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I woke up with a gentle squeeze on my shoulder. I let out a rough groan as I felt a little discomfort on the back of my neck. I massaged the painful part gently, then I gazed up at the window. The sky was still dusky. We were already at the mansion’s gate.
"We're... We're, uh… home?” I asked.
I must’ve fallen asleep, but my head wasn’t pounding anymore. I frowned hard, my eyes were still a bit stuffy. I shifted my head to Brandon’s side. He was watching me. I wasn't dreaming after all. I suddenly had a lot of questions to him, but I had no energy how to begin.
"About thirty minutes ago," he responded, hoarsely.
I looked away quickly, swallowing my dry throat. "Why didn’t you wake me?”
“You looked pretty tired,” he said.
“Oh, so should we—should we get inside now?"
"Yes, but you and I are still going to talk." He came down first. I wasn't waiting for him to open the door so I stepped out of the car myself.
Brandon continued to walk along the dimmed entryway. The only shred of light we had was coming from the ceiling’s warm lights. The only sound I could hear was the thuds of my footsteps. Brandon stopped in the middle of the stairway. I jerked as he looked down at my sneakers.
“You are going to wake up everyone in here,” he whispered, then he looked at me.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll take it off.”
“Hey, I didn’t tell you
I bit my lower lip, then I paused for a second to take off the shoes.
Brandon sighed, “You didn’t have to take it off.”
I faked a smile and then I picked up my shoes. I gritted my teeth as my bare feet touched the ice cold floor.
His home was seriously vast; it almost took us forever before reaching his room. He went straight to his bedroom, and then he took his jacket off, leaving only a black body-hugging shirt. I couldn’t help but admire his physique. He was a bit more muscular than the last time I saw him. Brandon sat on the edge of his bed.
"Why are you standing there? Sit," he looked up at me, then tapped the empty space beside him. He wants me to sit next to him?
I unhurriedly stepped forward, a little bit hesitant, Brandon heaved a sigh, he reached my hand, and he pulled me to him. I couldn’t say anything.
"Well, are you just going to sit there?” he asked. “Talk.”
"I—um, I didn't expect this,” I drawled. “I wanted to ask you about a lot of things. I just realized I'm still unprepared—how did you come out?"
He frowned hard, “Oliver helped me. I wasn’t supposed to come out until…” he stopped.
"What’s with you and Cassius?" he questioned.
"Oh, Cassius? He was only there because Oliver's fiancée came.” I tried to avoid his eyes. It was partially a lie. I was attracted to his cousin and the biggest deal was he was there for me when I felt so alone. And there was some unfathomable tension going on between us.
"I know when someone is lying to me, Alayna,” he whispered. "Do you like him?"
"I—I don’t, maybe…” I gritted my teeth, “You were ignoring me. I thought you don’t want me near, you anymore.”
He smirked smugly, “Hmm, then it was my fucking fault.”
“It's not serious. Look, there's still a lot of things I don't understand about you. You lifted me up and then you brought me down at the same time. I am not ready for that kind of relationship. Cassius, on the other hand, was available—” I caught my mouth immediately. God, why did I choose those words? “I mean, he was there to dance with me, to talk to me and to have fun with me. It is something I know that you don't do.”
"Ah, and what else are the things I cannot do? Touch you? Go out to the club with you?” he shook his head, there was a pinch of disappointment in his eyes, “And to recapitulate it all... You want him, am I correct?”
"No. It’s not like that,” I insisted painfully. "
Brandon reached out a strand of my hair, then he tucked it underneath my ear. I jolted, his fingers just transferred a high voltage of electricity all over my senses. “You told Ollie that you didn't want to see me. Why?” he asked.
“I just realized I don't really belong in your world.”
"No. You don't.” he matter-of-factly agreed. He pulled his hand away, then clutched the sheet of his bed. "My world is dark. Cassius is right, you deserve better. You deserved someone like him. It’s not a surprise that you like him."
"I like you more. I like you since the first time I saw you. You are strange, enigmatic and you are far from being normal. Everything about you is a mystery. I can't help it. I don't know why or how? I just like you the way you are.”
He laughed quietly, “I love the food you're cooking for me every day.”
I chuckled, “Then, I'm glad you are eating it.”