I roll my lips, chewing them nervously as I sit alone at a table in the caf, watching Ceph and Eli eat lunch across the hall. I don’t know why I find him so… what’s the word… alluring? I mean… Selene’s right… I shouldn’t even be thinking about it. Ceph is gay. But…
He’s so tall and handsome, and… and… Mysterious. I watch as he takes another bite of the pasta dish in front of him, smiling as Eli tells him something funny. His expressions are small, minute. I can tell he is apt to hiding his affections. I, on the other hand, can’t seem to keep anything hidden.
I tear my eyes away from them and stare down at the plate in front of me, untouched and likely cold now. I tap my fork impatiently, frowning at my plate of food. I’m suddenly not that hungry. I drop the fork with a sigh, my eyes wandering back to the two, much older, gentlemen from the fifth century.
They are much too old… I remind myself again.
Water is older… the voice in my head chimes.
But I’m not!
Oh my God… Is the water seriously telling me this is ok? It’s so not Ok. If Kaede ever found out what I’m thinking I might die!
I stare at them still, at him, as he wipes his lips with the napkin and sets it down on the table. I suck in a breath just thinking about it.
“Hey, Car! Mind if I eat with you?”
I jump at the sound of his voice, nearly falling out of my chair as Kaede slides his plate down in front of me, in front of my view of Ceph. I blush with embarrassment. “Of course, you don’t need to ask,” I remind him.
“I asked because you looked so deep in thought, I thought I should ask, in case it was something important,” he says with a smile as he jabs his fork into his pasta.
“Ohh, well… You can interrupt me anytime,” I wave my hand at him, indicating it’s frivolity.
“Really?” he snickers. I’m still trying to get my thoughts back from across the room, so I don’t really understand why he’s laughing.
“Yea, it’s fine,” I reply half-heartedly.
“Well, I want to tell you about what I’ve been working on,” he grins. I shift my gaze back to Kaede and notice his slim face, naked of facial hair. His eyes sparkle with excitement and hidden potential. His hair bounces in front of his eyes as he speaks, and he has this twitch where his flicks his head to the side to move the stray hair out of his eyes. I chew my inner lip.
“That’s right, you’ve been busy working on something, haven’t you? You haven’t told me anything about what you do while we’re off training,” I sigh, putting my elbows on the table and propping my chin on my hands and watch him, keeping my eyes trained on Kaede’s instead of behind him.
“That’s ‘cause I like to keep my inventions secret till they are ripe and ready,” he smirks.
“Riiiight,” I roll my eyes. His sarcasm is kind of funny.
“It’s true. Besides, this one’s gonna be good. Here, have a listen,” he pulls out his phone and slides it across from me, a new app loading on the screen. “This is an app I’m calling the Guild Guide. It’s designed to have all the basic welcome information that a new member of the Guild would need to access to learn about this place. Things like maps, lesson halls, course options, training rooms and other facilities the Guild has to offer. It even has a ‘build your own’ schedule feature so you can plan your classes and training times,” he smiles as he explains the intricate details of the new application, tapping on his phone upside down so I can see the app for myself.
I have to admit, it’s pretty handy. People like Cliff wouldn’t have to personally Guide us around all the time.
“Now I know what you’re thinking. People like Cliff wouldn’t be needed. But that’s not the point of this app. See, there’s even a mentor sign up page where you can connect with people of your element or similar age or other things and have them teach you the ropes. There’s a forum page with frequently asks questions and more. So, we still need Cliff, but this might lighten the load and keep things more organized among the newbies,” he finishes. “So, what do you think?”
I find myself lost in his eyes, listening to the sound of his voice as he speaks so energetically about the app. I don’t even know what he just said –
“Earth to Car? You awake? I said, what do you think?” he repeats the question.
… The question. Shit… What was he asking me? I stare at him, unable to answer.
“You weren’t listening, were you?” he asks, shoulders sagging.
“No, I mean, Yes, I was! I swear! I just… I didn’t hear the question,” I mumble, looking down.
“It’s ok. When you space out, I know you’re thinking about other things,” he launches into a paraphrased version of his app and I nod, forcing myself to listen to his words. “So, what do you think?” he smiles as he asks me for the third time.
“Wow, that sounds… really awesome. You’re so clever. I could really use an app like that,” I admit.
“I thought so. Your habits gave me the idea. I figured, these are things you could’ve used when we first came.”
“So, how do I download it?” I ask, pulling out my own phone.
“Easy, you’re logged in on the Guild network right?” he asks, pulling his phone back to his side of the table.
“Yea, I think we all are,” I look at the settings.
“Right, so I’ve boosted the network since coming here, amping up the RAM and stuff so everyone can use it and I can decrease the lag. If you go to your application’s app, you should be able to find it by search Guild Guide. Of course, we wouldn’t want people not associated with the Guild finding it, so I had one of Cliff’s buddy’s, who’s also gifted with the wisdom of technology, to make it invisible on the regular app page to non-Guild folk. Some sort of spell or something he said. I’m not sure. But basically, you enroll at the Guild, log in via the Guild network and it should show up when you search.”
“Wow, that’s… well thought out,” I say, impressed.
“Thanks. It has to be. Cliff expressed that the secrecy of the Guild was of the utmost importance, so if I wanted to do anything I had to ensure that there were no digital leaks that people like the Master or even regular humans could find out about us.”
“Yes, it seems the secrecy of the Guild is important around here,” I muse, tapping the download button on my phone.
“Yeah, but, I was thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if, one day, people at the Guild didn’t have to hide? What if we were able to coexist happily together, like the X-men,” he says.
“They weren’t happily coexisting thought. Xavier was constantly fighting the government for acceptance and they had many human verse mutant wars,” I point out.
“So, you were listening when we watched the series,” he smirks.
“Of course I was, I liked the story. Storm was my favourite,” I pout.
“Haha, I can see why. You too have similar powers. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to hear you quote a series. Means I’m rubbing off on you,” he smirks.
“Oh shush it, you,” I move to swat him lightly on the arm. He dodges my swing though with a laugh.
“It’s just a thought. You’re right, the mutants and the humans were constantly at war, even when they redid history in Days of Future Past. It’s something, though, I think would be nice. All throughout history, witches and magicians and the sort have been feared and shunned like the mutants were. What if a place like the Guild wasn’t only a sanctuary, but also a hub for intermediary relations?” he smiles at his use of such a professional sounding word. It makes me laugh.
“Yea, I guess it would be nice. It’s good to have a big dream. Maybe you should pursue that,” I suggest.
“You know, maybe I will,” he nods excitedly. “Haha, thanks.”
“Any time,” I say, unsure what he’s thanking me for.
“Car, you haven’t touched your lunch. Are you really ok?” he asks, pointing at my plate with his fork. Somehow, he’s managed to finish eating his entire plate while talking to me.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I was just listening,” I say dismissively.
“Yeah right. You don’t usually space out that much. That’s more of an Andrei thing. Are you training too much?” he asks, reaching his free hand across the table and offering it for me to take. I lower my left hand into his and shoot a quick glance over his shoulder at Ceph and Eli.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Really,” I reassure him. He squeezes my hand with his and I turn my gaze to our touch. I follow his arm up to his face, rolling my lips as I gaze at his. I let my eyes wander up to his and freeze when I find them staring back, a gleam in his eyes.
“Maybe… we should go to our room,” he suggests casually.
I exhale slowly, not sure how to respond. I haven’t eaten a thing, but I’m not really that hungry… for food. I don’t trust myself to speak, so I nod.
Keade releases my hand, reluctantly and takes our plates back to the kitchen. When he returns, I stand up, taking his hand in mine as we depart from the caf. I don’t spare a glance over my shoulder… my mind’s on other things now.
His lips are warm and sweet against mine. How could I think about anyone else? I crave his taste, his touch, this sensation. I grip his shirt in my fingers with a desperate desire to hold him close. I feel the smooth contours of his torso beneath the fabric and I suddenly want the fabric gone. What has come over me? I don’t understand this feeling.
His hands run through my hair, hanging loosely about my shoulders, the tie forgotten on the floor. I heave a sigh as I feel his fingertips on my scalp. I quickly return my lips to his, seeking their warmth.
I don’t think I’ve ever wanted him so much before. I don’t understand how to explain these raw feelings. I just… know.
My skin tingles as his hands roam down my neck and over my clavicle. I inhale deeply through my mouth, but only momentarily as I seek his kiss again. His fingers feel like ice on my skin and I get goosebumps on my arms at his touch.
My back is against the wall, my knee between his legs. His breath is hot and I suppress a smile at his soft throaty moan. I part my lips, gently biting his bottom lip. My eyes flutter open and I look up into his, looking back. He pulls away, licking his lips and dives in for more. His finger slips under my shirt, I flinch at his touch.
He grabs me by the waist and pulls me away from the wall. I cry out, surprised as he swings me around and I fall back onto the bed. He leans over, a gentle, loving look in his eyes. I bite my lip.
“Are you sure?” he asks me, hovering over me, his hands on either side of my waist.
I look into his eyes with a nod. I’ve never been so sure in my life. I feel my cheeks warm at the thought. He gives me that goofy smile of his, flicking his hair out of his eyes. My heart moans with delight at his quirky habits. I feel his hands fumble with my belt as he leans in for a kiss.
“I’m sure,” I say in a raspy voice. So very sure.
My cheeks hurt from smiling as I lay beneath the sheets, our clothes on the floor next to the bed. His arm rests across my waist, hugging me close. My senses are heightened with his bare skin against my back. I can feel his chest expand and contract with each breath he takes. My own hand rests on his, my fingers caressing the tops of his as he breathes on my neck.
I rub my heel up and down his shin affectionately. “I love you,” I whisper softly.
He takes a breath and I feel his lips between my neck and shoulder as he kisses me again. “And I love you, Caroline,” he hums in my ear. I shiver and I feel goosebumps on my arm, again.
I exhale happily. I can’t get the sensations out of my head. The last hour runs on replay, keeping my cheeks on blush. I feel… free and elated. I know I said I’d wait but… I really wanted to just give in.
What would my parents say? I don’t think I could tell them. But then, now I’m not so sure they’d care. Maybe it’s only I who cared. I don’t know. But… I love him, don’t I? I did the right thing, didn’t I? ‘m torn between bliss and worry as I lift my chin, trying to look at him over my shoulder, but the angle is difficult.
He breathes in deeply, exhaling on my shoulder. When he’s near, my anxiety goes away. I feel like I can breathe easy. I like this peaceful feeling he gives me. I wonder what feeling I give him?
I lay there, quietly, thoughts still on replay as we lay there, content. The sun sinks, lowering in the window, as the afternoon wears on. It’s been maybe two hours since lunch. It’s not like I have anywhere to be. I can make my own schedule here.
I shift my weight, wanting to see his face. His grip loosens and he leans back, giving me space to roll over. When I’m comfortable again, he returns his arm to my waist, drawing hearts on the small of my back.
“What are you thinking about?” he asks, looking into my eyes. I can’t help staring at his eyelashes and the way his eyes sparkle, reflecting the light of the window.
“You,” I say quietly, smiling.
He grins. “I’m thinking about you too,” he says.
I watch him, seeing my face up close reflected in his eyes. “This moment with you, it was magical,” I whisper.
He watches me closely, not answering right away. What is he thinking? I hold my breath in anticipation.
“Every moment with you is magical,” he replies. I exhale in relief and feel my heart flutter.
“Oh, Kaede,” I smile stupidly, resting my forehead against his and rubbing his nose with mine.
He chuckles. “It’s true though. I love you, Caroline,” he says sweetly.
“I love you too, Kaede.”
By Kayla West