~The Halo Effect~ 1
They were all wrong. He didn’t belong to any of them. He was yours and yours alone. You were the only one who truly understood him. You knew the other side of him, the side that he had hidden from everyone else.
Your cell phone rang. The moment you flipped out your phone and clicked on the screen, you knew who the text was from and who was sending it. It was from Allistor.
“Come pick him up,” was all it said and all it needed to say.
A heavy sigh escaped your lungs. Such a small action was supposed to help you relieve your stress, but you had grown accustomed to the temporary gesture of escape. By now, sighing had become no better than putting a Band-Aid on a deep cut; it could only help so much before the worsening pain started to erupt out of your wound. That wound happened to be in your heart.
When you arrived at the usual bar, Mathias was already waiting on the curb with his head hung low. You wondered if he had thrown up already.
By the time you got out of your car and walked up to the bar's entrance, Allistor had spotted you and had come outside to make sure the two of you would be all right driving home.
“Thank you for telling me about this, Allistor,” you quickly thanked the familiar bartender and began to sling Mathias’ arm around your shoulder for support.
“Anytime, ___________,” Mathias’ redheaded friend mumbled. “You’re sure you’re going to be fine tonight? I could always take him to my place after I close if he’s too much trouble.”
“No, don’t trouble yourself,” you quickly said dismissing him with a wave of your hand. “I can take it from here.”
Allistor knew better than that, though. He had known you longer than Mathias had. If there was an underlying problem nagging at the back of your head, he would dig it up and lay it out in front of you like a confiscated corpse in a heartbeat. You nearly flinched when he reached out and yanked down the scarf you were wearing around your neck.
He made a disgusted face that hurt you even more than the angry red mark throbbing on your tender skin.
“___________, this has to stop.”
You cursed and yanked your scarf away from his hand.
“I don’t need you to tell me what to do,” you snapped.
Allistor narrowed his eyes. “How long has this been going on?”
“How long has it been any of your business?”
“Hey, I can hear you guys, you know…” Mathias’ voice suddenly interrupted in a slur of words.
You grunted and hoisted the wild-haired blonde further on your shoulder.
“Come on, Mathias,” you said in a caressing voice. “Let’s get you home.”
“Hopeless,” Allistor muttered and headed back inside his bar.
Mathias had forgotten to bring his key again. Luckily for him, he had given you a spare to his apartment a long time ago. You had been using it more and more recently, but you continued to tell yourself that it was only because he needed you more often. You wanted to think of it as a way of getting closer to him.
On nights like these, Mathias preferred to sleep on the sofa and let you sleep in his bed to make sure he would wake up alive in the morning. It wasn’t until after you covered him up with a blanket that you realized you had forgotten to ask Allistor if he had drunk enough to throw up or not.
Oh, well, you sighed as you looked at the glowing digital clock on the wall. No point in bothering him at this hour. I’ll just put a bucket next to him like I always do.
Once that was finished, you looked around the dim apartment to see if anything else needed to be done. Fortunately, while Mathias had a tendency to act irresponsibly at times, he had a habit of keeping his living space clean, one of many reasons why you were able to put up with him.
With your tasks for the night complete, you bent down and gave Mathias a light kiss.
“Good night, Mathias,” you cooed. “Sweet dreams.”
Your boyfriend offered you no reply. Instead, he continued to softly snore throughout the night. At this point, you decided it was high time you went to bed, too. Perhaps you would be able to send him off in the morning.
The first thing you noticed when you woke up was the earthy smell of fresh bread drifting in the bedroom from the main apartment complex.
Mathias must be up, you thought and rolled out of bed to check on his condition. Sure enough, the bright-eyed guy was humming to himself as he set a steaming basket of bread down at the table and drew open the blinds.
“_____________!” he greeted you with a glowing smile. “Good morning!”
“Good morning, Mathias,” you smiled. “How’s your head holding up?”
“It’s fine,” your boyfriend replied. “I didn’t mean to make you go all the way over there to get me.” He looked up from the table and into your eyes. “Do you forgive me?”
You bit your bottom lip. It was hard to not forgive someone with such a perfect face like his. Everything about him was flawless in his own right: the lines on his jaw, the vivid sparkle in his angelic blue eyes, the desired shade of natural blonde hair that men and women alike would kill to have. It was impossible to say no.
“Yes, I do,” you answered.
“Good!” Mathias grinned and gave you a small peck on your cheek before pulling up a chair for you.
“Are you hungry, __________?” he asked. “I baked some bread.”
“Starving,” you replied with a smile and sat yourself down across from him to grab a small loaf.
For a while, there was nothing but silence as the two of you ate. Before, Mathias had filled the quiet apartment with stories about how he had become such an “excellent baker.” You, in return, would slather his achievements with praises; he liked to hear good things about himself, after all.
Now, however, Mathias had just about run out of things to say. He wouldn’t hesitate to bring up the same stories every once in a while, but after becoming so accustomed to his behavior, the stories gradually slowed to a halt. Breakfast, the periodic lunch, and dinner had all grown too quiet.
After finishing his share of bread, Mathias cleared his throat before speaking up.
“Eh-hem. Uh, so listen, __________?” he cut the silence.
You looked up. “Hmm?”
Mathias sheepishly scratched his head. “About last night…I didn’t do anything to you, did I?”
Upon hearing his question, your hand unconsciously went to the spot where he had bitten your neck. The mark wasn’t bleeding anymore, but it still hurt when you touched it the wrong way.
“No,” you answered. “You passed out as soon as I put you on the sofa.”
“That’s good,” Mathias sighed in relief. “____________, I didn’t mean to hurt you that night. I wasn’t myself, and I—”
You stopped him by clasping your hand around his.
“You don’t need to say anything, Mathias,” you dismissed. “You just drank a little too much, and you had a rough day. I can look past that.”
“Still,” Mathias groaned and covered his eyes shamefully with his large hand, “I didn’t mean it. I still can’t believe I did that to you.”
You rolled your eyes. “What’s done is done, Mathias.” You looked at the clock on the wall. “Never mind that. What about work? Didn’t you say you had an important client you were going to meet with today?”
“Crap! You’re right!” Mathias gasped and jumped out of his chair. While he ran into his closet to grab his suit, you went over to the kitchen area to start cleaning up the bowls he had used to make this morning’s breakfast.
When Mathias came outside, the clock already read a quarter ‘til eight. There was no way he was going to be able to meet up with the client on time.
“I’m going to be late!” Mathias groaned as he slipped on his dress shoes and buttoned up his jacket. The one thing he didn’t have to worry about was combing his hair. No matter how hard you had tried to tame his wild mess of locks, they wouldn’t stay straight and flat, but it didn’t matter since everyone had agreed that his zany hairstyle matched his outgoing personality.
“Your car’s still at Allistor’s place,” you reminded him just before he grabbed his car keys.
Mathias cursed. “_____________, I hate to ask you this for the—”
“—twelfth time, but could I—”
“Yes, you may, Mathias,” you finished his question for him.
“I’m lucky I picked such a nice woman to fall in love with,” your boyfriend smiled and kissed you full on the lips right before you handed him the keys to your car.
“Just make sure you don't drive it to you-know-where after work!” you reminded him extending your index finger out in front of his face to make a point.
“Right, right, I won’t,” Mathias chuckled and gave you one more kiss but longer this time.
“I love you, ____________,” he crooned. And with a fleeting smile and a wink, he stepped out the door and flew down the flight of stairs to the parking garage.
“I love you, too, Mathias,” you sighed.