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CHAPTER 5

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It was hours later when Annabelle felt something nudge her shoulder. She moaned and turned away from it, digging her body further into the stiff cushions. Moments later, she felt something touch her again, this time with more force. It pushed and prodded until it felt like her shoulder was being squished into her chin. With a loud groan, she pushed the thin blanket away from her and sat up with a glare. "What is it?" Her words caught in her throat as she said them. Ahead of her, dressed in a gray suit was Nick. The room was dimly lit from the gentle rise of the sun from outside. She could only vaguely make out the shadow of the entertainment stand to her left. Nick stood in the hallway, perfectly cast in the only ray of sunlight that trespassed through his navy curtains. He looked fresh from a shower; the tips of his sandy hair darker than she remembered. His light blue eyes considered her warily from a distance. He watched her while he played with his cuff-links as she tried to sit and wake up properly. He really wore a suit well.

"Why are you asleep on my couch?" he asked.

She woke up quickly at his comment. "I didn't have a choice, did I?"

He looked confused. "I told you I have a spare room."

Annabelle looked away from him and played with a loose thread on the blanket. "I didn't know where it was. You didn't exactly give me the tour you said you would."

When she looked back up at him, she was surprised to see him shuffle his feet and duck his head. He looked bashful and she hated how endearing it was. "I'm sorry."

"Where did you go?"

He shrugged nonchalantly and turned to stare down the hall. "I hid in my office. I um-" he cleared his throat, "fell asleep on the small couch I have there."

"So, we both didn't get to use a bed." His cheeks turned rosy. "Did I offend you last night?" She wasn't used to having to consider someone with her actions and words all the time. With Jim and Mikayla, everything was natural. She understood them and they understood her. There was no caution and second guessing. She hadn't realized that, when marrying Nick, she'd have to second guess everything.

"No. It was on me. I overreacted." He wasn't willing to offer more, and it disappointed her. If their marriage was going to work out, she'd need to understand him better, at least enough to last a few months until her bank account no longer cried.

"What time is it?" she asked him.

Nick looked at his wristwatch and said, "almost half past six." If Annabelle wasn't an early riser most days, she'd be mad.

"Are you planning on going anywhere?" she asked, gesturing to his outfit. Nick looked down to his polished dress shoes and shook his head. Her new husband got more peculiar by the minute. Annabelle stretched her shoulders, rolling them forward then backward. She stretched her neck from side to side before stretching her hands high above her head. She ignored Nick's eyes follow the lift of her chest as it pushed against the material. "I should be going anyway."

"Going where?" he asked in surprise.

"I have a shift at nine. I still need to stop at my place to shower and change."

Nick scrunched his brows. "It's a Saturday."

"I know." She said slowly, standing up from the couch. Her knees and back cried in pain.

He looked at her, his eyes glazed in confusion. "But, you don't need to work anymore."

Annabelle paused. "What did you say?"

"You don't need to work, at least not now that we're married. Isn't it supposed to be my job to support you?"

She sighed and hung her head. If she had to continuously discuss gender stereotypes with her new husband, she would make sure she was single by the end of the week. "Do not start this. Not right now Nick."

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