I tried to keep busy around the apartment. This was my chance to really help the guys out. They were always so accommodating that they never really let me do any chores. Since they were going to be out all day fighting fires, I thought I’d repay their kindness by tidying up. Besides, I needed the distraction. I vacuumed the carpeted living room area, swept the wooden floorboards in the hallway, and mopped the tiles in the kitchen. I even dusted the venetian blinds, washed and folded the laundry, and dared to tackle scrubbing the toilet in the shared bathroom. I even tidied up my room, though I was spending most of my nights in either Jeremy or Max’s bed.
It didn’t take long before the boredom set in. I was one of those restless types, someone who constantly needed to be on the move or keeping my mind active. Otherwise, a build up of energy begin to trickle down into my body, leaving me way too hyper with way too little to do. I haphazardly lay down on the couch, flicked on the television and surfed the channels. It was the middle of the day, so there wasn’t really anything interesting on. Nothing but cheesy soap operas and mid-day infomercials targeted at seniors.
“Are you tired of burning your eggs? Try, Eggsellent!”
“Tell me, how exactly does it work, Bob?”
“Well, Sarah, it’s–”
I sighed and muted the television. The lights of the images splashed across my face and up above me on the ceiling where I picked a spot to stare at. There was a circular white fire alarm above my head, the little indication light glowing a steady green. I started to wonder what Max and Jeremy were up to. I hoped they were being safe. I was confident that they were watching each other’s backs through both thick and thin. I still worried, though. It was impossible not to.
Sometimes, I would dream that I was still stuck in my apartment, flames surrounding me on all sides. I didn’t know how Max and Jeremy did it every day, storming head first into danger knowing that they could be seriously hurt or even killed. I would be devastated if I learned one of them got hurt and had to be taken to the hospital. I was already feeling so guilty about how they put themselves in harms way when they stood up to Kellan for me. But this wasn’t the first time they’d protected me. Back at the bar, rescuing me from the far, from that biker so many nights ago. Max and Jeremy were always putting themselves at risk for me. I just couldn’t understand why they’d go to such lengths for me.
I was really starting to fall for them. A part of me knew that I was already deeply in love, but I couldn’t find the right time to tell them. They were strong, capable men who cared about me. Jeremy was funny beyond belief, knew exactly how to hold me. Max was more on the serious side, but when I spoke, I got the sense that he hung off of my every word and made me feel appreciated and wanted. I know it must have been a little odd for them at first to share me, but our living arrangement was working out really well. For the first time in a long time, I was happy. Truly, unarguably happy. They were so much fun to be around, they took care of me, they satisfied me in ways I didn’t even know I could be satisfied. I didn’t know what our futures had in store for us, but at the very least I knew that we could tackle it together as one.
I must have dozed off at some point because the next thing I remembered was the warmth of Max’s strong arms. He must have just come home from work because he still smelled a little bit like burning wood. I gripped at his shirt and yawned, curling into him in search of more warmth. We were still sitting on the couch, the television turned way down. The channel had been switched to the news, a serious anchorwoman sitting behind a large wooden desk relaying us the latest happenings of the world.
“Hey, sleepyhead,” Max chuckled, kissing me on the top of my head.
I snapped to in an instant. Something wasn’t right here.
Someone was missing.
“W-where’s Jeremy?” I asked, voice choking off at the end as a sudden panic gripped at my stomach. “Is he okay? Where–”
Max cupped my face and kissed me sweetly on the lips. “It’s okay,” he said after pulling away. “He’s just grabbing something from the car.”
Even though I heard his words, my racing pulse didn’t ease. I held Max close and tried to take an even breath.
“Are you alright, Alice?”