Camp Velaris ~ Chapter eleven
After it got too cold to stay on the roof, Rhys and I began walking back to the car.
We hadn’t kissed on the roof. It was no longer a case of it we would, but when. It was like something had… clicked while we watched the sky. Being there, with Rhys, had felt like home.
And it terrified me.
With what happened with Tamlin, I hadn’t wanted to be with anyone again, for a while at least. But with Rhys, it felt like we were… Well, I didn’t know what we were. There was something between us, I knew that much. With Rhys, I felt like I had known him my entire life, and not just for a few months.
“Are you okay?” I heard Rhys ask me, his voice concerned.
I had been so wrapped in my own thoughts, I had missed what he’s said.
“What? Oh, yeah! I’m just, um, cold.” Jesus, Feyre, get a grip.
“Here, have my jacket.” He shrugged of his suit jacket, and wrapped it around my shoulders, my bare arms instantly warm. The jacket even smelled of him, like-
Well, I was gone.
So, so far gone.
We walked in silence until we reached the car. Rhys, once again, held the door open for me as I got in.
“Fuck.” That was Rhys.
The car had suddenly stopped, though we had only been moving for a minute at most.
“What is it?” I asked him.
“We’re out of gas.”
“Can’t we just get a tow truck or something?”
“Give me a sec.”
He got out of the car, pulling his phone out of his pocket as he did so.
I looked out of my window, trying to see if there were any cars behind us. Thankfully, there weren’t.
It was another few minutes before Rhys came back.
“Any luck?” I asked him.
He shook his head, “Nobody’s coming until the morning.”
I sighed, leaning back into my seat.
“What do we do then?”
“I guess we just find a motel to crash in for the night, and wait for the tow truck in the morning. It’s Saturday, anyway. We’re not working tomorrow.”
“Okay. Let me just text Mor- tell her I’ll be back tomorrow.”
Car ran out of gas. Won’t be back until tomorrow. Staying in a motel. I’ll text if we can get back tonight. – Feyre xx
Mor replied instantly.
Have fun! Don’t stay up too late ;) – Mor xx
My face heated a little at her words, and the fact I would be sharing a motel room- with Rhys. The boy I was most definitely falling for.
“Ready?” Rhys asked, already climbing out the car again.
I nodded, climbing out as well.
“What are we going to do about the, um, car?” The car that was in the middle of a road.
“Fuck.” He said under his breath. “I guess we… push it?”
“We can try.” I said, unconvinced. That car probably weighed tons.
“Got any better ideas?”
Somehow, in ways I still don’t fully understand, we managed to push the car into a place that wasn’t in the middle of the road. I mean, it took about half an hour, but we did it.
“Hotel?” Rhys asked once we had finished and were leaning against the side of his car.
I could only nod.
I was waiting in the hotel lobby when Rhys returned from the front desk, holding a door key, an apologetic look on his face.
“What is it?”
“The hotel only had one room left.” He coughed awkwardly. “And it’s, uh, a double bed. One bed.”
“Oh, um, right. That’s fine.” I tried to make my voice calm, as if sleeping (innocent sleeping!) in beds with gorgeous boys was a completely normal concept to me.
Spoiler alert- it wasn’t.
“Are you sure? I could ask again.”
“Really, it’s fine. I just want to get out of these clothes.”
I just realised what that must have sounded like, and my face went red. Rhys’ did too.
“No! Not like that!” Shit, I was a mess.
“No, um, I knew. What you meant.” Rhys spluttered, obviously as embarrassed as me.
Well, this was certainly going to be an interesting night.
I was in the bathroom.
Not hiding. Definitely not hiding.
I had just come out of the shower and put on the pyjamas the hotel had given us.
And now I was in the bathroom, not hiding.
Calm down, Feyre. It’s just Rhys. Your friend Rhys. Who you are definitely not falling for. Nope. Rhys, who you are going to be sharing a bed with. Which Is completely fine, because you’re friends!
After another few moments of this, I stepped outside into our bedroom for the night. With one bed. Which Rhys was currently lying in.
“Hey!” Why was my voice suddenly so high pitched?
I got into the bed next to him, slipping under the covers.
“Goodnight.” My voice was small.
“Goodnight.” Rhys turned the lamp next to him off.
We lay in the dark. I couldn’t sleep. I could feel him next to me, his body heat sending warmth into my back. From the way his breathing hadn’t deepened yet, I knew he was still awake.
I think we were both grateful when my phone rang.
I practically leaped out of the bed, grabbing my phone from the bedside table.
“I better take this.”
I went into the bathroom. It was Elain. I answered.
“Feyre! I wasn’t sure you would answer. With it being so late and everything.”
“What is it, Elain?”
“Look, I can’t make it. When we go visit mom.”
I closed my eyes, leaning back against the bathroom wall. Not her as well.
“I’m just really swamped right now. And I checked with work, and I can’t get time off. I’m really sorry. I’ll come with Nesta, in September.”
“You know what. It’s fine.”
“Feyre, I am sor-.”
I hung up.
Why couldn’t either of them make the effort for once? I knew they were probably busy, but it wasn’t just that they weren’t coming to visit mom. It was the times they refused to get jobs, to help out, the new things they needed to buy when we were struggling.
With everything I had done for them, they still couldn’t give something back. At least just once.
Sometimes, I felt like I was the only one out of the three of us who cared about mom. About this family.
Wiping my eyes, I went back into the bedroom, hoping the lights were still off. They weren’t. Rhys was now sitting up in bed, the lamp next to him switched on. I perched on the edge of the bed.
“I heard you crying. Are you-,” A pause. “Are you okay? Who was on the phone?”
“It was my other sister, Elain. She um, she cancelled on me as well. I’m fine though.”
“Feyre, you’re obviously not fine. Look, you can tell me. I might be able to help.”
“Believe me, you couldn’t.”
“Well, maybe talking to someone will help. Take at least some of it off your chest. ”
He had gotten out of bed and had sat on the end of the bed with me. I looked into his eyes, so earnest. He would listen, I realised, if I decided to tell him. And if I didn’t tell him, he would respect that too.
“It’s kind of a long story. All of it, I mean. My pitiful little life. You probably don’t want to hear it.”
“We’ve got all night, Feyre darling. And I don’t mind. You can talk as long as you like. I’ll listen.”
I twisted my hands in my lap.
And I began to tell the story of my life.
“Growing up, my family had everything. A big house, nice cars, the works. We were happy. My sisters and I fought the normal amount for siblings. My mom and dad loved us and each other. But then… then my mom got sick. Breast cancer. By the time they caught it, it was too late. I was thirteen when she died.” I stopped, my breath catching in my throat. It was hard to talk about her, even now.
Rhys took my hand in a comforting way, and rubbed soothing patterns on my wrists.
“Everything went downhill after that. My dad lost his job and gambled away most of our money. We lost our home. Do you know they just… remove you from your home. They just show up and make you leave.”
Rhys continued his comforting swirls on my wrists.
“We lost our respect. We moved into a tiny house. Me and my sisters had to share a bed for a while. We began fighting a lot more. Me and Nesta, of course. Nesta would never fight with Elain. They both refused to get a job to help out. They both blamed our father. I did too, but I could put my anger aside if it meant helping the family. I would walk the neighbourhood dogs or babysit.
“I started high school. In my sophomore year, I dated Isaac Hale for a while. He was my escape, you know. Then, after a few months of dating, I met Tamlin.”
At the sound of Tamlin’s name, Rhys seemed to flinch, just a little. I carried on.
“He was my knight in shining armour. He did everything he could for me and my family. His friends soon became my friends and every moment I could I spent with him. When I was with him, I didn’t have to think about the next set of bills or if Elain and Nesta would need new things for the sake of it.”
This part was always one of the hardest things to think about.
“One day I was walking home from school, I was a senior at this point, Tamlin was in college, when I was mugged. They ran off as soon as they got my purse. I didn’t see their faces. I told Tamlin, who called the police, who said there was nothing they could do.”
I took a raggedy breath. I noticed Rhys had shifted ever so slightly closer.
“After that, Tamlin became protective. I mean, he had always been, but it was just making sure I texted him when I got home. But he had started to choose who I’d go out with and whatnot. I ignored all the signs, though. I had never had someone who cared about me, not since my mom died. After all, he had helped me and my family out. Deep down, he was truly a sweet guy.
“Then one day, we had a fight. He had caught me talking to this guy from one of my classes when he came to pick me up after school. He wouldn’t talk to me the whole car ride, and when we got home he just… exploded.”
I paused, unable to go on for a moment.
Rhys, seeming to understand that I didn’t need any noise right now, just stayed silent, his hands now entwined in mine. And after a moment, I carried on.
“He threw a vase at me. It shattered onto the wall behind me, and one of the shards caught my face and cut it. I had the scar for days. Afterwards, he cried and told me he was sorry, that his temper had gotten the best of him, that he’d had a hard week. I told him I’d forgiven him.”
I wiped my eyes, the tears that now fell at the memory of that day. I had been so, so scared that he was going to hit me. Or worse.
“The only person I told about the incident was Ianthe, my only female friend. It wasn’t like I could talk about it with Lucien. Instead of helping me, or even just comforting me, she told me that I was overreacting, that I was being ridiculous. Even after I told her of how frightened I had been in that moment. After that, I decided I wouldn’t tell anyone. Maybe I was overreacting. Besides, who would believe me? Tamlin was respected.
“The day I went to Tamlin’s house to break it off, Ianthe was there. They weren’t kissing or anything. She was just there. And that made me really mad, because how could she be there after what I’d told her. So I broke up with him. Cut off all ties with those people.”
I stopped again. Rhys had definitely moved closer now. It was calming, having him near me.
“I went home and I cried. For hours. My sisters and father pretended not to notice. That day, I missed my mom more than ever. From that day, I demanded that we, all of us, visit her grave once a year. And we did. We always go together. And now my sisters aren’t going and I feel just as lost as I did all those years ago and I can’t with them anymore…”
Rhys had pulled me into an embrace, and I cried into his shirt. Eventually, I pulled away.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have told you all that. I got carried away-.”
“Don’t ever say that, Feyre. I’m glad you told me. It’s better to talk than to keep it to yourself.” His voice was sincere. “Was that… was that the first time you’ve ever told someone that?”
I gave him a small nod.
“Look at me, Feyre.” I looked up at him hesitantly. “You survived all that. You’re strong. Much stronger than most of the people I know.”
I gave him a tiny smile at that, and he leaned in and kissed my tears, the small ones that were still sliding down my face.
I went to wash my face in the bathroom, and then I got into the bed.
I felt a whole person lighter. Rhys was right, I did feel better. And I couldn’t help but be glad it was Rhys I’d told. Somehow, I thought he might understand.
We went to sleep on the opposite sides of the bed.
And in the night, we somehow entwined.