Eli snickered and laughed at Sam. She was covering her eyes and trying to burry her head inside his neck. “Is it over, is it over?”
“It isn’t that scary,” he teased.
She smacked his chest, and then screamed at the sight of the masked figure on the movie. This only made Eli laughed even more. “Tell me.”
“Okay,” he chuckled. When he knew she would just scream her head off, he whispered, “Okay, he’s gone.”
The scream that came after a couple of moments of Sam watching, made him howl with laughter. She started to smack him, and he was just laughing. “That was so mean, Eli!”
“I know,” he laughed. “Oh oh, look, there he is.” He pointed to the TV, and went to tickle his girl when she looked. Sam screamed and laughed. Eli didn’t stop, even when she begged. “Eli! Pppplease.”
Eli laughed along with her.
Six months, it had been six months of total bliss with the love of his life. He didn’t want to jinx it, but every time he kissed or held Sam, Eli knew in his heart that there was no one else but her.
Sam wrapped her arms around his neck and he kissed her, his hands slowed from tickling her to caressing her hips and thighs. They made out on the couch, Eli rolled her onto the sofa, wanting more. His hands grazed the edge of her pants, and her hands met his zipper.
He looked longing into her eyes. “I love you so much, Sam Williams.”
They kissed harder, and were starting to remove some of their clothing when Eli’s phone alarm went off. Eli groaned. “Fuck!”
Sam arched her head back and cursed.
Eli scrambled and grabbed his phone. 9:15. He had forty-five minutes to get back to the half-way house. “Dammit,” he hissed and went to grab his shoes. “I gotta run.”
“I can drive you,” she sat up and fixed her shirt.
Eli shook his head. “No way.” He finished tying his shoes and leaned over to kiss Sam. “I love you.”
“Love you too. You’re coming over tomorrow, right?”
“Of course.” He stood and grabbed his wallet and keys. He looked down to her and groaned again. “I hate this.” He kissed her once more and was out the door. He really was starting to hate and despise his curfew. At first it wasn’t so bad, he understood why it was needed. Now that Eli spent almost every evening over at Sam’s studio apartment, he was hating it more and more. What he wouldn’t give to spend one night in her bed. Of course, that was out of the question. Or was it?
Sam made it to the subway line and barely made the train. He got off at his exit in West Myshuno. He checked his time, and took off in a sprint. He didn’t realize he only had ten minutes to get back to the house. He was three blocks away. He ran, pushing himself to the limit, and practically rammed the door to the Reed Project House. Without stopping he slid to the computer and signed in.
9:58PM. Shit, but that was the closest he had ever signed himself in. Eli took a deep breath right at the counter, and went through the security gate and toward the elevators. He had never been so close to missing curfew. He text Sam as soon as he got to his apartment.
Sam replied right away.
She sent him a photo that had him biting his lip. Oh that was cruel. She was in bed, and though she didn’t show any thing below her shoulders, Eli knew Sam was naked.
He wished that he was in that bed for all kinds of reasons. One of them being his bed was the worst he had ever slept on, and that’s including his prison bunk.
Eli woke to yelling, screaming, and all kinds of other noises coming down the hall. He grabbed his phone from the pile of clothes on the floor and checked the time. Eli buried his head under his pillow. He still had two hours before he needed to get up. It was barely four, and cops were raiding someone. Eli really didn’t care who, as long as they weren’t in his apartment.
He hated the half-way house more and more. Eli wondered if he could talk to Janet about moving sometime, or even just getting a night pass or something. He hadn’t broken probation in the year that he’d been out. He hadn’t popped a single drug test, nor missed a single curfew. In Eli’s point of view, he figured he was doing pretty damn good in her eyes. Maybe. He hoped. He kept a job for a year, and considering the guys that lived in the Reed House, he was pretty sure that was rare.
Eli woke again when his alarm went off and changed into his coveralls. He made some food quickly as he texted Sam. They chatted through text messages all morning of nothing particularly important. Eli loved his morning chats with her over the phone. They’d take selfies of each other and send them to each other.
Eli laughed and headed downstairs. He knocked on Janet’s door. When he heard her call out to enter, he did. “Janet, do you have a moment?”
“Sure, Eli. What can I do for you?”
Eli sat down and bit his lip. “I was wondering…” He met her gaze. “I was wondering if there’s a, uh, possibility, maybe, that you do, like night passes or something?”
“I only give out weekend passes for two reasons, Eli. One, family emergency, and two legal reasons where I have to.”
“Oh.” Eli heart sank. Damn.
“I’m sorry, Eli.”
Eli nodded. “No, it’s okay. I was just wondering. Thanks though.” He stood. He had another year. A whole fucking year before this was over. Before he walked out, he paused. “Er, when my two years are up here, what then?”
“You have a choice. You may stay, or move out. If you stay, Eli, you’ll still be required to obey the house rules.”
“Got it. Thanks, Janet.” He headed out and went to work, his heart not feeling as hopeful as it was just a few short hours ago. One more year.
He went back to his own apartment after work to shower and change, like he always did. He didn’t want to dirty up Sam’s clean apartment. He rushed out as soon as he could though, and made his way back to the subway station. It was his main form of transportation, having paid for a year pass right after getting his first paycheck.
Sam’s apartment was a small studio apartment between Uptown and the downtown district. It was a tad bigger than Eli’s place, and more open, and definitely more clean. Eli noticed Sam hadn’t gotten home yet when he entered, and went to grab a beer. Often times he beat her to the apartment. She got off work a tad later than he did, and he tried to get there when she would get home.
Eli turned on the TV and grabbed a controller for the Play 4. He still couldn’t believe his girlfriend was such a nerd, and enjoyed videos games. He had never been a fan of video games himself growing up, but the more he played R.E.F.U.G.E. the more he enjoyed it.
Sam finally arrived just after five. Her eyes quickly went to the television. “What level are you?”
“Ha, made twenty-six this morning before work!”
He waved her off. “Yeah, yeah. Whatever. You own the thing, I don’t even own a television.”
“Awe, poor baby,” Sam teased and kissed his cheek. “I’m going to take a shower. Does spaghetti sound good tonight?”
“Sounds great.” He paused the game and grinned up at her. “Shower, huh? Need some help?”
She smacked the back of his head playful. “Oh behave, Eli. I smell and stink, and I just want to get the hospital off of me. Play your game.”
Eli pouted, but stayed. When she came out of the shower she was wrapped in a blue towel. Eli went to pull it off, but she dodged him. “Eli!” she yelled and laughed.
He laughed with her. This, this was normal. This was what he wanted in life—a normal life. He stared at her as she went behind the wall shelving that separated her bedroom area to the rest of the studio. His eyes traveled to the wall by the door where she had decorated it with photos of the two of them.
He stood and viewed the memories they shared over the last six months, and could not believe that they had been together that long. There was the picnic he surprised Sam with, and the photos from the Valentine’s Day dance at a local club, photos of them around town, and at the park. How did he ever get so lucky to be with her? She even let Eli try to teach her how to play basketball.
Sam wrapped her arms around him and kissed his neck. “We make a cute couple.”
Eli turned and kissed her. “We make the most amazing couple, Sammy. Will you stick with me for another year with me having to go back to the half-way house every night?”
“Of course.” She wiped a tear from his eye. “I’ll always be with you.”
“Eli, I love you.”
Eli nodded. “I know. I just…I don’t want to lose you. You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me. Mom’s right, you’ve made me a better person. I want to be a better person because of you. You are my home, my life, my everything. Promise me, in a year, we’ll still be together, and I can move in here?”
“I’m already counting down the days.”
Eli crushed her lips. Someday soon, he was going to ask her an even more important question. But he would wait, he had to wait until he was out of that crappy place before he made that kind of commitment. Until then, he was happy and content to be with Sammy anyway he could.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY