Chapter Twenty Seven ~ Panic

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"Cashile," Aiden greeted with a soft smile. He opened the door wider in invitation and Aisa tugged my hand, dragging me inside of my apartment.

"Aiden—" suddenly I was crushed in a hug, full of expression that I couldn't seem to read.

"Thank you," Aiden whispered fervently, voice choked, embracing me tightly.

I stiffened at first, and then relaxed. Right. Saving Aisa's life. Aisa must have told him about what happened. And now Aiden owed me even more. Good.

Aiden's hands tightened around my shoulders as he inspected me closely. "How are you? How are your wounds? Does anything hurt? I can run to the store to get you some medicine, some food, anything?"

I raised my eyebrows at his desperation to wait on me hand and foot. Of course he'd feel grateful to me, and guilty that his brother's actions almost had me killed. I shook his hands off and rolled my eyes. "I'm fine, Aiden. If I wasn't, this would be the last place I'd be," I responded smartly.

"Sit down," he continued stubbornly, eyebrows still furrowed in worry. "I'll make you some tea."

And who could refuse tea?

I let him lead me to the leather sofa, my sofa, and settled comfortably in it. Maybe, seeing as Aiden was clearly refusing to leave my apartment, I would steal this couch. I really did enjoy it.

"How was the rest of your mission?" He asked, heating up the tea water in a kettle.

"Could have gone better," I admitted, letting my shoulders slump a little. My eyes drooped slightly, showing how tired I really was. "But could have been worse."

He poured in a little milk before the tea, just how I always did, then handed me the cup with the bag still submerged in the sweetened water. He laid a hand on my shoulder. "We can talk more tomorrow. You should get some rest."

"I claim your fridge as my own for breakfast," I replied as way of agreement. It only made sense to stay here: it was late, there was fresh food, and it was my apartment.

"Sure," Aiden laughed, pushing Aisa into his room. "Whatever you want."

I smile at that. Because it showed how open he was to manipulation.

I curled up onto one side of the couch, listening as Aiden forced Aisa to brush his teeth and brush his hair and put on pajamas before tucking him in. I burrowed deeper into the couch, throwing away an uncomfortable decorative pillow that I had no memory of ever buying. They were just so... Domestic.

Aiden returned from Aisa's room, gathering up a book and his reading glasses before settling into the other side of the couch. A soft light came from a lamp beside him.

"Does the light bother you?" He asked quietly.

I studied his profile in the golden light, shadows softening normally sharp edges. "What book are you reading?" I asked instead.

"The Winter's Tale," he responded.

"Still on that Shakespeare marathon, huh?" I mumbled, turning my head back into the couch. "'Though I am not naturally honest, I am sometimes so by chance.'"

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