Stories about your name

A story that follows different characters on their journey to meeting their Significant other.

Stories about your name

Kias

It's the day after my 18th birthday and unfortunately I'm stuck with this tattoo for the rest of my life. The current residency, apt number and last name of the girl I'm supposed to marry. My folks have been excited for this day since I turned 15 but I'm as my dad likes to say, "Less than happy about carrying the family name onwards." I just don't understand the point of marriage.

Or the tattoos. I mean for those people that are actual hopeless romantics doesn't that take the fun out of going on countless random date after countless random date only for it to lead to nothing? My parents are what my grandmother calls lucky, they met when they were 17 year olds and were good friends with each other's friend groups by the time they turned 18. When the tattoo showed up.

Anyway this thing might as well fuck off because I have no intention of following it anywhere. This is such a dangerous practice anyway, like everyone waits their whole life for these things! What if your SO is a psychopath? Or into weird stuff? I'd much rather sit in my room in peace and play on my switch.

"Atlas, Hun get dressed we're going out for dinner!"

Because of course.

"What for?! I'm not hungry!" I yell back at my intrusive mother who didn't knock before entering my room.

"Get up! Your grandmother just got out of jail and we are treating her to a nice meal like a normal family!"

"If we were a normal family we'd be treating her to dinner because she got into the retirement home of her choose." I grunted into my pillow

"You're always in a bad mood all I'm asking is that you clean up for one night!" She barks, though she's not frowning or anything.

I roll my eyes and sigh, "It's never just one night is it?" I question rhetorically

"Get up Atlas."

I groan as the door shuts behind her but I get up. Kicking away a pair of black loafers my mom bought me. She's probably gonna tell me to wear those too. Ugh.

***

It's not that I don't like leaving the house, that's not true at all. Well ok it's pretty much true but it's not a laziness issue it's just I prefer being alone in my own comforting space. A dingy hole in the wall restaurant with annoying screaming children running around while I'm dressed up like one of the waiters from the Titanic is not how I wanted to spend a Saturday night.

As soon as I sat down I stripped off my jacket pushing into the soft leather seat before folding my arms on the table, ignoring the laser beams from my mom. About half of that anger is on the fact that I'm treating the jacket she took months to save up for like shit but honestly I don't care about much right now.

We're a big group consisting mostly of me, mom, dad, grandma, my aunt, and 2 of my cousins the most annoying ones too. So not only do I have to spend my Saturday in an awful restaurant I also have to make conversation. Nice.

"I hear you just turned 18 dear!" My grandmother shouted over one of the children across the room, who just dove under the table to attack another child. "Sounds like you're finally gonna have someone to drag you out of that bed you constantly stay plastered to."

Both my cousins giggled taking a break from their butter knife battle to look at me then at grandma. "I don't plan on pursuing this besides it could always be wrong." I replied looking down at my own silverware resting comfortably on my napkin.

"Atlas-" Mom started but was cut off by grandma

"It hasn't been wrong for decades hun." She persisted, "I doubt it's wrong because you're a stick in the mud."

My cousins oooo'd in unison, and my aunt tried to shh them, while mom just tried to calm grandma down and dad stared at his silverware as if it was the most interesting thing in the world right now.

"Look I don't care about this stuff and no one can force me to marry someone I don't even know."

This time when mom tried to cut in she was cut off by a male server, "Alright what would you folks like to start off with?" The man asked, he was clearly as chipper as they came, a huge smile and bright eyes moving his feet as though he were dancing in church.

"I don't want him handling our food." Grandma grunted not at all discreetly.

"He seems sweet!" Mom tried only to get a small huff from grandma while dad just continued to love the look of the table.

"I'd like an iced tea." My aunt started ignoring the rest of the table. "And the boys would like fruit punch." She explained, gesturing to my cousins before pointing to grandma to speak.

Grandma ordered lemonade the same as mom and dad order an iced tea like my aunt. Once it got to me I just ordered a water with a lemon slice. If I have to be out tonight I might as well stay healthy.

"Fancy." Grandma threw at me sarcastically but I ignored her

Our server smiled brightly rushing over to the other side of the restaurant like he needed to pee. Just as he came to the swinging door a girl with dark curls swung it open almost knocking the small pad out of his hands.

I stared at her. Couldn't help it. I don't think I've ever seen someone so clumsy looking working in a restaurant. She rubbed the back of her head and sighed looking exasperated as she spoke with our server, most likely apologizing. I didn't take my eyes off her not even when she met my gaze. She chuckled still making awkward conversation with the male in front of her before pointing with one finger to our table, our server smiled and nodded before patting her shoulder and leaning into her ear to talk. A small laugh escaping both of them as they conversed for a second more (he probably told her about grandma).

"Woah!" My cousin, Jason shook me from my thoughts with his loud voice, both his hands coming down flat on the table making the silverware clatter abruptly.

"Jason! Sit down!" My aunt lectured but she was looking down at the same thing he was.

My eyes flew to my buttoned up shirt just underneath against my arm was a soft white glowing. I unbuttoned the cuff and pull the arm up to better see. The numbers, the girl's last name and apt residency all glowed brightly under mostly dim lighting.

"Oh my god." Mom squealed in excitement

"She's here!" Darwin, (my other cousin) yelled with boisterous excitement. As if he was finishing my mom's statement.

"Her tattoo must be glowing too." My aunt chimed in.

I covered my arm with my hand, only barely covering her last name. "I told all of you I don't care about this st-"

"And here are your drinks."

Our server is different.

It wasn't the same guy from before. Instead it was the girl he was talking with. Even worse, her own arm was glowing brightly.

I had honestly forgotten about those kids since their noise had become like awful elevator music. (Fades into the background after a while). And yet now here they were again one narrowly dodging our waitress (who had taken in mine and her own arm) while the other crashed full force into her. The drinks flew up some crashing into her chest while others hit the floor. I jumped up as my water almost soaked her face narrowly saving her nice hair.

The entire restaurant went quiet and the girl in front of me was getting redder by the second. At first I thought it was anger towards me but she whipped around so fast I almost flopped back into my seat "YOU LITTLE BRAT!" She hollered, the little boy in front of her backed up and tears were beginning to form in his eyes.

"I-I'm sorry…." He whimpered but that didn't stop this girl.

"WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU MORONS!" Now her anger was focused on a man and woman sitting less than 10 feet away. "THIS ISN'T A PLAYGROUND! PARENT YOUR FUCKING KIDS!" The kids had retreated already the boy crying his eyes out as he flew under his parents table both adults looking shocked while the girl he'd been chasing just wet and sat down next to her father.

"Kiara.." Because too much hadn't already happened now our original server and a man dressed in a suit were stalking over.

Now I could see this guy's name tag because I'm paying attention. Geo it read. What a dumb name. Geo looked first at the man now in front of me and I'm guessing her name is Kiara with a more sour look then he'd been sporting all night. As if he were a five year old put on time out.

"I'm sorry folks she's a newbie." The male remarked to our table before turning to Kiara. "You spilled their drinks, you yelled at customers and you've been conversing with Geo instead of working-"

"Sir I actually asked her if she could take this table for me since this woman said she wanted a new server." Geo remarked looking terrified as he gestured to grandma.

"Go clean table 4." The male barked at Geo without taking his eyes off Kiara. Geo scattered like a small roach not even looking back as he disappeared.

"Kiara you've done nothing but waste my time." The male explained addressing Kiara as soon as Geo left. "I'm sorry Kiara but I'm going to have to-"

"Hold on." I didn't think about it as I stepped in front of Kiara who was still dripping an assortment of drinks onto the floor. "She didn't do anything wrong. In my opinion those kids are assholes."

The male looked down at my glowing arm and I almost forcefully shoved it behind my back but decided not to.

"I don't need Kiara's lover telling me how to deal out punishment."

"She did nothing wrong! Ok!" I yelled at him honestly disgusted by my own voice. Many people were still watching the scene currently unfolding in front of them as well as everyone at the table. "If you fire her.. Then I'll have to write a review telling everyone that Pastas spot lets children run around like it's an amusement park and that they treat their staff poorly."

Seriously, I have no idea why or what I'm doing talking to this grown man like I own his ass. Scratch that, I kinda do. The man looked at me up and down scanning over my tattoo before turning around and leaving the dining area like he couldn't care less. Dickhead.

Kiara had blown up at a little kid like she was the parent and now turning around to see her expression I'm kinda worried about how she'll blow up at an 18 year old hermit.

***

Basically my entire family left me alone to be with this girl because they all clearly hate me and since we know this girl so well it would be safe to assume she isn't psychotic and possibly dangerous.

"Why would you do that?" She asked as we cozied into the small red booth together.

"I-"

"What? Thought I needed protection?!" She scoffed, back flopping into the wall behind her as she focused her gaze on something other than me.

"Gonna let me talk?" I asked and she huffed again, crossing her arms. "I'm sure you could've handled it on your own." I explained as her eyes came back to me slightly less angry now. "But seeing the way you were with that kid and even me now I can tell that you would've definitely made it worse."

She grunted and I snorted out a laugh as her rocky fist came in contact with my shoulder almost hard enough to hurt. She was a lot less amused sure but she'd just recently been covered in juice and tea, almost fired and discovered her "SO" all in one night.

"Seriously though what is up with you?" I ask still snickering. She landed one more punch to my arm before flopping back, arms still crossed.

"What's up with you?" She mocked

"I asked first."

"Well I asked second."

I sigh staring her fully in the face and raising my eyebrow. She shrugs, letting her arms come undone on the clean wood. "Had an off second day but those kids are always here and their parents are always shit and don't tell them to sit the fuck down. That's what Geo told me."

"The guy from before?"

"He's worked here for a year and a half." She explained "Says that family comes in every Friday and Saturday." She stops to shrug. "I just fucking hate kids man.." She sucks her teeth loudly smirking at me as I begin to laugh again.

I'm surprised she hasn't asked why I saved her from getting water in her hair. Feel like any guy saving her from a bad hair day would be against her feminist agenda or something to that extent.

"So. Why didn't you come find me?"

"What?" I ask, she points to our mutually glowing tattoos.

I shrug. Cause what else can I really do? "I don't know? I just really don't wanna get married. Plus I've only been 18 for a day."

She nods quietly. "Just turned 18 today."

"Working on your birthday? Were your friends too busy to hang out?" I chuckle

She shrugs again, "I need money!" She explains with a hearty laugh. "Plus Geo's my only real friend I've known him since we were like 11."

I stare out the window behind her. Guess that's why that guy wanted to explain things to the manager so bad. If I worked here honestly I think I'd be too nervous to even say good morning, that man looked like he was packing under that suit.

"If I'm being honest I didn't want you to find me. I mean I don't have time for a boyfriend and a husband needs to be trained." She waved her hand around like the idea was out of this world wild.

"So do you prefer beagles or golden retrievers?"

I almost fell out of the booth with how hard I start laughing again. Her fist coming up to clock my shoulder so many times I'm pretty sure she's working on leaving a permanent mark, but I don't let her see that it's actually starting to whittle me down.

I grab both her wrists as soon as I calm down and she tries to shake free but I don't allow it. "Sounds like we want the same things here. Not a relationship."

"Yeah and? Seems like your family really wants you to be in one." I recall the not at all subtle whooping from my cousins after the manager left and huge smiles from pretty much my entire family.

"Well, I don't want a girlfriend-"

"Yeah no boyfriend on this end!-"

"Or friend." I reply, she grows quiet and I can't tell by her face what emotion she wants to convey. I sigh and shift so I can put both my hands in my pockets. Without looking at her I continue, "But I need my family to shut up at least for a couple days so.. Why don't we just spend the night.. Hanging out and then go our separate ways...."

Now when I look at her she looks confused as if I had started speaking a different language. Her entire face looks completely unKiara not that I know what her face normally looks like. Her eyes fall to the seat of the booth, the tiny spot where neither of us are taking up space.

"Ok." She finally says with a grin.

The second we left the restaurant we were climbing to the roof of an apartment building that had to have at least 8 floors. You know because Kiara's a wild bitch.

"Quick question?"

"Yup."

"Where are we going?! When I said hang out I meant on the ground!" But honestly I might be just as crazy as her scaling a building using only the creaky fire escape as a way up and down. Why the fuck did I agree to this?

"Relax, it's perfectly safe." She states "I come up here all the time."

“Yup definitely more safe then let’s say, the ground.”

“Oh come on pussy it’ll be fine.” She remarked back with malice, heading to the edge of the roof and plopping down.

“Who are you calling pussy?” I ask stalking over to her with stomping feet.

“Shh look.”

Ok she was right about one thing the view was definitely a sight to behold. No visible moon above but instead the soft twinkling stars to greet us with warm waves some shooting across the sky as if they had somewhere they needed to be instead. Just below were more cars than people, every now and again a couple would walk past or a lone man would cross the almost deserted streets only to disappear down an alley or around the bend of the buildings.

I didn’t notice Kiara was stripping out of her work shirt until I heard a soft but very audible grunt next to me. “What’re you doing?”

“What does it look like?” She asked still struggling with her big head, jacket splayed out on the roof behind her.

Not that I’m scared for her or anything but her feet were dangling off the edge of the roof and she keeps leaning forward so I push her back by her shoulder more on to the roof before helping to remove her the still buttoned collar of her work tee to reveal a v- neck tee just underneath. Her hair flopped over her face in relief before flopping back behind her head, a couple strands still over her eyes. Without disrupting the staring she was currently doing she shrugged the shirt off her arms and next to her jacket.

“Do you expect a thanks?” She finally remarked with a soft smile. “Is that why you’re staring so hard?”

“For not letting your dumbass hit the ground below? Yeah a thanks would be great.”

Her fist connects with my shoulder blade and I just laugh using my other arm for support next to me as she continues to punch the arm that would’ve gone unbruised tonight, before eventually giving up and crossing her arms in a soft pout. I have to admit I really like that V- neck on her when she’s sitting up straight. It’s not tight on her but it does amazing work showing off her figure especially the way it lifts up a bit as she stretches.

“Glad to finally get that work shirt off huh? Especially after you clumsily spilled juice all over yourself.”

“Yeah definitely needed it to go so you could stare at my body like I wouldn't notice.”

“What can I say?” I respond with a shrug “I don’t hate everything about you.” Now it’s her turn to laugh surprisingly without punching me in the arm at all for the rude comment. “What’s funny?” I ask whirling my head around to look at her.

“You hate me.” She snickered “I don’t know man that’s pretty funny.”

“Hating you more..”

She sighs loudly into the night air, eyes trained on stars right above our heads. “Be realistic, You don’t know me that’s why you think this whole SO tattoo on your arm thing is dumb. You want to hate me because you’d rather hate me then let me be in your life.” Now her eyes meet mine and judging by the way she grins I feel like she believes she has me all figured out. “Not that I want to be in yours but you sure are a closed off little mother fucker.”

“Yeah? Where’s your proof.”

“You want to hang out with me solely to get your family to get off your back! Trust me you’re not that hard to figure out.” A car horn beeps loudly just below us and a man angrily shouts a broad range of curse words kicking the black vehicle.

My eyes fall back on her as she stares with another unreadable expression. “Yeah ok you’re not wrong I don’t want you in my life-”

“Or anyone..” She interrupts with a finger in front of my face to stop me. “Geo heard a lot of the conversation that transpired before he showed up. Think he wasn’t gonna tell me.” I grunt but she just continues with the cockiest smile plastered on her features. “Completely judging by what I heard and how little you actually looked at your family as soon as I came around I'd assume you don’t really like any of them and often push them away and take what any of them says with a grain of salt.”

I’m about to speak again but she instantly shuts me down with another finger in front of my lips. “And if you treat your own family that way who’s to say you don’t treat other random people that way. I’m just spitballing here but I feel like you have no friends.”

“You should be therapist.” I smirk

“You should stop avoiding the obvious.” Her eyes are so fiery like she’s ready to deliver the final blow. “I have yet to find out your name, your first name.” She says instead

“Didn’t Geo tell you?” I ask tearing my gaze back down to the ground below us.

“I’d rather hear it from you.” For some reason when she said this, it reminded me of mom on a good day. A spirit that takes shit from absolutely no body and will get things out of you no matter what. Honestly I feel a chill run up my spine from her gaze and I flinch inwardly.

“It’s Atlas.”

“Like the fucking flat globe?” She bursts out laughing so loud that people on the ground actually look up.

“And where the fuck do you get off saying I have no friends!!” I screech pushing her shoulder as she heels over a bit laying against the cold rooftop.

“Oh! I’m sorry, do you?!” Her cheeks puff up as she tries to hold the laughter that had been pouring out of her mouth like sewage. When I say nothing she instantly begins her aggravating cackling again.

And if I really didn’t hate her enough, I really really hate her now.

I cross my arms as she continues laughing and I’m pretty sure someone on the ground is going to call the cops soon if she doesn’t shut up. I roll my eyes as she heaves out irritatingly soft breaths, trying to calm herself down. She lets out aloud whoop once she’s finally done laughing.

“You really are the fucking worst.”

“That’s not what you said to my boss earlier.” She mocks and for the first time tonight I feel heat rising to my cheeks as I pout unable to think of a rebuttal. She bursts into a whole new fit of laughter and I’m seriously contemplating pushing her off the roof.

I run my fingers through my hair as the night air turns a bit chiller. We both begin to grow quiet and I set my sights on the clouds rolling in definitely not storm clouds but stringy small ones that clearly aren’t filled with rain.

“Why did you bring me up here? Besides the obvious reason of insulting me.”

“Ha I prefer assaulting you.” She claims with a wink. “And I don't know this is my safe spot. This is the only place I really go. When I need to be alone, when I need space, when I need to think.” She pauses to rub her thumb against the dirty bricks next to her thighs. “When you said hang out this was the only place I could think of.”

A soft gust of wind blows at my hair and I shiver. I haven’t put my jacket back on since I took it off earlier and my sleeves are still rolled up. Kiara instantly notices me rolling my sleeves back down and she raises an eyebrow looking at my jacket.

“I refuse to wear that thing.”

“So you'd rather be cold?”

“I would be less cold if I wasn’t on a roof at night.”

She just stares at me before grabbing her pink denim jacket, slinging it over my shoulders. “Comfortable you big baby?”

I shiver but I don’t remove the jacket. As dumb as I’m pretty sure I look it’s surprisingly warm and the scent of Kiara’s perfume wafting off it isn’t the worst thing in the world. “How aren’t you cold?”

She shrugs, “I don’t really get cold easily.”

I huff closing the stupid thing closer around my shoulders. “Let’s go somewhere else.” I retort already standing, both arms locked under her jacket.

“Do you have somewhere in mind?” She asks standing and brushing the dust off her butt and legs.

“Maybe I do.”

The streets stayed substantially quiet as we walked, only the sounds of our feet and breathing really standing out amongst the sleeping buildings and random car driving past.

"Ok so you know about the absolute disaster of a family I have what about you?" I ask one hand still holding her jacket close to my chest. Now that we're off the roof it is slightly less cold but not enough for me to stop shivering every now and then.

"What about me?"

"Now who's avoiding the obvious."

She sucks her teeth as if she's removing a lodged in piece of meat. "Who says I want to talk about them?"

"Hey, you know I don't have friends-"

"Which is really sad still." She interrupts cupping her own cheek and tilting her head while exposing her body lip.

I grunt "Regardless I know nothing about your family."

"Figured you wouldn't want to know, mister we're out of each other's lives tomorrow."

"Just tell me something." I may not have known Kiara for very long but I can tell just by her eyes that whatever she's not saying now is really really interesting. Interesting enough that I have to know. "Literally anything I'm curious."

She huffs out air through her nose all at once, stomping a bit now as she walked. Her eyes trained to the deep blue of the sky as if she'd rather not make eye contact with anything close to me.

"I have a dad." She settles on. Soft blue eyes locking on to me before jerking back up.

"Cool." And the bare minimum "What about your mom?" And for the first time tonight Kiara's face shows pain. Just for a second then she's rolling her eyes and trying to smile."I'm sorry.. I didn't-"

"She doesn't live with me and my dad." Kiara blurted "She needed to get away from my dad 14 years ago and she never came back."

"When.. You were 4…."

Kiara nods but nothing about her face says she might cry. I almost reach for her shoulder. Something anything to let her know that I wish I hadn't asked and that I'm sorry for her. But I do none of the above.

"Anyway.." I respond against the silence "We're nearing the place I wanted to take you. I used to go there all the time with my mom." I expect some sort of sly comment but when I don't get one look next to me at Kiara. She's not paying attention to a word I'm saying and instead is staring down the street.

We're coming up close to some really loud noise and I can tell just by Kiara's face what she's thinking.

"No.. No no.. No!" I reach out for her arm as she begins to walk faster down the street but she's a hell of a lot faster than me and easily slips away from me. Before I even realize what's happening we're nearing what looks like the entrance you'd see to shady clubs in movies. Two men standing outside smoking cigarettes and chatting while loud yelling and the hard hitting bass of music escaped the open door of the hole in the wall venue.

I took one look at Kiara and felt my blood run cold at the straight up evil smile on her face. "What the fuck no! This is a terrible idea!" But because she never listens to a word I say she continues pulling me closer to the place while my jacket is slipping off my waist from where I tied it and her jacket is flopping off one shoulder. Because she's strong as hell and I haven't lifted in ever she actually manages to drag us to the club door where surprise surprise the guys out front look at us funny.

I don't really know if it's the fact that this girl who honestly looks more 16 than 18 is dragging around this boy with clearly no fashion sense but these guys aren't even trying to pick up whatever Kiara is about to put down.

"What're you kids doing out so late at night?" The first male asks tossing his cigarette to the side as he looks me up and down first and then Kiara. But when he gets to her his eyes move a lot slower.

I look at the guy straight in the eye with one eyebrow raised as Kiara pipes up. "We're 18." She explains

"Which is still too young to get in here." The second guy says, cigarette stuck between his teeth.

"But we wouldn't cause any fuss.." Kiara says, her lower lip pops out and her voice lowers. She lets go of my arm striding closer to the guy with the cigarette in his mouth running her hand from the top of his shoulder down to his elbow.

The first guy makes no attempt at hiding the absolutely disgusting trail his eyes are making over Kiara's body smirking all the while the second guy is moving closer practically talking to Kiara's chest as he says, "Lotta creeps in there be careful girly."

My spine tingles at the absolutely disgusting pet name and I feel both my hands clench where I'm holding the jackets. "Thank you sir." Kiara smiles giving the guy's arm one last tight squeeze before marching down the stairs flipping her ponytail as she went. I moved to follow her but the first guy's arm came up fast almost hitting my chest.

"Don't worry about him!" Kiara yells up one hand on the door. "He's here to protect me from creeps." She states plainly extending an arm out towards me and motioning her fingers for me to come. Both guys back off and I hang my head as we enter the club.

It's honestly even worse inside. The music is so loud and grating on my nerves, it's packed to the brim with what is mostly guys and the purple lighting of basically everything except the bar is headache inducing. Not too mention how small the place was inside.

"Come on cheer up! We got inside!" Kiara yelled over the screaming of several men and the awful music.

"I didn't even wanna be in here!" I yell back already sore in the throat. She's still holding my hand even though she genuinely doesn't have to anymore.

"I know I know because you hate all living creatures!" She states playfully but when I don't smile she raises an eyebrow. "What's up with you?!"

"I just figured as much as girl's talk about hating being objectified and as strong a girl as you are, you wouldn't let those grimy guys do that to you! But you did all to get into what is admittedly a disgustingly shady club!"

I honestly expect a what do you care? Or it's none of your business back but Kiara does neither she just stares and then she sighs, which I can't hear but I can definitely see. Now I'm honestly glad for Kiara's hand because I definitely wouldn't be comfortable walking all on my own here. She pulls me closer as we reach the bar one of her arms wrapping around my waist to keep me close.

At first I think it's weird. I look into those cool blue eyes to see a weird spark a different spark from the other's that I normally see when she's punching me or saying mean stuff this is definitely different. I realize a little late that she's not looking at me but instead at, at least 3 burly looking dudes coming closer.

I hear one say very indiscreetly "What's a cutie like that doing with such a scrawny guy?"

My pulse freezes and my heart stops as one guy comes up behind Kiara. I know she feels it just by her face, I know she's scared even though she's just frowning. The other guys follow quickly behind and soon have us both cornered.

"You definitely don't look over 21 baby." Says the guy standing way too close behind Kiara.

"But that's perfectly fine we like them young."

Kiara's fingers grip tighter on my back and I flinch a bit. She's staring at the floor like she can make a hole in it if she looks down hard enough. This isn't the same situation as the two men out front this is way worse.

"Come on baby girl don't tell me you're with small fry." I don't know what he's looking for maybe our matching tattoos that stopped glowing hours ago. Or maybe just a way to squeeze in between us.

Kiara says nothing. Won't even look up at them as the 3rd guy reaches between us to cup her chin I pull her away.

"Give up small fry, she's way too cute for a guy like you."

"You may be right about that." Before I really registered what was happening my fist connected with the guy next to me's nose. But unlike in the movies he barely flinched. Head didn't go back nothing. Was like I gently flicked him. The guy's pissed expression zoomed past me as I grabbed Kiara and ran.

"Hey!" I heard one of them shout.

We'd gone in surprisingly farther then I'd originally thought. We pushed past a bunch of people on the way out some obviously really hammered. I could hear Kiara's soft gasping laugh as we pushed past the last couple people and burst out the door we'd came in. Leaving the club far behind.

A couple people had yelled obscenities at us as they almost went flying from our retreat, a couple being smart enough to move most likely seeing the burly men on our tail. We didn't stop running till we were at least 4 blocks away. My heart 2 seconds from falling out of my chest and my breaths coming out in hard heaves.

"My god are you ok?" I could barely process Kiara's hands on both my chest and back as she stood me up right. "Wow.. Your heartbeat is fast.." She commented

"I.. Don't….. Run.." I panted

"It's ok. You did good." She pats my back softly. Keeping her hand pressed to my chest as we walk.

I don't know if she knows where she wants to take me but we end up exactly where I had originally wanted to go. The boardwalk. The view with the soft blue of the night sky honestly makes it even prettier than I remember. Not to mention the way it endlessly stretches forward calm as can be.

"This is where I wanted to take you." I explain as her hand drops away from my chest and onto the railing. "How'd you know?" I chuckled. She rolled her eyes but a car couldn't block that smile. Eventually she just shrugged. The nights almost over and I still don't really know how Kiara feels about me. I'm about to ask but her eyes are suddenly staring me down.

"What was that? You clearly don't know how to punch." She says

"I've learned everything I know from movies blame them."

She snorts, "I'll blame your lack of upper body muscle instead." I laugh but this time she doesn't punch me. "I hope you don't expect a thanks especially when you probably didn't even give him a bloody nose."

"No need I do this stuff for free."

The hand she has on my back tightens which makes me remember Kiara who I met only hours ago is holding on to my shirt and kneading little circles into the fabric. Kiara who punched me every time I laughed at her. Kiara who yelled at children. Kiara who could make anyone fall for her.

Her hand came up from the railing and back up to my chest. Right over my heartbeat. Without much thought I leaned into her touch. Her gentle warm touch. It honestly feels like her hands could burn through my shirt with how hot they suddenly feel. My hands reach out for her waist, pulling her impossibly closer.

And when our lips touch.. Shit.. It feels so so so much better than I thought it would. Didn't think anything could feel better than just being alone in my own space but honestly this comes close. Her touch, scent, and lips all of it was honestly pulling me in for more.

My arms slowly snake around her waist and she's basically clawing at my back, the hand on my chest moving up to cup my cheek. She deepened the kiss tilting my head a bit more to the left, brushing our noses together in one spark filled movement.

It's so weird wanting someone's touch. I guess this is what mom was talking about when she used to tell me about falling in love with dad. I'm in the moment I'm having it now and yet I want more. I can't even really tell if I love it or if I feel like I'm drowning.

And when she finally let go I kinda wanna pull her back. But then I realize why she pulled away. Her head faces towards the horizon still not letting me go. The night is starting to fade.. It's almost over….

"It's really beautiful." Kiara whispered, letting the hand on my cheek fall to the railing and honestly I miss it as soon as it's gone.

"It really is." I reply my eyes fall over her face and the way her eyes twinkle, that curly brown hair falling down her neck. I jerk my head away to look down the wooden path we used to walk here. "I should.. take you home.."

I can feel her eyes look me up and down but I don't make eye contact. Eventually she just says, "Sure."

***

How did tonight even happen? One minute I'm in my bed than I'm running around with a girl I'm supposed to marry based completely on fate or destiny whatever one of those. And before tonight I'd never even thought of believing things like that.

I don't even wanna believe in that stuff now. Now that I'm walking towards Kiara's house with our fingers interlocked. Neither of us had said a word since the boardwalk. Not about separating, not about the kiss, not about my failed combat skills. I'd be lying if I said it didn't get under my skin at all.

"What's up with your jacket?" Kiara randomly asked eyes focused on the street ahead of us.

"What'd you mean?"

"Aw come on you know what I'm asking." She said with a small smile "Why don't you wear it?"

My fingers crept up into my hair to scratch at my scalp and I huffed out a breath. "So about your dad-"

"Talk!" She yelled through the empty street before punching me in the arm.

"Forget therapist you should be a judge." She raised her fist again and I flinched but she didn't throw the punch. "Fine fine.." I lowered her fist with two fingers and sighed. "This jacket.. My mom bought it for me.. It took her months almost a year to pay for so she's always trying to get me to wear it because she loves it. But it's not my style so she gets mad.."

"And it makes you wanna wear it less." She finished for me. I simply nodded. "Have you told her?" She asked

"Have you seen my family? They don't listen! When I told my grandmother I didn't want a relationship she called me a stick in the mud!"

Kiara scoffed, "Just sounds like people who care to me." She stated "Your problems are really stupid Atlas."

My mouth opened and closed and opened once more before snapping shut. How do you say something like that to someone so calmly?

"Oh really? And you'd know about actually problems?"

The air around us tensed as we approached a house. A nice looking house. Painted yellow with a clean walkway and driveway.

"This.. you?"

"Yeah." Her fingers tensed up in my hand but she didn't let go like I thought she would. Didn't even say good night or better suited good morning. "I hope he's asleep." Now she let's go regardless though I can still feel her on my skin. I reach out for her and catch her wrist.

"Wait, what'd you mean?"

"My dad he's.." She sucked in a breath before continuing, "Remember how.. I said my mom needed to get away?.." I nodded and she stared at the ground for the third time tonight. "Well.. That was half true.. The truth is she ran away…. Because he was beating her." I felt the air get stuck in my throat and I swallowed it down. Her fist clenched in my grip.

"Kiara I-"

"She left me because she couldn't get away with me…. My dad has.. Issues.. He doesn't know how to deal with.. He doesn't hit me like he did her-"

"Kiara no.. Don't make excuses for that behavior…. Regardless of whatever it's not ok.. It will never be ok." She stared at me with misty eyes and I looked up at the house once more. I wouldn't have even imagined the inside to be so different if Kiara hadn't said anything. I gave her arm a small tug. "Come on."

"What-"

"You're gonna stay with me. I can't let you stay in this house after that."

"Atlas.."

"No I'm serious come on."

She snorted pulling my other arm up so she could hold both my hands. "I need clothes you know."

"Borrow mine."

She leaned in closer to my ear. "And panties.. Cause these one's smell like fruit juice and tea."

Heat rose over my whole body before pooling into a hard chill. I gulped my fingers shaking in her grasp and by the look on her face I could tell she knew exactly what that did to me. "Then we should come back late tomorrow for them.."

***

It's pretty much morning by the time we get to my house. Thankfully no one's awake so I can sneak Kiara up to my room in peace. I let her borrow a tee shirt and a pair of my boxers to wear which no surprise are too big on her but fuck they look so good dipping in the front, showing off her pelvic bone.

"Boy stuff is so cozy." Kiara mumbled flopping down on my chest. I put my phone down on the bed wrapping my arms around her waist as she lays on me.

"Worn it before?"

She squints smirking playfully. "Why make you jealous."

"Who's jealous? I just wanna know if I'll need a shot." Her fist came down four times in a row each time a lot

"Douchebag." She grunts out as I laugh. Her fingers are playing in my hair and I sigh at the feeling. She's way too good at this.

"Mm Ki we should go to sleep." I mumble moving my head with her hands. "You've got.. Work later.."

"Ki?" She questions

"Nickname. I think it's cute but I won't call you that if you don't want me to."

Her face turned bright pink and she gritted her teeth turning away. "It's fucking horrible."

"Then I'll keep calling you that." She was less than amused, face planting on my chest which honestly hurt a bit but I ignored the pain.

I could feel Kiara's breathing begin to slow and I began to drift off myself only snapping out of it when a bird cooed loudly just outside the window. I looked up to see a white bird sat on the window sill staring back at me.

"Ki, look." I patted her back gently and she groaned like a possessed person.

"Fuck is it?"

"Look it's a morning dove." I say sitting up with both hands on Kiara's waist.

Now Kiara is looking as the bird continues to stare. "At what point am I supposed to care."

"Fine grumpy go to sleep."

"Was planning on it!" She yells into my shoulder blade. I just smile cause that's all I wanna do right now. Smile and sleep with Ki.

family
Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'
Shassee Guest
See all posts by Shassee Guest