In Your Arms

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Chapter 2- Noah

“Hey... wake up,” I groan as I felt something rubbing the side of my face. “Mr. Sleepyhead, wake up. I’m bored.” My eyes pop open to see the redhead from last night. Her face lights up as she smiles a wide smile. “Gorgeous, you’re awake! Couldn’t resist my voice?”

I look at the time and realize I have to get packed for my flight later. I sit up causing her to get off of me. I shake my head. Girls. All of them are the same, we meet, we flirt, we spend the night together and it’s all emotionless. No connection. No ties. Some of them know it, but others want more. I can already tell which category this girl falls under. I don’t even know her name, it’s completely slipped my mind. I think it starts with a K.

I look at the girl next to me as she leans forward and plants a wet kiss on my bare shoulder. She has a big smile on her face like she just won the biggest prize at the fair. I shake my head again and get off the bed this time leaving K-something pouting on my bed.

“Look,” I said grabbing my white crew-neck t-shirt and a pair of black shorts from the floor, “It’s been great, but I have a long day ahead of me.” I put the shirt on and watch as K-something’s expression just went from a “cute” pout to a confused ‘what just happened’ look. I start to gather her clothes off the floor and hand them to her. “Here you go.”

“Alright, so I’m guessing that is my invitation to leave. But so soon?” She gets off the bed with the blanket wrapped around her and takes the clothes in my hand. I nod. She looks down allowing all of her amber, red hair to fall around her face as she drops the blanket exposing her naked body. She looks back up at me with her dark green eyes. “Well, do you want me to leave now?” I close my eyes, smirking. She really was a looker, but it was time for her to leave. I walk around her and grab a towel off of my room door that was hanging on the back.

“I’m really sorry. I really have to pack, as much as I want to, I can’t. The bathrooms out there around the corner. You can get dressed and freshen up if you need to, but you can’t stay. I’m sorry.”

I open the bedroom door just as she finishes covering herself and she heads into the bathroom slamming the door behind her. I expect that, but I would much rather be honest than lead a considerably nice girl (whose name I do not remember for the life of me) especially because I do have things to do today. The door next to my room opens and out pops my cousin Julian’s head. He shuffles his curly hair and smiles in my direction with sleepy eyes.

“You just had to leave New York in style huh? Women slamming my doors because the irresistible Noah doesn’t want more than a one-night stand.” He whispers as I laugh.

“Of course, I had to say goodbye to New York the only way that’s right.” Now it’s his turn to laugh.

“Yeah, well when you’re done settling your business and ready to have breakfast knock twice.”

“Sure thing,” I said lifting my chin towards him. He turns around and shuts his door behind him.

I go back to my room and plop onto my bed, looking at my phone. I see so many texts and missed calls from my family, especially my sister Ava. I’ve spent six months away from home and today was the day I felt ready to go back. I mean Julian did insist last week that I should face my battles and I agreed I couldn’t run anymore. I didn’t want to keep hiding out in New York and also crashing Julian’s apartment any longer. I definitely overstayed my welcome.

K- something walks in interrupting my thoughts. I lock my phone and smile at her as she walks towards me. She drops the towel on my bed. She grabs her purse and shoes that were lying on the floor. I get up from the bed as she makes sure she has all of her things. Once she’s satisfied, she looks at me with her dark green eyes and gives me a small grin. “I know I’m basically getting kicked out right now, but I really would love to see you again.” She bats her eyes and slips a piece of paper in my hand as she inches closer to my face.

“I’ll be waiting for your call,” and with that, she plants a very light kiss on my lips and turns walking towards the door of my room. I smile and get up, to walk her to the front door. I watch as she walks out heading to the elevators around the corner, not looking back. She is definitely sexy. I close the door and look at the piece of paper still in my hand. Katelyn Somers and there was a scribbled note saying, ‘find me on Facebook’.

I crumble up the paper, putting it in my pocket. I definitely won’t be needing that. I go to the bathroom to freshen myself up from last night. Once I’m done, I knock on Julian’s door twice, per his request

“Okay, is the coast clear?” he laughs poking his head out of the doorway staying planted in his room. He held on to the sides of the doorway as he leaned forward. I nod. “No kicking and screaming? Wow, that’s a first. Good job cous, proud of you... somewhat.” He walks out of his room and plops himself down on the couch.

“No kicking and screaming. She was definitely eager to stay, but I didn’t want to spend my day entertaining someone I’m never going to pursue.” I take out the crumpled paper and toss it to him as I make my way to the couch. He catches it and opens up the paper smiling.

“Damn, she was cute too. Shame you’re leaving. Can I call her?” I glance at him and we start laughing.

“Sure, if you like my sloppy seconds.” He shakes his head smirking. He slaps my chest.

“Nah I’m just kidding. Coffee?”

I nod and lean my head back against the couch. The realization of what’s going on today hits me. I’m going home. I spent six months running and pressing pause on my life. It didn’t even matter because it all resumes once I walk off that plane later.

“What’s on your mind, Noah?” Julian nudges my knee as I bring my head up. He was handing me a cup of hot coffee. “You scared?” Julian’s eyes pierced mine as he kept questioning me, even though he didn’t sound like he was trying to get answers out of me his eyes said it all.

“Nah man, I’m not scared. Just trying to figure out how I gain my footing in a situation I haven’t dealt with for months, you know?” I shake my head sipping my coffee then placing it on the table in front of me. “Maybe it’s my fault for running, I just...you know what, let’s go eat.” I get up from the couch and head for the hall.

I sense Julian stand up, making me turn around.

“Noah,” I stop right at the entrance of the hallway and we stare at each other. “You aren’t wrong for running. It isn’t even running. You needed to separate yourself away from the situation. It’s alright man. I know it’s painful to think about, especially because it’s been a while since you’ve addressed anything, but now is the time for you to face your demons. At home.” I nod.

“I know man. I know.” He comes up to me and pats my shoulder nodding, in content with my response. “Let’s go get some waffles, I’m starving.” We laugh and head into our rooms, getting ready.

*********

When we get to the IHOP we get seated at a booth. It’s a Tuesday morning, so not much people are in here, which I’m happy for the peace and quiet. The waitress comes up to us and starts flirting with Julian immediately. When she takes our order and leaves, I shake my head smiling.

“You just can’t help yourself can you?” I take a sip of my water and he shakes his head smiling.

“Man, what can I say? We were blessed with good looks, I gotta use them.” We both laugh. We continue the time talking sports, Julians job doing stocks, him being happy that I’m leaving.

“You’re happy I’m leaving? I wasn’t that bad a roommate, c’mon man!” I feign offense knowing what he meant.

“Nah man, I’m gonna miss the crap out of you, but I’m just glad you’re giving Waterston a chance again.”

“Julian, Waterston was never the problem, it’s the people in it that I have a problem with,” I shake my head taking a bite of my pancakes. “I’m happy to see Ava though. I miss the crap out of her.” He nods his head taking a bite of his food.

“I know, she’s nonstop blowing up my phone every day.”

“I know, I know. I guess I’m just not ready to face her yet, but I’m getting there. It’s been hard to not speak to her though. She’s my best friend and I know the distance is killing her.”

Julian nods and the waitress comes back. They begin to flirt, and I continue to eat my food. My mind drifts to my family. Julian is the only family I have outside of Waterston. His mom was my mom’s best friend and he just has always been family to me. When he moved out of Waterston, to New York I always made it appoint to visit because Waterston can feel pretty small. It was no question that whenever I needed to escape Waterston, I’d be staying with Julian. He’s been great since the day I got here. He never questioned my staying here, especially that he’s single. We spent my time here partying, drinking, getting girls together, and just hanging out. His income is solely on stocks, so his schedule was always flexible.

I hear the waitress and Julian exchange numbers and I smile at him. Of course, he got her number.

After breakfast, Julian drives me to the airport to say out final goodbyes. “So, this is where we part.” Julian says, smiling. I nod, tapping the ticket in my hand at the security check-in. I look at Julian smiling.

“I cannot thank you enough for this cous. You’ve helped me so much.”

“Come on, you’d do the same for me.” He brings me in for a hug. I laugh at him.

“Enough sappy shit, I’ll message you when I land.”

“Alright man,” he smiles and pats my back. “Hit me up later.”

I turn around and walk towards the security, going through the whole check-in process. I finally make it to my terminal and take a seat by the window to see all of the planes. I look at the sign by the door: Savannah, North Carolina. I left. Now here I am waiting to go back. Back to the place that sheltered the people I love and hate in the same town.

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