Chapter One - Two Weeks Earlier...

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Two Weeks Earlier... 

Chapter One

Caden

Her face looked so peaceful as she slept. The corners of her full lips turned up slightly, as if she was in the middle of a happy dream. Her shoulder length dark brown hair framed her face and splayed out on the pillow.

I reached over and paused, I wanted so desperately to run my thumb across the faint freckles smattered across her cheeks. It took almost all of my self-control to pull my hand back.

Don't wake her.

Hovering over her slumbering body, I leaned down and inhaled her sweet scent. Mmmm... Lavender and vanilla. I had watched her apply the lotion every night this week.

Bending down, I brushed my lips lightly against her forehead.

I'll see you later, Hadley.

***

After getting home, I put my feet up on the padded ottoman and took a sip of my vodka and tonic. The liquid slid down my throat and warmed my stomach.

Closing my eyes, I laid my head against the soft leather back of the chair and took a deep breath. Busy day tomorrow... Body pump after work, then an appointment with Doctor Charlie, all followed by coffee with Scarlet.

I exhaled and remained in the overstuffed chair. Most girls would die for this kind of attention.

After a few moments passed, I opened my eyes and looked around my apartment. A picture of Hadley sat on the small end table in between the chair and the sofa. Her sad smile tugged at my soul. She had already lost so much. My eyes left the picture momentarily and swept over to Hadley's sweatshirt. It lay draped over the bookcase in the entryway.

Swinging my feet off the ottoman and pushing myself out of the chair, I stood up and stretched. My feet brushed along the plush carpet as I made my way to her sweatshirt. I picked it up and buried my face in the cotton blend.

Goosebumps snaked up the back of my neck. Her scent was intoxicating. I fought the urge to slip the Appalachian State sweatshirt over my head. Inhaling slowly, I paused, thoroughly enjoying the moment before letting out a big sigh.

The corners of my lips twitched. Hadley, you drive me crazy!

***

My alarm beeped loudly. Rubbing my eyes, I reached out for my phone and tapped the off button. Groaning, I forced my eyes open and reached for the television remote. Ugh! I am NOT a morning person.

The screen glowed to life and the weatherman's smiling face popped up on the screen. He pointed to a line of thunderstorms headed our way and furrowed his brow.

"Blah, blah blah," I said sarcastically. The rain made hanging out with Hadley difficult. Pouting, I sat up and reached for my phone.

Hadley's faced smiled back at me. Best wallpaper ever. Opening up Facebook first, I looked at my friend's updates and stupid political posts. Nobody cares, I thought to myself. You're all liars. I opened up Hadley's page. A picture of her and Scarlet graced the background. They stood on either side of a large snowman wearing a deep red scarf.

I smiled as I thought about snowflakes getting caught in Hadley's long dark eyelashes. The cold would sting her cheeks, turning them pink and cold to touch. Winter is only a few months away, I thought with a smile. Hadley hadn't posted anything yet. She's probably still asleep. She didn't have to get up most days until seven thirty.  

I took a quick peek at Twitter, Pinterest, and finally my email. Nothing exciting.

Setting my phone down, I got up and made my way to the bathroom. I turned the shower on and stripped out of my clothes.

I looked at myself in the mirror before grabbing my towel on the nearby bar. Frowning, I lightly tugged on the dark circles under my eyes. These late nights were really costing me in the sleep department.

Yawning, I reached for my towel and hung it on the hook next to the shower. Oh well, she's totally worth it.

I opened the door and stepped in to the steamy water. Mmmmmm... Getting there sucked, but the moment the piping hot water hit my skin, I was in instant ecstasy.

After I washed and conditioned my hair, I slathered on a delicious smelling body wash. Rubbing it in from head to toe, I smiled and thought about Hadley. She once told Scarlet that this scent drove her crazy. As I rinsed off the bubbles, I smiled and thought about her deep blue eyes.

Trying to force her face out of my mind, I turned off the shower and tugged my towel off of the hook. After running it through my hair, I wrapped it around my body and stepped on to the bath mat.

I popped my head around the corner and checked the time. Eek! I'm going to be late!

Racing to my nightstand, I picked up a picture of Hadley and kissed it. I'll see you in a few hours.

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