“He’s not home anyway,” she says as she pulls on me with her freaky strength.
“Oh.” I’m surprised when I feel a small amount of disappointment. “Then what are we doing?”
“I’ve got the keys to his place.” She holds them up.
“Do you have to feed the dog or something?”
“No.” She lets out a laugh. “He’s not home enough to have pets.”
“Then what are we doing?”
“You’re staying here.” She says it like it’s obvious and unlocks the door.
“I can’t stay here.” She pulls me inside and shuts the door behind us. “Have you been hitting the gym or something?” I pull my wrist out of her hold and shake it.
“Water aerobics,” she answers casually as she flips on the lights.
“Whoa.” I glance around the massive space that looks like a museum. “No wonder he doesn’t have pets.” I look down at the spotless hardwood floors. Are they black? This whole place is so shiny and new, I should take my shoes off. “I really can’t stay here. I’ll get something dirty or break it.”
“It’s fine.” She takes my bag from off my shoulder. “You rest up here. They are going to be going all night and you need to sleep off your headache. We know how bad your migraines can get. Oh, you should take a dip in the tub,” she says before kissing my cheek and putting my bag down on an oversized chair.
“What if he comes home?”
“He won’t, he’s in Paris.”
That sounds glamorous and exciting.
She gives me another quick kiss and a hug. “I’ll see you in the morning. Lock the door behind me.”
I follow her out, knowing this isn’t a fight I’m going to win. Plus this place is looking so peaceful compared to the party next door. I wave to Grams and lock the door before turning to face the beautiful home.
Yeah, maybe I should go check out that tub she was talking about.
It’s the middle of the night when I get home and I’m exhausted. It took three days longer than I expected it to, but I’m glad to have the case closed. I didn’t want to chance having to go back for another mediation, so although it was longer, it’s finished.
I toss my keys on the table in the foyer and don’t bother turning on a light. All I want to do is face plant on my bed for a few precious hours until I have to go into the office. The time change is the worst part even though I wasn’t there for very long.
When I see my perfectly made bed, I nearly groan with relief and need. I quickly strip naked and toss my phone on the nightstand before I peel back the covers and pour myself in. The cool sheets, the soft mattress, and the silk pillowcase Renee got me for Christmas are like aloe on a burn. The comfort is instant and I breathe deep, settling my body into place.
As I lie there I have this feeling that something is off. It’s not the sheets or the mattress but there’s something different. I inhale again and there’s a soft scent I can’t place. I bury my face in my pillow and it’s strongest there. Is it lavender? It’s something floral but not pungent. I inhale once more and there’s a calming scent to it.
I put one arm under the pillow and one over the top as I hug it to me. My cleaning crew must have used a new detergent and I need to tell them to keep using it. The fragrance is so comforting, and it’s like I can’t get close enough.
I rest my cheek against the cool silk and close my eyes once more. Without another thought, I’m falling fast asleep.
The sound of my bedroom door opening has me jolting out of bed. Everything is blurry as the sun pours into my room and I see my sister come into focus.
“Thank god,” she says as she glares at me. “I’ve been trying to call you for the past hour. Jesus, Devin, I thought you were dead in the Atlantic Ocean!”
“I missed you too.” I use the heel of my hand to rub the sleep out of my eyes as I try and figure out what time it is. I grab my phone off my nightstand and then I’m wide awake. “Fuck, how is it lunchtime? I only meant to sleep for an hour or two.”
“Yeah, I know. I kept thinking you were just catching up after the time change, but then you didn’t answer your phone and I got worried.”
“I’m sorry, Nee, I forgot to set my alarm.” I unlock my phone and see ten missed calls and nearly three dozen missed texts.
She lets out a long sigh and visibly relaxes. “It’s okay. I just freaked out and got my heart rate up for no reason. Guess I don’t have to do my cardio later at least.”