Chapter 4 : Faith and Misery
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“You can borrow some money, you know.” You glared up at Paige from your half-packed box. “Or I could try talking to John. We could even go back to doing it the way we used to!” Again, you directed a vile look up at her without lifting your face.
“Packing tape, please.” You said evasively. She tossed it to you, resuming her questioning.
“Well, what are you going to do then?”
“I don’t know. I’ll figure it out. Find something temporary in the mean time.” Irritation dripped from your tone as you got to your feet.
“You can at least stay with me.” She added later, putting a bag of Jaffa Cakes into her coat pocket and taking another sip of tea.
“Paige, relax. I’m fine. Everything is going to be fine. I’ll find something in the interim and –“ You could read the expression on her face as she tried not too look into the corners of your new studio flat.
“Oh, Christ, Paige! It’s not that bad!”
Not that bad, Alexis? Not that bad? The window seemed to have been nailed shut, not an overwhelming problem were it not for whatever was decomposing behind the stove. Your furniture filled the room. You’d taken some of it to storage in a false hope that you wouldn’t be selling it to make rent.
Okay. So it is that bad.
Closing your eyes, you imagined you were home in your own flat, hell, even in your childhood bedroom.
Today had not gone well by any means; a lot of interviews and a lot of closed doors. “Face it, the prospects are bleak.” You muttered falling, face first, into your pillows.
Now, if only there were a sound to block out the echo’s of scuttling in the walls, you mused, kicking your shoes to the floor with uniquely resounding ‘Thuds’.
“How’d the search go?”
You grunted in response. Paige hadn’t set foot in your flat since she’d helped you move in. Instead, she insisted that you come to her and so you did. Tonight, enjoying fresh take-out, you grumbled back at her intense questioning.
“Still nothing? You know, I could talk to ---“
“What about –“
The hair on the back of your neck rose.
“But he could ---“
Anger ignited in your eyes.
“Paige!” And the mirth bubbled over.
It took a lot to convince yourself that she wouldn’t recognize your defensiveness for what it was. Soren had occurred to you – yes, he’d been one of the first things to occur to you but it just wasn’t an option. No, not an option at all. Right, Alexis?
Besides, you rationed, he hadn’t come around for weeks
- Jesus would have told you. Unless he apparated? you posed. No, there would have been a report. He would have apparated into a room full of Muggles and terrified them… He’d never been great shakes at memory charms; there was no way he could have modified their memories. The prospect seemed to give you a sense of calm.
Get a grip, Alexis.
Beads of sweat pooled on your chest, running around the curve of your nipples and chasing one another toward your naval. Their pursuit was not impeded by your heaving breath. The muscles of your stomach, toned but just visible under a thin layer of soft flesh, pulsed under the strain of your gasps.
A pair of strong lips rested on your shoulder momentarily, moving gradually down your arm as he took your wrist and lifted it to reach his mouth.
Blearily, you attempted to open your eyes. The room was fuzzy and the ceiling more so as rough hands guided your waist back to the safety of the linens. He whispered sweetly into your ear as you abandoned your pursuit of vision and let yourself fall back into sleep.
You were squeezing your eyes shut again as anticipation racked your body. Deftly, bulky fingers slid over the buttons of your jeans, pulling them open and away from your taught torso. Wiggling slightly, they fell away, taking tiny white lace with them.
No sooner than you struggled to reopen your eyes, you snapped them closed again, rising to your tip toes, a strangled whimper escaping your lips.
“Shhhh…” Soren’s voice was heavy and thick in your ears. The feeling of his warm breath on your exposed throat was enough to send shivers tracing up and down your spine causing you to writhe again.
That man could torture you in the finest of ways, you mused, as you bit down on your lip.
His fingers traced your side, allowing the contours of your frame to dictate his movements.
As you lay in your half-asleep state, drunk on sensation, you rolled over, drawing the blankets tight around you to block the warm breeze that was rushing across you. Vaguely, you registered not having opened the window but ignored it, resting against the muscular body that lay beside you.
“You look just…well, like hell.” Paige laughed apologetically.
“Thanks, love.” Sarcasm dripped from your tone.
“I didn’t mean it like that! You just look exhausted. Have you been sleeping all right?” She asked ask she began folding her clothes neatly. In what was possibly one of the easiest ways to juxtapose your personalities, you shoved yours haphazardly into your laundry basket.
“Yes.” It occurred to you, almost immediately after you said it, that there was no reason to lie. “No.” you amended. “I’ve been having a lot of vivid fucking dreams lately.”
“Ohhh!! Dish!” Paige exclaimed, dropping the sweater she’d been so neatly folding. Red filled your face like a jar of maraschino cherries. “Oh, quit lying! Your dreams are always rated for Penthouse!”
Reluctantly, you began your tale, staring intently at the clothes tumbling in the dryer.
“Girl, I wish I had your problems.” She said laughingly. You grinned and literally dumped your wash into a dresser drawer.
“You know, it was strange – I swear it was like he was here.”
Paige ignored you. “Lex, when are you going to get something done about this window?
“Yeah. Do you think Jesus would fix it for 20 pounds? I’m not even sure we have a maintenance man here.” Your response was distracted – in retrospect, the previous weeks dreams were bothering you. At the time, it hadn’t occurred to you how real it felt.
You’re a freak, Alexis, you mused as you clicked the four locks behind Paige, throwing in a colloportus charm for good measure.
For the fourth time that week, you awoke, the salty remnants of your body’s unfulfilled desires soaking your skin. Tonight, you were fully awake and, instead of lying down, knowing you would only fall back into the dream -- Dream, Alexis. Dream. You told yourself. Dreams are definitely different from fantasies. You are not fantasizing about Soren.
Diligently, you waved your wand at the light switch and buried yourself in the want ads.
”Lexi?” a deep voice whispered from the balcony outside of your room.
“Shhh!” you hissed in return. Your mothers footsteps could still be heard in the hall. As they faded to silence, you rushed to the window and drew the shades open. Soren was waiting for you – a blanket under his left arm, a bottle of firewhiskey under his right.
He grinned mischievously at you as you clambered out of the window in muggle clothes.
Shaking your head to clear your mind, you attempted to return to the ads.
Again, your attention span lasted no more than a few moments before you were back in that night. You’d gone to a show and returned far too late and far too inebriated for any type of a graceful entrance, the pair of you ‘slept’ on the balcony.
The wind smelled sweetly of summer – a blend of fruits, flowers, and the open bottle of stolen wine beside you – drinking it in again, as though you were there. His fingers traced your damp skin, making concentric circles around the stiffening peaks, causing your breath to hasten.
Within moments of the memory, your own hand was snaking the trail past your navel, tucking fingers under an elastic waistband.
The classifieds feel to the floor as the arm that held them fell limply at your side and your spin arched. Your tongue tracing your own lips, your resolve changed. For the second time in recent months, you set your jaw and leapt to your feet – heading toward your shower. No, there’s no time for that, Alexis.
Frantically, you dropped your hair from its messy ponytail and begin dragging clothes from their pile in the dresser.
Two knocks. Then three. Still no answer at Soren’s window. Suddenly, feeling a bit sheepish, you drew your jacket tighter to your body. Admittedly, your attire wasn’t intended for cold balconies.
A light appeared in the room next to his but, almost as instantly as it had come, it faded.. The creak of an opening door and wand light spilled past the leaden glass.
“Ale—“ He was staring at you. It gave you a sense of personal satisfaction that he looked shocked as you dropped your hands to the side, revealing your now infamous little black dress.
Carefully and almost painfully slow, he drew you through the window. “It looks like you might have done that before.” He said casually.
“Yes, well, I learned from the best.” You replied, matching his tone at every syllable as you stumbled slightly.
Soren frowned. “You’re going to remember this in the morning, aren’t you?” He asked, holding you at arms length, still careful to steady you with a protective hand at your waist.
“Soren,” The tone was disapproving but still sweet and slightly mischievous. “You’ve seen me drunk.”
”Yeah, and I’ve seen you in that dress.”
Slowly, deliberately, he ran his fingers along your collar bone, seizing your raincoat as he encountered it and pulling it gently from your shoulders. You regarded him with a tiny smile when he locked your eyes. He’d managed to position your arms behind your back, hands still entangled in the coat sleeves, drawing himself mere centimeters from you. “Well, to be fair, I rarely recall seeing it on you”
“You're an ass…” your words were unintelligible through a long awaited moan of anticipation as you drank in his scent, immediately flooding your tightly closed eyes with images of him. A bead of sweat began to develop on your throat, pooling for a moment and then trickling down your chest. You could fee a slight tickling sensation as it slid between your breasts.
He was speaking but you could no longer hear his words – instead you found yourself enthralled by his touch.
He was tracing your shoulders, coming ever nearer to the thin cords holding your sheath to the lightly golden skin beneath it. As his nimble fingers found the tie, he buried his face in your neck, whispering against your jawbone.
“Promise me that you’re home, Lexi.” You moaned in response, but perhaps that had more to do with the vibrations he was sending through you.
”Lexi, promise me.” He said more seriously, catching a patch of your skin gently in his teeth. You whimpered again, half begging him to stop, half pleading with him to continue.
Determinately, he let go of the threads and drew away from you slightly, gently tugging on your protruding nipple.
“Promise me.” His tone was entirely serious as he kneaded gently between his thumb and forefinger. He smirked as you gasped for breath.
Silently, you made a note to hate him for the pleasure he took in torturing you.
Focusing energy, you started to speak, to assure him, to tell him that you were here, you weren’t leaving but only the first of the sounds escaped your lips, you in took breath sharply and your dress was on the floor as he pressed you to the wall.
Face it, the voice in your head whispered. You want this so bad, your vision is blurring.
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