EVERYONE IN A WAY
-How old are you? Two? I ask, because who else responds to justified outrage like that?
“Did you find anything better?” he said with a raised eyebrow. Because I expected a real threat, really.
“Do you want a real threat, big boy?” How about this: If you put one more finger in my Pop-Tarts, I’ll file your fangs while you sleep.
Now raise both eyebrows.
“Wow, Grace. So aggressive. I detect genuine surprise in his eyes, as well as a hint of amusement, as he continues, “Did someone nudge you?
While waiting for my response, Hudson absently rubs the pointy part of his fang. And it is surprisingly beautiful to do so. So much, in fact, that I step back and let go:
“Don’t worry about who pissed me off. Worry more about how I’m going to touch you as long as you keep touching my stuff.
-Your things? He looks around the room without remorse and with an absolute “Lord of the Manor” attitude. We live in my lair.
“And what does it do?”
“What do you mean, what difference does it make?” He’s got that smirk again that’s driving me crazy. My lair, my business.
“Under normal circumstances, I would be tempted to accept. But, as you’ve told me many times since we landed here, we’re not really in your lair. We are in my head.
“So what…” I shrug my shoulders like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. My head, my stuff.
“Wow, Grace. I didn’t realize it bothered you so much. “He has a mischievous glint in his eye that makes me suspicious, but I have to come out victorious… whatever.
That’s why I tell him:
“I’m sorry, Hudson, but you do what you have to do.” And I go back to the kitchen.
-Know? You’re so right, he said, following me into the den. So I have one last question for you.
I’m tired of playing cat and mouse. I’m starting to get tired and period, the truth. Trying to stay ahead of Hudson is exhausting and I don’t know if I’m up to it.
Perhaps for this reason, without thinking too much about it, I answer:
The mischievous glow turns into an ear-to-ear grin as she leans back against the kitchen bench and gazes at me from her absurdly tall stature.
“Now that I’m yours, what are you going to do with me?”
Phew. I entered fully into the lion’s den. I begin to blush; My cheeks flush like tomatoes even though I try my best not to react to the insinuation in his words. It’s just another way of trying to annoy me, like music and Pop-Tarts, but I’m not going to give him that satisfaction.
So, ignoring the blush that now invades my entire face, I look Hudson straight in the eye and say:
“I thought I had already explained it to you.” I’ll file your fangs.
“There is still this nasty streak. I have to admit that I’m starting to like it.
“Yeah, well, I think it’s pretty obvious that you don’t want to start liking me,” I reply.
“Hey, I’m just saying what I mean. He stretches, and the T-shirt he put on after his shower rides up slightly, revealing part of his very well-shaped abs.
Not that I care what kind of abs he has, defined or not. But it’s hard to miss them when you’re sitting right across from me.
“Don’t be shy, Grace,” she continued, leaning back, her shirt revealing more skin. And also some of those beautiful lines that end up hiding behind the waistband of his gym pants. A woman must know how to ask for what she wants.
I keep looking him in the eyes stubbornly.
I know exactly what I want.
-Oh yes? he answers in a tone of voice as if we were confiding. And what is it?
-To get away from you.
At that point, I decide that I don’t need dinner. I shoulder past him and walk over to the couch I slept on last night.
He follows me, of course.
And suddenly I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick of his attitude, sick of his childish stuff, sick of him driving me crazy. And terribly sick to always have it a meter away. This room is huge. Why does he have to be where I am all the time?
As if to prove me right, she sits next to me on the sofa and is about to put her feet on the coffee table. And I can’t take it anymore. It’s the last straw.
He is puzzled.
-Get up! Seeing him stare at me like he doesn’t understand my language, I grab his arm and pull him away. -Get up! Get up, get up, get up! This couch is mine!
“Are we here again with everything here being yours?” -expression-. Because in this case…
-No! I’m interrupting him, because I’m not going to come back to this. No no no!
-Are you OK? he asks with a raised eyebrow. ‘Cause you look a little hot…
“The sofa is mine. The bed is yours. I point to the bed at the other end of the room, just in case he pretends not to understand me. In fact, you can keep this whole part of the room.
-Sorry? Now he seems less sure of himself and much more confused.
GOOD. It was time he felt as out of place as I did and got a little ahead of him.
“You heard me,” I say, and an idea finally comes to mind. You can have this whole side of the room: the bed, the ax throwing thing, the stereo, the TV…” I search around for a roll of duct tape and suddenly, to my surprise, there is some. appears one in my hand. And not just any, no: it’s the limited edition One Direction tape, like the one my dad bought me when I was little. Harry, Louis, Niall, Zayn and Liam all look at me happily as I walk across the room. And I stay with this other side. The couch, the books, the kitchen…
-And the bathroom? he asks with a raised eyebrow as I begin to spread the tape across the center of the room.
“The bathroom is the only neutral ground,” I tell him, listening to the tape in front of my couch. “The rest of the stuff is yours or mine. And none of them can cross that line.
I stretch the tape to the wall on the opposite side of the loft and tear it off the roll. When I turn around, I see Hudson leaning one shoulder against the wall, his arms folded across his chest. In his eyes the mischievous look disappeared, replaced by that blank expression he had before.
Looks like I’ve finally made it.
I’m about to congratulate myself for screwing it up, when the universe grants me another gift.
“All the books are on your side of the room,” he whispers. -Well yes. It’s like that. I give him my best fake mischievous smile and walk over to the shelf where all his journals are. And I’m very clear on what’s the first thing I’m going to read.