“And you get to stare at your favourite bloke for the first time in two days.” I paused as I stepped across the common room, wondering where she was and if she had seen me... Well, I say wondering... hoping was more the term. “Well, in your case, favourite girl... but you know.” When I realised where she was sitting – that she was facing away from me and staring into the cards sitting on the table, I raced across the room, quickly slapping my hands across her eyes and running my thumbs across her temples. There was a jealousy bubbling up in me as I saw Davies Roberts sitting across from her at the poker table, his swishy hair all over the place and a firm smile on his face.
Her cheeks heated up beneath my fingers – I felt her blush rather than actually seeing it, and I felt some strange sense of pride at my ability to make her react like that.
“Who is it?” I bit my lip to stop from laughing, “Pete Schmidt? Steve Appleton?” I rolled my eyes at Jason, looking down at her and grinning at the top of her head. Trust her to pick two fit, sadly unattainable singers... Her hands touched mine suddenly and her body tensed under me, her hands gripping my own even tighter. She leaned back and her head touched my chest, she tugged at my fingers but I refused to let her go.
“Nope.” I couldn’t hide the smirk in my voice, but I realised that I had lost the battle when she growled at me. Damn.
“Nathan!” I dropped my hands and she looked up at me, resting her head on the back of the chair. I resisted the urge to grip her plaits and flick them around, because she’d probably find a way to kill me with two cards she held in her hand, but it was too strong, and when she whined at me I could barely contain the giggles. “Don’t do that!”
“Sorry, lovely.” My hands touched her shoulders as I tried to see the cards she was holding to her chest, knowing that although I sucked at poker, I was getting better at reading Jason and Evan. “Let’s see the cards?” She shook her head at me, and I caught her plaits in my hands quickly, mainly to protect myself from a violent beating I was hardly prepared for.
“Nope. You suck.” I grinned at Jason across from me; he rolled his eyes in response, knowing, along with me, that I did indeed suck ass at the game unfolding before me.
“You do!” She retorted, and even then, I could hear the smile in her voice. So I did the mature thing and pulled her hair.
“Are Aces good?” Touché, Kate, touché. She turned and raised her eyebrows at me, asking me the same question that had gotten the piss taken out of me all day from the guys currently sat around the table. My smile was suddenly false – I could still hear them laughing at me from behind their hands and in truth, it pissed me off. “Case in point, Nate.” I felt my face flush bright pink and she smirked at me. Damn stupid blush. “Get a chair. I’ll teach you...” There, it wasn’t so hard being nice, for once, was it? “For the three hundredth time.”
Can you say bitch?
“Ha-ha. Very funny,” I turned away and pulled one of the nearer chairs from the stacks conveniently placed around the common room. Throwing it down beside Katie, probably with a lot more force than necessary, I sat down and threw my arm across the back of her chair, hating myself for feeling so annoyed and jealous of her Poker boys, as she dubbed them every time she mentioned them. I smiled involuntarily, however, when she leaned into my shoulder and put her head into my neck, her hair tickling my chin. “I didn’t buy any,” The words split my lips and I looked at her and then down at the cards she was offering as I felt my face heat up even more.
“Any what?” Her head tilted slightly and she looked at me.
“Fags.” I couldn’t help but squeeze her shoulder, though I think I hurt her – she dropped her cards and grimaced quickly as she blushed. The cards clattered to the floor, and we both bent to pick them up, our heads nearly knocking together as they did so. “Did you get rid of...?” I bit my lip, hoping she had done it for me, then she nodded and I let out a breath I didn’t realise I had been holding, “Thank you. I might attempt to kill you when the withdrawal symptoms kick in, but for now, thanks.” The joke sounded pathetic, but I knew it was all true. Apart from the all-new homicidal part of my nature, at least...
“Kill me? I thought you only smoked when you were nervous?”
“Stressed.” I had to make sure she was right on that one – if I smoked when I was nervous, I would be a medical miracle - the boy who breathes without lungs... “Turns out I get stressed a lot more than I thought.” Because you make me feel things I don’t understand.
The thought that erupted in my head to combat that statement made me feel not only uncomfortable, but as though I didn’t know myself – this wasn’t something I usually felt, and it made me question every thought I had had around her. She was quiet as she processed the words and raised the boys with a couple of her chips, then, as she rubbed her eyes and looked over at me, I realised my leg was shaking like it did when I was nervous and... Fuck me, I really wanted a fag.
She looked over at me, sighing with frustration then grabbing my knee and holding it tight, running her thumb along my thigh and making me feel so much more comfortable than I had before. She smiled at me slightly, and with that, I dropped my fingers to cover hers, waiting for the spark of electricity to course through my veins as it usually did and finding the buzz travelling all the way between my hands and down to my feet, then back up to my head – a lot faster than before.
When she sighed, I thought she was done with the physical contact for a while – I didn’t like to push her and I didn’t like to ask her if she needed anything, but her soft whisper, one that could only be heard by us as we leaned naturally closer together, was easy and simple.
“Don’t.” She whispered as I lifted my hand. “Don’t.” She was almost pleading, and I locked our fingers together easily, squeezing her hand as she did it back to me.
In silence, we looked at each other and quietly smiled, our eyes locking for a second, then as she looked back to the table, she realised that Jason had thrown his cards in and was waiting for her to take the chips. Her smile widened slightly and she threw her cards across to Louis, waiting for him to deal.
“I won’t.” There was nothing else to say, I realised as Louis threw the cards across the table.
She had told me to hold onto her... and I couldn’t, rather than wouldn’t let go.
Though I didn’t want to drop her fingers, there were two cards on the table in front of her that required far more attention than my hands did. Smiling, I dropped her fingers, and for a long minute, she stared, almost as though I had just ripped her heart out through her chest.
No, Katie, I won’t let go.