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10. Departed

Enjoying coffee while watching mobsters murder each other has become a new favorite part of my day.

Hawke and I have been doing this for the past few days. Every morning after Patrick leaves for work, we settle into the couch, watch a new gangster movie, and enjoy a few cups of coffee before I begin my editing work from the office of our bedroom.

After our cups are made, we sit down together, slowly inching closer each day. We started on opposite ends of the sectional sofa initially, but after a few days and feeling more comfortable around each other, we’ve settled into the middle. It’s fun, being able to enjoy films and talk freely about topics considered outrageous or easily dismissed by Patrick.

I’ve also been learning more about Hawke and who he is.

I found out he also grew up here like Patrick. Went to high school with him and everything. He had plans to enlist to become a navy seal like his father once was, but when his father passed away, he was on his own. Each of his tattoos has a deep underlying meaning, his favorite being an outlined image of Phil Collins on his ribcage. Strange. He’d dabbled in drugs to not only help pay bills, but ease the pain of losing his only parent. While he kept the conversations short, he definitely cued me in to a few realizations. He’d seemingly lost his way after his fathers death, got into drugs, and shortly after went to prison. Why he went is still a mystery.

We’re building a unique kind of friendship and it’s been nice seeing a more carefree side of him lately.

“So, are you actually going to get a job, or just continue drinking coffee, watching mob movies, and smashing sluts throughout the day?” I ask unabashedly.

He laughs. “It must really bother you.”

“No...just curious if you had...plans?”

I don’t know how else to word what I’m trying to ask. Are you planning on getting back to having a life after prison just doesn’t roll right off the tongue.

“If you’re wondering what I’m going to do with my life now, don’t.” He remarks. “I don’t have much of a choice in the matter.”

He kicks his leg up on the coffee table, relaxing in his sweats, leaning towards me on his elbow. I can’t help but study his long frame, or the way his piercing always draws me into his lips. He’s so interesting to look at. As soon as I feel like I’m gawking, I speak up.

“Why don’t you have a choice in your own life?”

He ruffles his hair with his hand. “There are rules after you’re released. You don’t just get to go back to society again. I have a transition job that I’ll be starting soon at some presort mail company to get me back into the workforce. I’m under watch. Parole. You familiar?”

“Yeah...” I reply softly, not entirely sure how much he wants to divulge to me.

“Well, I’m on parole, meaning I have an officer who will be checking up on me and the house itself. I’m sure Patrick told you all about it.”

Not at all. I can’t believe Patrick. “No, he didn’t tell me anything,” I admit.

Hawke cocks his head, staring at me with confusion in his eyes. He drops his leg from the end table, sitting up and turning to me. “He didn’t tell you anything.” He repeats the words out of my mouth as if he can’t believe it.


“So you have no idea what I went to prison for?” he asks, his brows raising.

“No. I was about to google you,” I admit, a grin pulling at my lip.

His face drops instantly as he stares at me. He drops his eyes to the blanket on my lap, then a somber face hits.

“But, I won’t, if you don’t want me to...” I finish, hoping to ease the sudden uncomfortable situation.

He begins talking, looking down as the words fall out of his mouth. “One day. One day you’ll learn the truth, and it’ll change everything.”

The words feel like they have so much weight to them. Whatever happened to him in his past was heavy, there’s no doubt. And yet, he speaks about it as if my life will change. Change everything? If he thinks that I’m going to think differently of him because of what I find out, he’s got it all wrong.

“I’m not the type that’s quick to judge like Patrick and them.” I say softly, my eyes finding the courage to connect with his.

“Ha!” He half laughs, half scoffs. “I think you called me a junkie the first day we met?”

I stretch my bottom lip making a pained face. “Yeah. I think you’re right. Okay, I totally judged you...and maybe I shouldn’t have.”


“Well you’re still an ass. I know you were attempting to get back at me for calling the cops on you when we were at the cabin, don’t think I’m not aware. Plus my assumptions aren’t totally off.”

He swallows, looking suddenly uncomfortable. “I’d never have taken it too far, I was just messin’ with you.”

“Ahh...so my assumption was right. You did have a plan.”

He rolls his eyes. “Yeah, I wanted to seduce you, maybe get some pics, and blackmail you into fucking me.”

My eyes stretch like saucers.

“I’m just playin’, chill, crazy. I’m really not that well thought out. I just wanted to kick it with you.” He leans back against the couch again. “Could’ve been fun though.”

“Blackmailing me?”

His brow furrows as if blackmailing is literally the last thing he’d want to do. “No, fucking you.”

A sly grin slowly creeps across his devilish face, making me feel things in places I shouldn’t.

My face flushes and I try to hide my blush as well as you can hide a blush. “You slut.”

“Still judging me I see.” He smirks back at my grin.

“I think you’ll find we are more alike than not in some regard. You have judged me too, Mr. Hawke.” I smirk and crack the ‘k’ of his name dramatically. “And for that, you are no better than me.”

“I think I’m starting to realize that.”

He stares at me for a moment, the words we’ve spoken just lingering in the air. He judged me the moment he saw me too. Stick up my ass, prissy girl, tattletale, bible humping girlfriend. Sure, I could see where he’d get it, but I’m not like these fake people I’ve surrounded myself with. I care deeply and enjoy things that are real and authentic. Everything that I thought Patrick was when we first met, but that seems to be changing by the day.

He licks his teeth, thoughts clearly going through his head as we stare at each other until he turns his head back towards the movie.

I take a breath. Being in his presence sometimes causes me to feel unable to breathe properly. He switches from being easy going, to serious, to flirtatious, to cold all within a matter of seconds.

Today’s movie is The Departed. I’ve seen this movie before, so has Hawke. As we watch, we get to the scene where Leo is about to have sex with the female character in the kitchen, you know, the one with the boyfriend? Talk about uncomfortable.

The air feels thick around us. The playfulness has settled and I’m trying my best not to move. We watch the scene play out, about two feet away from each other on the couch. From the corner of my eye, where he’s leaning his head back against the sofa, Hawke’s eyes are glued to the screen, his lips slightly parted.

I shift uncomfortably and he notices. His head rolls towards me, eyes scanning over me. It’s a hot scene. A lustful scene. A scene in which each character can not contain their sexual attraction to one another, despite the issues at hand, despite the fact that it’s considered wrong.

I nervously bite the corner of my lip, unable to control the fact that my breathing has picked up. Hawke’s staring at me now, gauging my reaction to the scene, by what it seems.

I turn my head slowly making eye contact with him. His expression is unreadable. His eyes hold a seriousness to them I haven’t seen before. He gazes at me for a moment, then his gaze travels down to my lips.

My eyes fall hooded as every part of me feels on alert. I feel like I can’t breath, I feel dizzy and need to leave the heaviness that has become this room.

I close my eyes tightly, then turn towards the TV again and stand up, leaving my coffee on the table before me. “I should really get started on my work.”

He closes his eyes for a moment, almost processing it, then his face turns cold again as he watches the TV, giving me a small head nod, almost dismissing me.

I shoot him a confused look. I don’t understand his shift in energy. He’s sending me confusing signals. At least, I think so. Am I imagining these things? His looks? Maybe I’m losing it.

I make my way around his side of the couch, heading towards my room, feeling somewhat frustrated in myself when I hear him.

“Cole, wait,” he says, sounding urgent.

I turn around at my door, seeing him walking towards me quickly. He reaches me, then pauses, standing directly above me.


He moves in closer as my back hits the door frame, his large frame towering over me. He stalls, his mouth open, lips parted as if he’s about to say something, but the words are stuck in his chest.

The look he’s giving me makes me feel weak, like my knees are about to buckle under the weight of his presence. I stare into those eccentric eyes, the eyes that have seen things, horrible things I’ll never even begin to imagine. For some reason those eyes are set on me as if they were meant to. I begin falling into their intoxicating hypnosis.

“What?” The question comes out again, but more breathy than I intended.

I want him to say what he has to say, or do what he was about to do so I can run far away from this feeling. But he doesn’t. He just drops his head forward against the door frame above me, his hair mashing against it as he sighs.

I’m frozen again at the closeness. My face is by his neck. His scent hits my nose, toothpaste with a mix of cigarettes and coffee. His forearm rests against the door frame, the other long draped down and the edge of his hand gently brushing against mine.

I find the urge to gently touch that hand with the tips of my fingers, holding onto the edge of his. It should be a small gesture, something friends do to comfort each other, but it feels like so much more.

He sucks in a breath at the contact, then swallows, his Adam’s apple bobbing above me. He shifts his head down to look at me, still pressed against the door frame, his hair all disheveled against it, almost representing the messiness that’s happening here.

His fingers slowly lace through mine as his thumb gently runs small circles over mine.

What is this?

I have the desire to feel his lips on mine. The urge to kiss him becoming an undeniable reality. I’ve never felt this way before, this ache, to touch him, feel more of him. I wonder if he’s grappling with the same struggles.

“I-” he starts, leaning down towards me with his mouth parted, looking at my lips. “I-I need a smoke.”

He backs away from me, flexing his jaw as he turns towards the door, running a hand through his hair. I hear his curse beneath his breath.

I stand there, blinking at his departure. There’s an unspoken truth beneath the surface of our eyes. I can’t seem to understand it yet, but something tells me I want to keep trying.

Later that night, Patrick came home from work and jumped into the shower. I’ve gotten some work done today, but found myself endlessly staring out of the window, replaying that scene between Hawke and I at the door.

Brushing it away, I make dinner for everyone, not knowing if I’ll see Hawke again tonight, but surprisingly, I do.

He comes out of his room with his jacket hanging over his shoulder just as I’m setting out plates. He looks like he was about to head out, but stalls for a moment when he sees me.

“Want a cheeseburger?” I offer with a little grin.

Whatever tension there was, I want it gone. Let’s get back to normal. I need normal.

His face relaxes with a half smile as he slings his coat over the back of the chair. “Sure.”

We all sit and begin eating as Patrick fills the air with conversation about work. He goes on about contracts, and paperwork, and this new guy they hired who is a total nightmare. Hawke just eats in silence, looking up every so often to make eye contact with me then look back down at his food when I look away.

“But yeah, they want this guy to travel to Colorado with me, learn as we go. They even suggested he room with me, which is ridiculous.”

“What’s wrong with that?” I question.

He turns to me, mouth agape. “What’s wrong with that? Plenty. First, I should be able to have a room to myself to get my work done, and second, I don’t even know why we’ve kept this guy around. He isn’t a part of our congregation, he doesn’t align with our values.”

I’m not even going to explain the frustration I’m feeling right now. Everything he’s saying is totally contradictory.

“Do you really not want to align yourself with people who are not of your religion?”

“Our religion,” he clarifies. “And I don’t feel like our family owned business should hire someone who isn’t. Our company is based on our Catholic values. It’s what we stand for.”

“So, let me get this straight. Being Catholic means aligning yourself with other Catholics. Okay, got it,” I reply with a snarky tone.

“Don’t give me attitude, Nic. You know how important this is as a representation of my family. If anything, you could do more in the church to help show your support. You said once we moved here, you’d start coming to Sunday service, but you haven’t even done that. Hell, you need to, especially with your father and his little affair.”

I drop my fork to the table, sending my steamed veggies flying. I push back away from the table, shaking my head. Hawke looks up from his burger, eyeing me, then Patrick.

“Ridiculous Patrick. This is ridiculous.”

“Our faith is ridiculous?”

“You want to talk about faith!? Where in the church does it allow for premarital sex!? Or do you just get to pick and choose which rules to obey?”

I don’t care how ridiculous I probably look. I’ve about had it with these Catholic values that don’t seem so Christian after all.

“Nicole, lower your voice,” he says sternly.

I get up from my chair, glaring at him and pointing my finger in his direction, “Do not call me that.”

I turn and walk away from the guys, leaving to head to the bathroom.

I can’t stand it. This religion talk, the fakeness of their family, and then the use of my messed up family issues as a low blow to end it.

I strip myself of my clothes, frustrated in dealing with a continuous issue between us we can’t seem to change. I get into the shower, allowing the warm water to blend in with the tears already streaming my face.

I silently cry, feeling trapped in an uncontrollable situation, until the tears run dry and water is the only thing left to clean me of this night.

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