"Why didn't you tell me? In the beginning?", Bucky asked me. The look on his face was one of total confusion and a little anger.

I felt so ashamed and confused and frustrated over the whole thing. I wanted to shrink into a little ball and hide. I felt safe with him, but like I let him down, disappointed him.

"I was afraid. I didn't think they'd ever find me and if they came looking, I figured I'd find out and have time to leave.", I said to him.

"Leave? Just leave, no notice? Just like that?", he replied.

"I never thought I would have had any other choice. I mean...I...I just knew that I couldn't run forever and if I settled anywhere, it would risky.", I said to him. THe look on his face was heartbreaking. I wanted to scream.

"You would have just left. You would have left without saying anything.", he said as he looked down at his feet.

"Bucky...I...", I started to say when he interrupted me.

"Wait...how would you know? If they came looking for you?", he asked me.

"My aunt. I stayed with her a short while. She had...she still talked to my Mother. Rarely, but my Mother said that if any of us girls ever left, shed want us to go to my Aunt. She gave her money and stuff, so we would be able to hide, go to the city. My aunt would have tipped me off so I could have enough time to get away from them. Get a head start.", I said to him.

I couldn't even think straight. I couldn't even do anything other than speak from the script in my head that I had rehearsed a thousand times in case I was ever in this very situations. I think I was shocked that I actually had to say this to someone. I never thought I would stick around long enough to have to do that. I always thought it was my "just in case". Those type of mental scripts never came into play, at least in most normal situations, then again, this situation was definitely not normal.

"Well, I'm glad you're okay. I was...I was confused and worried. I was totally...just..."

"I know. I'm so sorry I put you in the middle of this. I should have just told you, but I just felt like my hands were tied you know? I just was so scared and just as I was starting to feel like things were somewhat okay, this happens. I should have known that this wouldn't work out.", I said to him regretfully.

"What wouldn't?", he asked.

"The chance to be happy.", I said to him.

"Were you? Happy, I mean?", he asked me, looking up at me like a puppy dog who was just shoved out of a car.

"Yeah...I was. I was happy. For the first time in...a long, long time I finally felt...comfortable. Safe. Like I had someone on my side.", I said to him. I still couldn't look at him. His face was so pure, his expression so perfectly comforting. Although he was angry and held so much internal pain, he never wanted to make anyone feel unsafe. He tried so hard to make sure everyone was comfortable. He always made me feel like I had a friend, something I never felt I ever had before.

"You do have someone on your side.", he whispered to me as he angled my chin up with his index finger, so I would look at him. I couldn't speak again. I couldn't think of anything else, but how much he was sacrificing for my secrets. I knew all of his. I read every detail of his life, he told me every detail and now here I was, sitting in front of him feeling so ashamed that I didn't tell him anything when I should have. I could have prevented all of this. I could have had them help me and they would have, I know they would have, but carrying a secret like I did was so terrifying. I was so unsure of what could happen that I didn't want to take the risk and now I may lose the most important thing in my world. Bucky.

"when were you gonna tell me about this?", I asked pointing at the metal arm on his left. I smiled and he chuckled. "I guess we all have secrets.", he said to me.

We were staring right at one another, not saying a word. It wasn't even awkward. It was comfortable. He started caressing my face, my cheek. He pushed my messy hair off my face and twisted the end of a large ringlet of hair in his thick fingertips. Twisting it around and around until it sprang up and hit my chin lightly. He traced my chin with his thumb. His fingers were rough, but warm and every time he used to touched me, the innocent brushes as he was passing or the hugs, I felt shivers throughout my body. That didn't change. When he touched me, I would feel the hair on my arms raise up, goosebumps rose on my skin. My heart would beat so hard against my chest that I almost felt out of breath.

His fingers continued to trace the edges of my face. My chin to my jaw, my jaw to cheek, my cheek to eyebrows and my forehead. I closed my eyes and suddenly I felt his lips on my eyelids. Kissing me softly, moving his lips to my nose, the little part of skin between my nose and my lips, then my chin. He was shaking. I couldn't think.

"Bucky.", I whispered to him.

He opened his eyes and looked at me.

"We can't...", I said to him, almost barely making a sound when I opened my mouth to speak.

"Why can't we?", he whispered back in question.

A tear suddenly rolled my cheek, he wiped It away with his thumb and that tear was followed by another, rolling onto my lips. He wiped it away, keeping his thumb on my lips, slowly touching the outline of my mouth. I closed my eyes, I needed to feel this. Just for a moment. I knew nothing would happen, could happen, but he felt so safe and warm and right and I just really needed a moment of peace, just for a second.

He let out an exhale and it was a beautiful sound, his breath escaping just enough that I could feel it on my skin and I knew he was close to me, his lips merely inches away from my own. His thumb was still touching my lips, slightly brushing the skin back and fort.

"I saw the picture that guy had. I saw you. He was looking for you. I couldn't do anything but...but think of what he wanted you for. I had to stop him. I had to protect you.", he whispered as his lips lightly touched mine, I could feel every word he said against my mouth, I didn't even have to hear him, I knew what he said. I could feel it.

I shook my head slightly, I wasn't even sure if it was because we should stop or because I didn't want him to stop.

I parted my lips, I wanted to taste him, his fingers and his skin, his warmth. He gently put his thumb in between my lips, I accepted it and closed my lips around it and he exhaled deeply, audibly and he cocked his head so his lips on my neck, lightly brushing against my skin.

He removed his finger from my lips and opened his hand to feel the surface of my arm, lightly wrapping his fingers around my wrist. I didn't feel unsafe, I felt protected. He wasn't using force, he was touching me as if I would break, like I was fragile.

"Gabe...", he whispered into my shoulder, his lips lightly traveling down arm and to my wrist. He kissed the inside of my wrist, my palm and wrapped my fingers around his cheek. "I just want you to be safe...I'll do whatever it takes.", he whispered to me. I felt like my heart was going to explode. My head felt hot, my eyes were welling up and he was so perfectly...imperfect. I put my face into his hair and started nuzzling him, taking a deep breath of his scent. He smelled like fresh snow and tobacco and it was intoxicating.

I wasn't sure what was going to happen, but I knew I didn't want it to stop. This was the safest I'd felt since coming to the city and I would do anything to make sure nothing happened to take that away from me.

 This was the safest I'd felt since coming to the city and I would do anything to make sure nothing happened to take that away from me

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