The S Word

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The drive was quick; despite him complaining about the speed I used, I took us home as fast as I could. Then I hurried my man to take a warm shower while I prepared something for him to eat. We had leftovers in the fridge, and when Alexander walked out of the foggy bathroom, drying his hair with a towel, I already had something simple with a warm tea.

I’m not a cook, but I can’t let him sleep on an empty stomach.

“I’m not hungry-”

“Bull,” I interrupt. “You need to eat, Alex. Just a bit.”

He smiles at me, taking a bite from the warmed pancakes with strawberry jam. I notice how long it takes for him to swallow, his throat probably hurts, and I try my luck once again.

“Let’s go to the hospital.”

“I’m ok,” he says, taking another bite. “See? I’m eating and drinking. Plus, the paramedic said that unless I get dizzy or sleepy, it’s fine.

“Alex, what if you have a concussion, or broke a rib or-”

He giggles at my concern and motions me to walk around the counter. Alexander turns on the stool, spreading his legs and pulling me towards him. He nuzzles our noses before pecking my lips, and I taste the strawberry jam.

“I’m fine,” he whispers, pecking my lips and standing on his feet.

When he winces with pain, my hands are already on his chest, trying to realize what it can be and how I can help, but he doesn’t say. Acting brave is not helping my heart to calm down.

“Let’s just go to bed,” he suggests, and I nod.

We lay on our sides; I realize how tired he is, how much energy it took from him to set himself free. Breaking that headboard is not an easy task, and he did it. He did it because he thought I was in danger.

There’s no way I will ever be able to live my life without him. I don’t want to; I can’t. All of this is proof of that.

His eyes grow heavy as I let my fingers play with his dark locks. His hair grew a lot over the past few weeks, covering his eyes and brushing his nose. He looks cute like this, and I’m a sucker for long hair.

“What are you thinking?” He asks without opening his eyes.

“That I love you.”

Alexander’s lips turn up, and he leans forward to meet mine into a soft, slow kiss. His arms come around me, pulling us closer, but tonight I cuddle him. Tonight his head rests against my chest as I watch him drift to sleep.

“She isn’t willing to talk,” Justin says, meeting us outside the precinct.

Great. We went through all of that; we have evidence Sarah kidnapped Alexander, that she took him to her house, and now she’s throwing a tantrum.

“Want me to ‘encourage’ her?” I ask, smiling.

Oh, how I would love to give her a piece of my mind again.

“As much as I would love to see that again,” he admits, stopping himself and glancing at Alexander. “I can’t. It’s the precinct; both you and I could get in trouble.”

I sigh, defeated, and glancing over his shoulder to the building. She is inside there, and she won’t come out for a long time. Sarah deserves this; she deserves the life she is about to face; she deserves the humiliation I put her through that morning when I left all those marks on her face.

I don’t wish harm to anyone except her. She can rot in hell for all I care; after what she did to the man I love, I can’t wish anything good for the girl.

“Are you two, ok?” Justin asks Alexander.

“Yes,” he replies, nodding. “Just a bit sore, but it’s fine. So, what now? If she doesn’t confess, what will happen?”

Justin walks along with us to the small park that surrounds the precinct. The trees that welcomed the autumn so well are bare to the wind, and I clutch my hands on my jacket, closing it to the cold.

“It would be easier if she just confessed,” Justin speaks with his brows furrowed. “The judge would make it simple, but because she was caught red-handed and we have all the evidence, the fact she isn’t willing to say anything or even realize the consequences of her actions means she will face a lot more years in jail.”

Both men speak as I stay in silence, listening to them. I actually like the sound of this. To know she will remain behind bars for years. My phone buzzes in my pocket, and I take it out, smiling at the name that appears.

“I will meet you in a second,” I say, taking the call and watching as my boyfriend and ex-boyfriend nod while continuing with their conversation.

A sense of warmth spreads through me, seeing them interact. A few weeks ago, this would never cross my mind to have them in the same place, let alone speaking like they are. A few weeks ago, they would kill each other. But now, somehow, this ominous threat we faced brought them together.

They are not friends, I know that, but they don’t hate each other anymore.

“Hi Layla,” I say to the phone listening to my best friend complaining.

“You little- Nicole- I mean- I’m so mad at you. First,” she says, taking a deep breath. “Are you okay? Is Alexander, ok?”

“Yes, we are both fine,” I say, smiling while my eyes are on the man I love.

“Great,” Layla says with a sigh. “I want to kill you for not telling me what happened. I had to learn from the news Nicky, the freaking news.”

“I didn’t want to warn you.”

“Bitch you-”

The line goes silent as I listen to her, taking deep breaths, trying to calm herself. Layla is the most protective person I know, different than Alexander. The latter won’t stop at anything to have me safe; Layla will kill who dares to harm me.

She really will.

“I wanna smack both your heads,” she says.

“I’m sorry,” I say cutely, and she grunts. “I will make it up to you. I’ll buy dinner.”

“Lucky for you, I love you and that boyfriend of yours,” she lets out, and I can swear I can listen to her eyes roll.

“I know. I have to go, Layla, kiss Jia for me. Love you”

“I will; I love you.”

My eyes spot the two men talking mindlessly at a bench as if nothing had ever happened between them. As if no hardship had ever come across our life, and Alexander never punched Justin. I don’t mean this will be something ordinary, but I’m happy they at least get along. I’m glad that my ex helped and that this made us heal.

We needed that.

His eyes smile at me as I approach Alexander, and that’s what I need to know he is ok with everything. I saw that look on Justin once. The day he left for the army. It was that gaze that made me see that we weren’t going to be together, and we were ok with that.

He is okay with Alexander and me.

The phone rings again, and I take it out, accepting the call without even noticing the id.

“Yes, Layla?”

“Hi, is this Ms. Slade’s number?”

The voice of a woman startles me, and I stop in the park, gaining two sets of eyes staring at me. Alexander stands up first, walking towards where I stand, frowning, still holding the phone closer to my ear.

“Yes, this is her.”

“Ms. Slade, my name is Jina. I am calling from Won Entertainment.”

I gulp at the mention of the name and stare at my worried boyfriend.

“We would like to meet you. There’s a proposal that we think will interest you.”

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