Chapter 10 - Part 1

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Never in his life, not even in all the fights he'd ever been in, had Felix felt the adrenaline pummel through him like it had the moment he'd seen Ella slip in the back way and rush into the stairwell. He'd almost missed her, but he'd done a double take when he saw her. Then he practically sprinted towards the stairwell door, turning a few heads in the process, but he'd been going mad waiting for her to get back. Now that she had, he wasn't waiting even a second to talk to her. If there had ever been any doubt that he had it bad for this girl, there was zero now.

The moment she sped away in Grayson's squad car and he realized what had just happened, Felix had jumped in his own car ready to chase after them. It was only after a moment of clarity that he decided not to. Chasing after a cop car wouldn't be the smartest thing to do, and the last thing he needed was another scandal all over the tabloids, especially one that might drag not just 5th Street but Ella down with him too.

Already, she'd begun to shoot him down in the car before Grayson showed up, and he had a feeling he knew why. It was what he'd worried about all along, that she might think their lives too incompatible. Getting her name dragged through the tabloids would just further her hesitation. But he felt even more determined suddenly to try and convince her to give him a chance.

"Ella!" he called out as soon as he rushed into the stairwell.

She was halfway up the first flight of stairs when she froze in her tracks but didn't turn to face him.

"What happened?" He rushed up to meet her. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," she said, yet she still didn't turn to face him. "I'm sorry. Grayson gets . . . I just didn't want him to say anything that might . . ."

Finally, she turned to him, her eyes welling up. Instinctively, he touched her face and felt a fire ignite inside him like he only remembered feeling once before in his life. "What's wrong? Did he do something to you?"

"No." She shook her head, her eyes glued to his. "He didn't. I'm just embarrassed and—"

"Embarrassed? About what?"

His heart raced but for more than one reason now. While the adrenaline and fire still surged through him, he stared at her lips and had to fight the incredible urge to kiss them. "Why are you embarrassed?" he asked a little gentler—calmer—this time, tearing his eyes from her lips to look into her eyes.

"Because of the way I just left with him. I just didn't want him to say or do anything rude."

"Are you still seeing him?"

"No." She shook her head immediately.

Almost afraid to ask, he did anyway. "Hector said you were considering going out with him again. Are you?"

She shook her head again. "Not after what he did today."

That almost made it worth having been left standing in the parking lot like an idiot. Almost. He stared at her, unable to take his hand away from her face where she leaned into it. Incapable of holding back anymore, he leaned in and kissed her softly. She tasted as good as he'd imagined. To his relief, she didn't protest, so he kissed her again.

"Felix, I can't," she whispered against his lips with her eyes closed, but she didn't pull away.

"Why?" he asked, leaning his forehead against hers, still savoring her taste on his lips.

"I'm not like the other girls you go out with. I can't just turn it on and off."

"Good." He smiled, kissing her again. "I don't want you turning it off."

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