Chapter Twenty-Six: Sleepover




          Natalie and Jay returned to the hotel room just before ten, which coincidentally was the first time I had looked at the clock since dinnertime.  Jay had his arms full of plastic bag, filled to the max capacity with every sort of junk food and pop known to mankind, and some I didn't even recognize.  Natalie was weighed down with two overnight bags, as well as what looked to be a giant sleeping bag.  I had to give it to her, she always came prepared, even when it came to graduating from elementary school, and she had granola bars in her pants pockets. With Natalie, you would never be without supplies, for any occasion.

          The two of them plopped down beside me on the couch, taking a moment to let their arms rest and catch their breath.  Jonathon sat on the floor by my feet, talking to Nate about something I had lost interest in a while ago.  Aly and Rebecca had taken to watching a rerun of The Bachelor, and talking about how much they wanted to push him in the pool.  I was just happy to have people around that weren't asking how I was feeling, or judging me on my choices concerning my future as a Hunter.  They could judge me of superficial things, like my boyfriend, my clothes and even the snide comments I made about Nate's unreasonably gay taste in fashion.

          "So this is what took you guys two hours to procure?"  Aly gawked at the mountain of food towering precariously on the coffee table. 

          "Not quite.  We made the cab circle a few times so we could finish making out."  Jay smirked, followed by getting slapped in the back of the head by Natalie.  She really didn't like talking about her love life, at least that much was becoming apparent. 

          Nate clicked his tongue disapprovingly.  "You two, cabs are filthy, you should really restrain yourself to areas that aren't publicly trafficked."   

          "Oh shut up Nate.  Just because you're a germophobe doesn't mean the rest of us have to be."  Jay snapped back.

          At that, I stood up and clapped my hands to distract the boys from their squabbling.  "Okay... so, we have it narrowed down to three movies.  You two are our deciding duo."  I picked up the movie menu from the top of the TV and listed off our three choices, and easily enough Natalie decided for us. 

          A moment later, we were all curled up before the TV waiting as the previews buzzed by on the screen.  Jonathon moved up on to the couch, pulling me against his chest and rested is head on mine.  I felt so strange being curled up with a guy in front of all my friends, that I made sure my blanket was wrapped around me and separated us.  Natalie and Jay were at the other end of the couch, zipped up in to their sleeping bag and talking just below a whisper.  While Aly and Rebecca cuddled on the love seat, which left Nate sitting on a cushion at Aly's feet, his arm wound around one of her legs. 

          It all felt very high school, teenage angst movie, cast straight out of a big production company in Hollywood.  If it hadn't been for the fact that I knew Jonathon was beyond a teenager, I would have immediately gone and joined Rebecca and Aly, just to break up the sitcom drama.  Just as the thought crossed my mind, the movie started, blinding us all with bright graphics and introducing us all to a very lovely front yard.  I relaxed against Jonathon, letting my eyelids fall shut slightly, and before I knew it, I was far within the dream realm. 


          I still caught pieces of the conversation that started once the movie got going; a few times the laughter shook me enough to watch for a few minutes.  I had already seen the movie with Michael, and watching it again with someone else gave me a sense of betrayal.  Not so much to Michael, but to Jonathon, it just didn't feel right comparing the two situations.  So, I allowed myself to drift among the shadowed alleys of my dreamscape.  A little glimpse of a familiar tree, moss covered rocks and a wide-open meadow caught my attention on several tries.  The dream however, never stuck, never stayed for longer than a brief moment before voices or a loud noise from the movie woke me. 

          By the time I forced my dreams to follow my command, the movie had come to the end and Jonathon shook me awake, away from the brightly lit meadow and a tree that looked so strange.  He looked down at me as I blinked awake, trying to focus on the room, and I came to the realization that I wasn't the only one who had fallen asleep.  Also, Rebecca had left, apparently she really needed to sleep in her own bed and get up a decent hour due to the fact that she had to work.  Aly was kicking Nate awake while I pried my damp hair off of Jonathon's shirt.  His body heat had made me sweat so badly, that my hair looked more wet now than it had down at the pool. 

          The uneasy feeling that someone would notice seeped in to my body, slowly followed by the knowledge that most mortals didn't know about demons in reality.  They were a myth, something to scare Christians straight so they could join their families in heaven, or the naughty creatures on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, plotting every day to take over the world, one blonde girl at a time.  Well apparently that one wasn't so far fetched, including the blonde girl - even if I had dyed my hair to red I was still blonde at heart.  Jonathon ran his fingers through my hair and I watched with amusement as each strand dried under his touch.  It still amazed me that he could control his warmth to do as he wished, but I guess it wasn't really any different than a human controlling where they walked, or how fast their gait was. 

          I took a minute to glance over at the coffee table, there was still a mound of food, but at least half of it had been eaten or dumped on the floor.  That was not good, if my Mother got an over excessive bill for cleaning, I would be in a hell of a lot more trouble than I already was with her.  Aly seemed to follow my gaze and dropped down to the floor and began picking up open wrappers and brushing chip crumbs in to her hands. 

          "Oh Aly, don't worry about it.  It can wait till the morning."  I shrugged, shaking my head as she continued to clean without saying anything.  "Aly, really."

          Aly shot me a look, scrunched up her nose and brushed off the chip crumbs on to the coffee table.  "Nate spilled them, I know he won't clean them up, so I will."  She gave Nate a grand shove and his eyes opened into slits, while he gauged the activity in the room. 

          "Honestly Aly, it'll be fine."  I gave her what I hoped was a gentle smile, while I inched away from Jonathon a little bit.  The heat sifting off his body was getting almost unbearable so I turned around to glance at him, his eyes were heavy lidded, and he gave me a sleep deprived smile.  "Tired?" 

          He shrugged a little, and pulled me back to his chest, kissing the nape of my neck softly.  "Not really, but I'm guessing you are." 

          I nodded and looked over at Aly and then back to Natalie and Jay who were cuddling under their sleeping bag.  She gave me a shy smile and then eyed the door to the bedroom before shrugging off the sleeping bag and turned to give Jay a light kiss.  "So, the girls are sleeping where?" 

          I smirked.  "We can crash in the bedroom and the boys can curl up out here.  The couch pulls out in to a bed and Becca left a cot by the front door there."  I pointed towards the folded metal contraption in front of the front closet. 

          "Okay."  Natalie got up and walked in to the bedroom.  "I'm just going to get ready and curl up.  I'm so tired."  She called back, not bothering to close the door at all. 

          "I guess I should do that too."  Aly looked strangely at Nate and then looked over at me with a strange grin.  "You coming?" 

          I knew I should probably get up and go with them but Jonathon had his arms wound around my waist, his warm fingers lightly grazed the bare skin under my t-shirt.  I had to force myself not to elbow him in the stomach in front of my friends, so I waited till Aly had wandered off without me and turned to Nate and Jay who were staring each other down. 

          "So, who has to share the couch?" Nate looked back and forth between Jonathon and Jay. 

          "Okay.  I'm going to get ready for bed."  I patted Jonathon's knees and gave him an anxious smile. 

          "I can sleep on the floor if you guys want your own beds."  Jonathon piped up just as I vanished in to our room. 

          "THIS BED IS HUGE OLIVE!"  Aly was lying in the center of it, sprawled out in every direction, and her fingers and toes still did not reach the edges. 

          "I know, which is why all three of us should fit on it comfortably." 

          "So, who gets to spoon out there?"  Natalie smirked, a giggle bubbling up through her lips.

          "Jonathon is sleeping on the floor, so I don't think anyone will be spooning."  I shrugged and passed Natalie and headed in to the bathroom to wash my face. 

          "Well that is awfully nice of him, Olive.  I guess he isn't so bad though."  Aly pulled herself up in to a sitting position in the middle of the pillows. 

          I rolled my eyes, half expecting them to go on and on in order to get a rise out of me, but that was all they said.  I walked back in to the room to find Natalie curled up under the covers, her breathing was light and even, obviously she was asleep.  Aly however was staring me down, her eyes glittering and I shivered involuntarily. 


          "You don't ... love him, do you?  He's just ... the rebound, right?"  Aly picked her words very carefully, even if it came out far worse than she'd expected.

           "No Aly, I don't love Jonathon.  We're just ... really excellent companions."  There was no point in lying to her, she knew me better than my own Mother.  "However, I wouldn't go so far as so call him a rebound.  He is more like, a really, really good ..." distraction?  No that's not it.  He's not a rebound, there was time to think about it, he was there to make me feel better.  It was like having the darkness of myself on the outside, something tangible and ... fun.  I didn't know what word I would use, but Aly seemed to be ahead of me.

          "Confidante?  He knows you well enough, and he is the only one able to restrain you when you go nuts."  She grinned. 

          "Yes, he's my restraint."

          "That sounds a little kinky."
          "Shut up Aly.  Go to sleep." 

          I climbed up in the bed next to her, and pulled the blankets up over my head and closed my eyes, letting sleep find me and pull me under into the darkness.  Dreamland pulled me down into the shimmering waves that fell around me, soft drapes falling around me down to the floor dotted with tiny, silver stars.  As I fell, the darkness pulled away, the curtains pulled from the floor opening up the floor and sucking me further down.  I hit the Earth with a soft thud, the thick carpet of grass softening the blow; my limbs tingled as each blade grazed the exposed skin.  I lifted my head to look around me, pulling myself in to a sitting position while my head swiveled around in all directions. 

          There was the large tree, whose branches reached to the ends of the Earth and back again, it was only about five feet away.  A single branch hung just above my head, little berries dotted the leaves and created a dazzling array of colors and shapes.  The shadows moved across my face and arms as the sun changed positions in the sky, dodging behind clouds until it faded completely on the horizon. 

          I could hear the sound of waves crashing upon rocks; the light spray of salty water touched my face, pulling my attention to my left.  Mirroring the night sky, little dots of silver wriggling on the surface, was an ocean so vast it was impossible to see where the ocean ended and the sky began.  It's night, already?  Where did the sun go?  I was still alone; there was no other soul amongst the blue-green grass, or sitting beneath the Grandfather of all trees.  It was just me amongst the silent stars listening to the wind whistle through the trees and the ocean crashing among the rocks against the shore. 



          The sun filtered across my face turning the inside of my eyelids red as shadows moved quietly on the other side.  With a slight reluctance my eyes slowly cracked open to find Aly, half-naked with her back to me, dancing with her I-pod grasped tightly in her hand.  Natalie was still asleep next to me, lying on her side as her chest rose slowly and calmly with sleep.  I pulled myself up on the bed, wriggling free of the cotton sheets tangled around my legs.  As I struggled to break free from the sheets, Aly turned around with a look of shock and possibly smugness. 

          "Good morning, Olive."  Aly winked and dashed back into the bathroom, the door closing silently behind her. 

          Natalie stirred beside me, her eyes bugged out and searched the room for anything familiar at all.  She glanced up at me and blinked a few times before a goofy and obviously half-awake smile spread across her face making her dimples more noticeable.  The back of her hand pressed against her eyes and rubbed her face, stretching it out in an awkward fashion.  "Morning Olls." 

          I smirked.  "Morning darlin'."

          Aly emerged from the bathroom, fully clothed and lacking an I-pod and her dancing feet, but a smile on her face and her hands on her hips.  "So, now that we're all awake, shall we go see how the boys slept?"

          "How about, you let me and Natalie wake up all the way and get dressed first before we go harass our slumbering beasts?"  I winked at Natalie who's eyes were still half-closed and appraising the large hotel room. 

          Her head rolled to one side to look from me to Aly with a quizzical look.  "Beasts?  Jay is more like a ... grumpy ol' man in the morning."  She smirked. 

          "Oh lord, now I gotta go wake him up!"  Aly beamed, and made a dash for the door, but I was still faster and much more determined to be fully dressed before I made an entrance. 

          "Whoa there Princess.  Just chill out, Natalie still isn't all the way awake yet and if you open this door and let any of them see me in my p.j.s, I'll swat you." 

          Aly groaned and rolled her eyes, crossing her arms across her chest defensively.  "Fine.  But ... hurry up!" 

          I scrambled for the bathroom and let the door bang behind me as I dove for the shower.  The water was warm and the pressure felt nice against my skin, even if I had a pretty decent sleep and felt marvelous.  I enjoyed my quick shower and even brushed my teeth while the steam rose around me, and just as fast as I had entered the shower I was putting on my face and blow-drying out my hair.  When I rejoined the other two in the bedroom, Natalie was sitting up on the edge of the bed while Aly helped her pull on her socks, which seemed to be more labor than reward. 

          "What is going on?  Don't you wanna shower Natalie?" 

          Natalie looked over at me, her eyes hazy and disconnected.  "I don't feel so good Olls, I think I'm just going to get Jay to take me home." 

          Aly looked over at me, her face full of concern.  "Jay is already up and waiting for her, Nate and Jonathon went downstairs to get the four of us some breakfast.  I'm sorry Olivia, but Natalie is going a little green and I really think she needs to get home before she throws up all over your nice hotel room."

          "Aly, really, it's okay.  The quicker she gets home in to her own bed, and gets some rest, the better.  Really. I completely understand."  I waved my hands in front of me and wandered over to the dresser to quickly pull on my clothes. 



          Aly and I managed to ease Natalie in to her clothes and helped her walk out in to the living room where Jay was waiting with a smile on his face so gentle that I felt my heart give a light squeeze. Jay took her with such care, such compassion, in to her arms that I couldn't believe that he was such an ass when I lived here.  They left, saying whispered good-byes and closed the door while Aly and I waited for the other two boys to return.  We sat quietly in the little room, watching a rerun of Sex and the City, the silence growing louder as the minutes ticked by. 

          Aly finally gave up on being quiet, it wasn't really her forte, and she glanced over at me hopefully.  "Okay, the silence is killing me!  Do you realize that it has been forever since just the two of us have been alone in a room?  Or that we haven't had a moment of real girl talk since you got here and you're leaving in a day?" 

          "Yes, a very long time.  So, what would you like to talk about while the boys are away?"

          "One, I think Natalie might be pregnant.  Two, where did you find this Jonathon? Three, where the hell is Michael?  And four, why on Earth is your hair red?" 

          I bit my lip, trying to formulate a paragraph in my mind that would effectively answer all four of her startling questions - slash - statements.  "Um ... alright.  My hair is read because I had a little breakdown after Michael's ex-girlfriend was killed and Jonathon was there for me.  He likes my hair so I kept it this way, and Michael just isn't in the picture anymore because things got far too complicated with all of life's demands."  I paused for a moment, mulling over what Aly had said about Natalie being pregnant.  "Why do you think Natalie is ... pregnant?" 

          "She's been having little episodes of nausea, and every morning she wakes up like that.  Completely disoriented and unable to get a handle on the reality of her surroundings."  Aly bit her bottom lip, her eyes dancing over my red hair.  "Why red?  Why not some other color that would have gone better with your complexion?" 

          "I like the red.  I feel kinda ... fierce."  I shrugged.  "You ever think she might just be ... a little sick?"

          "For three months?" 

          I shrugged deeper in to the soft cushions of the couch, keeping my shoulders in line with my chin.  "Have you asked her?"

          She rolled her eyes and threw her hands up in the air, making a very unattractive noise.  "Of course I have!  She completely ignores me every time I bring up the subject!" 

          The boys waltzed back in the room, two trays full of breakfast foods hidden beneath four silver caps.  They looked back and forth between Aly, and me who was now perched on the arm of the couch next to me, her hands outstretched by her head.  This was the end of our conversation, and it would probably be the end of the last amount of alone time she and I would have together on this particular trip.  


The End

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