eleven. Live Fast, Die Young

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I felt tired to the bone.

It wasn’t the post-PE type of tiredness, or even the heavy-eyed drowsiness you felt after a long day.

Instead, it was almost dream-like. I felt like I was suspended somewhere between wakefulness and sleep, one foot in one world and one in the other.

Alexei stirred next to me and I felt his arm slipping around my waist. “We should do that again sometime,” he said, his voice slurred with sleep.

I turned my head to look at him. His eyes were half-closed and he was gazing at me with one of his rare genuine smiles, one of those grins that made his face look infinitely softer. The way he looked at me, with something very akin to tenderness, made goose bumps erupt on my skin and I smiled back at him, feeling warmth spreading through me, starting at the spot where his skin touched mine.

“We should,” I agreed. I looked up at the glass ceiling again and at the stars that blinked at us from above. Alexei’s arm around me tightened as he brought me even closer.

“You’ll be there in the morning this time?” his voice was barely audible and the murmur brushed against my neck like a kiss.

I smiled slightly and turned to face him. “We’re in the middle of a forest, Alexei. I think it’s safe to say that I’m not going anywhere.” When my eyes met his, a strange emotion welled up inside of me and I snuggled closer to him, closing my eyes. I couldn’t put the feeling into words, but it made me want to wrap myself around him and never let him go. Everything about this moment felt surreal –the stars above us, his arms wrapped around me, the pleasant warmth of his body pressed against mine… I was afraid that I’d wake up in the morning in my own bed only to realize that it had all been a dream.

I took a deep breath, letting his scent fill my lungs, anchoring me in the moment.

And without worrying any further, I let myself fall into the dark depths of sleep.


I woke up staring at dark clouds lazily sailing over the grey sky as the first drops of rain splattered against the glass ceiling above me. The sight was stunning and for a moment, I forgot all about the delicate situation I was currently in, lost in the contemplation of the mosaic of grey, silver and navy overhead.

Slowly, other things started to register with my brain –still filled with the heavy cobwebs of sleep –such as the fact that I was completely naked and also that an arm that was very obviously not mine was currently carelessly thrown across my bare stomach.

Panic was slowly but surely overpowering any residual sleepiness and I had to force myself to stay still. I noiselessly turned my head to look at Alexei. His face was turned toward me, eyes closed, his expression as peaceful as a child’s and some of my anxiousness faded, replaced by a mortification that made my face heat up.

I mentally backtracked till I could clearly see last night’s events in my mind’s eye. And there I was standing dangerously close to Alexei, watching as his lips formed words I was only half listening to, too busy recalling how those same lips had felt on my skin that first time…

Had I actually kissed him first?

Yep. I had.

I’d stood on my tiptoes, framed his ridiculously handsome face in my hands and pulled his mouth to mine, disregarding any semblance of restraint I might’ve possessed.

Who is this and what have you done to the real Isis Greene?

I couldn’t reconcile last night’s Isis with the present, panicking version of me. The things I’d said and done last night were so out of character for me that I couldn’t even begin to comprehend where I’d gotten all that bravado.

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