READ THIS, THEN GOOGLE ‘THE SILVER MASK AUDIOBOOK’ AND GET TO THE PENGUIN WEBSITE. THEY HAVE THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES OF THE GUY READING THE SILVER MASK, AND THAT’S WHERE I GOT THIS SUMMARY FROM. TSM’S PRETTY COOL. AND TERRIFYING.
Power over death is the ultimate power.
A generation ago, Constantine Madden came close to achieving what no magician had ever achieved: the ability to bring back the dead. He didn’t succeed … but he did find a way to keep himself alive, inside a young child named Callum Hunt.
Now Call is one of the most feared and reviled students in the history of the Magisterium, thought to be responsible for a devastating death and an ever-present threat of war. As a result, Call has been imprisoned and interrogated. Everyone wants to know what Constantine was up to — and how he lives on.
But Call has no idea.
It is only when he’s broken out of prison that the full potential of Constantine’s plan is suddenly in his hands … and he must decide what to do with his power.
In this spellbinding fourth book of Magisterium, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take us beyond the realm of the living and into the dangers of the dead.
Chapter 1 - Can A Man And Woman Ever Be Just Friends?
Disclaimer: Hello everyone! This is the first chapter to the series prequel of The Thing Is… I Love You. This work is purely fictional - any mentions of real persons or events are coincidental. Please read, reblog and enjoy :).
Sprawled against the warm leather of the car, I watched as the raindrops slid slowly down the window. We hadn’t been on the road long, a mere fifteen minutes, but it was already pouring. The rain was so thick I could barely see past the glass. At this point though, I didn’t care. I was exhausted.
I was coming straight home from the 2014 Golden Globes. It went about in the most spectacular fashion. From the glittering parade of designer gowns to the prestigious awards, the night didn’t disappoint. Although I’d established a solid acting career, I didn’t feel like one of the ‘elite’. I was still the young girl from Louisville, Kentucky.
As the car stopped briefly at an intersection, I found myself reflecting on the event. The first category they presented was the award for Best Supporting Actress. I was so deeply engrossed in staring wide eyed at my favourite actress Meryl Streep that I almost didn’t hear my name being called over the microphone. I blinked, glancing around the table in confusion.
Nick had squeezed my waist, leaning close so he could whisper in my ear. “Go on, babe, you’re up. You’ve won.”
He kissed me very briefly, surprising me, before giving my butt a gentle pat. Too bewildered to even object, I hitched up the skirts of my white tulle Dior gown and clumsily made for the stage. As I walked, several hands patted me on the back. My heart stopped when Meryl Streep herself pulled me aside, her feather-light fingers brushing my bare shoulder as she whispered her congratulations.
My hands shook as I slowly climbed the steps. No way in hell would I let last year’s spectacular fall happen again.
A beaming Tom Hanks pressed the small yet heavy Golden Globe into my hands. I stuttered my thanks as Sandra Bullock, THE Sandra Bullock, kissed my cheek. Clutching the globe tightly, I addressed the audience.
“Wow. Uh, thank you so much for this.” I suddenly became very aware of how breathless my voice sounded. “God, I don’t know why I’m shaking but yeah, um, thank you so much. I wanna thank David O. Russell, you’re a brilliant man in so many ways.”
The crowd was filled with several smiling faces; all of which telegraphed genuine pride. I paused for a second, collecting my thoughts. I knew at least half the room, having only interacted with the other half in passing.
My heart beat along to a strange rhythm. I was euphoric, literally on cloud nine. And yet, I knew something was missing. Or more accurately, someone.
“Uh, I wanna thank my family, my team. I would not be up here without you guys. Aargh. Who else? OH yeah! I wanna thank my fellow nominees, it’s such an honour to even be nominated with you. I am inspired by your work so thank you.”
I swallowed, hoping I could inject some much needed volume into my voice. “Oh god, I’m still shaking! Seriously, please don’t do this again. It’s freaking scary.” I say breathlessly as the crowd roared with laughter. I held up my Globe in gratitude as music echoed across the great hall.
Miss Golden Globe, a pretty young lady whose face I didn’t recognise, led me briskly from the stage, escorting me to the press room. I blinked rapidly, eyes watering; almost blinded by the lights. Journalists were clamouring, like angry bees, taking my picture, hurling questions in my direction.
“Jennifer! Hold it up for us!”
“Smile, this is for People Magazine!”
“You look gorgeous, Jennifer!”
“How do you feel about winning the first award of the night?!”
“Tell us about your acceptance speech. Are you really still that nervous?”
I felt the adrenaline recede from my system as I shuffle slowly along the platform towards the microphone. Flushed from my speech, I spotted my assistant and friend, Justine, lurking in the corner. She beamed at me, hands outstretched, preparing hold the Globe while I addressed the press.
Acquiescing almost immediately, I passed the little marble-gold award to her, then turned to face the media. I narrowed my eyes, squinting against the blinding glare of the cameras. “I’m sorry. Could you please repeat the question?”
“Oh, tell us about your speech. Are you still really that nervous about talking in front of crowds?”
I felt a momentary stab of irritation as I glanced down at the young woman who posed the question. She held a silver iPad in her hands but it wasn’t the gadget that captured me. It was the badge on her lapel; the yellow E! embossed in a gold circle.
The gossip channel held no attraction for me, it never really did. A derisive laugh escaped my lips. They saw me as an actress; not an actual human being who suffered from the occasional stage fright.
“Yeah, I mean, talking in front of a big group of people is nerve wracking.” I say petulantly. “Especially when the people watching you are your favourite actors. People you’ve admired since you were a little kid.”
Luckily, they didn’t detect the obvious petulance in my tone. Eager to coax more answers from me, they scrambled among themselves, debating on who should ask me next. I shuffled my feet restlessly, waiting.
“Jennifer, you’ve had a stellar award season so far. Firstly, congratulations. Second, what do you plan on doing after? Do you have a post-ceremony relaxation routine?”
“Well uh, I dunno. I’ll probably catch up on my drinking. There’s so much alcohol there callin’ my name, you know what I mean?” I laugh, longingly picturing the glass of champagne I’d left, still full, sitting on the table.
“Do you have any other projects in the works right now? Projects which could attract the same Oscar buzz?”
“Yes I do, although I don’t know if the 'Oscar buzz’ part is true. I’m shooting the last Hunger Games movie which has been split into two parts. But we’re filming it in one whole bunch so yeah, very busy.”
“Has the film been disrupted because of the awards?”
“No, I don’t think so.” I frown, biting my lip. Production was currently on a two week break to accommodate the hectic awards season. We were still based in Atlanta and had at least another six weeks there before moving overseas.
“Okay, ah, how do you see your future in the film industry? Is directing a movie something you’d consider later on?”
“Definitely. I’d do directing at some point, yeah. But I’m still a newbie at this stuff so I think I’ll keep learning for awhile. I’ve worked with incredible directors so I’m learning a lot from them.” I reply cheerfully; Francis’ face was vivid in my mind.
“Jennifer, over here! To your right.”
I started shuffling in the opposite direction before bursting into laughter. “Oh my god, you said right and I went the other way. Hah. Anyway, I’m sorry. Interrupt me quick!”
“You were at the Governor’s Ball last year, your family was there too. They were having more than you celebrating backstage.”
“Because they didn’t have to go through this. It’s hilarious. I really miss them though. I don’t know what they’re doing now so I’m gonna call em’ right after the press thing.”
“As a young actress, how do you stay grounded?”
“Family. They’d stop me before I get my head stuck up my own ass. Plus, I have a group of really good friends. Friends I’ve known for a long time..” Despite my lighthearted remark, I felt my heart clench painfully. I guess I’d be lying if I didn’t wish he was here too.
Amidst the rapid-fire interrogation, I thought of my loved ones. My family. Throughout my career, they’d remained steadfast in their support for me. This was the first awards ceremony they couldn’t attend. My parents. My two older brothers. I missed them all and wished, more than anything, that they were standing here there beside me.
When the press conference concluded, I slowly made my way back to the great hall. Nick was enjoying himself, deeply engrossed in an avid discussion with Amy. He kissed me briefly when I got back, then resumed his conversation. I sat down, fingers curled around the champagne glass, feeling a bit lonely.
The rest of the night passed by quickly. I watched esteemed actors win well deserved accolades. I didn’t stop acting like an obsessed fan all night, somehow neglecting my costars as I stalked my favourite actors. When the event concluded however, I was strangely relieved.
Nick didn’t stay long; he was flying out early the next day to attend the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. So he bundled me up in the town car, still wearing his black blazer. The blazer had since been clumsily folded up and put away.
It was still pouring outside. Sheets upon sheets of rain pelted the window, obscuring the glass, making clear vision difficult. From what I could see though, the roads were still wet. There was barely any vehicles on the road, save the limousine, traffic was almost non-existent.
The car pulled into my street, cruising slowly past the darkened houses until it parked beside front gate of my condo. I didn’t live here alone, I shared the apartment with Justine. I couldn’t find her after the backstage press conference at the Globes; for some reason, she’d disappeared.
Don, the driver, flitted to my side, kindly offering his arm as I climbed awkwardly out of the vehicle. He held a large black umbrella over our heads as we approached the gate. Through it all, I didn’t stop talking, thanking him for being my chaperone.
“No problem, Miss Jennifer.” He smiled, somehow reminding me of my father. “Please don’t apologise. It’s an honour for me to escort you. Plus, it’s raining. You wouldn’t want your lovely dress to get wet.”
“Okay, if you say so.” I reply, shuddering in the cold. “Thank you again. I hope you didn’t wait too long. The awards show took forever.” I dig through the silver purse for my keys. “I can take it from here. Go home, it’s late, your family’s probably waiting up for you.”
“Are you sure, Miss? I can wait if there’s no one at home..”
“Very sure.” I smiled warmly at him. I paid him handsomely, making sure I added a generous tip. He waited until I was safely inside before departing. Such a lovely gentleman. Definitely a father.
I clambered up the steps of the front porch, slowly; gritting my teeth as I concentrated on not slipping in my sky high Louboutins. I peeked through the window, seeing that it was dark inside. So Justine wasn’t home.. Oh well, maybe there’s still time for a pizza.
The lights flickered on all at once as I pushed open the door. I let out a high pitched shriek, clutching my chest as my family members came into sharper focus, screaming the word 'surprise’. I laughed through my tears as several sets of arms embraced me.
My mom, Karen, was the first to claim me. She looked younger than her fifty one years, her golden hair shining. She peppered my face with kisses, the way only a mother could. “Surprise!” She cried. “Congratulations, darling. We are so proud of you.”
“Oh my god, I didn’t know you guys would be here! When did this happen?”
“Well it wouldn’t be a surprise if we told you, now would it?” My father Gary’s blue eyes, so like mine, twinkled mischievously. He folded me into his arms for a tight bear hug. “We landed in LA this afternoon, booked a room at a hotel downtown.”
“Really? Oh my god, you guys should’ve told me. There’s plenty of room here.”
“Yes but like Dad says, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we told you.” My eldest brother, Blaine, teased. He ruffled my pixie cut, easily avoiding the punch I aimed at him. “Congrats, little sister. You look nice!”
“Thanks, bro. Where’s Meredith and Bear? Are they here too?”
“No, they’re in Louisville. They couldn’t make it but they wish they could be here. I know Bear misses his Aunt Jen.”
“Aw, well I miss him too.” I say, thinking of my cherubic, golden haired nephew. He was five years old and already a precocious child.
“Look who it is, it’s Bambi!” My brother Ben crowed, nudging me playfully in the ribs. Ever since I tripped at the Oscars in 2013, he’d taken to calling me 'Bambi’, which I secretly liked but never admitted out loud. “I saw what you did to Taylor Swift. Interrupting her, how dare you?”
“Hey, I was joking around!” I protested indignantly. “Come on, she found it funny. Plus she was very sweet about it.”
“Considering the last time we talked to her, you fangirled so much, you freaked her out.” A familiar voice teased. My heart thumped to a strange, irregular rhythm at the sound. I turned, slowly.
I’d know that voice anywhere.
There he was, standing beside my brother, hazel eyes gleaming. He wore his favourite black leather jacket and a pair of matching motorcycle gloves. He was still devastatingly handsome but it wasn’t his obvious good looks that captured my attention. It was the warm smile on his face.
“JOSH!” I shrieked joyfully, flinging myself at him. He wrapped his arms around my waist, holding me close. He even smelled the same; like cinnamon. The tears started again, mingling with my laughter. “JOSHY! OH MY GOD! What are you doing here?!”
“Hey beautiful. I wanted to surprise you. Congratulate you on your award.” He chuckled, planting a kiss on my forehead. “I’m so proud of you!”
I beamed at him. “Thanks. Holy shit. I actually can’t believe you’re here! I didn’t think you’d be in LA right now.”
“Me neither. I flew in from Madrid and was going to go straight ahead to Union but then I thought I’d stop by.”
Oh, Madrid. My heart clenched painfully again. Better shut that door. He was here now. It’s all that matters.
“Don’t cry, you. It’s your big night.” Josh chided gently, brushing away my tears. “Besides, I ordered a late night feed for everyone. Feel like some good old Pizza Hut?”
“GOD YES.” I started marching towards the kitchen as fast as my dress would allow when suddenly my mother’s voice stopped me in my tracks. I turned sheepishly, catching her stern gaze.
“Jen, change. You don’t want pizza toppings all over that gown, now do you? Go now. We’re still gonna be here by the time you finish.” She said briskly, giving me a slight push in the opposite direction. “Actually, you might need help unzipping the dress. Come on, I’ll go with you.”
With no other choice, I marched up the stairs, my mother trailing behind. In my bedroom, I quickly singled out my favourite sweatpants and Louisville High sweatshirt. My mom held me by my shoulders, spinning me round until her soft fingers found the zipper.
I waited impatiently as she unzipped the dress, somehow reminded of my years as a teenager in Kentucky. After every prom, every high school dance, this was something my mom did, no matter how old I got. It was the way we talked. She’d ask me if it went well, whether I had a good time. Being the only women in the family; we shared a close bond.
Living a few states apart made me appreciate my mother’s presence even more. Once I was out of the dress, she stayed to replace it back in its plastic sheath, smoothing the folds until all the creases were out. I quickly changed into my sweatpants while she hung the dress on a hook by the door.
“Thanks for helping me out, Momma.” I say affectionately, carefully removing the Neil Lane earrings. “I missed you a lot. You know, this reminded me so much of prom. Do you remember?”
“How could I forget, honey?” She smiled fondly at me. “You’re as beautiful now as you were back then. Now I’m not just saying that because I’m your mother.”
“Yeah, I know. So how did you guys get here? Did Justine swing by to pick you up?”
“No, actually Josh did. He got in touch with her, I guess. When he did swing by, he told us he was ordering pizza, in case we were hungry.” The look in my mother’s eyes was unmistakeable. It was a look of pride, wistfulness.
“He’s great.” I say honestly. “I actually can’t believe he did all this for me.”
“Well, sweetie, he’s got a big heart. Like you. Now come on, otherwise they might eat all the pizza. And we sure as hell can’t let that happen.” She winked at me playfully, making me laugh as we descended down the stairs.
Sure enough, we found the boys playfully squabbling over the pizza. At least my brothers anyway. Josh was sitting with my dad, trash talking one of his favourite teams, the Louisville Cardinals. It was something they often did, something that made my father see him as another surrogate son.
I sat down beside my best friend, pulling the box of cheese pizza towards me. I dug into it without hesitation, nibbling on the delicious crust. “You’re not really insulting the Cardinals, are you? They’re on pretty good form at the moment, aren’t they Dad?”
“Well I think it’s time they change coaches.” Josh said, raising an eyebrow. “In basketball anyway. They gotta knock the number ones off the leader board at some point. Come on, I can’t even remember the last time the Cards won a championship.”
“Twenty thirteen, mind you.” My dad retorted playfully. “Since 1982, the Cards have been in the top five. You weren’t even born then, son, so you wouldn’t know.”
“Oh no he didn’t..” I teased in singsong as my brothers laughed.
“Yeah well, the Cats are gonna kick ass this season. I know they will. They’ve recorded over 1700 wins. AND they’re two time National Champions. I mean, granted this was back in '62. Nick Van Exel was a graduate from Cincinnati, he’s been coaching the Texas Legends since forever. We got Cats champions in the NBA, man.”
“Wow, when did you learn all this stuff?” Blaine asked, impressed.
“I do watch ESPN sometimes.” Josh chuckled. “Plus, you know I got this from my best pal, Google. Just then. I actually got scared.. I’m like 'Oh, shit. I need more basketball trivia. He’s gonna kill me with his awesome knowledge.” He shared an impish smile with my father.
My father, bless him, smiled back. “Okay enough sports, we can talk some more after the Cards kick your ass next month. Jen, honey, tell us about the Globes. Did you have fun?”
Josh pretended to be offended as he reached for another slice of pizza. “I’ll take that bet. You’ll be sorry you ever cursed the Cats.”
“Bring it on.”
“The Globes was fun.” I answered loudly, giggling. “I had a great time, acted like an obsessed fan. Stared at Meryl Streep for hours. No joke, I watched her eat, drink. I was THIS close to following her to the bathroom.”
“You’re such a weirdo.” Ben quipped, shaking his head as he chewed noisily.
“Ugh, I should not be allowed near people ever.” I laugh. “Meryl’s gonna get a restraining order put on me, I swear. But she actually congratulated me when they called my name. I almost passed out.”
“Speaking of.. I’m surprised you didn’t fall over on your way up there.” Blaine teased, roaring with laughter at the way my face reddened. “I remember last year your dress got caught on the step.”
“This year, I made sure the Dior people didn’t give me a train. Freaking hate big dresses. I swear, it’s the last time I’m wearing a dress that makes me look like a pastry.”
“Did you eat enough while you were there?” My mother asked sternly. She knew I had the tendency to neglect the basic human needs whenever I got overexcited.
“Yes, Mommy. Amy made sure I did. It’s the motherly instinct coming out of her. She was all bossy. Her partner, Darren, apologised afterwards. He said it’s because Aviana started eating solid foods recently so Amy’s making sure she eats it all.”
“Amy’s three year old daughter.” I smile, remembering the first time I’d met the bubbly little girl with tufts of bright, strawberry blonde hair. She looked exactly like Amy. “She’s a cute kid.” I snapped my fingers, remembering something. “Oh! Guess what? I met Sam Worthington.”
Josh sat up straighter, swallowing the mouthful of pizza he was eating. “You did?! Oh my god. That’s awesome.”
“Uh huh. I even got a picture with him.” I say happily, fishing my phone from the pocket of my sweatpants. I scroll quickly through the images until I found the picture, then scooted my chair closer to his. “See? We took a selfie.”
“Wow, very nice! Did you tell him we loved him in Avatar?”
“Yeah, I did. He said he really liked The Hunger Games. I almost passed out then too, I was like 'Oh god, Jake Sully just told me he liked the Hunger Games’. I texted you as soon as he left. I’m like 'Holy shit. Josh has gotta hear this.’”
He smiled, his eyes glowing. It sent a strange yet welcome warmth searing through my veins, making my heart beat a little faster than usual. “Oh yeah I did get your message. You texted me from the bathroom… I’m all 'Dude, shouldn’t you be up there presenting?’”
Laughing, I nudged his shoulder. “Well, I needed to pee. But I also needed to text you. So I thought, 'Why not do both?’”
I took another bite of my meat lovers pizza, ignoring the knowing look on my mother’s face. I had no doubt that she observed the casual exchange between us. The affectionate, almost tender, way we touched.
Despite the lateness of the hour, the conversation flowed easily. I served some coffee and rolls when the pizza was finally gone, beaming fondly at my loved ones. They chatted happily about the goings-on in their lives; so far removed from my own.
My father was amidst yet another project at his construction firm. He was building townhouses for a real estate company. He talked animatedly about concrete, bricks, cement. While my brothers rolled their eyes, I found myself listening aptly. Normality was so rare these days; my father’s talks brought that closer, even if only for a brief moment.
Blaine was navigating parenthood with my sister-in-law Meredith. So far he helped Dad out at the firm while raising their five year old, Bear. His wife was still on indefinite leave from her job as a paediatrician, holding play dates, forging friendships with other young moms in the area.
Although the summer had long since passed, my mother was still busy. She planned ahead for the coming season; adding more activities, booking venues, hiring new counsellors. As a teenager, I often assisted her, going along as a trainee counsellor when my brothers couldn’t. Now that we had our own lives however, she had a team of college graduates around her.
Wedding bells were ringing for my other brother, Ben, and my future sister-in-law, Carson. Like my parents, they still lived in Louisville, never straying far from their roots. The ranch ceremony would be held in the spring. This was something I couldn’t miss, being one of the bridesmaids.
Everyone was happy, healthy. Just as I hoped they would be.
Try as I may, I couldn’t stop myself from yawning. Against my will, the exhaustion was creeping back into my system, extinguishing what was left of the adrenaline. At first I thought I was doing well hiding my yawns, but when I stretched, my mother flicked her fingers.
“Oh, someone’s sleepy.” She said, rising from the table.
“No. No I’m not.” I protest feebly.
My mom laughed, shaking her head. “Sweetheart, you’ve been yawning for the last, oh I don’t know, ten minutes now? I think it’s time you call it a night.”
“But come on, stay. It IS a weekend, isn’t it?”
“Yeah but we’ve got a plane to catch. There aren’t many flights headed for Louisville.” Blaine reasoned, getting my mom’s message. He started gathering the empty plates, piling them on top of each other.
“Don’t worry, sweetie. It’s late anyway. We know you’ve had a long day.” Dad replied, kissing the top of my head. “You actresses need your beauty sleep.”
“Especially you. You get so crabby in the morning when you haven’t had a full twenty hours’ rest.” Ben teased, carrying the empty coffee pot into the kitchen.
“I do NOT get crabby.”
“Hah! Okay. You don’t get crabby.”
Shaking my head, I stood up to help clear away the mess. I’d spent years being the brunt of my brothers’ jokes. There were nights when I even cried over them because I was too young to understand. But now that we lived separate lives, only seeing each other when there was free time, I missed them so much more.
As tired as I was, I felt guilty having my family clear the table. But my mother insisted I relax while the men helped her with the work. So, I hung around in the living room, drifting in and out of sleep. When they were done, they each prepared to leave, grabbing coats, beanies, gloves.
My mother pulled me into her arms, holding me tight. “You were wonderful tonight, Jen. I’m proud of you, alright? Don’t forget.” She whispered, stroking my hair. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Mom.” I say, feeling my throat constrict. “I’ll see you in a few weeks.”
“Take care, squirt.” My father said, embracing me. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Work hard but stay relaxed, okay?”
“Sure, Daddy. Thanks for coming. Really. I missed you guys tonight.”
My brothers were next, tackling me so fast I was lifted off my feet. Laughing, I screamed, begging them to put me down. When they did, they both ruffled my hair. “Go and sleep, little sister. Congrats on the Globe.” Blaine replied, grinning.
“Yeah, it’s a miracle you didn’t fall over, Bambi. Really shocking.” Ben quipped, pulling his beanie low over his head.
I chuckled, watching my family walk down the path. Five minutes later, they all but disappeared into the night, leaving behind a trail of white smoke. I shuddered, closing the door. The house seemed colder without them here, less lively.
Desperately craving some warmth, I shuffled into the kitchen. To my surprise, Josh was still there, washing the dishes; his elbows caked with foam and soap. The sleeves of his plaid shirt were rolled up, revealing his fair skin.
He smiled when he saw me come in. Warmth gushed through my veins, turning my limbs into jelly, making my hands tingle. My heart skipped a beat, thumping along to some strange rhythm. I smiled back, grateful for his presence.
“What are you still doing here?” I ask, combing through the cupboards for a mug. “It’s late. You should go home. I can do all that in the morning.”
“No, don’t sweat it, Jen. I got this.” He reached for the last plate, coating it liberally in dishwashing liquid. “You’re exhausted, so I don’t mind.”
“But, you know..” My voice trailed into nothingness. There was no point arguing. I sighed, conceding defeat. I brewed some hot coca and poured myself a mug, sitting at the kitchen counter with my fingers curled around the handle. “Thank you, though.”
“You’re welcome.” He smiled, drying his hands on a dish towel. “Wow, that hot cocoa smells good. Can I have some too?”
Once he had filled up his own mug, he joined me in the living room. We sat together on the couch, talking quietly, sharing stories. Like my family, he enquired about the Globes, wondering if I had a good time. I said I did but when I reflected on the memories, I suddenly found myself wishing he was there.
If it were up to me, I would’ve stayed up longer. Exhaustion crept back into my system, making me feel so sluggish I almost spilled my hot cocoa. He pushed it out of the way before it could fall on the rug.
Strong hands steadied me by the shoulders. Half a second later, I was lying on my back, my head pillowed by a cushion, with a blanket spread over me. I vaguely registered the sound of boots scraping across the floor. Oh no, was he leaving?
“Wait, don’t go.” I say, heart thundering in my ears.
“Relax, Jen.” He murmured gently. “I just moved my boots. I’m not going anywhere, okay? Shh. It’s alright.” He sat down again beside, shifting so that he cradled my head in his lap. His soft hands brushed my hair soothingly. “Shh, it’s okay.”
My body calmed at his touch, my heartbeat returning to its regular rhythm. I yawned, turning so that my face was almost touching the fabric of his shirt. My skin tingled as he pressed his lips to my forehead.
“Stay.” I whisper as the tendrils of sleep pulled me under.