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5. Mornings Are Hard

Waking up early like I always do, I roll out of bed, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes with my fists.

Last night’s memories haunt me. The unrealistic short sex, the showering afterwards...everything about it feels painful.

I have to find a way to talk to Patrick about it. To tell him that there’s a real problem here for me. To show him how messed up that is and how it hurts me mentally. Will he understand? Will he be empathetic? Who knows. But if I don’t bring it to his attention, I’m only hurting myself. I can’t do this anymore.

Walking to the bathroom with my mind full of thoughts and my eyes attempting to lure me back to sleep, I open the door and get hit with warm steam and a delicious spicy musk in my nose. Before I can turn back I see him.



Wiping both hands down his face in the shower, his exposed body is all I see through the partially fogged glass. His rippling abdomen, chest and arms littered with tats, glistening with droplets of water. I see his dick hanging between his legs, water dripping from the tip.

Oh my God.

I’m frozen for a moment, gaping at the naked man before me. This is twice now. Twice I’ve seen him in less clothes than Patrick. Twice I’ve been unable to tear my eyes off him. Twice I’ve felt like shit because of it. I turn back out of the bathroom as quickly and quietly as I can before placing myself in the kitchen.

Hopefully he didn’t see me. I don’t think he did.

On my way to the kitchen, cursing at myself under my breath, I head to the coffee maker and start up a pot.

The bathroom door opens behind me and I lean against the counter, biting the corner of my lip. I’m pretending to look at an old receipt lying next to the fridge on the counter. Interesting stuff, savings.

I hear the sound of him walking to his room and shutting the door. I let out a huge sigh, dropping my forehead flat against the counter, bent over in half, when the door opens again.

Fuck me.

“You alright?” he asks softly with a hint of humor in his tone.

“Fine,” I respond quickly, lifting my head from the counter.

I stand with my chin raised, pretending to be as fine as I say, yet my eyes never quite reach his. He leans against the counter wearing nothing but a pair of black sweatpants hanging off the hips.

Seriously, we need a clothing policy in this household.

“You should knock before you enter when someone’s showering,” he states with amusement in his eye.

I swallow and my eyes finally connect with his. Those damn ocean eyes. I look at him and there’s no hiding it now. He knows. There’s a smirk, no, a devilish look about him, that makes me think he’s enjoying the fact that I saw him.

He runs a hand through his wet locks, pushing the hair away from his face. His angular jaw pulls me directly into those plush lips, separated by that ring right in the middle.

“I’m not used to having to knock in my own house. Sorry.”

Sarcasm is my friend.

“Just be sorry you didn’t burst in five minutes earlier,” he says with a serious face, folding his arms over his inked chest.

“W-what?” I shake my head, turning away from his gaze as I begin pouring the water into the coffee machine.

“Nevermind, over your head. Clearly.” He rolls his eyes, leaning back against the counter next to me. Too close.

He was masturbating.

My insides churn and I get a tingle between my legs at the thought of him touching himself in all his naked glory in that shower. Feeling slightly flushed, I lick my dry lips and attempt to grab a coffee mug from behind his head without fumbling it.

“Maybe we should set some ground rules,” I say, turning to face him.

I’m over the awkwardness, ready to set some much needed boundaries.

“By all means...”

“First, if you’re using the bathroom, lock the door. It only makes sense,” I comment smugly.

He chuckles, licking his lips then refolding his arms, waits for more rules.

“Second, if you’re going to be messing around with various women, keep it to your room.”

His eyebrows raise humorously with that one.

“And third, if you see me outside of this house, don’t assume you have any right to tell me who I can talk to. I’m in a committed relationship with an amazing man who trusts me. I don’t need your low leveled assumptions spreading onto me and my relationship.”

I cross my arms over my chest, leaning back on the counter, feeling proud of myself, but the narrowed eyed look I’m getting from him has my pulse raging out of my neck.

“Ground rules?” he asks, pushing off the counter and slowly lurking towards me. “I’ve got some myself.”

I nervously adjust at his closeness. He places his hands on the counter behind me, trapping me by his arms. If Patrick came out right now, this would look totally threatening.

“First, if you’re going to walk in on me in the shower, the least you can do is give me a handy.”

“Ha!” I scoff at his crudeness, then attempt to breathe normally. Yep. Nope. My mouth is parched inside the bubble of his aura.

“And second, if you’re going to have sex in the bedroom next to me, at least try to pretend you’re enjoying it.”

My face heats up immediately. He heard us having sex last night. All three seconds of it. I’m mortified. It’s one thing for me to deal with the embarrassment of it all, but for Hawke to know? Ugh. The torture.

His lip pulls up in the corner, a little dimple forming in his cheek as he smirks at me. A knowing smirk. An asshole smirk.

“Do you like being called Nic?” he asks, leaning forward, uncomfortably close.

His face is hovering above me and I’m sure he can hear my heart racing. I can through my ears. It’s pounding. He smells so fresh, and oozes sex out of his pores like a new, exquisite fragrance.

I’ve never had this type of reaction to someone’s presence before, not even Patrick. It’s an adrenaline rush, like I’m about to send my body plunging off of a cliff. His aura is an extreme sport in and of itself. A dangerous one.

“Yes.” My voice comes out weak like a whisper.

“Let me guess, that’s short for Nicole?” he smirks, cocking his head above me.

“Yeah, it is.” I respond.

I’m confused with where this is going.

“Well, I don’t like it. I’m not calling you Nic,” he says with disgust. “When he calls you that, it makes you sound like a child.”

The way he says ‘he’ doesn’t go over my head. It’s not the way “friends” talk about each other.

“Well I’ll kill you if you call me Nicole, so...” I snap back.

It really shouldn’t bother me the way that it does, I've grown up with the name. But, I can’t stand to be called Nicole after hearing my father grunting her name. Plus, it just reminds me of all the ways our relationship has fallen apart since he left my mother.

“Hmm...would you prefer Pompous Pam?” he suggests, his eyes lighting with enthusiasm, “Or how about Pretentious Paige?”

I glare at him. I can’t stand pretentious or pompous individuals at all for that matter. It’s literally one of the main reasons I dislike all of Patrick’s people. He’s purposely teasing me, trying to get a rise out of me.

“Fuck it, fine...I’ll call you Cole.” he says abruptly, sensing my anger.

“Cole!?” I scoff, raising my brows at him.

He bites his bottom lip, nodding as he moves in closer. He stills there, playing with his lip ring, making my stomach instantly drop. He has a dangerous look about him, and I’m unsure of his intentions.

The way he tongues that ring, seeing it dart out of his mouth, makes me wonder about the feel of it.

I bite the corner of my lip again, my eyes heavy with this intoxicating aura his presence is drawing out of me as I blink and look up at him again, feeling heavy and light all at the same time.

His mouth drops open a bit as he stares at my lips, his warm breath reaching my skin.

“Yeah, Cole,” he whispers above me. “And third, don’t look at your roommate like that again.”

He speaks coldly as he leans around me, pouring a cup of coffee before heading towards the kitchen table. He sits down, leaving me trying to catch my breath as he pulls out a book and casually begins reading like the event that just transpired never happened.

I’m in a whirlwind or confusion. Look at him like what? What did I look like?

Patrick comes out of the bedroom and I stand straight, trying to rid myself of the toxicities of this new roommate of mine.

Hawke’s eyes dart over to me and I could’ve sworn he chuckled a bit.

“Good morning, you two,” Patrick announces, happy as ever. “Couple of early risers, huh?”

Neither of us respond to his rhetorical question

He smiles, approaching me, kissing me softly on the lips, then lingering there for a bit.

I see Hawke’s eyes peek from behind his book, watching us from the corner of my eye, so I put more effort into the kiss, basically telling him to screw off with it.

“Damn, angel. Last night and now this? How’d I get so lucky,” Patrick comments, running his hand up my exposed thigh.

I giggle bashfully, as his hand slides up the back of my loose silk nighty shorts. Patrick smiles in playful approval, grabbing a handful of ass. I peer over to Hawke who’s staring at his book with his brows drawn together, as if he’s contemplating the origins of life.

“I’ll pack you lunch. You heading out soon?” I ask, turning to grab the sandwich meat from the fridge.

“Yeah, it’s going to be another long day. My Father has me meeting investors to try and take over some of his accounts for him.”

“That’s amazing, babe. Sounds like a promotion to me,” I say proudly, spreading some mayonnaise on his bread.

“Yeah, it definitely is, but it means more work. I’ve got to get all the files in order tonight and tomorrow before the meeting. It’s going to be a late night. But you’ll be working tonight anyways, right?”

I see Hawke look up from his book at us in the corner of my eye.

“No...this was the one night I had off this week, remember?” I sigh, trying not to sound like a whiny little brat, but I can’t help it.

I’m annoyed. My one night off, with no plans because I was holding out for Patrick, again. And with everything else going on, the surprise convict roommate, the lackluster sex, and now leaving me home alone on my night out...I’m just, well...bummed.

“I’m sorry, angel. But you know I have to do this. My dad—”

“It’s fine, you don’t need to apologize. I’ll find something to do. I’ll be fine.”

“Hey, maybe you and Hawke could hang out, watch a movie or something. Netflix and chill? Isn’t that what we’re calling it these days?” Patrick suggests aloud.

I look over at Hawk who wears an uneven smirk on his mouth, his brows raised in confusion.

My poor, sweet boyfriend. So naive.

“I have plans.” Hawke interjects coldly.

Trust me, I don’t care. But, he’s just such an ass about it. Yes, hanging out with me probably isn’t on anyone’s wish list, but Jesus, his decline came fast and with a punch.

“Ah, well...” Patrick starts, trying to come up with something.

“I’ll be fine, just...go,” I say with a light smile.

He shouldn’t have to worry about entertaining me. I’m a big girl, I can figure it out.

Patrick leaves for work as I head to my room to edit for the day. Hawke is still at the table reading so I pass by with my coffee in hand, saying nothing.

“Cole,” he says softly, eyes still on his book.

Did I imagine that? It was so quiet.

“Cole,” he says again louder, and I turn to look at him by the door of the bedroom.

He’s slightly turned in his chair, his arm dangling over the back of it while his head tilts at an angle to look at me. I raise my brows, waiting for him to talk.

“Just wanted to try it out.” He grins his wicked smile, then turns back to his book.


Later in the day I hear Hawke leave the house so I relax and decide to watch some TV.

After binging a few shows, I grow bored of this and realize it’s only five. I grab my phone and look through my contacts. Who could I call?

There’s my sister, who luckily lives on the other coast. Not happening. There’s John from work who’s probably spending time with his pregnant girlfriend or working at the bar tonight.

And...that’s it.

I’ve lost touch with most of my friends after college and moving to this new town with Patrick. I didn’t have many people I truly connected with here yet. I literally don’t know anyone but Patrick and his family. When I moved here, it was solely for him and his plans. I should really try and branch out, meet some new friends. The problem is I put so much stock in Patrick. I’m always waiting for him, planning my day around his schedule. I literally work around him instead of deciding what I want to do and when. It isn’t fair.

Yes, he provides for me, wants to build a life with me. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m my own person too. I’m beginning to realize how much I’ve been giving in this relationship and it’s really starting to effect me.

I get up off the couch, heading to our bedroom and open the closet, looking at my sad reflection in the long hanging mirror. I can’t hole up here just because Patrick’s gone.

Screw this. Let me take a page out of Leonard’s book and go to the bar solo.

Grabbing my cute flowy mini skirt from the hanger, I pair it with a simple long sleeved rose colored top and put on my over the knee velvet boots. I curl the ends of my hair and leave it loose and down my back, applying some light makeup, then grab my purse and hit the road.

If no one is around to wine and dine me, I’ll take myself out on a date. I deserve it.

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