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Becca woke in a startle. Her body in an uncontrollable jerk on the bed. She didn’t remember going to bed the night before. She did remember drinking even more wine and listening to her sister complain about Bo at the kitchen counter before it turned into another discussion about what relationships were appropriate for Becca to enter into. Becca ended up walking away and slamming her bedroom door before climbing into bed.
She lie catching her breath, staring at the ceiling. Trying to put the pieces together in her mind. It was just a dream.
She finally sat up and scooted her body to the edge of the giant bed. She let her legs dangle for a moment before jumping off. The high princess bed she remembered as a child did not disappoint and she remembered having a small step stool as a child. The sheer drapery covering each side made her feel as if she had her own little world and reminded her of being safe.
She leaned on the mattress and pushed her feet into her slippers. She scooted her way into the bathroom. The dream might not have been real, but the headache was. Her sister followed behind her.
“You have your own bathroom, you know,” Becca said as they entered and Jenny sat down on the toilet next to her.
“I know, but I wanted to see you,” Jenny said, smiling a big cheesy smile up at Becca. It was her way of testing the water after an argument. “Good morning!” She held the cheese as she stared at Becca.
Becca finally laughed. It didn’t matter if they didn’t always get along, they always returned to the two of them. They were like the same person.
“I had the weirdest dream last night,” Becca said. “It was scary but not like nightmarey because it didn’t last too long. More scary because it felt so real. You were there. There was a black ghosty thing.” She swallowed two pills and drank the water right from the sink’s faucet.
“Oh my god. I think I had the same dream. I fucking screamed so loud I woke myself up,” Jenny added. It would be strange that they had the same dream but it happened often to them so they didn’t dwell on that fact. She flushed the toilet and bumped Becca out of her way to wash her hands. She had carried her toothbrush to the bathroom and began brushing.
“Probably from the spellwork and stuff,” Becca added like it was normal everyday stuff. Like when you drink coffee too late in the afternoon and you can’t fall asleep the same night. She reached into her bag for her toothbrush and the two took turns at the sink.
Jenny shrugged. “We probably fucked it all up,” she said.
Becca’s phone vibrated on the counter. Andrew’s name appeared. She picked it up, hoping she got it before Jenny saw his name. She was not about to repeat last night.
“What are you doing today?” he sent.
“Housesitting,” she replied, doing her best to keep the look on her face neutral and didn’t reply right away, knowing that too much engagement would make Jenny question who she was talking to.
“Right.” Came the first message and then the next, “Your dad is driving me crazy.”
“I’m going to run home and spend some time with Bo for a bit today,” Jenny said. “I’ll bring back stuff for dinner.”
“He does that.” Becca sent to Andrew and then replied to Jenny, “Okay.”
“I don’t know how to respond to some of the shit he says and wants me to do,” Andrew sent.
Becca slowly walked out of the bathroom.
“Where are you house sitting?” Andrew asked.
“I’m going to Battle Creek today. Meet me for lunch?”
Becca’s heart raced at the thought of seeing him. She both hated and loved how her body reacted. It was exhilarating, yet cumbersome. She had held those feelings for a while and they didn’t fade. Weeks of knowing him, months even. She wondered if they would ever end and that made her even more excited. Imagine if you could have a relationship that was always invigorating? One that kept you alive. She hoped that was possible but at the same time, logically argued that it was because of their secret life that kept them from a normal relationship.
“Sure,” she texted back. “What time?”
The river shimmered as the sunlight danced off each wave. She closed her eyes, breathed in the wet air and listened to the traffic as she leaned against the rail. She had been working on staying in the moment and spending time with Andrew was her favorite lesson.
She felt his presence before she saw him, the heaviness build in the air, the smell from his skin, soft and inviting, but she didn’t turn. He walked up behind her. He spoke softly. “Hey there,” he whispered, placing his hands on her shoulders.
She felt the hair on her neck stand and turned around to see him. Their eyes met. “Hey,” she whispered back.
He didn’t wait and placed a slow kiss on her lips. She breathed in the scent of him as she wrapped her arms around his waist. She had missed the feel of him, both soft and strong at the same time.
He ran his finger along her face pushing her hair back. “How’s the housesitting going?” he asked.
“Good,” she said, his touch sending shivers through her body. “My sister is staying too.”
“That’s nice,” he responded, their conversation turning to normal. “I saw that she was taking a few days off work.”
He slid his hand down her back to grab her hand, brushing across the top of her waist. He led her to one of the outdoor tables. She sat back and let the warmth of the sun sit on her face again. The flowers on the table were bright and happy looking. She reached up to feel the softness of a petal.
“What’s going on at work?” she asked, knowing that the purpose of this meeting was to discuss her father and his eccentricities.
“It’s the same,” he said. “I just needed a break to see you.”
She couldn’t help but smile. He leaned over the table to place another kiss, soft and slow. He sat back in his seat, biting his lower lip. She tasted the wetness he left on hers. Then he grabbed his glass of water.
Becca reached for her glass, another push back to reality. She swept the condensation off the outside that had formed from the heat and ice. “He’s a bit of a talker,” she said of her dad. “He can work hard. He just feels as if he’s done his time.”
“Jenny is next in line now,” Andrew said, taking a drink of his water.
“I figured that,” Becca said.
Jenny had finished up law school the previous year and began working more hours with her dad. There were many at the firm that expected to become partners and eventually take over when John finally bowed out, but with Jenny in the mix, it was evident who would become the next name on the sign.
“It’s probably frustrating,” Becca added.
“You could say that.”
The two sat looking at each other for what felt like an eternity and a split second all the same. Becca could feel the blood rush through her body like a drug.
“Do you want to get out of here?” Andrew asked.
“I do,” Becca said. “We can go back to my house if you want.”
“To the city?”
“The one I’m house sitting,” Becca said. “I’m about to inherit it.”
“What?” Andrew said as he stood from his chair. He reached for Becca’s hand. “That’s cool. How did that happen?”
Becca explained a little about the will, leaving out some of the craziness of the previous night as he opened the passenger door for her. She slid into the seat. He slipped her another kiss before closing the door.
“Your aunt sounds like she was a pretty cool lady,” he said turning the key and placing the car in reverse. He backed out of the parking as Becca guided him in the direction of Aunt Jo’s house, full knowing what she was getting in to. She only hoped Jenny took enough time to not return while he was there.