Chapter 1: Time

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Chapter 1: Time


I can't sleep. I don't know how many times I've checked the red neon numbers of the alarm clock on my night table, but I've definitely seen all of the hours of the night pass me by.

My brain won't shut itself off. There's just so much to do before our appointment tomorrow – well, technically this afternoon now. Did we do enough research? Are we prepared for all of the questions? Do we have everything we need? What if it doesn't work? What if it does? Our lives will completely change.

It's so hot in the apartment. My tank top is sticking to my back and the wisps of hair that managed to free themselves from my bun while I was tossing and turning are clinging to my neck. So I turn on my side and feel the sweet relief when the fan in the corner of the room slowly pivots toward me and cool air hits my clammy skin.

I sigh. If we end up buying a house like we've been thinking of doing, it'll have to have air conditioning.

Sam is sleeping next to me, completely oblivious to how slow time passes when it's dark and there's nothing to do but stress over every life choice you've ever made. He's on his stomach with his head turned toward me. The muscles of his back rise and fall as he breathes in and out. He's got one arm draped over his pillow, hiding most of his face from view.

I stare at the intricate sleeve tattoo that covers his whole right arm from wrist to shoulder. Most of the ink is new since I met him eight years ago.

He's got my name on his skin in bold, curvy letters. It's his newest ink. I can't see it now, but I remember when he had it done. We were on our honeymoon in Nashville when he came back into our hotel room with that dumb grin on his face that I love so damn much, the one that usually means he's done something.

He shifts in the bed and my eyes dart from the lion tattoo on his bicep to his face. He's got such thick, blond eyelashes. They make his green eyes seem even brighter. His hair is a bit longer than he likes it. He usually keeps the back and sides buzzed.

I'm still not used to the beard. Don't get me wrong, it looks good on him, but it's a lot. For as long as I've known him he's had a bit of stubble, but never like this. He's probably going to get fed up with it soon.

I look over my shoulder again at the alarm clock. It's finally five in the morning. The sky is beginning to turn lighter behind the blinds of our small bedroom window, so I decide it's probably time to get up. I won't be falling back asleep at this point.

I grab my phone from the night table and slip out of bed, trying not to move too much or make a sound. The old carpet muffles my footsteps as I reach the door and slip through.

Our apartment is big enough for two people and an orange tabby cat, but that's about it. The master bedroom is about the same size as my childhood bedroom on the farm. The bottom two drawers of the dresser can't open up completely because they're obstructed by our bed.

The rest of the apartment doesn't fare much better. The old-fashioned kitchen is cramped, the refrigerator makes an awful lot of noise, and we don't have any room for a dishwasher. At least the rent is cheap and we have a short drive to our jobs, which means we can save a lot of money at the end of the month to put into our savings.

God knows, we're going to need it soon enough.

I switch on the light in the kitchen and get to work. Last night's dishes are still in the sink, rinsed and ready to be washed. It's the one chore we both absolutely hate doing. This morning however it's almost therapeutic. I look out the window as I place a plate down onto the drying rack, catching a glimpse of an old truck turning into the parking lot.

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