Figure 8 Ch. 03byimpeterpan©
"It's still too early. Go back to sleep."
She felt him mumbling into her hair. One of the best feelings in the world was feeling Adam's warm arms around her. Every once in a while he'd squeeze tight, like she was going to slip away. But Emma knew better than to read her actions as anything other than friendly affection. Back in college, they would cuddle as if they were lovers, but she could count more times where Adam chose to sleep on the floor than with her. It always depended on their level of intoxication.
Yet there was something about this time... that made it feel like something more. Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the fact that they hadn't seen each other in months, or maybe it was fine line between brotherly and jealous lover that Emma could never decipher. She started analyzing every look and word from the previous night.
As soon as they had gotten into the cab, Adam had turned on the interrogation switch.
"Who was that?"
His voice was gruff with barely constrained anger. Scolding her wasn't beyond him. Adam was always on the lookout for her. At parties, at social events - anywhere that involved alcohol or hoards of people. He always made sure she got home safe, even if he was too intoxicated to drive; Emma knew she was always on his mind.
"Bullshit, I saw the look on your face. You never looked so scared or uncomfortable in my life."
"It was just a drunk co-worker, Adam," she said timidly, keeping her eyes on her own hands.
Adam raked his hand through his hair. With a sigh, he grabbed Emma and pulled her close. "I was just worried that I found you too late Emma." He eased up as Emma looked at him, wide-eyed and oblivious.
"Yes, and I know what men are thinking. The look on his face? It was complete pervert. Does he act this friendly when you're at work?"
"I don't really see him around the st - office," she lied.
"Well, you should quit if he's making you uncomfortable at work."
That had her laughing, the rumbles running through both their bodies. "Right, and I'm going to pay for expenses, how?"
"Well I'm in town for two months, I can take care of you while you look for another job." He said this with ease, like it was dinner, or a movie ticket and popcorn. The cab's swerved left caused them to slide closer together. Adam gripped his arm tightly around her, and started to stroke his thumb up and down her arm. Emma tried not to focus on the gentle caresses.
"I-I can't let you do that."
"Emma, remember when we graduated, I said you could always ask me for help?" He lifted her chin so that he could see her eyes as she nodded. "Well, this is me, offering help. I don't want to see you unhappy, Emma. It hurts me to see you unhappy."
Emma's mind was racing as he held her gaze. She wanted to ask him how much it hurt, and in what ways. How deep could she dig before he knew exactly what he wanted from her? For a second she thought her dreams would come true, she felt the liquid courage pushing those words out of her mouth but then cab came to a stop and the driver broke the moment with a, "We're here."
Like lightening, Emma pushed herself out of Adam's hold. "I got it," she said while digging through her clutch. But Adam was faster, and he handed the driver a twenty and a ten.
"Keep the change."
He moved to get out of the cab, but kept a hold of her hand as he pulled her out with him. Emma felt a little blossom of hope, a hope that he was drunk too. Or at least tipsy enough. He was always more handsy with alcohol flowing through him, just like how she would get braver... just a little braver.
Her head was spinning as they reached her front door. Adam stood closely behind her as she looked for her keys. His heat against her back made her fumble, not knowing if she wanted to hurry up to get the door open or have him press closer. Her breath skipped as she felt his arm come down and pull her keys from her purse. He leaned in over her as he unlocked the door and gave her a little push inside.
As they took off their shoes, she felt the cold rush of her apartment surround her, and her desire overcame her fear, her stupid mousy shyness.
"You... you can sleep on my bed if you want. There's enough room."
She didn't wait for him to respond and hurried to her room. In there she quickly slipped on a pair of sweats and threw off her dress. She heard him step in just as she pulled over a large shirt and noticed that he had not changed. Her heart dropped as she heard him ask for a pillow.
He was going to sleep outside.
Without giving him a second glance, she shoved the pillow into his hands as she walked to the bathroom to take off her makeup and brush her teeth. She could her him doing the same in the kitchen sink. By the time she was done, the lights in the living room were off, and there was an unmistakeable figure on the couch.
She hated to admit it... but it was obvious he wasn't drunk enough to want her. Emma allowed herself to relive the college years again, the times of being his friend, as she walked back to her room. How many times had there been other girls in his dorm?
She slide underneath her covers, sliding to the edge of the bed, as she slowly recalled what the weight of him was like. From the little moments they did share together, when he wasn't in the mood for prettier girls, she felt perfectly content. As she felt herself drift to sleep, she heard the door creek open and a shadow cast over her bed.
The other side of the mattress dipped as two strong arms pulled her up and stretched her body out to mold against his. Without hesitation, she turned around and buried her face into Adam's chest.
"Goodnight," he muttered, kissing her forehead.
She felt her chest soar, and a happy exhaustion take over. She wouldn't let herself over think it until the morning. Not until the sun shone through the blinds, reminding her that this decision, like always, had been a result of alcohol in their veins. Even without sex, she managed to feel shamed.
He'd get up and pretend like nothing happened. Like all the other college nights. To her, using her for warmth would have felt just the same as using her for sex. Emma squirmed to move out of his hold, not willing to risk feeling too comfortable when she heard him chuckle and breathe against her neck.
"It's still too early. Go back to sleep."
"I need to get to work."
"I thought you said you were going to work from home today."
That was before I knew you were staying over, she thought to herself. Like hell I'm going to preview pornography while you're here. She shivered at the thought of Adam catching a glimpse of Sylar in all his naked glory on the big screen. "I did, but there's some files at the office, and my boss wants to see the stuff I do personally, so..."
It wasn't really a lie, she as she lifted her upper body up and looked back down at her best friend. She wanted nothing more than roll back into bed and tuck herself into his embrace. But as she was about to make her decision, his grip loosened and he rolled over to the other side of the bed, hugging the pillow instead.
Sharp pain swelled in her chest and the memories of how the rest of the day would play out resurfaced. Last night would just be a slip-up moment, never mentioned, never referenced by either of them. He would never bring up, and Emma, too afraid that she would lose those nights with him, wouldn't dare to ask.
Stop it, it's not rejection. This is normal. This is us, Emma chided softly. She slipped out of bed and grabbed Adam's hoodie off the floor.
"I'm going to get breakfast." She pulled on his jacket as the heat of the bed left her body.
"Sorry, all I have is cereal."
Adam moaned, rubbing his face into the pillow. "That's the only thing I don't like about you, Emma," his eyes were still closed as he sighed. "You wake up early can't even make me pancakes."
Emma let out a melodic laugh. "Okay, I'll go buy us some breakfast. Pancakes, I'm assuming?"
She heard Adam mumble incoherently as she zipped his jacket up.
"Gee, thanks," Emma mocked. "You're the best, Emma."
She grabbed her keys and wallet off her dresser. A muffled sound came from the pillow that Emma could make out as, "You are the best." She looked back to see Adam drifting back to sleep. He looked so perfect in her bed. What she wouldn't give for their nights to be real, and not just lost souls wanting warmth.
Back in college, his stays were often always unplanned. Of course Emma did her fair share of coaxing him to come over - silly ideas like movie night, study group or even getting drunk enough to interrupt him mid-conversation so he would take her home. But in the end, the decision of whether he slept in her bed would always depend on how much alcohol he drank.
I guess he was pretty drunk last night. She tried not to think bitterly, tried hard to make it positive, but it was hard to find any after glow. By the time she got back to the apartment with breakfast in hand, he would be already ready for the day. And they wouldn't mention last night. They never did. She was grateful for that. It probably meant he wouldn't bring up Sylar.
Sylar... her thoughts drifted to what would happen if he was in the office today. He definitely didn't seem the type to just ignore what happened. He would probably confront her. An unfamiliar pulsing that shot from between her thighs and through the inner part of her body she didn't know existed. She squeezed her thighs and took a deep breath, wavering.
A car honked loudly causing Emma to jump back as a driver screamed, "Watch where you're going, you dumb shit!"
Emma jumped back as the car barely missed her toes. She remembered Sylar saving her life from that on coming car. Just like that, his ghost hands were all over her once more, imprinting himself on her, unlike the light touches Adam gave.
No, she couldn't think about him. Stop thinking about him! But the commands were counter productive. The more she tried to unfocused herself, the more in-focus Sylar became. Something stirred deep inside of her as she reached walked into the diner and made her order.
The waitress didn't look at her once as she took down the order. "That'll be thirteen seventy five. It'll take fifteen minutes."
Emma handed the waitress fifteen dollars, her mind still focused on a play by play of what Sylar had done with her - no, to her.
She remembered how much it hurt. His finger pushing into her. It didn't feel like the way it looked on-screen. It didn't slip in with ease or slight intrusion - no, it felt like he had stuck a spear within her. A huge rip in her skin that immediately cause her to dry up and scream. It should've been enough to turn her off. Should've been enough to scare her.
But no matter how much there was pain, she couldn't forget the parts before the pain. How he had touched her in places no one had ever touched her before... not even herself. At least not in such an exciting way that made her gasp and arch her back. And how, no matter how many nights she had slept with Adam, he had never sparked these kind of feelings inside of her. Pent-up, hard to breathe feelings that made her squirm in her seat. A coil that needed to be tightened and oiled until it burst.
And then she felt a gush of shame wash over her. She would've never, not in a million years, have wanted to be touched that way. No matter how good it felt, how insane it drove her. She thought she could teeter on the edge, not get too involved, just work for the money, but in less than two weeks, she felt like she had slipped into some dark Wonderland...
"Miss. Miss.. Your order is ready."
The waitress was holding a plastic bag in front of Emma's blushing face. "Thanks," Emma muttered and grabbed the bag, racing out of the diner as fast as her short legs could carry her. She was thundering down the street, her flip flops slapping against the soles of her feet but she could care less how the rest of the world saw her.
She needed to get home. Shower and clean her brain from those thoughts. Get to work. Except work was like a trigger. Maybe she would call in sick. Yeah, that sounded like a good idea. She sighed as she fumbled for her keys to get her door open when it swung open on it's own to a sleepy eyed Adam, in nothing but his boxers.
It wasn't as if she hadn't seen Adam topless before but his body, along with all the dirty thoughts from before, wasn't doing her breath any favors. There were some sounds of whistling, but when she whipped around there was no one in sight. It must be all in her head.
"Get inside!" she hissed, not wanting the neighbors to talk. She shoved him inside the house, closing the door behind her. "Can you not answer my door half naked?"
"Why?" Adam asked, his mouth stuffed with half a piece of toast, as he dropped to the floor. Emma watched as he opened the rest of the take out, condensation from the meal sweating all over her wooden coffee table. She raced to the kitchen as she heard Adam yell, "You walk around the neighborhood half naked anyway."
She came back with some place mats and napkins. Slipping them underneath the soggy cardboard boxes, Emma rolled her eyes. "I don't need the tenants complaining to my aunt that I'm allowed to bring boys over while they aren't. And I don't need my neighbors start gossiping about the half naked man who opened my door."
"Why not? I'm partially famous, you know. It'd do wonders for your social life."
"I don't have a social life, Adam. I work, sleep, eat - "
" - You don't eat."
"Like a bird. You barely ate in college and you barely eat now. I swear sometimes you look like you're going to waste away and turn to dust. Especially during your period."
Adam opened Emma's container of food and grunted unhappily. "What is this? Bird feed?" He opened a container of syrup and emptied it entirely over her food.
"Calories, babe. Remember when I had to text you every day to remind you to eat?"
Emma laughed, stirring her oatmeal thoughtfully. "Yeah, you were so annoying."
"So don't give me a reason to worry." Although his tone was light, the smile on his face was thin and solemn, letting her know how serious he was.
"I eat now. So don't worry,"
Spooning the oatmeal into her mouth, Emma nearly gagged on over-sweetness.
"What time do you have to be at work?"
"Um, like ten."
"Do you think I could tag along?"
He watched her still and then forcibly, but slowly, swallow. While he waited for her to respond, he wondered if she realized how transparent she was. Every wrinkle on her face told him how uncomfortable she was feeling right now, and that whatever she said wasn't going to be the truth. Or they would be little half truths.
"I don't think so... They have a lot of confidential stuff, so they wouldn't want me bringing a friend around."
"Oh that's fine. And what do you do exactly?"
He didn't fail to notice that she didn't look one bit happy. Maybe it had something to do with the guy from the club last night. The stranger had been too familiar with her, and in ways that Adam knew Emma hated.
"Assistant editor," Emma mumbled, picking at her oatmeal. She refused to look at Adam. He could read her easier than the first line of an eye exam.
"That's great! Isn't that what you always wanted to do?" He didn't fail to notice her cringe.
"Yeah, but not for... the internet. I want to do movies."
"You have to start somewhere. At least you're learning right?"
He could tell that she didn't want to talk about it anymore. Her hands were tense as she pressed her lips together in a tight line, and when they dropped into her lap, Adam immediately crossed over to her and grabbed them. His thumbs over hers, gently soothing her, but it was already too late. He felt the tears on his hands. As he predicted, Emma started to cry silently, and Adam soundlessly pulled her into his lap so that as least if she shook, she wouldn't be alone.
"Sh, you don't have to tell me right now. Eventually... when you're ready, okay?"
Adam tightened his grip around her, pulling her up against his chest. He had a feeling it had to do with that guy from last night. He would never force it out of her, he knew Emma would tell him when she was ready, but that wouldn't stop him from punching the guy if he ever saw him again.
Sexual assault. ...Rape? The words flooded through her mind like alarms as context to what Sylar did to her slowly became clear. She tried to erase the memory of Adam warning her before she went out the door. All it did was serve a reminder that he must've been aware of what Sylar was doing to her - of what she was letting him do to her.
Emma didn't know if she would've asked him to stop either. She had been curious - to a certain degree - to know what feeling would come through. It had felt like he was building up to something intense, a kind of rush that she had never felt before in her life, and then he stuck his finger into her, causing more pain that she had ever felt in her life.
But as she got off the long bus ride, the more evident it became that Adam was right. She had said no, she had tried to get away, didn't she? Sylar never asked for permission. He had touched her in ways she had only wanted a lover to. Not a stranger. And he had acted as if what was happening had been as natural as breathing. He hadn't even asked if she was okay with it.
She hadn't been okay with it.
Emma shivered as she heard Adam's voice in her head. You're more vulnerable than you think, Emma. I'm telling you this... because I... want you to be careful if I'm not there to protect you. He was right on so many levels, but his words burned her as well. Why was he willing to do anything... anything short of loving her?
"Penny for your thoughts?" "
Emma stumbled back a few steps as she realized she had walked right into Sylar. The corners of her lips immediately flat lined as she kept her head down.
Sylar had seen her since she got off the bus. He watched her petite figure move down the street as if she were running through Golden Gate Park, not the ghettos of downtown San Francisco. Without giving it a second thought, he caught up with her and the second he did, her scent floored him. She smelled like a man.
No. That was definitely the scent of Irish Spring, he'd recognize the cheap body wash he used to use in high school anytime.
Sylar recalled Emma's friend following her out of the club that night. Despite her protests for him to stay and have fun, her friend insisted on making sure she was home safe. The glare in her friend's eyes made a point to let Sylar know she needed to be safe from him. Damn him, Sylar thought as Emma continued to walk briskly ahead of him, he had never planned to hurt her.
Sylar fought the inner urge to ask if she had fucked that guy, if her friend had finished what he started, but he clamped his mouth shut. He wasn't sure what kind of answer he expected or dreaded. "So, did you get home safe?" he asked, wanting to her that she had made it back to her house - her own house. Emma simply nodded, never looking back. She probably wasn't fucking that guy, but it wasn't really his business either. It didn't matter how tight she felt around his finger, or how innocently she reacted to her wetness. He had gotten his fix from the leftover blonde, and that's what should've mattered, but with Emma in front of him again... he couldn't remember any pleasure from last night.
"Hey," he caught her by the elbow and frowned as she tensed. "Is something wrong?"
Emma couldn't stop Adam's warnings repeating like a mantra in her head. Emotions warred with her mind as she felt a throb between her thighs but also a dry ache of pain that churned her stomach. Adam wasn't here to speak for her, but his voice was telling her to confront her fears. Be strong.