Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Coming of Age, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Teen & Young Adult
THE BOY WHO PAINTS ME
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All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
THE BOY WHO PAINTS ME
is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain, are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
Copyright ©2013 by Charlene Antrobus
To all those beautiful people that let someone convince them that they don’t deserve to be loved...you do...all of you!
Epilogue (1 Year Later)
Titles By Sharlay
PRETEND (BOOK 1)
MAKE BELIEVE (BOOK 2 – COMING SOON)
LIVING WITH THE BAD BOY
THE BOY WHO PAINTS ME
The tension in the room was so thick that you could slice it with a knife. I stood perfectly still, staring at him as his eyes roamed over my body. I gasped, soon realising that it was the first time that I had taken a breath, since I had asked him that question. His expression was filled with an emotion that I couldn't decipher. I wanted to escape, to run away, take it all back. It was impossible. I couldn't tear my gaze away from his golden brown eyes. He had me locked in a trance. We were speaking a silent language that only we understood.
I was staring at him, yet I could see nothing. Instead my mind was replaying the last five minutes, willing them to start over so that I could take it all back. I shifted my eyes to the floor, hoping that I would become invisible. Somehow - without the need to look at him - I knew that he was moving closer to me. I could feel it in my chest as my heart beat picked up pace. I felt the clammy feeling that consumed my hands. I felt the edges of my teeth graze my bottom lip before gently biting down. I glanced up at him, pleading with my eyes, begging him to walk away. He didn't. I knew he wouldn't.
He was stood in front of me, towering over my small frame. He was so close that I could feel every breath that he took, and they were getting faster. I mentally growled when my eyes locked on his, again. I couldn’t look away, and part of me – the more dominant part – didn’t want to. Something about his eyes offered me so much comfort, and peace but there was also a hint of danger, if you looked really close. He scared me. Not because I thought he would hurt me; I knew that he wouldn’t. I was scared of what he was doing to my heart. Every new encounter, he would take another piece of the shell that I had firmly placed around it. I had protected it, hidden it, and I was scared that once the pieces were removed, I could never put them back together again.
I tried to avoid looking at the stands of brown hair that fell into his eyes.
I willed the thought away because the want was so strong that I had to catch my breath. I was losing control, and I didn’t want him to see it. I wanted so badly to let my fingers gently brush them out of his face. I wanted to see his slightly crooked jaw line and his strong features. I wanted to stare into his eyes, and to feel as though he was staring into my soul but I couldn't. I wouldn't.
You want to.
I did but it was wrong. I ducked my head as I felt his presence draw nearer. He was close now, too close. I needed to keep up the facade, to pretend that I didn't want to know the answer. I wanted to pretend that I had never even asked.
"Rai," he whispered in a husky voice that was barely audible. His hand moved, slowly up the left side of my body until he was gently lifting my chin with the tip of his index finger. I closed my eyes, trying to hide that electric feeling that shot through me as his skin made contact with mine. I had to suppress the moan that wanted to escape my lips, caused by his touch. "To answer your question," he continued, causing my eyes to slowly flutter open. "No, I don't want to kiss you."
I tried to hide the disappointment on my face. I needed to pretend that those words didn't just enter the atmosphere, that they weren't real. I needed so much for him to act like he had never said those seven little words. I swallowed the lump that had gathered in my throat. I tried to hold my voice together because I couldn't let him see me right now. I couldn't let him know just how much his words had crushed me. I wouldn’t show him just how much power his words had over my emotions. I wasn’t even sure when he gained that level of control but I so desperately wanted it back; needed it back.
"I know...." I whispered as the tears burned at the back of my eyes, threatening to escape. He couldn’t see me cry; not again.
Stop! Just stop, because you knew this already. You can't have him, you can never have him!
I knew that the voice in my head was right, oh so right, but it still hurt. It hurt so damn bad, and I wasn't sure how long I could keep it together. I was so good at putting on a show but not with him, he had broken down walls that I wished he hadn't. He had awoken emotions that I laid to rest many years ago. Emotions that should be dead; they
"I don't want to kiss you...because I
to kiss you,” he said as his hand cupped the side of my cheek before sliding, gently into my jet black hair. I stood, confused, not quite sure what he was saying. I didn't speak, I just stood there, wanting to hear the words that I knew I shouldn't want to hear, shouldn't
to hear. He let the tip of his thumb glide gently over my cheek, tracing small circles. He let out a restrained moan as though he were fighting his own battle.
idea," he whispered as he stared into my eyes. "No idea...."
I watched as he searched my eyes as though he were trying to understand something, solve something. I looked away, needing him not to understand but secretly willing him to figure it out. He stopped moving his thumb and let it rest against my warm cheek as he took a deep breath.
"Kissing you is the first thing that I think about when I wake up, the last thing that I think about before I go to sleep, and the only thing that I
dream about. And the moment that I allow myself to kiss you,” he said before gently, wetting his lips with his tongue, “I’m
letting you go. When I'm sure that you're ready to accept that, then, and only then, will I kiss you, the way
that I've wanted to kiss you, since the day that you walked into my life."
I stood frozen, in a daze as I tried to make sense of his words. I had completely lost the ability to speak the English language as I stood there, dumbfounded. He placed his free hand on my waist before slowly pulling me towards him and planting a single, soft kiss on my forehead. If I wasn't focusing, I may have missed the fact that his lips lingered on my skin a little longer than the kiss had lasted, but I didn't miss it. He dropped his hand to the side of his body before walking towards the door, leaving me even more confused than before. He paused for a moment as his hand made contact with the doorknob.
Then, he was gone....
TWO WEEKS EARLIER...
Many of us come to a point in our childhood when we think about running away. We dream of disappearing, and living life our own way. We get to a point where we think that our parents are too overbearing, too strict, or they don’t care enough; they don’t think that you’re good enough, and they just don’t seem to understand you. We think that if we run away, we can escape all of those problems. What if I told you that there were bigger problems? What if the parents that you want to run away from are the ones that I wish that I could run towards? What if I told you that there was a world so twisted, so dark, and so painful that running into the arms of an overbearing, frustrating parent would be the perfect safe haven for someone like me? Would you still run?
Life was good for me, once upon a time. Perfect doesn’t exist but my life was the closest that I think you could get. I didn’t have a father around when I was growing up. I never really knew him. My longest conversation about him was the one where my mother told me that he was young, and didn’t want to be a parent; I never asked again. I never felt like I missed out though because my mom more than made up for my absent father. She was a mother and so much more. She was a father too and for the most part of my life, she was my best friend. She never seemed interested in dating or replacing my father, and I was ok with that. I didn’t need a father, I didn’t miss having one. It’s actually impossible to miss something that you’ve never had. Well, that’s how I felt anyway.
I was fourteen when my mom introduced me to Mitch. He was the first man that she had ever introduced me to, so, I knew that things were about to change. I just didn’t know how much. He was a tall man. His dark hair - that spent more time in his eyes than anywhere else - shone brightly whenever I would see him. His teeth were straight and perfectly white although I doubt that they were the set that he has had his entire life. His blue eyes were not bright and sparkly like you may expect but instead, they were icy and filled with secrets that one day, I would come to know; secrets that I would wish that I didn’t know.
His skin was smooth with the exception of the thin scar that took residence in his left brow. His pale skin was probably a direct result of the time that he spent hidden away from the world, and any warmth that the sun could provide him, had he have just settled for a normal nine to five job. Mitch was nice – according to my mom – but I saw past his facade. I was only fourteen and every bone in my body told me that he was bad news but she didn’t see it. She thought that I was jealous, upset that she was splitting her attention. He changed our relationship – that’s true – but it wasn’t that. Everything about Mitch seemed dangerous to me, he was like two people; the one that he pretended to be and the real him. It didn’t come as a surprise, the first time that he hit her. What surprised me was that she stayed. I knew that it was my fault. I knew that she stayed with him to prove me wrong, to show me that despite it all, he still loved her. I was young but I recognised one thing very early; that that wasn’t love. Not real love because real love doesn’t hurt.
It wasn’t until three years ago – a week after my fifteenth birthday – that I got dragged into a world that forced me to give up my childhood and everything that came with it. Mitch did that to me, and so did
. That’s why I ran. I didn’t run because of overbearing, strict parents who wanted so badly to protect me. I ran because they were the kind of people that parents like
, would protect you from. That’s why I ran.
I had spent the three hour, bus journey to my aunt’s house with my head pressed firmly against the glass window. Sleep was burning my eyes but I had to stay alert. I wasn’t safe yet, maybe I would never be. I knew that I had limited time here but without
it would take him a lot longer to figure out where I was, and by then, I would be gone. If there was one good thing that my mother ever did for me - since Mitch became a part of our lives - it was cutting all ties with our family and friends. It meant that he had no trail, no quick way of tracking me down, not without trying really hard anyway. With my mom gone, it would take him a lot longer to find me.
“Last stop,” was the words that broke me out of my thoughts. When I allowed my eyes to focus, I realised that I was the last passenger left. I mumbled a sorry before making my way off the bus with my bag thrown over one shoulder. I had refused to give it up upon boarding, causing the driver to become frustrated. At some point it was as if he had seen something in my eyes, and he reluctantly agreed to me keeping it on my lap for the entire journey. I was pleased, of course, I knew its value. “Kid,” he said, causing me to spin around on the last step. I didn’t answer him. I just stood, patiently, waiting for him to finish his sentence. “Whatever you’re running from, it will catch up with you, eventually. It always does,” he said as he gave me a sympathetic smile. I nodded my head without saying a word. I wished so badly that he was wrong but deep down; the sensible part of me knew just how right he was.
After ten minutes of walking in the blazing sun, I was exactly where I needed to be. I looked up at the house in front of me, and a small smile filled my face. It was the first genuine smile that had touched my lips in three years. It felt strange. My aunt’s house looked exactly the same as always. After three years of being kept away, everything was exactly the way that I had left it. I looked up at the light, wooden stairs that lead to the porch. It brought back so many happy memories. I closed my eyes for a minute, as I reminisced on the times that I would sit on the multicolored bench, while my aunt would tell me stories about princesses and castles. That was back when I still believed in them; before I knew what the world was really like. That seems like a long time ago now. I smiled at the mesh door that hid a cream door behind it. My eyes followed the white panels all the way up to the roof until I had to shield my eyes from the sun. Just like when I was a kid, the sun felt great as it washed over my skin.
I shifted the strap of my bag, higher up my shoulder as I felt it slip down before walking towards the house. I took a deep breath as I prepared to knock on the door. I knew that knocking on the door would mean beginning a lie that I didn’t want to tell. It would mean pretending that this was more than just a place to lay low until I could find something better. Knocking would mean that I would have to accept that this would be the last time that I would ever come here again. I took a deep breath and knocked. I waited for the chirpy sound of my aunt’s voice to fill the air but it never came. I knocked a little harder this time before taking a single step back. I never told her that I was coming, I couldn’t risk doing that but I never imagined that she wouldn’t be here. I banged a third time, praying that she was just busy tending to the flowers in the back yard because the idea of her not being here had never even crossed my mind. I waited for a couple more minutes before I realised that my ‘plan A’ had failed.