When I open my eyes it's to the waning dark, as hints of coral and lavender begin to infiltrate the sky to signify morning and the trees crowd close outside the windows. Yellow walls. A soft pastel shade I chose myself and it's been a long time since I woke up in this room. I can't hear a sound. I close my eyes and almost fall asleep again as his arms tighten around me, pulling me back in close from where his hold had loosened in his sleep.
He ducks his head down against the back of my neck, his lips press against my skin and his breath is cool. He chuckles softly and my eyes fly open.
Oh, fuck, PJ. What time is it?
Time to go back to sleep. Until you hear noise on this level you don't have to get up.
There will be a witch hunt for me.
They know where you are. Go back to sleep, Bridget.
What did you tell them?
Uhh..I told them what happened? That you fell asleep watching Chef's Table with me because pretension makes you groggy and I was going to keep you here until you woke up on your own. Because really, between the pills Loch puts in your food and the ones Caleb puts in your drinks it's a wonder you can ever walk a straight line.
I pull the covers up over my head. This is embarrassing. And also deeply comforting. PJ is a giant teddy bear with his long heavy metal hair, big shoulders and kind eyes. He's the figurative alpha. Absolutely no one ever crosses him or has even tried. Not Caleb, not Cole. Not Jacob. Not Loch. No one fucks with PJ, he's earned our respect a thousand times over.
This might change that though.
What actually happened?
What the fuck do you mean?
PJ. I'm trying for casual offhandedness and it comes out bewildered. Strangled. Panicky. I point to the chair in the corner by the closet. Those are my clothes, right? Over there? Not actually on me?
He gets up (at least SOMEONE remained dressed) and goes over to the chair, picks everything up and tosses it all on the bottom of the bed. I'm going to go start some coffee. You can stay as long as you like. He winks and shoots an imaginary gun at me and turns to leave.
PJ. You leave this room and I'm never speaking to you again!
Aw, come on, Bridge. I just remembered that you don't like clothes on when you sleep so I figured you'd be more comfortable without them. I should have put a shirt or something on you. I didn't think it was a big deal. Well, I didn't. Until I saw..Uh. Want coffee?
Nothing. You've ah...got a lot more tattoos since we had our weekend together.
That was seven years ago, Peej. And you've seen me in a bathing suit since then. Multiple times.
Yep. That's a long time. I mean...up close.
Almost a decade, I suppose.
Did you cop any feels?
Yes, ma'am. I couldn't help myself.
All of them. You think Ben or Lochlan will kill me first, before the other resurrects me to kill me again?
They won't mind. It's you.
You can get away with things no one else can. You're untouchable. Invaluable.
Oh, you tell me that NOW. Would have been nice to know that yesterday.
I know. I'm grossing myself out right now. Get out of my bed and dressed. It's your turn to make scrambled eggs. And I can't believe I just said that. Who tells you to get out of their bed? I must be unwell. Maybe you should make the coffee too. Or just stay here. Don't leave. We'll order out.
To drive home his point he pushes all my clothes off the bed onto the floor where I can't reach them.
PJ, give me those.
You can get them.
I'm not getting out of this bed with you here.
Then I have won the day.
(Update: Internet outrage continues on. Christ, people. Stop emailing me to yell about PJ now. I told you a decade ago that the affection levels in my house are neither appropriate nor normal. Kind of like me. That's why no one here on the point is surprised, but everyone off the point is.)