I opened my eyes slowly, squinting from the sun rays flooding the room and groaned, turning my head.
“Motherfucker. Turn the damn light off!”
I buried my face into the pillow, my arm still hanging off the side of the bed as I was laying on my stomach. After a few seconds, I lifted my head and looked around, furrowing my brow. This was not my apartment. The room was decorated in a modern style, with white drapes on the window, a cream coloured sofa with a gold strip design that had two matching chairs around a dark wooden side table, and an entire wall of closet with dark wood doors.
I let out a groan and let my face drop into the pillow again.
“Great. Who’d I fuck last night?” I sighed.
I rolled over onto my back and sighed, rubbing at my eyes. I wasn’t naked, which was weird. In fact, I was wearing an oversized t-shirt and a pair of shorts, which had me hella confused. I sat up slowly, squeezing my eyes shut because of the massive, pounding headache I had from my hangover.
“Who decorates like this?” I scoffed, looking around.
There was a lacy doily on the table by the chairs, with a white table lamp that had a floral print design on the shade, crown moulding with gold flakes on the ceiling, and wall to wall white carpeting, and light cream coloured walls. Two dark wood end tables on either side of the bed with matching table lamps with the same design as the one on the other table. The bed had a dark wood head and footboard, and a modern, square-shaped cream coloured light fixture on the ceiling.
I jumped at the sound of a toilet flushing, and looked to the left, where there was a dark wood door.
“Ow.” I groaned, rubbing at my forehead.
The door opened and my eyes widened from shock, followed by a groan as I saw Ryan, the beautiful asshole walk out with a cheeky grin, dressed in a white and blue plaid shirt that was tucked into a pair of dark jeans.
“Good mornin’!” He said loudly.
I glared at him, bringing my knees to my chest. “Is not.”
“Sure it is! The sun’s shining, the birds are singing, and it’s going to be a lovely day!” He grinned.
“How the hell are you so happy?” I looked at him, “Seriously. Who the fuck is chipper in the morning?”
“Those of us who aren’t hungover.” He crossed his arms.
I sighed and let my head fall back, “So we fucked last night?”
He chuckled, shaking his head. “No. We definitely did not make love last night.”
I scoffed, “Make love? What are you, twelve?”
“Nah, I am a gentlemen, however. I was taught to speak respectably.”
“Ah, the good ol’ southern charm.” I said with a fake southern accent as I waved him off. “What time is it?”
He looked at his watch and grinned, “Why it’s seven-thirty, darling.”
I gasped and fell back into the bed, pulling the covers up over my head.
“Why the fuck are you awake?! And why do you decorate like a grandma?”
“Are you always so pleasant in the morning?”
I pulled the covers down and stared at him, “Seriously, why are you awake?”
“I have work. And I did not decorate. This is my hotel room.”
I looked around and blinked a few times, before I sat up again.
“You said we didn’t screw?”
“That I did.” He nodded.
“Then… What did we do?”
“I was taking you home last night, after saving you from what was undoubtedly to be a gang bang while you were drunk out of your mind. You’re very pleasant when you’re drunk, by the way, and while we were getting to my truck, you passed out before you gave me your address. So, I carried you into my truck, you’re heavier than you look, by the way, and drove you to my hotel. You came around enough to walk with aid by yours truly, to my hotel room, where you proceeded to vomit all over your dress, and all over me, requested a baked Alaska and a vodka tonic, to which I denied and you started to cry. Then, I gave you some clothes to change into, and you passed out while you were changing with the shorts up to your knees, so I… Pulled the shorts up over your ass and got you into bed.”
I stared at him, unamused. “You couldn’t have just said I passed out so you brought me here? You had to use fancy words?”
He smiled at me. “I’m just talking how I normally would.”
“You’re kind of a bitch.” Ryan shrugged, a hint of amusement in his voice. “I rescued you, and you call me annoying.”
I rolled my eyes, “So we slept in the same bed, and didn’t fuck?”
“You are correct.”
“Seriously? That’s a first.” I muttered to myself.
“For you, maybe. Not for me.”
“I’m an expert at putting drunk women to bed.” He gave me a wink.
I slowly stood up, groaning as the room was slowly spinning, “Thanks for your hospitality, appreciate it.” I said as I patted him on his muscular bicep, “I gotta pee and go home to sleep this hangover off.”
“A good, hearty breakfast is what you need.”
“Nah.” I shooed him, “Sleep. Followed by pizza and greasy food way later.”
“You toss and turn an awful lot in your sleep, and mumble. You kept me awake most of the night, until you put your head only chest. Slept real good after that.”
I rolled my eyes as I walked into the bathroom.
“Oh, you also drool.”
I turned around and stared at him, wide eyed. Ryan gave me a tight-lipped smile and tapped on the side of his mouth, making my hand fly to my face and cover my mouth as my face flushed.
“Got a little somethin’ there.” He said with a single nod.
“That’s embarrassing.” I muttered, wiping at my mouth.
“Not as embarrassing as what your hair looks like, I’m sure.” Ryan wiggled his eyebrows at me.
My hands flew to my hair, which was tangled and I tried to smooth it out.
“Get a shower, I’ll take you to breakfast.”
“I’m not doing that. I’m going to pee, then going home.”
I slouched in the dining chair of a breakfast and lunch restaurant, wearing one of Ryan’s hoodies and a pair of his sweatpants and my heels, because my dress was bunched up in a gym bag in Ryan’s truck. I was wearing a pair of sunglasses with my hair in a ray nest of a bun as I emptied a fourth packet of sugar into the cup of coffee that Ryan had ordered me.
“Sure like your sugar, huh?” Ryan cocked an eyebrow at my cup.
I shrugged, mumbling under my breath as I took a long swig of the coffee.
“Great conversationalist as well, aren’t you?”
“I told you to take me home, and you brought me here.” I grumbled, “I told you, I need to sleep.”
“And I told you that you need a good breakfast to help with your hangover.”
“Dude, I know my body and what it needs. And right now, it needs to puke.” I covered my mouth and stood up, running to the bathroom.
When I got back to the table, there was a plate of waffles, bacon, and fruit sitting at my side of the table. My mouth was agape as I sat down and I stared at Ryan.
“When did you order this? Was I gone that long?”
He chuckled, shaking his head. “You were nodding off when I ordered it.”
I noticed he had the same plate of food in front of him.
“Is this some kind of southern breakfast thing?” I sighed, rubbing my forehead.
“No.” Ryan cocked an eyebrow at me, “Just something easy on your stomach with the waffles, greasy bacon because you said it helps with your hangovers, and the fruit to give you some vitamins.”
“Oh.” I grumbled.
I ripping a piece of a waffle off and popped it into my mouth.
“Thanks, I guess.” I said as I ate more.
“You’re welcome, I guess.”
We are and I let Ryan pay, since he was the one who forced me to go with him, and then we drove to my apartment.
“Why’d you get so drunk last night?” Ryan asked as he drove.
“I wanted to?” I scoffed, “why does anyone get drunk?”
He cocked an eyebrow and clenched his jaw slightly, focusing on the road.
“You know,’you’re not the greatest conversationalist.”
“Then let’s not talk.” I rolled my eyes.
“You’ve got some great way to show your appreciation for a guy who, A, saved you last night, and B, bought you breakfast.”
I glared at him, seething with anger, and pulled the sunglasses off.
“Did I fucking ask you to do either of those? No! I was fine last night, dude! Totally fine! I can’t handle myself and protect myself! I don’t need some creep riding in a horse, thinking he’s Prince Charming to save me. God, why does everyone always think I need saving! If it’s not the bible thumping mormons who knock on my door every Sunday, then it’s my parents. If it’s not my parents, then it’s my sister or my brother, or my fucking aunts! And now you? God, just because —” I shook my head, “listen, I appreciate you stepping in last night, and for buying me breakfast, but I didn’t need you to, and I don’t think you and I can be friends, so just... Just pull over and let me out, I’ll walk the rest of the way, it’s not far.”
Ryan’s hands gripped the steering wheel tightly, his eyes fixed in the road.
“You know what I think?” He turned to look at me, “I think if all these people are trying to save you, then you need to be saved. All these people see what you can’t. Remember how I said you mumble in your sleep? You wanna know what you said? You said you wanted to put a gun to your head and blow your brains out.”
I swallowed hard and felt tears stinging at my eyes, so I turned away from him and looked out the window and closed my eyes.
Ryan’s hand reached out and cupped my chin, gently forcing me to look at him, “If someone who says that doesn’t need saving, then I don’t know who does. Maybe if you let people in, you’d see that not everyone in the world is an asshole.”
The rest of the drive was silent, and when Ryan pulled up in front of my building I grabbed the gym bag and got out, turning to look at him.
“I’ll get your clothes back to you tomorrow... I work tomorrow morning.”
“Thanks.” Ryan gave me a nod.
“I uh...” I scratched the back of my head, “About what I said in my sleep... I’d never actually — Sometimes I say things that I don’t mean. A lot of the time, I say things I don’t mean.”
Ryan nodded at me.
“Anyway, thanks for the ride.”
When I got up to my floor, Mr. Dwyer was hobbling out of his apartment on his walker wincing, that is until he saw me. His eyes widened, and he turned around as fast as he could and headed back.
The ancient relic froze and slowly looked over his shoulder at me.
“H-hey doc.” He gave me a nod, “I was just doing my exercises by walking the floor.”
I sighed and scratched my cheek, “How’s your foot?”
“Oh! It’s aching... Uh, I mean it’s fine. I’ve got an appointment with a podiatrist at the end of next month.” He gave me a nod, his arms shaky as he held onto his walker.
“If you want, I can uh... I can take a look at it. Get you into a podiatrist sooner with a referral.”
The old geezer’s face lit up and he broke out into a smile, “Y-you will?! Oh, thank you doc! Thank you!”
I gave him a nod and a stiff smile. “Just let me put this in my apartment—”
“Oh, you don’t have to today! My daughter’s taking me out to do my shopping today! D-does tomorrow work?”
“Yeah. I work until six and won’t get home until about six-thirty, is that alright?”
“That’s fine with me!”
“Alright, I’ll see you then.”
“Th-thank you, doc!”
I gave him a nod and went into my apartment, immediately tossing the gym bag to the right, where it landed on top of a pile of dirty laundry. I looked around at the mess of my apartment and sighed, before I grabbed the unopened box of garbage bags from the kitchen and, for the first time in months, I started to clean.
On Sunday that week, I went to my parents for our weekly family dinner with my laundry in tow, and was immediately met with the aroma of the cooking roast, which made my mouth water.
I rolled my eyes behind my sunglasses and sighed.
Lydia was sitting in the front sitting room breastfeeding Colton. She eyed my laundry bag and shook her head with a chuckle.
“What?” I glared at her.
“Nothing. Nothing at all.” She said softly, “everyone’s out in the backyard.”
“Uh huh. Gotta get my laundry in, then I’ll go out.”
When I walked back from the laundry room Lydia called out to me.
“Hey, Char, got a minute?”
I groaned under my breath and went into the front sitting room.
“Can I get your opinion on something? From a... medical perspective?”
“Sure.” I shrugged.
Lydia bit her lip and cleared her throat. “Colton has this rash, and I’m not sure what it’s from. I was hoping maybe you’d know.”
“I’m an OB. I don’t really look after the babies, just the moms.”
“Yeah, but you’re a doctor, I thought maybe you’d know what it was. I don’t want to take him to a doctor because we’re still waiting for his blood results to see if he’s a vampire or not. I don’t want to take him to a doctor if he’s a vampire or-”
“You’re best bet would be to FaceTime CJ. He’s worked the ER and done a paediatric rotation.”
Lydia gave me a slight nod and her shoulders dropped slightly. “Oh, okay.”
I turned to leave the room and sighed, before I walked into the sitting room.
“What rash? I might be able to tell what it is.”
Lydia have me a smile and lifted Colton’s shirt.
“These little bumps on his belly and arms.”
“Oh.” I ran my finger over his chubby belly, instantly feeling a pang of pain in my chest at his gummy smile and cooing. I cleared my throat, “That’s nothing to worry about. Babies get that all the time, it’s just a mild eczema. Just put some baby lotion on it after his baths and it’ll clear up.”
“Oh! Thank you.” Lydia gave me a smile.
“He’s getting big.” I sad, watching Colton suck on fist.
“I know, right? Vinnie thinks he’s a vampire because of how quickly he’s growing. But I grew quickly and I’m not a vampire.”
I nodded. “You’ll have the blood results soon. Sucks that it takes so long.”
Colton reached his arms up to me, cooing, and I took a step back.
“Wanna hold him?” Lydia asked with a smile.
“No. No, I uh... I should go say hi to everyone.”
Lydia gave me a nod. “Okay.”
Before I left she reached out and grabbed my arm.
“Hey, Charlotte... if you ever want to talk... you know you can talk to me, right? I know things haven’t been smooth between us lately, but you can always talk to me.”
I gave her a nod, trying not to roll my eyes, “Yeah, I know.”
As I walked out of the sitting room following Lydia, I put a hand on my stomach softly, thinking about what I almost had.
I walked outside to see dad, Vinnie, and Sophie in the pool, and mom sitting on a chair by the pool.
“Hey honey!” Mom stood up and walked to me, and gave me a hug.
“I’m glad you could come, you haven’t come for a Sunday dinner in a long time.”
“Yeah, well, I had the day off.”
I looked at the pool, where dad was holding a laughing Sophie up and tossed her to Vinnie, who caught her easily. Sophie shrieked with laughter as she splashed down into the water.
“Daddy!” Sophie laughed.
I sat down on a chair as Lydia came outside with Colton who immediately reached his hands out Vinnie in the pool.
After dinner, I said my goodbyes and went home, where I got a shower. When I was finished, I stood in front of the mirror and put my hand in my stomach, as tears stung at my eyes.