“Hadn’t I mentioned we would be talking about the forbidden fruit, Mr. Peters?” The professor asked the student who was glaring at him with a burning passion.
“Yes, I’m just wondering, professor, what the hell that has to do with philosophy,” Lucas replied smoothly. He had an arrogant smile on his face and it seemed like taunting Mr. Russ was the highlight of his day. Who knows, perhaps it was.
The lives of philosophy students could be extremely dull. Not Celia’s, of course, but nevertheless.
“I like diversity.” He replied with an arrogant smirk. “I’m introducing you to female philosophers next week if you must know. Someone has to show you where misogyny began. Are you against that, Mr. Peters? If so, please remove yourself from my class.” The entire auditorium was silent. Lucas’ cheeks flushed and he bowed his head, submissively.
“No, sir. I apologise.” He muttered, still looking down.
Nathan didn’t spare him another glance. Instead, he gave his audience a tight smile that informed them of the remains of his anger and began his lecture.
“So, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, Eve never did anything wrong.” He said. “God had never informed her that eating from the tree of Life would cause such a catastrophe. He had, however, told Adam and here is where the interesting part comes.”
Celia dropped her pencil on the notebook she had previously been writing on and focused on the lecture. She soon would have to study for her exams and find the theme of her thesis, she couldn’t afford to daydream.
“Adam sees Eve holding the forbidden fruit, lets her take a bite and after he has made sure that nothing has happened he himself takes a bite. It is then that the end comes.” Nathaniel glared at Lucas. “Adam used Eve as a sacrificial lamb.”
A hand was raised as soon as the last word had left his mouth. “Yes?”
“Would you mind explaining further?” Clare asked. Celia remembered briefly how Ax had dodged her question and couldn’t keep a smile from appearing on her plump lips. It felt odd, that wave of sudden happiness, it wasn’t something she had experienced before and wasn’t sure if she would ever experience it again.
After all, happiness is a fleeting emotion, an expert in hurting people.
The young woman tried so hard to focus on her professor’s reply but she couldn’t, at least not fully. She thought about vulnerability instead. She thought about people who lost themselves, trusting other people enough to find them. Was that love? What that what it was?
Why the hell am I thinking about love? For Christ’s sake, Celia, get your self together. She was getting used to her subconscious snapping at her.
“Explain further? You don’t even have half a functioning brain, do you?” Nathan yelled, frustrated that anyone could be so ignorant. There was nothing he wanted more than to walk out of the exit and leave once and for all. “What is there to explain? Adam used Eve and made it look like she was the one at fault. He is the real reason they got kicked out of Eden. He hid behind her.”
Nathan paced around the podium, his shoes hitting the marble flooring with vigour. “They lost their innocence and fell into a world where real beauty equals corruption. They were the beginning of the end. Hedonism rose and has been ruling the lives of humans ever since and all because Adam was a coward.”
“But why are we talking about this? What does that have to do with female philosophers?” Another voice questioned.
“Because the male ones were also cowards.”
Sleeping next to Ax was hard.
Ever since that first night he had attacked her in his sleep he was guarded and kept himself to his side of the bed, forcing himself to stay away from Celia in fear of hurting her.
But Celia was stubborn. She would wake up and stare intently at the perfectly sculpted specimen letting her dainty fingers dance all over his bronzed skin. She loved how he would inhale sharply when she brushed over his carotid with her nails or when her fingers where would trace the V his hips created and his automatic reaction would be to groan and move closer, needing to feel her touch.
It felt like Eden.
It meant she was not only a warm body. He had changed his demeanour when it came to her, perhaps, his panic attack had been vital for them to cross that invisible line that separated casual sex from something more serious. Something that neither Celia nor Ax dared to name.
Yet something inside Celia begged to know what it was.
It ached to hear him say words not even her brain would fathom.
Was she being childish and insecure shaking him awake? Most definitely.
Did she care? Not that much.
Ax groaned and turned to his side, shielding his six foot three body from her, or at least trying to. “Ax?” She tapped on his shoulder. “Ax, wake up.” He stirred, groaning and letting out a few curses. He clearly wasn’t a morning person. Or a middle-of-the-night person for that matter.
Celia crawled on top of him, rather clumsily, not possessing the same kind of feline grace he seemed to own, straddling his muscled yet lean thighs. Her body tingled, fully aware of him and his effect on her. She lowered her head, so that she was only a few inches away from him, her black hair falling in front of her like a twisted demonic halo.
Ax opened his eyes only to find Celia attacking his neck with her lips. Hungry little vampire. He thought teasingly and let out a small groggy chuckle. Her movements halted the second she heard he had woken up. She lifted her head and looked at him, noticing the lazy smirk that graced his lips, immediately.
He was just too handsome. His rugged features were highlighted by his eyes, which seemed to be glowing every time the dark light of day hit them.
“Morning.” He mumbled as he stretched, his muscles flexing. Celia eyed him hungrily and for a fleeting moment, she couldn’t remember why the Hell she had decided to wake him up.
The effect he had on her was unbelievable.
Celia offered no response.
She fought with her self, not knowing if she should ask him about what was bothering her. Her plump lips parted, then closed before a word could escape, then parted again.
Something inside of her could not rest.
It refused to stay silent.
“Ax?” He laid a gentle kiss on the junction where her shoulder and neck met.
“Yes, little dove?” His voice was still husky from sleeping and Celia almost groaned at the sound. Apparently, listening to his voice was a pleasure all on its own. It had a hypnotic quality that could turn even the most logical person into a shadow of his former self.
“I think we need to talk.” His brows furrowed as he recalled the last days in his mind.
What have I done, now? He wondered and stared at her expectantly, still laying on his bed.
He quirked an eyebrow at her, querying her quietly. “I just want to clarify some things, don’t look at me like that.” Celia enunciated.
He shrugged and pressed another kiss on to her shoulder blade. “I just want to be sure we are on the same page. I’m not going to be a warm body, I’ve had enough of that.”
“You’ve never been a warm body, just an idiot who thinks she was.” He articulated with an amused glint in his eyes while Celia glared at him, her hazel eyes daring him to say more.
“Then what am I, Ax?” The sentence was being recycled. She had asked him the exact same thing the night they had reconnected but something inside her hadn’t been fully satisfied with that answer. She wanted more.
“The bane of my existence.” He said seriously.
“Alexander.” She warned.
“I’m emotionally inarticulate.” He proclaimed. “I can’t answer that.”
“Try.” His dark blue eyes swept over his room while he tried to win some extra time to think, not wanting to say something wrong and upset her. He had been too long without her as it was.
And if there is one thing that applies to all drug addicts, no matter what their drug of choice is, is that after a while they can’t function properly without the said drug.
He looked at the bare white walls with a sense of distaste, not knowing even at that moment why he chose not to make his house feel like home. Perhaps, there was a part of him that believed that he would somehow find himself in a cell again. Why would he even bother trying if it was all for nothing?
His bed was the only thing that broke that asylum white theme he had going on. The black Egyptian sheets hugged the sides of the bed and crumpled deliciously, leaving evidence of the fact that they had been used, thoroughly.
Ax didn’t know why he had brought so many packets of those damned things, but he was glad he had. It felt extraordinarily calming to see her on those sheets for some peculiar reason.
“To be completely honest, little dove, I don’t know. My head doesn’t work when you’re around.” He offered her a small smile before continuing. “You’re mine, there is no doubt in that but we don’t function like normal people.” Stalking someone wasn’t typical human behaviour, he certainly hadn’t attempted that before. What was it about her that drove him to such extremes?
“Then how do we function?” Her curiosity got the best of her.
She was like Eve, curious, seeking knowledge as if it were oxygen. Her being longed to be filled with information, knowledge anything she could get her hands on and one day that could destroy her.
“We are like two magnets. Every cosmic and human force is trying to keep us apart but we find our way back to each other.” He laughed and the rich sound echoed through the room. “At least, I make you find your way back to me. I realize that this isn’t the kind of relationship you dreamt about as a little girl, we both know that yet somehow, here we are. Together.” He had laid his heart out to her, as much as he could without killing himself, both figuratively and literally and Celia couldn’t be more grateful.
“By human force, you mean yourself, right?” He didn’t even bother to reply.
Her heart ached. Making sarcastic comments was the only way for her not to recognise what she felt for what it was. It was a self-activated defence mechanism, it couldn’t be helped.
“I’m sorry if I come out as too aggressive or too egotistical, but it’s the truth. I want you. I wanted you from the moment you almost got killed due to not paying attention.” His infamous smirk somehow transformed into a soft smile and Celia could not even breathe.
It was cliché and idiotic but it was the truth. She wasn’t even aware that the man could force himself to do anything besides scowl and smirk.
And to think she didn’t believe in miracles.
“I have a question.”
“Of course you do” He told her with a smile. “I never expected anything less from you.”
“If you did, indeed, follow me that night then you must have spent the whole time outside the restaurant.”
“That’s not a question. It’s a statement, does Nathan teach you nothing?” He rolled his eyes, still teasing her. “But yes, I did. I can assure you it was not pleasant. What were you fucking thinking?” Hinting at her little act of rebellion.
I wasn’t. Her mind replied but of course, she would never admit that to him.
“If only I’d seen the fucker’s face, he’d be six feet under by now.” He claimed but sit was clear that the threat was not empty.
“It was a friendly kiss.” She confessed. Celia would never tell him, however, how revulsion had been the only emotion she had been feeling at that moment or how she longed to escape his presence more than she longed to breathe.
“There was nothing friendly about the way that boy was staring at you.” He informed her. His good mood had been stripped away and he had managed to close himself off again.
“But you didn’t see his face.”
“I don’t have to see his face, little dove. I’ve seen you, I know a man’s natural reaction to you, you minx.” A frown was beginning to form on his temple and Celia didn’t even think before placing her full lips on top of it.
“Don’t frown.” She commanded as her lips detached from his temple. “Your age is starting to show.” She teased him.
“Oh, really?” He questioned as he positioned himself on top of her, managing to cover her completely.
“Yeah.” She frowned and sighed mockingly, secretly thrilled that they were being so playful with each other. “I’m going to have to look for someone younger, and it is such a shame because I’ve just started getting used to you, old man.” The minx pouted and Ax felt himself growing hard, his mind running with endless possibilities of what those lips could do for him. To him.
“Never.” He played along with the curvy woman, feeling her soft skin melt into his. “No one younger, the poor fucker wouldn’t know what to do with you and it’d be a damn shame to lose you now, just when I was getting used to sleeping next to you.” His baritone voice might have sounded playful but the words he had spoken, informed her of his seriousness.
He was damaged, same as her and maybe that’s why they found each other.
Two halves make one whole but is that whole still broken? She wondered silently.
“You didn’t do that before?” She couldn’t resist asking, although it was evident. How could he lie next to someone knowing that he could panic like that? Ax swallowed slowly and it felt like a lump had found residence in his throat, just above his Adam’s apple.
“No.” He replied. “I haven’t slept next to anyone since I was eleven.” He confessed looking a tab uncomfortable at the topic.
“So I was the first one?” He nodded. “Why?”
He shrugged. He hasn’t lied when he had told her that he was emotionally inarticulate. He had never been good at expressing his feelings or his thoughts for that matter. He had been a quiet kid with only a couple of friends that never shared anything about his personal life, except with Mick. Mick had always been an exception, to every rule.
Celia was asking something impossible for him, to open up. He already had overstepped boundaries he had worked so hard to place when he confessed, in his own way, what she meant to him. Why couldn’t that have satisfied her appetite for knowledge?
“I get triggered easily, as you saw.” He admitted, his voice nothing but a whisper. “I have no idea why I didn’t do anything to you last night or this morning when you tried to wake me. I truly don’t know, maybe my subconscious realized it was you.” He shrugged, not knowing what else there was to say. “If it offers any comfort, I don’t think it will happen again.” His eyes were locked on hers, trying to rely on a message, not even he understood. “I won’t hurt you again.” He added quietly, reminding her of Enzo when she had caught him stealing her cookies one night. She smiled fondly at the memory and wondered if Enzo even remembered it, now that he had grown up. God, did he even remember her?
It was apparent that Ax was not only referring to harming her physically.
“I think we need a bath.” He suggested after laying next to her for a couple of hours, letting her delicate fingers play with his inky hair and the rest of his body for that matter.
“Hmm.” Celia agreed but made no move to stand up. Instead, she arched her back and pressed her lower half into him, tempting him to stay in bed for a few more hours.
It was an uneven fight but eventually his common sense, or well, whatever was left of it, had won.
Let’s just say, It wasn’t a victory worth celebrating.
“Celia, get up. Now.” He commanded in a tone that made perfectly clear that there was no room for arguments.
With a huff she stood up, taking the sheet with her in an effort to hide her naked body from his prying eyes. “You know I’ve seen everything you’re trying to hide, right? Multiple times.” She paid no attention to him as she sought after the dress she had been wearing the previous night when she had come to find him. Soon her eyes fell on a pile of clothes and found the dress, however, the moment she lifted it she observed that it had been ruined.
“You tore my dress” She informed him. “I have nothing to wear.” She told him incredulously but didn’t seem too bothered by the fact and neither was the mechanic who offered her a smile laced with dirty thoughts.
That’s alright, he thought mischievously. “I’ll give you a shirt.” He offered.
“Underwear? Somehow, I don’t think we’re the same size.”
“I’d be rather concerned if we were but anyway, it doesn’t matter. You won’t be needing those.” The huskiness of his voice caused a pleasurable feeling to travel all over her body.
She gave him a mock curtsy. “If my lord commands it, then I shall obey.”
“He does.” Ax stood up too but covered himself with no sheet. He stalked towards her with determined steps, closing the gap between them in seconds.
The mechanic threw her over his shoulder, the sheet pooling at his feet, and took her to the bathroom. The young woman found herself blushing as she saw their reflexions on the tall Victorian-styled mirror.
Ax reached the bathtub, which was located in the centre of the room, in the opposite side of where the shower was and turned the faucet so that steaming, hot water poured out of it, filling the bathtub in a couple of minutes.
While their bath was getting ready, Celia took the time to observe every little corner of the bathroom. The theme of his bedroom seemed to be applicable even in that room. White and impersonal in all its glory.
She was no psychology major but she sensed a pattern. What was it with that brutish man and his desire to keep himself detached from everything that could be characterized as personal? What was he so afraid of?
As soon as the tub was ready Ax went in first, leaving Celia to stare at the work of art he got to call a body, as he descended into the warm water. She felt a wave of excitement pass through her as his muscles flexed and his tattoos seemed to be dancing on his skin.
She didn’t want to stand like an idiot with nothing to do. She wished she had a cigarette, even though she had decided to quit them, simply to have something to focus on.
“Aren’t you joining me?” He prompted and she immediately strolled towards him, thankful for his input. He seemed to be getting to know her quirks, how she always felt out of place and needed guidance while being in the company of many people. He felt how uncomfortable it made her and he wanted nothing more than to relieve her of her burden.
With careful movements, she was known for her ability to stumble over thin air, after all, she stepped into the tub in, positioning her self in front of him. Almost instantly, Ax’s herculean arms wrapped around her small waist, dragging her closer against him.
He released his hold only to reach for some shampoo but Celia had no intention of moving.
His calloused hands found their way into her hair, softly massaging his sandalwood scented shampoo, causing the curvy female to arch her back against him, purring like a cat. His fingers moved with skill and she briefly wondered if he had made the same movements for other women too, but it wasn’t a thought that kept her mind busy for a long time.
She moaned softly at the feeling of his hands on her. Ax smirked to himself, enjoying the effect he had on her. He loved how her small body fit against him, it almost felt like she had been molded specially for him.
Who knows? Perhaps, she had.
He succinctly thought about a part of Plato’s Symposium he had read recently. He wasn’t all that interested in philosophers and the past in general, to be honest, but talking with Celia had created a spark of curiosity deep within him and so one day he walked to Mrs. Doyle’s bookshop and bought a few of his works, wanting to see what had his little dove so enchanted. The store owner had given him a sly almost secretive smile like she knew something he was being ignorant of but he paid no attention even if he had found the action extremely strange. It was like she had known the motive behind his actions.
“You know I have only one other client that has bought these.” She had mentioned slyly.
“Oh?” Ax had given her an innocent look, well as much of an innocent look as he could muster.
“Yes. A really pretty girl, actually.” She told him. “Don’t you just love coincidences?” Mrs. Doyle didn’t believe in coincidences.
He had smiled at her, offering her a wolfish grin before walking away from the store with his books in hand.
Well, in that part of The Symposium it mentioned that according to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.
That particular part had stuck with Ax. It was laughable if you thought about it biologically but theoretically and philosophically speaking, finding the person that had been created specifically for you made life a little more bearable. It helped some people sleep at night, him included.
It gave you a purpose.
It made the future look a lot less bleak.
All in all, it gave you hope.
His hands stopped working on her soft hair, focusing on her body, instead. His digits ran around her body, caressing every curve. From the sharp collarbones to the soft skin of her waist, he ignited small fires, taking pleasure from the fact that she was whimpering against him in seconds. Ax knew exactly what buttons to push to find his way under her skin and of course, he abused that privilege. He couldn’t wait to be inside of her and feast on her body but she had to earn her pleasure first.
It was cruel.
It was intoxicating.
He was intoxicating.
He was a drug she could never resist, no matter what happened. She would always give in to him and that frightened her more than it is humanly possible.
Passion was like that.
All consuming, powerful.
Wasn’t it terrible that his phone interrupted that extraordinary moment?
‘Paint it black’ echoed through the bathroom, assaulting their senses. Ax made no move to grab his phone, focusing on Celia instead, letting the caller realize that he wasn’t interested in anything he had to say.
But the caller didn’t care. He, whoever he was, was persistent. He kept on calling until Ax had grown sick of listening to Mick Jagger sing about painting everything black and his love leaving him. He stood up and removed himself from the tub, searching for his phone and leaving Celia behind.
Celia’s hazel eyes closed on their own accord and her back arched as she felt the hot water caressing her naked form. Up until that second, she hadn’t realized how much she had needed the comfort it offered.
“I’ll be there in a few minutes.” He told the caller softly. “I know, mom, I know. Bye.” She heard him say, his voice disoriented.
It took her less than a second to stand up and cover herself with a small white towel. As Ax re-entered the room he gave her a brief nod and left once more. Celia followed him not understanding his sudden mood swing.
She saw him putting on a pair of black jeans and a black long sleeved t-shirt, much like the one he had been wearing the day they had met. His movements were mechanical and to be honest that scared her.
“What’s wrong?” She found the courage to ask as he was lacing his boots and tucking the laces in each boot, a habit he had developed over the years.
Truly, she felt out of place, like a ghost that did not know how to act. She had to leave, to get out of that house and get some fresh air, she couldn’t handle all those mixed feelings he offered her so graciously.
But she was not going to abandon him when he was acting like that.
She had done that in the past, and just look where that got her.
“Ax?” His fingers stopped fumbling with the laces and his head fell forward, bowing, in the same manner, Lucas’ head had when Mr. Russ had yelled at him.
But there was a key difference between the two: Lucas’ face was not a portrait of anguish and sorrow.
He didn’t look like a man whose world had fallen apart in just a few seconds.
“What is it?” She stepped towards him carefully, her feet making no sound as they touched the cold marble flooring. She neared his form like she would have done with any traumatised wild animal, with any Wolf.
Steadily and carefully, trying her hardest not to frighten the poor beast.
After she reached him, she sat down in front of him, next to the bed. Her hands were placed on either side of his stubbled cheeks, soothing him. “Please say something.” She pleaded.
His dark eyes held hers without saying anything.
Inside his mind, he didn’t need to speak a word, the truth could be seen in his eyes.
He shook his head, mumbling incoherent nothings to himself.
It looked like it hurt him to even speak. “Eros.” He whispered, looking dazed, not truly believing what he had heard.
“What happened to Eros?” She inquired making her voice softer, gentler.
“Eros is at the hospital.” He said and Celia sucked in a breath. “He was in a car accident.”