I knock on Evan's bedroom door and he opens it promptly. I don't wait for him to invite me in - it's my spare bedroom after all - and look around. The room hasn't changed much. The black dresser is still in the corner, its surface bare as ever. The twin bed with silky red sheets remains in the middle of the room, untouched or used by anybody. Abstract black and white paintings hang from the walls, their beauty unseen by human eyes…. until now.
I frown as I look around the room. It is tastefully decorated - if I do say so myself - but looks the same as it did before Evan arrived.
"Did you even unpack your stuff?"
Evan laughs takes a seat on the edge of the bed. Low mesh sport shorts ride the edges of his hips, and a plain white t-shirt clings to his chest. I can't help but notice how handsome he looks even when he's dressed so casually.
"I don't have much, Stells. And all that I brought fits in the dresser just fine."
I nod my head and look around the room. This is probably one of my least favorite rooms of the house. Although it has a beautiful view of the ocean, its color scheme reminds me of Hell. A piece of me wanted to give Evan Jeremy's old room.
But I just couldn't do it.
After seeing Jeremy's clothes in there, his body on that bed, his bare skin pressed up against those light and silky sheets…..
I give an audible sigh and shake my head. I'm acting as if Jeremy has died. After all, that is what people do when they've lost a loved one. They try to preserve a room, a piece of clothing - anything tangible as a means to protect the memory of their loved one.
It's a classic textbook behavior as one of the stages of grief. So is that what I'm doing? Grieving over my loss for Jeremy?
Oh Stella, get it together girl.
"You doin' alright? You have that 'lost in the clouds' look goin' on."
I wish I was lost in the clouds right now. Then maybe I'd run into -
"Just thinking I guess," I say, cutting off my pathetic train of thought. "I feel like I have a lot to get done in the coming days. I'm glad you're here, Jeremy."
Evan frowns, his licks puckering into a mulish line.
"It's Evan. Not Jeremy."
"Err, right. Sorry. I was just - "
"-thinking about Jeremy. No I get it," Evan says cutting me off.
The hurt in his eyes is obvious and I curse myself under my breath. Evan shakes his head and stands up, fixing a smile back on his face. He puts a tentative arm around my waist and pulls me in for a loose hug. The warmth of his body gives way to goose bumps all down my bare arms.
"Anyway. What are your plans today, Stells?"
I check my watch and see that it is already 8:30 AM.
"Shit! I'm late. I have to get to work. One of my neediest patients comes in at ten and I have to be there for him."
Evan pulls his jacket from the top dresser drawer and fishes out his keys from his pocket.
"Alright then let's go."
"Y-you're driving me?"
Evan gives me a wink and pulls me in, placing a light kiss on my forehead. His voice drops low and he leans in closer to my ear.
"I said I wasn't going to leave your side," Evan whispers. "I meant it."