Aelin pounded her fist into the iron again. Again.
Why not you? he repeated.Because its wrong. I finally met his eyes and tried to smile at him, trying to play off the growing pain in my chest. Theres a million reasons why not me, and you know them all. And you dont … you dont even want to anyway.
He smiled in disbelief at me. Ive wanted to kiss you practically since the day I met you. But I knew you would never let me.How would you know that if you never tried? I asked, and then I was too nervous to even breathe, terrified of what might happen next.For a second he only stared at me, and I wished Id never said anything. I wished Id left my parents house five minutes sooner so I wouldnt even have seen him at all tonight, and I wouldnt be playing this stupid game where I pretend that we like each other or that we could ever be together. Because I know we cant, and he knows we cant, so its better if he just walks away. If he just turns around and leaves me here alone, but my heart is thudding painfully in my chest, begging him to kiss me.
And just when Im certain he wont, and Im about to turn and hurry away in shame, hes there. His lips are cold, pressing hungrily against mine. His fingers knotting in my hair, pulling me to him. His stubble scrapes against my lips and cheeks, but I dont mind, I like it. I love everything about him that feels so real, touching me, holding me.I wrap my arms around his neck, and I bury my hands in his hair. Its longer and thicker than I thought it would be, and I feel the curls at the nape of his neck wrapping around my fingertips.
Hes strong, stronger than I thought hed be, and his arm around my waist is crushing me to him so hard that I can barely breathe. But I dont care. I dont want to breathe. I just want to kiss him forever, tasting him on my lips, feeling him against me.
But then he pulls away, gasping for breath, but he keeps his face close to mine.Thank you, but I should really be going, I said, returning her smile with a lame one of my own.
You dont need to go. Ridley pulled away from Juni so he could turn to me.No, I do. You two need to catch up anyway.
I couldnt force a smile much longer, so I slid past them as politely and quickly as I could. With hurried steps, I walked back to my loft, feeling more conflicted and lost than I ever had before.Do you wanna talk about it? Ember stood over me looking down, so her bangs were falling into her eyes. Her arm had a brace on it, but otherwise the medic had almost completely healed her, and she spotted me as I did bench presses.