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Far from timid • Caveat Lector

Fiction Series: Playing With Fire - Chapter 7

Fiction Series: Playing With Fire - Chapter 7

Novia:

I had to beg Mario to leave me alone in the room I found myself in. He was hell-bent on doing exactly what Paxton had instructed him to do---watch me. 

My thoughts race as I sit just on the edge of the bed, legs shaking. Anger and sadness wash through me as Nuri’s face flashes in my mind. The look on his face as he looked into the camera makes my stomach turn. Why would he do this to me? I did everything he asked. I gave up everything. I punch the headboard ignoring the pain that shoots through my hand. 

“You are a fighter. I like it. You should learn to channel your anger appropriately.” I follow Mrs. Camren’s voice. She’s standing in the doorway holding my phone in her hands. I can’t help but notice the way her dress caresses her skin as if it has a life of its own, as if it can see what I see when I look at her. Like, maybe it can read my mind. I shake my head so that my hair falls over my face. “Whatever.” 

“I am not your enemy.” I can feel her moving closer.

I shake my head. “I can’t tell.” My voice is a whisper. The bed shifts as Mrs. Camren sits next to me offering my phone. “You should call your friend. She’s been trying to reach you for a couple of days.”

“And what should I say?” I meet her eyes but I don’t mean to. She smiles as her eyebrows raise. “You’re hiding something from me.” 

My heart begins to race as I attempt to look away but find myself locked in her gaze. “What could I possibly be hiding, Mrs. Camren?” She raises her hand and I flinch. Her hand stops short of my face. “I’m sorry I hit you…” She pauses. “I cannot promise it will never happen again.” I shrink back from her as she threads her fingers in my hair, running her hand from the front of my head to the back of my neck. “I do promise…” Her voice is low.  “…you decide whether my hands will reflect my love or my wrath. It’s always up to you.” Her voice presses into my body. For a moment, I feel her all over me. My eyes close involuntarily. 

“Love, look at me.” I open my eyes. Mrs. Camren is standing in front of me. I didn’t feel her move. “How would you like my hands now?” My lips part but nothing comes out. “You have to answer me.” I lick my lips. 

I can’t explain what’s happening to me. As if in trance I swallow hard and respond. “I want to feel your love.” She places both hands on the top of my head and slowly runs them through my thick curls. Her nails gently scratch my scalp as her hands make their way. She leans forward and kisses me on my forehead… both cheeks… and stops short of my lips. I can feel her breath. 

She asks, “Are you sure?” 

I close the space between our lips. The kiss is---different. Nuri kisses like he’s hungry for me. Enrique kisses me like he owns me. Mrs. Camren kisses---like---her kisses feel like home as if maybe I’ve known her before. I want more. My kiss becomes hurried.

Instinctively, my hands find the small of her back and bring her closer. She giggles as she continues to kiss me. For the first time, there’s an innocence projected from her. She parts my legs with hers and moves so that our bodies collide as I fall back on the bed. 

She looks down at me and sadness flashes in her eyes. It’s gone as quickly as it comes. She smooths my hair again. My arms are wrapped tightly around her waist. She seems to think for a moment but then her lips crash back into mine. 

Suddenly, the bed shifts. My eyes shoot in the direction of the movement. Paxton is sitting on the bed watching us. I turn my head the opposite direction as to not meet his eyes. My hands don’t move from around Mrs. Camren. I’m not ready to let go. Her voice is soft. “Love, look at me.” I don’t turn my head but I shift my eyes so that I can see her face. “It’s okay.” Confusion washes through me. She shifts her weight so that our legs are still intertwined but she’s resting at my side. My face is buried in her chest. Her scent steals me away for a brief moment. She giggles again. This makes me look up at her. 

She extends her hand towards Paxton. He stands and walks around the bed. He takes her hand as he sits so that I’m between them. He kisses her deeply, lovingly. She pulls away and looks down at me. He looks from her to me and then back at her. She kisses the side of his mouth lightly. He looks back at me releasing Mrs. Camren’s hand and wrapping it around my throat. My eyes widen. Mrs. Camren’s hand finds my heartbeat. “Love, it’s okay. Do you trust me?”

I look from her to Paxton. I mouth the words. “I do.”

“He’s a part of me. It’s okay.” As the words leave her lips, Paxton’s meet mine. I can taste his love for her on his lips. Mrs. Camren lifts my shirt and traces up my stomach with her finger. 

“Paxton.” He pulls away from our kiss and looks at her. “Undress me.” He stands and she moves so that she’s on her knees in front of him. I sit up on the other side of the bed. He rests his forehead on hers as he slowly pulls her dress up. Both of their eyes are closed. He steps away pulling her dress over her head and throwing it to the ground. She falls back on the bed. He walks around and stands in front of me. I stand. He removes my clothes in the same manner. Slowly. Gently. 

Mrs. Camren pats the space beside her when he’s done. I don’t hesitate. I go to her. Paxton climbs back into the bed on the other side of her. She holds his hand as she kisses me. Our bodies find each other in ways I’ve never experienced. 

Her moans are all I hear. Paxton never touches me again except for the occasional kiss when instructed by Mrs. Camren. He attends to her every desire. I follow his lead falling in sync. When she’s tired… when she’s had enough her fingers release the sheets. She lays her head on Paxton’s chest. He plays with the curls that have returned in her hair. I rest my head in her side and her arm falls over my chest. We drift into sleep. 

When I feel the bed shift again Mrs. Camren is climbing over Paxton. She finds her dress on the floor and pulls it on. She smiles when she notices I’m awake. There is sadness in her eyes again. 

“Why are you leaving?” I question. She leans over Paxton and kisses my lips. “We’re starting a war. There’s work to be done.” 

“But…” 

She smiles. “It’s okay Novia. You are mine.” My name on her lips makes it sound---different.

Paxton’s eyes open. He moves to follow her. She places her hand on his chest. “Lay with her for a while. Hold her. She hasn’t really slept.” He relaxes in the bed. She kisses him and presses her forehead to his. “Sleep well, Paxton.” And as if she’s given him permission to rest, to exist… his eyes close. She looks at me once more before leaving the room. 

Paxton turns so that he’s facing me, eyes still closed. 

“Why is she so sad?” I ask him. 

He lets out a breath before replying. “You remind her of someone.”

“Who?”

Paxton rolls over so his back is to me. I can hear the annoyance in his voice. “You should go to sleep. Like she said, we’re going to war.”

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