71 Challenge

When I try to pull back, Thane's grip tightens but remains soft. A chair slides across the floor, making a loud noise as Cruz stands up and slams his hands down on the table. Cruz glares at Thane and says "You need to be evaluated. I don't think it's safe for Valerie to remain so close to you."

Thane's entire body radiates hostile energy as Cruz turns to Titus and says "They both should be evaluated but Thane is obviously a threat!" I reach up and grab Thane's hand before pulling it away from my face.

I can tell he doesn't want to let go but he still does. I turn to see Titus frowning at Cruz before sighing and saying "They've both gone through a lot but... As of right now, I don't see any reason to keep the two away from each other."

Titus turns to us and says "I don't have the medical staff here to evaluate you two but if something feels... off, come find me and I will do everything I can to help you two." Cruz goes to say something else but Titus quickly cuts him off by saying "Anything else can be discussed later. Let's enjoy our first meal together since they've come back."

Cruz grits his teeth and aggressively pushes away from the table before storming off. We all remain at the table with an awkward air hanging around us. Conner suddenly smiles and says "Do you guys want dessert? I made a cake! It's kinda lumpy but it still tastes pretty good."

I give Conner a small smile and keep my leg against Thane's. After a few minutes, I finally start to feel him relaxing. Was Thane really a threat? Images of him covered in blood, ripping beasts apart with this bare hands, and then feeding me with those very hands flash across my mind.

When my small plate of lumpy cake moves closer to me, I look over to see Thane pushing it to me with a questioning look. I give him a small smile and share my cake with CheeChee. What Conner said was true. It was lumpy but it did taste pretty good. I can't remember the last time I've had something sweet...

When I see CheeChee reaching for another piece, I notice that his little nails were black as well. I glance back to my own hands before going back to silently eating the cake. After everyone finished eating, we all go back to our rooms after cleaning up.

No one said a word about Thane and I still sharing a room but when I open the door to our old room, I notice everything is exactly the same. My bag even remains the same... CheeChee jumps off my shoulder and pounces onto the bed with a large smile.

I can feel Thane's heat from behind so without looking, I walk into the room and gently touch my bag with all my old things. When I open it up, I see all my things. CheeChee grabs a piece of candy as I turn and find Thane doing the same.

He pulls out a plain T-shirt and lifts it to his nose. He takes a deep breath before clenching his fist on the shirt. I see his jaw tighten before he tosses the shirt down and starts going through the other things in the bag.

He seems to be searching for something... I go to turn away but his actions were becoming... frantic. What was he looking for? I turn and walk over to him as I ask "What's wrong?" He doesn't turn to look at me.

He grabs the whole bag and flips it upside down! Dumping the whole thing out on his bed. I reach out to grab his arm as he suddenly comes to a stop. He leans over and picks up a folded piece of paper.

I frown at the paper before looking back to him and asking "What is it?" He slowly looks over to me before looking back to the paper and unfolding it. It was a picture! He opens it and smooths out the badly crumbled picture before showing it to me.

My mouth slightly opens when I see the old but familiar picture. It was of me and my cousin! I think this was our first day of high school... How did he... I slowly look up to him to see him watching me closely.

Our eyes lock as I silently question him and why he has the picture. When he doesn't say anything, I look back to the picture and try to take it but he quickly pulls it out of reach. I look back up to him with a frown to see him still watching me closely but this time I was leaning in closer.

My heart skips a beat as I realize just how close the two of us were. I try to step back but he quickly follows my movements and cuts me off. The back of my legs hit the edge of his bed and I quickly lose my balance.

I fall back and land on my butt, right on the edge of his bed. I try to quickly stand back up but he steps up to me and straddles both of my legs. I glance up and glare at him but when he leans down, I quickly lean back, trying to put as much distance between us as possible.

He easily closes the distance and stops just a few inches away from my face. His dark eyes take in my entire face before softly saying "I found the picture in your brother's room. Your smile drew me in and I couldn't stop looking at it."

I feel myself slightly frowning as I think back to the time he visited my house. When he leans in even closer, my eyes snap back to his. "Do you not like me?" He asks slightly tilting his head in question. I swallow hard and slowly shake my head.

He leans in closer until our lips are nearly touching and I'm no longer able to breathe. "Without you little bird, I'm nothing more than a monster..." His lips lightly crash into mine before he quickly breaks the kiss.

I had not realized it but... I was now completely leaned back on his bed as he leans over me on his hands and knees. His breathing is rough as he drops his head down on my chest. I finally remember to breathe as I blink up at the ceiling with confusion.

Why did he stop? Wait... that's not what I should be asking!? I blink again, forcing my head to clear as I glance back to his head on my chest. He was calming himself... by listening to my heartbeat. I slowly lift my arms up and wrap them around him.

I feel him relax as he becomes heavier. He leans to the side so that he doesn't crush me but he keeps his head on my chest, listening to my heartbeat as he wraps his arms around me. This isn't the first time we've slept like this, especially when things became rough or when we felt cold.

It technically never got cold there but we would suddenly grow cold... like we were freezing from the inside out. Holding each other like this soothed whatever was in us... it made us more human.

Next chapter