I slowly pull into the driveway, trying to angle the car in case I need to make a quick escape. As soon as I’m able to see the front porch, I spot Justin sitting on the top step with a black duffel bag at his side and his head bent towards his phone. His head comes up when I get out of the car and slam the door.
“Hey ya, roomie,” he says, giving me a goofy smile.
“Roomie?” I ask, looking at the bag next to him and then noticing the sleeping bag he has along with it.
“Yep. Boss man told me to stay here with you,” he says, pointing a finger at me while standing. “I’m here until he gets home.”
“That’s not necessary.” I start shaking my head frantically. Justin seems like a nice kid, but I’m not sure I can deal with him for more than a few minutes without wanting to strangle him.
“Aw, come on! It’s going to be a great time. If you’re nice, I’ll let you paint my nails. I even brought my own color,” he says, pulling a bottle of black nail polish out of his pocket.
“I’m not painting your nails,” I huff out, wondering why the hell he would be carrying it around with him in the first place.
“Okay, you don’t have to. I can do it myself.” He shrugs, putting the bottle back in his pocket before bending down to pick up his bags.
“You don’t need to stay here,” I repeat.
“Have you met my boss?” He raises an eyebrow. “He is scary. If he calls and says, ‘Justin, I need you to stay with Autumn until I get home,’ I say, ‘Okay, no problem, boss man.’”
“No offense, but I think I’m just as safe alone as I would be with you. Actually, I think I’m better off on my own. If you’re here, I have to worry about both of us.”
“You should never judge, sweet cheeks. I was a sniper. I know how to kill someone with one finger, and I guarantee nothing will happen to you while I’m here.”
Wow, okay. Didn’t see that coming. So I’m probably safer with him, but I still don’t want him here. “I think I should call Kenton,” I tell him, pulling out my cell.
“He’s gone to ground,” he singsongs.
“What does that mean?”
“It means he is unavailable until he’s available.”
“But what if you need to talk to him? What if I need to talk to him?”
“If there’s an emergency and he needs to get back here, there’s a code,” he says conspiratorially.
“What’s the code?” I ask, watching as he pulls out a set of keys from his pocket, opening the front door.
“No way, sweet cheeks. You don’t need to know the code.”
“What is it?” I put my hands on my hips, glaring at him.
“I can’t tell ya.” He shrugs, stepping into the house, and as soon as he’s inside, he turns, grabs my arm, and drags me with him. “Now, boss man said I have to be on my best behavior and to not say anything stupid or try anything on you…unless I want to see what it feels like to be neutered. I thought that was taking things a little too far, but he didn’t feel the same.” He smiles, walking into the living room to set his bags down. “Also, I’m sorry to say you’re going to have to keep your hands to yourself and control the urge to molest me.” He flexes his arms, and I close my eyes and groan.
“I’ll try to control myself,” I say, opening my eyes, wondering if there is a way out of this. I’m going to kill Kenton.
“That would be appreciated. I wish things were different, but I like my balls just the way they are. Plus, I don’t think you want to explain to my mom why I can’t give her grandchildren.”
Oh, God. Maybe I should make a move on him to save the world from him reproducing. “I need to go to bed,” I tell him, shaking my head.
“I’ll be here.” He pulls out some kind of gaming console from his bag and sets it on the coffee table. Then he pulls out a controller and some wires, but what I don’t see are clothes.
I watch him for a few minutes as he connects the system to the TV, and after he has everything hooked up, he sits down on the couch, pulls out a pair of headphones that have a mic, puts them on, and then turns on the game.
The second it loads, the loud sound of guns firing fills the room and men wearing camo appear on the screen. I look at the TV then at Justin and shake my head before leaving the room. I don’t care if Kenton has gone to ground; I need to text him to let him know that I’m going to kill him when he gets home. Then I need to go to bed. I go upstairs, pull out my phone, and send Kenton a text.
Me: I hope you make it home safely so I can kill you when you get here.
I press send then bite my lip, wondering if I should apologize. I know he has my best interest at heart, but I do not want a babysitter. I toss my phone on the bed, grab some clothes from the dresser, and make my way across the hall to shower. When I get back to my room, I go directly to my phone and press the button, seeing that I got a text back.
Kenton: Sweet dreams, baby.
That’s it? He didn’t even address my threat. I huff out a breath, shake my head, toss the phone onto the bed, and pick it right back up to send another text.
I hit send then feel stupid, wondering if I should’ve just left it alone.
I wake up in complete darkness for the second morning in a row. My first thought is Kenton. I miss not having him hold me. I don’t know how it’s possible to miss sleeping with someone after only having it for a few nights, but I do. I stretch out and look at the clock. It’s three thirty. I need to get up, send some e-mails, and pay a few bills before I have to get ready for work.
I got an e-mail back from Sid the other day, and I could tell even through e-mail that he was upset I hadn’t called him. Link also told me that I should try not to have too much contact with anyone in Vegas. He’s worried I could somehow be tracked. I think this is a little over the top, but what do I know?
I don’t miss home as much as I thought I would. I really don’t miss my old life at all. I know that Link can tell that I’m thinking about moving to Tennessee. The last time I spoke with him, he told me that he would be willing to have my stuff packed up and sent out to me if that’s what I want. The idea of making this my permanent home is exciting and scary. I just want to make the right choice.
I get out of bed and pull on a pair of sweats before opening my door. The first things I hear are explosions and yelling coming from the living room below. I slept for over eight hours, and I wonder if Justin sat downstairs playing that game the whole time. Then I wonder how the hell he’s supposed to ‘look out for me’ when he probably wouldn’t hear if someone were to break down the front door.