Home > The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark #1)(16)

The Soul's Mark: FOUND (The Soul's Mark #1)(16)
Author: Ashley Stoyanoff

When he broke away, he licked his lips and looked down at her, eyes hungry. “Shit,” he breathed and backed away. “Shit, that shouldn’t have happened.”

“No, it’s okay,” Amelia said. That really wasn’t the reaction she had hoped for. What had she done wrong? She took a step towards him. Maybe if she tried again. This time she could use her tongue. Maybe that would work.

He held up his hands to stop her and his expression turned cold. “It’s really not okay. Don’t look at me like that.”

Her heart sank, feeling like boulders were tied to it, dragging it down to her toes. The way he was looking at her, as if he couldn’t stand to be near her hurt. It hurt really badly, way worse than Fiona’s slap. “Like what?”

“Like I’m some chocolate sundae. You’re going to be the death of me if you keep that up.”

“Eric, we didn’t do anything wrong,” she pleaded, tears filling her eyes.

“Dammit, Amelia!” he yelled and slammed his hand against the door so hard the walls rattled. “Yes, we did. I have to go.” He turned away from her and shuffled off.

“Eric,” she called after him but he didn’t stop and the tears spilled over, gushing like a waterfall. She scrubbed at her face, hiccupping and gasping for breath not understanding what she had done so wrong. Was she really that horrible to kiss?

Amelia stared down the empty hallway for a cold, lonely minute, praying he would come back but he didn’t. Finally, she went into her room, slammed the door, fell into bed and cried big heart-wrenching sobs.

CHAPTER 13

There was no sign of Eric the next morning, and to Amelia’s relief (and dismay), he stayed away for the rest of the week. After their little kiss, he had left abruptly, supposedly on some business trip and no one seemed to be able to tell her when he would be back. She knew sooner or later that he would come back. It would be awkward and they would have to deal with it, but she was glad she didn’t have to face him, at least not yet.

As the days went on, Amelia’s shiny new toy status didn’t fade in the least. It only seemed to grow, especially after the Barbie Squad formally and publicly apologized to her.

With Eric gone, and no sign she would be able to just blend in, Amelia focused on school, burying herself in books. Studying was the best and really the only distraction she could think of and she was glad classes were tougher than she had expected. It was nothing like high school and by the time Friday came around, she had already taken (and aced) two quizzes, and had a report to write by the end of the weekend.

The energy at school on Friday was nuts; there was a palpable buzz in the air. Amelia could feel it like a soft vibration, radiating and pulsing. By the time 7:00 came around and her last lab class ended, the buzz had grown, and seemed more like a tidal wave of anticipation. At first, Amelia thought it was a bit strange. Erin was not Miss Popularity by any stretch of the imagination, but from what she had heard Erin’s annual party had grown a reputation of an event not to be missed. Amelia had been asked at least a hundred times if she would be going to Erin’s party. And with Amelia’s celebrity status, all the girls wanted to know what she’d be wearing, when she’d be getting there, if she had a date, if she would have her hair up or down. It was so flattering and all the attention, whether she wanted to admit it or not, was going to her head.

Now, at 8:30, Amelia was sitting on her bed amidst heaps of clothes, watching the clock flip away the minutes. The reality had finally hit her. This was her first real party and with all the attention she had been getting she knew she had to look just perfect and everything seemed… wrong. Every outfit she tried on made her look fat or just didn’t work.

She picked up a black skirt, held it up to the light and then tossed it across the room. “Everything is just wrong,” she huffed to herself. Her nerves were on hyper-drive and the knot in her stomach twisted agonizingly tight.

With a sigh, she got off her bed, wrapped her housecoat around her and stalked out of her room. She knew it was stupid and she was overreacting, but there was so much pressure on her to be some perfect, glamorous movie star that it made her feel sick and she just knew she couldn’t go. I’m not the party type anyways, she thought, and watching a movie and hanging out here would be… better. And how could she look perfect when the bruise on her cheek was starting to turn a horrid greenish-yellow.

Amelia slipped up the stairs and headed straight for the media room, the thought of chilling out and watching a movie was sounding better and better to her by the minute. When she passed Eric’s room, she stopped for a moment, taking in a deep breath of lingering musk. Her heart sank as she looked at his closed door and wondered if he was ever coming back. She gave herself a little shake, forced her eyes away and padded down the hall to the media room.

The room was dark and quiet, and Amelia reached in and flicked on the lights. She was half way to the television when she saw him.

Eric.

Amelia had expected it to be awkward, and it was. Seeing him again hit her hard, like a punch in the gut, knocking out all the air from her lungs. They locked eyes for an incredibly long minute. She wanted to pull away, break the contact but she couldn’t. So many feelings rushed into her, suffocating her. Hate, anger, lust, more anger. She felt like she was drowning in the intense rush of pure emotion.

It wasn’t until he grinned at her that mischievous grin of his, the one which at one time had turned her into a giggling fool, that it hit her. A part of her, a purely animal part, wanted to pounce on him and kiss every inch of his magnificently sculpted body. That was her biggest worry. She had been terrified that when she saw him again she would act like a lovesick puppy dog. But now, as she looked at him, it was crystal clear that her attraction to him was completely and utterly sexual. She didn’t love him, not even a little. And somehow, for some reason that little bit of realization stopped her from making a complete and utter fool of herself.

“Oh sorry,” Amelia said, pleased at the strength of her voice. “I didn’t know you were back.”

“It’s okay.” Eric looked so calm and cool and she wondered if he was feeling the same mix of confusion that she felt. “Thought you were going to that party tonight.”

She shrugged and continued on to the entertainment stand. “You thought wrong.”

“Oh come on,” he whined, and Amelia had to work hard not to look over at him. His voice was almost captivating and called to her. She focused with eyes unseeing on the shelves of movies. “I was looking forward to it. Go get ready.”

“I’m not going so drop it,” she snapped, annoyed at how much he affected her. “And even if I was, you wouldn’t be coming with me.”

Amelia hadn’t heard him get up, but she could feel his breath, warm and tantalizing on the back of her neck. “Why?” he asked, a soft, seductive whisper in her ear.

She was suddenly, hotly aware that the only thing under her thin housecoat was a lacey black bra and thong panties and he was standing so close that she could feel the heat of his skin warming her body. “I have nothing to wear and I look fat in everything,” she breathed, broken and strained.

Eric laughed, loud and hard and Amelia spun around. “Fat?” he staggered back a few steps, laughing hysterically and holding his stomach. “Come on. What are you, a size six?”

Amelia bristled. “A size six! You think I’m a size six! You’re such an ass,” she yelled. She grabbed a DVD off the shelf and flung it at him; it missed and banged off the wall.

Eric sobered quickly, looked at her with confusion and that look made her blood boil. “What did I say?” he asked, and held up his hands in protection as she grabbed another DVD and whipped it at him.

“What’s up with you two?” Angelle asked, appearing in the doorway as another DVD was sent airborne at Eric. “And why aren’t you ready?”

“I’m not going,” Amelia snapped, grabbing another case off the shelf.

Angelle glided into the room, and before Amelia knew it, she had snatched the next case out of her hands and placed herself in between them. “What the hell did you say to her, Eric?”

“I didn’t say anything,” he said, exasperated. “She said she looked fat and I said she was a size six.”

“You didn’t,” Angelle gasped and put an arm around Amelia, more to keep her from attacking Eric than anything else. “God, Eric. Didn’t anyone ever tell you to just keep your mouth shut about that kind of thing? She’s a size four.” Angelle paused for a second and gave Eric a hard glare. “You just have so much class, Eric,” she said, her voice oozing with sarcasm. “All lower, but so much class.” She turned her big brown eyes on Amelia. “It’s okay, Millie. I’ll help you find something to wear. Don’t listen to him. He’s an idiot.” And then she ushered Amelia off, promising to help her get ready.

“I think I should cancel,” Amelia said when they got to her room, her voice a little shaky. Why had she let Eric get to her like that? She knew it was crazy and he really hadn’t said anything wrong, but dammit, he could get under her skin so easily.

“Don’t be stupid,” Angelle laughed. “You were so excited yesterday.”

“That was yesterday,” she replied, letting out a long gusty huff and curled up in bed, tugging the blankets around her. “This whole party thing is overrated anyways.”

Angelle bounced across the room and ripped the blankets off her. “Oh no you don’t,” she said, wagging a finger at her. “You’re going and it’s gonna be a blast. Now go jump in the shower. I’ll pick out something for you to wear.”

“That’s the problem,” Amelia said, glancing back towards the closet and around the room at all the clothes scattered. “I have nothing to wear.” She ran her hand through her mess of curls. “I’ve been looking for the last hour and I have absolutely nothing. Everything is just wrong.”

   
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