In The Thunderous Silence Of The Night

“I didn’t know you drove a ute,” I said, scanning the interior curiously.

“I don’t. I borrowed it for the night.”

“Why?”

“Because this single chair serves a purpose for where we’re going,” he winked.

I narrowed my eyes. Don’t think I didn’t notice it because the first thing that popped into my head was snuggling up next to him.

“I’m seriously thinking all you townspeople just like to take people to dark and secluded areas,” I said, curling up in the cold. My sweats not doing much to keep me warm.

Jasper laughed. “Oh yeah, it’s easier to hide the bodies.”

I widened my eyes but laughed at the same time. The mixed reaction made Jasper almost choke on his cackle. I dropped my shoulders and breathed out. “Not funny,” I mumbled. “Seriously, where are we going?”

“Stop your whining we’re almost there, bear.”

I scrunched my nose. “Shut up.”

“So grouchy,” he chuckled. “Was the date with my little brother really that bad?”

“He was a complete gentleman actually. We had so much fun.” I turned up my nose like a snob.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yes. He’s fantastic. Unlike someone else I know.”

“What an insult. I’m not like my brother. Thank God for that.”

“What is this animosity you two have towards each other? You guys are grown ass men. What are you? Thirty? Somewhere around there?”

“Somewhere around there.”

“And what is he like ten years younger?”

Jasper scoffed and furrowed his brows. “He’s two years younger than me, actually.”

“Sense the exaggeration. And apparently not so ‘little’ as you so politely call him.”

“It’s said in fondness.” He laid a hand on his chest. “Totally from the heart.”

I rolled my eyes. “So why do you guys have this hatred towards each other?”

He shrugged. “It’s not a hatred.” He let out a breath he struggled to keep in, almost as if there was an explanation on the tip of his tongue but his lips weren’t cooperating. “It’s nothing. It’s…it’s just—”

I held up my hand. “Wait, wait. Let me guess. It’s just complicated?” He looked at me seriously as we slowed to a park. I half-smiled. “I haven’t heard that one before.” He smiled apologetically, and my chilly disposition dropped at the sight of it. I rolled my eyes, he wasn’t getting me that easily. I cleared my throat and looked out into the darkness surrounding me. Single lamp posts placed sporadically in the field. “So is this the part in the movie where you put a mask on and spray me with some sleeping gas?”

He chuckled and beeped the horn twice. I expected someone to come charging and scare the shit out of me. My mind knows how to go apeshit and play tricks on me.

Just then the large screen that I completely ignored lit up and the introductory animation and song to Grease started playing. Jasper waved his hand back to an unknown person, the equipment too far away.

“What’s this?” I smiled.

“I know you missed out on that whole drive-in movie thing so I figured why not set one up.”

“Oh,” I breathed. I didn’t know what to say or do so I just stared with my jaw drooping.

“And—” he lifted a finger and then leaned back and pulling up a box— “I couldn’t gather people for the food carts so I made us some popcorn, got us some chocolate, and water, you know so we don’t die of thirst from all the salt and sugar.”

“A natural refresher,” I noted.

“As intended,” he grinned.

I shook my head, still stunned. “How did you do this?”

“Well, Irve owes me one and I just decided to use that one on you.”

I gulped. “Umm, thank you.”

“Don’t read anything into it,” he shrugged, awkwardly. “It’s nothing big. I mean, it was annoying to hear you go on and on and on about the drive-in theatre that I figured I’d…shut you up.” He furrowed his brows.

I laughed. “Well, thank you nonetheless.”

He nodded. “Yeah, well…don’t read—”

“—anything into it, I know, I know.” I held out my hand. “So hand me the popcorn?”

I sunk back into the chair comfortably and started chowing down on the popcorn. I didn’t think I had any more room left in me to eat after my date, but when it comes to confectionary I have the appetite of a lion.

“I firmly believe John Travolta’s hair defies gravity in this movie,” Jasper joked and I laughed. “Newton would be tossing and turning in his grave.”

“You should dress up as him for Halloween.”

“No way.”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. Those tight shorts, you know.” I wriggled my brows.

“It’ll scare the children, truly,” he laughed and I joined him. “Look at him. He’s exercising under the sun and his hair is like a rock. Anyway, I can’t imagine it would be comfortable doing the pumpkin carving contest in those clothes. I have my choice of leather or tight shorts, yay.”

I chuckled. “I’m going as Madonna.”

“Which era.”

“Eighties.”

He nodded approvingly. “You have my permission.”

I looked at Jasper and narrowed my eyes in thought. “Sometimes I think you and Julie are total opposites, and not in a good way.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, she hates the small town festivities.”

He shrugged. “I think she’s just itching to move back to New York.”

I swallowed some popcorn and essentially started choking on the salt. I chugged some water and put the popcorn down, slapping my hands together to rub off the excess. “Are you excited to go back?”

Jasper sighed and looked at me. “My favourite topics: Julie and New York.”

I smiled apologetically. “Well, everyone thinks you’re moving back. Going back to that lucrative job on Wall Street while your girlfriend works in a law firm.” I looked back at the screen. “You guys will probably live on 5th Avenue and shit.”

Get a puppy. Get married. Have kids. The works.

Jasper chuckled. “I don’t work on Wall Street. I’m not a money wiz.”

I angled my brows and gazed at him confusedly. “Everyone said—”

“—oh I know what they think. I never corrected them.”

“Why not?”

He sighed, his chest swiftly rising and dipping. “Because it was never me who planted the seeds into everyone. Julie went around telling everyone and then it just got too far in. Plus, at the time I didn’t want everyone to think how weird it was that my girlfriend was lying about my job.” He laughed, awkwardly. “In retrospect I could’ve told everyone she was joking but usually the prerequisite of a joke is that it be funny.”

“So they would’ve thought she was a psycho.”

“Pretty much.”

I chuckled, humourlessly. This is so weird. “So…what do you do?”

“I’m a doctor.”

I lifted up my brows. “A doctor? Why the hell would she lie about you being a doctor?”

“She has this weird idea that if you’re anything but a Wall Street guy in New York then you’re not good enough. I think the only person who knew was Nate.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah,” he breathed.

I don’t think ‘psycho’ quite cut it. “So what are you going to do? Are you just going to go along with it until you move back? Is this the complicated thing you’ve been alluding to this whole time?”

He laughed. “No, that’s not it. And honestly, what I really want to do is buy a spot here for my practise. It doesn’t mean I’ll live here permanently but I’d like to work while I’m here.”

“Well, why don’t you.”

He shrugged. “Don’t know. Conflicting signals? I suddenly open up a practise when everyone think I do something else?”

I gulped some more water. “You should.” He looked at me. “Do it. Why not? What do you have to lose?”

“Nothing, I guess.”

I paused and then nodded. “Thank you.”

“For what?”

I lifted up my shoulders. “For telling me.” Then, I let my shoulders down.

“Yeah, no big deal.”

“Right,” I rolled my eyes. “As always.”

“I always thought this ending was sad.”

“Yeah?”

“I mean, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I guess I could see that. Or maybe it’s just bitter sweet.”

“Real bitter.”

“Least they’re happy.”

“Yeah.”

Under the bright light of the clouds as the car flew I looked up into Jasper’s brown eyes fixed onto me. With the back of his fingers he stroked my cheek and brushed my parted lips.

“Won’t Irve see?” I whispered.

Jasper only shook his head and leaned forward, placing a gentle, light kiss on my lips. It felt like I was kissing him a lot longer than I was, and I was expecting him to become a little urgent, but he remained sweet and slow. Balanced. A kiss where I faded into him and everything else disappeared.

“What was—?” I stopped short and cleared my throat. “That was different,” I said, hoping for an indication that I wasn’t alone.

He caressed the corner of my lips. “It’s no big deal.” He paused to look at me, lost in a thought. Then, he cleared his throat and shifted back to start the car. “I, uhh, hope you had fun,” he said, smiling a smile that didn’t meet his eyes. One which was way too distracted.

“Yeah,” I breathed. “Thanks, again.”

He nodded. “Yeah.”

I didn’t push it and the rest of the ride home was done so in the thunderous silence of the night.

***

“Good morning, deary,” an old lady in Lucy’s chair greeted me as soon as I entered the salon.

“Hi, how are you?”

“Fine thank you, and you?”

I smiled. “Can’t complain.”

“Good, good,” she nodded.

“Martha was just telling me about a rumour she heard,” Lucy said, eyeing me strangely.

“Oh yeah?” I asked.

“These townspeople talk, you see? We like to talk, it’s like an Olympic sport for us and the hunting grounds are ripe with secrets.” Her eyes beamed. “Well, you know Ricky he knows everything and Ricky spoke to the baker whose wife spoke to Irve’s wife and well, to get straight to the point, they’ve all come to the same conclusion: Jasper may be hiding a secret.”

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Human Nature

When I thought about it, I didn’t enjoy the idea of opening up the past between me and Daniel so soon, especially when the past seemed as distant as east to west coast. So I replied to him last minute and through text. A simple, ‘hey, I’ve actually moved but let’s catch up another time. I miss you, too’. Janet, Chloe and Jodie were helpless. Somehow Daniel’s proximity opened up a debate about which coast was better; sidenote, food is a huge deciding factor.

I couldn’t think about it now though, when I have Jasper on top of me and his hand up my shirt on the abnormally large sofa I first picked out for my new home. He grinded his hips into me, my legs wrapped around him and squeezing him closer the more he thrust. I turned him over onto his back and mounted him, kissing his neck, the top of his chest, the hollow at the base of his neck, and trailed my lips back up. He scrunched my hair up, pulled me back, gently holding me at my neck; I had my eyes closed for a moment when it felt like the moment carried on for a bit too long, and I looked down at him. His face peaceful, just watching me with those big brown eyes, a smile appearing ever so slightly before pushing me down onto his lips.

Then, the sofa vibrated. I ignored it until it stopped. But I opened my eyes and pulled back when it started again. “Umm?”

“What?”

“Don’t you feel that?”

He paused and then his brows parted. “Oh,” he breathed. He shimmied upwards and shoved a hand down his back, pulling it up and clutching his phone. He threw it onto the coffee table with just enough time for me to catch a glimpse of who was calling. Julie.

I literally winced.

Jasper turned me over onto my back again and pulled my leg up over his side. Stroking it as he ran kisses down my neck. I closed my eyes, anticipating his lips on my nipples. But then, his phone started vibrating again. Julie.

“Uh, maybe you should answer that?” I bit my lip as soon as the words came out.

Jasper breathed a tickling chuckle into my chest. “What?”

“Maybe she’s worried about you?”

He snickered and looked up at me. “I don’t think so.”

He was about to continue the kisses when I grabbed his jaw and turned him back up, his lips fully puckered on a squished, confused face. “Sorry,” I said, immediately letting go. “I think…you know I have some work to do. I might go do that now.”

“Some work?” he lifted a brow, looking hotter.

I smiled. “Yeah?”

He shrugged and sighed, still confused. “Okay.” He hopped off the couch and grabbed his phone. Tapping the fresh flower he gave me in the vase. “See you later then.”

“Yeah, see you.” I plonked back down deflated as soon as he left.

***

I had volunteered to help out with the town book fair later that day and decided it was the perfect time to reflect. And by reflect I mean I’m training myself to not feel guilty. It was mostly a small fair in the middle of the town square where everyone were able to purchase or exchange books. Most of them came from the bookstore where, Winston, the old shop owner, allowed me to go back and forth so long as I kept track of what I was selling. I found myself working in retail suddenly and it all seemed as if I regressed in my career, going from writer to salesperson.

I’d heard about a little shop in New York that had books covered in brown wrapping paper with blurbs written by people who read the book, so I was in charge of selling that small collection of books that were covered (and numbered since I still needed to keep track).

“How you holding up, Anna?” Lucy asked.

I was sitting down reading a book when she popped up. “Slow day.”

“It’ll pick up. It’s not even lunch yet. That’s usually when the rush hour is. And after 5pm.”

“I’m not complaining.” I’d slacked on my reading and needed to catch up.

“Hey what’s up Anna,” Katya jumped in.

“Hey Katya—”

“Ugh!” Katya scrunched her nose eyeing something in the distance. I stood up, trying to follow her line of sight.

“What?” I asked.

Lucy rolled her eyes. “Julie is here.”

“Why? It’s clear she doesn’t read,” Katya said.

“First time for everything, right?” Lucy said.

“She’s totally here because of Jasper.”

“Jasper?” I asked. Oh, yup. There is. He and Julie were walking as in sync as the opposing sides of a magnet. Here and there he’d throw his arm over her shoulders and pull her in. My stomach churned at the fake picturesque image. “Eww,” I muttered.

“’Eww’ is right,” Katya said.

“Oh, shit, Nate is here,” Lucy spotted.

“I love how we sound surprised as if we don’t see this people every day,” Katya laughed, making us both laugh with her.

“He’s coming here,” Lucy said.

“Hey Anna,” Nate smiled. “How are you?”

“He’s here,” Lucy whispered.

“Oh, what?” Nate asked.

“Ignore her,” I quickly said, eyeing Lucy.

Nate chuckled. “How have you been?”

“Fine, fine. You?” I asked.

“Yeah, great. Listen, I, uhh…” he turned to Katya and Lucy. “Did I interrupt something or…?”

“No, please, continue,” Katya said. Lucy chuckled.

I shook my head. “Ignore them.”

“Yeah,” Nate furrowed his brows, still keeping that smile on. “Umm, well, I was hoping for this to be without an audience—” Lucy and Katya snickered— “but I was wondering if you wanted to go out sometime? I’d like to take you out to dinner.”

“Oh,” I breathed.

“What do you say?”

“Yeah,” I shrieked. I cleared my throat while I turned red and hot. “I mean, yeah, sure, I’d like that.” I glanced at Jasper and Julie, both heading this way, Jasper staring at me for far too long. “I’d like that a lot,” I nodded.

“Great!” He beamed. “So…” he looked at Katya and Lucy, grins from ear to ear. “I’ll call you.”

“Yeah, okay.”

“I’ll see you.”

“See you later.”

He turned to Katya and Lucy. “Bye ladies.”

“Bye Nate,” they said in unison.

They quickly leaned over the table. “Well that was interesting,” Katya said.

“What are you going to wear? Oh, can I do your hair and makeup!?” Lucy asked, jumping up and down with her hands together. “Please, please, please?”

“Lucy,” Julie interjected, “glad to see you have accepted your true beggar form.”

Lucy rolled her eyes. “Julie,” Katya started, “I didn’t know you read.”

“Yes, well, I do it all,” she gushed, flipping her hair. I almost gagged.

“No, I mean, I didn’t even know you knew the alphabet.” Lucy chuckled and it almost sounded like she was about to choke.

“Yes, well, the more you know.”

“Yes, well,” Katya batted her lashes and flipped her hair dramatically. To which Julie rolled her eyes.

“So what’s the hair and makeup talk about?” Julie asked me directly. “I’m surprised you have somewhere special to go,” she chuckled.

“Uhh, yeah, well—”

“Nate just asked her out,” Katya blurted.

“Did he?” Julie asked.

“He did?” Jasper added before clearing his throat.

“That brother of yours sure knows how to pick ‘em,” Julie said.

“Yeah,” he chuckled humourlessly.

“You guys should all double date,” Lucy said.

“No, no, no,” we three said, awkwardly laughing at how quickly and brashly we rejected that idea.

“I mean, I think Anna would get bored of me and Jasper getting all lovey dovey on each other,” Julie said. She kissed him on the cheek before telling him to kiss her back. He lowered his head and pecked her dryly on the lips. He pulled back and wiped his lips with his fingertips, looking down. I cringed so hard, I felt so uncomfortable. This guy just a few moments ago was making out with me, and is now kissing his girlfriend. I think I’m going to be sick.

I smacked my lips together. “Well, umm, I have to go get more books from Winston so I’ll see you all later.” I ducked out before anyone could say goodbye.

Once inside the bookstore I headed straight for the water cooler.

“Hot out there?” Winston asked.

“No, just, crowded.”

“Oh,” he dipped his nose and looked out the window. “Oh.”

I looked out the window too, catching a glimpse of Jasper walking this way. “Winston, I’m not here.”

“What?”

“Just tell Jasper I ran out for a quick second. Please?” I shot straight up the stairs and threw myself into an aisle of books.

The door rung open. “Hey, Winston.”

“Anna’s upstairs,” He immediately said.

“Winston!” The traitor. Jasper laughed.

Magic

Lucy was kind enough to take me shopping for this outdoor party tonight, but as it turns out this small town had so few shops for clothing. Apparently frequenting bigger towns for any other or further needs or necessities was a common thing. I’m just glad ordering online was still a possibility otherwise I’d have withdrawals from buying makeup. On the other hand I need to cut back.

“What do you think of this one?” Lucy asked Katya, a friend of hers since they were babies.

“I don’t know,” Katya replied, scrunching her nose and twirling her long brown hair. She had likeness to Chloe except Chloe cut all her hair off. “It seems a bit poufy.”

“Anna?” Lucy turned her head.

“Uhh…” she was wearing her signature overalls over a crop top. “I thought you were going to pick out a dress or something.”

“Oh, it’s not that kind of party.”

“No?”

Katya laughed. “Definitely not. It’s super casual.”

“I can do casual.”

“You’re a city girl,” Katya said. I shrugged. “City girls don’t know how to do casual.”

“What are you talking about? It’s not like a skill.”

“It’s just the difference between casual and casual-sexy,” Lucy said. “Not that it’s bad.”

“Yeah,” Katya agreed, “it’s just…city.”

I couldn’t be that far off could I?

“Aren’t you going to pick out anything?” Lucy asked.

I shrugged. “I’m thinking of this playsuit I have that I could wear with ankle boots and some chains. I think I’ll be fine.”

“See,” Katya nodded, “city girl.”

I rolled my eyes playfully. This whole town knows me as this city girl and I was hoping that didn’t come with me appearing pompous. Michael always said I was pompous and I hear it now as a dig more than a joke. Oh, and Chloe is taking her own sweet time replying to me. I keep worrying that she’s mad at me and on top of the deadline I have with this new job, I’m beginning to feel like a ball of stress. I want to loosen up at the party but to be known as the drunk city girl would be the cherry on top of the cake.

***

When they said it was an outdoor party, I was picturing a rooftop bar under artificial twinkling lights with pumping Billboard Top 100 music. Instead, it was located in the middle of nowhere. I literally had no clue where we were. The twinkling lights were the stars (which was amazing, I’ll admit that!), and the music was a mix of songs like Magic by Olympic Ayres, What Once Was by Her’s, Everyone is Falling in Love by King Neptune and other various alternative grungy-type artists. It was nice, but it definitely was a change of scenery. Lucy and Katya were right about this being the type of low-key party. I was so dolled up it wasn’t even funny. I felt so out of place that I wrapped my arms around myself self-consciously, and I never do that.

“Relax,” Lucy leaned in to whisper and then pulled back, “the drinks have got to be the same, right?”

I smiled. She was so sweet trying to make me feel at home and everything. “They better be.”

“And hey, they’re free over here.”

I nodded, impressed. “Bonus.”

She laughed. “I’ll be back.”

Lucy and Katya drifted into the sea of flannel shirts and jeans (of course, not everyone was a clone of stereotypical country town) and I was left with myself desperate for some alcohol to calm my insides like an addict. At least I was wearing a jacket (?).

“Beer for you,” Lucy said, handing me a bottle I eagerly began drinking.

“Whoa,” Katya chuckled, “Slow down there.”

I laughed, nearly spilling out of my beer. “Sorry.”

“Are you nervous?” Katya asked, dumbfounded.

I reddened, of course. “A little.” Who the hell gets nervous at parties!?

“Don’t be,” Katya demanded. “You are hot. Hot girls don’t get nervous.”

“Umm, thanks?” I said, confusedly.

“I think Katya might have been drunk already,” Lucy said.

“Huh?”

“She’s a lightweight,” Lucy winked. “We better watch out for this one. Or better yet—” I chugged as she spoke— “I better watch out for the both of you.”

I was distracted by a buzz from my cell from Chloe: ‘What seems to be the problem?’

‘Omg Chloe, I thought you’d never text me back :’(‘

‘Lol why?’

‘Because I thought you’d be mad at me forever and ever.’

‘Nah, only for a bit. You’re still my best friend.’

Ugh, I could’ve just died right there and then. ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’

‘Don’t be so mopey! You changed your whole life and now you’re having second thoughts?’

‘I changed it for this job and now I got nothing. Nothing’s happened; nothing’s happening.’

‘Make. Something. Happen. Make anything happen!’ She sent me a gif of Shia LaBeouf with the caption of ‘just do it’ flashing on the screen.

Her encouragement made my heart race in search for something—anything—to make a story out of. From across the field (?) I met eyes with a handsome blurred out man that came to be clear the closer I got to him. He turned around and grinned as I strode towards him, I flushed as his friends watched, and out of nowhere I threw my arms over him and pushed my lips up against his. I was confused at the gasps but I expected the laughter.

No Introduction Needed

Dear Anna Parker,

I hope you’ve settled in nicely in your new town. From your previous email description of the place it seems like we couldn’t have picked a better place. An actual town square (unfortunately no gazebo), minute speed limits, stores knowing other stores, neighbours knowing neighbours; it seems all we need is a story. No pressure but it’s been a while now and we were expecting at least a semblance of a story. Let us know if you need help but do get back to us shortly.

I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Regards,

David Baker

***

I was beginning to feel apprehensive about the whole move for this job in its entirety. I didn’t think I’d feel so far out of my element but I was. No family and no friends of my own to settle me in and introduce me to new things and new people. I had to do it all on my own and suddenly I felt like I was back in first grade with all the butterflies raging around in my stomach. It was much easier to meet new people in a big city than a small town. Albeit a super nice novelty-looking town, everyone knew everyone here. I can only hope that I wasn’t the talk of the town just yet. As I walked down the flat-levelled street, I didn’t think so. Though I did turn heads I assume because I wasn’t a familiar face.

I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing,’ I texted Chloe. Probably the last of my friends I should be texting all things considered, but I know she could get me out of this rut. Oh man, I’m already in a rut! ‘My editor needs something now and I have nothing. Nothing I tell you!

“Hey,” a girl said.

I looked up from my perch on a sidewalk bench at a woman wearing overalls and wispy, short, blonde hair. “Hi.”

She took the lollipop out of her mouth and it glistened red. “You’re the new girl, right? Annie?”

“Anna.”

She nodded and smiled. “Close enough. Half a point?”

“Uhh…”

“I’m Lucy. Not like diamonds in the sky.”

“Hey, I’m…Anna.” Oh, kill me now.

“You need a haircut.”

“What?” I fiddled with the ends of my raven hair.

“My shop is just here. Want to get a haircut?”

“Sure.” Why not. Not like I’m in the position to turn anything down.

“Everyone knows about you,” she said as she placed the cape over me, lollipop in mouth. I pray she doesn’t salivate and spit all over me.

“Oh, yeah?” Told ya.

“Talk of the town you are. Though I’m proud to say anyone who comes to my shop knows anything.”

Duly noted. “It’s like I’m intruding on a family.”

“Yes it is.” I was taken aback. I didn’t think she’d agree with me. “But we sure do love the intrusion. It’s exciting. So, what brings you here? Running from something?”

I chuckled. “What?”

She shrugged. “People normally go from small town to big city, not the other way around. It’s been my observation that the people who come here don’t stay for too long because they get forcibly removed if you know what I mean.” I gulped and she snickered. “Oh, sorry. I mean to say we’ve had a couple of run-ins with fugitives before. So exciting. So, you. Why are you here?”

“I’m a writer.”

“Ah, can’t get a job anywhere else?”

“No,” I laughed at her brutal honesty and forwardness, “my job requires me to be here.”

“Oh, how cool. So, what are you writing about?”

I shook my head and shrugged. “Maybe about the first person I met who offered to cut my hair.”

“Offered? Girl, you are crazy. You are definitely paying.” We both laughed. I think I laughed harder because I was enjoying her sass.

“It’s a good thing I didn’t leave the house without my purse.”

“Where do you live?”

“A small townhouse up the road. Pretty nice for what it’s worth.”

“Ain’t that surprising? Things just trickle down in pricing the further away from it all you get.”

“Yeah, that it is.”

“Well, you can write about me if all else fails. I inherited this salon from my mother when she passed. Been doing hair for as long as I can remember. It’s in my blood. Along with a stiff drink and a good sense of humour.”

The doorbell rang open. “Package for Lucy!”

“Oh, hey Ricky!” Lucy leaned down. “Ricky is our resident postman and he’s like 100-years-old.”

“And still kicking!” Ricky said, winking at me. “How are you, darling?”

“I’m fine.”

“Ya miss the Big Apple?”

“She’s from California, Ricky.”

“Oh,” he furrowed his brows, “now I gotta correct myself to the whole town.”

“That won’t be necessary,” I smiled.

“Oh, no, no, no, I’ve done wrong now I gotta fix it. You two ladies have a great day now.”

“Bye, Ricky!”

“See you later, Lucy!” 

“So, you want to come to a small outdoor party with me. Get to know some people. Maybe we’ll find you a story there.”

“Yeah, sure. Maybe some people could get to know me.”

“Honey, by the time postman Ricky gets through everyone the whole town will have gotten to know you. No introduction needed.”

Offers and Opportunities

***Sorry guys, didn’t know how better to transition after a month of no posts. Hope you still enjoy and like the new direction. Also, the new post for Samson&Delilah is up now. Soul***

You know how they say ‘all good things must come to an end’? Well when Michael and I ended our relationship, if you want to call it that, I started to wonder afterwards if it was even a good thing. Dwelling on the past is my least favourite pastime, but I couldn’t help but wonder when it was it all went downhill. Maybe when Michael’s friends said racially cloaked jokes? Or when Janet said I’d known nothing of what it felt like? I think the truest moment was when that girl at the party came up to me and told me Michael and his friends make bets on whose pants they could get into first and for how long…

***

I decided to confront Michael days later instead of being done with just hearing rumours from the grapevine. I approached him one night while we were out an about at another party, Michael sure does love his parties.

“Hey, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about something,” I said.

“Shoot.”

“Umm…” I chuckled, it was foreign territory, “well, I don’t know how else to say this but, I was talking to someone who said that you and your friends make certain kinds of bets.”

He rolled his eyes. “Is that why you’ve been iffy these past couple of days?”

I shrugged. “I wouldn’t say ‘iffy’.

“Did she go into detail?”

“Sort of.”

“What did she say?”

“I’m more interested in knowing what you think she said.”

“Aww come on, Anna. Don’t do that extra chromosome thing.”

It was always in jest when he joked like that. Now, though, when I was trying to have a serious conversation with him, it sounded more insulting than ever. Was I getting too sensitive?

“She said you and your friends make bets on who you can land, for how long, and how many at a certain given time.”

He smiled. “It’s…” he shook his head. “It’s whatever.”

“Is that true?”

“No, of course not.” He sounded way too shrill for it to not be true.

“Really though.”

He rolled his eyes. “Fucking relax and don’t be an idiot. Who even cares if it is true? It’s a bunch of girl gossip. I swear—” he shook his head— “all girls want to do is bring other girls down.” Then he mumbled, “Feminists my ass.”

***

After that he called less, we hung out less, spoke less, I even started to see him at work much less. He’d barely go into the building. Not that my presence would stop an obnoxious guy like that from being around me. But still, our so-called relations fizzled. I’m glad I only slept with him once. Too bad the sex was good. Janet was the only one over the moon about it. Everyone else seemed indifferent. I guess he didn’t leave a lasting impression on them.

Oh well, onto bigger and better things. One of them being that I got a new and exciting job offer. Super exciting. And unique. One that I’ve never received before. The way it happened was so out of the blue too. I was actually at a coffee shop talking to the girls about being dissatisfied with my job. It wasn’t entirely bad but it wasn’t exactly what invigorated me each day to not look for anything else. A guy listening in to my conversation and approached me afterwards. Said this opportunity was unlike any other and at first I thought he was trying to pick me up but when he gave me his card and explained the job a bit I decided to give it a chance, more so because I was intrigued. I called an interviewed with him and some HR chick, I don’t even remember I was too excited.

The only downside is I had to move away for a few months. The way they explained it to me was Sex and the City meets Gilmore Girls. The only person that wasn’t down for it was Chloe.

“I don’t see why you have to keep moving for your jobs. Why don’t you let the jobs come to you?”

“This just sounds too good, Chloe.”

“But what about us?”

“What about us?” Janet asked.

“She’s got a life here. You’ve always had a life here and we’re always here.”

“You can come with,” I smiled.

“Problem solved,” Jodie said. “We’ll all move away with Anna and claim it on her new job’s budget.”

We laughed, but Chloe was still sour about it. “It’s cool. It’s probably only temporary anyway. They want to see how I go after six months.”

“Why would you uproot for something so temporary?” Chloe asked, confusedly.

“Because it might not be,” Jodie muttered.

It gave Chloe pause. “Is that why? Are you honestly prepared to live the small town life and write about it?”

“Why can’t you be more supportive?” I asked.

She shrugged. “Whatever.”

“Well, I think this is cause for a celebration,” Jodie hugged me before sitting next to Chloe on the couch.

“Don’t be mad at Chloe,” Janet said. “She just misses you that’s all.”

“I guess after Daniel we thought you’d never want to move away again.”

I gulped. “It wasn’t just for Daniel.”

“Yeah, well, you know,” she shrugged.

I nudged her. “I’m going to miss you guys, too. I always do.”

“Then you should stay,” she joked. We both laughed.

Is it possible to be too clingy to your friends?

Desperado

“I’m getting ready to go out with Michael,” I quickly slipped out and looked down at our drinks.

Janet rolled her eyes. “Really?”

I shrugged. “Yeah.”

“I don’t see what you see in him,” she shook her head.

“Well obviously, otherwise you wouldn’t be with Stanley,” I joked.

It clearly landed on deaf ears. Or unforgiving ears. “He’s an ass.”

“He wasn’t, though, it was his friends.”

“They’re all dickheads.”

“They’re not all dickheads I’m sure—”

“—I literally cannot believe you’re defending them right now.”

“I’m not I’m just saying that maybe his friends went a little too far because it’s a force of habit or something.”

“Ugh I don’t care, you want to hang with them then you go and have fun.”

“Janet…”

“No, no, it’s totally fine. Hey, it’s your life, he’s your boyfriend.”

“He’s not my boyfriend.”

“Thank God then because I’d have thought you moved on from Daniel awfully quickly,” she snipped before closing the door behind her.

Okay…

That wasn’t ideal… It’s not like I’m moving on quickly. Our relationship was on the decline for a while. I don’t even know why I have to be defending my relationships right now, I’m the one that’s dating him not Janet.

Michael was going to pick me up and I wanted to be in a better mood than I was earlier on in the day so I had a couple of drinks in me before getting dressed. Fortunately, I wasn’t so blind drunk that I couldn’t see how hot Michael in his leather jacket and jeans. It’s pretty much the same combo all the time and all the time he was hot.

“Hey,” I smiled, staggering for a kiss.

He chuckled breathily through his nose as we kissed. “Hey, you’re in a good mood.”

“I am.”

He narrowed his eyes. “A really good mood.”

I ran my hand down his chest and breathed in. “I am.”

He threw his head back and laughed. “Oh?”

I nodded. “Mm-hmm.”

He watched me as I brought my hands down to his belt, quickly unbuckling him as he stroked my neck, kissing me at the hollow at the base and bringing his lips to my ear. My weak spot. Instantly a wet-inducing factor. It invigorated my desire even more but it was hard pushing through such an incapacitating feeling that I willingly welcomed.

“You sure you want this now?” he asked in between kisses.

“Are you?”

He laughed devilishly in response. I walked backwards, holding him at his erection to my bed. He lifted my dress in front of mirror and shook my ass before grabbing tightly and pulling me into him. I wish I can say we eased slowly into it, but more so we charged like bulls.

All I can say is, I’m glad that our libido didn’t burst at the party.

We took a few minutes washing up, I obviously took longer because, as he says, I have that extra chromosome, and then we were on our way. It was the same friends at the party and either they were on their best behaviour because they were told to, or because they couldn’t be bothered riling someone up tonight.

I was having such a great time when I wanted to get a refill for a drink. I was hoping to get drunk tonight. I rarely do and felt like tonight was the right occasion. It helped in blocking out Janet as well, so there was that.

At the bar I met a girl named Louise. Tall, skinny, model-like, the whole she-bang except with fake boobs. We girls can detect that from a mile away. And I honestly think it’s a girl thing. One time I was working with a guy that wanted to play a game of ‘guess the fake boobs on the women that we see’. Needless to say, he sucked. I think he was more hopeful than realistic.

So Louise and I got to talking about who we came here with when I mentioned Michael.

“Oh, thee, Michael,” she said when I pointed into the crowd.

“Yes, thee, Michael,” I repeated confusedly.

“Isn’t he just great?”

“Yeah,” I laughed, “I guess.”

“I mean, to have that much respect for a girl.”

“Yeah, right…” I wasn’t liking the sound of where this was going.

“So, what number are you then?”

“Umm….what?”

“You know,” she shrugged, “exclusivity, the gifts, the friends who do the same thing as a sort of game to outdo the other,” she snickered. “It’s so fun. A lot of them cheat, as you can tell by my example. So, what number are you?”

***I once commented to a reader on another blog suggesting a book called “13 Reasons Why” to read and that it was going to be a movie. I don’t know if that same reader reads my blogs but turns out it’s on Netflix. Just wanted that person to know. Soul xo***

Apologies

Michael and I hadn’t spoken for a long time. We didn’t see each other, we didn’t talk, and we didn’t even text. I’d been swamped at work to even think about him but when I did, I missed him. I went over and over our fight in my head and wondered if we were both wrong, one of us, or none of us. How do parents spend their whole lives worrying about the kind of crowd their children mix with if friends aren’t a factor in who we are? Maybe when we get older, it becomes clearer. I can’t count the number of times I hear we’re not supposed to generalise an entire people based on just a few people, couldn’t it be the same for the people we know?

I honestly didn’t know, what I did know was that I wasn’t fair to him. I should know better. It’s not like me to just judge a man’s character based on his friends’, or anyone’s for that matter.

Colour me surprise (I know, totally clichéd phrase) when I saw Michael entering the office with Ahly’s ex and friends. As per usual they were having a great time and laughing their asses off. Ahly was smiling because obviously it was infectious, but I was immune.

“When are they going to higher security so they can be shot on site,” Toby sighed.

“Oh pipe down party pooper,” Ahly said.

“This is a place of our work!” He said.

“Uh huh, is that why you keep texting your new girlfriend?”

“What new girlfriend?” I asked.

Toby turned red and kept his warning eyes on Ahly. “No one.”

“I thought the only person you’ve been seeing is…” I stopped short when I thought of the only person I knew he could be calling a girlfriend by this point. But they just met!

“Who?” Toby asked.

I shrugged and acted like I didn’t know. If Chloe didn’t tell me then she didn’t want me to know, and that was a separate issue altogether. My best friend didn’t want me to know she was dating someone I was working with. Like, for real dating. Like, this wasn’t just a fling dating. Why though?

I slipped a glance Michael’s way and he caught it. He half-smiled and looked down then back up at his friends. It was so unbelievably awkward. I guess he wasn’t ready to talk to me either, which is convenient for me considering I wasn’t entirely ready to admit I was wrong.

He ended up leaving and I got back to work to what felt like a long time until I had my break. I asked if they wanted anything before I left, and all I thought about was food. I was mentally calculating what I should get that when I exited the building my name being called out repeatedly sounded like it was from the distance coming closer.

There was Michael, leaning up against the building, smoking a cigarette. “You sure do take forever to go for lunch.”

I fixed my bag over my shoulder and walked over to him. “I’ve been busy.”

He blew a puff of smoke. “Yeah, me too. I think this wall and I have become one with ourselves.”

I smiled at his ridiculousness, trying and failing to keep it composed. “Mm-hmm.”

“So, we haven’t spoken in a while,” he said, matter-of-fact.

I shrugged and gazed on into the distant traffic. “I’ve been busy.”

“Thought you’d say that.”

I sighed. “Yeah, well, I wouldn’t say I liked the freeze.”

He took a swig and then nodded. “Yeah, I’m more of a settle-this-here-and-now type. But can you blame me?”

I looked up through my lashes and smiled. He tilted his head and I shook mine, giving a little huffed laugh. “No, of course not.” I mumbled under my breath, “You can blame me though.”

“I fucking missed you.”

I shrugged. “I maybe, kind of missed you, too,” I joked.

“Especially when I saw some guy named Mark and you on Facebook having a good time,” he said, suggestively.

I rolled my eyes. “Just a friend.”

“Mm-hmm.”

“Mm-hmm yourself.” He laughed and I cleared my throat. “I’m sorry about the fight. I was an asshole and should’ve known better.”

He lifted his brow impressed and brought the corners of his lips downwards. “Say what?”

“Come on, don’t make me say it again.”

He laughed and clutched my jaw to angle his lips down and press them on mine. “I missed that, too,” he said when he pulled away.

“Me too,” I breathed.

“Come on—” he grabbed my hand— “let’s get out of here.”

I shimmied back and out of his grasp. “I have work.”

“Ditch.”

I tilted my head. “What are we in high school?”

“I mean take a personal day, come on let’s go.”

“Why? Got something Valentine’s Day related planned?” I winked.

“Yeah, right, like I’d celebrate a bullshit holiday.”

“Oh. You don’t like it?”

He shrugged. “I just think it’s stupid.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…” I nodded.

“But…I’m gathering you like it?”

“It’s whatever,” I said, waving my hand forwards.

“You sure?”

I nodded. “Hey, I really do have to get back to work.”

“Thought you were going to lunch?”

“Right. Lunch then work.”

“How about we have lunch together then, since you won’t ditch?”

“Uhh, you know, it’s going to be a quick one for me. In and out, sort of thing. I’ll see you later.”

“Anna—”

I was already on the curb about to set foot to cross the street. “Bye!”

First Fight

***BONUS post! Enjoy! Soul xo***

Literally everyone wanted to forget the night. When Stanley took a swing at Brandon I knew all hell was going to break loose. Michael tried to break up the fight while Janet and I rushed over to the side. I can’t help but feel proud over one person only: Stanley. It might be a medieval concept, but Brandon deserved what he got. Barely that actually, he was asking for it. Who says that kind of stuff and doesn’t expect backlash back?

Anyway, the party pretty much broke up after that and the crowd dissipated until we were left going home. I asked Janet wanted me to come with her but she was totally fine. I think she wasn’t as bothered by the comments as Stanley was. Janet was a fighter; she’s experienced a lot of bullshit all her life and I knew she thought this was just another day in the life. Which is why Stanley was the one that appeared to need more consoling, funnily enough. Even though it seemed as though he was there for his woman, Janet was there just as much for her man. It was pretty cool.

Michael and I were quiet in the Uber ride back to my place. I guess you could say it was an uncomfortable silence. I was still fuming over Brandon and what happened that I wanted to vent with Michael as well. He didn’t seem as outraged and it kind of bothered me.

“Did you want to come up?” I asked Michael once we stopped outside my apartment building. “I can fix you some ice for that hand.”

Oh yeah, he got in a few punches as well. Mostly from his friends which is so beyond weird for me.

He sighed. “Yeah, sure.” His voice unstrained and loose. He sounded way too calm for the ruckus that happened. I started to think I was overreacting.

“Didn’t think you’d be in here for ice,” I joked.

Michael chuckled. “Yeah…” he clutched the sides of my face and pulled into a long French kiss.

I pushed at his chest. “Hey come on. Now’s not really the time.” I placed the ice over his hand.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean,” I shrugged, “shit did just go down back there.”

Michael shook his head and scoffed. “It’s just Brandon.”

I lifted my brows. “Oh. So that’s normal?”

“They just like to mess with people.”

“Ummm…I think that’s a little more than just messing with people.”

“It was a joke.”

“A joke!?”

“Yeah, if Stanley was an actual friend of ours he’d be playing along, too. And Janet would be laughing.”

“And if Brandon was our friend he’d know he shouldn’t be saying shit like that about my best friend, but I guess we’re not the type of people to make those kinds of friends.”

Michael’s nostrils flared and he stood up straight. “Oh, and I suppose I’m a piece of shit to be running around with other pieces of shit.”

“I can’t believe you’re defending this guy!”

“And I can’t believe you think my friends are a reflection of me!”

“Well, some people say you are who you hang with!”

“Fuck this,” he threw the ice pack onto the counter, “I don’t need this bullshit. Call me when you can learn to separate me from the people I know.”

“Are you seriously leaving?” I scoffed and rolled my eyes as soon as he closed the door behind him. “What a cheap move.”

I checked my cell to see if Janet messaged but found a message from Mark instead: ‘Hey, sorry, I was out. Are you still up for a good time?’

More Soup

***BONUS post. Enjoy!***

“How’s the soup?” Michael asked.

I winced. “It’s sort of burning my throat.”

He grinned and wriggled his brows. “Good. It’s killing all the bacteria.”

“Oh God…”

“What?”

I heated up quickly. “This is just so weird to me.”

“What is?”

“You seeing me like this, in all my sickness, cleaning up my apartment—”

“—which I did a great job I might add. Almost impossible,” he joked.

“Shut up. I’m way too vulnerable right now.”

“Stop being so self-conscious.”

“I’m not.”

“You are.”

“I’m not.”

He tilted his head and lifted a brow. “You are,” he warned.

“Okay, fine, whatever.”

He chuckled. “Look, if it’s making you that uncomfortable then I can go. But believe me when I say that I really, really, really, like taking care of you. And I really, really, really like you.”

I narrowed my eyes. “How come you never came up?”

He blinked confusedly. “What?”

I shrugged. “How come you never came inside with me? Every time we went out on a date or whatever, sometimes I’d ask you up, sometimes it was obvious I wanted you to come inside but you never did. Why?”

“Oh,” he smiled. He sat opposite me on the coffee table, and I dropped my legs from it.

“I thought you wanted…”

“I do, believe me, I do. It’s not like me to wait.”

“What are you waiting for?”

“I just…I just don’t want to ruin this. Argh…I fucking hate getting all sensitive and shit. Should be your department.”

I laughed. “We’re making jokes to avoid this are we?”

“Lucky for me I’m actually funny.”

“Maybe you don’t know this about me until now, but I have no energy to be annoyed when I’m sick.”

“Or no energy to fight back because you know you’ll lose?”

“Michael,” I tilted my head.

“Anna,” he mimicked me.

I laughed. “Wow you really can’t open up can you?”

He sighed, running a hand through his dark hair. “I want to see where this goes. I just don’t want to fuck everything up because I want to fuck you.”

“Ummm….”

He shook his head. “That’s not what I mean. I just mean, I have this on-to-the-next mentality and I don’t want to be on to the next.”

I smiled. “Does this mean we’re exclusive?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “Do you want to be?”

I feigned my sigh. “Guess that would mean I’m going to have to cancel all my booty calls.”

He narrowed his eyes and I laughed. “Oh you got jokes, huh?”

“Okay, serious question. What if we’re building this up and in the end it’s not going to be great.”

He shrugged. “Then we fuck up and try again. Easy.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that. Oh now don’t tell me you’re one of those first time quitters. Because I’m not a quitter.”

“You sound like Rocky.”

He huffed a little laugh. “Stella!”

“It’s Adrienne.”

“Whatever.”

“Okay. We’re exclusive,” I nodded.

“Jeesh so demanding, okay fine, we’re exclusive,” he grinned.

I rolled my eyes. “Shut up.” I handed him my empty bowl. “Go make me more soup.”

“Like a vacuum, you are.”

“Fuck you.”

“Gladly.”

***The Alice in Wonderland reference in the previous post was in the title: Beautiful Soup. Soul***

Beautiful Soup!

So every date Michael and I have been on we’ve been ending the night with a kiss before my apartment door. The date was always fun. We’d go anywhere and let loose; it didn’t even have to be dinner, sometimes we grabbed breakfast, or we took a walk on the beach. We were just so comfortable around each other, not to mention Michael being a self-proclaimed asshole was somewhat enjoyable whenever I had a chance to annoy him as much as he annoyed me whenever he got the chance. It was great.

There was only one problem. He never ever came inside the apartment, even when I asked.

He always had some excuse waiting at the seams of my proposition and it became increasingly apparent it wasn’t going to happen any time soon. I started second guessing myself then, as you do. Must be that extra chromosome thing he’s always said (jokingly). I started to feel pathetic at one point and ended up just holding back from asking. Oh, it isn’t without difficulty I could tell you.

I’d be up against the door with my back, and he’d have my hands running up and down my body. I’d taste the aftermath of a cigarette lingering on his tongue and it wasn’t so overpowering that I couldn’t stand it. It was an interesting, almost bitter taste. I’d want him so badly; he’d make me so wet to the point where I’m gripping him and pulling him closer into me. I’d grab a fist full of his white shirt and pull him forcibly. He’d place his hand on my neck just under my jaw line and push me back to make way for a string of kisses down my neck. We all but had sex in the hallway! But he never entered the apartment with me. And I always wondered why.

That was until I got sick.

I’d been obsessing to the girls over this situation when I fell sick. They of course had no clue what to do and my brain kept rattling for understanding, but nothing came up. When I left I came home with nothing but a sickness that I had to cancel my next date with Michael. The weekend would just have to be spent wallowing.

On Saturday at around noon my phone started vibrating up on the bedside table. Did I tell you I got a new phone? Yup. It buzzes a lot less shockingly than my old Blackberry so now I can stand it being on vibrate.

“Hello?” I answered coarsely.

“Whoa. You don’t sound too good.”

“Mmm Michael?”

“Yeah, babe.”

I groaned. I so did not want him to hear me in all my sick glory. “I thought I cancelled already.”

“You did. I’m just checking to see how you are.”

“I feel like shit.”

He chuckled. “I can tell.”

Groan number two. “Do I really sound that bad?”

“Of course not. Like a sick angel.”

I laughed and it hurt my chest. “Fuck you,” I squeaked.

He laughed. “Aww poor baby. That’s what you get for acting all sass with me.”

“I’m not sass.”

“Oh, like a cat.”

I chortled throatily. “I better get to resting up then.”

“Have you eaten?”

“No, not yet. I’m too tired to make myself something. And I didn’t eat too much last night because I was too excited for our date tonight.”

“Well I was thinking about that and figured, why do we have to cancel?”

I paused. “Huh?”

“I mean, I’ve been looking forward to it too.”

I moaned. “Sorry.”

“You better be.” We both laughed. “Which is why I’m bringing the date to you.”

I hesitated just in case I was hearing things, but there was a rather large lull that I was forced to break. “Say what?”

A knock sounded on my door and I lifted the 8-ton blanket. “Are you seriously here?”

“Yup. And I come bearing gifts.”

I started to panic. I wouldn’t say I was entirely a neat freak, but on my sick days my dwellings tended to look like a wild habitat. Clothes were strewn everywhere, opened food packets and cutlery covered nearly every table top, and towels were all over the bathroom floor. It was a sty and nothing a pig would be proud of, just saying. So lucky me, the guy I’m seeing is going to be seeing my apartment the one time I haven’t prepared for it. On a day where I look as shit as my apartment too.

“I didn’t exactly prepare for this, Michael,” I blushed, trying to fix my frizzy hair in the entryway mirror.

“Just open the door. I’m sure it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”

I hung up and did as he said, pressing my head up against the door as I leaned into it. “Hey,” I greeted, sleepily.

“Wow.”

“I know,” I looked down.

“Who’s looking after you?”

I eyed the plastic and paper bags he was carrying. “You apparently.”

“I really wasn’t kidding when I said I was coming bearing gifts.” He grinned. I smiled. “Arrrrre you going to let me in?”

“My apartment is a little messy.”

He shrugged. “I’m a guy with a crazy sister and a deeply dysfunctional family. I think I can handle it.”

“Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

He made a beeline for the kitchen and placed the bags on top before turning around and scanning the apartment. He looked at me and smiled. “I won’t say it.”

“Oh my God,” I hid my face into my hands.

“I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Nothing I can’t handle, remember?”

I nodded. “So what did you get?”

“Oh, a secret recipe for homemade soup. Plus chicken soup I picked up to hold you over until the cooking and cleaning is finished.”

I widened my eyes and it felt like it took all of my energy. “No way.”

“What?”

“Cooking and cleaning? You’re not my personal maid.”

He laughed. “Oh come on.”

“No, this is so embarrassing,” I mumbled, shaking my head. “It’s just…I didn’t…I wasn’t…”

“Hey,” he walked towards me, “shut up okay. Fucking relax. I want to take care of you.”

I eyed speculatively. “Why? I don’t get it. Why?”

He shrugged. “Why not?”

“Don’t do that.”

He laughed. “Okay, okay. Aww you look so cute when you’re all pissy and dishevelled.”

I weakly shoved him and he barely nudged. “Shut up.”

“Come on, let me take care of you. I swear you’ll start feeling better once you have two bowls of soup. Lots and lots of lemon. The whole shebang.”

“Mmmm…” I moaned. “Okay. It seems I have no choice,” I said, jokingly.

“Good.”

“Good,” I nodded.

He gently brushed his fingers across my cheek. “I wish I could kiss you right now.” I smiled, about to gush and turn into a puddle of mush. “Alright, go rest with the bought soup and then go to sleep. I’ll wake you when the cooking is finished.”

***Can anyone guess the Alice in Wonderland reference? Soul xo***