"It's real?" Walter mumbles quietly while crawling over to me to examine the stone carefully.
"Of course!" Blair bellows with wide eyes "the guy is stinking rich I'll tell you that."
Harmony for Mason and I was short-lived because we had a bit of a raw argument. He kept himself locked up in that art room of his, Sade blaring through his speakers at high volume and barely came out. To be frank, I didn't see the need to apologize because I did state the honest truth. Mason DeLuca took my ability to see when he should've been careful and drove like any other human being would've.
Things took a turn for the worst because the nights were getting warmer and my sleepwear was getting lesser, decreasing to just an oversized Lakers' tee and socks. The only problem with my choice of nightwear was that the Lakers' t-shirt belonged to Aiden, my ex.
Eventually, after a week of no contact, I muster enough courage to go to his art room but the thoughts of him wanting his space cause some unnecessary clamour in my brain. He probably didn't want me there for a reason which must be the same reason as to why he didn't show me this part of the house yet.
Late at night I snooped in the room with the torch light of my iPhone and I smiled in success when I found that he kept his door unlocked. Gingerly, I limped to where his apparatus was set up and my eyes widen at the expressive colour schemes he used. A image of a woman's delicate face was splayed across the canvas but blood red paint covered the rim of her puffy bloody eyes.
The doctors in the hospital managed to remove all shapes and sizes shards of glass in my eyes but my vision wasn't secured. My eyes were dry everyday for six months and I basically lived off eye drops and chicken soup to nurse my soul.
The door tears wide open and I drop my phone on the floor before limping away to disappear from his view. The footfalls near my hiding spot, which is behind the canvas and all I catch is a glimpse of a large python snake tattoo going down the alignment of his spine. His body looks glorious underneath the moon's rays but I couldn't say the same for that tattoo.
After being stuck in his spot, Mason spans on his heel and I bit my bottom lip at the sight of his large, ripped body littered with tattoos.
"Leave." He breathes in sharply and my eyes shoot down to my choice of nightwear – crap, this wasn't exactly the best of my days.
"I-I can't do that." I mumble quietly from my spot and I'm thankful for the dark room because I would've been dead meat by now.
Mason chuckles to himself grimly, "now she chooses to care."
Chooses to care? He put a ring on my finger and is paying for my laser eye surgery – scusi for caring!
"N-no, I literally can't leave."
"Are you naked?" he asks but his voice is different from how it was a minute ago. It was hoarse, rough yet alluring and deluding.
"No," I mutter lowly while tugging the Lakers' oversized tee "I'm just not looking my best at the moment."
"While we're like this, let's make conversation. What do you do?"
He takes a moment to choose his words and when he does, they sound pained, "I'm an artist."
"Full time?" I question waveringly.
"No, part time."
"Then what do you do with the rest of your time?"
"I overlook my family's drug plantation and I'm in charge of the women we send as drug mules."
That left a bitter taste in my mouth and before I knew it, I stood in the moonlight while Mason took in my frame shamelessly. After not seeing Aiden for so long I wore his Lakers' shirt (which still held a slight whiff of his cologne) and wore it without thinking of the fact that I'm engaged to another man.
"Who does that belong to?" his eyes were scorching but I wouldn't answer him in the way he would've expected me to.
"I don't see why I should explain that to you."
A look of disgust casts Mason's facial features and his jaw slackened in dismay, "you're mourning for Mona yet you have the audacity to disrespect her by sleeping with another man. How sick are you?"
My eyes widen in shock but the words couldn't leave my lips, I would never do such a ghastly thing, no matter how much blackmail Mason would bestow upon me.
He advances to me and grabs my face, kissing my lips feverishly and oh so angrily with his quick tongue – beautiful angry Mason, oh how you bless me. He pulls away, his taste still lingering in my mouth and I fought the urge to grab his face and beg him to do it again.
"I hope he likes second hand bìtches," he spits harshly and lets go of my face, leaving me cold and distraught "now get the hell out of my room."
And that's how I ended my week. Mason thought that I was some whóre that was sleeping around while I'm supposed to be mourning whereas the only man I wanted to sleep with is Mason himself.
Aiden and I were at a Lakers' game when his Toyota Yaris decided to bail on us, the rain only approaching in a few minutes. Aiden luckily had clothing in the back boot of his car and gave me that shirt to wear until my clothes dried off. He was the first guy to ever give me a custom-made shirt and I still keep it today, with platonic feelings of course.
"I must say though, the second-hand bìtch line killed me and had me rolling in my own cremated ashes." Walter comments with his dimply smile but it soon fell once I gave his scrawny shoulder a quick punch.
"Well," Blair begins cuddling closer to me to get warmth that her pyjama shorts couldn't grant her "I think that you did a smart thing by taking some time away from him to let the steam go down."
"Agreed," I hum with a soft nod "anyone up for a movie?"
"I feel like Scrabble." Walter suggests crawling over to me and snatches the remote control away.
"Hey!" I groan slapping Walter's onesie-clad bottom "I was busy with that."
My weird best friend saw that it was fit to shake his tight rump in my face, "c'mon, we can surely dabble in a bit of Scrabble."
Blair and I freeze at the expression before shuddering, "British people."
"Extra extra, long live the queen." Walter wiggles his behind while dipping down to retrieve my scrabble board game and laid it out with our green player pods.
And that first game of Scrabble jumpstarted the beginning of one of many Walter's wins.
Blair's head was laid across my belly while I was cuddled into Walter's back, my arm looped around his waist as I waited for them to wake up. The cleansing ceremony was drawing near and soon I'd have to walk down that stupid aisle.
How did Mona manage to get married into this disgusting family? Did she honestly love Mason to the point where she'd do anything for him? Did she also have a gun and played a part in this shady business of theirs too?
A knock echoes right throughout my tiny apartment and Walter places his palm over my hand, pushing it right off his torso, "go answer the door Jae."
I scoff with wide eyes and place my hand back on his taut belly, "why don't you go answer it?"
"I'm sleepy," he murmurs hoarsely with closed eyelids "I ordered pizza for breakfast."
Manoeuvring my weight carefully not to wake up Blair, I place her head on a pillow and I drape my whole body over Walter's torso, our faces inches apart, "my nìgga, you did what?"
Walter shoves his palm in my face with a smile ghosting on his lips, "your breath smells."
I chuckle quietly and hoist my weight from the floor, the sudden action had me stumbling a bit but I soon gained full consciousness of my surroundings. A smile sat proud on my lips when I admired the two people who would do anything and everything for me.
My musings were cut short when another knock echoed once again. Jadedly, I lurch to the front door in my slippers and prepare a few bills for Walter's pizza from my emergency jar.
"Caro," heat spreads to my cheeks and I lose all will to speak "good morning."
Finally, I find my speech tucked under some giant rock originally known as my tongue, "it's seven am, what are you doing here?"
Nathaniel grants me one of his charming smiles with a wink, "So you won't invite me in?"
I don't think Blair and Walter would be comfortable by having Nathaniel in the house, Walter tends to be shirtless most of the time and the only clothing you'd find on Blair is her underwear.
"Can't you come back later?" I mumble rubbing my sides "it's just – I'm a little busy right now."
"I just want to leave you with something before coming back later –"
"Babe, I need the pizza!"
And Walter thought it would be awesome to stumble right next to me with his onesie bunched up at his waist, showcasing a whole lot of skin, and place a minty fresh chaste kiss on my temple.
Nathaniel's chocolate eyes heated momentarily but then he carries on where he left off, "a house without a woman isn't home so I suggest you fix your home before it crumbles down to nothing."
Nathaniel walks away with no other words said and after he disappeared from near sight, I shut my door with a sigh. Walter offers me a crossed look, eyebrows pinched together and slight skin indentations on display and I answer the question lingering in his head.
"That was my brother-in-law and he just saw you shirtless, conclude the rest yourself."
Walter's eyes widen in realization, "you're a second-hand bìtch after all."
The pizza delivery guy did indeed come but I didn't have the heart for eating anything today. Blair donned a much different apparel from her usual underwear and curlers in her hair and she ate more slices than Walter and I put together (mind that Walter has had three slices and I had none).
"So," Walter mumbles typing furiously on his phone "what are you going to do?"
I thought about this during breakfast and my conclusion didn't sit well with me. This place, although it may be tiny, is my greatest achievement. I bought it while I was still at school; do you know how much rush it gives me to be able to achieve so much on my own without having my mother degrade me?
"We're going to need some boxes," I sigh brushing my curls before my gaze locks on the ring adorning my finger "and ask any of your gay friends if they'd like to rent this place."
"Only if you allow me to interview them," his brow rises quickly "alone."
"And what's wrong with me?" I blurt out with a slight jut of the bottom lip.
"You're judgemental and your English sends us in circles."
I hold my stomach in laughter while processing his statement, I agree with the English part but I'm nowhere judgemental.
"I'll just be in the room and not say a word?" I suggest with a thousand-watt smile, no one can turn this baby down.
"No." Walter obviously could.
"Jae," Walter leans into me with a hushed tone "what could be the problem with Blair?"
I return an arched brow, "what do you mean?"
"She's...she's eating a lot and moody – is she pregnant?"
I didn't take much of Blair behaviour in consideration nor note the mood swings but I doubt she's pregnant because if she was then I would be the first one to know.
I lean into Walter again and my lips part "Jae!"
Walter, who totally understood our weird best friend, gestures me to go upstairs and attend to her. I find Blair pacing around, her hair in large curlers and her underwear is tossed on my bed.
"Babe?" I begin hesitantly but her eyes told me not to go into the whole sappy-business.
"Pads. Tampons. Hot water bottle. Chocolate. Leggo."
My lips twitch into a small smile and a decide to tease her further, "what? No please?"
"I'm on my period dangflabbit."
"Ayt," I back away with my hands up in the air "don't hurt me. Let me get dressed and we'll go down to the shopping centre."
After Walter and I were dressed and leaving the house, Blair shouted a stressed 'hurry' and that sent us into heaps of laughter. Walter and I share another common interest, vintage cars and his white-yellow Mustang TSI makes me want to trade in Betsy.
"So...she isn't pregnant?"
"No," I chuckle at his tensed stature "just one of those monthly things."
Walter sighed after that and it had me worried. He seemed oddly relieved to have Blair go on her periods and I couldn't help but think of the worst whenever those two were together. Eventually, I brush those thoughts away and fix my black head wrap before entering the store side by side with a giddy Walter.
"Are you excited?" Walter begins awkwardly while observing the tampons.
Is she a light, medium or heavy?
"Your laser-eye surgery."
My heart flutters in my chest when he mentions that. Aiden has been coaxing me into the process and I'm nervous because I don't know what the future holds. I don't know if it's going to be successful or not and the day after the cleansing ceremony I will have to be in his office for one last consultation before going in the theatre.
"In true honesty, I'm nervous," I toss every organic pad the store has to offer in my basket and some tampons too "it's weird."
We step into the home aisle and Walter searches for the hot water bottle, "it costs a lot and Mason paid it without a blink of the eye."
"He feels bad about it, that's why it was a car accident and not a car deliberate or a car-intentional."
I glare at him with sharp daggers and he offers a small apology, "Do you want us to drive with you there after the cleansing ceremony?"
The cleansing ceremony just consists of a beast being slaughtered and its bile being mixed with some herbs that a traditional herbalist will do for those close to the deceased. My betrothed and I will have to gulp the mixture with heavy amounts of water and bring it back up, vomiting all the grief, anger and darkness archived deep within our bodies. Then in the next morning I'll have to share a bath of the same bile mixed in water with him and lunch will be served, ridding me of my dark clothing and granting me new ones.
"You knew what you were getting yourself into when you got into this friendship; you're my ride or die, baby."
"Looks like Blair and I will have to go shopping for your new clothes sometime this week."
The idea of giving the mourning members of the family new clothing was sensible because we're shedding away the pain. What worried me are the types of clothing my best friends will purchase because their minds are filthy like a motel's bathroom.
"Remember, something to hide my flat chest and emphasize my bottom half – affirmed?"
"Affirmed," Walter chuckles with his wide smile "now let's go get her some chocolate and leave."
Blair and Walter helped pack my things into my boxes before leaving and returning back to work. My cast would be off in a few days and I'm glad I'll finally have enough freedom to move at my desired speed.
Someone knocks at the door and although having full assumption of who it was, I opened it with a wide surprised smile, "good day caro."
"Hi," I glance around the boxes and open my door wider "come in."
"So you're moving out?"
I nod in confirmation, "I'm renting my place out soon. Do you want some juice, coffee, beer?"
Nathaniel cracks a smirk and crosses his arms across his chest, "you drink caro?"
I laugh mildly at his question, "no, Blair and Walter drink. I'm an easy drunk so one bottle and I'm twerking on your lap."
The room falls silent and it was the uncomfortable, tensed silence so I took to my fridge and grabbed a beer bottle for Nathaniel, who popped it open with his own teeth.
I fumble on my fingers while biting the inside of my cheek, "Nathan, what do you do?"
He takes a generous gulp of his beer and licks his lips, "FBI agent." He leans back on my rotating stool and takes another gulp "I also make sure none of the DeLuca's land in jail."
To say that I was disgusted by the lack of respect he had for our justice system was a mere understatement, I was utterly aghast. I would sympathise with the situation if it were only Mason and Nathaniel involved but seemingly the whole family is in the revolting act.
"How do you sleep at night?" I laugh humourlessly while studying his laid-back aura "how do you report to work every morning, promise citizens justice whereas you have a part to play in their victimizations?"
Nathan leans into me and I could smell the slight whiff of alcohol on his tongue, "listen here caro. Your sister knew what she was getting herself into the day she signed her soul to us and you two will learn to embrace the honest truth once you walk down that aisle in that white dress in three weeks time."
I arch a brow and offer him a sarcastic, open-mouthed smile, "I will never be like you or anyone in your family. You won't even see me walk down that aisle because I'm not stupid. All I need is to destroy that flash drive and I'm out of here."
Nathaniel smirks. He smirks with glittering irises and right then my jaw unhinges itself. In all true honestly, I'm scared shitless. Yes, I pulled off the strong stature exceptionally well but I'm ready to wet my pants right now. I have concluded that this family is utterly evil and I haven't even met the rest of it yet.
"You weren't the only one to lose something that night."
I cross my arms underneath my middle, "excuse me?"
"Mason lost his dreams and you didn't even call to ask if he was okay like he begged you to when he was rushed to surgery."
My eyes widen in realization and my smart mouth saw that it was fit to leave the room with a peace sign in the air. I felt as though the air was knocked out of my lungs and I failed to retrieve it back.
"I'm not going to act like a saint and pretend that I'm not a sinner. We are all sinners and you have a home to build before it's taken away from you." Nathaniel takes one final gulp and pinches my cheek "we should have some coffee sometime, to catch up."
The audacity of this man!