested, eager to take her somewhere or do something nice for her.

               She smiled, seeming to stifle a laugh. “You’re joking, right?”

                What? “Why would I be joking?” I asked.

               “Oh. You were serious. Okay. Well, I’ll just hop in the shower,” she decided, giving me a quick peck on the cheek. “I’ll only be a few minutes, okay?”

               I nodded, still somewhat confused. “But what are you-“

Ava

               “Forget it,” I told him.

                He doesn’t understand. Maybe I should just tell him? I dunno… It’s kind of weird. I mean, I’m a eighteen year old girl, and I’ve never been to the mall to just go shopping?

                Another thought struck me as I undressed. But he’s a freakin’ werewolf- Wait, don’t say it. Not saying it won’t make it true… My point, I thought, is that he hasn’t exactly had the most normal childhood either.

                I stepped into the shower, pulled the curtain closed, and twisted the knobs to turn on the hot water. Once I was rinsed, I massaged my head with shampoo, knotting my fingers into my long brown hair before rinsing again.

               The door cracked open. I peeked outside the curtain, holding it close to my body. Jace was standing in front of the sink countertop, my pile of clothes in his hand.

               I laughed and shook my head. He flinched before glancing over at me. “My god, Ava, you scared the living **** out of me.”

               I grinned. “What’re you doing?” I asked.

               He told me, “Giving you a fresh set of clothes.” He patted the bundle near the sink.

               “C’mere.”

               “What are you-“ he began, cautiously taking steps toward me.

               He was close enough that I could reach out and grab him.

               And so I did.

               Careful to keep the shower curtain between us, I planted a kiss on his lips, pulling back and shutting the shower curtain before he could get out of his daze.

               “Ava?” he called.

               “Yes, Jace?” I replied.

               “I love you.”

               I laughed and said, “Love you too.”

 

Jace

               I was cleaning up the room… Well, the room never really needed to be cleaned. I kept it much too tidy for that. But after the little, uh, situation in the bathroom, I was trying to keep my mind off of Ava. It wasn’t working too well, considering I could only think about her soft, soft hair under my fingertips, and-

               “Hey, Jace?” Ava called from in the bathroom.

               I put my hand on the knob. “Can I come in?” I asked.

               Silence for a moment, before, “Yeah.”

               I opened the door, finding Ava wrapped in a small towel. She was holding up the clothing I’d left her.

               “What?” I asked.

               She smiled and tossed the lacy black bra at me. I blushed and laughed. She shook her head. “In no world am I fitting into that bra.”

               I checked the tag. “At least tell me, too big or too small?” I asked.

               “Why?” She narrowed her eyes.

               I chuckled. “So I can know for next time.”

               “It’s too small,” she answered with a nod before pushing me out the door.

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