I’m trying with great difficulty not to let Kaiden’s ever watchful eyes freak me out as I devour the last of my grilled cheese sandwich. At Kaiden’s round table, he sits to my left. Why hadn’t he sat across from me? So awkward.
Even more awkward was the oppressive silence hanging over both of us because we were still on step one – food. I knew without looking at him, nary a word would be spoken until we were both done.
I drank the despicable glass of milk he’d given me just to end the torment.
(Side Note: Milk is not for drinking. It’s to make good food with, or ice cream. If it is not whole milk, I don’t even understand you people. BROKEN MILK? No! Whole Milk get in my ice cream now. TYVM)
“Why’d you drink that?” Kaiden instantly demanded as I set my empty glass down. I blinked.
“Uh, you gave it to me to drink?”
Kaiden glared, snatched the glass and my plate and stood up. “You don’t drink milk Ria!” he barked. Storming to the sink, he stowed the dishes and glasses, and turned, leaning back against the counter. “So why’d you drink it just now?”
I fought my urge to be a dick. “I was raised with manners Kaid. You’ve invited me into your home, cooked for me, I was taught you eat what the host puts down.” I told him. My internal dialog was more like “you don’t know, do ya fucka?” But I didn’t say that.
“Really?” Kaid pressed. “You never drank any milk I tried to offer you in Michigan, Ria?”
I fought the urge to be a hairy bitch. Swallowing back every retort I had, I spoke as gently as I could. “I am worried about you Kaid. I was trying not to stress you over milk. That’s all.”
Kaid’s jaw locked. Angry eyes glared at me. Instantly Kaid turned and quickly rinsed dishes, putting them in the dishwasher. I shot daggers at his back, with my eyes. From his hand washing position he called, “Do you want coffee? I’m making some.”
“Do atheists want a Christian God so they can cry out he doesn’t exist?” My standard reply did the trick, and despite his best efforts, a tiny smile graced his lips as he shook his head and began to make some coffee. Minutes later, a cup of blond and sweet coffee was sat down before me.
“Sorry about the milk thing.” was all Kaiden said. I nodded. Kaid backed up. One hand held his coffee mug, the other went through his hair. “I will prepend everything by saying, I can NOT believe you are here. Wow.”
Again, I smiled.
“I’ll also state that I’ve had a lot to deal with, on my mind, and very little sleep, and a lot of pain. I’m cranky Ria.” Kaid confessed. “No, I’m shitty.”
My smile faded. I nodded, not wanting to stop the fact he was finally talking.
Kaid’s eyes lifted. Out through the window his line of sight went as he inhaled deeply. “I’m not discussing medical issues for you or me tonight. I know you probably came for that very reason, but,” He paused and looked at me. “Not yet.”
I resisted arguing. Barely. “Okay.”
“I am mad as hell you’re here.” Kaid blurted out suddenly. Instantly, I saw first hand, his anger. I was shocked silent. “You’re going to be really pissed, but as much as I worried about your safety in Michigan, I had people in place watching over you so HE could not get to you Ria!”
I set down my cup. I was pissed. “What?”
Kaid’s free hand went to steady his cup between both palms as he glared at me. “Yes! I’ve been having you followed, watched, your place patrolled. Yes, I have. I can’t let that, that, that, sick bastard get you. By coming here you’ve opened yourself up to him Ria. What the hell were you thinking?”
I sprang up. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa…. you’re having me followed? Lemme tell ya something jacka….”
“I AM NOT A JACKASS!” Kaiden roared. “MY NAME IS KAIDEN!” Instantly my mouth slammed shut. Kaiden roared on. “I didn’t have anyone reporting to me what you were doing, I hired people to watch over you and keep you safe. That’s it. Not watch your every move and report it all to me. So cut the attitude, will you?”
My arms crossed my chest and I glared. I was seething. “You have no right!”
Kaiden snorted and set his coffee down. “I don’t need a right,” he said softly. “It’s already been done Ria.” His arms crossed his chest now too. “Now let’s talk security rules while you’re here.”
I pffft’d him and rolled my eyes. “Oh please My Lord do protect me.” I mocked.
Kaiden grinned. “Suck it up buttercup!” He spat back.
I reached for my cup, drew it to my lips, swore his death, by my hands, in my mind, at least ninety times and glared at him until I drank half the coffee down.
“No more Tweeting where you are or where your going. If we’re heading to the office, don’t tweet the office part. After the fact tweets, fine, but no more announcing where you are going. Got it?”
a slight nod.
“No wedding venue info shared on any damn social network. No blogging links to it either.”
“Since when do I blog links?” I barked.
“Ria I don’t know. I’m just telling you, we have got to be careful. With an event like our wedding, he can and will look for information and try to stop this Ria. If I have to break up with you in public on that Twitter to protect you, I’m doing it. So work with me on keeping information low key, or I take my own measures.”
I flung my hand up and let it slap my thigh. I shook my head no as I uttered “Fine”
Kaiden took one look at me and sighed. “Ria, I’m scared.”
Instantly all my self-righteous rage collapsed. I wanted to be angrier then hell at Kaiden, but couldn’t suddenly. “I know. Me too.” I admitted in a whisper. “We take extreme care on Twitter or my blog. Agreed.”
Kaiden softened his posture and tone. “Thank you.”
I could only manage an odd nod. “What else?”
“We need to talk Ria.” Kaid said softly. “Tomorrow? After the BBQ? We should be out of there by eight at the latest. We’re both exhausted.”
“Agreed.” I said, setting down my cup and sitting down. everything I wanted or came here for was on the do not list now. I felt rather defeated.
“I want to make a plan for what you’re to do should we get separated somehow and you are on your own in the city somewhere.” Kaid said, stepping to his chair. “I need to know you can get yourself to safety and stay put until I can get to you.”
“Awww Kaid, come on.” I begged. “Dude! I know you don’t know this really, but trust me when I say I can take care of myself, I know how to get safe.”
“I don’t trust that Ria.” Kaid said sitting down. “I don’t care what you say, there is a hell of a lot of difference between this whacko and your secret duty time. You can’t call in a napalm strike anymore.”
“They don’t use napalm anymore Kaid.’ I moaned.
Kaiden reached out and touched my hand as I picked at my cup handle. I looked up at him. “I need this Ria, please? For my peace of mind?”
Silently, I nodded. Then, with a sense of defeat I’ve not felt before and an odd humiliation I didn’t understand, I sat there and worked with Kaid on the Safety Rules. (Which I won’t expound on here.) By the end of the discussion, which I participated in very meagerly, but did listen to, I had three Safety Options Kaid would know to check should he ever become concerned for my well being. Kaid felt better. I felt stupid.
“Anything else?” I asked when it grew silent and I wanted to lay down because I felt so poorly. I knew Kaiden needed to lay down badly as well, so I wasn’t going to further any more discussion.
Kaiden looked up from the empty coffee cup he’d been looking into. “Can we try, tomorrow as we shop and for this BBQ, can we try to be us.” He asked quietly. “I know we need to talk. I know things might change due to those conversations, but until we talk, can we be ourselves?”
“Sure Kaid.” I automatically swore.
Tears sprang to his eyes as he stood up and grabbed my cup too. “Thanks,” He choked out. Two cups went into the dishwasher and Kaid closed it then flipped off the bright kitchen light. as soft darkness fell, his very quiet voice carried across the hardwood floors. “I really need my best friend right now Ria.”
Something inside of me snapped. I felt anguish but didn’t understand why, and I watched as he managed to quash tears, flip on another switch which turned on 3 tiny pendant lights, and he headed my way.
Kaid pushed in his chair and held a hand to me. Lightly, I touched his hand while standing up. Kaid spoke as we walked into his bedroom. “I don’t have a woobie Ria.”
I chuckled hearing him use my word for tiny little lap blankets that actually fit my body, thus were my regular standard blanket. He’d ragged on me for weeks about my woobie. (It’s really ratty) but Kaiden also knew, without the woobie, any woobie, sleep typically didn’t come. Sheets, Blankets, Comforters, anything standard sized often left me feeling so trapped, I’d be frenzied ball of nerves by morning.
I crawled onto what was typically my side of the bed and slid under his duvet and sheets. “I’m too tired to care Kaid.” I promised as I spotted his worried expression in the darkness.
“We could run to walmart.” He said standing beside his bed.
“Dude, too tired to care. now get in the damn bed.” I chided as I flumped down on his feather pillows. Kaiden ignored my little nesting routine, and sat down, then eventually laid back, getting comfortable as possible while lying flat on his back. Curled up so I faced the other direction, I actually turned and looked, concerned, because normally he curled up behind me.
“My back won’t tolerate anything more than this.” He said as he felt, more then saw me look at him. I rolled over gently.
“I didn’t realize it was so bad. I’m sorry.”
“No medical talk Ria. Just get some sleep okay?” Kaid said with his eyes closed. My heart flip flopped. This was so unlike him. I shifted until I was close enough to reach out and put my hand on his upper arm. Without opening his eyes, he smiled. Kaid had the hand from the upper arm I touched, lying on the flat of his stomach, and his other hand tucked behind his head.
As I watched him lift one foot to cross his ankles, I spied his wincing. I noted the odd, unfluidic manner he shifted his hips, grimacing until a spot of quasi comfort was found. That’s when I knew Kaid’s back was really bad. I didn’t even catch myself scooting closer, until I rested my cheek on his upper-arm, over my already placed hand. “Can I help you somehow?” I whispered. “I can sleep in the other room so I don’t hurt you.”
His hand untucked from behind his head and swung over so he could touch my cheek. He never moved his head, nor opened his eyes. “Shhhh sleep.” he said as he brushed away my hair from my cheek. As he laid his hand down atop his other on his stomach my tears started to fall. The moment they hit his skin, Kaid moved his arm I laid upon.
“Come’re, shhhhh, come on.” Kaid cooed as he tucked me against his body. I protested, my tears falling faster now. I don’t want to touch him or hurt him, but somehow he pulls against his chest, tucking his long arm behind me. His hand finds my hip and he drops a single kiss to the top of my head.
“Right now we are okay. We’re safe. We’re not yelling. We’re not Tweeting. We’re sleeping. Shhhhhhhh” He told me with a serene smile. “Come on Ria, sleep with me. shhhhh.”
I protested no more. I struggled and managed to stop my tears, and I laid as still as possible trapped under the heavy duvet, protected in his arms. And when the tell tale signs of his breathing and heartbeat told me Kaiden had at last fallen into slumber, I let my tears rain down upon him.