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Connor took a long drag of his cigarette as he saw Elle walk past him hand in hand with Aidan. He wanted to roll his eyes but instead he smiled. Connor rubbed his callused hands through his messy brown hair holding onto pieces of it. He let out a deep breath after they were out of sight and let go of his hair. He pondered whether or not he should actually even go to school or just go home and sleep off his hangover he had from last nights party.
H*ll, I’m already here. He grabbed his worn black backpack off the cracked concrete ground and walked into the overpopulated school. It was a sea full of misfits, tools, fakes, and wannabes. He always wondered which category he fell under but on the other hand couldn't really give a sh-. That was his problem; he never cared about anything, well, except for Elle.
She was the reason he came to school. He lived for just catching a glimpse of her walking to class even if it was with her boyfriend and his best friend Aidan. After the night of the car accident though, Elle tried her best to avoid Connor. Aidan had been out of town so Connor was the first person Elle called. They had become close friends after two years of Journalism Composition classes they both hated. Besides from Connor and Aidan Elle really didn’t have any other close friends. So, Connor raced over to pick her up in his 1969 matte black Chevelle that he found at a junk yard and had worked forever on to restore.
When he got to Elle’s house she was sitting on the curb with her slender freckled hands covering her face and long red hair tousled messily out of place. When she heard him cut his purring engine she looked up at him with tears pouring uncontrollably from her foggy grey eyes. She had mascara everywhere and her red lipstick was smeared around her pouty lips. He ran out of the car and pulled her up into his arms.
“Let’s go,” Connor whispered into her ears.
Elle replied back with a wobbly voice “Okay.”
After they were on their way in the car Elle refused to let go of Connor’s firm hands. She held her head against the cold window and looked out at the moving scenery.
“I think she’s going to die Connor,” Elle said releasing her worst fear a loud. Her mom had been hit by a drunk driver head on, on her way to work the evening shift and had been thrown through the windshield and was in critical condition. Elle’s mom was the only family member she had which left her to wonder what would happen to her if she lost her mother. When they got to the hospital Elle’s nerves began to worsen and she still refused to let go of Connors hand. When she asked the woman in all white at the front desk where her mother’s room was the woman looked down at her nude colored phone and said “Honey, I’m sorry, she didn’t make it.”
Elle fell to the floor with her head against Connor’s dark washed jeans with one single tear falling from her grey eyes onto the awkward green patterned floor. Connor looked at the nurse, nodded and picked up Elle wedding style into his arms and carried her out of the automatic doors and back outside to get in his car. He placed her in slowly and then stood looking at her with his hands up against the open car door unsure of what to even say. After a moment of dead silence between the two she looked up at him and said, “ I don’t want to be alone tonight”.
That’s all Connor needed to hear. He got in the driver’s seat and fired up the engine. Elle didn’t realize how tired she was until they started to drive. Everything she saw out the window became a blur and before she knew it she was drifting off to sleep. Connor looked down at her as she slept and amongst the unkempt hair and porcelain face tarnished with makeup on it; he couldn’t help but think about how fragile yet beautiful she was.
When they pulled into Connor’s driveway he gently nudged Elle and let her know they could go inside. After Elle entered she looked around at the disheveled apartment. She remembered loving the way the apartment was small and how he had textbooks and dirty laundry scattered everywhere. It was a nice contrast compared to Aidan’s perfectly manicured and oversized home. It felt real instead of like a doll house.
After locking the deadbolt and latching the chain on the door, Connor opened the discolored white fridge and grabbed two cold beers for them. He popped the top off for Elle and handed her the drink. They both immediately took a giant gulp after the long and draining day they had.
“Do you care if I take a bath? I know I look like a total mess”, Elle asked.
“Yeah that’s no problem. I’ll show you where it is,” Connor replied instantly hoping he had some clean towels around.
He lead her back to his narrow bathroom and showed her where all the shampoo and soap was.
“Let me go get you a towel and some clean clothes,” Connor said before going back into his room to find something for her to wear.
Elle sat her beer down on the vanity and started her water. She grabbed some of Connor’s shampoo and poured the green liquid into the water in an attempt to create a bubble bath. After if was full enough and surprisingly filled with bubbles she undressed and got in. The warm water had a sort of mossy scent to it and felt so good on her lanky body as she slumped down and fully submerged herself for a moment. When she came back up she heard a knock on the door. Connor reached his nicely toned arm in and tried to lay the reddish towel and clothes down without peeking in on her.
“Just yell if you need anything, okay?” Connor said getting ready to give her full privacy.
As he began to close the cracked wooden door Elle said “Wait, will you come in here and just talk to me. I really just need someone to talk to right now”.
“Umm...alright. Are you decent?” Connor asked ignorantly not realizing she was already in the tub naked.
“Well, I’m covered in bubbles,” Elle said looking down and making sure she really was.
Connor walked into the bathroom and sat down on the cold floor against the white commode. When Elle saw he had his beer in his hand she asked, “Can I have a sip?”.
“Sure”, he replied as he passed her the beer.
They sat there with her completely naked and him against a toilet seat in complete silence for quite some time. It wasn’t awkward but a comfortable understanding silence. He lit a cigarette and inhaled the smoke sucking it deep down into his lungs and then tilted his head back and released a cloud of smoke.
Elle looked at him and couldn’t help but feel connected. Even though they were really good friends she realized they’d never talked much about their pasts.
So she said, “Did I ever tell you my mom was fifteen when she had me?”.
Connor looked up at the ceiling and put his head back against the cold commode and said “No. Did I ever tell you I lived in at least ten different foster homes growing up? My parents died when I was really little. After that I guess no one really wanted to take care of me.”
“Wow...” was all Elle managed to say.
They continued to tell each other things about their life they’d never said before sharing a single Newport cigarette and beer until finally Elle asked, “Will you bring me my towel?” .
“Alright” Connor said as he got up lazily and brought her the burgundy towel.
Right before he let go of it Elle said to him “Thanks for not letting me be alone tonight”.
Connor replied back with a whisper and looked down into her eyes “You never have to be”.
Elle pulled Connor down to her and they engaged in a passionate slow kiss. Connor got into the bathtub clothes and all not caring about the water and bubbles splashing everywhere.
Their hands interlaced and they began to kiss faster until Elle whispered with a breathy voice “Make love to me”.
Connor pulled her up out of the tub and they slowly made their way back to his bedroom kissing the whole way. His bed had white lights strung on it giving it a sensual and very romantic vibe. Connor laid her down on the bed and kissed her all over with his surprisingly slender lips. She loved the way he smelled and tasted like smoke. She took off his black tee shirt and jeans and threw them down onto the charcoal colored carpet. That night they made love again and again, their bodies moving rhythmically together.
The next morning Connor woke up with Elle naked in his arms, both of them wrapped up in his red cotton sheets. They had held hands while they slept so Connor carefully removed his hands from hers and got out of bed. He put on a pair of green and black plaid boxers and a pair of jeans and went over and sat on the window sill. He looked at Elle and realized something very scary had happened last night. He made love to a girl he actually loved and it was incredible.
He was powerless now towards her. She could love him back or break his heart and he knew this morning would determine that. When Elle woke up she realized what she had done. She had cheated on Aidan and fallen in love with Connor. Elle got up from the bed and walked over to the window sill to sit in Connor’s arms still naked and wrapped in bed sheets.
Elle murmured slowly into his ear, “I don’t know what to do”.
Connor replied genuinely with, “You don’t have to decide today.”
It had been three days now since the car accident and after Connor got up out his class and walked outside he saw Aidan once again hand in hand with Elle. He stopped for a moment to light a cigarette and watch them when Aidan walked over his way.
“Hey man, thanks for watching over her while I was gone. I know she really appreciated it,” Aidan said in a confident tone.
“It’s all good. I know she needed a friend and that she didn’t need to stay in that house alone.” Connor said as he looked over at a fidgeting Elle.
“Wait, she stayed the night with you?” Aidan said with a sudden angry tone