Fourteen [The News]

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Harry can sense your anxious energy behind him as you bounce on your toes and try to get a glimpse over his shoulder through the small square of glass delineated in the door. You had wanted to see his studio the first time he brought you to the water tower but he claimed he wasn't ready yet, choosing instead to distract you with brilliant skies, tomato sandwiches and charming conversation.

It was conversation that you had found captivating but you could see how others might consider Harry off-putting, the way he tunes out the world around him and closes himself up inside of his own mind like a secret message scrawled on paper and curled inside of an empty glass bottle before tossed to sea. Now that you knew the reason behind his obligatory solitude, he became even more fascinating in to you, an incredibly special enigma that has been squashed and forced to believe in their own criminality and worthlessness.

How he still managed to cling to shreds of sanity was beyond you, but you were more than prepared to help him rebuild his self worth. The human spirit is a remarkable thing, the most allegiant abstraction that you can think of; for most of us it cherishes the concept of life and will stop at nothing to preserve itself. Through trauma, observed death, destruction, physical ailment and fear, it'll push you towards continuing to exist. It'll send you crawling out of burning flames and running from danger even if the life you return to isn't ideal, it drives each and every one of us with the wordless promise that things get better and it's worth it to survive. That we're meant to be here and this is our right, no matter what happens along the way. Just simply breathing and enduring means that you have prevailed.

Being an ARA has been a passion of yours for as long as you can remember and it just might be more meaningful to successfully emancipate one Adtroit than to attempt to weakly save all of them.

The door beeps to signal access, the click of the lock echoing in the empty hallway before you squeal quietly and tap his shoulders in impatience, "come on, I'm so excited I'm going to burst!" His palms lay flat on the door but his feet don't budge, his head turning to rest his chin on his shoulder as he studies you from beneath a set of dark, thick eyelashes. You gather the sense that he's stalling to tease you, but you second guess your theory in debate of whether or not he's capable of such lighthearted malice.

The smile curving into one side of his mouth gives you the answer you need, your jaw dropping in surprise as you dig your fingers into his ribs for a tickle. A laugh cracks from his lungs and you've only heard this volume of joy from him one other time; when you had brought him to the warehouse party and he made a joke about big clocks needing a second hand. In your sobriety and acquaintance, the sparkling ring that slides past his teeth is almost too beautiful to brave, his dimple peeking out in a sunny greeting and his eyes narrowing into slits accentuated by attractive puckers in his skin.

There is no debate spinning through your head when you surge forward and press your mouth to his, your movements fueled only by the wreckage and subsequent healing of your heart due to his peal of unexpected laughter. The pleasant melody immediately transforms into a hum when he relishes the kiss, his hand clutching your cheek to hold you close. You pull away for a single exhale before kissing him again, your movements slowing as you both moan and revel in the tingles throbbing in your cores when your tongues stroke together.

His sight is bounding all across your face when he draws back, his mind racing with hurried pairs of claps that match the rhythm of his heart, the novelty of you being here beside him still very fresh and inconceivable. You glance away from his mouth just long enough to mutter, "quit being so stinkin' cute. We're never gonna get anything done if I can't pry my lips away from yours."

He wants to retort but his head is growing with a dozen fragments of different sentences, none of them properly lacing together to form a coherent remark. He nods and clears his throat before the door swings open, his arm lifting to gesture you inside first before following close behind with his heart swallowed whole by his stomach.

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