“Y/N, I know you, I’ve known you my entire life. I knew you when you were a baby. I remember teaching you how to dive!” his dark eyes looked at you with plea. “I would never hurt you, Y/N we were meant for each other and you know it. You are my best friend and I love you both as that and as more.”
Your eyes filled with tears. What would daddy say? What would this mean to his business? You felt the same for the 18 year old boy in front of you, but you couldn’t say it. It was the first rule you teacher Liliya had taught you, “never show feelings” not to forget “never say anything that can be used against you or your family” but you were only 16. You were but a child with too much on your shoulders. You were starting at a new school after this summer, your 11th year of education, at a boarding school. There were so many changes for you right now. This didn’t make it any better.
“Y/N please, talk to me” the beautiful young boy said in distress.
“I-I’m sorry Demitri I-I don’t know, I have to think about my family” you shake your head. “What will my daddy say? What will your father say?”
“I don’t care about what they are gonna say Y/N, I’ve got your back and they can go to hell!” Demitri’s eyes glowed for a moment. “If they don’t like it, we-we’ll move to S-Santorini, start a life there!”
You knew that Demitri was dead scared of that place, so this was quite the commitment from him.
The setting sun behind Demitri created a golden halo around his head. The ocean to your right had a purple tinge it looked magical. The air was warm, like a blanket. There was a slight brise, it played around with the loose baby hairs around your hairline.
This boy right here, made you feel as safe as a brother would, as loved as a friend and as desired as a lover.
“Y/N, you can’t tell me I’m completely alone in this? Alone with my feelings?” Demitri asked frustrated.
“You’re not Demitri, we-we just can’t okay?”
“So I can only be with you like-like we were yesterday, when you are here? What do you expect me to do when you are not here?”
“I don’t know Demitri okay? All I know is that there can’t be anything serious between us, it would be too dangerous”
“Y/N, tell me when you're ready,” He pulled you in for a hug and whispered in your ear “Even ten years from now, if you haven't found somebody I promise, I'll be around”
“I know you… I mean you can’t tell me I’m completely alone in this? … I’ve got your back”
His words had taken you back years. They took you back to being in love with Demitri. They took you back to the hurt and betrayal he gave you. The once beautiful memory of him telling you he loved you, had been poisoned, poisoned by the triangle whose ghost you could still feel between your shoulder blades. You never wanted to feel hurt like that ever again. And in that moment in the red convertible you had felt like a 16 year old again, standing on the beach with a dark eyed beauty, but this time around you had pushed him away. This time you had protected yourself from the pain. Yes, Tom seamed to get you in a way no one really had before, but truth was, you didn’t know him. You had known Demitri and he still hurt you, you could only imagine the pain that could come from putting your heart in the hands of someone you didn’t fully know.
But Tom wasn’t Demitri. Tom had had so many chances to hurt you, but he hadn’t. He had accepted the kiss you gave him when you were drunk on shock in Greece and he had held you in his arms when you cried. He was truly a good person. He hadn’t even killed as many as you had. He truly was a better person than you were. He had trust and you had suspicion. He didn’t deserve the cold shoulder you gave him. He didn’t know about that memory. He didn’t know his words would ticker the memory.
So you walked up the steps to the Holland estate, a white plastic bag in hand. You opened the door. Tom was walking up the main staircase in his gym clothes.
“Tom…” you called after him.
He stopped, he waited a moment, he then turned around.
You noticed it immediately. His hands, blood was trickling down his fingers. His knuckles were bruised.
“I thought I was the one who ‘spends her spare time beating up God knows what without using gloves, because she like the pain’ not you” you said referring to his own words about you.
“Turns out it actually helps with frustration.” He walked down the steps slowly no emotion on his face. “Look Y/N I’m sorry about earlier, I shouldn’t have pushed you like that and I should-“
“No, Tom shut up.” You smiled to him; he was only two meters away now. “I have brought a peace offering”
You gave him the white plastic bag and he looked at the content.
“Strawberries?” a slight smile crept upon his face.
“Someone has to teach you the joy of strawberries with milk!” you giggled. “Better be someone who knows what they’re doing”
You grabbed his arm and dragged him into the kitchen. He placed the white plastic bag on the counter. He revealed a cardboard box without a lid filled with red juicy strawberries. He took one and was about to eat it when you stopped him.
“Wait no! We have to wash them first!” you said taking the strawberry away from him. “You can’t really help with all that blood on your hands, literally…”
Tom sat down at the kitchen island and watched you get to work. You found a potato peeler and a bowl. You filled the bowl with water. You used the tip of the potato peeler to remove the green bit from the strawberries letting the green bit dump into the trash can and the strawberry into the bowl with water. You continued until all strawberries were in the bowl. You then drained the water out still with the berries in the bowl. You filled the bowl with water again and drained it once more. You then placed the strawberries in a strainer and washed them under the running water. You rinsed the bowl and placed the clean strawberries back in it. You placed the bowl of strawberries on the kitchen island and sent Tom a look that said ‘don’t take any jet’ you found two small porcelain bowls, two spoons some sugar and some milk. You then sat down next to Tom, a little closer than expected. You took a few strawberries and placed them in your bowl. You then used your spoon to cut them into halves. You sprinkled some sugar on them and then carefully poured milk over top. Tom copied every step. He then took the first bite.
It wasn’t incredible. Like, it was nice and all, tasted like you would imagine, but nothing mind blowing. And defiantly nothing like the culinary experience that was Othonas on Crete. He shrugged to you indicating that he wasn’t impressed.
“Okay close your eyes.” You said.
Tom did as you told.
“Now imagine summer, like the best memory of summer you have”
Tom did so. Images of London on a hot day popped up, students covering every inch of every park with blankets to sunbathe on. He recalled him and his brothers with his mum and dad, eating ice cream and Paddy smearing ice cream all over his face.
“Imagine the scent of freshly mowed grass and the scent of a forest in spring.”
He did. The image of tall trees around him sprung up in his mind, the lime green roof of leaves far above him, the scent of fresh warm air and moist dirt.
“Imagine walking barefoot on grass.”
He did, recalling the tickling sensation of bright green grass under his feet.
“Imagine your family all smiling in the sun, all of you on the beach”
He did; he saw the image of his father, not the dangerous mobster but the gentle family man, salty air and Sam and Harry playing beach volley. So much laughter and happiness filled his mind. He smiled.
“Hold that image and open your mouth”
He did and you took a strawberry on his spoon and fed it to him. And suddenly he felt it. The before incredibly underwhelming berry was now sweet and fresh and filled with sun and happiness.
He opened his eyes and his gaze found yours immediately. You had that lovely sparkle in your eye, the thought that that sparkle was there whilst you looked at Tom made his heart pound really fucking fast. Tom had never seen anything as beautiful as this right here.
“It’s not about the taste, it’s about how it makes you feel.” You whispered with a smile.
Tom slowly leaned a bit closer but then the beautiful moment was broken.
Harrison opened the door to the kitchen and frowned at the scene in front of him.
“Little boys who play with fire are bound to get their fingers burnt” he growled.
“Luckily,” Tom said giving Harrison a Death stare, “I am not a little boy”
Harrison didn’t look at you, not even once.
“You’re risking everything for what? Strawberries? Common mate you know what you’re doing is reckless.”
“Mate could you please just shut up?” Tom did not think you would find this bickering nice, and frankly he was right.
“Sorry.” You whispered.
You stood up and placed your bowl in the sink before you left the kitchen. Everything beautiful apparently had to end for you. You couldn’t have Demitri when he was in love with you, and Tom would be taking too big of a risk if he spent any more time with you. Perhaps you were just destined to forever be alone and in pain?
You stopped going into Tom’s room at night after the inevitable nightmares. It was hell. You woke up every night covered in sweat and shaking. You knew that the warm blanket that was Tom’s embrace would slowly make the fear of going back to sleep disappear, but you didn’t go. You began taking cold showers instead. You always put your hair into a ridiculous shower cap because you didn’t want it getting wet. Your long mane would take hours to dry, and hairdryers weren’t an option for you due to an incident from your childhood that we will not speak of now. The water would trick your body into thinking that it was morning and so you would spend the rest of the night pacing back and forth in your room until morning eventually arrived.
This all continued until Friday rolled around and Poppy came over to you at the end of your English class.
“Hey! Have you talked to Tom about where he can pick us all up tonight?”
“Oh… no, I haven’t actually…” You looked away for a moment.
“Oh…” Poppy looked at you. “Is everything okay between you two?”
“I-I don’t know actually” You looked at poppy who sent you a ‘please elaborate’ look. “It’s a long story, but his best mate isn’t really my biggest fan”
Poppy just nodded, realizing that this might not be something you wanted to discuss, at least not here. You were standing in an auditorium and people were leaving, not really the ideal space for a heart to heart conversation.
“We can cancel if you don’t wanna go?” Poppy suggested.
“Oh, no, it’s all right, I’ll manage” You smiled “Don’t worry about me Poppy”
“Okay, then erhm, text me when you know where Tom can pick us up?” Poppy said.
“Well where do you wanna be picked up?” You asked.
“Here would be fine, we all live fairly close by, but some of the roads are closed at night here.”
“Won’t be a problem, trust me” you smiled.
You left the auditorium.
Tom’s private driver, Michael, had been driving you to school and picking you up whenever he wasn’t preoccupied with other… things. On those days you would just grab a cap. But that Friday he was there, in a black Mercedes. You and Michael, had become friends seeing as he had seen you in your grumpy morning state running on 3 hours of sleep and a liter of coffee. He was a kind man in his 30’ties he had blond hair and dark blue eyes. You knew, however, that underneath the family man persona and the nice black suit, was an ex black-ob specialist and a gun. He had been many places, but he couldn’t talk about any of them. He had seen many things, but he couldn’t talk about any of them. He had killed many people, but he couldn’t talk about any of them. You often wondered if Michael had killed more people than you had. Michael had once stated that the job he now had with Tom, was the perfect mixture of quite life and action. Always ready, though anything hardly ever happened.
“You working tonight?” You asked Michael as you sat down in the passenger seat.
“I am” Michael said. “Apparently the boss felt like going into town with a couple of good for nothing students!”
You smiled as Michael pulled out of the parking lot.
“What does Jane say about you working on a Friday night?” You smiled.
“Oh she’s totally cool with it, Oliver however, he thinks it’s super annoying!” Oliver was Michael’s 4 year old son. “He keeps saying ‘if you’re not home, then when are we gonna watch Spider-man together?’ he looks so adorable whit a little pout on his face n’ all”
“Well it’s an important question to ask! So Michael when are you gonna watch spider-man with Oliver?” you laugh.
“When he’s old enough!” Michael laughed. “If you believe in Santa, you’re too young to watch spider-man!”
“Oh the days where Santa really existed…” you sighed.
“Those were the days…” Michael got a serious look on his face. “That’s why I won’t let Jane tell him that Santa ain’t real. I want to give him as much childhood as I possibly can before he eventually has to grow up.”
“That’s very kind of you. My youth was poisoned by crime and gore. Please Michael, never drag Oliver into this shit.” You looked at Michael.
“I promise, and Y/N? Your father might be a powerful man, but Y/N, he’s a horrible father” Michael glanced over at you. “Dragging you into this shit show was wrong of him. You’re so young but you carry the weight of 27 dead bodies around with you, that’s more than even the toughest guys I’ve met in black-ob can handle.”
“What about you Michael? How many dead bodies do you carry around?” you whisper.
“36 and counting.” He said with a dark tone. “But I talk to a therapist. I explain the dead bodies by my time in black-ob but you don’t have that possibility. I wouldn’t be surprised if your mind couldn’t handle the stress you’re under in the long run.”
“I’m not expecting to get much older than I am.” You say. “I don’t think I’ll ever have what you have, you know, a family of my own.”
“Every day I wake up and I thank God for what I have.” He sighs “And every night before I go to bed, I thank him for letting every one of us last another day.”
The rest of the drive was spent in silence. Usually the conversation revolved around Oliver, because lord knows that boy was an amazing topic. But sometimes this happened, where you shared horrible experiences and stories. Somehow this 32 year old man was able to talk to you about all this gore around you as if looking at it from the outside. Michael had explained that he was happy to talk about this though shit, because it was important to discuss, letting it go by unnoticed was unhealthy.