Before I wake
It was a Friday night and instead of getting blackout drunk in some strangers home, I was stuck moving my belongings into my new apartment in the city. Sitting on the hood of my mustang for the past ten minutes turned out to be more entertaining than hauling boxes up the stairs in the summer heat. So far I learned that this area was prone to attract flirtatious drunks, people liked to blast music all hours of the night which wasn as big of a deal since I needed some new music to add to my playlist anyways.
The only headaches were the stench of piss and dumpster juice wafting through the air and my nosy neighbor down the hall. I thought all old people were supposed to be gentle and kind, but she proved me wrong.
When I decided to move back to New York my mom thought I was crazy for even thinking about it. We had left for a
eason but that reason was unknown until I finally got it out of her the day I made up my mind about moving. Apparently, she didn want to be in the same city as a Cheating, bald-headed drunk AKA my father. Thats honestly ridiculous, but you can argue with her decisions and the way she does things, youll only end up in a never-ending argument in which shell always win.
I consumed the rest of my water and tossed the bottle in the trash before picking up my last two boxes to head upstairs. Out of all times, the elevator couldve been out of order it just had to be the day I was moving in, and struggling with boxes all night wasn on my agenda hence why I was sitting outside to take a long-needed break.
Whatever happened to the men who see a woman in need of assistance and stop to help? Or does that only happen in cheesy Rom-com movies?
”You plan on making noise all night? Some of us are trying to sleep, ” A nasally voice complained from behind me. I rolled my eyes and dropped my boxes in front of my door to wipe off my sweaty palms on my shorts. My neighbor stood in front of her door with her arms crossed over her chest and a deep scowl on her face.
”Maam the sound of my footsteps and the door shutting behind me is hardly anything compared to the sound coming from outside your window, trust. ”
From my peripheral I could see her stepping closer to me, so I quickly pushed the boxes inside my apartment and kicked the door shut before she can find another reason to carry on the conversation.
Originally my mom was supposed to help me settle in, but like I said she didn exactly approve, so her mind was changed rather quickly which sucks for me because this living room was cluttered with boxes, trash bags, and bins. I nearly cringed at the thought of having to do this all alone. Maybe I can just procrastinate a little, yeah thats no big deal.
I peered around the floors and exhaled slowly. Or maybe I should try to get some of it done now before I end up letting it sit for days. I tend to do that sometimes.
It was like an internal battle in my head and at the end of the day, this would never win. Pizza it is. I turned back around and left out the door.
”One medium Hawaiian Pizza, please, ” I flashed a quick smile at the cashier before I took a seat at an empty table. The fresh aroma of chicken and spices filled my nose, causing my mouth to water.
This place used to be one of my daily go-tos because of the amazing food and even better staff. Its a little hole-in-the-wall shop, but don let the outside fool you, these places tend to never disappoint. I let my eyes wander around as memories of a much greater time flooded back to me.
”How many slices of pizza do you think I can fit in my mouth? ” Zane asks as he plops in the seat beside Leah. I slid the box towards me and opened it up.
”Well, you only get two slices, so Im gonna go with that number. ”
He pulled a slice from the box and broke it up into small pieces, ”You see the trick is you have to make them small enough to fit in your mouth. You can go shoving the whole thing in all at once or youll end up choking and possibly dying. ”
”Thanks for the tip, Im sure well need it later on in life, ” I snicker, taking a bite from my slice. He shrugged his shoulders and began shoving piece by piece into his mouth while we both watched in disgust. He always knew how to make himself the center of attention in any situation. Once he got to his second slice, he started to gag and beat on his chest.
Leah rolled her eyes and turned her attention away from him,
”God, Zane you
e so embarrassing its not even funny. ” He leaned over closer to her, laughing with a mouth full of pizza. This was gonna end so badly. For him, that is.
”I swear if you- ” She started, but was cut off by the sounds of him regurgitating all over her lap. Her eyes widened at the disgusting mess before looking up at him with so much fury burning in them.
”Bitch, you better get him. ” I pointed my slice in his direction and then took another huge bite. Zane jumped up and ran towards the front door with Leah hot on his ass.
”Im gonna kill you! ”
”Don tell me thats my girl, Violet sitting over here without coming to say as much as a hello. ” A womans voice chimed, snapping me out of my walk down memory lane. I looked up into a familiar set of brown eyes and couldn contain the wide grin that spread across my face. Theresa.
”The one and only, ” I quickly stood and pulled her into the tightest hug. Theresa was one of the employees who worked here. Shes an older woman who always felt like a second mom to me growing up. This was Leah and Is go-to spot after school, so we were always well taken care of and we even got fed for free most days. Free food always makes you a plus in my book.
”Do you seriously still work here? Its been forever. ”
”Its whats paying the bills ain it? ” She laughed and took a step back, looking me over in awe, ” I can believe its been eight years since Ive last seen you. Youve grown so much, but I can always recognize that beautiful face. ”
I grinned and flipped my hair over my shoulder. ”You look great too, we almost look like sisters. ”
”Oh, stop it,
” She chuckled, swatting me away as she took a seat in the vacant spot across from me.
”So are you gonna tell me what you
e doing back in New York? The last time I checked your mother was holding you, hostage, down in whatchamacallit? ”
”Virginia, ” I remind her. ”And I moved back alone, mom is still there holding down the fort and taking care of business. ”
She bobbed her head in understanding, ”Yeah, well I always say no one can stay away from this place for long, its like the black plague once it has a hold on you itll never let go. ”
”And it kills you… ”
”That too. Ill go get your food for you, sweetheart. ” She tapped my hand and climbed to her feet.
I was surprised she even recognized me with how much I changed myself over the years. I used to be forty pounds overweight with a face full of acne. Oh, and lets not forget the hideous yellow cardigan that I wore religiously as if my life depended on it. Someone needed to help poor ol me back then.
I exhaled and let my eyes wander around the busy shop when I noticed a pair of eyes watching me. The guy to which those wandering eyes belonged sat a few tables away with a group of his friends. Nevertheless, he stood out from them all.
He raked his hand through his disheveled black hair and quirked a brow when he noticed me watching him too. By definition, we were locked in a staring contest. One I had no intention of winning since attractive strangers tend to make me nervous.
I glanced at the redhead who had her ass planted in his lap, giggling along with the rest of his friends. Girlfriend maybe? Lucky girl.
After a few more seconds of staring into each others souls, I looked away to check the time on my phone. It was almost ten oclock and I still needed to get back and at least try to unpack some things like a normal person.
”Aye, pink shorts! ” A deep voice called out.
I looked down at my shorts and back across to their table. Multiple pairs of eyes were on me now as he raised his hand and waved me over. Deciding to do the friendly thing instead of listening to the devil on my shoulder, I smiled and waved. God, I need some food.
After realizing that I didn have any intention of coming to join them he stood up and walked over to me with an annoyingly wide grin on his face. ”Just to be clear I was waving you over, not waving at you, ” He chuckled.
Is that an accent I hear? ”
My eyes shifted from his vans, up his lanky body to his eyes. They were this beautiful silver color with a few blue specs scattered like stained glass. They were eyes I knew all too well. Eyes that I used to spend days getting lost in and nights falling asleep to.
The dark circles under his eyes were now prominent due to the lights above and I tried to look away, but I couldn . There was something about a guy who looked sleep-deprived that did things to my body. It all started with my little Criminal Minds obsession with Reid.
It was kind of insulting that my ex-boyfriend didn recognize me. We only dated for all of two years. Guess I wasn memorable even after what we went through. I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at him silently.
”Wait are you deaf? Im sorry if- ” he stopped speaking and started flaring his hands around which I assume is his way of trying to communicate using ASL.
e persistent, Ill give you that. ”
His head cocked and a smirk crossed his face,
”Ok, so you
e not deaf. That makes this a whole lot easier. ” He caught me off guard when he crouched near my table so that we were at eye level and gently brushed my hair behind my ear. I had to keep myself from laughing in his face at that pathetic attempt at flirting.
”Do you go around touching random women all the time or am I just special? ”
”Only pretty ones like yourself. ”
I snickered and shook my head, ”Goodbye, Rivers. ” After paying for my food I left to go back to my car.
”Wait, Violet! ” he called after me, causing me to freeze in my steps.
Took him long enough.
”It is you isn it? ” His steps got closer and I snapped out of my trance and continued walking to my car.
”Wait, I promise Im not tryna mess up your night or whatever. ” His feet slammed against the pavement behind me before I felt his hand grip my wrist. ”Just…why didn you tell me you were back? ”
”We haven spoken in forever, Ryan, so why would I tell you anything? ” I placed my pizza on the passenger seat of my car and turned back to face him.
His eyes roamed over me and a smile crept up on his face.
e right, but I like to think we
e still friends. ” He gestured towards my hair before brushing his own out of his eyes, ”I like the ginger hair, by the way, it suits you. ”
”Thanks, ” I looked over the ink that covered his arms and neck. ”Im diggin the tats and is that a tongue ring I see? ” I gasped obnoxiously, holding my hand over my chest. ”Who are you anymore? I thought you were deathly afraid of needles? ”
”I got over that fear long ago, theres a world full of things far more dangerous than some baby needles, ” He chuckled. His Boston accent was the same as I remembered it; soft and sensual.
My smile faltered as I looked back into his eyes. ”Well, it was nice seeing you again, but I have a lot of work to do tonight, so I really need to go. ”
”Yeah, no thats fine. I guess Ill be seeing you around then. ” He held his arms open and I hesitated before stepping into his warm embrace. He smelled heavenly; like Sandalwood and Vanilla with a hint of watermelon. I had to resist sniffing him like a freak.
I pulled away and climbed into my car. ”Later. ”
As I pulled off my heart started beating rapidly in my chest. I played it cool as best as I can, but I didn expect to be running into him of all people.
Well, my night is off to a great start.
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