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2. Roomhate

“Patrick, are you serious right now?” I sigh in frustration. “A roommate? Were you going to talk to me about this before just making this decision for us?”

I pace our bedroom, heated from the “surprise” he was going to drop on me tonight.

And here I thought he was going to propose.

“I’m sorry sweetie, really I am. I’ve known Hawke for a long time. This isn’t a normal situation by any means. He needs our help right now.”

No, this is not a normal situation. This is a mess.

“He needs our help?! No, he needs to find a new place to crash, especially if he’s going to be bringing drugs, or girls or whatever else he’s involved in under our roof. This is our home!”

“Technically it is, but it’s not,” Patrick declares, squinting his eyes as if not wanting the truth to come out. Not like this.

“Explain. Now.” I demand.

He grabs for my hands, pulling me to sit on the edge of our queen-sized bed next to him as he begins.

“Don’t be upset with me, okay?” he asks.

I glare at him, already annoyed.

“Remember when I went with my father to the bank to get the loan for the house?”

“Yes...” I answer cautiously, bracing for disaster.

“Well, I never actually got a loan. We didn’t even really need to get a realtor or bank involved. My father bought it outright. From Hawke.”

His words pour into my mind again. This is my house.

Confusion and curiosity hit me at the same time while I try to process this.

“So...you bought his house and are now letting him live here because...?” I ask vaguely, waiting for an answer.

Patrick licks his lips, taking in a deep breath before running his hand over his sandy, short hair. His cheeks become rosy like they do when he’s nervous. He lets out the breath, holding my hands tightly before lifting his eyes back to mine to explain.

“He couldn’t afford to make the mortgage payments on it anymore. H-he wasn’t around.”

I arch an eyebrow at him, urging him to continue.

“Hawke just got out of prison.”

The air has left the room.

Suddenly I can’t seem to suck in a breath. I’m just silently sitting there staring at him.

First of all, how have I never heard of this “Hawke” guy? I’ve known Patrick long enough to know his circle of friends. All of whom are intelligent, successful, in relationships, and know his family through the church or the golf club.

Not anywhere does a “Hawke” character fit in.

And second, is he crazy? Does he not realize that I basically work from home? I’d potentially be trapped home with this ex-convict all day while Patrick is away at work.

And third, Hawke? What kind of prison name is that?!

“This is something you really should have talked to me about. I do not feel comfortable with this.” I declare, raising my hands and getting up to pace the room.

My heart rate is rising. I’m visibly pissed.

“Listen, Nic” -he starts, grabbing my upper arms to stop my incessant movements- “he just needs a little help to get back on his feet. Don’t you think we should do that for him? Especially as Christians?”

I scoff. It’s always about faith with him. I get it, it’s the kind thing to do, but I’m not always kind. Nor am I always Christian. Not that I have anything against Christians or any other religion for that matter. Do you. But, as soon as your religion has ridiculous expectations for who you need to be, or chastise you for making mistakes, it just doesn’t seem healthy anymore. Jesus forgives, crappy Christians don’t.

As I said, I’m not always kind. I’m realistic. Especially when being kind means having to live with a tattoed, sex-crazed, convict who may or may not be shooting drugs into his nose or whatever it is junkies do.

“Just to get him on his feet,” Patrick reiterates, like we’re some sort of homeless shelter. “Trust me, he’s not as bad as he seems.”

I sigh. “Fine, but if this interferes with my work or sleep I’m going to lose it.”

He smiles at me, then tucks a piece of hair behind my ear. “I promise you. I won’t let that happen, Nic. I love you.”

He kisses my nose, then rubs his against mine, before wrapping his arms around me and rocking me side to side.

“Everything will be fine. You won’t even notice he’s here.” His voice carries against my hair into my ear.

I silently sigh again, doubting that entirely.

“Now, let’s go have an adult conversation with him over dinner.” He grins humorously. “I’ll give you a moment to change.”

He exits the room as I take my robe off and slip into something appropriate for guests.


A guest.

A guest who won’t be leaving any time soon.

I sigh heavily as I look at myself in the mirror. I look horrible. I don’t even want to make myself presentable to this hoodlum.

I change into some leggings and a hoodie and untangle my unruly hair, leaving it in loose waves.

Walking out into the living room, my eyes are immediately peeled to the scene outside the window.

Hawke has his hands on top of his head, legs spread wide, as the police officers are practically assaulting him with their hands. They check him over then exchange some words as he waves his hands aggressively in the air.

“They don’t make it easy on him,” Patrick says, sliding up besides me.

Finally the officers turn away heading for their cars as Hawke yells something to their backs, flipping them off. He turns and walks back into the house.

The tension is thick.

He pushes in through the door as I stand in the living room with my arms crossed, biting the corner of my lip, unsure of what to do.

I did that. I called the cops after he begged me not to.

He hates me.

A few hours later, Patrick takes the steaks off the grill as I finish up the baked macaroni and cheese. We work like a well oiled machine making our Sunday dinners, yet now we have a kink in the chain.

Hawke went to his decided room, which is the spare bedroom, after the incident, closing himself in there.

I’ll be fine if I never have to see him. If we can keep this distance when Patrick goes to work tomorrow, I’ll be alright.

As we get settled down to eat, I place a plate down at the table for Hawke, assuming this ‘get to know each other’ dinner was what Patrick had planned.

We begin eating without him, Patrick looks at me and shrugs. Guess the happy family meal won’t be happening. Surprise, surprise.

Just as Patrick says grace, Hawke storms through his door, wearing nothing but loosely fit sweats hanging off his hips, and heads towards the kitchen. He’s definitely thinner than Patrick yet more toned. He has strange disorganized tattoos all over his chest and arms, and his hair is disheveled and hanging into his narrowed eyes as if he just woke up.

“Join us if you’d like, we made plenty,” Patrick announces to him.

He grabs the plate from the table as I try to divert my eyes away from a solid wall of abs and deep V directly in front of me. It’s uncomfortable for me with Patrick right here. Hawke is definitely not my type. I would never find him attractive. I just can’t look away because he’s so...he’s just so, in my face.

I’ve literally only seen Patrick naked. Once I walked in on my dad with my mom back in the day, but other than that, the only man’s body I’ve ever seen this close was my boyfriends and it doesn’t look like this. I’m just blushing out of pure wholesomeness. Clearly.

It’s not that Patrick isn’t attractive or anything, he’s just different. Patrick is kinda hairy and bulky but not ripped. He’s my burly teddy bear and I like him soft.

I’d never use those terms to describe Hawke, however. He’s lengthy, and tall with the broad shoulders of an Olympic swimmer. His hair is all a mess, plus he smells. Well, he smells clean, actually.

I look down into my food, trying to swallow, before peeking up through my eyelashes again.

I shouldn’t be looking at this half naked man in front of me and my boyfriend.

He must notice my failed attempts at looking away because I see him sneer at me as he passes around the table.

Taking his now filled plate, he walks around us, giving Patrick a light head nod, then heads back into the bedroom, shutting the door with his foot.

I take a deep breath and finally let it out.

“Just leave him be,” Patrick comments. “He’ll keep to his own until he’s comfortable.”

I drop my fork, looking up at him with a pained face. “He’s so...rude.”

“Yeah, he’s definitely not someone you’d want to hang out with, I’m sure.”

“Was he always like this? Since you’ve known him?” I ask.

Patrick clears his throat, clearly thinking of an earlier day, one before me. “Uh, yeah, I guess.”

It perplexes me that he would befriend such a rough looking guy. Patrick is as clean as they come. He’s never even smoked weed that I know of.

I’m a bit more experienced than he is, only because of my wild, and reckless older sister. Countless nights of picking her drunk ass up from the bars late at night with a new guy each time gave me plenty to work with, plenty to learn.

This one guy, Dylan, she used to see was addicted to coke. His saucer-like pupils and endless nights of keeping my sister up having sex in the room next to me was enough to have me vowing to never be with the likes him.

“Listen, just keep your distance. He’s the type that minds his own. Not much for conversation. He won’t cause any issues, his past is his past.”

I hate that he thinks this is not a big deal.

“But, why would you-”

“Because it’s the right thing to do!” Patrick interrupts me, slamming his fist on the table.

I bite my tongue like I always do, holding in what I’d really like to say to him. I’m frustrated but left in a position in which I can’t really say anything. I don’t own this property, I’m lucky to be living here with him rent free. I don’t make the rules, nor does how I feel seem to sway them.

“It’ll be like he’s not even here,” Patrick says in a softer tone, grabbing for my hand on the table. “You’ll see.”

As soon as he says the words, Hawke comes out of the room with an empty plate.

Shirtless as the day he was born, he glides across the living room and into the kitchen, dropping the plate and silverware into the sink and begins washing them.

“Want to watch a movie with us after dinner?” Patrick asks as I glare at him for asking.

So much for ignoring the fact that he’s here.

He turns around, facing us, his hands holding him up as he leans back behind him on the counter, stretching back, showcasing his broad shoulders and chest.

He’s like a punk rock swimmer with his lengthy toned slimness. And dammit for not being able to look the other way when I need to. I bite the corner of my lip, a nervous twitch, trying my best to ignore his presence entirely.

“Nah, wouldn’t want to impose," he comments, the dripping sarcasm not lost on me.

He clearly means we are the ones imposing on him. We are in his house now. This couldn’t get any more uncomfortable.

His eyes wander over to mine, pausing for a moment to look with an arched brow. I can’t help but notice the tiniest curl of his lip into a smirk.

Not only is he an ass, he’s cocky too. Great.

After dinner and washing dishes, I hit the lights and settle into the couch, under the blanket next to Patrick, who starts up some action flick.

I lay my head on his shoulder as we start watching Jason Statham chase after some bad guys...again.

“Why can’t we ever watch what I like to watch?” I whine, my cheek squished against him.

“Because no one who’s seriously intelligent enjoys RomComs,” he comments without pause.

I huff in frustration, rolling my eyes next to him. “I like mob movies, jerk.”

The door to Hawke’s bedroom opens as he walks to the fridge, now wearing a white v-neck t-shirt with his sweatpants.

My eyes shift from him back to the television without moving my head.

I hear the fridge open as he grabs what sounds like a beer before coming over and plopping on the other side of our L-shaped couch.

“Changed your mind, eh?” Patrick asks, lifting his beer to cheers him in the air.

“Got bored,” he comments in a deep, husky tone, lifting the bottle to his lips.

His lip ring clinks against the glass ever so lightly. I watch him with narrowed eyes as his Adam’s apple bobs with each swallow.

I hate that I love Adam’s apples for this exact situation.

He gets comfortable in the seat, slouching back with one hand over the back of the couch. One leg is popped up while the other lay long. He’s so long.

“Nic, watch this part!” Patrick says animatedly as Jason Statham knocks some bad guy out. “Yeah!”

He cheers like a jock would, watching the guy knock out some guy as I chuckle, shaking my head, before getting up off the couch.

“Where you going?” he asks, his eyes never leaving the screen.

“To bed. Goodnight.”

I lean in, kissing him on the cheek, as he pulls me onto his lap. He grabs my face, pulling me into a kiss with a little tongue.

I pull back, scolding him, “Patrick!”

It’s awkward in front of Hawk, but Patrick just chuckles then gets back to the movie. “Love you, angel.”

I walk around the back of the couch, passing Hawke in the process. “Night.” I say blandly.

He doesn’t respond as I suspected.

I turned the corner to our room, closing the door, looking back at the boys. Patrick’s sucked back into the movie, but to my surprise, Hawke’s slightly narrowed eyes are glued on mine. His tongue dips out of his mouth as he begins playing with his lip ring, his stare never faltering, even though our eyes have connected for more than what’s socially acceptable.

I stare back, my brows knit together in confusion. I suck in a breath, then shut the door abruptly. I lean back against it, wondering why. Why was he looking at me like that?

It’s like he was studying me, looking for my soul through my eyes. Almost as if he was trying to figure me out by letting me in on some sort of secret. It’s overwhelming, his stare, and it makes me feel weird inside.

I slide down the door, disappointed in how today went down, disappointed in these new changes I’m forced to deal with, and disappointed in the fact that I can’t do anything about it.

I don’t know what Patrick’s talking about when he says to ignore Hawke, when I know, it’s going to be nearly impossible to pretend he’s not here.

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