“Fine, I’ll meet you outside your room in fifteen,” Brayden calls back to Hanna, already on his way towards Sammy’s room. Luckily for him, the hall upstairs is empty. He steals a quick look around, then slips in.
He knows he must be quick, before anyone comes in and finds him where he’s not supposed to be.
Girls, all they even think about, is clothes. He tries to let his eyes adjust, knowing he can’t light the candle in here, the light might give him away.
He almost trips over one of Asher’s toys, but then finds his way to a table, he knows Sammy keeps his things there. He quickly begins to go through the drawers.
*I bring the second pizza and bread from the oven and set them on the table. We have managed to put together a table that looks festive enough, under the circumstances. I peek into Trudy’s room to check on Amara, but it’s a maze of excited girls, tulle skirts, pink glitter and squeals so I back away unseen, deciding to take my chance and dress up as well, while my girl is being entertained. I almost make it to my room, when there’s some commotion downstairs, a dog barks once or twice. I frown slightly, figuring it must be Stella there, but the pull of my room is stronger than the desire to investigate right now.
I wish I could shower right now and I don’t even dare to dream of a hot bath, but the party preparations have used up enough of the water and there won’t be another trip to collect the water until tomorrow, so a quick washing up will have to do.
I get dressed and apply a little bit of green and gold onto my cheeks and forehead. Considering the water situation, I opt out of covering my face and arms in green paint. This is the closest I’ll be transforming myself to the wicked witch tonight.*
*I walk over to the closet, I just need to take my cloak and I’m good to go. I haven’t used it since last winter, so I have to reach to the back to retrieve it. My arm brushes against a leather jacket, knocking it off the rod. It’s an instinct to pick it up, a habit formed by years of cleaning after the kids, but as I do, I’m hit by the sudden realization, it’s Bray’s. I’m not prepared for that. I haven’t cleared his things, even if I’ve told myself not to hold on to the memories. I just couldn’t.
And now I’m suddenly left to hold the heavy material, which still smells like him.
The wave of missing him sends me to the floor and I can’t even fight it. I thought I was better, I thought it wasn’t so bad, I was used to it, sleeping in the same bed every night.
"Not now… " I mutter, sitting on the floor, but I am clutching his jacket like my life depended on it. “It was a really stupid way to die, you know. I deserved better than that.” I say out loud, defiantly, like some part of him could actually hear me. It’s stupid, of course, he can’t.
I shift, now I am purposefully reaching for something on the closet floor, the box I’ve remembered is still there. He quit drinking, but he never got rid of that last half-empty bottle of whiskey, hidden away there.
I kept an eye on it, making sure the volume in the bottle didn’t diminish. Bray probably knew that I knew, or maybe he really had quit, in any case, no one had touched that liquid in years.
I consider the bottle, it’s here and it’s tempting and
I would do a number of things to be closer to him right now.