144 Peach

Alex immediately froze under her. Nobody ever kissed him this way before and he didn't expect that just a kiss on his forehead would shut him down like this. He couldn't comprehend what he was feeling at the moment. All he knew was that this certain kiss she just gave him was worth a thousand kisses on the lips, the one kiss that he would never forget from all the piled up, intimate and lustful kisses he had acquired before her. 

Before he met her, kisses were not meant for anything else but lust and pleasure, but after he met her, it changed. The kisses that they shared were never for lust and pleasure but from desire and passion, but it changed once again into this something indescribable one. This kiss was like a soft and warm blanket being wrapped around his frozen cold body, melting him effortlessly. He felt that this kiss was meant far, far more than just desire. At that moment, he felt like she didn't kiss his body, she had kissed his soul, his cold and pitch black soul. 

Abi felt him stiffen like a rock under her. 

She had felt this pain countless times before. Whenever he sat by the fireplace alone, Abi had always felt this pain in her heart as she looked at him. She thought that it was all because of the thought that she would be leaving him one day, but now she realized it wasn't because of that. 

This Alex in her embrace was just the tip of an iceberg. She always had this feeling that he was hiding things from her, things that she probably couldn't even imagine, but she only thought that what was hiding inside him was mere danger and darkness. She didn't see the dead emotion that he had killed inside him. She was too focused on her own wishes that she failed to see the turmoil this person was going through. 

She had seen it before that time at the beach, where he looked like a lost soul with nowhere else to go, like he belonged nowhere, yet she chose to believe in his tough, stone cold and indestructible exterior. 

Tonight, she realized that this person was the one who needed hugs and embraces more than anyone else. Had she realized this sooner, she would have embraced him more, every single time she had the chance.   

The two stayed like that, in silence, for an indefinite amount of time until a ringtone buzzed. 

Abi let go of him and pulled away as she stretched out her hand and took her bag. She sat on Alex's lap and was a little startled when she realized that the one calling was her grandma. 

"G-grandma? Yes, yes grandma, we're almost there…" she bit her lip as she stared at Alex. They had actually completely forgotten about the dinner.

"Yes, we're coming." 

Once the call ended, Abi returned to her seat as Alex immediately accelerated onto the road again. 

They arrived at Abi's house in a flash. 

Abi didn't hesitate to hold Alex's hand as she smiled at him. 

They both approached the doorway with Abi leading him when suddenly the man paused, stopping Abi from reaching out the doorknob.

She looked back at him in curiosity. 

"Alex?" she called out as she faced him. 

The man slightly loosened his tie. "What if… your family gets scared of me?" he suddenly asked, seeming unsure of himself for the first time since she had met him. 

Abi: ". . ."

"You know how my mood changes unpredictably. I can't control my aura even if I wanted to. If they ended up being intimidated or –"

Without any hesitation, Abi wrapped her arms around his torso and hugged him before she looked up. 

"Don't worry, Alex, I'll be right there beside you," she said and Alex fell speechless. She then pulled away and fixed his tie like a good wife before she held his hand again. "Let's go." 

Once they entered the house, a small sofa welcomed them. The floor was made of wood. It wasn't big but it wasn't that cramped either. It was a typical average home that was filled with nothing but that 'home' vibe, a real one at that.

Alex's eyes wandered around and he saw no expensive materials. What he saw were many family photos hanging on the walls and on top of the cabinets, things that would never be found in any of his luxurious houses. 

Abi let go of his hand as she took off her boots. She grabbed a small pair of pink bunny slippers and put them on and then took a bigger pair of white fluffy slippers and put it in front of Alex's feet. 

"Uhm… this is the only extra pair of slippers we have here that is big enough for you," she told him as Alex stared down at the slippers. After three seconds, the man took off his own shoes and slipped into it, making Abi smile widely. 

"I think they're all waiting in the kitchen now," she said as she led him to the kitchen. 

"Dad, grandma, grandpa!" Abi was beaming widely as she walked over to where they were sitting and hugged them, one by one. 

"Abi… didn't your boyfriend come?" Andrew's brows knotted in disappointment. 

"Eh? He's he –" Abi couldn't continue her word. It was because the man who she thought was following behind her wasn't there. 

Hastily, Abi walked towards the door to check on him. 

When she saw him by the sofa, Abi sighed in great relief. The man was there, facing the cabinet and looking at the picture frames like an old man looking for his childhood pictures. 

"Alex," she called out and held his arm. But before she could pull him, the man took a picture frame and showed it to her.

"This is you?" he asked, holding her picture when she was a chubby one-year-old. 

"Oh… yeah, that's me when I was 1 year old," she replied and the man moved the picture right next to her face, his eyes darting back and forth between her and the baby.

"Indeed, a fruit. You look like a peach," he commented so seriously that Abi didn't know what to say until she heard her grandma's voice calling her. 

She snatched the picture from Alex's hand before she finally pulled him towards the kitchen. 

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