I almost died of embarrassment when I woke up the next morning to find my sheets covered in jizz. I mean, for crying out loud I’m nearly thirty years old, I stopped having wet dreams when I was a fucking teenager. I begrudgingly stripped the bed and threw the sheets in the washing machine before getting the kids up for breakfast. I left them to get dressed and took my iron pill, grabbing some cereal and three bowls just as the kids appeared. It was a bit of a rush to get them ready and off to school, but eventually I was at work and the kids were busy learning stuff they probably wouldn’t need once they got to high school.
“You look rough” was the first thing Eden said to me that morning.
“Thanks” I said sarcastically.
“Take your iron pill this morning?”
Eden smiled. “Well that’s good to know. What made you change your mind?”
“Maxxie” I said without thinking.
“Oh, I had a dream about him last night”
“Do you have dreams about him often?”
“No” I lied.
“Hadley” she said sternly.
I sighed. “Okay, so I have dreams about him a lot. So what?”
“Nothing, I’m just concerned”
“Why? Don’t you ever dream about anyone?”
“Yeah, but not when I’m dealing with the loss of someone I love. Just... Just take it easy, yeah?”
“He’s not telling me to butcher my family or anything, if that’s what you’re worried about. I just... It’s helping me cope”
“If you’re sure” she said, sounding like she didn’t quite believe me.
I nodded and she flashed me a faint smile, the both of us getting to work. Eden was picking the kids up from school since I was working near enough all day and wouldn’t get back til late. Since she couldn’t leave the kids on their own, we’d agreed on Eden staying the night. She was happy to stay on the couch, but I kind of felt bad for not offering her the bed and sleeping on the couch myself.
She said bye to me when her shift finished and promised me she’d have the kids in bed by the time I got home, telling me to take it easy again. Eden, sweetie, you work here, you know you can’t take it easy in a hospital. But nonetheless, I stuck to my word and tried to take it easy. And if I’m honest, just kicking back and relaxing instead of spending every waking minute focused on what I was doing and where I had to be was kind of liberating, and I felt a lot less stressed than usual. I know I can’t exactly expect my job to be free of stress given that pretty much every child on my ward is either terminally ill, in critical care or a little shit with a grazed knee, but it was nice to just have a break for once.
I barely made it to the couch once I was finally home, flopping down next to a half asleep Eden. She jumped near enough clean out of her skin, and whacked me with a pillow when she saw it was only me.
“Don’t scare me like that” she said, whacking me again.
“Who else was it gonna be?” I chuckled and she glared at me. “How were the kids?”
“Good as gold. Danny was a bit of a hassle, but he settled down eventually”
“I guess he’s not used to me not being around”
“Probably. But like I said, he settled down eventually. The not speaking thing’s a bit creepy, though”
“It’s who he is” I shrugged.
“I never said it was a bad thing, it’s quite cute in a way, but creepy all the same”
“Thanks for looking after them”
“It’s the least I can do” she smiled, leaning on me a little. “There’s leftovers in the fridge if you can be bothered to heat them up, otherwise I can make you a sandwich or some toast or something”
“What’re the leftovers?”
“Calzone. I made enough for everyone including you, so it’s not really leftovers” she chuckled, sitting up properly so she wasn’t leaning on me anymore.
I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye, kind of missing the feel of someone leaning on my shoulder. She yawned, standing up and stretching before heading to the kitchen. Eden was just in her underwear and a t-shirt, and God knows how many times we’ve been like that around each other, but for the first time ever I actually paid a little bit of attention to her. And boy was she hot. I mean, I knew she was hot anyway but she wasn’t like hot to me, if that makes sense.
“Do you want this thing or not?” she asked, holding up a plate so covered in food wrap that I couldn’t actually see what was on it.
“I’ll pass right now, I’m too tired to be hungry”
“Ice cream it is, then” she grinned, fishing a tub of ice cream out of the freezer. “Don’t worry, I didn’t steal it from Maxxie or anything” she said, seeing me recognise the familiar colour scheme of a tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Mint chocolate chip was Maxxie’s favourite flavour, and thankfully he hadn’t passed this down to the kids. Mint just shouldn’t be in sweet things. Eden sat herself back down on the couch, spoon at the ready, and devoured the ice cream in barely ten minutes. That girl can fucking eat.
“Movie?” she asked once she was done.
I glanced at the clock. “Don’t you have to be in early tomorrow?”
She nodded. “I’ve been asleep pretty much since the kids went down, I can afford to stay up a little longer”
I smiled as she switched on the DVD player, inwardly hoping the last thing it got used for wasn’t porn. It probably was knowing Maxxie, cheeky fucker. Thankfully it was one of the kid’s films, and I couldn’t help but worry that one of them had found the porn DVD that might not’ve even been in there. Someone else was doing the sex talk for me, I don’t fucking care if I have to pay someone off the street to do it.
Eden came and sat back down, resting her head on my arm again and I looked down at her. She was just being friendly, right? So... So why did it feel like something else? It’d been five months since Maxxie died, and I was nowhere near over him, but he’d wanted me to move on and find someone else, right? And me and Eden were like two peas in a pod... Should I ask her out? Maxxie, help me out here, I don’t know what to do.