Chloe couldn't sleep. She had been tossing and turning for the past hour and half now. She was absolutely sure whoever was on her rooftop tonight must think she was crazy for not laying still for even a minute.
She had stopped crying over an hour ago. It hurt. It hurt having had to deny Brian's confession and consequent kiss. But she could never put him in such danger. He couldn't be another Xavier. She felt too much for him to allow such thing.
From her position on the bed she could eye the beautiful dress she wore to the art gallery party; for Brian. Only when she got home, her eyesight completely blurred from her tears, did she noticed that the flimsy piece of cloth that had complimented the dress was missing. It was possible that Brian himself had it. It didn't matter; he could keep it because it was the only thing from her that he could keep.
Taking a deep breath to hold the tears in, Chloe turned once more on her bed, away from the dress. Closing her eyes, she could hear a very low breathing from the roof. Focusing her hearing, she caught the thump thump of an unmistakable heartbeat. Alek's.
Smiling for the first time in a good number of hours, Chloe closed her eyes and fell into a deep slumber.
Her eyes snapped open, her irises going into cat-like mode, her claws making an appearance. Realizing it had been just her mother calling for her, she took a deep breath and her claws retracted back and her eyes went back to their normal state… at least she presumed they had.
Looking around, her eyes fell upon her clock. She was definitely late for school but, to be very honest, she didn't feel like going. She still felt too heartbroken, too upset to be around others.
"Chloe, didn't you hear me–" Her mother said while opening her door but stopped right away, gasping. "Chloe, what happened? You look terrible!"
It was like the floodgates had opened. The tears were back in full force and Chloe just couldn't stop. Meredith went directly to her daughter and sat down on the bed, taking her into her arms.
"Oh kiddo, what happened? I thought you had fun with Brian last night."
Chloe shook her head and her mother knew that something hadn't gone right between the two. Knowing that asking more questions would only upset Chloe further, she rocked her child in her arms, kissing her hair lovingly.
It took a few more minutes for the blonde to calm down. When she did, Meredith cleaned the tears from her face and, for once in a long time, gave permission to Chloe to stay at home and not go to school with the promise that her daughter would not let any blond boys near her bed. Chloe definitely cracked a smile at that.
Getting out of bed after staying curled up on her comforter a little while, Chloe gathered her essentials and went for a shower; maybe it would help her put her thoughts together more clearly. Twenty minutes later she left the bathroom wrapped in a fluffy white towel and her hair dripping wet and entered her bedroom going directly to her closet.
"Nice choice of outfit."
At the sudden voice, Chloe dropped the clothes she had picked up and crouched on the floor in attack mode while trying to not let her towel fall, which wasn't exactly the easiest task. She groaned when she noticed the supposed perpetrator leaning on the now open window.
"Alek! Stop sneaking into my bedroom!" Chloe hissed, getting up while holding the towel in place since it was starting to slip off.
"Why should I? It's so fun to get you all riled up." The Mai in question answered back, going to sit on the end of the bed eyeing her from head to toe. "I hope you stay in that all day. I know I wouldn't mind it."
Holding in the urge to throw her hands in the air, Chloe simply rolled her eyes and picked the clothes she dropped from the floor.
"What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be in school?"
"Mom allowed me to stay at home today with the promise that NO blond boys would get near my bed." Chloe answered, glaring at Alek and making shooing motions to get him as far as possible from her bed; that wouldn't make her break her promise since her mother had only mentioned the bed and not the bedroom.
Getting up with a smirk the Mai boy circled the Uniter, confusing her. When he finally stopped in front of her, he lifted her chin with his right hand making her look right into his eyes.
"It is my duty to protect you. I have to be where you are so if you aren't in school…"
"You are skipping school because of your duty? You can't do that!"
"Too late." Alek stated, catching a strand of Chloe's hair and playing with it absently. Ignoring that for the moment, she crossed her arms.
"Did Valentina tell you to do this?"
"Then why are you here then? If she didn't tell you…"
Huffing at her persistence, Alek stopped twirling her hair in his fingers and focused his attention on her.
"I could hear you last night." He confessed, a surprising look of compassion gracing his features. Chloe looked everywhere but his face. "I'm here by my own choice. You shouldn't be alone right now."
"And why do you care? Your duty is to protect me from the Order, not to act as my therapist!" The girl retorted, feeling a strange need to claw out all of that compassion and pity from his face. "You should be happy right now since I'm not coming closer to Brian again! That's what YOU wanted."
Seeing Chloe's mood drastically change, Alek took a step back fearing some sort of physical retaliation he wasn't sure he deserved. Here he was trying to be considerate of her for once – at least without being under duty – and she was probably thinking of scratching his face with her claws. It really wouldn't be a first a girl tried that one on him, to be honest.
Growling, Chloe pushed the blond out of her room and closed the door on his face. Biting her lip to control her anger, she dressed the pair of sweatpants and tank top she had picked up before and made her bed hoping Alek had left; she really wanted to be alone for the day.
She left her bedroom and, while climbing down the stairs, two of her senses were assaulted with something foreign. One, there was this quite delicious smell coming from the kitchen and two, she could hear someone using the stove for cooking and mumbling some song while at it.
Please tell me it isn't…
The one and only Alek Petrov was in her kitchen cooking breakfast. While wearing an apron that she had no idea she owned.
"You cook?" Was the only thing Chloe's mouth could blurt from the endless thoughts going through her head at the moment.
Smirking from the slices of bacon he was frying, the man himself didn't seem either fazed or embarrassed to have been caught. Quite the contrary: he seemed very proud of it.
"I'm a man of many talents, Chloe King. Stay for a bit more and you might get to know all of them." He winked thoroughly amused with himself.
Rolling her eyes at the walking smugness that was Alek, Chloe sat at the kitchen counter and waited to be served breakfast.
"You cook for every girl you know?"
"No, you're the first. With the exception of Jasmine and Aunt Val, of course."
"I feel special."
"You are." Alek said looking her in the eyes, making Chloe feel quite warm all of a sudden. Breaking the eye contact, the Mai boy put a plate full of delicious looking food in front of the Uniter and put another one next to hers going to sit in front of it.
Taking a sniff out of the plate just in case and ignoring Alek's roll of eyes, Chloe picked up the fork and took a bite of the pancakes first. Her eyes lit up and a surprised smile formed on her lips.
"This is good. Really good." She approved after chewing and kept eating under the proud gaze of her protector.
"Glad you approve." Taking a drink from the glass of juice he had poured previously, Alek looked far ahead. "I'm not happy."
"I'm not happy. About you and Brian."
Choking on the piece of bacon she was chewing, Chloe coughed and took a gulp of her milk – how did Alek even know she preferred milk to juice? – trying to make sense of what the blond had just said.
"You… never approved of us so I suppose you're happy we aren't close anymore."
"Yes but that doesn't mean I'm happy. I simply want the best for you and wanted to save you from getting hurt. Unfortunately, I couldn't do it so now you're sad and if you're sad then I'll share the feeling. That's how it is."
Looking completely speechless at Alek's words, Chloe simply took them in and kept eating. There was no need to evaluate what he had just said. For some reason, something told her it wasn't the right time to do it. They meant more than what she could handle in her current mindset.