✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Kiss 馃拫馃拫馃拫馃拫 18+ Episode 213... 217 ✍️✍️✍️✍️

♾️馃崅The kiss and now,
our AFTERGLOW?♾️馃崅

By: @AvisMens (Kels)

CHAPTER 08✓
[213] of the LIFE SERIES.

|~DONOVAN~|

〰️❤️〰️

"Where are we going?" She keeps slurring behind me.

"Patience." I have to shout over the loud music. Once we've made it out, I got into the lift with her and my girl immediately pressed her lips to mine. Alcohol is bastard. It makes her feisty than she already is, gives her confidence, and makes her horny.

I reached for her thighs to lift her so that she could wrap her legs on my waist but the elevator dinged. Still kissing her, we walked out and burst into the first washroom I saw.

I am about to bang it close when someone shrieked behind us.

"I'm using the washroom." A lady said. Mariana groaned and turned to the lady. Before I could stop her, she's already speaking.

"Get the fuck out bitch.."

God. I hugged her face to my chest to calm her and also to hide her face. She doesn't realize how people kept staring at her the moment we stepped into the club. This lady right here now is shocked and surprised to see the famous Mariana making out in a damn community washroom.

"You can go out now," I told the lady who just had the privilege to see Mariana.

"I won't refuse an autograph or a picture. Please."

"Seriously?" Mariana muttered against my chest. "Novan, tell her to leave already."

I looked for something to send the lady off with, anything. My eyes fell on her hair and I got the customized band out. It has her name written in tiny letters on it.

"Here."

"Thanks." She took it and rushed off and I banged the door close after her.

"You just gave out my band." Her lips shoot out into a cute pout.

"You have more or I can get you more."

"Hmm..kiss me more instead."

"Of course." I lifted her to the counter and kissed her. I knew she wouldn't mind about a band she could easily get but I am proud that I have given it out which means all the perverts who were throwing seductive glances and feasting their eyes on my beauty wouldn't anymore.

She gropes me through my jeans and I couldn't help but gasp. I feel her smile into the kiss as she unzips me and my jeans crawled from my legs to the floor. She tugs my boxers down to hold me better, running her small hands on my thick length. Damn, I am so fucking hard that it hurts.

I don't...I don't know what this woman has done to me. I don't know why I love her so much, why I crave her so much and why I can't seem to get fed up with her.

I fucked her the entire night and into the day but to think I still wanted her right after she woke up amazes even me. She's like a drug to me, so addictive. Each bit of her I take of her leaves me coming for more. She's sweet inside out, the sweetness, and I am the ant that always gathers around to have some of her. It's not even about the sex...I always say this. I always want to show her how I just love her and she means to me.

I unzipped her and dragged her shorts off, leaving her in her sexy black panties. How could it look so great against her pure plain skin?

I got it off as well and slipped a finger into her warmth. Her legs spread farther for me.

"Novan." Her thumb brushed across my cock. "Hurry."

I tilt her head and kisses her with a smile. It's always like home and I've been away from it for too long. That I will still be leaving tomorrow makes me want to cry. How do I leave all this behind? My happiness.

I bend and got a condom from my back pocket. She raised her brows at me but didn't say anything. I am glad that we don't fight over condoms anymore and we don't fight after sex. But I know she wants me to say something even if it's not the whole truth.

"If you care to know, I just knew something like this would happen so I prepared."

"And you played hard to get."

"How for do." I sheath my cock. " When a pretty lady asks a fine man like me to scratch her itch, I had to act pricey."

"Why?"

"Because she won't find any other man on the market like me."

"Again, why?"

"Because no one will be able to know how to please her like I do." I push my dick inside her and moan with her as I occupy her limited space.

She's so fucking tight and I fear I will embarrass myself like I did yesterday. She makes me feel new diverse feelings anytime I enter her. I want to explore all of her..to know all of it..but I can't..she beats me each time. There's always something in store.

"Tell me that I lie. That I am bragging." I pushed deeper into her and she stretched to welcome her sweetheart visitor. I can't wait to be a regular.

"True Novan. True." She moaned, letting her head fall back as her hands tightened on my shoulders.

She might be drunk as fuck but I am taking each of her words that spilled from her lips anytime I push in and out of her.

I can't help but not like the kind of environment our relationship has traveled to now. It's not been long but we haven't fought. Never have I thought, not in my wildest dreams that we'll have steady tranquility and bliss. All this wants me to do more, to do harder. I just want to be happy with my woman and have the storybook happy ending that she's always obsessed about even though I am a bloody asshole.

Her hands clawed harder at my back as I drove without relenting into her. My hand went behind her to enter her deep and to find that spot that will have her screaming in no time as she comes.

"God..!" She gasped loudly and breathlessly and I know that I have found it. Just a few more..and I will be done. My hand went under her crop top to grope her tits, turning my finger around her hard nipples and twisting it.

She brought her head back to my shoulders then nuzzled her face into my neck. "Novan." She moans into my neck sexily.

I bite at her neck, holding her tight to myself and I only go deep yet powerfully and my girl loves that. She goes tight around me, my favorite. I feel my release climb up my spine and began to descend, I hold her, groaning and whimpering against her flesh as I come inside the protection with her. Just like yesterday, her orgasm appears not to end as she shakes in my arms and then goes limp. My name never stops to leave her mouth even in pants.

Her body rests weakly against mine and I can deduce that her eyes are closed.

"Mariana."

"Mmm." She raised her head to look at me and smiled deliriously that I swooned and got thrown in a daze.

This is the woman who doesn't need, will never need makeup to beautify her. Her smile alone brings me to my knees and leaves me breathless. How can she be this beautiful? It beats my comprehension that sometimes I think she can't be real.

She tucks her hair behind, still smiling beautifully at me. Fuck. I feel like I will burst from over excitement.

"Shall we go?" Her smile is contagious.

"Yeah." She nods gently.

I didn't have to talk her into leaving the club. We checked ourselves in the mirror and walked out of the washroom, into the elevator, got out, and walked out of the club. I only have one thing to worry about. That my girl doesn't fall asleep on the way since it's a bike we're going to take home.

I had a little trouble balancing her last night with the bike.

"Novan, allow me to ride."

"Huh?" I choked. "How you gon' ride babe?" I put my hand on her shoulders and the other in my pocket to get the key.

"You know I can do everything."

"I know, I know but listen. You're drunk and tired. I don't wanna stress you so later huh?"

"I'm not drunk."

I know she'll never agree.

"But you're tired aren't you?"

"I am."

"That is why you'll ride us later okay?"

"I don't want to agree."

"Please do."

"Hmm."

I got on the bike and hoped that she should not throw a fit.

"I want to sit in front of you." She requested.

"Alright." At least it's better than her riding us. I can only imagine us in a ditch and the hospital with five broken ribs and the rest of our bones in fracture. That will be horrible.

She straddled me, nuzzling into my chest with arms secured around me and I set off.

The first hour of the ride, Mariana slept through it and dozed the rest.

"Mariana, we're home."

She stirred for a minute then stilled and opened her eyes to look around. She looked up at me before getting down. She waited for me to get down then leaned over on me as I opened the door and we got in.

The living room is dark except for the dim light showing from the dining area.

"I think Sharon is around," I whispered to Mariana when I heard a woman's voice.

"I think so too."

As we got further into the room to the stairs, I heard more voices. A voice that doesn't belong to a female. And it's not any other voice. It comes with a creaking of a table or chair.

"What is happening?" Mariana whispered.

"We can only know if we find out."

When we got closer, the sound got clear as well as the people. On my dining table are Sharon sitting with legs spread wide and a man in between who was pounding into her. Their moans are loud and I tried to make out the familiar voice.

Mariana froze beside me but I failed to notice until she holds me and pulled me back but I already saw who it was that is fucking Sharon in my house. It's hilarious but the look on Mariana's face even in the dark won't permit me to laugh.

We walked quietly back to our room and Mariana sat and took her shoes off slowly, looking lost and surprised.

"Are okay?" I locked the door and took my boots off as well.

"I didn't know they had something going on even though there was a time I suspected it." She said and took her shirt off.

"I also didn't know."

"I am sorry." She apologized.

"Are you seriously fucking kidding me? Oh damn! I don't give a fuck!" I sat beside her.

"He never told me that he has started to date again. He used to tell me everything."

"It's okay. The first didn't work anyway so what if this too doesn't work? I think he just doesn't want to get you worried again in case of any possible heartbreak ."

"So..you don't mind that their...fucki... doing that in your house?"

"I would've mind if I was still living here."

She stayed quiet and got her clothes off completely. I tried not to look but that isn't possible. I studied every inch of her and my cock didn't stop to enlarge, threatening to break out of my boxers and rip my jeans apart.

"I'm going for a bath. My head is pounding so bad that it hurts and everywhere is just spinning." She complained as she walked to the washroom.

I followed her and stood by the door as she prepared a bubble bath. After some minutes, the fragrance of the soap filled the room and she stepped in.

"Would you mine company?." Apart from wanting her not out of my sight, I want this to be here to check if she's okay. I hope her headache is not severe.

"Huh?"

" I mean can I join?" I swear I didn't mean to say this or join her in the tub. I just wanted to sit and watch.

"Sure." I got out of my clothes hurriedly, walked into the bathroom, and stepped inside with her. Thinking maybe she might change her mind if I don't get fast.

The tub is that big so we fit in, laying with our head being supported at the top. It's moderately warm and super relaxing. I hope it helps with her headache.

She turned to me and moved her hands on my chest. "Do you know I still haven't read the quotes you got on your neck and collarbone?"

"Why? You can read it now."

"No. I feel like I am not ready."

"It's nothing. Just some boring words."

"I don't think." She paused for a second. I love that you took care of Everly." She gave me that smile of appreciation that always kills me.

"I don't know why I did." The small girl looks peaceful but she isn't. No matter how mean I tried to be with her or ignore her, she never left. She sat with me and tried to start a conversation but she looked sad so I asked.

FLASHBACK

"Why do you look sad?"

"I don't know." She mumbled, still staring at a bird and when it flew away, her eyes found another interest, a butterfly.

"You should be happy. You're loved here are you not?"

"I want to have a momma and dad."

"Your parents dumbed you so it's not possible."

"What is 'dumbed'?" She looked up at me innocently.

"Nothing. Just be grateful that you're here and have a lot of friends who are your family."

"I am but I don't like to live with a lot of people. I want a small family."

"You want to get adopted then?"

"What is 'adopted'?" She asked. Talking with her is going to be difficult. I have to be explaining and I don't have time for that.

"It is when two married adults who don't have children legally acquire one. It a long process."

"That means I can get adopted?" Her blue-gray eyes lit.

"Why not?"

"Wow. I want to get adopted."

"You'll not see your friends again and you're a twin. If you go away, you'll get separated."

"Are you Mariana's daddy?"

Cockily, I affirmed. "Yes, she's my baby." I smiled when Mariana's face popped in my head.

"And.. can't I be your baby too? Adopt me?" She asked in a quiet pleading tone.

"No, I only want to have one baby. Mariana won't like to share me."

"I thought she's a very nice person."

"When it comes to me, she isn't. She's very selfish with me." I replied. I know Mariana won't hesitate to adopt them without even telling me if this child should go and say this to her so if I have to polish her a little bad I will.

She sighed and run her little hands over her dark brown hair.

I smiled and brought my phone out, thinking she'd leave but she didn't. We talked a lot more and I liked the little girl called Everly who I took care of for a day at age one and now she's three years.

End of FLASHBACK.

"You also fed her." Mariana pointed out.

"Don't read into it. She was with me the entire time and I thought she'll be hungry so we went for food."

"I am not saying anything. I'm just happy that you did that." She's still smiling and I tried to not let it charm me so I looked up at the ceiling.

Her hands began to caress my chest then moved to my hardness.

"What?" My eyes met hers.

She said nothing but got on me instead and placed her head on my chest. I wrapped my arms around her and moved to the middle of the tub.

"I can't believe you're leaving tomorrow." She whispered.

"Sadly."

"You're here but I am missing you already." The fire of happiness in her eyes dims to tiredness and sadness.

"I am so fucking going to miss you but I know it won't be long before we meet again." I rubbed her back, loving how softer the lather makes her skin. So silky and delicate.

"I hope." She sighed.

"Hey, I love you." I hold her face in my palm. If I didn't have a lot to do in America, I will just pack back here.

"I know."

A smile took over my face.

"I also know you're hard." She smiled back but hers was naughty and dirty.

"You wanna soften it?" I let my eyes fall on her full chest.

"I just want to sit on it. Can I ?" She asked shyly and her face turned red. She's sobering up a little.

"What are you waiting for?"

"I'm not sex-crazed...I just want to do it and..". She tried to explain.

"It's alright." I love how she wants me and is not even getting fed up.

"No. You're the only one I hunger for Novan. I do this with only you. I act like this with only you."

"Because I am the only person who makes you go this crazy."

" Yeah. You're my only one and will forever be."

"And you're my only.. forever."

"Good." Mariana smiles and the next, I felt myself tearing her apart to reach her heaven. Mariana maintained eye contact with me as she rode me slowly. I didn't interfere, I let her have all of me while she let me feel every inch of her. And she took her time, sliding slowly on my length, moving up and coming back. Sweet and passionate is what I call what she's doing to me. She also showed how much she needs me, how much she loves me, how much she doesn't ever want to let me go and it makes me so fucking happy and emotional that I shot my seeds directly into her without warning.

Breathing heavily, she falls back on me, her head pressed to my forehead while her hair falls in a fountain over our face. The water is now cold and mixed up with..um..well..me and her.

"How's your headache?"

"It's okay. I already took my drug."

"Huh?" I looked down at us with a smile. "Don't tell me you pretended to.."

"Yes. Everything is spinning alright but my head isn't aching as I said."

"Then why did you say so?" I asked even though I know.. I just want to hear her say it.

" I thought I could buy your sympathy so that you'll join me to take a bath or care for me. You know I miss you worrying about me."

"Bad girl." I laughed.

"You too bad boy. You think I don't know you also had a motive?" She laughed along.

Okay. We need to rinse." I said and we got out to the shower.

I run my hands all over her and she does the same to me as the shower rained on us. We got back to the bedroom after drying and got into bed. It's almost morning already. I checked the time and it's three. A few hours later and will be flying.

"How's Nervisa?" She asked while staring at the ceiling. I do the same thing.

"She's fine and turning eleven next month. Stubborn as ever."

"My brother also turned thirteen and dad got him his dream car. And also promised to register him in car racing when he's fifteen but my brother is secretly racing illegally. I pray he doesn't get in trouble with the police. He's still young." She cares so much about Marion and I can even see the love she has for him.

"He'll be fine and if trouble comes, am sure he'll clear it nicely. He's a boy."

"Yeah, he got my uncle by his side." She smiled.

"You didn't tell me how you got your stolen stuff back." Over these past few years, Mariana has encountered misfortunes. Got robbed and even had an accident. I can't forget how I felt that day seeing her hurt and tied up in bandages. I died inside and when I thought of her, not in my life, I almost lost it. How can I lose my lifeline?

"My uncle got them for me and he refused to tell me how. He's a smart ass."

"Yeah. And the thieves are dumb. Who steals an iPhone? They look like someone Edward will go for. I hope he didn't orchestrate that conspiracy."

"I don't think. He said he didn't." She defended him.

"I can't believe you still trust him."

"It's not like that. I just think he didn't do it."

"You're twenty but still na茂ve as fuck!"

"Novan. Just because he once did something bad doesn't mean we should crown every misfortune that comes our way on his head."

"That's what we do. We blame Satan for everything because we know he's good at doing evil. It's their fault and sometimes it's true."

"Yeah." She sighed. "I feel pity for the devil sometimes."

"What?" I stare at her in awe. Who's this girl?

"We blame him for everything. Something that you plan out yourself to do and when you end up getting caught, we blame it on the devil meanwhile the devil doesn't even know you yet."

"Are you not weird? You have empathy for devil's as well."

"You're also a devil but I love you."

"What?" I laughed. Harder than I've ever done.

"So you think the thieves got caught because of my phone?" She asked after I managed to control my laughter.

"Yes. It's easy to track and you have no idea the security your parents have secretly around you. I'm sure that corny uncle of yours tracked your phone location or there's a bug on your phone. Even if that was not how it got retrieved, you're famous and people know your car. Then again, it has a wing. We all know how much that shit cost and it can't be bought by just any other person. If they ride it in town, they're going to get caught by the police and if they try to sell it they'll get suspected. Above all, that detective uncle of yours seems to have whatever goes on in Australia in his palm. He's so smart and it was easy for him."

"If I knew all this, I wouldn't have even asked him how he got it. I think he didn't tell me because he supposed I should know."

"Yeah." She said and looked lost in her thoughts. "Were you serious about where I was going being a dangerous place? I mean at the club?"

"Of course! I am only glad that I found you if not I wouldn't be able to forgive myself. I will lose it if something happens. God, please don't drink again and don't go to those clubs or parties when I am not around. Some people can plan and gang up on you, drug you and do shit."

I got mad while searching for her earlier and when I caught a glimpse of her moving in that direction, my heart hammered against my chest before ripping off and drops to my feet. I ran like crazy to get to her. I am lucky I got to her if not...I don't know.

"You should've asked someone if you didn't know the washroom," I added, feeling the fear I felt all over again.

"That was what I did. I did ask someone." She answered.

"Then what happened? Did you forget the direction?" Mariana is not forgetful but if it's the alcohol, then I blame it on it.

"You know me."

Of course, I know. She's that clever and alert even drunk.

"Then?"

She shook her head. At once I knew. My mind began to run wild.

"The person you asked..is it a girl or a boy?"

"Girl."

"And she misleads you? Who's it? Do you know her?"

She shook her head again. "I...I don't know her." Her eyes are blinking, not because she wanted to cry but because she's lying to me.

"Who was it?" I pushed.

"No."

"Please tell me."

She looks at me then back to the ceiling. "Promise me you won't do anything."

"It depends."

"Novan."

"Okay. Okay. You just tell me."

"You'll have to promise me first."

She won't have it. Such a determinant girl I've got. "I promise."

"Novan you'll have to mean it. You won't go back on it."

"Okay." She thinks I will forgive anybody who tried that on her. I didn't tattoo her on my body for the fun of it.

"Aria."

I sank into the bed further with my eyes closed. So it's her. The girl who almost became my step sister. If it had happened, then I would've cut all ties with my father I swear. So a part of me is jubilating that he died.

"Say something Novan." I know she's looking at me.

"I can't say anything."

"I hope you're not planning to do something."

I already know what to do with her. She's crazy to try that shit on my girl, my wife, my entire world. I wouldn't have survived it.

I won't even spare Mariana's relatives or her parents if they try to harm her. Talk of that low life ugly bitch! I will ruin her.

"Novan!" She whined, shaking my arm. "If you want to do anything, just remember that it didn't happen."

"So what? I should sit around and watch some disgusting random perverted homeless druggie hooligans touch you before I react? Don't tell me bullshit! You think I will be able to face you or even look at you again if that happened?!" I yelled angrily. I will lose my shit and Mariana will never recover. Our relationship will only be cut short.

My eyes moved to her and I saw her coiling and looking vulnerably scared. She's even shaking. Damn! What the fuck did I do again.

"Mariana?"

She looked at me with glossy eyes.

"Come here." My all. I opened my arms and she got into it much to my relief. My arms enclosed around her as if to protect her all over again. Well, I want to protect her from everything. I want to be her anchor. Someone she can depend on always and never get disappointed.

"Don't be scared."

"I can't imagine me without you, Novan. And I don't want anything to break us. I can't lose you. I love you too much." Her voice is breaking.

"I won't let anything happen to you or us, trust me."

She nodded.

"I am sorry for being harsh and for yelling at you."

" Don't be, you said the truth but forget her. I am sure she didn't mean it. Just one of her silly jokes." She tries to calm me but that skyrocketed my hatred for that Aria girl the more.

"You're not a joke to me Mariana and I don't want anybody to play that game on you. Especially not on your safety. You're very serious for me, a big deal. If that bitch wants to play, she knows where to do it." And since she doesn't know her playground, I will show her.

"You promised me." She whispered.

"I know." I released her from my grip. I can feel my anger boiling and I have to control it somehow. I hope she keeps quiet and doesn't say anything more about her attempted attack else, my entire month of working on controlling my anger will be in vain as I will be screaming now and turning this room upside down. My adrenaline is already shooting and I am thirsty to ruin things while my fist is itching to crack the walls or leave a mark there. That fucking bitch. How fucking dare her?

"Novan?" She's touching my face and trying to lock eyes with me which I am avoiding else, she's going to see all the truth from there. My rage, fear, and sadness.

"Look at me."

"No." I turned away and buried my face in the pillow grumpily.

"Okay. I want to ask you something."

"Ask me."

"Won't you look at me?"

"You said I shouldn't do anything to Aria and that's not easy. I'm trying to control myself, Mariana." It's a lie. I just don't want her to see through me and for Aria, I've already decided on her.

"Okay."

I heard her turn away.

"Talk to me."

"How can I talk to you in the condition you are in?"

"I will listen. Nothing is happening to me."

"I know."

"Then talk."

"Well...I want to know where you got my ring from."

Is it the same ring she has refused to wear?

"Which ring?"

"Please. You know it. Don't play dumb."

"I got it here in Australia. Why do you ask?"

"I.. I.. lost it."

I got my face from the pillow to look at her quietly.

"Please forgive me." She couldn't look at me and she's busy twisting her fingers.

I just stare at her. I am not shocked but hurt. Just hurt. I've been hurt since the day I saw her without it. How can she be so careless about something as important as this? It signified our marriage. A symbol I didn't care about until I put it on her finger. Seeing her wearing it is enough to make my day and made me value the shit but...

"Novan."

"I am not mad. Not surprised either because I knew."

"You knew? How?"

"I knew it got lost but what I don't know is how it occurred."

She looked at me this time remorsefully. "I..went to one of those parties with your friends and it slipped from my finger. I looked for it. I really did but couldn't find it. I am sorry. I didn't mean to misplace it."

"You started partying? And with those assholes?" Now I am angry at her even though I am happy and proud that she was honest with me. I just want to pat her back for that and kiss her on the cheeks.

"Not all the time."

"Why would you party?"

"When I don't have anything to do and I am missing you. I miss you every day and getting drunk get me occupied and I don't think of you much."

Fuck. Must she say that? I want to be angry at her but it's just melting away.

"You're doing what we've been working against Mariana. I can't be getting better and you will be rotting. We won't get anywhere if that happens." I am surprised by my calm voice all of a sudden.

"I am sorry."

"You saw what happened at the club? It can happen again. Please don't go to a party or club without my knowledge again. I would've told you to never go again but no. That's the old me who likes to dictate. To control. Just tell me whenever you feel like you're going to go okay?"

"I won't go again."

"Don't say that. What if you go back to it? Remember partying is not something we decide. It just happens and sometimes you feel like going. You just have to be careful. Tell me or don't go without your guard."

"Thank you. Does that mean you've forgiven me?"

"For?"

"Misplacing the ring."

"What did you do? You just have to make sure you're not careless next time and thanks for being honest. I wasn't expecting you to be so honest about it and it in fact kept my anger away." That made her smile and I reached to kiss her on the cheeks just like I wanted to.

"So how did you know that it got missing?"

I got up and fetched my wallet from my jeans trousers then took the ring out. "Because I have it."

Her expression is just like I imagined. I came to Australia also because of this ring.

"How did you get it?!" She's shocked and surprised.

"

★★★

♾️馃崅The kiss and now,
our AFTERGLOW?♾️馃崅

By: @AvisMens (Kels)

CHAPTER 09✓
[214] of the LIFE SERIES.

|~DONOVAN~|

〰️❤️〰️

"How did you get it?!" She's shocked and surprised.

The person who found it unfortunately seems to be a broke nigga. He tried to sell it at another jewelry company and since it was a customized one and the only in the market, the jeweler contacted the company I had it made from and they called me to ask if I am the one who wants to sell it. I said No and told them to keep it for me then I compensated the person because if he had not thought of bringing it to sell then I wouldn't have found it. So yeah, I am grateful to him and he's a student and told me that he found it at the frat house. I've been waiting since for you to spill."

"I'm sorry."

"It's okay."

"So..can I have it back? Please?"

"No."

"Why?"

"Until you're fit enough to keep it. I can't stand another carelessness from you again."

"I promise to treasure it this time around."

"Why didn't you do it before? Didn't you like it?"

"I love it, Novan and it wasn't my intention for it to get missing."

"Whatever. I will only give it back after some years. Right now, you're not capable of keeping things. Who knows, we might not find it if it gets missing again."

"Please. It won't happen again."

"I also don't want it to. My heart broke when I first saw you without it at my graduation."

"I saw it. I've been feeling guilty since and especially when I still see yours on your finger."

I sighed.

"I promise Novan. Just give it to me one last time."

"Okay. Bring your hand."
She crawled to the end of the bed where I was standing with her hand in the air for me.

"Just know you lost me if it gets missing again. It will be over for us Mariana and you will never see me again." I threatened as I slipped it back on her finger.

She gasped. Really gasped. She looked terrified as well.

"Tell me you're joking."

Of course, I am joking. This ring is not enough to separate us but I am not telling her that.

"Just make sure you don't lose it."

She nodded and crawled back into the bed.

I laid beside her and covered us with the comforter.

"How many more hours do we have until daybreak?"

"Let me check." I picked and checked the time.

"It's four in the morning."

"When is your flight?" She asked.

"7 am."

"We only have two hours, Novan." She moved closer to me and put her head on my chest.

"Call me when you miss me. When I don't pick, know that I am busy and that I will call you back."

"Alright."

"Call me when you're horny anytime. I got you." I said and she giggled.

"Anytime?"

"Anytime."

"Thanks." She smiled. Who knows that distancing ourselves can help this way. They said together we'll stand and divided we fall. However, sometimes, you need to stand alone, face the world alone, and see it from another perspective before you can become strong and be ready to face it. Because you'll never know how difficult the world is until you throw yourself in alone without a lifesaver or support. Now that I have gone to see it alone, I know that nothing can break me,.can break us. I am stronger than before, we're stronger than before.

"I need to go home for my bag and I can't find my phone here."

"Right now?"

"Yes. There's a lot I have to do actually and school is far from here."

"Alright." I got up and put fresh clothes on. She also did quickly and we stepped out.

"I hope they're done and gone."

"I hope so too." I reach for her hand as we descend the stairs. Luckily, they weren't there.

We got out to the bike and in a few minutes, we got to her house.

I walked with her inside and to her room where she got her clothes off again and ran off to the washroom. It took all the self-control I had in me to not follow her.

I walked to her dresser and combed my hair then went back to sit on her bed. I ended up closing my eyes then getting comfy.

"Novan I am done."

I feel someone shaking me. The fuck. "I want to sleep small," I groaned.

"Seriously? Get up already."

"I haven't had any sleep. Please let me sleep."

"You have a flight to catch and I also need to go to school. It's already five Novan."

What?

I sprang to my feet immediately.

Fuck. I didn't know I slept.

"Why didn't you wake me up? We should be spending only thirty minutes here."

"I was done thirty minutes ago."

"Then?"

"I just thought I should make you sleep a little."

"Are you sure or you just wanted to watch me sleep for the last time?"

"Both."

"Damn! Now we're late. Let's go."

"Stop whining." She chuckled.

I take her in and she's dressed in a beautiful homecoming dress. Her makeup is perfect and had her hair in tight curls. She's so stunning. I saw my ring on her finger and smiled.

"Ready?"

"Yes." She grabbed her bag and I took it from her before putting my hand around her tiny waist.

"Do you still feel sore?" I whispered my question.

"Why?"

"We could use some five minutes. You know..a quickie?"

"No. We don't have time." She chuckled.

"Only five minutes. I promise."

"No." She titters more as we get down.

"Take your something. " I hit her head lightly.

"Yes, I will take it."

"You'll suck it up when I also refuse. You hear?"

"Please Novan. You know we're late. I am not depriving you. It's the time."

"I won't say anything."

She looks at me then shakes her head.

"Where have you two been?" We stopped when her father appeared.

"Good morning Dad. I am off to school."

"And you?" Pablo asked me.

"I'm going back."

"Now?"

"Yes."

"It seems you only know our daughter. You should spend time with us when you come and you Mariana, you don't ignore us when he comes. For that, you're coming home this weekend."

"Alright, dad. Greet mom for me when she wakes and tell her that I am sorry."

"I am here."

Here comes Paula. She's dressed and looking perfect as always. Even Pablo is dressed.

"Oh, mom." Mariana went to hug her. "I will see you on Saturday or Friday. Right now we're running late."

"Okay. Take care and call us if anything."

"Sure."

"Hello, there son-in-law." Paula grins while waving at me.

"Hello there Paula madam." I wave her back equally with a grin and father and his daughter just exchanged amused glances.

"You two take care. We're also getting late anyway and Pablo you haven't wore your shoe or your tie yet. We're going to be late..." She complained and literally dragged Pablo by the hand away.

Women.

Mariana took my hand also and we walked out.

I walked to my rental bike while Mariana went for her car. We decided to do it this way.

"After submitting, we'll meet on campus then from there we go to the airport okay?"

"Okay. Be careful." I kissed her and held the door for her to get in after dumping her bag on the backseat.

"Sure I will. You too."

I nod.

"Seriously Quin. I can't believe you two are leaving without seeing me."

Oh no!

I turned to see an old man. I think Toby. The one she told me about that he's been getting sick.

Mariana got out of the car to hug him.

"I'm so sorry Toby. I didn't mean to."

"It's okay dear. Just make sure you see me anytime you come home okay? You might not know when you'll come and I won't be around. It's then you'll miss me and wish. I don't want that for you."

"Okay, Toby," Mariana said with a smile and I wondered if she really understood what the man just said.

"How are you?" He asked me, throwing me back to when I was a kid. I can't remember anyone asking me that when I grew.

"I'm good. Thanks."

"Wonderful. I know you're running late so I will let you go. I pray you two are always happy and be together till only death do you apart."

"Alright, Toby. See you." A quick kiss on his cheek and Mariana hopped into her car. I watched her drive out then I walked to the bike. Tobias followed me and I stopped to ask if he wanted something. I remember he also helped me to get married to Mariana nine months ago.

"You need something?"

"No. I just thought I should say something to you. It's something I haven't told anyone before."

"Oh really?" I leaned on the giant bike and waited for him to speak. My only hope is that, it's not a lecture.

"I lost my parents at a very young age and when I grew, I made a little out of life and got married who later died some years after we had a son. Xander was a nice boy from the beginning. He was everything to me but as he grew, he strained from me. I saw fewer of him every day. He turned stubborn and sold our house. The money, he didn't use it for anything profitable. It got finished and since there wasn't anything else for him to get from me to sell, he traveled and never came. I moved to live in a cottage close to the shore in Paulo. I hope Mariana told you that it was where she grew."

"Yeah." I nodded.

"Good. After some years, I heard of Xander's tragic death and I became truly lonely. No parents, no wife and the only son I had also died.."

"I'm sorry but why did he die and how?" I'm curious.

"By accident and I learned he was working for someone who instructed him to kill a woman. He tried but karma was good to the woman and not him. My loneliness continued until I found Mariana's lifeless body by the beach one day. She was very young. I took her home and luckily she was still alive though her pulse was very faint. To cut a long story short, she survived and I watched her grow to become the beautiful woman she is now. I love her like my own and I bless the day I found her. What am I trying to say here? Well, I just want to tell you to take care of her. She has parents and I could tell them this but you're her husband and she loves you so that makes it. Please promise to always be there for her. She didn't have a smooth childhood as it seems. I was poor and couldn't afford all that she needed. In fact, she had to do menial jobs to look after me. She's very sweet. I know you love her too but if not anything or something comes between you two one day, just continue to love her and see it as you're making up for the damage your dad made. Take care of Mariana and love her because of that because I am also doing the same."

"What are you saying?" I'm confused. Where is all this coming from and heading to?

"I've always wanted a way to make up for my son's deeds towards the woman he tried to kill but I didn't know how until I found Mariana and I am so happy that I helped her that day. I feel so fulfilled now that I helped the daughter of the woman my son was hired to kill."

"What?..you..you mean.." I stammer.

"Yes." He nodded with a smile. "Remember what your dad did then be good to her if not anything, please. I can see how much she loves you."

"Hell, I also love her a lot. You have no idea."

"Great. So it's a secret. Nobody knows this."

"It's safe. I am not like Mariana." I said and he laughed. Now I believe more that this man raised her. He knows her.

"She's not exactly nosy or a gossip. She likes to know everything and only shares it with those she cares about."

"Again, that girl cares about everyone." I pointed out and couldn't help but laugh this time.

"You got it right there. My secret will never be safe with her." He laughed along through coughs.

"You okay?" I got alarmed.

"Sure."

"Thanks for telling me that."

"I had to. Please remember what I said. Mariana is everything to me and I want to entrust her in your care as I don't know how many more years I have to stay here. She has been good to me. When I look around me and the happiness I have, all the people, I only have her to thank. She brought an end to my loneliness by giving me a loving family. I'm sure she can bring yours to an end also. Be good to her."

"I will Toby. I will."

"Good. I will leave you now. Take care."

I shook his tired hands and got on my bike, waved him, and zoomed off. I will have to catch up with Mariana and if possible, ride in line with her.

My mind goes back to the old man. This world is really a small place. Whatever goes around, definitely comes around.

Looking at my life and then to the life story I just heard, I have come to know that, really, everything occurs for a significant reason.

My dad tried so many evil tricks on this family but I, his son, ended up married to their daughter and now they all love me like their own. On the other hand, is Tobias whose son also tried wonderfully to destroy this family. To kill Paula and his dad ended up being catered for in his old days by just the good deed he did unknowingly. To him, he's happy that at least there was a way he was able to make up for his son's mistakes, a way he right the wrongs and that is truly fulfilling. Helping freely and being good is great. Being bad also has its reward and that is death. We can see it happen to Jude and Xander. Toby is right, even if I never really did love Mariana, I will right my dad's wrongs by being good to her and never leave her. I will always be there for her for that. Now that I know this, I am even more enthusiastic. At least, I can make Mariana happy to atone for my father's sins. There's always a way to make up for our mistakes.
Toby could've said nature has already punished his son and tried to be evil after realizing who this family is but he didn't. And I learned that it pays to be genuinely good. His help to Mariana wasn't by chance and it wasn't even in vain. There's a lot he gained from that. A lot.

I signed the bike away then took a short flight to my formal college. I saw the campus cafe and Marian's car parked in front. I walked in and smiled when my eyes set on her.

She got up to hug me once she lifted her head from her laptop.

"Hey."

"Why did you take so long?"

"Did I ?"

"Of course you did." She swats at me and walks back to the table. I pulled a chair and sat. She has a laptop on the table and a steamy coffee beside it. It's still early so there weren't many people around. Just some nerds who came with their notes.

"Will you take coffee?"

"Yes."

"You can take this. It's the second cup I took and I've had enough." She said as she typed.

"You noticed me so fast when I came in. How did you know?" I raised the cup to my lips. She's obsessed with black coffee just like me.

She shrugged. "I don't even know. I think I just felt it and looked at the door then truly, I saw you."

I nodded because I understand. Even in a crowded hall, there is no way I won't feel her presence the very minute she steps inside. I can't explain it as well.

"You need to hurry Novan." She prompted. I checked the time and it was exactly 6:20. We have forty minutes left and we'll take at least five minutes to get to the airport.

"Let's go." I drank the coffee at a go instead of the normal sipping. It's good she had it there for a while if not I wouldn't be able to drink.

"Okay." She packed her laptop and notebook. I took her key from the table and the laptop under my arm.

I dropped the laptop carefully on the backseat then took her notebook as well and dropped it there.

She got in beside me and I helped her fix the belt before driving away.

"I will miss you." Her voice is a dirge. I looked at her and put my hand over her thigh, rubbing it gently. I heard her sigh and relaxed in the seat, her head falling on the restraint.

"Why did you put your earring back in?" she asked out of the blue.

"Do I have to answer that?" I chuckled.

"Yes."

"I feel naked without any of them. I always feel as if something is missing on me or I am missing something so I decided to fix the earring at least."

"Anytime you feel like something is missing again, or you want to fix another, please let it be your tongue or lip ring. I miss it."

"You don't actually miss it, you know that right?. You miss how it makes you feel." I laughed and she smiled.

"It was my favorite." She admitted.

"I just realized."

She smiles at me then puts her hand over mine, the one I have on her lap.

"I'm glad you have a relationship with my family, especially my mom. I almost thought you two will never get along but it happened and I can't be any happier."

"I also couldn't believe it. I mean who would've thought?" I smiled, going back to all my before horrible moments with her mom.

"No, she even hugs you and cries on your shoulders."

Mariana is talking about my graduation. She doesn't know I did worse. I decided to give her a shock.

"That's not new. I've also cried like a bitch on her lap before."

"The fuck! No way!"

I laughed.

"What more are you two hiding? What have you been doing behind my back?" She yelled.

I laughed. "Not gonna tell."

"It's not fair Novan! Did you say you cried on her lap?"

"Yeah."

"When was that?"

"The day my dad was buried."

"I see. Tell me more. Already, I've seen you two go for lunch two times already and right in front of me. You ignored me in all of it. Tell me more Novan."

"I can't share the little secret between your mom and I to you Mariana."

"And you call her Paula madam?"

I laughed. How do I tell her how Paula and I became friends.

"And she bought you those shirts, didn't she? The one you refused to show to me..and... don't tell me you spent the entire day with her on that day."

I only laughed. I will never forget that Paula was the only one who trusted me during that property saga. She didn't like me but she knew I was innocent. That hit me hard.

"This is terribly not fair. I force you to wear a dress shirt, to dress up but you listened to my mom." She grumbled.

She doesn't know I agreed because Paula bribed to help me win her.

"I am jealous and right now I am glad that you're leaving."

I looked at her to check if she actually said that and she's being serious. Her dead serious look throws me into another fit of laughter.

"You wanted this Mariana."

"Yes, but I didn't say you two should cross the lines and be going on dates, crying on each other, and fuck!" She muttered angrily.

I stopped laughing. "Babe?"

"Don't." She raised a finger to silence me.

I keep on looking at her as I drive, shaking my head and smiling. . Mariana is actually angry.

"I'm sorry."

"Don't say it. I don't know you two have really gone that far. It hurt me when I saw you leave with her for lunch for the second time."

"But how can you be jealous of your own mom? And even if it's true, she didn't say shit to you when you were shamelessly flirting with her husband right in her face every damn time." I jabbed.

"Her husband has always been mine if you don't know."

"And I started being hers.."

"Hey!!" She shut me up.

"Who loves her mother's husband." I scoffed.

"And who loves his wife's mother."

"It's not a crime to like your mother in law but a crime if a daughter likes her father."

"You'll not talk about my dad and I?"

"And you'd keep quiet about Paula and I. You don't know how we struggled to be where we are today. She has been with me through thick and thin if you don't know." I had to say this. I don't know why we're fighting over this in the first place. I want it to be a joke but Mariana is not taking it like that.

"You'll be far away from her anyway. I will be with my dad all through." She brought her tongue out childishly at me.

"You're so fucking impossible."

"I will break up with you if I see you with Paula again." She threatened.

"I will also break up with you if I see you with Pablo." A smile threatened to break on my face.

"Seriously?" She laughed. "This is crazy but I am actually jealous so if you can minimize your closeness with my mom, I will be happy. I mean it Everett."

"I will think about it."

"Think?"

"Yes. Paula and I are inevitable."

"You're making me so jealous Novan. I can't believe it."

"I love you." I simply told her.

"I will remember that." She got closer and put her head on my chest.

Thank God this drama is over.

We still had thirty minutes after getting to the airport but that thirty minutes, I only have less than ten minutes to be with Mariana because I need to go through the checking ritual.

"Is your five minutes offer still intact?" Mariana asked with an innocent smile.

"What would you do?" I looked around. We're in the parking lot of an international airport. What can be going on in her mind?

"This." She hopped on my lap, straddling me as she palms my cock.

"Wait. What are you doing?" I looked around again.

"Don't worry." She pressed a button and the windows rolled on. "My glass is tinted and my AC has no fault." She winked.

"How did you get this crazy, my dear?"

"I have no idea." She whispered to me in what seemed like a forged sexy tone. Her head shakes slowly from side to side, half her bottom lip trapped between her teeth, and a cool smile plaster her face and adore her lips.

Holding her face with one hand and the other on her waist, I claimed her lips feverishly and passionately.

★★★


♾️馃崅The kiss and now,
our AFTERGLOW?♾️馃崅

By: @AvisMens (Kels)

CHAPTER 10✓
[215] of the LIFE SERIES.

|~MARIANA~|

〰️❤️〰️

I never knew my postcoital bliss would be a distraction until I sat in class and couldn't grab anything that the professor was teaching. My mind kept traveling back, imagining all that occurred in my car a while ago and my body still clinging to the faint feel of Novan's hands on me, his cock in me as he takes me from beneath, his nails under my dress and digging into my waist, raising me slightly and pressing me back on him, his godly yet so filthy lips adored me, my neck, my lips, and my tits. It all makes me miss him even more right when he turned his back to enter the plane. I watched him take off before getting in my car back to campus.

"You look like you've just fallen in love."

I lifted my head to my bedroom door to see Betsy standing there.

"What..me?" I shake my head in hope that thoughts of him will go but they're actually here to stay.

"Yes. Tell me what it is." Betsy's face has a smile as she awaits an answer from me, still standing at the door.

"Nothing." I can't stop the smiles.

"Come on, it can't be nothing? I heard your hubby came. Is he still around? I didn't even see him." She walks in and takes a seat on the bed.

"He left."

"What? He left? When?"

"This morning."

"Whoa! Then.. wait. Why are you smiling and looking dreamy the entire day? You should be sad that he left right?"

"I'm not going to be sad that he left. I just hate that I will be missing him."

"What changed? I don't see myself looking happy when Morgan leaves for another country. What is with you?"

"I've been sad before but not anymore. This time is different and my Novan is going through amazing changes for us. I have nothing to fear."

"I see. Glad to see smiles instead of the tears. I am happy."

"Yeah. Thanks. Tell me about you. Why did you decide to come to my place today?"

"Morgan is busy with his graduation and stuff. I see less of him and I am bored so I thought why not come live with my friend."

"You only know me when your boyfriend is temporarily unavailable." I throw a playful scowl at her.

"Don't act innocent here. You ignore everybody if you see your husband too."

"That is because it's been long. Don't compare us."

"Okay fine. You got me there." She throws in the towel.

"That's more like it."

"I'm also going to graduate next year. Just next year and I will kiss college goodbye." Betsy squeals.

"Yeah." I put a pillow under my head.

"We could be graduating together."

"Yes but sometimes things don't always go the way we want it to be."

"Yes but.."

"Don't worry Betsy. I'm still young and life still has a lot in store for me."

"Only you think this way."

"I'm not sure." Yes, I could be graduating with my best friend but I have long forgiven my parents for that to be thinking back at what would've happened if they didn't do that.

"I want to see you at my graduation."

"Sure. I should be crazy if I don't make it. How's your internship?"

"Good. I turned a celebrity overnight just by uploading the picture of my boss and I you sent to me on Instagram. I had ten million followers in just a week. Already, I uploaded a picture of you and I and had 15 million followers and when Morgan and I went official online, I had 20 million. So in all, I am an Instagram star of 45million followers." She boasts.

"Whoa! Congratulations! That's insane."

"Yeah, and you could get more if you can at least create one of those accounts."

"No thanks." I laughed. "I don't wanna be famous."

"That's bad. Who doesn't want fame? You have a lot of fans out there than you know. I'm sure if you could create, in a day, you could have a 100 million."

"No please." I laughed.

"Lame. You and your husband are busy running behind time. Everyone has a social media account but you two."

"It doesn't matter."

"It does. Even your kid brother rocks everywhere and I am surprised to see how girls like him already."

"I don't wanna be on any media." I sang to her.

"You're outdated Mariana."

"If that is what you think it is then fine but I don't find interest in letting millions of people in my private life. I don't want the situation where I will have to spend my days trying to hide a particular thing about me from my fans and paying bloggers off to not take my information outside. I don't have that energy or the time Betsy."

"I am a star and a public figure, Mariana. I find nothing wrong and have zero problems."

"Yeah. That is why I am congratulating you. Seriously, I am happy for you."

"It's all thanks to you. You walked into my life like a God and blessed me. Everything I have, I have only you to thank Mariana. My parents have a big house and a decent job. My brother is also in a high position in your father's company and I met your wonderful family. They gave me all the love and extended it to my family. I found the love of my life because of you. I am attending one of the best schools in the country and having a great internship at a reputable company and it's all because of you. I bless the day I met you and I am really proud, honored, and privileged to be your friend. I can't ask for any other better person or ask for more Mariana. You're the friend everyone will wish to have and I consider myself fortunate. You're one of a kind and I love you." Betsy wrapped her arms around me on the bed.

"You've been a great friend also Betsy. You gave me a friendship neither my riches can buy and I am grateful. You deserve it all sis." True friends are hard to find and Betsy is that. With my status, I won't be able to find a genuine friend but I did after all. She's been here with me through my worst days, my darkest moments, and in my glory time.

"Oh please. I never really did anything."

"I know that is what you gon' say." I chuckled. If not anything, she has been there for me to have someone to call a friend. She's here and with me.

"Vacation and Christmas are around the corner again but not for me. I'm going to be so damn busy."

"You could spare me a little time with me at least on Christmas can't you?"

"Of course. I missed you anyway."

"Me too."

***

馃挋 THREE WEEKS LATER...馃挍

|•DONOVAN•|

"We have to go back to Australia for Christmas Nova. I can't stay here for such an occasion."

"Relax. We still have a lot of days until Christmas." I also have plans. There's no fucking way in hell I am going to spend Christmas here alone.

"Yeah. I will have to finish my exam."

"Good you know. Hurry up and go to school."

"Why not drop me?"

I pulled my phone out to check the time. "I'm running late. I promise to take you tomorrow."

"No!" She stubbornly crosses her arm over her chest.

"Nervy!" I groaned.

"No. You'll have to take me."

"Fine. Let's go." I got my key from the rack at the door and walked out. Esther started college so she only gives Nervisa company on weekends.

"Your exam started last week right?" I asked when we got in the car.

"Yeah."

I nodded and dialed Mariana's number. She's starting her exam today and it will be lovely to wish her all the best and hear her tell me how much she's prepared for it.

I admitted that she's busy after she didn't pick for the third time. We spoke on Saturday where she said she was spending the weekend with her family then taking her family's good luck wishes before going to campus. A religious girl I got.

I dropped Nervisa at school then drove as fast as I could without caring about the police to get to work early. Well, traffic didn't allow that. I ended up late. So unlike me.

I called Mariana when I returned after seeing her missed calls but she also didn't pick.

I called continuously and the entire night but she didn't. The next day I tried again and to my surprise, it was unreachable.

At this point, I knew something was not right and that scared the shit out of me.

"Have you heard from Marion?" I asked as I stopped by Nervisa's school.

"Nigga won't pick my calls so I haven't heard from him." She opened the door.

"Why? Are you two not friends anymore?"

"I don't know."

"Wait," I said but I am late. She opened the door and runoff.

I hate to not know what is going on over there. I know Mariana is okay. Maybe sad but she's okay. I know. Could it be that she's just busy with exams?

I tried calling her mom but she also didn't pick and later texted that she's going to call back.

I waited. Waited for her call each fucking second that I lost my concentration at work.

The days rolled by till the week ended. I had all plans to leave for Australia earlier than I had planned. While figuring out what shit to pack, Paula's call finally came. I scrammed for it in haste.

Before I could even begin to utter a word, she spoke.

"Can you come home?"

"Why...wha...what happened?" My voice trembled.

"I asked if you could come home." She picked the words one after the other and slowly.

"Yes of course but tell me what.."

"Then come soon." She cuts in.

"Is Mariana alright?"

I heard her sigh. "I can't say."

Even she doesn't sound happy to me.

"What? What the fuck do you mean?!" My voice strained and almost caught at the end from how my heart suddenly skipped.

"Look, it's either you come and see for yourself. I don't know. She's not talking to anyone and we think she's going to respond to you alone. I hope she does if you could make it."

"What!" In the pit of my fucking stomach is where my damn heart is laying right now.

"Is she on campus? Taking her exams?"

"Campus? No. Exams? Mariana is not writing. She's in distraught and at home. We don't know what to do anymore."

Okay. This is serious.

**

♾️馃崅The kiss and now,
our AFTERGLOW?♾️馃崅

By: @AvisMens (Kels)

CHAPTER 11✓
[216] of the LIFE SERIES.

|~DONOVAN~|

〰️❤️〰️

Goodbye.

It's and will always be the saddest thing ever to exist on this Earth especially if it has to be permanent. Life in itself is not so easy, complications, twists, and turns are all laced up in it. Everyone has it in one way or the other and it does not have anything to do with class. Everyone is subjected; Whether rich or poor, you're still eligible to a certain kind of problem. The only thing is, we all have different problems. Life is beautiful and simple until you have to bid goodbye to someone of a kind.

When my father passed away, I felt the pain even though I wasn't so close to him and had so much anger and hatred towards him. I still feel the emptiness all the time and though I have felt this pain that comes with death before, I can not ever say I understand the pain of the once strong now traumatized lone figure sitting in the unforgiving rain on the tomb of the one person who has nurtured her since she was a baby till a woman. Someone she has known her entire life. Someone she has spent more time with even more than her parents. Someone who knows her more than her parents even and someone she loves with her entire heart. I can't understand her pain even if I try. Not all deaths bring the same pain that I have understood in this new phase and twist life has once again unveiled. So though you can not erase that pain, you can at least be there for the person.

I stood a few feet away from her and watched as the rain lash furiously at her but she's less concerned about it. She's lost, lost in whatever thought that has consumed her that she couldn't even sense my presence like always. However, even in her state, it's still a huge relief for me to see her after another three weeks of being apart.

Juat like the rain, I also want to lash out at her for leaving her exam for the sake of the death of some tired old man whose end hasn't been tempered but came naturally. Left to me alone, Mariana need not cry over this as she has given Toby something no man was able to give him. He was happy and fulfilled. No need crying and shit!

And why did Toby have to die? The fuck, he made this sweet soul here sad and gave this rain the chance to pound into her body that she'll catch a cold or even had already. I would like to kick his ass if he didn't die.

I want to call her but would she even hear me amid the possible chaos going on within her?

I might as well try it.

"Riana."

I swear she didn't hear. She fucking didn't. She just sits there, a whole millionaire like her, drenched in rain and looking all vulnerable.

"Dollface." One of my given affectionate names I call her by. This is the name that annoys her and just manages to make her blush as well. She just can't help it. If only she knew that she's really beautiful even than the doll. Many times, I just fucking wish she'll be able to see herself from my eyes then she'll know just how much great she is and means to me.

"Mariana."

I waited for any reaction from her stiff back but nothing came. What do I do if she can't even hear my voice and respond to me?

I got closer to her, not really but I took a step forward anyway.

Yet, she didn't even realize it. She sits there immobile and functionless.

I try to think of anything about the old man I saw three weeks ago and now no more. Only that obnoxious name came to mind.

"Quinn?"

There I saw her stir then began to look beside her, forward, back then she did it around.

Her eyes fell on me and instantly, she hauled herself up. I expected her to run into my arms but she came to stand at my side instead, shivering with teeth clashing furiously against each other as she looked behind me.

"Donovan, where is he? You brought him didn't you?" She actually thought it was the old man.

"Who?"

She stays mute, trying to bite down her lips then she raises her sorrowful eyes to my face.

"Oh, so you don't know?" Her voice came in a whisper.

"I don't know what?"

"I thought...I thought.." Then, she breaks into painful sobs, her body shaking as she hiccups along. Before what, she's letting her body collapse in the muddy grass. I let her into my arms instead and we fell back on the grass but I had her in my arms this time.

Only the sound of the rain hitting against us and the tombs around can be heard in the cemetery accompanied by lightning and thunder strikes then the most disturbing of all, Mariana is still crying in my arm, her face pressed against my chest and I am sure she's busy brushing her nose off on me just like she always does. I hope today too she'll raise her head to look in my face to check if I am disgusted and I will look away with that expression that always says I don't mind.

I let her cry, to wipe her nose as much as she wants on my shirt and I don't mind. If this is what will get some of the weight of pain from her just, then I will.

So we stayed in the rain, among both fresh and old dead bodies and dry bones for what seemed like forever. Even the rain doesn't seem to have a stop button.

For fuck sake I arrived this evening, barged into the Dominguez mansion, and directly raced to her room only to see it empty. I came to ask her family and they said she has been in her room all along. At that moment, I cursed each fucking one of them in my head and swore to bring the worst of me out to them if shit happens to her. They sent guards to look for her and for an hour, none of them brought any good news. I asked which cemetery Toby was buried and took one of her cars here after picking the key from her dresser.

It's completely dark now and her sobs have subsided but it's as cold as fuck out here. I won't care as much if something happens to me but her..no.

"We need to get out of here Mariana," I said calmly close to her ears. My breath comes out in thick fogs as if I'm smoking all over again.

"We? No." She squeaks in a dry voice.

"Don't you want us to go?"

"Us? No, only you can. I can't and don't ask me why?"

" Well, I am sorry but I want to know why you wanna stay here."

"How can I leave him here all alone by himself? He didn't leave me when I was helpless onshore."

"Fuck! He's dead. Unless you want to follow.. shit!" I stopped myself upon seeing her horrified face and the tenseness.

The hell Novan. You just say anything.

"I mean..well.. he's gone you can't.."

"It's okay. You leave from here if you're going to say these things."

"Fuck no! How can I leave."

"Why?" She tries to get away from me but I am not allowing it.

"Because you're here and I love you."

"So how do you also expect me to leave him? I am not heartless. He was everything to me and I love..love him. I was at home but not okay so I have to come here because my Toby is here. We've always been together regardless of the circumstances and this rain is nothing. Nothing."

Okay. I might not be able to understand her how I should but I also love her and I don't like seeing her this way.

"How long?"

"What?" She got up and I allowed her.

"How long are you going to sit here and cry?"

"I.. don't... I" she searches for words. "It's not your concern. Go back to where you're coming from and just leave me the hell alone okay!"

"I am not leaving but If I should, then you're coming along." I don't mean to order her.

"What don't you get? Why do you want to force me?"

See.

"Hey. I am not forcing you. Have you forgotten who I am?"

"I haven't but I know I don't want you here. I don't want anybody here." She walks back to sit on the tomb.

I need to adopt a way to get her out of here peacefully else, this strong-headed girl won't listen to a word I'll say.

"Wherever Tobias is, do you think he'll be happy to see you crying like this in an open area and at the mercy of a storm? Do you think he'll be happy?"

She didn't look at me or said a word. Her hair is permed on her head, making her ears stand out so proudly.

"He has always wanted your happiness, Mariana. Why are you ruining it by crying this much?"

"He shouldn't have left. At least he could have told me so I will be prepared." She finally said.

I wish I warned her when I sensed it that Toby would leave soon.

"Even he didn't know that he's going to die. Death is inevitable Mariana. We can die at any time."

Her eyes moved to stay on me and I took the steps left to take a seat beside her on the fresh tomb.

"Well, then I want to die.."

"What!" I sprang to my feet immediately. "Are you crazy? How can you say that?!" I'm screaming like mad. She loves Toby but her love for Toby doesn't half the love I have for her. If her love for him makes her this way, then what will happen to me?

The annoying thing is that she's making too much of a fuss over his death. She doesn't even need to cry and dump her future in the air as she did. She'll have to resit all the papers next semester and I feel for her. Why in the hell will she forfeit her exams to mourn?

Maybe I am yet to know how much Toby's death hit her.

"Think about me first before talking about dying, Mariana. I really, really beg of you."

"You're not going to lose anything if I die Donovan."

"Bullshit!" My madness sets in and I begin to pace in front of her, running my hands in my wet hair like mad.

"True. Look at me. I am just Mariana. I don't have anything.."

"You have me if not anything."

"No, I don't. I don't have you and I don't want to have you because I don't have anything to give you. Well, I can give you money, create opportunities for you, great sex, and all but not the most important thing that everyone will wish for. I am just useless. I won't be able to give you the happiness you want and I am so sorry..." Her voice breaks and I see something that is beyond Toby's death in her tone.

"What are you saying?" I went back to kneel before her.

"It's the truth Novan." She sniffs and wipes her nose with the back of her hand then wipes it on her wet skirt.

Finally, she called me Novan. I love that she's the only one who calls me that and I like the way she says it and the way it sounds when coming from her mouth.

"What is the truth?" I peered into her brown orbs.

"I..I.. can't." She sighed and covered her face from me. "I can't make you happy. I am not complete. There's a lot of faults in me and now I have to lose someone like Toby. You don't know Novan. You don't know what that man meant to me. For so many years, he was my father, mother, Grandpa, a great friend, sister, and brother. I knew only him until four years back but he still was."

"So what are you sad about?"

" Are you seriously asking me that? Of course, I am sad about his death. I won't see him again."

"Then what again?" I know I don't sound consoling but we need to get this straight.

"What?"

"It's normal to feel sad about his demise but why don't you look at the good side? I believe his death should not make you sad only but happy within."

"How?"

I sat down beside her again. "How old was he?"

"Uhm...seventy two years."

"Okay. Did he have anyone in his life apart from you?"

"He used to."

"Toby didn't die unhappily. He had a family who loves and cares for him. He was happy and you are the reason for that. If you had not come into his life, by now he would be dead in his cottage very long ago and given a poor burial in a ditch not a cemetery like this. You brought him the happiness he couldn't have found anywhere until he finally died. You can cry but remember that you fulfilled your duty by not leaving him back there when you found your parents. You brought him to live with you, gave him a home and family. Toby will always remember that even in his grave and I can attest that he didn't die sad. You should be happy and proud that your presence in his life made a significant impact and move on. Not forgetting that death is natural to all humans. It's Toby's time that's why he died. Our time too shall come and as usual, people will mourn for days then move on. Our loved ones die yet still life continues."

"I was ready to leave for school. Everyone was there but him. I remembered his words from the last three weeks when I left without seeing him so I went to his room. I went to tell him that I am leaving to take my exams but he..he.. was just.. sleeping there...he wasn't moving...I called him...I shook him and he wouldn't even wake up to look at me... Toby didn't even give me short notice so I can spend his last days with him before he died. Even when I came on Friday, I didn't go to him until when I was about to leave...that was so unfair on my part. I have been neglecting him and even when he complained about it, I did nothing. Toby doesn't know anybody in my family apart from me yet I just left him to his faith just because I drag him to my family. I don't take care of him anymore like I used to. He didn't know anyone, Novan. Just me. And I've always been far away from him. Leaving him all by himself... What if he started feeling as if he was a burden on us? What if he got tired of living with my family..." She's crying all over again but I'm glad the storm is calming.

"Hey. You didn't leave him all alone amid strangers. Toby had a friend in your grandma Victoria who is also the same age as him. You left him with your family to be in school. Something he has always wanted for you."

"You don't know. I actually neglected him. I don't give him his medicines.."

"But you always check if he was given don't you?"

She nodded.

"And you assigned your mom that duty, not even to a maid so don't you trust your mom?"

"I do."

"Remember you told me that Toby has been getting sick?"

"I did."

"Wasn't he given the best treatment? Did your father not get him one of the best doctors?"

"He did."

"And Toby is a cancer patient. You also know cancer patients don't live long but he lived to seventy and over. FUCK, you even know how expensive the treatment is. It was what brought him this far if not he'd have died long ago. A cancer as deadly as his, I haven't seen anyone live long with that. He had a goddamn tumor in his brain, Mariana and he even got it diagnosed late which delayed and complicated his treatment due to poverty from the start and allowed that shit to leak into her body but you together with your family fought for him to live this far. He had a time frame but you reckon with that and bought him more time to live. Toby can't be grateful enough."

"I could give him more happiness. I should've filled his last days with colors. I could do more."

"You've given him enough colors and you're not omniscient so you couldn't have foreseen the future."

"I'm going to miss him." She weeps into her palms.

"You have to but don't blame yourself for his death and anytime you miss him, you should be glad that at least, you gave him a taste of happiness in his old age."

"Stop talking as if he's some homeless beggar I picked on the road. For goodness sake, he's the one that picked me and made me into who I am today. That man is not part of my charity at all. Whatever he got at the end was because he deserves it as my dad and I don't consider all that. I don't care how much we had to spend. I'm concerned about my lack of care. He needed me and I just didn't think about him at all. I am selfish. When I see you I don't think about anyone else at all, everyone becomes non-existent and that is so bad.."

We're back to square one. I am trying to talk some sense to her but she's throwing it away and going back to install trash in her head.

"You know, I think Toby is bad." I sat down, stretching my legs. I have talked more than I've done in my 22 years. Who knew I could give a talk. This woman keeps bringing new things out of me everyday.

She looks up at me through her wet lashes with her beautiful face twisted in a painful scowl.

"And he's ungrateful," I add.

"What are you saying?"

"I will kick his ass for doing this to you. He shouldn't have left without informing you. If I were you, I would be so mad at him. So mad. Are you not angry?"

She shakes her head. "I am not angry at him but at myself for leaving him all alone."

"You didn't leave him all alone. You gave him life support and surrounded him with good people who considered him family. You were in school, doing what he likes, and being a good wife to me after I returned. There's nothing to be angry about. I understand it!"

"Let's say you're right but what do I do with the guilt and the sadness present in my heart?"

"With time, it will go away then you can live with Toby's demise and only think about the memories you have with him in bliss."

"Until then.." She got up and finally began to walk towards the exit.

I jumped up and walked hurriedly past her to open the car door for me.

As if contemplating, she looks at the road then back to the car I had opened with her hands wrapped around her body to keep her warm. My own teeth are pressed tightly together to control it from clashing.

"It's your car."

She walked into it and I got in as well. The ride was quiet. Really quiet. She won't even look at me or tell me anything. All of my questions were ignored. I got tired and shut the fuck up and she sighed.

"With all due respect. Please tell them not to follow me up into my room. I want to be alone." She said when I parked the car.

"What of me?"

"Even you. Don't come." Without sparing even a glance, she disappeared into the mansion.

I walked in on time to stop her grandfather from following her up to her room. "She said to tell you all that she wants to be alone."

I looked around for Pablo and Paula but only saw her great-grandma, Amy with my sister perched on her lap as she whispered something into Nervisa's ear and she smiled. Marion sat opposite them, looking at my sister but surprisingly, and for once, my sister wasn't paying attention to him. Good.

"I will call Ana that she's here," Nicholas said, putting his hand in his pocket probably for his phone.

I just stand there, not wanting to sit on any of their expensive couches to wet it.

"You can come change in my room." Nicholas offered and I followed him. Of course, I don't want to be in my wet clothes anymore and I need to dry up and find myself in something warm.

We got to his room and he showed me to the washroom.

"While you take a bath. I will look for something for you to wear."

"Okay." I walked into his huge and neat bathroom and stripped. Taking a warm bath, I padded out with the only towel I saw in the bathroom tied around my waist.

I hope Mariana also took a bath. I will check up on her after wearing something.

There's a hideous pink Lacoste shirt on the bed with a sweatpant. I picked the shirt which I assumed to be his up then dropped it. I can't see myself in any other color than a lot of black and sometimes white. All other colors are lame and I am going to look stupid if I should be in them.

The sweatpant is gray in color. That, I can manage. As I picked it up, I heard a vibration that directed me to a phone laying face down on the bed. I took it but I didn't have the intention to look who was calling because honestly, I don't give a fuck.

I turned the phone to walk out with it when my eyes flashed across the screen.

Shasha is the saved name and on the screen is her face with a fat ass smile. I smirked and dropped the phone. Naughty adults.

Minutes later, he barged in and immediately turned his back with an apology. "Oh sorry."

"Nothing." I pulled the pants on. "The shirt. Please change it."

"I don't have black or white.."

"How the fuck did you know what I like?"

"Because I haven't seen you in any other colors before apart from black most of the time and sometimes white."

"Good." I smiled. I want to make a snide comment but I am holding myself.

"See? I know what you like." He smiled at me. Even at his age, he's quite a catch.

"Yeah but didn't know yours until.."

"Excuse me?" He asked as he picked his phone from the bed.

"I mean, I didn't know you like Sharon."

There. I said it.

"Sharon?" He asked with a thoughtful face.

Damn! No time to pretend, Mr. Nicholas. I saw it all. The way you banged the innocent dear life out of my sister's nanny. Tell it all to me.

"Yeah. Shasha." I gave him a cheeky grin.

"You saw that on my phone? The name?" He swiped across his phone. "I missed her call."

"I didn't only see that on your phone. You've been visiting her don't you?" I couldn't mask my smile. I still remember vividly the transpiration of that very night. Mariana was shocked if not we would've laughed it off together. I had to hold it in but now that he's here, it jog my memory and I am delighted of the upcoming fun I'll have from teasing him.

"Sometimes." He admitted.

"Yeah sometimes." I nod with a large smile. God, If I am not an asshole. For fuck sake, he's my grandpa. Novan, receive some respect.

"Don't be a dick. You're not innocent either."

I could control it no more. I laughed.

"I'm not dumb. I knew you saw me and instead of going to the point, you're being a jerk about it." I catch him smiling.

"I like Sharon. What you gon' do about it?"

"Nothing." I shrugged with my shoulders shaking slightly in the laughter I'm trying hard to control.

"Good."

"Good you admitted. I don't want any more surprises and.. a little advice. Use the room, not on my table." I have nothing to hide anymore. He knew we saw him.

"Says someone who doesn't care about airports."

"What!"

It's his turn to laugh as he raised his hands above his shoulders to rest his case then walked out of the room.

Mariana did say it was tinted so what the fuck is he saying?

I didn't know when I put the pink shirt on and ran after him, looking like a dumbass Disney prince with the name Pinky fluffy boo.

Oh my..

★★★

♾️馃崅The kiss and now,
our AFTERGLOW?♾️馃崅

By: @AvisMens (Kels)

CHAPTER 12✓
[217] of the LIFE SERIES.

|~DONOVAN~|

〰️❤️〰️

My steps halted when Paula and Pablo walked in and they both took one long look at me.

I just know that I look stupid in this pink shit! I looked at Nicholas and his palm was covering his mouth prolly to keep his laughter in check. Jerk!

"Well, there was no other thing for me to wear. Got all wet and.." My hand traveled into my hair then stops on my neck to rub it.

"What are you saying?" Pablo exchanged looks with his wife.

"The pink shirt. That is why you're looking at me like that.."

"No. We're just surprised that you're here instead of being with her."

"Oh." My hand dropped from my neck. "She doesn't want me there and I don't want to get her angry but then, I will soon check up on her."

"Okay. Thanks for finding her."

"I will always find her," I said more to myself.

"And we're sorry. I feel so ashamed that I wasn't able to watch over her. We didn't even know when she left the room. That's so irresponsible." Paula sadly facepalms.

Shame on them.

I want to say something to make Paula feel better but I fucking won't because I am also cross with them for their carelessness.

Mariana is probably the only one mourning and the only feeling the pain of the loss of this man. She's the only one suffering from this loss, not even me, and I won't pretend to be affected when I least know the man but it doesn't mean I should leave her to suffer it alone and that is what her family did.

If not for anything, he's the man who kept her alive for all of us. Maybe, had it not been for Toby's good heart, I will only remember a seven years Mariana until the day that I die without seeing the twenty-year-old woman she is now. I wouldn't have changed so much and I wouldn't be who I am today.

"We thought you wouldn't come," Pablo said and I tried to control the urge to glare at him. Why the fuck wouldn't I come to what matters to me most of all?

When Paula told me about her condition without being precise, I wanted to take a leave from work and fly down but then, Nervisa was still taking her exams and there's no Sharon. I had to wait for her to complete and the wait was torture. I couldn't sleep nor eat until the day Nervisa finally finished which was a week after.

"I'm going to check now." I let them know before walking up to her room. It's locked from the inside and I am not surprised.

I knocked and waited for her to open or say something but it didn't happen.

"Mariana?" My knuckles brushed the door gently.

No response.

I knocked again. "Open the door, Mariana."

Silence.

"The way you're knocking, I wonder if she even heard." I turned to see Nicholas, smirking with her back resting against the wall.

"Not your business but tell me what you meant. The airport." I turned to him.

"Nothing. Was only joking."

"Don't lie to me. Tell me, did you..uhm..see us?"

"Oh, so something did happen after she got on your laps?" He asked, getting me a little confused.

"So..you didn't see anything from there?"

"No, but now I know what happened next you badass."

"How did you notice us?" I asked again. I need to be sure about what he actually saw. It's not really nice for him to see us fucking in a goddamn parking lot.

"I am a businessman who moves from one country to the other at least twice in a week and I know the cars my granddaughter drives. I was approaching to greet her or ask what she was doing at the airport this early but then, I saw you and she got on your lap. I didn't want to interrupt anything especially when the windows closed. I turned my back and left but I didn't miss the way the car suddenly started bouncing..."

"That's enough. It's not good to make such jokes." I looked away.

"You started it, remember? I thought you could hold it." He still has that mocking smile that I regret starting this whole childish game in the first place.

"It's a draw. No more teases. Is that okay?

"It is. Hope you learned."

"Pardon?" I almost snapped.

"Next time you feel like playing naughty on someone, just check if you have skeletons hiding anywhere or not. Who knows."

"Seriously? Nothing happened."

"I didn't say something happened."

"Then stop talking and we're not friends. Stop trying to befriend me."

"I am not the one who started this. I just offered help and you thought we could be friends even though we're not mates and decided to tease me."

"Well then, I am sorry." I don't know who the fuck sent me to begin with this bullshit in the first place. I had fun earlier but here I am getting uncomfortable over the fact that he has an idea of what happened at the airport. I don't really give a fuck but what of Mariana? She'll pass out if she learns it.

"It's okay. I was also a little embarrassed in the beginning knowing that. uhm..well but then, I liked the way you decided to tease me about it. I mean, you never ever talked to me."

"You must love to be teased then." I smiled.

"Only by you."

"Only by me," I repeated. It feels like I am just meeting him for the first time but that's not it. He was present at my court marriage.

"If that is what will make you talk to me and make us laugh together, then why not? I've been looking for a way to get to talk to you but you're always closed off. Looking intimidating and mean with always a frown sitting proudly on your face. The only time I get to see you smile or have a soft expression is when Mariana is with you. I was beginning to think that we'll never talk until this. So even if it's teasing which is very disrespectful of you, I don't mind and I am glad." He smiled at the end and I had to laugh.

"I have to since I know you like someone I know."

"It's a lie. You were just looking for a way to make me know you saw me, to tease me. It was burning within you so you have to finally let it out." He cracked.

"You're right. It's not everyday one gets to see what I saw and it was amusing." I lift both brows at him teasingly.

"Don't start before I will and you'll begin to look like a shy puppy."

"Seriously." I'm laughing too much and it's not fair while Mariana is sad.

"I'm leaving. Try to bring her out or get in. We're worried." He turned his back and walked off.

Somehow, I like that I finally spoke to this big man, and for some unknown reason, I feel as if a piece of me has been put together.

"Mariana." I knocked again and turned the knob. "Look, I have my bag in there with my phone. I need the phone to charge and do other things. Just bring it to me or put it on charge for me." I somehow dropped my things when I got in earlier to see her.

I waited for almost five minutes without any sign from her that he heard me or not.

I raised my hand to knock again. "Mariana are you there? Can you hear me? Please talk to me."

No reply.

" You can't do this to me Mariana. I came all the way from America, leaving my work behind and this is how you treat me? Tell me you don't need me and I'll go back."

I hope she's alright and not doing something that might be detrimental to her health. Something like she's still in her wet clothes.

"Mariana this is not..."

The door creaked, revealing a frail broken figure, dark circles around her eyes, pale face, dry lips, and blue lips with matted hair. She's disorganized but to me, she's still the most gorgeous. However, I am alarmed to see her still in her wet clothes.

When she looked at me, her eyes widened a bit then her frown deepened and her nose did that kind of action when she is disgusted or doesn't like something. I knew instantly that it is what I was wearing.

"I will take it off."

"No." She shook her head then looked at me all over. "You applied for a Visa. Where are you going?" He asked.

"Uhm..how did you..."

She raised my phone. "I wasn't going through. I saw the notification message when I placed your phone on charge."

Oh, so she heard whatever I said.

"Tell me where you're going."

"Let me come in," I demanded and reached for the phone.

"No. Tell me."

This is not how I wanted to break this to her.

"Russia." I dropped the bomb.

"Russia?" She gasped her eyes, wide open.

"Yes."

"You have forgiven....no tell me this is a joke. You are not going to see her.." Even sad, she gave me the image of her expression I imagined her to put on when I tell her about my decision to visit my mom in Russia. She's shocked and surprised and if she wasn't sad, I'm sure she'll be giving me a tight hug, telling me how happy she is that I finally took this step.

"I am. I'm going and I want us to go together. That is if you don't mind."

"How..how did it all begin? I can't believe that you..you.."

"We've been talking." I blurt. One, to save her the stress and second, to receive praise from her.

"You mean you've been talking to your mom? Over the phone?"

"Yeah. Not many. Just thrice."

"That's okay. I..I..I am so.." she opened the door wide and hugged me. "I don't know but it's so good to know that you're trying to work things back with your mom. I am proud of you." She's lost for words and out of breath trying to tell me how pleased she is.

Had I known before that this news was going to warm her heart, I would've said it earlier.

I hugged her back into the room and shut the door behind us. "So, will you do me the honor and accompany me?" I was so sure that she'll agree that's why I applied for two visas but after what has happened, I am no longer sure.

"So who's the other Visa for?" She asked and I smiled.

"You."

"Then why are you asking if you were so sure before?"

"Things changed."

"It's okay. I can go."

"Really?"

"Yeah. You know I will always support you, whether I am down or up."

I hugged her tighter. What will I do without this amazing lady?

"Don't kill me." She wriggled out of my hold and I let her.

"I will make a bath for you right now." Before she'd respond, I rushed to make it.

After some minutes, I was done and came out only to see her dozing on the floor her body has now resulted to.

She blinked continuously to get rid of the sleep when she saw me.

"Your bath is ready. While you bath, I will get something for you to eat okay"

She just nodded, got up, and dragged her feet on the hard floor sluggishly to the bathroom. I put my phone back on charge and rushed out to the kitchen.

"What are you making?"

Paula's voice startled me and I turned to see her leaning at the entrance with just a small smile tugging on her lips.

"You make us all wish to have a husband like you."

"Is it?" I focused back on what I am making.

"Yeah. In every way."

I nod without a word. How do I tell her that to know how to cook doesn't make one an ideal man? If she knows how much I dragged her daughter with me to hell and back continuously, through struggle after struggle before finally trying to make our own version of paradise, she won't say this. We may seem okay but we aren't entirely and I won't tell this to Paula. As a matter of fact, I am seriously angry at her.

"Cut it. I know you're mad at me." She walks in fully.

"Good you know." I picked a tray from the cabinet.

"I'm sorry."

"Okay."

"Okay?"

"Yes."

"Is that what you say?"

"Look, right now I am mad but then what can I do until it gets away? I just have to find a way to but not now. Allow me to do what is needed."

"Forgiving me is not needed?"

"Don't make cases for me. My anger will go and we'll be okay. I just need to ensure she's alright. Something you didn't think of doing." I felt bad once I said the words but what can I do when she's already heard it? I picked the food I made and walked out leaving her to stir or remain still in her shock.

I walked in and when I didn't see Mariana in the bedroom, my heart did a little summersault before I sauntered around then into the bathroom.

"Fuck!" There she is still laying in the tub, eyes closed, and completely drowned in it. She looked lifeless under the water that have almost filled the tub to the brim.

I rushed into the bathroom and lifted her out.

"Mariana?" I dropped her on the bed, trying to wake her as my eyes brimmed with tears.

"Please wake up?" I checked her pulse, her breathing but I could hardly feel it.

This is my fault. She was dozing. I should have just let her sleep or stay the fuck with her. Here I am mad at her parents and see what I've gone and done. How the fuck do I tell them this?

"Mariana?" I called her as I performed every damn first aid I know of on her to restore her. She's passed out.

"Please Mariana." My heart is already on the floor and bleeding yet pounding to the extent that I can't even breathe.

I got her into a dress and carried her out, ignoring the panic expression of the entire house and their questions.

I just know that I will die if something happens to her. I..can't.

I threw the key to the driver and commanded him to drive the fastest he could.

I rubbed her palms, breath countless times in her but she's just the way she is. I didn't know I was crying until I saw her face wet from them.

I was called to come to make things better and I just came to make it worse instead. I wish I had stayed behind. Why did I come?

She did say I shouldn't kill her. As if she knew.

I proposed her death right after she pleaded for me not to.

"Don't kill me." That is what she said.

If I knew.

"You can leave, we'll take it from here." The doctor said to me after his team had gathered around her.

"Don't fucking tell me that! I am going nowhere."

"So you're going to be here and distract us. You really don't want her to recover do you?"

I opened my mouth to say something but when it didn't come, I walked out.

I'm all shaken up to the core. I haven't been so scared in my entire life before. I saw her dad, followed by her mom. Sad looks but anger crystal clear in their demeanor and they're walking towards me, only to me that I feel the chill running down my spine.

I swear if she gets better, I will be out of this country for good. Nothing good ever comes with me.

★★★★

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