Early morning comes and I feel warm. Rain hits the window, melting snow on its way down. My eyes flutter open and a yawn escapes my lips.
I can’t stretch my arms. Judah is still nestled by my side, unwilling to let me go.
This doesn’t happen often... I pause.
When the sun is up, Judah is usually awake, either talking on the phone, smoking a death wish, or something. So, why is he still in bed? No, it’s not jetlag, because nothing gets to this guy.
My arms shift, trying to sit me up straight over the fluffy bed that I’ve grown accustomed to. I stare at him, watching his peaceful face sleeping in the pillow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him this peaceful... It’s like his demons loosened his noose. I smile, but still feel worried for him.
Something must be off, if he’s sleeping in the morning.
I hurry to wake him up.
“Judah?” I shake his shoulder.
After a few pushes and pulls, he finally stirs. He grimaces, reluctantly opening his eyes. They shoot me a look through his narrow lids. Then, he covers his eyes with his arms, shielding them from the morning light.
I lower my head to his.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
He sighs, “Yeah.”
My hand moves his arm away, as I search for his mysterious grey eyes.
“No, I mean... is there something wrong?”
“Is there?” he dodges finely.
I frown, “I-I don’t know, I’m asking you.”
He fixes his arms around my waist and pulls me closer.
“What?” he asks, before biting my collarbone.
I pull away and make him face me. I study his face.
“Why are you still in bed?” I demand.
“You’re still in bed,” he grins, as his fingers draw shapes below my back.
I pout, figuring that I won’t get anywhere with him.
There are days when he looks like he’ll fall apart, and then there are days where he’s sweet and calm and so focused on me. Is he that important to me that I have to make sure he’s alright? I don’t know. Before I can lay out the possibilities in my head, Judah plants a kiss on my lips. He looks into my eyes, as his hand tucks my hair behind my ear.
“Hm,” I smile at his tender touch.
His stare turns my cheeks red. He laces our fingers together. Butterflies swarm my stomach. It feels like the day we met—when our paths crossed. The way he looks at me—I can never get used to it. I’m sure he can feel my heart beating against his chest.
“Judah,” I whisper, squeezing his hand a bit out of nervousness. Judah’s lips brush mine. “I l—”
Suddenly, there’s a knock on the door, which obstructs our gazing of each other. I feel Judah’s body stiffen a bit at the intrusion, and he sighs again. I watch him get up, as he clenches his jaw in the process. His hand combs his hair back.
“Who is it?” I ask quietly.
Judah walks out the bedroom, yet tells me, “Stay up here.”
I grow alert from his warning. I scoot only to the doorframe to get a glimpse of downstairs.
Judah opens the front door.
Only a man steps inside. After squinting, I recognize him to be nose-ring boy.
I’ve classified him as a friend, instead of a foe. But what’s he doing here? He wears a fancy beige trench coat and shiny shoes, despite the melting droplets of snow stuck on them.
They quickly speak to one another in a low tone. About what, I don’t know. But nose-ring boy seems on edge about something. The mystery irks me. Though, part of me is too afraid to know and rather stay away from the worry.
“Cobalt and his men managed to get away.”
Judah folds his tatted arms, clearly pissed about the short news.
“Wreaking havoc I suppose. Seems he wants to die early. We have to find him.”
“And boss’ money,” nose-ring boy adds.
“I’ll come, but...” Judah trails off for a second too long.
Nose-ring boy glances up and spots me above the staircase. I quickly hide behind the door, although it’s much too late. But I listen to his voice.
“So, when were you going to really tell me about her?” nose-ring boy asks Judah.
Why must I become the conversation? Ugh. I smack my head with my palm.
“She has nothing to do with this,” Judah’s voice replies flatly.
“They don’t think so,” nose-ring boy emphasizes.
They? Who’re ‘they’? I think to myself.
“Why are you bringing her up?” Judah asks.
“She’s upstairs, isn’t she?”
I hear Judah’s heavy sigh from up here. When he said to stay up here, he meant don’t move at all and don’t be seen. I bite my nails with nervousness running up my head. But it can’t be too bad, if nose-ring boy is a good guy.
“Rose,” Judah says my name, “Is no one’s business but mine.”
“Of course. Though, I’d like to hear you say that to boss,” nose-ring boy grins, “You know he’s waiting on you.”
It becomes quiet. I take another look out the door. My stomach churns.
Judah then says, “I guess I don’t have a choice.”
The two exchange some other few words and nods. Then, Judah comes upstairs.
I don’t even pretend like I wasn’t eavesdropping. I look at him despairingly.
“What’s going on?” I ask.
“Nothing,” he answers.
“Is it bad?” I ask, not believing him.
“Nothing I can’t handle,” he replies, “But I have to leave for a while.”
“Why? How long?” I jitter.
“Just be a good girl, while I’m gone,” he raises his brow.
I want to beg for answers, but my mind shuts down. He kisses my forehead, before walking off. I watch him grab his leather jacket and zoom out the door with nose-ring boy.
I hate this the most.