Chapter 5

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"Red?" He called out again, the baritone of his voice reverberating through my ears.

My eyelids fluttered open as I looked at Archer standing over me, worry etched into his brown eyes. I scanned the room and noticed that Luca was no longer here. 

"W-where is he?" I asked, fear tainting my voice. Archer shook his head with uncertainty, eyes staring into mine intently. I lifted my head and sway to the right, being light-headed.

With a quick motion, Archer kneels before me, stabilising me by holding onto my other shoulder.

"He went down the fire escape," Lina lets out softly from the doorway.

I heaved a sigh of relief as I dropped my head onto Archer's shoulder, trying to catch a full breath which felt impossible as anxiety had a hold on my chest. Archer's arms droop from my shoulders to my waist as he wrapped his arms around my petite form. "You're okay."

"I'll go check the rooms," Lina speaks from behind me, followed by hastened footsteps that echoed down the living room, disappearing into one of the rooms.

My breathing stabilises and I'm suddenly aware of the heat radiating from Archer's body, right into mine. His arms tighten around me a little. "He didn't hurt you, did he?" He asked in a soft voice, his breath dancing over my neck followed by a soft, unintentional brush of his lips against my skin.

A zap of electricity surges through me and I wonder if he feels it too. But I shouldn't. He's my professor. I convince myself I only feel this way because I was seeking comfort and safety. His arms were exactly that.

"No," I breathed out, pulling away from him because I didn't like how my body reacted to him. Or, more accurately, I didn't like how I liked the way my body reacted to him. His hands rest on the curve of my waist and before I could move away completely, I hear footsteps from outside.

"What's going on?" A voice chimed from the hallway and I jumped.

"It's okay." Archer's grip on my form tightened as he calmed me.

"Um, I'm Jace. I'm his roommate, your neighbour." He said as he stood at the door. He probably noticed my shocked self.

Archer chuckled slightly. "That's Mr Parker." He smiled at me.

"Mr Parker?" Jace cocked his head to the side as he looked at Archer. "Oh, she's a student." He straightened his posture. This was the first time I had a good look at him, with his light brown hair and striking blue eyes.

"Who did this?" Archer asked, completely ignoring Jace's presence. "Should I call the police?"

"No!" I instantly blurted, taking Archer slightly aback. "Sorry, I mean no. It's okay. Thank you, though."

I didn't need the Castillo family being burdened by this and I also didn't want to give Luca another reason to be angry.

Why was he angry?

This was so unlike him, it was odd. Luca had never been the violent nor the obsessive type but things started to get out of hand after the accident. The thought of almost losing me drove him close to the edge and something within him snapped. He started behaving differently, barely allowing me to be my own person or have my own life. I didn't mind overprotective but this was different. 

When I didn't listen to him, he'd get aggressive. He even manhandled me once but that was the furthest he went. But, still, it was suffocating and I could see how it was going to ruin the both of us, so I ended it.

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