Chapter 29

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My mother and the twins were happy to see me when I arrived, as expected.

Xerxes had gone with the others to a restaurant where they were going to have some celebration dinner, whilst I chose to sneak away and get a taxi home.

I would rather be with my family now more than anything. During my time captured by Gary, I missed their warm smiles and sometimes corny jokes. And now that I was back home, I was going to spend my time with them.

George and Alyssa heated up some popcorn in a microwave as mom and I curled up on the couch and switched on the television. The twins came over a few minutes later, bowls of popcorn in theirs hands.

I grabbed a handful and relaxed back into the couch, releasing a contented sigh. Mom glanced at me, a delicate, genuine smile on her face. I had told her about Xerxes's offer of staying by his apartment and she reluctantly accepted. She made it clear, however, that she would be carrying a gun on her in case something suspicious occurred.

I looked back towards the television screen and grinned at George and Alyssa's messy hair. I had woken them up upon my arrival and they had eagerly gotten out of bed to greet me and for some reason, used my return back home as an excuse to watch television.

Mom had resisted their pleas at first, since it was around the time that they were supposed to be going to sleep, but eventually relented and allowed them an hour and a half of television.

The movie was quite childish, but I didn't mind. Their giggles and laughter made me feel at peace and relaxed.

The house phone rang and George pouted in annoyance at the disturbance.

Mom began to get up to answer it, but I shook my head, not wanting to ruin the moment we were having as a family. "Let it ring mom. We can find out who it is afterwards."

The phone's ringing stopped eventually, only for it to begin once again a few minutes later. Mom eventually got tired of it and plugged out the wires connecting the phone.

By the time the movie was over, George and Alyssa had fallen asleep again and I carried Alyssa up the stairs whilst mom took George.

I whispered, goodnight, before going to my room. After changing into some comfortable pajamas, a tired yawn escaped my lips and I began to curl up on the bed.

I barely managed to have a few hours of sleep before someone was banging on the door downstairs. For a few seconds, I contemplated just sleeping or answering the idiot who was apparently trying to wake up the entire neighbourhood with their loud banging.

Eventually I got up and marched downstairs, scowling as I passed a clock and saw that it was one a.m.

I unbolted the door and threw it open, immediately recognizing the hulk of a man. "What?" I snapped, stepping outside and closing the door behind me. The cold air and the snow immediately made me regret coming outside.

Xerxes narrowed his eyes at me. I didn't miss the flash of concern that had briefly appeared in his eyes when he assessed me.

"You didn't tell anyone you were leaving the restaurant." Xerxes growled. "I was calling the house but no one answered."

I sighed, folding my arms. "I didn't tell you because I knew you would've tried to keep me there." I told him, watching his jaw clench in anger.

"You don't know that, Becca." He closed his eyes, as if trying to calm himself down. I could see the tension in the way he stood.

I shifted on my feet uncomfortably throughout this. They were beginning to feel numb and the sleepwear didn't help protect against the cold.

Eventually, Xerxes opened his eyes again. "I'd like a cup of coffee." He demanded. "I deserve it after you put me through so much worry tonight."

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