money counting machine

Just For Tonight | Part 2

Jason could see her head pop behind the threshold of his office in his peripheral. He only spared her an eye flicker, trying to concentrate on the work he had in front of him. But she lingered, slithering herself through the door frame. Jason fidgeted with a homeless pen top, eyes slowly trailing up her body. She wore a pristine, white summer dress that hugged her torso, fanning out into soft, sheer layers that flowed with delicacy against her brown skin. Her hair was pulled back, sparing neatly placed baby hairs across her forehead. A hesitant, shy smile graced her lips as she got closer, making his heart bleed roses. She embodied freshness and poise that made her glow. She resembled an angel that God sent out into the world by accident. She was beautiful, undeniably beautiful, and he adverted his eyes back to his computer screen nervously, cheeks reddening and heart pulsing beneath his ribcage.

“Hi, Jason,” she said, voice soft and kind on his ears.

“Uh, hi Y/N,” he mumbled, leg beginning to bounce up and down where he sat.

“I just thought that maybe you wanted some cookies.” She pulled out Tupperware containing a dozen macadamia nut cookies. “You know, since you’ve been in here since midnight, I think.”

She placed the container on the edge of his desk where he caught a glimpse of her dainty, manicured fingers. His decorous behavior wavered in the mist of her presence and has been since the night they cuddled. He remembered waking up warm beneath her gentle breaths and curly hair. She managed to slide on top of him throughout the night with her head in his neck and arms tucked beneath his torso. He had one arm around her waist and the other over her shoulders, holding her close to him. He shamelessly savored the moment to at least remember what she smelled like as the scent of the bed began to overpower her jasmine body spray. He couldn’t recall ever feeling so safe, especially in the arms of someone he supposedly didn’t like.

His gaze followed up her arm and onto her shoulder where it then met her eyes. He could barely see her brown hues flinch as that smile returned onto her lips again. She nudged her head to the side, looking down at the cookies.

“Yeah, so, I don’t know if you even like macadamia nut cookies like that, but they’re here if you get hungry.”

His eyes stayed put and she dared to match his intensity, but Jason couldn’t pinpoint what was going through his mind to even know what this intensity measured up to. He just knew that she was in his office offering him cookies and looking absolutely perfect while doing it.

She awkwardly darted her eyes across the room. “Uh, so, yeah,” she mumbled, scratching the back of her head. “I guess I’ll leave you to it then.”

Jason suddenly snapped out of his trance at the sight of her leaving and sat up straight in his chair, forcefully scooting himself closer to his desk. “Uh, um, thanks for the cookies,” he said, which made her look back at him. “I, uh, really appreciate it.” He wanted to smile to at least show her he meant what he said, but he couldn’t find the right muscles in his lips to do so. She nodded her head once before disappearing, leaving a subtle hint of her perfume behind.

Jason eyes fell upon the cookies before reaching his tatted arm across his paperwork to get them. He tore the top off and flung it onto the floor, not even noticing he did as he picked up the cookie. He bit into it, letting his wet tongue soften the crumbly surface. He groaned in response, slouching down into his seat and lying his head back.

He was half way finished when Y/B/N barged through the door, eyes piercing Jason’s, fists anchoring at his sides. Jason scrambled in his spot as if enjoying Y/N’s cookies wasn’t something that he was suppose to be doing.

“C'mon, bro,” Y/B/N said, getting the huge duffle bag out of the corner and hauling it over his shoulder. “If I get one more call from G asking about the money we owe him, I’m gonna drive a screwdriver through my skull.”

Jason immediately got up, following Y/B/N out into the hallway. “Does he know we even have it?”

“I told him we’ll meet up with him at his house, but he really wasn’t tryna hear that.” And that was understandable to Jason. They’d been blowing G off for two weeks now and finally Jason managed to collect all the revenue. He didn’t understand how G could give him so many stacks to sell and expect it to be done within a week’s time. It just wasn’t possible, but spending long nights putting in work paid off and he even got rewarded for it, curtesy to Y/N’s cookies.

He thought about her on the way over to G’s place, even though his mind was racing with numerous thoughts about how angry G was gonna be. He wanted to be with her right now. They didn’t have to talk, or even look at one another. Simply basking in her presence was enough to hold him over.

But he was here with Y/B/N, approaching the large mansion that G owned. He could already sense the tension even before he got out of the car. The usual goons G had standing outside were there as they were suppose to be, but there wasn’t any smiles or greetings. In fact, they avoided eye contact as Jason and Y/B/N walked inside. They both sauntered into G’s office, catching his attention. His non existing eyebrows rose while he intertwined his fingers, leaning back into his chair.

His eyes lit up when Y/B/N threw the bag on his desk.

“There,” Jason said, “Every dime is there including interest.”

G didn’t say anything, giving it to one of his henchmen who then started placing the money in a counting machine. G smirked up at the two boys. “I want to show you two something.”

G pulled out his iPad, turning away from the both of them so they could see the screen. He began face timing Eric, one of his favorite men. He’s the one that does the dirty work for G, so seeing that he was face timing him struck up a bad feeling in the pit of Jason’s stomach. He side glanced Y/B/N the moment Eric picked up the phone.

“Flip the camera around,” G told him and Jason immediately recognized the scenery. Eric was inside his home, standing beneath the Romeo and Juliet balcony. The first thing that came to Jason’s mind was Y/N. Sweet, innocent and blameless Y/N was in the mist of someone who’s killed, attacked and tortured people just for the sake of being able to.

Jason’s fingers trembled at his sides while his muscles began to crumble beneath his cold skin. He let out a shaky breath, and he couldn’t decipher from what: anxiousness that tore up his heart or the bottomless anger that spread feverishly across his moistening skin. No matter what it may have been, Jason knew one thing that made his soul leave his body: He wasn’t there to protect her. Eric can do whatever he desired to her and Jason wouldn’t be qualified to stop him in time, even if G let them go right now. Jason stood there hopeless, leering at the iPad he wished he could break into pieces.

A bat, metal and shiny, smashed against the pictures that hung on the wall. Eric couldn’t use all of his force because he was only using one of his hands, but still, the rain of shards went tumbling down to the ground creating smaller pieces. Anything that he saw, he broke. Some things like big furniture pieces didn’t move, but other things (Y/N’s few decorations) hit against the hardwood floor, destroyed just in a matter of seconds.

“Ooh, that looks extremely expensive,” G teased. He then turned towards the boys and placed the iPad flat against his desk, eyes switching between it and them. “Next time have my money on time and things like this won’t happen,” he shrugged, holding an amused look on his face.

Jason’s stomach tightened when Eric started up the stairs. He could hear the faint taps of the bat hitting against the staircase and only hoped that Eric wouldn’t go wandering into Y/N’s room. He couldn’t bare the thought of him touching her, let alone abusing her.

“Alright, G, we have the money. You don’t need to keep going,” Y/B/N stressed.

“Let’s see what’s in those rooms,” G laughed, clasping his wrinkly, stubby hands together, completely disregarding Y/B/N. In fact, Eric went inside Y/B/N’s room first. His room was already disoriented. Clothes scattered around, bed not made and numerous gadgets and miscellaneous things were on the floor. Eric didn’t care as he let out a loud guffaw, something similar to Chucky’s, while he smashed everything in his sight. When he was finished, he was breathing hard. “Next,” G said and he immediately trotted out of the dismantled room to across the hall.

Jason didn’t care what Eric did to his room, which was the polar opposite to Y/B/N’s. Everything was clean, right down to the nooks and crannies. And despite what G think he’s doing by allowing Eric to act like the Neanderthal that he is, everything he was smashing was replaceable. Jason could buy everything back today if he wanted. What wasn’t replaceable was Y/N. If she was harmed, she would never be the same. She wouldn’t even trust her own brother, let alone be in the same vicinity as Jason ever again and that made his heart flutter out of place. He liked having her around and didn’t want it to go back to how it used to be between them.

Eric sauntered out of Jason’s room, probably leaving it more distraught than he did Y/B/N’s. Jason’s eyes briefly closed when Eric spotted the door at the end of the hallway. He put his bat up in the camera’s view and waved it in circular motions before making his way towards Y/N’s bedroom. He didn’t bust through it like he did the other two bedrooms. He opened the door cautiously, his hand sliding closer and closer to the hinges. G’s eyes brightened when he saw how putridly pink it was inside.

“My goodness,” he spoke, “it looks like fairy godmother done threw up in there.”

Jason’s fingernails pulsed inside his sweaty palms. So far, Y/N was nowhere in sight, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t find her. It was only a matter of time, like a ticking time bomb, until she ascended like an angel who encounters hell for the first time.

Eric smashed everything as Jason suspected and for the first time he wondered where Y/N was instead of worrying that Eric will see her. Out of all the noise in the house, she would’ve wanted to know what it was, considering how curious she is. But she wasn’t there, not even in her en-suite.

“G, I think I hear police sirens,” Eric shouted just as he was about to rummage her bed. “Yeah, it’s them. The sirens are getting closer.”

“Well, what are you waiting for? Get out of there!” G shouted. He hardly did that. The only thing that could spook him that bad was the police, and Jason really hoped that Eric would get caught just so it could get under G’s skin, but that was the least of Jason’s concerns. He wanted to get back to the house and find Y/N, wherever she was.

“Are we done here?” Jason seethed, muscle still tight and his eyes squinting at the short, bald man.

“G, they exceeded their quota. There’s more money in here than what to do with!” One of his henchman said, letting out a chuckle in disbelief.

G leered back at Jason and started at him longer than he needed to. “Yeah, I guess we are. But Y/B/N, I want to talk some business with you. Stay back a while.”

Y/B/N wanted to deny, but instead dapped Jason up, holding him to his chest. “Make sure my sister is alright, man.” Jason nodded and left G’s house, hoping to not see the mansion or G again for a little while.

Jason whipped his car into the driveway, barely missing Y/B/N’s Hummer. The front door was held open with Eric’s silver bat, left as some sort of trademark. Jason wanted to be angry; wanting to feel his blood boiling beneath the surface, but he didn’t have enough courage. “Y/N!” He bellowed, walking into the wrecked house that looked far worse in person than it did on the iPad. He stepped over all the debris and skipped two steps at a time up to the second floor. He checked all of their rooms, including the ones that Eric didn’t smash up and still he could not find Y/N.

Then it hit him: the exact reason he found a rose incrusted ruby ring on the floor of his basement a week ago.

Jason stomped down the steps to his basement, his heart dropping at what he saw. A surprised looking Y/N balled up against the wall in one of his hoodies, headphones stuck in her ears. From where he stood he could hear the music blaring, which was probably the reason she couldn’t hear what was happening upstairs. She took them out upon seeing him, squeezing his hoodie tighter to her body.

“I can explain,” she said. “It’s just you were gone and your basement is really comfy and it smells like you so I just—and I’m gonna be honest—took it upon myself to come down here and invade your space and privacy and I’m sorry—”

Jason came to where she was and scooted close to her on the bed. He snaked his arms around her waist and buried his head in her neck. “It’s alright,” he said. “I’m not mad at you.” He then took her hands and wrapped it around his neck and pulled her leg over him until she was straddling him. He wrapped his arms back around her and leaned against the wall where she previously was. “I’m just glad you’re okay.”

Then he realized why he felt so safe in her arms. She brought an aura of normality to him. When he’s close to her, there is no such thing as guns or drug dealing or gangs or a man named G. When he’s in her arms, he thinks about things like going to the movies or to the park; the idea of marriage and growing a family. He’s never been in a stable environment, but with her he feels like he’s home. That’s why it felt so good when she was sleeping soundly on top of him or even now as she lied her head against his chest.

He lifted up her chin so that she could look at him. “I’m never gonna let anyone get close enough to hurt you.” She only smiled at him and Jason engraved that promise into his heart, smiling back at her. Then, ever so gently, he kissed her.

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