The Shape Of Oliver Wright: Part 7
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Oliver awoke to the sound of Emma snoring softly beside him. A slow smile spread across his lips as he remembered the night before, but the guilt quickly chased the smile off his face as he realized exactly what he had done.
He opened his eyes and took in the sight of messy curls and soft skin next to him. Emma sighed in her sleep, bringing back the memory of all the sounds she had made last night. He hadn’t intended on sleeping here. In fact, he had planned to end things between Emma and Theo but had immediately lost his nerve when confronted with her sweet smile.
Then she invited him in, kissed him, and now here he was in her bed, as Theo. He took small comfort in the fact they hadn’t had sex. It was a line he wouldn’t cross. But he had a feeling he wouldn’t be winning any prizes for that decision. He had still kissed her and held her, all while pretending to be someone else.
Oliver ran a hand down his face and paused in horror. He held the hand out. It was smaller than Theo’s, and paler, too. He flipped it over and the three freckles he found on the back mocked him. It was Oliver’s hand.
Oh God, this was so much worse than he thought. He had shifted back into his original body in his sleep! He had to get back to being Theo before Emma woke up.
Before he finished the thought, Emma’s eyes fluttered open. She smiled sleepily for a second and he watched in helpless despair as the confusion on Emma’s face turned to fear.
“What the hell?” She leaped from the bed, grabbing the sheets with her and wrapping them around herself, leaving Oliver exposed on the mattress. “Oliver?” Her voice was laced with shock and horror. “What are you doing here? Where is Theo?”
“Uh… I can explain.” Oliver got up, holding both hands in front of himself to stop Emma from charging out the room. He yanked his shorts off the floor and stepped into them, nearly tripping over himself. They hung loosely on his hips, another reminder of what he had done in a body that wasn’t his.
Emma waited with her arms wrapped around her body, eyebrows raised as though nothing Oliver said could possibly explain how she fell asleep with one man and woke up with another.
“I… well… here’s the thing…”
“Oliver, you have exactly one minute to spit it out before I call the police.” Emma’s cheeks turned scarlet, as she pushed the curls angrily out of her eyes.
“I am Theo. Or he’s me… sort of.”
Emma’s brow furrowed in disbelief. “What the hell are you talking about?” She backed up toward the door as though he was crazy and she was afraid to be in the same room as him. It killed Oliver to see her that way, to know that he was the one to scare her.
“I’m a shifter. I never meant to hurt you. Our first date went so poorly, and I wanted to spend more time with you—”
“Wait, wait, wait.” Emma held up a hand to stop his rambling. “You said, ‘first date.’” Her eyes went wide. “It was you! The professor and the lifeguard? They were all you!”
Oliver winced and nodded. “I’m really sorry.”
“I don’t even know what to think.” Emma ran a shaky hand down her face.
He took a step toward her, but she shrunk back, so he stayed where he was. “Theo was me, though. Everything about him, except his body, was me. Everything you felt for him…”
“Don’t.” Emma’s voice was hard, the word dropping into the silence between them. “Don’t tell me I can simply transfer my feelings from Theo to you. Don’t you dare.”
“I wasn’t, I mean, I just wanted you to know it was genuine.”
Emma let out a strangled laugh. “Genuine? Are you kidding, Oliver? Nothing about you or any of this has been genuine.”
“My feelings for you are real,” he protested. He was losing her. This was the moment he had feared for weeks and now that it was happening, he found himself unable to let her go.
“That’s just it!” She was angry now, walking toward him in the small room, the sheets she wore dragged behind her. “You got to have real feelings for me, but you never gave me the chance. You’ve been lying to me, Oliver!”
He opened his mouth to defend himself but could find no words up to the task. She was right, of course.
“And you kissed me in that body, with lips that weren’t yours.” She shuddered in disgust.
“I never meant to—”
“Shut up, Oliver!”
He clamped his lips together so hard he felt the bite of his own teeth on his tongue.
“You tricked me into dating you. You tricked me into kissing you.” Again, her body trembled. “And, worst of all, you tricked me into having feelings for you.”
Oliver’s stomach rolled. He wanted to curl into a ball. Every accusation was true. He deserved to live out the rest of his days as a slug. His body flickered in and out at the thought of becoming something as small and slimy as he felt, but he forced himself to stay. He deserved to face Emma’s anger and hurt as Oliver.
She narrowed her eyes, noticing the flicker. “Oliver Wright, I never want to see you again. In any form. Understood?”
“Now get the hell out of my apartment.”