I was released from the hospital the following day with a few bruises (mostly on my behind), stitches in the back of my head, and a wicked headache I just couldn’t shake, but overall I was doing pretty good. The fact that I managed to walk out of the hospital and to Sam’s car without assistance was a testament to how well I was doing. Apparently repeated knocks to the brain was good for a klutz’s equilibrium. However, to avoid any potential litigation and personal harm, I strongly suggest you avoid it at all costs if possible.
After my release from the hospital, Sam took me straight over to the police station to file a police report. I didn’t see Ken Doll or Silver Fox, which was a shame. Being in a more coherent state, I would have liked to thank them for their help. Instead I got stuck with some middle age, underpaid, overweight desk clerk (aptly named Desk Jerk) who didn’t try to hide the fact he felt I was wasting his oh so valuable time by filing a police report. Apparently at this point in his career, he had more important things to do then actually serve and protect. Like sleep and scratch his ass.
Desk Jerk’s foul mood didn’t mix well with my recently-released-from-the-hospital-and-in-desperate-need-of-a-pain-killer state so I decided to be annoyingly passive aggressive and started inquiring incessantly about Mrs. K. At first he wouldn’t tell me anything and gave me some BS about prisoner confidentiality rights, blah, blah, blah, but I eventually won him over. (Either that or he did it just so I would shut up.)
After a painfully funny couple of minutes attempting to stand on his own two feet without toppling over, Desk Jerk disappeared to the back for a few minutes, eventually returning and informing me that Mrs. K had been released the day before after posting bail. Any further details pertaining to her case would have to be obtained from her directly.
With an overly obnoxious smile and finger wave, Sam finally took me home.
News of my breakup with Sean beat me home. Sam had no sooner dropped me off at home when the angry and distraught calls started. Sadly, all were from my mother who was beyond upset over the news. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that she and Sean had been in the relationship for all the crying and wailing she did.
Mental eye roll.
My mother never does cease to amaze me. She gets this upset over a break up, but does she get worried over the fact her only daughter was in the hospital with a head injury after being viciously attacked in her own home? No, not so much.
And people wonder why I’m so screwed up at times…
So now it’s been two weeks since my release, and I’m pretty certain I am driving poor Sam nuts.
Correction: I know I’m driving her nuts.
During the two week stretch, I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of Kade, and truthfully that bothered me a lot. Actually what bothered me was the simple fact that it bothered me. It’s not like I knew the man. We had only met that day because I practically crashed landed on his front door. Before that, he didn’t even know that I existed. Sure, he lived two flights below me but outside of a few sightings before the accident and one after, he pretty much was as elusive as the day he moved in. I had hoped that we would have at least run into each other at the mailboxes or something, but it didn’t happen either. And since I was too much of a wuss to go knocking on his door to say hi. So naturally I did the cowardly thing and stuffed a thank you card under his door instead. I had hoped that the small gesture would at least remind him that we had indeed met, but the joke was on me. He never even came by to see how I was doing.
Besides being cooped up all day (I’m currently between temping gigs), I had turned into a fan-obsessed-lunatic. Every time I had seen or talked to Sam, I had started whining like a prepubescent high school student. And I’m not proud to admit that in the slightest, especially when I say that the crap coming out of my mouth was some really whiney stuff. Why hasn’t he called me? Why hasn’t he come to see me? Do you think he remembers my name? Do you think he remembers me? Should I stop over and say hi? If I did, would that seem too needy?
Sam was demonstrating a lot of restrained patience. If I had been her, I would have slapped me by now. Twice.
I had started turning into an obsessed idiot over a guy I barely knew, which was new territory for me, and I didn’t like it one bit. I had only known the man for three hours. Being perfectly honest, I don’t even know if I actually liked him. I was basing these random feelings on sexual attraction, but I couldn’t stop!
But I digress. Poor Sam has had to endure this constant whine for two weeks so I think I’ve filled my quota obsessing about Kade.
Sam had been a freaking saint after everything that happened. She took care of me, checked in on me, and had actually snuck away after her visit in the hospital and cleaned my apartment from top to bottom. Well, as much as she could anyways. Some things had been beyond repair, but she did the best she could and I was grateful for it. I had not been looking forward to the mess when I got home. She had also taken inventory of everything for my insurance claim. Oddly enough, nothing appeared to have been taken. The few valuables I had didn’t appear to have even been touched, which I found odd for a break in. If they didn’t want the expense stuff, why the heck did they break in?
Groan. Just thinking about that day gives me a headache all over again.
But anyways, all of this leads me back to present day, with me happily vegging out on the couch alone on a Friday night. Fridays had typically been date night when Sean and I were together. Now it was my alone time and I have to admit, I was having way more fun alone then I did when I was with Sean. Sam was off with her boy toy of the week, and after the hellish couple of days I had just endured dealing with my parents, I was ready to just sit back with a bottle of wine (that’s right, a bottle, maybe even two) and enjoy the solitude of being single and alone.
Since my release from the hospital Sam had been over every night. She wouldn’t admit it, but I knew she was worried about me being alone after everything that happened. Considering the fact that nothing happened in the two weeks since ‘the incident’ (as we had taken to calling it) I thought she was overreacting a bit, but then again when it came to Sam, most everything she does is overreacting. It was only by a miracle of God that she went out tonight. Well, God and my size seven pump in her behind. One of her favorite boy toys was in town on business and since I knew she didn’t get to see him half as often as she would like, I practically pushed her down the stairs in an effort to get her to go. As much as I love the girl, I didn’t need a babysitter for my every waking moment. A girl’s got to have a little me time every now and again, you know?
Thankfully I was fully prepared for a night of self-indulgence and pampering.
First, I took the world’s longest and hottest shower, exfoliating every inch of skin while giving my hair a much deserved deep conditioning treatment. Since they were still a little tender to the touch, I was careful to avoid my stitches, especially when I pulled my hair into a ponytail. Afterwards I lathered myself up in my favorite lavender scented lotion, than slipped into my most comfy t-shirt with the over stretched neck that hung off of one shoulder 80’s style and yoga pants. (That’s right; I was rocking the Debbie Gibson look. And I looked pretty damn good too I don’t mind admitting.)
With my feet kicked up on the coffee table, I was currently giving myself a matching mani and pedi. And as luck would have it, I had just finished the second coat on my toes when there was a knock on the door. I said a silent prayer that I didn’t fall on my face as I waddled over to the door and was immediately assaulted by the most wonderful scent of Pad Thai from my absolute favorite Thai place. Kenny, the delivery guy, smiled when he saw me and gave me a flirtatious wink when I handed him his tip. Considering how often I ordered, Kenny and I had gotten to know each other quite well so I was use to his flirtations. (I know…sad, right?)
Anyways, mani and pedi completed, I cracked open a bottle of wine that Sam had given me for my birthday a few months ago and sat down with my food to watch a chick flick marathon I could enjoy judgment free. In actuality I made it through two movies when I decided I had had enough. It was a little past ten, and I had more than filled my quota of cheesy romance movies. But since I wasn’t yet tired, and still in need of mindless entertainment that didn’t have the same story synopsis (boy meets girl, girl losses boy, boy finds girl again), I was currently watching (in gleeful horror) an infomercial playing on late night cable. They were advertising a miracle weight loss pill that every logical person knew would never work, but yet some random idiot would still pay an arm and a leg to try.
To be honest, I have no idea why I was watching it. I had started to change the channel a couple of times, but then suddenly I would stop. It was like watching a train wreck and I just couldn’t look away. In this case, the train wreck was the over-the-top hostess who was just so damn peppy and bouncy that she was moments away from a wardrobe malfunction on live television. Just the thought alone was enough to make me laugh. Funny things happening to someone other than me - Priceless.
It wasn’t long before models started prancing in (yes, prancing), each one was more beautiful than the last. Shockingly enough (insert sarcasm and eye roll here), they each had the same story to share about being overweight and social outcasts until one by one they all started taking this miracle drug and now they were all supermodel thin, gorgeous and now happily in love with some unbelievably gorgeous guy who would have never have noticed them “before the weight loss.” Sadly each one had their own “funny story” of how they met, but in reality, they were all pretty much the same stupid story. They first met at a bar where he didn’t notice her because she was fat and unattractive (their words, not mine) but then after she suddenly lost the weight and got gorgeous, they ran into each other again and this time he couldn’t keep his hands off her.
Wow. Just wow. Congratulations you moron. You managed to snag the most gorgeous men who have also now just revealed to the world that they are completely shallow and base all of their relationships on looks alone. Undoubtedly a relationship destined to last forever. Mazal tov.
A third actress (ahem “actual customer”) had just started to tell how this pill not only helped her lose weight, but also helped her get over her nervous stutter and stop being a social pariah when all hell broke loose outside.
A woman’s scream suddenly broke the quiet, quickly followed angry shouts of a man who was doing his damnedest to shout over her. Within seconds, another man had joined in, but this one’s voice was tighter, more controlled and not nearly as loud. Even though I couldn’t make out what he was saying, something about his voice was scary as all hell.
Of course, never to be one to not stick my nose in other people’s business, I ventured out into the hall to see what the hell was going on.
Another advantage to the open design of the building was the ability to lean over the railing and watch the fireworks below with an unobstructed view. Sadly I had done this numerous times before, but I would be lying if I said I was the only one. Usually it was a group of us from each floor checking out the drama unfolding downstairs, which happened quite often around here. Tonight, sadly, I was the only one. Clearly everyone else had a life.
Even from two stories up I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the woman was. She was exotic, with caramel skin and long silky black hair that draped around her shoulders. Her eyes were dark with long lashes and she wore a tight red spaghetti strap dress that barely covered her nether regions with five inch stilettos that only highlighted her impossibly long and shapely legs.
Standing in her face was a tall guy wearing a dark grey shirt and black slacks. His sleeves were rolled up and I could make out the small black inking of a tattoo on his left forearm. I couldn’t see what he looked like since he was faced away from me, but every now and again I caught a profile glimpse that showed a perfect nose, dark eyes, and full lips. Like Siren Red, he had tan skin, though his was definitely a product of a fake bake based on the tan line on his wrist. His hair was dark brown and neatly styled and trimmed. He grabbed her upper arm when she turned away and I could see the muscles in his arm bunch. Definitely a gym rat.
He said something low under his breath that I couldn’t make out from my vantage point, but whatever it was, it was enough to piss off Siren Red. She pulled back her arm, trying to get free of his grasp, but the effort seemed pretty futile. He had a firm grip and it didn’t appear as if he was intending to let go anytime soon.
What I had mistaken as screaming before was clearer now. She was yelling in rapid Spanish to the guy in front of her, but her voice had taken on a few extra octaves. Clearly he didn’t agree with whatever she said because he got in her face and muttered something under his breath that made her go pale.
I was so caught up in the drama between them, and my own internal debate of whether or not I should probably call the police, that I hadn’t noticed Kade until he took a menacing step forward from the shadows and got into Fake Bake’s face. Whatever he said was low and if the look on Fake Bake’s face was any indication, he hadn’t been suggesting they do lunch.
A few seconds passed, and Fake Bake turned back to Siren Red with a furious expression. He must have tightened his grip because she suddenly cried out in pain, and apparently that was the last straw. Without warning, Kade’s arm shot out, gripping the wrist that held Siren Red. A loud crack sounded and Fake Bake dropped to the ground screaming as he cradled his wrist. Siren Red ran into Kade’s arms, her body shaking as she sobbed while Fake Bake rocked back and forth on the ground, cradling a clearly broken wrist, while sputtering obscenities. Kade pushed Siren Red behind him and then gripped Fake Bake around his upper arm, yanking him off the floor and shoving him toward the front doors. He pushed him forward with barely held contention, and then got into his face. Whatever he said must have hit home because Fake Bake went ghostly white before nodding then turned to leave with his tail tucked between his legs.
Kade walked back into the lobby, the main door slamming behind him just as Siren Red threw herself into his arms again, her body racked with sobs. He was facing my direction so I could see the look of murder on his face, but despite how he was clearly feeling, he held her gently and spoke softly in her ear. I could hear her sobs from where I stood, and felt at a loss to understand what the hell I had just seen. Clearly she was someone important to him because most guys didn’t just randomly break another guys arm because he had nothing better to do. The way he held her seemed intimate, and I felt my stomach clench as I watched him stroke her back as he comforted her.
The wine in my stomach had turned sour and I started to step back towards my apartment when suddenly Kade’s eyes landed on me. I’m not sure how he knew I was there but there had been no hesitation. His eyes had found me immediately and I grew red with embarrassment, though I wasn’t sure if I was embarrassed because I had just been caught spying or because of the intimate moment I was intruding. Either way, the scrutiny his eyes were currently putting me through was more than I could bare and like a coward, I backed away slowly, almost afraid to break eye contact with him, before retreating into my apartment and locking my new deadbolt behind me.
At some point I must have fallen asleep because I was suddenly startled awake.
Sitting up suddenly, I looked around quickly trying to get my bearings. I was laid out on the couch with the TV silently playing some other random infomercial. It was dark out and a quick glimpse at clock on the side table told me it was a little after two.
What the hell had woken me up?
The sudden banging on my door answered my question.
I stood up then bent over to pick up the blanket that had just fallen off my lap and onto the floor. (Huh, didn’t even remember putting that on.) A quick stretch helped ease a few kinks in my neck, and I blinked a few times to allow my eyes to adjust to the darkness of the room. It had still been light out when I started my movie marathon so I hadn’t bothered to turn on any lights. Needless to say, a dark room with furniture and my attempts at walking typically didn’t go so well.
There was another loud bang against the door.
Cautiously, I made my way to the door, careful to avoid the coffee table and any other random piece of furniture that decided to jump in my path.
Unfortunately it was also dark in the hallway thanks to the landlord being too damn lazy to fix any of the light fixtures, so checking the peep hole did me no good. A dark shadow stood on the other side, but I couldn’t make out who it was.
Assuming that Sam had probably shown up because of a date gone terribly wrong, or terribly well, I opened the door anyways.
“Don’t you ever ask who it is first before opening the door?” asked a deep familiar voice that instantly had my body on high alert.
“Don’t you know its bad manners to bang on a girls door in the middle of the night,” I retorted, crossing my arms over my chest so he couldn’t see my nipples poking through the material.
It was dark, but something told me his dark penetrating gaze hadn’t missed a thing.
Kade leaned casually against the door frame, as though it was customary to visit people so late in the night. Though his body language appeared relaxed, the tight tension in his muscles couldn’t be missed.
“You gonna invite me in?” he asked with a smirk as his eyes raked down my body.
Heat pooled between my legs at the attention, but I tried to remain casual and composed. Of course, grabbing at the door with both arms to keep myself from falling over probably didn’t exactly say “composed”.
“That depends. You gonna tell me why you’re pounding on my door in the middle of the night,” I replied, trying to act unaffected.
He winked then looked over his shoulder. It was then I finally noticed the sliver of light from across the hall. Paul Jones, who lived directly across the way from me, stood in his doorway watching with rapt attention at our little exchange. Unfortunately for me, he was almost as bad about gossip as Mrs. K.
Mr. Jones, as I always called him out of sheer annoyance, was in his mid-forties, divorced twice and thought himself a ladies man. He had asked me out more than once and was never shy about making some inappropriate sexual innuendo when we ran into each other or openly leering at me, which was probably why he was currently adjusting himself as he stared wide eyed at my chest.
I barely caught the narrowed eyes and scowl on Kade’s face as he watched Paul staring at me. It took him a minute to unglue his eyes, but the instant Paul noticed Kade staring back, Paul quickly backpedaled into his apartment and slammed the door. The resounding click of the deadbolt echoed in the hall.
Kade turned back to me and shook his head slowly.
“I think you should invite me in before any more of your admirers show up for the free show,” he said with a wicked grin as he looked down at my chest.
I looked at him in confusion before looking down too.
Somehow in all the excitement, I had tugged down one side of my t-shirt and had most of my right boob hanging out for the entire world to see.
So I did the only thing I could think of in my time of sheer and utter embarrassment.
I slammed the door in his face.