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There’s a tension in the air almost thick enough to touch with your bare hands. It’s been hanging over us like a dense cloud for the whole evening, even though the Parkers’ have done their best to pretend as if nothing’s wrong. The clock just struck twelve AM, and everyone’s saying goodnight at the moment. It’s been a long and hectic day, and to be honest, I’m exhausted; both mentally and physically. Thanksgiving is thankfully officially over.
A pair of slender arms embrace me in a gentle hug, and I smile at Eleanor.
“Goodnight, dear.” She gives me a warm smile, and despite the strained tension, I can tell it’s genuine.
“Goodnight”, I reply back with a hint of a smile shadowing my lips.
It’s dead silent as Eleanor and James leaves the living room, and seeing as I’m left with Noah and his brother, who aren’t on the best terms at the moment, I take that as my cue to leave as well.
“Well, I’m exhausted”, I sigh. “Night.”
I didn’t expect anyone to stop me from hurrying up the steps to Noah’s bedroom, so when his brother suddenly appears in front of my path, I stop abruptly and look up at him. A warm smile is plastered on his lips and before I have time to react, he leans in and place his arm around my shoulder in a half-hearted, yet very quick, hug. I’m relieved that it was only that; a very quick, not too intimate embrace, because Noah is already burning daggers in the back of his older brothers head.
Although the hug barely lasted for three seconds, it was enough for me to make out the words that Wesley discreetly whispered in my ear in order to not alert Noah.
“Kitchen. Be there in 10, it’s important.”
As we pulled back, he said goodnight and disappeared before I had the chance to.
I meet Noah’s intense gaze, which makes me extremely uncomfortable, and quickly turn around and walk up the stairs. I can hear him following behind me, but I don’t bother to acknowledge his presence. Instead, I get all my necessary stuff from his room and head towards the bathroom.
His reflection appears in the mirror behind me a few minutes after I’m done brushing my teeth, and I’m just about to finish braiding my hair when he speaks up.
“I like you like this”, he says in a low voice, his eyes trailing down my body.
“Huh?” I ask as I gaze down at the pajamas I quickly changed into before I unlocked the door.
“Natural. Comfy. Beautiful”, he murmurs as he slowly walks up behind me and put his hand on my shoulders, giving them a soft squeeze.
“You’re a natural beauty”, he whispers in my ear, and I watch his reflection in the mirror as he leans his head down and gives my shoulder a gentle kiss.
I pull back. “I forgot my phone downstairs. I’ll be back in a sec.”
Noah furrows his eyebrows in confusion for a bit, but I only flash him a weak smile before I turn around and start walking down the stairs. I stop for a second to make sure that Noah isn’t following me, and when I hear the tap running in the bathroom upstairs, I breathe a sigh of relief and make my way into the kitchen. Wesley is already there, leaned against the kitchen counter, but it takes me a moment to spot him due to the darkness. The only source of light is coming from the lamp posts outside on the street.
“That took you long enough”, Wesley says as he straightens himself up.
I simply nod as I’m anxious to why he asked me to come here.
“Is he upstairs?”
I nod again. “Yes.”
“Wh-” I start to speak, intending to ask why I’m here, but he cuts me off in a hushed tone.
“Shh, we don’t have long. He can’t find us.”
Wesley’s eyes make a quick double-take of my appearance.
“Has he hurt you?” he asks, and my heart immediately skips a beat.
“W-what?” I blurt out as I feel the panic creep up my throat.
“Has he?” Wesley’s eyes shows genuine concern, and he continues before I figure out what to reply. “It’s alright, you can trust me.”
“I-I…” My brain is working too fast, and I can’t seem to grasp onto a single logical thought or word. Before I know it, I open my mouth and speak before I think.
Wesley’s eyes immediately drop down, and he clenches his fist as if he’s trying to control the emotions my answer caused him to feel.
“Damn it”, I hear him mumble under his breath before he takes a deep breath and meets my gaze with dead serious eyes.
“You have to leave him.”
“I can’t”, I whisper, “I don’t know how.”
Before Wesley has time to reply, we hear footsteps in the staircase, and I start to panic and immediately turn around to run back upstairs before Noah catches us.
Wesley grabs ahold onto my arms and gives me a look of pity and distress. “Wait, there’s one more thing.”
There’s a short pause before he continues.
“Noah isn’t well, and it seems like he’s off his medication. Last time this happened, he nearly killed someone.”
His words cause my world to spin, and by now, we can hear Noah making his way downstairs.
“This time he did”, I whisper as Wesley turns around to disappear before we’re caught red-handed. His body freezes at my words for barely a second before he’s out of my sight, and I’m left alone in the kitchen for a brief second before I feel a presence behind me.