The sound of a motorcycle pulling out of the parking lot jolts me awake. My body feels a bit warmer than normal. I glance down to see my hand next to my head on Dustin’s chest, I attempt to wiggle out of his grasp but I can’t manage to loosen his hand on my waist. Why is he so strong in his sleep? Whenever I wake up I can barely pull my covers up over my head to block the sun. A small chuckle escapes his mouth.
“Taz, I’m trying to sleep stop moving.” Dustin protests he runs his hand along my hair.
“Dustin. Let me go, we’re friends.” I argue while still trying to free myself.
“Yes we are friends. So stay, you need a hug anyways.” He buries his face in my hair.
“You’re being ridiculous.” I complain “This isn’t a hug it’s cuddling.”
“Actually I’m just using you to warm up.” He admits, he flips over to face me. “I was cold.” I want to get mad, or irritated at the very least but that innocent smile he flashes me blocks any negative feeling I can hold onto. Why can’t I get irritated at him?
“Cuddle me again and I will poke your eyes in your sleep.” I threaten.
“If I’m asleep my eyes won’t be open.” He responds, a small smile pulling at the corners of his lips.
“I hate you.” I turn around to face the wall.
“No. You don’t.” He looks over at me. I freeze when the sink makes a strange noise. What right do we have to be happy after Hannah’s murder? I get out of the bed.
“Do you want me to drive today?” I ask politely, hoping my tone won’t show my need to cry.
“No I can drive.” Dustin answers, he drops something on my lap before he gets up to go to the bathroom. I tilt my head down to look a packet of tissues. He’s so sweet Taz. My goodness I’m blushing…Taz? You’ll love him I promise. I attempt to block another memory of Hannah. I throw the pack of tissues against the wall as hard as I can then the pillow next to me at full force. I cover my face with my hands.
A door clicks open, I look up expecting a serial killer. It’s just Dustin. He ignores the tears streaming down my face, knowing if he acknowledged them I’d just be embarrassed. “I’ll go and return the keys while you pack.” I nod, even though I don’t want to be left alone.
“You finished?” Dustin asks from the doorway after he’s checked out. I look up at him from my position on the floor.
“Yeah.” I answer. I get up from the carpeted surface. I look at the dead flowers in a pot outside the doorway. He brought me flowers! How nice. You should read the note he wrote. Isn’t he just great Taz? I’m so happy. I push Hannah out of my head again. We’re going to the mall this weekend. You have to meet him! I cover my temples with my fingers, why can’t I block this out? Taz, this is Dustin. Dustin this is Taz. I just know you two will be great friends. Get out of my head. My tears turn to sobbing. Wasn’t he just amazing? I’m in love.
“Taz.” Dustin calls, pulling me back to reality. “Are you okay?”
“Fine.” I lie, I grab my suit case. A small sniffle escapes my mouth. He knows I’m not telling the truth but he doesn’t call me out on it. We walk back to the car without talking. I sit in the cold leather seat keeping every memory at bay.
“You know. You’re all she’d ever talk about.” Dustin states out of nowhere as we pull on to the freeway. He stares dully at the road in front of us.
“You’re all she ever talked about to me.” I respond “She loved you. She really did.” I twist my sleeve around my finger. I don’t like talking about the past, it only hurts.
“I think she originally wanted to set us up.” He pauses to glance over at me “But then I don’t know something clicked and Hannah and I started dating.” His eyes begin to glaze over, I turn away not wanting to feel any type of emotion right now.
Maybe I didn’t lose all emotion, maybe I pushed it all away. But it’s hard like this I can’t even feel joy anymore. After my parents died things changed I guess. I wasn’t ever as happy, and everything felt a little bland. After Hannah died all of my emotion numbed. And if Dustin dies too, I can’t even imagine the misery I would go through. The thought of losing the only person I have left nearly destroys me right here right now in the car.
The car shakes when we drive over a fairly good sized bump in the road. My head smacks against the window spreading a stinging pain across my forehead.
“Sorry” Dustin mutters, he taps his finger on the steering wheel just like he did the other day. Must be another one of his endless nervous habits. I look out the window to take in the landscape. Grass, trees, mountains. Nothing that I haven’t seen before. Everything is beautiful, sometimes you just have to look harder. I wish Hannah would stop popping into my head, I wish it could all just disappear. Maybe it would be easier then.
“She never told me how you two met. Was it really that bad?” I ask with curiosity
“I was buying tampons.” I turn to look at him, so he explains “For my Mom.”
“She thought that was cute didn’t she?” I bite the tip of my nail.
“Maybe.” He answers before he shrugs. I don’t continue on with the conversation, he doesn’t seem to want to talk about Hannah right now. I smack my head on the window again when Dustin drives over what I’m hoping is not a ball of fur in the road. This is going to be a long drive.