Belonging to Lust

Chapter 126: Exposing His Heart

Heath ponders on everything Zaiyia stated to him, yearning to help her through this stumbling block she found herself to be in with Alice White and all the bullying. He understood she was really trying to do the right thing this time around, and the last thing he needed was for her to give up and go back to her old ways which only generated her hardship. Having spaced out on the wall for a moment, he turned his head to the left where she perched at the end of the couch. “Look, I don’t profess to know women all that well, okay? BUT I did raise Anneliese into her teenage years and…” He winced at the reminiscences he was undergoing. “I have picked up some appalling wisdom along the way. Anyway, if you really want to get to Alice you can’t give up now no matter how complicated it gets. This might not be an overnight miracle, okay? This can take some time, so you need to keep working on her. If what you say is true then she’s too unreasonable right now to listen to you. Let her get through that first.”

“Ugh, so you’re saying I have to see her again?” Zaiyia whined, giving him a forlorn look through her long braids.

Heath chuckled and nodded. “Duh.”

“But why?” Zaiyia lamented, wanting to call it quits. Having only encountered her once was hard enough. It took everything in her not to slap the hell out of Alice, and what was insane was that her own father hadn’t mistreated her not too long before that! Her anger expunged what little compassion she had for the beaten girl, how could she possibly confront her again knowing it was that simple to throw hands? “Why can’t I just think of another plan entirely? Like NOT talking to her ever again.”

“Because you’re on the right track, baby.” Heath congratulated her. “It’s just erroneous timing, and that’s okay. That will probably happen again until she quiets down enough to talk this out with you.”

Rolling her eyes, Zaiyia drooped herself into the couch to mope. “C’mon, man! I don’t think I can do all that a second time!”

Shaking his head at her childish behavior, Heath commended her anyway. “Yes, you can, Zaiyia.”

“I mean it, Heath!” Zaiyia turned her head to pout, feeling staggeringly discouraged. “I seriously don’t think I can do that again.”

Seeing the anxiety in her brown eyes, Heath turned himself in his seat to face her. “Hey, don’t ever say you can’t do anything, you hear me? Take my word for it, I’ve seen you do things even I suspected you couldn't do. You’ve braved so much in your short young life already, Zaiyia, and that's shown me that you can undertake anything and crush everything that comes your way with or without me.”

Gaping at him in awe, Zaiyia sat herself back up to turn and face him too on the couch. “Damn, do you really believe all that about me?”

“Of course!” Heath expressed. “I believe in more than I believe in some old guy erecting a huge ass boat to stash every animal on the planet in because of a tremendous flood.”

“I hear you there.” Zaiyia giggled behind her hand.

“If I could take your place in all of this just to make it easier on you, Zaiyia, I would. If I could get one shot to knock the hell out of anyone that has ever harmed you, looked at you bad, or handled you the wrong way, I would in a heartbeat no questions asked. But we live in a reality where I can’t go and do all that.” Heath progressed on, his green eyes sealed on her deep chocolate eyes. “What gives me peace in this reality though is knowing that this situation you’re in is something you can handle with your hands tied behind your back and without me fighting your battles for you. I know this better than I know the back of my own hand. And when this is all over in the end, it’ll be so worth all the fury, tears, stress, and challenge it took to get there.”

Feeling such a sense of aspiration blossoming within her with his every word, Zaiyia nodded mutely. One second she was ready to call it quits on this mission of hers to make peace with her nemesis, Alice White, and now she was motivated to keep on with the fight. Almost speechless, she managed to say. “Shit, Heath, you kinda got a way with them there words of yours.”

Rolling his eyes in hilarity, Heath chuckled before returning sarcastically. “Heck yeah, I do. I put it down on all my resumes.”

“Whatever, man!” Zaiyia laughed before giving him a meaningful smile. This man was marvelous for more reasons than one, and she wished there was a way to let him know without falling too deep into her feelings and jeopardizing the chance of divulging her undying love for him right here in his home. “Thank you, Heath. Seriously.”

“For what?” Heath inquired, sensing through her smile that her gratitude was for something other than their pep talk just now.

Seeing that he translated her like an open book, Zaiyia felt like she owed him the truth despite the liability. “For taking me in in the first place, for letting me squat in her beautiful home when Yov-I mean mom left, and for just...sticking by me through everything good and bad, and believing in me when everyone else was screeching otherwise about me.”

Heath shrugged off her recognition with a shy smile. “It was nothing.”

“NO, don’t say it wasn’t nothing! When it meant everything to me and more!” Zaiyia expelled his offhand admission passionately, provoking him to stare at her. “Goddamnit, Heath, you just don’t know it, do you? You are such an exceptional man that neither me nor my mother ever deserved someone as superb as you, and it has nothing to do with your lighter complexion. I'm talking about your heart.”

Heath could see immense pain in her eyes, and he fiercely wanted to understand it as he sought to find the words to say. Not having any, he simply opened his arms for her to come to him. WIthout any words to convey herself, Zaiyia clambered over to settle her head on his chest and snuggled up against his side, her arms sprawled loosely over his abs. Kissing the top of her head, he closed his arms around her protectively as if there was a menace looming within the home hell bent on taking her from him. With a lax smile forming on her face, Zaiyia closed her eyes and selfishly took his contact in.

As the couple privately adhered to each other, the walls they constructed internally between themselves and their true forbidden feelings began to give way like a dam. All of their desires spilled through to wash out the idling reluctance threatening to stop them. It was with serenity Zaiyia was able to react to him with the love she kept protected from him, and she could tell by his breathing that he wasn’t in any shape to contend with her this time. Heath combed his fingers through her long ebony braids, admiring the golden cuffs bedecked on them in the light as he confided tenderly. “God, I missed you, baby.”

Zaiyia swallowed back a moan at his statement because he made such straightforward innocent things sound so damn sexy. She let that pass before breathing back. “I miss you too.”

Heath doubted she even knew what he meant by that. Feeling weak in her presence, Heath hoisted his cheek from the top of her head to stare down at her with a whisper of desperation he was battling to keep at bay. “No, not like that, Zaiyia. I mean I...MISS you.”

Unclear if they were on the same page, Zaiyia lifted her puzzled eyes to him. “What do you mean by that?”

Sweating in alarm, Heath barreled to try and explain to her exactly what he was trying to tell her before his rationale got to him first. His fingers extended to comb through her braids as he opened his mouth. “Since you’ve moved here we’ve come to know each other pretty well. In that time, you’ve also come to...mean more to me than I thought you would. Way more, in fact. You’re no longer just Yovela’s daughter to me that I’ve taken into my home while your mom went god knows where.” He paused to take a deep breath as he advanced onto exposing his heart bit by bit. “You've come to mean more to me because of who you are as a person.”