That’s my first thought when I wake up. Sighing, I snuggled closer to the source of heat. I felt it pull me closer as sleep tried to claim me.
Wait. Pull? Confused, I started to open my eyes.
My eyes were met with blue orbs.
Cole. Memories of last night start coming back. I smiled goofily at him, which he returned.
“Good morning,” he said huskily, his voice deep from sleep. I shivered at the tone.
“Good morning,” I said sweetly, my smile widening. He went in for a kiss but I pushed him back. He looked at me questioningly.
“Morning breath,” I warned. Cole pouted at my excuse. “Your breath probably smells. I don’t wanna die from it.” I continued playfully, holding my breath. Cole narrowed his eyes at me.
“Really?” He said deviously.
I nodded my head, giggling. Suddenly, Cole pinned me to the bed and started tickling me. I screamed and tried to get away, but was unsuccessful.
“S-s-stop!” I squirmed. I was laughing so hard, tears were streaming down my cheeks.
“Say Cole is the sexiest man in the world!” he shouts.
“N-never!” I giggled. He tickled me even harder. I couldn’t take it anymore.
“O-OKAY! O-KAY! C-COLE IS THE S-SEXIEST MAN IN THE WORLD!” I screamed. He stopped tickling me.
“Now was that so hard?” He asked innocently.
I glared at him and moved when I was no longer threatened.
“Meanie,” I mumbled. Cole chuckled.
“Come on pouty, I’m starving,” he says, jumping out of bed. I grudgingly get up and go to the bathroom.
After doing my business, I go downstairs.
I ‘oomphed’ when Suzie crashed against me. I picked her up easily and looked up at her.
“Hello, Suzie. What are you up to?” I ask.
“I’m playing Barbie. Want to play with me?” she asked with wide eyes. I almost caved but I’m starving.
“Sorry sweetie, I’m getting something to eat. Want to join?”
Suzie nodded eagerly and squirmed in my arms to get down. I let her down and she dashes to the kitchen.
Laughing, I ran after her.
I found Cole making eggs over the stove. Look at him slaving away for me.
“Hey! I’m not your slave woman!” Cole said playfully.
My eyes widened. I didn’t say that out loud.
“What do you mean you didn’t say that out loud?” Cole said.
He did it again!
“Sorry!” Cole said immediately, covering his ears.
I looked at him curiously until it clicked. I grinned.
“It’s the bond. Quick, think of something.” I request eagerly.
I see a picture of me singing on the beach. I can feel his awe spread throughout my body, watching me sing with the band.
I smiled softly.
“It’s me performing at the beach a few days ago,” I said shyly. He smiled but I can sense the confusion in his mind. I continued. “When you bond with someone, you become connected to each other- mind, body, and soul. With our bond, we can communicate through each other’s thoughts and can increase our healing process.” I smiled at the realization on his face.
“That’s why your cuts healed quickly.” He said in awe. He looked at my neck and frowned. I frowned as well.
“What’s wrong?” I asked in concern.
“That explains why my mark is gone.” Cole muttered.
I rubbed my neck in confusion until realization hit me. I shook my head.
“You didn’t...” I trailed off when I saw the cocky smirk on his face. “You gave me a hickey!?”
“It’s gone now.” Cole said innocently and I rolled my eyes.
“What’s that? Cole, what’s a hickey? Did you make Rochelle sick?” Suzie accused. My eyes widened when I realized the conversation we just had. I forgot she was in the room.
Cole seemed to have realized this as well.
“You can learn what a hickey is when you are older Suzie. And no Suzie, Rochelle is fine. Come on, eat your breakfast.” Cole said with a smile.
We were eating our breakfast happily. Soon, Marlene and Charles joined us holding hands.
“Morning everyone. Rochelle, are you ready for today?” Charles asked.
Reality hit me in the face.
Today was the day, I realized. They were coming. After months of missing them, we’ll be reunited soon.
To be honest, I didn’t know how I felt about it. Of course, I was happy, but I was nervous as well. Did anything change while I was gone?
“I guess so. I don’t know. I just hope everything goes okay.” I voiced my thoughts.
Cole rubbed my arm soothingly.
“Everything will be fine, dear. Come on everyone, get ready. They will be here in an hour.” Marlene ordered.
We all finished our food quickly and ran to our rooms to get ready.
I put on a nice green, long-sleeved dress that went just above my knees. I put my hair in a French braid and didn’t even bother with any makeup. I put on some sandals and ran downstairs.
I sat on the couch, thinking. I couldn’t wait to see my parents.
You all ready?
I jumped. I turned and saw Cole smirking at me.
I said are you ready?
I realized since his lips weren’t moving that he was mind linking me.
Look at you figuring out the bond. And yes, I am. I’m just a little nervous.
His eyes softened at me.
“Don’t worry. You’ll be fine,” he said out loud reaching out to cup my face. I leaned into the touch and gave him a little smile.
“Thank you,” I whisper.
I heard a knock at the door and tensed. Is it them? Cole gently pulled me off the couch and led me to the door. Charles and Marlene were already there, talking to whoever was on the side of the door.
I stayed in my spot frozen. Is this real? Cole hugged me to him, blocking me from view. He kissed the top of my head.
“Why don’t you come in?” Marlene invited.
Footsteps came inside the house. I closed my eyes, hugging Cole closer. This is it. My heart started pounding hard against my ribs.
I froze. I haven’t heard that voice in so long. Cole lets go of me slowly and moves out of the way, leaving me in full view of my families eyes. I stared at them and the shock caused my knees to shake. They were really here.
My eyes first landed on my father.
“Dad?” I croaked.
Tears formed in my dad’s eyes. He ran to me and I launched myself into his arms. He gave me a big bear hug and I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t mind though. I needed this.
“I missed you baby girl.” my dad sobbed. I felt my shoulder get wet. I was shocked. Yes, my dad is a caring man, but he never cries. Ever.
“I missed you too Daddy,” I whispered.
After a few minutes, I pulled away gently to look at my mother. She looked as beautiful as ever. But her eyes look so sad and looked like she aged a few years. She stared at me in disbelief, like she wasn’t sure if this was real.
“Mom,” I whispered and gave her a watery smile.
That snapped her out of it. She broke down right there. I rushed towards her and hugged her tight. My mother is supposed to smile. I can’t stand seeing her this distressed.
“It’s okay Mom. It’s okay.”
“Yes, it is. I missed you my little flower.” She croaked.
I smiled at my nickname.
“Hey, baby sis.” I heard another deep voice.
I look around for the source and found Kyle smiling at me. I pulled out of my mother’s arms and ran to him. He caught me and hugged me tightly. Even though Kyle is two years older than me, we’ve always been attached to the hip. Being away from him was terrible. I missed our teasing and little fights.
“I missed you, big bro,” I whisper.
“I somewhat missed you. Everything wasn’t the same without you.” he joked at first but became serious. His eyes looked so pained.
“I’m here now guys. I’m here now.”
“Of course you are. And you’re not going anywhere. Derrick is going to get his ass kicked. You need to tell us what happened.” my dad said.
I sighed. He’s right, I do need to catch them up. I’m just afraid how they are going to react.
I grabbed Cole’s hand and smiled at him. He smiled back. I turned to my parents and brother, who were looking at our hands questionably. Well, my dad and brother looked ready to rip his arms off.
“Let’s sit down and talk.”