Through my Window by ARIANA Godoy ,Chapter 14,The Gentleman

Rocky’s habit of licking my hand when he wants food wakes me up. The sunlight is streaming through my window, warming the room. My eyes burn, and my face hurts, and it takes me a few seconds to remember everything that happened last night. Ares . . . With a jump, I sit up and look at the other side of my bed. My heart sinks when I see that it’s empty. But what did I expect? That I’d wake up to him cuddling with me? I’m so naive. Slowly, I walk to the bathroom to brush my teeth. When I look in the mirror, I let out a squeal. “Holy mother of bruises!” My face looks horrible. The whole right side is swollen and there’s a bruise going up from the middle of my cheek to my right eye. The corner of my mouth has a small cut on it. I had no idea that man hit me so hard. As I inspect my face, I notice bruises on my wrists and arms—I guess from when those other guys grabbed me. A shiver runs through me as I remember what happened. After taking a shower and brushing my teeth, I leave the bathroom in my underwear, toweling my hair. “Pokémon panties?” I scream at the sight of Ares sitting on my bed. There’s a bag of take-out food and two coffees on the nightstand. I cover myself with the towel.
“I thought you left.” He smiles. “I just went for breakfast. How are you feeling?” “I’m fine, and thank you, that’s very kind of you.” And kindness is not your thing, I think. “Get dressed and have something to eat. Unless you want to do it this way? Without clothes. I wouldn’t complain.” I gave him a murderous look. “Very funny, I’ll be right back.” After getting dressed, I start on breakfast, trying to ignore the beautiful creature in front of me so I can eat. Ares takes a sip of his coffee. “I have to say it. I won’t be able to live in peace if I don’t say it.” “What?” “Pokémon? Really? I didn’t even know Pokémon underwear existed.” “It’s my underwear; no one is supposed to see it.” “I’ve seen it.” His eyes catch mine. “I’ve touched it too.” I almost choke on my breakfast. “Ares . . .” “What?” He looks at me playfully. “Oh, you’re remembering that, aren’t you?” “Of course not.” “Then why are you blushing?” “It’s hot.” He smiles mischievously but says nothing. I finish eating and take a sip of coffee, keeping my eyes anywhere but on him, even though I can feel his gaze on me. It’s making me nervous and hyperaware of how I’m dressed, and every detail about me that he can see and disapprove of, like my wet, tousled hair. Ares sighs. “What happened last night?” I look up, and I feel like I can tell him everything. Why do I trust him after he broke my heart? I’ll never understand.
I run a hand through my hair. “I decided to take a shortcut.” Ares gives me a disapproving look. “What? I was tired, and I thought nothing would happen.” “The shorter, darker roads are not somewhere you should be at that time of the night.” “Now I know. Well, I walked under the bridge, and three men were there.” Do you want something, pretty girl? I clench my hands in my lap. “They took my phone from me, and one of them . . .” It’s going to go real bad for you, pretty girl. The man’s words haunt me. Ares puts his hand on mine. “You’re safe now.” I take a deep breath. “Two went away and left me with the third one. He dragged me into the dark and told me not to scream, but I did and so he hit me. The man who called you heard me, and then the other guy ran away.” “Did he do anything to you?” Ares’s eyes have a flash of anger that surprises me. “Did he touch you?” I shake my head. “No, thank God.” “It’s okay.” He squeezes my hand, and his palms are soft. “You’ll be fine.” He smiles at me, and for the first time it’s not a smug or mischievous smile. It’s a genuine smile, one that he hasn’t shown me before. Ares Hidalgo looks so honestly grateful that I’m okay that I feel the stupid urge to kiss him. It’s at this moment that I realize that he and I have never kissed even though we’ve done intimate things together. Why have you never kissed me? I want to ask him, but I don’t have the courage, not now. Besides, what would I gain by asking him that? Especially if being with him is out of the equation. He has been sweet and kind. He behaved like a gentleman, but that doesn’t mean that his way of seeing things has changed, nor mine. Ares strokes the back of my hand with his thumb, tracing circles, and I feel the
need to thank him. “Thank you, really. You didn’t have to do all this. Thank you very much, Ares.” “I’m at your service, always, Witch.” Always . . . That makes my stomach flutter and my heart beat faster. He reaches over and takes my chin. “What are you doing?” He assesses the bruised side of my face. “I don’t think you need to take anything, but if you’re in pain, you could take an analgesic. You should be fine.” “Are you a doctor now?” Ares gives a small laugh. “Not yet.” “Not yet?” “I want to study medicine when I finish high school.” That surprises me. “Really?” “Why so surprised?” “I thought you’d study business or law like your father and brother.” “To work for my father’s company?” “I never imagined you as a doctor.” You would be a beautiful doctor, though. “That’s what everyone thinks.” He grimaces. “I’m sure my parents and Artemis think the same thing.” “They don’t know that you want to study medicine?” “No, you’re the first person I’ve told.” “Why? Why me?” The question leaves my mouth before I can stop it. Ares looks away. “I don’t know.” I bite my tongue so as not to ask him any more questions. He stands up. “I should go, I promised Apolo I would take him to the animal shelter.”
“To the animal shelter?” “You ask a lot of questions, Raquel.” He doesn’t say it in a bad way. “Apolo fosters puppies when Mom is in a good mood and lets him. If it were up to him, we would be overrun with dozens of dogs.” Ah, that explains the different doggies I sometimes see in the backyard. “Apolo is a really sweet boy.” Ares becomes serious. “Yes, he is.” “Could you give him my regards?” “Do you miss sleeping with him?” And here we go, mischievous Ares is back. “Ares, I’m going to forget you said that because you’ve been good so far.” Go away, before you ruin the moment, Greek God. Ares starts to say something but stops. He finally says, “Well, I hope you feel better soon. If you need anything, let me know.” “I’ll be fine.” I don’t have a phone to let you know. I want to say it, but I don’t want to sound needy. Maybe he’s just saying that to be nice and he doesn’t really expect me to “let him know” about anything. Before I can say answer, Ares climbs out my window.
Dani doesn’t blink, doesn’t move, doesn’t speak. I’m not even sure if she’s breathing until she starts asking me what happened and if I’m okay, saying that I need to file a report, and reproaching me when I tell her no. She says the same thing that my mom said when I told her: that if I don’t, those men could attack another girl. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through.
So, with Dani and my mom’s support, I decide to go to the police station. I make sure to mention the bridge in hopes that they will be there again, and that the police will find them before they find other victims. Afterward, Mom drops us off at Dani’s house because she’s on duty at the hospital and doesn’t want to leave me home alone tonight. In the comfort of Dani’s room, I tell her everything that happened with Ares. It takes her a few minutes to take it all in. For her, I jumped from stalking Ares from the shadows to fighting with him over Wi-Fi to suddenly doing things with him. I blush as I remember what we’ve done. We are sitting on her bed, cross-legged in our pajamas, with a bowl of popcorn between us. “Breathe, Dani.” She takes a breath, letting out a big breath of air, and adjusts her black hair behind her ears. “I must admit that I’m impressed.” “Impressed?” “Yes, you put him in his place when it was required. You’re brave. I’m really proud of you.” “It’s no big deal.” “Of course it is. I never thought you’d have anything to do with him, let alone put him in his place. Bravo!” She raises her hand and gives me five. I give her five insecurely. “It wasn’t easy, Dani. You know how much I like him.” “I know it wasn’t easy. That’s why I’m congratulating you, silly.” I grab a fistful of popcorn. “Sometimes I can’t believe I ever had anything with him. He’s always been so out of my league.” I pop as much popcorn as I can into my mouth. “I can’t believe it either,” she jokes. “Who knew? Life is unpredictable.” Dani eats her popcorn more slowly. “Although I think he’s still out of my league. He’s not interested in me for anything serious; he just wants to have fun. I don’t even know if he likes me.”
Dani clicks her tongue. “He must like you. He’s physically attracted to you, yes, but no one gets involved with someone they don’t like, that wouldn’t make sense.” “But he told me, with his stupid, beautiful face: ‘Because you like me, but I don’t like you,’” I repeat bitterly, trying to imitate his voice. “If he didn’t like you, he wouldn’t have tried anything with you. Nothing.” “Stop, Dani.” “Stop what?” “Don’t say things like that, you’ll make me get my hopes up about him again.” Dani puts two fingers together and slides them across her mouth like a zipper. “Well, I’ll shut up, then.” I throw popcorn at her. “Don’t be angry.” She makes signs with her hands as if she can’t speak. “Are you serious, Dani?” I throw a piece of popcorn at her, and she catches it and eats it, but she still doesn’t reply. “Dani . . . Dani, talk to me.” She puts her arms across her chest. “I’m just telling you the truth and that bothers you. Ares is hot. He’s got money. He’s smart, and he can have any girl at his feet. And, even so, you’re telling me that he would be with someone he doesn’t even like? So, maybe he doesn’t want anything serious, but he does like you, Raquel.” “Okay!” Dani puts her hair over her shoulder with a smug grin. “Now let’s go to sleep. The last thing we want is to be tired on the first day of school. It’s our last year, we have to make an impact.” “We’re always the same. We live in a small town, Dani.” “You love to take the fun out of life.” Dani gets up and puts the popcorn bowl on the floor.
We settle into the bed and get under the covers. Turning off the lamp on the bedside table, we both sigh. After a brief silence, Ares’s beautiful, genuine smile invades my mind. “Stop thinking about him, Raquel,” Dani says knowingly. “No one has ever made me feel this way.” “I know.” “And it hurts. It hurts that he doesn’t want to take me seriously. It makes me feel like I’m not good enough.” “But you are. Don’t let him make you doubt that. You were right to push him away, Raquel. It would have been much more painful later on.” I take a lock of my hair and start playing with it. Dani rolls over, and we lie there, facing each other. “Dani, I like him a lot.” “You don’t have to say it, I know you.” “The way I feel about him makes me want to cling to any shred of hope.” “Don’t complicate your life by thinking so much. If he doesn’t know how to value you, someone else will come along who will.” “Do you really think so? It sounds so impossible to find someone like Ares.” “Maybe not someone like him, but someone who makes you feel like he does.” I doubt it so much. “Well, it’s time to sleep.” “Good night, shorty.” She has always called me that because she’s taller than me. “Good night, crazy girl.”

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