Chapter 16- Coffee
We didn't realize how late it had gotten by the time we were done planning and reviewing the recordings that Cassy's step dad had. We had to stop a few times either to cry or throw up. The videos were sick and cruel and sad. Cassy was putting on a brave face, but I knew it was weighing on her too.
Since it was so late, I offered for Charlie to stay, of course he fought me on it, but eventually gave in and returned to his childhood bedroom. He was amazed how it was all still the same as the day they had left. I had to explain that I haven't gotten that far in going through all the rooms yet.
The next morning, I am making coffee when the doorbell rang out. I am still in my night clothes, but I shuffle over to answer. Swinging the door open to reveal Arden with coffee in each hand. Before I could even say hello, he leans down and plants a soft kiss on my lips.
"Hello to you too. I didn't realize you would be here so early." I say as I gesture for him to come in, shutting the door behind him. He looks me up and down with a silly grin before raising an eyebrow.
"You do realize it is almost noon right? Also, I don't mind catching you off guard if this is the reward I get." His eyes racking over my body that is only covered in sweatpants and a tank. A tank that is doing nothing to cover the hardened peaks of my nipples. I gasp as I cross my arms over my chest, the blush lighting up my entire face.
"Oh hush. I had a late night last night. Would you like some breakfast?" Arden shrugs his shoulders and sits at the counter, pushing my coffee into my hands. I smile gratefully before taking a sip, and moaning out in acceptance. "Oh gosh, this is so good. Thank you."
Arden bites his lip before he opens his mouth to speak. However, the voice that spoke wasn't his, it was Charlie's. "Good morning! Is that coffee I smell?" Charlie saunters into the kitchen, no shirt on, and heads straight to the coffee that just finished brewing.
Arden's eyes narrow as he looks back and forth between Charlie and me. His gaze hardening as each moment passes. Panic surges through me so I do what I do best when I feel pressured. Talk. "Uh, Charlie, you remember Arden, don't you?" Charlie spun around as his eyes land on Arden. Both of them locked in a staring contest it seems.
So I continue to jabber. "Charlie stopped by yesterday to grab some pictures that his family left behind and he had an accident where he uh- he fell and hit his head. I didn't feel comfortable with him driving so I offered him to stay the night. In his old room of course. Completely separate from my room." I trail off as I notice that their attention wasn't on me at all or what I was saying. They were just looking at each other as if they had seen a ghost.
The only difference is that Charlie has actually seen a ghost. He looked a little more relaxed than Arden but still on edge at the sight of him in the house. "Hey, man. What are you doing here?" Charlie finally spoke. Arden, sitting stiffly, just shrugs. His blank expression back and better than ever.
"Helping Abby paint the house." Came his short reply. Charlie nods before he looks over at Arden. Like really drinks in his appearance from his hair to his shoes.
"Have you seen Cassy?" I choke on the sip of coffee that I was previously drinking. Coughing trying to clear my air way. I can't believe Charlie just comes right out and asks that! I have to intervene, but what do I say? Arden doesn't know I know that Cassy killed herself, and Charlie doesn't know that Arden hasn't seen Cassy's ghost.
Arden's shoulders tense even more as he looks away from Charlie and to his cup. "No. I haven't been to her grave for a few years." Charlie furrows his eyebrows before glancing at me. I shake my head and mouth that he doesn't know. Charlie's face falls before moving around the counter to Arden. Squeezing his shoulder.
"Man, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to bring it up. I'm in town to visit her, clean up the stone and stuff. I just was caught off guard seeing you." Arden relaxes slightly before turning to look at me, a sad expression playing on his face and I knew he was trying to gauge my reaction. I smiled at him softly, before sticking my tongue out at him. It might not be the best time for it, but he needs to bring back that amazingly breathtaking smile of his.
He did grin back before shaking his head, turning back to Arden. "It's all good man. I need to go visit but I can't seem to bring myself to. Abby brought me a letter that she found, from Cassy. I haven't worked up the nerve to read it yet." I get the feeling that these two were close friends. Hell, maybe even best friends. I smile softly as I move around the counter to the stove, pulling out eggs and bacon, and pulling out waffle mix.
I leave the boys to talk while I cook breakfast and by the time all of it was done, the boys were sitting and talking as if they never left each other. I feel a breeze so I look to the doorway to see Cassy peeking through, making sure she was out of sight but still watching as Arden and Charlie converse. When her gaze lands on me, I could sense the jealousy rolling off of her. I almost had to take a step back at the look of hatred that she sent my way before she disappeared back around the corner.
Weird, I'll definitely have to talk to her. "This all looks amazing Abby. Thank you." I smile at Charlie as we all dig in. I could feel Arden's hand land on my thigh under the table, he squeezes as he begins to rub his thumb forward and backwards. The tingles in my lower abdomen reappear and I shuffle my thighs together tightly. This man will be the reason I go crazy.
After we were all done eating, I take the plates to the sink and begin washing the dishes. Arden comes up behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist. "Thanks for breakfast? Brunch? Lunch? Thanks for the food, beautiful." He plants a sweet kiss to my cheek, making sure he makes a loud smooch sound before pulling away. "So are we going to paint the hall today? I think that would be a nice easy place to paint."
I giggle at his antics before remembering the pictures I have to get for Charlie. "Actually. You and Charlie are going to help me carry boxes out from the shed around back. Then, if it isn't too late, we can paint the hall." Arden lets out a little groan before he does a salute, before nudging Charlie with his shoulder, and they both disappear around back. I chuckle, I guess boys with be boys.