Chapter 4

2283 Words
If she had the time, Thea probably would have overthought her reevaluation until the what-ifs and worries made her ill. Lucky for her, she didn't have the time to panic over what it meant that sometimes when Miguel was talking to her she lost herself in thoughts of what it would be like to kiss him. No, she had to focus on helping to get Verdant up and running, the rapidly approaching last half of senior year, and all the decisions that came along with that. If that weren't enough, then Miguel had to go and force them all to throw a Christmas party. They had their reasons, valid ones, for abandoning the practice of holiday festivities, but then there was Miguel. One sentence from him and both Moira and Walter thought hosting a Christmas party again was a fantastic idea. How could she have objected in the face of such overwhelming peer pressure? The look Miguel wore as he turned his attention entirely on her, sealed the deal. She caved in, with a small eye-roll for effect. She had a reputation to protect, after all. The closer they came to the day of the party though, the more pissed off she became. What right does he have to bring all this back up? There was a reason they had decided to forego holidays in the first place and instead of asking them about that, Miguel just had to barge in and force them to change everything. Why couldn't he just leave it be? She didn't need the memories and sadness that this party would bring up for her. But that doesn't matter, does it? All that matters to any of them is that we all smile brightly and act normal so no one notices that we are all screwed up. In a passive aggressive attempt at some kind of revenge against her brother, Thea invited a date, and not just any date. Shane. Miguel had some problem with Shane, but for the life of her Thea couldn't figure it out. Shane had been perfectly nice when she introduced them the other day at Big Belly Burger; okay, yes, he might have made an ill-advised joke, but Tommy made them all the time and Miguel didn't have dislike him. Oh well, the way Thea figured it, his dislike only made inviting Shane to the party all the sweeter. By the time that Thea felt like she might scream from the sheer absurdity of it, she had spent half an hour being the dutiful daughter. The cheer and general merriment of the season was enhanced by the copious amounts of eggnog the attendees consumed. Thea just wanted to be anywhere but there. When everyone else looked around they saw a cheerful holiday celebration; when Thea looked around all she saw were blissfully ignorant partygoers and memories of Christmases lost to the sands of time. Each minute she played pretend like everyone wanted just shattered her heart further and further. Luckily for her, Shane was a very attentive date; every time her happy persona started to slip under the pressure he was there to distract her with an easy, yet unrelated conversation change or a joke to lighten her mind. It made the simple decision to slip, hopefully unnoticed, from the party rather easy. As she laughingly tugged him from the celebration and up the stairs towards her bedroom, an odd sort of peacefulness settled over her. It didn't matter what would happen later; all that mattered in that moment was forgetting everything. That was all she needed, just a distraction from that dreadful party, from the expectations, from even her secret, wicked, desires. Maybe all I need is sex, she thought as she shut the door to her room behind her , maybe that'll jarr me free from desiring Ollie. It couldn't do any harm to try, could it? Shane's lips were insistent, almost frantic, against her own as they kissed and Thea knew why. He'd been after her for about a year now and she'd not let him out of the friend-zone. She was bursting at the seams too with a desire that she just wanted to be rid of. So, what if it's not for him? With a slight shove, Shane fell back to sit upon her mattress and she was quick to position herself between his spread legs. Her hands ran up his chest below his striped shirt. She just needed to touch and be touched, to feel warm skin on hers, to feel pleasure unhindered by anything else. There was no doubt in her mind that he had his own selfish reasons for being there with, but it didn't change that. She was just grateful for him, for his hands, as they slid down the straps of her lingerie dress. It didn't matter why either of them were there; all that mattered was that they were. She was so distracted by what was coming that she didn't hear the sound of knuckles lightly striking the wood or the sound of her big brother's voice it. It wasn't until the door opened behind her that she took notice of the intrusion. "Miguel!" She exclaimed, outraged that he would dare invade her private space and such an inopportune moment. Hurriedly, her hands moved to right the shoulders of her dress again, doing her best to hide her state of previous undress as best she could. Somehow, Miguel managed to look around her. He simply pointed at Shane and stated, "Hit the road." Shane grabbed his coat from the ottoman at the end of her bed and fled from fright. Wimp, she thought angrily, Miguel's not so scary. "What are you doing?" She demanded, barely resisting the urge to pout. It's not fair! Even when I try to get him out of my system without hurting anyone, he still manages to stop that . "Funny, I was going to ask you the same thing, because there's a party going on downstairs that I threw for you." His face was passive without any real expression, but his eyes spoke of a cold, simmering sort of anger. Thea, however, had never been one to back down from anything, not even Miguel. Is he serious right now? "I told you, I didn't want a party." How could he be so willfully ignorant of the truth? Come what may, right? "But you didn't care. Because you came down with the holiday blues. I've been trying to get you to open up for months. All this party is doing is bringing back memories I've been trying to forget." She turned away from him, utterly frustrated with his lack of comprehension. "Thea!" For a single moment, Thea took pleasure in the frustration she could hear in his voice. At least now I'm not the only one frustrated. He reached out for her, prepared to grab her shoulder and make her turn around, but at the last second, he aborted the motion entirely. Despite her desire to be obstinate to the final day, Thea couldn't but whirl around once more to face him. His face was decidedly calmer as he asked, "Why would you want to forget?" He really doesn't get it. She took a single step in his direction and folded her arms over her chest. "No matter how fancy the party is you throw, things will never be the way they used to be in our family. Ever again." Just for good measure, she punctuated her statement with an extra-fierce glare. As she watched, something indescribable shifted in his features. Suddenly, he wasn't the calm detached, man that he tried to be all the time; instead, he seemed almost innocent for a second as his eyes grew glassy with unshed tears. Without another word, Miguel spun on his heel and left. After that, it was like life was determined to be on full speed and Thea was running as fast as she could to keep up, but she was just constantly falling behind. Somehow before she could even catch her breath, it was time for her birthday party. It should have been a happy day, it would been, but then she had to happen upon her mother in a secret conversation with Malcolm Merlyn. It was the realization that love and loyalty were utter lies that prompted Thea to take those gifted Vertigo pills and drive off in her new car. Even as she took off into the night, leaving the house full of lies and secrets behind her, Thea knew it was a mistake. Everything that followed: crashing her car, waking up in the hospital, the look of disappointment that Miguel wore almost constantly, getting arrested, going to court, it was all just putting a finer point on what she had known that night. The judge's verdict made everything crystal clear, though, and for the first time since she was twelve years old, Thea Queen was terrified. Turning to look at Miguel as the judge's declaration echoed in her head? That was just a reflex. As always, her big brother managed to come through for her and saved the day. She should have just said thank you when Laurel came over to discuss the deal her father managed to secure her. She knew that and, looking back, Thea actually felt guilty being so ungrateful. There was no helping it though; she reacted emotionally when she was in a stressful situation or just stressed in general. The sight of Laurel sitting next to Ollie was one of those disquieting things and so she'd resorted to her bitchy nature. For obvious reasons, Miguel didn't like her treating the lawyer that way. The door to the Queen mansion clicked closed behind Laurel's exit. Good riddance, she thought bitterly. "If you were mine..." He muttered under his breath. Anger laced the four words, but she wasn't to be deterred. Thea couldn't take the veiled promises anymore; she had to know. "And if I was?" Thea challenged. The question brought Miguel to a dead halt. "If I was yours, then what?" He turned slowly to face her; his eyes as dark as a moment before, but now they glittered with...amusement, maybe? Thea couldn't be sure. It was so hard to read him when he got in these moods of his. There was a wry smile on his lips as he responded, "You don't want to know." "Yes, I do." He chuckled and took two steps forward, the glitter in his gaze increasing with each footfall, "You don't know me as well as you might think you do, Speedy." It was a warning, but one she would never heed. Wariness of this game of theirs had eaten at her long enough. "Why? Because of the basement?" He grinned like the Cheshire Cat then and Thea felt her whole body become alert with awareness. She'd never seen him look quite so...predatory before. "When did you find out?" "Three weeks ago." He was silent for a few minutes following her answer. The intensity in his eyes made her want to squirm, but she held herself purposefully still. It wouldn't do to let him know how easily he could get to her with a simple look. "How?" Her lip popped into her mouth at the question. She didn't want to answer it; lest she sound creepy. "Don't pout, Thea." The sternly spoken command startled her into actually doing just that. Huh, when had I started pouting? "That's better," he said, amusement and ease suddenly returning to him. "I followed you one night and found my way into the storage room." Bravely, green eyes met blue. "I saw the blueprints of the basement and the pictures tacked on the wall." Miguel nodded slowly. Thea couldn't tell whether or not it was a nod of acceptance or one of displeasure. He would have every right to be mad at her, for a number of things actually. She had followed him, snuck in and dug around in his stuff, and been rude to his friend. Shouldn't he be shouting at me now? "You never answered my question." She pointed out, hoping that perhaps redirecting the conversation would help fix things, and he smiled in that soft way of his. She'd always hoped that smile was only meant for her, but there would never be any certainty. "You've asked alot of questions, Speedy; you have to be more specific." It felt like she was being teased, having to ask again. Does he really think I'll have grown too embarrassed to ask in the last five minutes? "If I were yours, and I've heard you say it several times when you thought I wouldn't hear, what would happen?" "First, let me ask you something," he took another step towards her, but she didn't back away, "do you really think you're ready to know?" He reached out then and tucked her hair behind her left ear. "Just because you know about my playroom doesn't mean you're ready to open this...Pandora's Box, Thea." "I want to know." Her voice was suddenly soft in the quiet mansion. "I need to know." For a minute, Miguel just stood there, looking down at her, his hand resting on the side of her neck under her ear. His blue eyes scanned her face. What does he see? Then suddenly he nodded and took a step back. Within an instant, he was back to being the distant, almost cold brother, she'd known for months. It was like watching a rubber band snap back into shape; it happened so fast that it seemed impossible that the rubber band had ever been different at all. "Meet me there," she didn't need to ask where he meant; it was obvious, "tonight at eight. We'll talk then." Just like that he was gone again and she was left to wonder, what am I supposed to do now?
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