Before she could answer, he cracked, “I guess you bring it out in me.”
“You think Nana would be happy right now with your attitude? Something tells me she didn’t leave us this house so that we could fight with each other.”
“She left us both this house because we each meant something to her. That doesn’t mean we have to mean anything to each other. Anyway, if you cared so much about what Mrs. H. thought, maybe you shouldn’t have run away.”
“That’s a low blow.”
“The truth hurts, I guess.”
“I tried to contact you, Justin. I—”
“I’m not talking about this now, Amelia,” he said, speaking through gritted teeth. “It’s old news.”
It was unnerving to hear him call me by my actual name. Aside from the very first day we’d met, he’d always called me Patch or Patchy. Hearing my name come out of his mouth felt like a slap in the face for some reason, like he was trying to emphasize how much we’d grown apart.
Justin went from hot to cold as he shut down, heading back outside to retrieve the groceries from his car but not before slamming the door behind him.
I shuddered, looking over at Jade whose eyeballs were moving back and forth from side to side in confusion.
“Well, that was a nice start,” I joked.
“I don’t know what to say. I’ve never seen him act like that toward anyone to be honest. I’m really sorry.”
“It’s not your fault. Believe it or not, I probably deserve it.”
The only thing worse than the rude reception he’d given me was his blatantly ignoring me during dinner and for the rest of that night. That hurt more than anything he could have ever said to me.
If I thought the evening was horrible, lack of sleep assured that the next morning was even worse.
Apparently, Justin found a way to take out his anger—by taking it out on Jade. Let’s just say playing guitar wasn’t the only talent he’d fully developed over time. Jade’s moaning in the middle of the night as Justin pounded into her woke me up. The walls literally shook. It was impossible to go back to sleep after that. I tossed and turned, my thoughts alternating between rehashing Justin’s words to me from earlier to imagining what that scene in the other room actually looked like. Not that I really should have been thinking about the latter, but I couldn’t seem to help myself.
It was 7AM, and the house was quiet, so I assumed they were both catching up on sleep after their sexcapade. When I snuck downstairs to make some coffee, to my surprise, he was standing in the kitchen alone staring out of the spacious window overlooking the water. Coffee was percolating. His back was toward me, so he hadn’t seen me standing there yet.
I used the opportunity to admire his stature and the flawless skin of his defined, shirtless back. Black gym pants hugged his beautifully round ass. I never realized how incredible his ass was. My physical attraction to him really irked me under the circumstances, but that didn’t stop me from checking him out. He had a rectangular-shaped tattoo in the middle of his back. Squinting, I unsuccessfully tried to figure out what it was. He startled me when he suddenly turned around and met me with an incendiary stare.
“Do you always ogle people when you think they can’t see you?”
I swallowed the lump in my throat. “How did you know I was standing here?”
“I could see your reflection in the window, genius.”
“You didn’t even flinch. I didn’t think you noticed me.”
“Are you trying to make me hate you or something? Because you’re doing a pretty damn good job.”
Justin didn’t answer my question. Instead, he just turned back around toward the window.
“Why do you do that?” I asked.
“Say things to piss me off then shut down?”
He continued to speak to the window, “Would you rather I just continue to piss you off? I’m trying to get my anger in check with you, Amelia. You should be happy I know when to stop…unlike some people.”
“Will you at least look at me when you’re talking to me?”
He turned around and walked toward me slowly then leaned his face in. I could feel his words on my lips when he asked, “Is this better? You’d rather me in your face like this?”
I could practically taste his breath. My entire body felt weak from the close contact, so I backed away.
“I didn’t think so,” he snarled.
I walked over to the refrigerator and opened it, pretending to look for something. It annoyed me that my peaceful mornings were a thing of the past.
“You always get up this early?” I asked.
“I’m a morning person.”
“I can see that…so bright and cheery,” I said, sarcastically. “Some of us need sleep, though.”
“I slept just fine last night.”
“Oh, I know…after you traumatized me. You must have passed out after all that screwing. Could you two have been any louder last night?”
“Well, excuse me. If I can’t fuck in my own house where do you expect me to do it?”
“I didn’t say you couldn’t do it. Just be more respectful.”
“Doing it quietly.”
“Sorry. I don’t fuck quietly.”
As much as I hated that answer, I somehow felt that those words would be repeating in my head later tonight.
“Forget it. Clearly, you don’t know the meaning of respect.”
“Respect you? Why…because you’re not getting laid? Why don’t you hook up with some salty dude down at the dock? Maybe then you won’t care so much about other people’s business.”
“Yeah. You know, the guys that live on the boats…the ones who sell you that nasty fish you were eating last night.”
I just shook my head and rolled my eyes, refusing to dignify that comment with a response.
He surprised me when he suddenly lifted the carafe. “Want some coffee?”
“Now you’re being nice?”
“No, I just figured you’re sticking around for some reason. It must be the coffee.”
“This is my kitchen.”
He winked. “Our kitchen.” Grabbing two mugs from the cabinet, he asked, “How do you take yours?”
“Cream and sugar.”
“I’ll take care of it while you go put on a bra.”
I looked down at my boobs which were hanging freely beneath my white t-shirt. Not expecting to run into him this early, I hadn’t thought to put one on. Too embarrassed to acknowledge the fact that he’d noticed, I went back to my room and got dressed.
When I returned, he was back at the window, drinking his coffee.
“Is this better?” I asked, referring to my dress.
He turned around and gave me a once over. “Define better. If better means I can’t see your tits anymore…yes, it’s better. If better, means you look better, that’s debatable.”
“What’s wrong with this?”
“It looks like you sewed it yourself.”
“Actually, it’s from one of the shops on the island. It is handmade.”
“Out of a potato sack?”
“I don’t think so.”
He snickered. “Your coffee’s on the counter, Raggedy Ann.”