The SUV pulls up to what looks like an abandon garage. The door lifts up, and I notice a guy standing inside. We pull up beside him and everyone hops out, I try to walk quickly around the vehicle back to Logan’s side. I feel the safest around him.
“What the hell happened out there?” The guy asks with his hands in his pockets. He’s dressed in skinny jeans and a button up black dress shirt, with the sleeves rolled up half way showing off two full sleeves inked up his arms, he has a pair of sleek glasses perched on his nose. He looks like something that should be in a chic geek magazine or something.
“Got a little held up, we’re good now.” Kyle replies before Bobby can. Which I’m sure he was ready to, probably with another smart ass remark aimed at Logan or myself. The guy walks towards Kyle and pulls him in for a kiss, making Kyle smile for the first time all night. I look away feeling like I’m intruding.
“Okay, well I ordered pizza.” He says with a small smile of his own, he’s obviously not fazed that I’m even standing here.
“Ugh, again?” Chelsea replies with her bottom lip pouting.
“Hey, pizza is the way to a man’s heart.” Bobby says while messing up her hair. “You should remember that.”
“Fuck you. You already love me.” She smarts back with a twinkle in her eye.
“Yeah, yeah.” Is his only reply. Wait are they together too? Everyone starts into the other room before I can look too far into it. Everyone except Logan that is. He’s still standing next to me. He coughs making his arm brush up against mine. I jump back slightly, startled. I trust him more than any of the other guys, but that still doesn’t mean I’m comfortable being alone with him. Then I realize if I’m going to follow through with my plan, then we are obviously going to have to be alone. Idiot, I inwardly sigh. The silence is awkward and I’m not sure why we are still standing here. I begin to shuffle my feet, and pretend to be taking in my surroundings.
“Um… thanks again, for everything back there.” I say trying to break the ice, but he still doesn’t say anything. “Sorry about before, with the gun. I didn’t mean anything by it. I guess I was just a little freaked out.” I’m rambling now I realize, and quickly shut my mouth. He’s still starring at me, but he almost looks like he is trying to hold back a smile. He turns and starts walking the opposite direction his friends went. I only stand there for a second debating on which way to go, before I run to catch up with him. We walk into a large room with concrete walls. In the center of the room is a black skinned rug with a couch, a pool table, and a flat screen TV. In the corner there are four computers on a table surrounded by lamps, and in the back are three full size beds and one queen, each separated by about ten feet. I notice the one in the middle has a bright pink comforter thrown over it, so that obviously has to be Chelsea’s... or Bobby’s I think. My own thoughts have a small snort coming out of my mouth before I can stop it. Logan turns and looks my way with one eyebrow raised. I try holding back a smile but can’t.
“Sorry I just was enjoying what I assumed was Bobby’s bed.” I say while pointing towards the pink comforter. Logan looks to where I’m pointing and then a small smile plays across his lips. He turns to walk to the bed in the far corner. It’s pushed all the way up against the wall, a solid black blanket neatly folded over top of it. Logan reaches to turn on the lamp that’s propped up on the side table, beside the bed. His face becomes haloed by a soft glow of light, making it easier to see. I notice the scar running down his face again, and try not to wince. He sees me looking and quickly turns away. I instantly feel like an ass. I turn to make sure no one else is in the room and then drop his coat to the floor. Time to get this over with I tell myself and take a deep breath. The sound of his coat hitting the ground makes him jerk back around. I walk towards him in slow steady steps, and go to untie my top. His eyes jerk to my face, and his breathing speeds up. When I get the strap untied I let the material fall to the ground. Still not taking my eyes off him, as I close the final distance between us. He has yet to look at my body, and I’m not sure why. I go to touch his chest, and he jerks away from me, so hard he almost knocks over the lamp. I’m instantly confused by his reaction.
“What are you doing?” He asks in a gravelly voice, while looking anywhere but at me. There is a bright red blush spreading over his face, making his scar appear even more angry. He bends to pick up his jacket, and then pushes it in my face, successfully blocking his view of my chest. I take it without argument covering myself. Well this is new, I think fighting back my own blush.
“I’m sorry, I just thought…” I stop not knowing how to finish.
“You just thought I’d expect payment for what I did.” He guesses while his jaw ticks back and forth again, he does that a lot when he’s annoyed I realize.
“Well yeah.” I answer in a whisper, honestly confused. His eyes jerk back to me again, and I think he finally notices how humiliated I am cause his face softens. He stands up straighter and walks around me, I continue to stand there starring at the spot he just vacated. I hear him clear his throat behind me.
“This is my bed. You can sleep here. Don’t worry, I’ll be sleeping on the couch. Come on I’m sure you’re hungry.” He says all this so fast, I hardly keep up with him. I quickly tie my top back in place and follow behind him. When we make it into the other room, everyone stops talking and looks our way. I look to Logan who again is turning bright red, but no one notices since they’re all starring at me.
“Haley! Here come sit by me.” Chelsea says indicating to the seat beside her. “You want some pizza? You should get some before these guys eat it all.” I smile and nod at her, grateful for the change of direction. She hands me a piece of pizza on a paper plate, and I sit down beside her. Logan grabs him a slice and sits down across from me.
“Hey, the names Mac!” The nerdy guy says while handing me a Diet Coke.
“Haley, thanks.” I tell him after I finish chewing my bite of pizza, which is so good I quickly take another bite. I can’t help the small moan that escapes my mouth, I can’t remember the last time I’ve ate something so good. A cough comes from Chelsea, beside me. I open my eyes and look up to notice everyone’s eyes are focused on me. They all seem to be holding back a laugh, except Bobby who just ignores my presence all together, and Logan who is starring down at his food, like it holds all the questions in the world. He shifts in his seat, and I realize he’s trying to “situate” himself. I notice Bobby raise an eyebrow at him, in silent question. To which Logan shoots daggers back at.
“Dang girl. Slow down, no ones gonna take it from you.” Chelsea says with a laugh. Jeez what the hell is wrong with me?
“Sorry, I forgot how good pizza is.” I say trying to hide behind my hair, for once I’m thankful for how it always wants to fall down in front of my face.
“See I told ya, pizza is the shit.” Mac replies with his own laugh and a wink in my direction. I smile at him and turn back to my food.
“How long?” Logan asks in a quiet voice.
“Um, what?” I look up at him confused.
“How long since you’ve ate pizza?” He asks, seeming like he wants to say more, but doesn’t.
“Um.” Is my only reply, he seems mad again. About pizza?
“How long where you there?” Ah, the real question. Everyone is staring at me waiting for my response.
“Almost four years.” I reply in a whisper. I jump when he smacks his fist into the table, he stands and walks from the room without a backward glance.
“Wow, what the fuck happened to Logan?” Mac asks just as shocked by his reaction as I am. I’m assuming it’s not his normal behavior.
“Haley happened.” Chelsea says in a sing song voice. Everyone turns her way. “What? Oh come on he’s practically peed on her like some kind of dog.” She says rolling her eyes. I cough, choking on my pizza. Jesus she’s blunt. “Honestly, I’ve never seen him act so…”
“Protective?” Mac supplies while stealing Kyle’s soda, who doesn’t seem to mind from the soft smile he gives him.
“Exactly!” Haley says nodding her head.
“More like stupid, if you ask me.” Bobby grumbles under his breath, sending me another annoyed look.
“Well no one asked you, now did they?” Chelsea smarts back, and then winks at me. Yeah I’m definitely starting to like her, I think and smile back.
I finish eating one more slice, and then go to find Logan. I walk into the main room, where the living room and beds are all laid out. Chelsea had told me to make myself at home, and if I needed anything to let her know. She really did seem genuine, even if she didn’t seem to have a filter from her brain to her mouth. I miss having a friend to talk to, someone I could confide in. I notice Logan walking out of what I assume is the bathroom, he’s wearing nothing but a pair of loose fitted sweat pants around his waist, with a few drops of water running down his chest. I notice a few more scars running down his left side and disappearing under his pants. What happened to him I wonder? He still hasn’t noticed me yet, so I stand there soaking him in. I can’t remember the last time I stared at a guy and didn’t feel repulsed. I think I’m actually enjoying it, he is definitely beautiful. He’s sporting some rough stubble on his face, and is currently using a towel that partially draped over his shoulder to rub back and forth over his head.
“Hey.” I say letting my presence be known, he spins around to look at me, seeming caught off guard, I guess cause he is. “Sorry, I got tired and was going to just lay down. If that’s okay?” I ask him.
“Of course, I’ll just change the sheets real quick.” He says turning back to the bed, his movements a lot faster than a few seconds ago.
“No, really it’s fine. I was just going to sleep on the couch, if maybe you had a blanket I could use?”
“I’m not making you sleep on the couch. You can have the bed, it’s not a problem.”
“I would feel more comfortable on the couch. I don’t want to put you out.” I insist. He seems frustrated by my response.
“You’re fine, honestly. I laid some clothes out for you.” He says changing the subject. I look over to where he’s pointing on the bed, and notice a t-shirt and some boxers. I smile thanking him. “It’s not much, but I figured tomorrow Chelsea would have some clothes that you could change into. They might be a little big but they should work for the night.” He seems a little embarrassed, which is so odd coming from a guy that earlier had seemed so… lethal.
“Thank you, they’re perfect.” That seems to relax him, he nods once and begins to walk towards the couch, with a small blanket. I only watch for another second before I grab the clothes, and turn to make my way towards the bathroom.
“If you need anything at all, just ask. Chelsea has all kinds of um... lady products. I’m sure she won’t mind if you use them.” He stutters from his spot on the couch. Why do I make him so nervous?
“Thanks again, for everything.” I say in a sincere voice and shut the door.
The bathroom is a lot bigger than I expected. It has a huge Jacuzzi size bathtub, and a stand up shower in the corner. I walk over to the mirror, and lay the clothes Logan gave me on the counter. I wipe the fog that’s still remains on the mirror from his shower. The thought of him in here naked just moments before me, sends a rush of awareness through my body. I really think I’m losing my mind. I stand there and stare at my reflection, wondering what’s changed. My face is pale in the glow of the light behind me, and my brown eyes are huge in my face, making me look almost frightened. Funny that for the first time In years, that’s the one thing I’m not feeling. I notice a drop of dried blood on my neck. I touch the spot, and then wince.
Turning away from the mirror, I begin to strip naked. I reach down to turn the water on, and step inside, closing the glass door behind me. I notice five different shower caddies hooked on the wall. Everyone of them holding nothing but men’s soaps, and shampoos. Except one. I grab the apple scented shampoo from Chelsea’s caddy, and begin washing my hair. Trying to be careful of the remaining shards of glass this time. As the smell and the memories of Shane, and the past three years wash past my feet and down the drain. I feel myself begin to relax. I haven’t felt so content and safe in so long, I had forgotten what it felt like. I realize I’m crying. My body begins to shake from the force of my silent sobs. I slowly sink to the floor of the shower and lay my head between my knees, letting all the horrific memories out of me. I’m finally free. That thought just makes me cry harder. I don’t know how long I sit there, but once I feel the water start to turn cold I quickly finish washing my body and get out.
Standing in front of the mirror starring at myself, you could tell I had been crying. My eyes are red and swollen. I look different somehow. The weight of the burdens I had been carrying were falling away. I smile at my reflection and begin to comb my fingers through my hair, it isn’t perfect but it would have to do. I unfold the black shirt Logan gave me, and slide it on. It settles against my body swallowing me whole, going well past my knees. There is a pair of socks I hadn’t noticed before. I slide them on after the boxers. Which I have to hold onto at my side so they won’t fall off. I’m not as curvy as I used to be. Not being able to eat more than two small meals a day would do that, I guess. I take some tooth paste and rub it on my teeth with my index finger. Again it would have to do.
Once I walk out of the bathroom, I’m so tired I feel like I could fall over where I’m standing. I notice all the lights but the ones coming from the computers are off, and everyone is already asleep. I quietly make my way over to Logan’s bed, and pull the sheets back to climb in. Once I lay my head comfortably against the pillow I look towards the couch. Logan looks so uncomfortable. His height making it hard to lay out straight. I glance towards his face, and notice his eyes are open, and starring straight at me. He has a small strip of light shining on his face from one of the computer screens, I give him a sad smile not knowing if he can see my face. Then I close my eyes, and for the first time in almost four years I sleep.