I was in his lap. In his lap, cutting his damn hair.
I bring my hand to my forehead. That’s it. I’m never drinking again. Alcohol makes people do stupid things, and I can’t afford to be caught doing stupid things. The smart thing to do right now would be to get the hell out of here, which sucks because I really wish I could take this bed with me.
I quietly slip out of it and head toward the restroom. I close the door behind me and immediately begin looking through drawers in order to hopefully find an unused toothbrush, but I come up empty-handed. Instead, I use my finger, some toothpaste, and an ungodly amount of amazing wintergreen mouthwash. Owen has great taste in bathroom products, that’s for sure.
Where is he, anyway?
Once I’m finished in the restroom, I search for my shoes and find my Toms at the foot of his bed. I could have sworn I was in heels at some point last night. Yep, definitely never drinking again.
I make my way to the stairs, hoping Owen isn’t in the studio. He doesn’t appear to be here, so maybe he left to avoid having to face me once I woke up. He obviously has his reasons for not showing up, so I doubt he’s changed his mind about how he feels. Which means this is probably the perfect opportunity to get the hell out of here and never come back.
“You can’t keep avoiding me, Owen. We need to talk about this before Monday.”
I pause at the foot of the stairs and press my back against the wall. Shit. Owen is still here, and he’s got company. Why, why, why? I just want to leave.
“I know what my options are, Dad.”
Dad? Great. The last thing I want right now is to do the walk of shame in front of his freaking father. This isn’t good. I hear footsteps approaching, so I immediately begin to scale the stairs again, but the footsteps fade just as fast.
I pause, but then the footsteps grow louder. I take two more steps, but the footsteps fade again.
Whoever is walking, they’re just pacing back and forth. After several back-and-forths, they come to a stop.
“I need to prepare to shut down the studio,” Owen says. “It might be a few months before I can open it again, so I really just want to focus on that today.”
Shut down the studio? I catch myself creeping back to the bottom of the stairs to hear more of the conversation. I’m being so uncharacteristically nosy, it makes me feel a bit like Emory right now.
“This studio is the last thing you should be worried about right now,” his father says angrily.
“This studio is the only thing I’m worried about right now,” Owen says loudly. He sounds even angrier than his father. The pacing stops.
His father sighs so heavily I could swear it echoes across the studio. There’s a long pause before he speaks again. “You have options, Owen. I’m only trying to help you.”
I shouldn’t be listening to this. I’m not the type of person to invade someone’s privacy and I feel guilty for doing it. But for the life of me, I can’t make myself walk back up the stairs.
“You’re trying to help me?” Owen says, laughing in disbelief. He’s obviously not pleased with what his father is saying. Or failing to say. “I want you to leave, Dad.”
My heart skips an entire beat. I can feel it in my throat. My stomach is telling me to find an alternate escape route.
I squeeze my eyes shut. I don’t know who to feel sorry for right now, Owen or his father. I can’t tell what they’re arguing about and of course it’s none of my business, but if I’m about to have to face Owen, I want to be prepared for whatever mood he’s going to be in.
Footsteps. I hear footsteps again, but some are coming and some are going and . . .
I slowly open one eye and then the other. I try to smile at him, because he looks so defeated standing at the bottom of the stairs, looking up at me. He’s wearing a blue baseball cap that he lifts up and flips around after running his hand over the top of his head. He squeezes the back of his neck and exhales. I’ve never seen him with a hat on before, but it looks good on him. It’s hard to picture an artist wearing a baseball cap, for some reason. But he’s an artist, and he definitely makes it work.
He doesn’t look nearly as angry as he sounded a minute ago, but he definitely looks stressed. He doesn’t seem like the same wide-eyed guy I met at the door three weeks ago.
“Sorry,” I say, attempting to prepare an excuse for why I’m standing here eavesdropping. “I was about to leave and then I heard you—”
He scales the first few steps, coming closer to me, and I stop speaking.
“Why are you leaving?”
His eyes are searching mine and he looks disappointed. I’m confused by his reaction, because I assumed he’d want me to leave. And honestly, I don’t know why he seems confused that I would choose to leave after he failed to contact me for three weeks. He can’t expect me to want to spend the day here with him.
I shrug, not really knowing what to say in response. “I just . . . I woke up and . . . I want to leave.”
Owen reaches his hand around to my lower back and urges me up the stairs. “You aren’t going anywhere,” he says.
He tries to walk me up the stairs with him, but I push his hand off of me. He can more than likely see by the shock on my face that I’m not about to take orders from him. I open my mouth to speak, but he beats me to it.
“Not until you fix my hair,” he adds.
He pulls his cap off and runs his hand through his choppy hair. “I hope you’re better at cutting hair when you’re sober.”
I cover my mouth with my hand to stifle my laughter. There are two huge chunks cut out of his hair, one of them front and center. “I’m so sorry.”
I would say we’re even now. Destroying hair as beautiful as his should definitely make up for the asshole move he made three weeks ago. Now if I could just get my hands on Lydia’s hair, I’d feel a whole lot better.
He slides his cap back on his head and begins walking up the stairs. “Mind if we go now?”
Today is my day off, so I’m free to correct the damage I’ve done to his hair, but it kind of stinks that I have to go to the salon when I otherwise wouldn’t have to. Emory marked the weekend off on the schedule for me since it was my birthday yesterday. She probably did this because most twenty-one-year-olds do fun things on their birthday and want the weekend to celebrate. I’ve been living with her for a month now, so if she hasn’t noticed already, she’ll soon discover that I have no life and don’t need special “recovery days” reserved on the calendar.
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