I Am No Prey by Amal Clare May 25, 2021

28-Burdens

Back at the room, Easton was still knocked out cold, and didn't stir when I checked on him. Exhausted, I went back to the master bedroom-the only other bedroom-and waited for Daniel to finish up with the bathroom. While I waited, I looked over the room. It was furnished nicely, and the colors-white and beige-gave the room a cozy feeling. There was a balcony and I sat on the bed, looking out at the city outside. I reached down and undid the straps of the heels before tossing them away. The wig went next. My hair was matted to my hair with sweat from being under the wig a better portion of the night. I groaned and opened the bun before fluffing my hair and finger combing it. When I heard the bathroom door finally open, I let out a sigh of relief. 

I stood up and turned around, still combing my hair. "Took you long-"

I forgot whatever else I was going to say, because holy flying dragons, he was shirtless. I remembered how I would always roll my eyes whenever I read a scene in a book where the protagonist saw a hot guy shirtless, and was rendered speechless. But right now I was no better. Even though I knew he was watching me, and I was doing wonders to his ego right now, my gaze went down, over his broad shoulders, his chiseled chest to his defined abdomen, the V of his hips, and the fine dusting of hair that started below his navel and disappeared into the waistband of his sweatpants. Internal conflicts or no, he wasn't bad to look at. He was far, far from bad to look at. 

"I'm scared for my virtue," he said, breaking the spell. "You're looking at me like you want to eat me."

I rolled my eyes and managed to drag my eyes up from his chest to his face, his smirking face. 

"Don't play hypocrite, you look at me like that too." I paused. "And I didn't realize you had any virtue." 

He laughed, Adam's apple bobbing. "Damn, remind me to never interrupt you from checking me out."

I was totally checking him out. But I wasn't going to admit it. "I was not checking you out." 

He shrugged those broad shoulders and crossed his arm over his chest. I swallowed thickly. This was going to be a long night. 

"I thought you were waiting for the bathroom? Although you could've always gone in, the door wasn't locked."

I ignored him and walked past him to the bathroom, slamming the door and locking it. 

"Someone's panties in a twist?" he called. 

I heard him move across the room and settle on the bed before I brushed my teeth. Oh God. The bed. The one bed. I was not taking the couch, never. He was going to, or I'd push him on the floor. 

I washed the makeup from my face thoroughly, until it was my face staring back at me in the mirror. Then I tried to take the contacts off, after the sixth attempt it finally worked. Only after I wrestled my hair into a braid did I realize that I had nothing to wear to sleep. I pulled open the door to find Daniel on the bed, a knowing grin on his face. 

"I need clothes."

He raised a brow. "It's not like you're naked. Though that's definitely a shame, but not everyone's wishes can come true."

"I need clothes to sleep in," I clarified. 

"You know all the shops are closed."

I narrowed my eyes. He planned for this, the cocky, insufferable imp. "I can't sleep in this." I waved a hand over the tight dress. 

"Good thing then you're wearing something underneath," he answered, not missing a beat. 

When I met his stare this time, there was a challenge to his eyes, as if he were asking me scared,  Cerise?

I wasn't falling for that and I glared at him harder. "I am not sleeping in my underthings." Especially because I hated sleeping with a bra on. 

"Damn. And why not?" 

A smile tugged at his lips and he clearly was trying very hard to repress it. I was seconds away from smothering him with a pillow. 

"Don't want to." 

"You can always sleep in nothing. It is hot tonight."

"I'm not going to do that either. Okay then, if you clearly forgot to get me clothes to sleep in, but somehow managed to get yourself sweatpants, you leave me with no choice." 

I reached for the heels and started putting them on, then I reached for the wig. 

"What are you doing?" 

"Going shopping."

"All the stores are closed."

"I know."

"Your only option is to break in."

"I know." 

"You could get caught."

"I know."

"Something seriously bad could happen."

"I know."

He made a noise in the back of his throat that was a mix of frustration and defeat. "Fine."

I did a little happy dance in my head. Even though the thought of being in bed with him in only my underthings or nothing at all made me curl my toes and my stomach tighten, another part of me, my competitive side, was ecstatic to have won this round. 

"There's my shirt. It's on the towel rack in the bathroom."

Not a total win then, but I'd take it. Like a five year old, I stuck my tongue out at him and went back to the bathroom. Like he said, there was a shirt, along with the jacket he had been wearing on the towel rack. Unzipping the dress, I took it off, hung it on the towel rack, unclasped my bra, and just because I knew it would do all kinds of things to him in the morning, I placed it right over his jacket. 

The sleeves of the shirt were long, hanging at least six inches past my fingertips and I had to roll them three times. The hem reached a couple inches above my knees, a couple inches too many, and when I stepped out, I tugged on it, pulling it down. 

Daniel whistled, and I glared at him. "I'm not wearing my underthings to bed, Daniel, I'm not wearing nothing to bed, Daniel," he whined, trying to mimic me. "Now it's going to be 'ignore how hot I look in your shirt, Daniel' too?" 

"Yes," I answered, pulling back the sheets and sliding in the bed. 

Immediately I wanted to fall asleep, because it was so soft and comfortable. Daniel, however, really didn't seem tired, or sleepy, at all. His gaze slid down, to my chest, and I refrained from pulling the covers higher, to my shoulder. When he looked back at me, his pupils were dilated, blown wide enough that he almost looked intoxicated. 

"So you do normally go to bed in nothing," he murmured, his voice huskier than before. 

"I do wear my underwear you pervert." 

I felt his hand settle on my leg and slide up, slowly. I sucked in a gasp and batted his hands away. I wanted to sleep, we were going to Venice in the morning and if his very...talented hands went any further, none of us were going to get any sleep that night. 

"Oh also, go sleep on the couch, Daniel." 

"Never."

"Daniel-"

"I assure you, I am very excellent in bed."

"And that's why you need to be on the couch, away from the bed."

"I can behave, tonight. I promise." 

He turned the lights off and settled back on the bed, wrapping an arm around my waist and tugging my closer, until our bodies were flush together, and tangled my legs with his. 

"Daniel-"

"Shhh. Go to sleep," he said, tucking my head under his chest. 

"I thought today was hot."

"Hmm, you have a point." 

His arm left my waist and he untangled his legs from mine. A moment later I heard a dull thud as something landed on the floor then another, softer thud. My eyes went as wide as saucers, and when he wrapped his arms around me and tangled our legs together again, they went even wider. 

"What the hell are you doing?" I whispered. 

"Trying to go to sleep." 

"And why are you naked!?" 

"It's hot." 

"That is no reason. Do you see me stripping?" I tried not to yell. 

"I wouldn't stop you. Actually, I'd encourage you, probably help you even." 

I smacked his arm. "Couch. Now." 

He tightened his hold on me and pushed my leg up to his hip. My very naked leg over his very naked hip. 

"No," he growled. 

I tried lowering my leg, but he opened his eyes and glared at me. Even in the dark, I knew he could see me perfectly. Mainly because his pupils were slits now. With his eyes like that and the scales on his face, he looked more predator, more reptilian than man. I shivered and left my leg where it was. He gave me a purely predatory smile and closed his eyes again. 

For a moment I just stayed there, paralyzed in my spot. Again, internal conflicts or no, I was acutely aware of all the places he was pressed against me. Which was everywhere. 

"Keep on staring at me and we're not going to be sleeping at all and Easton will probably wake up with the amount of noise we're going to be making," he warned without opening his eyes. 

I let out a huff and closed my eyes, trying to catch sleep. His hands started moving up and down my back, in movements meant to make me relax instead of arouse. Sleep came faster than I expected. 

*******

I woke to someone smoothing my hair from my forehead, so gently and carefully that I leaned into the touch, savoring it. What was Everard doing in the bed again? I'd yell at him later, for now I was too warm and comfortable to care. I took a deep breath, trying to catch his scent. The smell of wood and mint filled my senses instead and my eyes shot open to find green ones, not blue ones staring at me.

Oh God. Something was wrong with me. Very wrong. Either Daniel didn't notice my self hating spree going on or he thought it was directed at him. The hand in my hair stilled. 

"Good, you're awake," he murmured. 

I turned my head to look at the clock, it was eight in the morning. "What time do we have to be at the train station?" I asked, rubbing my eyes. 

"Nine thirty."

Great, I had enough time to take a shower. I slid under his arm and moved the sheets back. Daniel grabbed me and pulled me back, heightening the guilt I was feeling. 

"We still have time," he murmured. "Although not nearly enough, but I can make do." 

He rolled me on top of him until I was straddling him, the shirt riding up to my hips, and I was reminded again that he was as naked as the day he was born. 

"Daniel!" I shrieked and practically elbowed him as I scrambled off. 

I didn't make it far. He grabbed my waist and pulled me back to him. The persistent bastard. 

"A little too late to play shy girl, don't you think?" .

My reply was cut off by the sound of clanging. "What's that?"

"Oh, I forgot to tell you, Easton is awake and looking for anything edible in the kitchen."

Easton was awake? And he wanted to....I wasn't even going there now. 

I swatted his hands away and went to the bathroom. When he stood up, the sheets falling from his body, I gave him a pointed glare and forced my eyes to stay up. 

"It's morning now, the shop's are open?" 

He nodded. 

"Great then. I'm not wearing that dress and dark wig again."

I closed the door before he could do something Easton really wouldn't want to hear from the kitchen. I shuddered. That would be a nightmare. 

Fifteen minutes later, I stepped out of the bathroom with the towel wrapped around me. 

"What is it with girls and taking the longest showers known to man?" Daniel muttered as soon as I got out. 

He was sitting on the still rumpled bed, a plastic bag beside him. 

"It was only fifteen minutes!" He had to have spent most of that time out buying clothes. 

"Exactly," he muttered, going to the bathroom. 

I smirked, knowing exactly what was waiting for him there. I rummaged through the bag as I heard the shower turn on. This time, there were no outrageous heels, skirts or wigs. I pulled on the jeans and wrapped the towel around my torso before waiting. I heard the water turn off, the shower door slide open, and then...

The door roughly opened, and Daniel stormed out, a towel wrapped around his waist, hair dripping wet, and my bra in hand. He wore an expression that was a mix of exasperation and desire. Mostly, he looked tortured, I almost felt bad. Moments like this made it easier to forget about my guilt. At least, that was what I told myself. 

"So that's where it was," I mused, getting off the bed and reached over to pluck it from his hands. 

"I just got out of a cold shower. Cold. Now you're-" 

I silenced his reply with my lips. With a growl, he returned the kiss and practically tore the towel from my body. I reached over and wrapped my arms around his neck, bringing him closer and aligning our bodies. Chest to chest, hip to hip. It made it even easier to forget the guilt. I tried vainly to silence my thoughts, tangling my hands in his hair and shuddering when he slowly ran his hands over my back and wings. Even if he didn't invade my senses, even if I was deeply aware of all the ways he was different from Everard, I kept on kissing him. 

When he reached for the button of my jeans, I broke away. Maybe that was the last step, the last thing for me to erase the feel of Everard's hands on me, his lips against mine, but I wasn't ready for that step. I hadn't been with Brandon and right now, I wasn't ready for it with him. 

He cursed. "Sorry, we don't have to go that far. I never want you to feel that I'm with you for that or purely for touching you." 

I nodded, throat thick. He was clearly holding himself back for me and I didn't deserve it. I unwound my arms from his neck as he glanced at the clock and let out another curse. 

"We need to hurry."

He let go of me and turned back to the bathroom while I put the rest of my clothes on. By the time I managed to get my wings past the slits, Daniel was ready and waiting with Easton. I hastily put the brown wig on and the sunglasses before we hurried out and went to the train station.