Chapter 29: Secret Place
I watch Iris as she studies the catalogue of the place unable to decide what to have, biting her lower lip. I study her and can’t believe that the confused, timid girl before me is the same one that practically attacked a girl outside. Thinking about that I get joy in my heart. She acted like I do when it comes to her. Territorial and possessive. But maybe she was protecting the other girl trying to touch me. I don’t like being touched by anyone but her and this could have ended badly. That seems right. Why would she feel possessive of me?
“What are you having?” Iris asks.
“That one.” I point at a burger on the catalogue.
I like this place. It was the first place Runner took me to when he found me. I was in a bad place, I could barely talk like a human being. But he got through to me and didn’t stop taking care of me ever since. I still remember the day he also brought me here with my own bike. And that was first time I had felt like a human being after a long time. I just thought that I could return the favor to Iris. Human? You are the Hellhound, the voices inside my head shriek in laughter. I shut my eyes together tightly. Not now. Not with Iris here.
“Rage?” Iris asks softly and I know I look bad.
No, no, no. I moan trying to control the screams in my head. I grind my teeth to keep the cry from tearing out. I dig my fingers in my palms and I feel sweat run down my back. I see blood. Always blood, blood. Blood around me, drowning me. But never my blood. The blood of those coming close. Iris.
“Rage.” her voice is soothing.
The voices try one last time to dominate me, take control of me, show everyone the feral beast that I truly am. There’s a vise tightening my throat and I moan in agony. The Hellhound grips me and asks to show the world who I really am. I am not one to have a nice day out with a girl on the back of my bike. Fucking other people up is what I do. I open my eyes and I am lost in a red haze of fear and rage mixed explosively.
And then she touches me. I know it is her. It’s her soft yet firm touch on my arm and it’s enough for the Hellhound to disperse. The voices hush instantly and the red mist lifts. I focus and I breathe deeply. Iris is close to me, her face inches from mine, her hand still on me.
“It’s OK, Rage.” Iris smiles up to me “I got the burgers to go.”
I don’t know what to say. Here I am, in full blown psychotic break in the midst of other people, ruining her day out and she is smiling at me as if I am showing her a good time.
“I don’t like it so much here either.” she leans a bit closer “Too many people.”
I nod and head out with her close.
“Get on.” I ride the bike and beckon at her.
After a while we are riding up the mountain and I realize that without thinking I am taking her to the place I visit when my skin itches too much. There is a bench there, probably for people that go there to enjoy the view and not think of throwing themselves off the cliff. I could ask myself why I am taking Iris up there but deep down I know. She made my room a good place to be, dispels all demons with her presence. Maybe she can do the same there. Maybe I can be one of the fools that enjoy the fucking view for once.
“This is beautiful!” Iris exclaims as she gets off the bike.
I have seen the view a thousand times so I focus on her as she takes the place in. Her eyes light up and the world does with her. Her cheeks redden slightly and she inhales deeply. I start to see it: the whole town unravels below, the sea further ahead glistering, the trees surrounding the little opening. There are even goddamn birds chirping. I take the bag with our food and I sit on the bench. Iris joins me and sits on my left.
“This place is amazing. But...” Iris glances up.
She bites her lower lip and looks down. She hates it. I was a fool to believe that a girl would love to come here, in the middle of nowhere with a psycho. We should have stayed at the diner and then I should have taken her back. She is healed, back on her feet. She doesn’t need me and now that the first gratitude faded she can see through me. I run my fingers through my hair and I look over her shoulder.
“I mean...If you ever...” Iris’s little voice reaches me and I frown.
She takes in a deep breath and then looks straight into my eyes. I gape as I pin her and my chest draws deep breaths. I still can’t get over those fucking eyes of hers. They mean the world to me, the one thing that keeps my heart beating in my fucked-up life.
“What?” I urge her to speak freely.
“Well, next time you are taking me to the beach.” she blurts out.
What? She wants to do this again? In my wildest, most hidden dreams I wouldn’t dare call this a date but maybe I’d be wrong.
“You want to do this again?”
It is ridiculous how pathetic I sound right now but the girl has seen me carve my skin so pathetic is the best thing I have been before her.
“I...I do.” she nods “But if you don’t, it’s OK.”
Her face melts into a heartbroken expression as if she has already dreamed a day on the beach and now is scared I will reject her. Her teeth draw on her lower lip again and she looks at me agitated.
“I want to.” is all my clogged brain can offer.
But it seems that it is enough since Iris smiles widely and dives into her burger with delight. I follow her lead and for a while we just sit there, eating silently looking out at the calmness at our feet. And for the first time in my life, I feel normal. I am here with a person that wants to be in close proximity to me without being tied up, with a girl I fucking like and I am eating a freaking burger. And though I have never been normal in my life, I like it. After a while we are done and Iris picks everything and puts them in a trash can.
“Yeah?” I notice she has sat a bit closer.
“Is it OK to stay a little while longer?”
I nod and she gives me a soft smile.
“I like being alone with you.” she almost whispers.
Fuck, I am suddenly terrified. My whole body is on fire cause of her words. She doesn’t stop looking at me and I know I must say something. But I can’t. Talking is not my strong suit. I extend my arm and my hand goes past her neck, to the rubber that holds her hair together. I hear her gasp as I lean closer to free her hair and she closes her eyes for a moment. Her soft skin caresses my wrist and her silky hair pour through my fingers. Without even thinking that I may look like a creep, I pull one strand of hair, bring it to my nose and I inhale deeply. Fucking good! She uses some kind of coconut shampoo that is mixed with her scent, the one that haunts my nights and I suddenly feel dizzy.
Then, to my surprise, her hand comes to my face and her fingers tangle in my beard. I inhale sharply to get the monster in me under control and I bend my head down closing my eyes. Her touch is timid, shy yet explorative. Had it been anyone else so close to my face I would have seen it as a threat, an excuse to break his hand. But it’s Iris. My Iris. Her fingers travel on my cheekbones and they trail down to my lips waking every cell in my body, all demanding of me to feel more of her. When her fingers touch my lips, I lose it.
“Fuck!” I growl between tight teeth.
Her hand drops but I catch it and put it back on my face. I open my eyes and look into her big, doe-like eyes and I lean closer. What the fuck am I doing? Her eyes dart from mine to my lips several times and I know she thinks the same thing. I am lost in a haze, drowned in her scent, her touch, the feel of her hair, the perfect roundness of her lips.
With a trembling hand I cup her face. It fits perfectly, made just for me. I am afraid she’ll stir away but her body leans in, giving me permission, urging me, begging me. God, I want this. I drive my thumb over her lips and I am snared. They feel so soft, so plump, so irresistible.
“Rage.” her breath warms my face more than the sun does.
Fuck this. If I don’t kiss her now, I will die, my heart will simply stop beating. I pull her closer and brush my lips on hers not sure what I am doing. It is the first time I kiss a girl, for fuck’s sake! I am the terror of our enemies and people piss their pants when I look their way and I have never kissed a girl. And it is fucking amazing.
A warm feeling washes over me as I am shaken to the core by this kiss. The warmth from her lips travels down to my very soul and my body turns to her to take her in completely. Instincts kick in and I lean my head to have more access. A moan leaves her mouth and it resonates down to my loins, igniting me. Our lips move out of pure need, caressing and touching. Her lips mold against mine and she throws her arms around my neck pulling closer.
My fingers tighten around her hair and my hand moves up, through the leather jacket to feel more. I grab hold of her waist, pushing her closer till our thighs touch and her chest is against me. I don’t dare probe for a deeper kiss but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the need to claim more. I open my lips and take her lower lip in mine, sucking softly. Is this good?
“Oh.” she whimpers.
OK, this is good. I shift and I tighten my grip on her to keep her close, closer than anyone has ever been before. Too close, my fucked-up brain brings forth an image of Iris bloodied like when I found her. I am scared I will lose it, that I will hurt her if she gets nearer. Death, blood comes to all those that are close to me. I would rather die than see Iris hurt. The ecstasy her lips have brought to me turns sour and the Hellhound scratches the back of my brain.
I pull all stops and lean away so suddenly, Iris lets out an audible sigh. I want to hold her and tell her that she just kissed a freak and should be thanking her good luck that she survived but I don’t. She falls away from me, practically at the other side of the bench and she looks at her twined hands as if she is ready to cry and I feel cold, desolate.
“We should head back.” I dart up and she jolts.
“Okay.” she murmurs without looking at me.
I rev the bike to life and she climbs on. This time having her thighs spread to engulf my body makes not butterflies but the whole jungle roar upon impact. If I turn, she will be so close, I’ll be trapped between her legs and I could...NO! The Hellhound let Iris get away with a kiss. I won’t risk more.
“Ready?” I cough.
“Ready.” her voice is shaky.
Well, fuck me bloody.