“That’s not a bad idea.”
He gasped. “Oh my God.”
“Say that again?”
“That’s not a bad idea?”
He gave a little fist bump. “To hear your praise is the highest of honors.”
I chuckled lowly. “You’re an idiot.”
Jeremy went back to stroking Alice’s hair. She looked so peaceful in her sleep. I hoped she was having good dreams. Maybe they’d make up for her nightmare of a day.
“Maybe I should take tomorrow off,” he mumbled. “To stay with her. Play bodyguard.”
I grunted. “You’ve got no more sick days. I should be the one to stay with her.”
“You just want to spoil her all day.”
“So do you.”
“Got me there.”
I shook my head. “Go to sleep. We’ll talk with her in the morning.”
“Alright, alright. Sweet dreams, Maxi.”
“Call me that again and you’re a dead man.”
Jeremy chuckled and said in a sing-song voice, “Good night.”
I stayed up for a while longer, mind still too disturbed by what I saw earlier that evening. I could still hear Alice’s cries for help, could still see her struggling against Kellan’s grip. I had to remind myself several times that she was alright, sleeping like an angel between me and Jeremy. There were too many unknowns, too many ‘what ifs’ rolling around in my brain.
I didn’t know what we were going to do. The paranoid part of my mind kept wondering, If Kellan tracked Alice down to her place of work, was it possible he tracked her to our apartment, too? Our apartment had been a safe haven for Alice after her own place burned down. If she wasn’t secure here, with or without us, I was worried that she’d really lose it. A home was a place you could let your guard down, could feel defended against the outside world. I would probably lose my mind if Kellan showed up at our front door.
I couldn’t get his face out of my head. That hideous smugness about him, that air he carried around that pretty much screamed to the rest of the world I do what I want infuriated me. It was men like him that my gender had a bad name. I had no idea what he’d tried to do to Alice in the past, but I swore he wasn’t going to get to her again. Two close calls were more than enough.
I tried to get comfortable in bed, but my mind was restless. There was a pent-up energy inside me that begged me to double check the door locks, make sure the windows were sealed shut, maybe grab my old baseball bat out from the storage to keep by my side –just in case we received an unwelcome midnight visitor. I knew even before I closed my eyes that I was going to get very little sleep that night.
If I slept at all.
Max and Jeremy were very stern with me. I didn’t like the feeling of being ganged up on, but I could understand where they were coming from. They were obviously worried about me, and it warmed my heart to know just how much they cared. It took some convincing, but I finally agreed to stay home for the next couple of days –just until things calmed down. I had to call Wilma first thing in the morning to let her know that I wouldn’t be in.
“I’m sorry, I know things are already so crazy at work,” I said over the phone.
“Don’t you apologize, I totally get it,” she said. “If that jackass shows up again, I’ll be sure to call the police. Our surveillance camera above the till caught the whole encounter, so we can use that to support your claim.”
I sighed in relief. “Oh, good. That’s wonderful to hear.”
“You’re really lucky to have those hunks with you. I’m sorry I wasn’t more help.”
“Are you kidding? You ran out there with a cleaver. You more than helped. I’ll be sure to tell legends about you to my grandkids one day.”
Wilma hummed. “Well, that’s sweet of you to say. Take care of yourself. I hope to see you back at work very soon. And in one piece, okay?”
“Okay. Thank you. I’ll see you all later.”
I hung up the phone and slumped in my seat. I was sitting on the couch in front of the TV on the middle cushion. It was kind of a habit to sit in the middle now. I was so used to Max always choosing to be on my left, and Jeremy on my right. But today, I was alone. Neither Max or Jeremy could convince Chief Wilson to give them the day off, citing that several fires had broken out over their jurisdiction and fire department needed all the manpower they could get. They said it would be safer for now if I stayed home and out of the public. Too tired to argue, I agreed to their terms.