CHAPTER 1 - A NEW LIFE
Alright. New flat. New life.
Trolley next to me, purse over my shoulder, I took a deep breath and knocked. I don’t even know who my roommates will be. I just know that three people live in here already. The landlord assured me there was room enough for me too and he’d tell them they were getting a new roommate.
I suppose they’re all girls. I specifically requested a flat for girls. I’ve lived with men, the ones of my family to be precise, and ... not a nice thing. Not really. Except for Tom. He was a whole different thing. In every sense.
I heard some ruckus inside and then the door was opened. The sight in front of me took me off guard, but I concealed it and smiled. In front of me there was a tall man in his late twenties, possibly already thirtyish, ebony skin ... quite handsome, and judging by how his t-shirt barely contained his muscles, the work out kind of guy.
“Hi, may I help you?” The man politely asked me and I blinked my eyes to regain my self control before letting him know I was, one, checking him out shamelessly, two, kind of drooling over him already.
I smiled wider and introduced myself: “Hi, I’m Rebecca. The new roommate.” I suppose he might be one of the girls’ boyfriend maybe? I mean, my roommates are supposed to be all college girls. Though the landlord never really pointed out anything and I needed an apartment as soon as possible, so I took the first good occasion I found. I haven’t even seen the inside of the place, actually, just pictures. I contacted the owner to agree immediately, after all, it’s close enough to where I work, it’s cheap. Nothing else I needed.
The man in front of me furrowed his eyebrows together, clearly confused, but then, without taking his eyes off of me, he called: “Al!” Short for Allison, not Alan, right? Please, tell me yes. I was already getting an odd sensation of wrongness here, which only increased when beside Mr. Hot Muscles appeared another Greek god ... this one had sandy blond hair and deep green eyes, high cheekbones, perfectly toned too, but less pumped than his friend, I mean, more lean in his perfect physique.
Did I knock on the wrong door? I looked down at the piece of paper to check and yes, I was definitely at the right place.
The man called Al, who looked in his mid-twenties, too, possibly 25 or something, asked, in a very sexy husky voice, what was the matter. “We have a new roommate.” The first man announced, pointing at me, with a little bit of annoyance in his tone, I’d add.
Al perused me for a long moment, well, more like checked me out from tip to toe. “You’re Rebecca?” He asked, and I nodded. He grinned, and patted his friend on the shoulder as he explained: “Carl dropped by this morning to say we have a new roommate. I forgot to tell you guys.”
Guys. Plural. So there was another man living with them? And I was supposed to live with all three of them? Oh, gosh. No. Last time I was in the middle of male beings alone ... well, it didn’t go too well. Lucky thing there was Tom there to save me. As he always did.
The ebony skinned man gave a dirty look to the other, but Al seemed more focused on me ... I didn’t like the way he ogled me. I didn’t like the glint in his eyes. But ... I have nowhere to go. I’ve survived worse. I can survive to three male roommates, can’t I?
Just hope the third one isn’t as hot as his pals. My sisters would be so envious. Well, they’d probably stomp over me to get to Al here and his friends.
Maybe they’re models? Maybe they’re all gay? Hmm ... no, the way Al was eyeing me, not at all gay, no. Possibly bi. But definitely not gay, no. The other man didn’t give me such impression either, and if the third guy isn’t either ... oh, gosh, me in the middle of three hot straight guys. Sounds so much like crappy romance. Scratch that, it sounds so much like some cheap porn movie.
The first man glanced at me, perusing me from tip to toe, but not as lustfully as his friend. Actually, he looked annoyed by my presence. When he crossed his arms I bit my bottom lip, noticing how sexy his muscles looked while flexing, but he seemed really harsh for a type.
Al instead, he smirked when he noticed my moves, and whispered something in his friend’s ear. The first man turned to me again, but this time his gaze was more interested and curious and I nearly yelped when he mimicked me by biting his bottom lip as, this time for real and not at all aimlessly, he checked me out from tip to toe.
With my white shorts and denim shirt with rolled up sleeves, light brown hair left loose on my shoulders, with a girly watch and some noisy bracelets on my wrist, I looked like a tourist actually. I can’t even afford exposing this much skin in summer because I’m as pale as a mozzarella, but it was really hot today, even for being mid-June. The choice was between covering my legs and melting in the heat or exposing my pale skin ... the latter won, of course.
In the end, the first man, whose name I still haven’t caught yet, let out a sigh, and moved away to let me in. I promptly grabbed everything, but he gentlemanly shooed my hand away and took the trolley for me.
The apartment was quite big, especially the living room, though the furniture was minimal, I mean, apart from a huge couch and two armchairs, then libraries ... wait, libraries? Oh, gosh! My eyes widened and brightened as I ogled the huge library shelves that occupied the whole left wall!
Ok, I might enjoy this place just for those. I didn’t even look at the rest, just walked straight up to the libraries, and grinned as I noticed many titles I’ve read and so many others I’d love to read. Gosh, I love this place already.
I was about to grab a book from the shelf right in front of me, but Al grabbed my hand, stopping me, which had me turn to him confused. I mean, it’s not like I was destroying those books or something, I just wanted to look, nothing more than that, and I didn’t plan on stealing them. Maybe I’d just ask if I could borrow them to read them ...
“Nothing personal, sweetheart, but all of these are Will’s and ... you know, the guy doesn’t really like it when people touch his books. Especially strangers.”
Despite everything, I grinned. I already like this Will. I can understand him. I have very few books and those I have, I cherish them like treasures, so I can relate. Though it’s amazing that he owns all these books ... how many could they be? Certainly more than a couple hundreds! Wow!
I snatched my hand away from Al when I felt him rub my palm not at all innocently. A moment later I heard the other guy’s voice coming from the kitchen as he chastised: “Let her get acquainted with the place, at least. Don’t scare her off so soon.”
I giggled at the idea. Maybe living with men can’t be that awful, can it? I mean, those I lived with, apart from Tom, they were filthy and slimy and I hated them, but the women were worse. Much, much worse. Starting from my own mother.
Since I was 12 I had Tom, he protected me, but when he wasn’t around ... well, let’s just say Cinderella is a newbie compared to me. That’s why I ran away, unable to endure staying in that horrible place without my Tom.
I miss him. Every day. But there’s nothing I can do about it, I’ve had to come to terms with that.
Al remained there next to me, but I barely paid attention to him as I focused on all those books in front of me. Without touching, I explored the whole library, amazed to see there were even books in other languages such as Italian and French, a couple in German even!
“Will is gonna be glad he’s got someone that understands his passion, I guess.” Al commented and I turned to him, questioningly, and I guess he read on my face what I was about to ask, because he smiled, a pearly white smile that had my insides churn, and pointed out: “He works the late night shift at a bar nearby. He’ll be coming home by 3 am, so you’ll see him in the late morning. Unless ... you wanna get dressed up and go grab a drink?” His tone was quite alluring.
Blinking my eyes, I naively pointed out: “I don’t drink alcohol.” You can’t afford losing lucidity when every step you take might guide you to your grave.
He laughed wholeheartedly, while the other man, who was behind the counter in the kitchen, preparing sandwiches, shook his head in disapproval, so I crossed my arms over my chest as I defended: “There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“No, sure.” The ebony skinned man agreed, even if a bit sarcastically. and, ignoring my dirty look, he grabbed a bottle from the fridge, and came over to me with a plate with two sandwiches, which he offered to me: “Here. You must be hungry.”
I warily took the plate as well as the water bottle he offered, and I thanked him, but also asked what his name was, just not have to call him always just “you”. He half smiled, quite cutely actually, and introduced himself: “Byron. Byron Wayne.”
I grinned. “Oh! Like Lord Byron!”
Al laughed and Byron smiled, nodding, but as he spoke I blushed profusely: “Jeez, Will is going to love you.” He grinned at my embarrassment, “I mean, he said the very same thing about my name. And, as you can see, he’s really into books.”
I grinned, “Me too.” Byron smiled. I could notice a softening of his attitude towards me actually, while his friend seemed just as cocky as the beginning, with his shamelessly checking me out.
As he escorted me to the couch, Byon told me he didn’t know they’d get a new roommate, much less did they expect a girl.
“Such a hottie even.” Al pointed out, only to receive a dirty look from Byron, which made me chuckle.
Al seems to be a shameless flirt, but funny in his own way. I leaned the plate on my lap and the bottle of water on the coffee table. Byron sat beside me while Al sat on the armchair across from us, his grin unfaltering as he watched me eat.
“So,what do you do for a living?” Byron asked gently.
I shrugged, gulping down a bite. “I’m a babysitter for a family in Brooklyn, in the afternoon I work at an ice cream parlor nearby.”
Actually, this apartment was a great chance also because it’s close to both my work places but far enough from my family’s house. Though I didn’t say that out loud. Neither did I add that I took the first good apartment I found because I needed to escape from that Hell.
Since Tom left me, it’s been always worse. My family was never great with me. Scratch that, it was always a pure nightmare. I only resisted all these years because I had Tom.
Tom was three years older than I, we met that I was 12. When he turned 18 he could have left, but he stayed for me, working around the clock to provide to both my and his basic needs, considering our respective parents didn’t give a damn about us while the twins were the queens of the house.
I never missed the lustful looks my stepfather sent them, neither did I miss their flirtatious response, just as much as the way they, in the beginning at least, before finding out he wasn’t shitty like them, ogled Tom.
When they saw he always stuck to me and I found peace with him, they tried to take him away from me, taunting him and everything, but didn’t succeed. He bluntly told them he didn’t give a damn about the things they could do for him, they were mean and awful to his Becky, so there was no chance he’d ever mingle with them.
Oh, um ... Becky would be me. Tom always called me that, saying he needed a nickname that was specific for me. I had recounted him my life before him, quite naively, because I needed someone to vent out to, so that’s why he loathed the twins and my mother since the beginning.
I quietly finished eating, not even the guys gazing at me so intently took me from it. Actually, I was starving. I worked all day and didn’t have one minute to relax, then I had to grab my things, taking advantage of the twins being out with their current toys and my mother and Roger being secluded in their room.
I only left them a note that said I was leaving and I wouldn’t miss them. Nothing more than that. They didn’t know I was looking for a new apartment, I didn’t tell them because I knew they’d spoil this for me too. Just like they’ve spoiled my whole life.
Tom once sneaked into my room and woke me, saying he had our things packed, we were leaving. He didn’t give a damn about the cost, he was taking me out of that Hell, he swore. We made it outside. We made it till a few blocks away from the house, but ... just as we were crossing the road, we didn’t see a truck coming and ... long story short, I lost my Tom.
This happened over three years ago. I’d just turned 18, and legally, I could leave. That’s why Tom waited that much. So that he could take me away from that Hell without any judge giving reason to my mother.
I don’t remember much of what happened then. I woke up a week later in a hospital bed. When the nurse told me my “friend” was in reanimation, had been in a vegetative state for a week and was a simple unplugging away from death, I nearly broke everything by taking it with me as I dashed to him, but ... it was too late. His father had already decided it was time to unplug him.
The bastard looked me straight in the eyes and grinned as the doctor declared the decease. That night I crumbled to the floor and cried all the tears Tom used to always catch for me. I cried so much and so hysterically that they had to give me strong sedatives that knocked me out for a couple of days. That way I also missed the funerals.
When I woke up I was in my old bedroom and the windows were sealed, the door locked. Just in case I wanted to escape, they said. I wasn’t supposed to leave the house or talk to anybody for any reason. In a word, I was practically a hostage.
Because of what happened, they claimed tu authorities, when they came for me, I was mentally and physically fragile, unstable, the judge gave reason to my mother, who cried all her (fake) tears at the accusation of keeping her daughter hostage. I was to remain with them at least till I recovered, if I did recover.
A year ago I was allowed to leave that bedroom and find a job, but only because they were tired of feeding me aimlessly. I was fattening at their expenses, my sisters accused, which is funny, because I remember quite well that, weren’t it for the maid, I’d have truly starved to death.
My stepfather found a job for me. At his friend’s office. A filthy bastard that gave me a crappy pay and kept on harassing me. I don’t know how could I make it to surviving without winding up in his filthy hands.
Then nine months ago, the bastard died of heart attack. Officially thrombosis. Actually, he’d played with too many hookers at once. I found another job, this time of my choice, enough far from the house to let me have the whole day off from their cruelty.
I’m 22 and perfectly sane now, so even if they took me in front of a judge, I’d be right, but I can’t risk seeing my family either. Knowing them, they wouldn’t give much thought to an extreme solution. So here I am, in this new apartment, about to start co-living with three men.
There you have it, this is me, Rebecca Henson, in a nutshell.
Byron, quietly explained the division of the apartment and the rules, plus the cleaning rotations.
“Can you cook?” Al asked out of the blue, leaning in and clasping his hands together as he watched me carefully.
Shrugging, I nodded, though adding that I could prepare only basic meals. The ones I made for Tom and I, because our amazing parents thought we weren’t deign of dining with the rest of the family. Nor of eating at all.
“Does it really matter?” Byron beside me asked. “You know the rules, Al. Everybody cooks. Whatever they can do.” He turned to me. “We take turns.”
I nodded, but Al snorted. “You know Will cooks for us most of the time.”
Byron rolled his eyes as he pointed out: “That’s because you’re a lazy ass and he’s the only good cook among us. Plus, he’s a health nut, so he doesn’t eat the crap we make, you know that.”
I chuckled at their banter, and they both turned to me so I returned serious as I, clearing my throat, spoke: “Um ... I ... if your friend doesn’t like junk food, I don’t think he’d ever eat anything of what I cook, so maybe ... I can clean up while you guys take turns to cook?”
Al seemed to agree, clearly eager to get rid of his shift, but Byron arched an eyebrow at me. “Why would you clean up for us all? Who are you, Cinderella?” I bit my lip not to reply that I have been that for my family for years, but I simply shook my head, returning wary at his harsh tone.
Al cursed, though, chastising: “Shit, Bye, why do you have to be such an ass? You scared our sweet princess here.” I blushed at his tone, which was both impish and meaningful and gentle. A whole mix of different things.
I was ready to argue that he didn’t scare me, after all Byron didn’t say anything bad, but he prevented me: “Sorry, Rebecca, I’m just ... not really used to having girls around the house.”
“Say in general.” Al injected, receiving a dirty look from his friend, but I kind of chuckled, and they both smiled at me, making my insides churn once more. Gosh, if this Will is as handsome and hot as his friends, I’ll be completely lost.
Part of me wanted to woman up and ask how was he, but I settled for looking around for pictures of any kind. There were a few, but always just Al and Byron. Al chuckled as he noticed what I was doing, somehow reading my mind, and he pointed out: “Our Will’s Mr. Dark and Stormy, so he doesn’t like being in photos, sweetheart. Well, he likes taking them, but never being part of the picture.”
Wow, this Will sounds like a really introvert guy. How comes he’s friends with one like Al? I simply nodded at his statement, and we resumed talking about the house. We came to the conclusion that we’d take turns in everything, as they already did, because, Byron said, while Will likes order and everything, he certainly doesn’t play Cinderella for them, he cooks when it’s not his turn only when he’s in a good mood, but nothing more than that. And ... good days aren’t really too many for Will lately.
“He’s been recently dumped by his bitch, so you know, he’s a little bit touchy lately.” Al pointed out, receiving a dirty look from Byron, so that he defended: “What? It’s better for her to be ready. He’s not exactly a sweetheart when moody, you know that.” He then turned to me and grinned: “And ... our Becks here seems like a sweet angel, we wouldn’t want Mr. Dark and Stormy to make her cry with his moods, would we?”
Byron rolled his eyes, but I giggled, actually liking the nickname. Al grinned and winked at me, so I lowered my gaze to my plate and was about to stand up to go clean it, but Byron took it from my hands and, standing up, all serious, stated: “Welcome home, Rebecca. Stay away from Al when he’s drunk, from Will when he’s moody, and everything will be fine.” I smiled and nodded, lightly blushing, but he added, with a small gentle smile: “If ... problems with a roommate, some pervert blondie in particular, arise, tell me. I’ll take care of it.”
I chuckled but Al groaned, faking offense as he, placing a hand on his heart, whined: “Why do you suppose it’ll be me? Maybe Will is gonna chase her away with his moods.”
“Will is a calm soul.” Byron turned to me as he added: “Just don’t touch his books and don’t talk to him when he’s moody. Taken in a normal day he’s a nice guy, just a little bit brooding sometimes, but nice.”
I nodded, but Al pointed out chuckling: “Though he might be a little bit of a jerk with you in the next weeks. You know, his bitch kind of made him hate the whole female universe lately.”
I gulped, confused, but Byron sent a reprimanding look to his friend and justified: “I’m sure you guys will get along. I mean, you both like books, that’s a good start.”
Al nodded: “Yeah, if you wanna get on Will’s good side just talk about books and you’ll be best buddies.”
I nodded too and silence reigned for a few moments, till Al grinned impishly at me again, winking meaningfully, so that I turned to Byron, who, with a small smile, asked me if I wanted to see my bedroom. I nodded, so he escorted me there.
Quite gleefully Al pointed out that he slept just across from me while the other two guys were at the opposite sides of the apartment, considering Will likes his privacy. I frowned a little at the idea of Al being so close to my room, but I shrugged it off. He’s just a harmless flirtatious player. Other than hit on me shamelessly, I don’t think he’d do much. And if he does, as Byron says, I can always tell him. Just like Tom always made me promise: whatever happened, I was to report it to him and he’d see to mend.
He always did. He was the light that made everything better in that Hell. I miss him every day, but I know he’d want me to move on, so, here I am. Ready to begin a new life.
When I heard a noise from the outside I instantly leaped to my feet and hid behind the door, grabbing the Swiss knife that belonged to Tom. I’m used to noises like that. It usually meant my stepfather or his brother were in for a “fun night”, as they called it. It usually meant I spent hours awake as I did my best not to let them in.
Since I was 16 I quit sleeping alone because Tom was right there with me, cuddling me after he’d made sweet love to me as tenderly as only he knew, so I felt fairly safe. After that horrible night, once I was finally able to regain my strength and allowed to leave my room even if only for a few moments per day, I recollected the very little things of his that were left, including a couple of his t-shirts, which he always let me sleep in, especially after our sexy moments, and right now one of those t-shirts I was wearing, along with a pair of his shorts. I was able to recollect part of his clothes somehow, along with the books we read together and some wooden carved figures he made me with his Swiss knife. That knife I’ve been keeping under my pillow every night since he left me.
So now here I was, standing behind the door, waiting for one of those bastards to dare try enter. They had the key at first, but then I changed the lock and I kept my desk there just in case. Practically, I lived alert every moment of every night, always sleeping with an eye half closed.
I remained behind the door for a few minutes, till I recalled where I was. The room was completely different and more spacious, not at all feminine and very poorly furnished, but nice. Right. I was in my new apartment. To make that noise it was probably one of my new roommates. Though I glanced at my clock and it was 4 am. Why would they be awake at 4 am?
Slyly sneaking out, I walked through the corridor and reached the living room. Everything was silent and there was no light at all. Maybe it was a thief? In that case maybe I should wake the guys. Fairy tales would say that the defenseless damsel shouldn’t risk, with three men in the house she should leave it up to them, but ... well,I’m no fairy tale princess.
It wasn’t easy to orient myself in the new place, but I tried my best, and when I spotted a feeble light in the kitchen, I sneaked in, but there was no one. Yet the fridge was open. A thief wouldn’t rummage through the fridge before escaping, would he? I kept my knife with me, just in case, and looked around, searching for any kind of presence, but nothing.
Till I was startled to feel someone behind me and abruptly the person grabbed my wrist, pulling it behind my back and disarming me, which had me whimper a little, because whoever it was, was twisting my arm, though his voice sounded weirdly sexy when he spoke in my ear: “Who are you and why are you wandering around my flat with a knife?”
I whimpered more as he twisted my arm. It wasn’t a voice I recognized, so it could only be the famous Will. Rude, wasn’t he? Didn’t he see I’m a girl? Duh, as if that would be an excuse. I was still a stranger in his apartment, carrying a knife even.
Hence, clearing my throat, I tried to explain, but my voice was raspy and words didn’t come out, so he twisted my arm more forcefully, making me whimper louder as he asked again: “Who. The. Hell. Are. You? Before I break your arm. I won’t be nice just because you’re a girl.”
It hurt. Damn bad too. And I couldn’t think straight with him breathing on my neck and nearly breaking my arm for real, so I only stuttered nonsense, gaining my arm to be more mistreated every time I didn’t give him a real answer, till, finally, the light was turned on and I heard a familiar voice cursing, followed by my arm behind freed from the man’s grip.
“Shit, Will, since when you hit girls?!” Byron barked angrily as he, oddly, pulled me in his arms, as if to protect me from his friend. I’ll admit that I felt weird, being pressed against Byron’s perfect muscles, especially because, I could feel it, he was shirtless, therefore, had I tried to, I could have easily traced his perfectly rippled abs.
I opted for turning my attention to the new guy, though, chastising myself for such sinful thoughts about a guy I not only have just met but I also have to live with, and when I looked at the famous Will, I saw that yeah, he did resemble very much the dark and stormy type, with his silky dark locks all ruffled, light stubble and heavy bags under his eyes, those icy blue eyes piercing through me as if he wanted to murder me right then and there.
“I did nothing to her.” He defended, his voice somewhat gentler but still sexy, even while being a mere grunt.
Byron tightened his grip on me, pressing me better against him, therefore letting me better feel his physical perfection, as he barked: “No? You nearly broke her arm!”
Will narrowed his eyes. “How could I know she wasn’t a thief? She was carrying a knife and wandering around like a thief.”
Byron looked down at me, confused, silently asking me for an explanation, especially as Will smacked the Swiss knife on the island. Eagerly, I slipped away from Byron’s grip and took a run for it, but Will prevented me, taking the knife back before I could grab it.
Glaring at him, I stretched my hand and ordered: “Give it to me. Now.” His lips twitched a little and we held a stare contest as I barely heard Byron asking why was I carrying a knife. Not breaking eye contact with Will, I explained laconically: “I’m used to sleeping with it. I heard noises. I thought it was a thief.” Then, directed at the new guy, I hissed: “Give me that knife. It’s mine.”
He shook his head, playing with it. “Let me guess, you’re one of Al’s bitches? He goes for crazy now?” Ok, I withdraw my words, I hate this Will. Stupid prick.
Sighing, Byron rubbed the bridge of his nose as he pointed out: “She’s Rebecca, our new roommate. Jeez, man, check your messages now and then. I texted you.”
Will’s icy blue eyes travelled to his friend, but then returned to me: “It still doesn’t explain why were you wandering around with a knife.”
“I told you why! Now give me that knife!” I raised my voice and both guys looked at me surprised, so I lowered my glance and quietly added: “It ... belonged to someone important. Please, give it back.”
I only heard the noise of the knife being placed on the island and I eagerly took it, gripping it in my hands as if it was my last grip on life. I could feel both guys perusing me curiously, but I tried not to care. I just thought of the knife and its old owner and how much I miss him. He was my only grip on life for real.
Byron’s voice took me off my thoughts, though: “Whether you thought she was a thief or not, it doesn’t justify you, Will. You could have hurt her.”
The other man rolled his eyes. “I did nothing extreme. You know I can dose my strength. I wouldn’t have broken her arm for real.”
“You still attacked her!”
“She was a fucking stranger in my house! I’m justified! You should know that, you’re a damn lawyer!”
“And you should know I do not tolerate violence on women!” Byron boomed, sounding, for the first time ever, pretty scary, so much that I flinched, cowering against the island, even if his harsh tone wasn’t directed at me. “Jeez, neither do you! What the hell got into you?! You were a whole different man before -”
“Do not speak her name.” Will hissed, cutting off his friend. I looked in between them as they held a harsh stare contest. Now I felt guilty. They were fighting because of me.
Sighing, I tried to apologize, but Will shut me up, saying he didn’t give a damn about it, then stormed off.
Byron sighed as he came closer and I flinched when he placed a hand on my shoulder. “I’m sorry, Rebbie. Normally he’s a nice guy, really. But his ex kind of messed him up, so you know, he’s a little bit ... out of phase lately. I’m sure that when he gets his sleep and calms down he’ll come around and apologize.”
I smiled, especially at the nickname. Seems like they all call me differently. Cute. As Byron smiled sweetly at me, I shook my head as I admitted it wasn’t totally Will’s fault, he didn’t know who I was and I was indeed carrying a knife while wandering around the apartment, though not for what he thought.
Byron arched an eyebrow at me and asked why did I sleep with a knife, but I sighed, lowering my glance, as I admitted: “It’s ... one of the last things I have left of someone really important to me.”
Byron startled me by wrapping an arm around my shoulder and smiling gently at me. Seems like appearances do deceive. In the beginning he was the grumpy one and now he’s the sweetest. Well, compared to Mr. Dark And Stormy there, anyone is sweeter, but I like Byron anyway.
He gently escorted me to my room as he cuddled me a little, rubbing my arm up and down soothingly, which had me feel a weird churning in my stomach, which, added to the fact that I had to practically strain my neck not to gawk at his exposed perfect abs, only made it worse, but every dirty thought was thrown out of the window as, before going back to his room, Byron sweetly admitted: “It’s nice to have a girl here. Usually we only see Al’s booty calls, you know.”
I giggled and he smiled. “Don’t mind Will and his rudeness, okay? Just give him some time. He’s nursing a tough heartbreak and being irascible it’s his way of coping with pain.”
I nodded but asked: “Have you known him long?”
Byron grinned, nodding: “Long? I’ve known him all my life. He’s my best friend.” I grinned, happy they were so unite. Byron added that Al too was a very close friend, but they’d met in high school, while Will and him had been friends since they were newborns more or less, their families being the classic best friends/neighbors. I smiled, nodding, and we parted.
Though before going back to sleep, I couldn’t help thinking that, apart from Tom, I never really had friends. He was my best friend, my confidant, my lover, my boyfriend ... my everything. And I miss him. More than air sometimes. But I know he’s still guarding me from Heaven. Like he did on Earth.