The smell of fresh brewed coffee woke me. The side of the bed Marcus had occupied was now empty. Stretching my arms over my head, I squealed with delight. Glancing at the small alarm clock, I saw that it was seven in the morning. It was Saturday. I’m never up this early on a weekend. My eyes, feeling heavy, began to close again. They re-opened at the sound of a loud thumping noise coming from the kitchen. It sounded like he was cooking. Unwillingly I rolled off of the bed. Noticing his t-shirt thrown on the floor, I bent over, grabbed it, and tossed it over my head. Dragging my feet to the bathroom, I lifted the toilet lid and slumped on the seat. I could hear a few more thumps in the kitchen. What was he doing?
Finishing, I stood and flushed the toilet. Making my way to the sink, I jumped at the sight of myself in the mirror. My overly teased hair was a mess. My smoky eye makeup was all over the place, and the mascara left dry drip marks on cheeks from crying. He’d woken up to this! Grabbing a hair tie from the side drawer, I tossed my hair into a high bun, attempting to calm the medusa look.
Turning the facet on, I adjusted the hot and cold until the water turned a satisfying warm temperature. I grabbed the facial cleanser and squeezed the gel onto my hand, rubbing my palms together till it foamed. I scrubbed my face and rinsed, making sure I repeated it two more times till there were no more traces of smeared makeup. After brushing my teeth, I headed for the kitchen.
Marcus’ back was facing me as he hovered near the stove. Looking around, I noticed everything was clean: the shattered glass from last night was no longer on the counter top or the floor, and the rose petals that I placed on the floor were all gone.
The table was still set for two but with new plates. What time did he wake up? We went to sleep a little after three in the morning, and it was only seven. Does he ever sleep? He turned around when he felt my presence and smiled. “Good morning, babe.” Lightly jogging over to me with a spatula in hand, he gave me a quick peck on the lips and led me to sit at the table. “I made breakfast.”
“Thank you.” He opened the microwave and took out a mug. Running back to me, he handed me a cup of coffee, placing sugar, cream, and a spoon in front of me as well. I smiled and began preparing my cup. He kissed my forehead before heading back to the stove. Taking a few sips of coffee, I watched him as he hurried back and forth from the stove to the island, placing the bacon, eggs, and pancakes on separate plates. Walking over, he grabbed both plates from the table and made his way back to the island. He prepared our plates, piling them high.
When he placed the food before me, the smell of bacon made my stomach growl so loudly he looked down at me with a raised eyebrow. “Hungry?” he asked, sitting in the chair across from me.
“I didn’t have lunch or dinner yesterday.” I whispered. His face fell with understanding.
“Yeah, I’m sorry about that. Want some orange juice?” I shook my head, digging into my food.
He laughed. “I love that about you. You’re not embarrassed to eat in front of me. Most girls would pick at their food.”
He said the “love” word again. I froze for a second and then continued with my food.
“You’re a loud cook.” I grumbled through a mouth full of pancakes.
“Yeah, I’m always jumping around in the kitchen.”
“This is so good.” The satisfaction was so unbearable my eyes watered with delight.
“Whoa, slow down, we have plenty, and your stomach will get upset.” I looked up through my lashes. I didn’t realize I was gulping the food down. Breathing a half smile, I wiped the side of my lips with my hand and continued at a slower pace.
I was completely stuffed and couldn’t move, literally. I watched as he washed the dishes. Once he was finished, he walked over to me. “So what are the plans for today? What do you want to do?” Glancing over at the microwave’s clock, I saw that it was not even eight yet, and now that I was full, I just wanted to crawl back in bed for a long nap.
“Chillax,” I said, shrugging my shoulders.
“Chillax?” His eyebrows rose. “What does that mean?”
“You know, chill and relax.” He pressed his lips together, forcing down his amusement, but he couldn’t help it.
“Is that a Philly thing?” He laughed.
“No, it’s a me thing, I think? Maybe it’s a Philly thing as well. I don’t know. Come on.” I stood up and grabbed his arm, making my way to the bedroom. I threw myself on the bed, and he followed beside me.
“So is this what you want to do all day?” he asked, brushing my hair with his fingers.
“You have a better idea?” I yawned, and he smiled at me.
“Yeah I do, but I can wait until you wake up. Get some sleep. Then you have to pack a bag. We’re going to my place for the rest of the weekend.” I smiled at him. This would be my first time at his place. It was exciting, but I needed my sleep first. Closing my eyes, I drifted into a sleep, beginning my dream of the one and only man I was falling for, and he lay next to me at that very moment.
It was pitch dark, and I couldn’t see where I was going. It was hard to know where I was. I stretched my hands in front me, trying to feel my way around. It was an open space. I kept walking, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. An orange flame caught my attention; it was flickering straight ahead. I followed it, picking up the pace, desperate to walk into the light. The closer I got, the bigger the flame got. I was outside now in front of a huge field. There was an old barn house burning. The flames were huge, covering every inch of the home. I was standing at least a yard away, but I could still feel the heat burning against my face. I began to walk back into the darkness. Maybe was safer in there, but I stopped when I heard a familiar voice yelling my name.
Straining my eyes to get a better glance in the distance, I noticed the person running out of the house covered in black ashes. “Michael!” I screamed. He fell to the ground. Running in his direction, I could feel the strength of the heat from the flames. Forcing myself through the pain, I continued to run until I reached him. My brother was barely recognizable: half his face was burned. Falling to my knees, I pulled him into my arms. Screaming for someone to help, I rocked him as he lay on my lap. “It’s okay, Michael. I’ll get help. Please don’t leave me. Please stay with me.” I sobbed, throwing my head into his chest. I couldn’t feel him breathing. I didn’t want him to leave me again, so my cries turned to screams.