I turned in my seat to watch the New York skyline disappearing behind us, giving it a slight wave. “Ciao, NYC. I’m sure I’ll see you sooner than I’d like to.”
Ash, in the backseat, let out a single bark, looking happy with himself. I rolled my eyes, turning my attention back to the road in front of us, sinking back into the big leather passenger seat. The sun was setting ahead, making it difficult to see into the distance; soon, we’d turn to the north, back home. I curled my legs up underneath me, holding my ankle loosely, as I looked out the window at the diminishing stature of the buildings flying past.
Somewhere in Connecticut, we stopped to fill up the car. I leaned against the back door, watching Jake pump gas. He was even hot whilst doing that. “What?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. I shook my head, waiting til he replaced the pump and curled my fingers into his shirt, pulling him closer and kissing him deeply. “What was that for?”
“Nothing,” I shrugged, hopping back into the car. He shook his head slightly, perplexed, and joined me a minute later, as we continued to Boston. “What did the therapist say?” I asked.
His grip tightened on the wheel and I reached my hand out, resting it on his thigh. “Jake? What is it?”
“Another two weeks,” he muttered.
I squeezed his leg reassuringly. “Are you okay?”
“I’m so, so sick of this. Spending time in rehab rooms, watching every game from the dugout, unable to do the things I used to be able to. I feel like a failure in front of everyone... my friends, family, fans... and you.”
“You know I don’t think you’re a failure.”
“You deserve better. Someone who can make you proud.”
I had to laugh at his melodrama. “I would love you, and be proud of you, even if you had to have both your arms removed or were in a vegetative state. I don’t love you because of what you do, I love you because of who you are, and as much as it takes up your life, you are not baseball, and it is not you.”
He was silent for a few seconds, still staring out at the darkening road in front of him. “Would you still love me if I couldn’t get it up?”
“No,” I replied immediately, but couldn’t help a grin forming, and eventually laughed. “Of course I would, you idiot.”
The lights of Boston were familiar as we approached them, and I felt more at ease. Like I really was coming home. I expected Jake to take a familiar turn back to his place, but he didn’t. I looked at him quizzically.
“We’re not going home,” he said simply.
He shook his head, indicating that he wasn’t going to give me any more information. I sighed, settling back into the seat, until he pulled up in front of an unfamiliar house. He opened the back door and whistled to Ash, who jumped out and followed him up the path to the front door. I peered out from the window, furrowing my brow, finally recognising Josh at the door, and gave him a small wave. He waved back, and took Ash inside, with Jake finally returning to the car.
“Jake, what the hell?”
“Josh is minding Ash for a few nights.”
“You’ll see,” he grinned. We kept driving until we reached a busy block downtown, where he pulled up and ordered me out of the car, throwing his keys to a guy in uniform. After joining me on the kerb, he threaded his fingers through mine and led me into an amazing, luxury hotel.
“What is this?” I whispered, holding tight to him.
“Me treating you for being the best girlfriend I could ever ask for.”
We walked over to the check-in desk and they gave us our room key before someone came to show us the way there. When he opened the door, my jaw almost dropped. It was so... decadent. The bed was really high, and it was huge, as was the bathroom. There were floor-length windows at the front of the room that looked out onto the harbour, edged with heavy curtains that would block out any morning sunlight. It even had its own sitting area with couches and a TV. “This place is ridonculous,” I murmured, unable to pry my eyes away from it.
“I’m not finished. Go look on the table.” He pointed to the sitting area and I approached it cautiously, noticing an envelope dropped on the table. Picking it up, I pulled out three tickets to Sunday’s Celtics game. Courtside.
“Shut up,” I said loudly, staring at the tickets, then at him, then back at the tickets. “Shut up. You did not.”
“You okay there, fifteen year old Daria?” he asked, approaching me. I jumped at him and he caught me, wrapping my legs around his hips and kissing him roughly.
He laughed, eventually dropping me gently back to the floor. “I love you, okay?” he said, running his hand through my hair. “I just want you to know that.”
“You don’t have to take me to an amazing hotel and give me Celtics tickets to show me that,” I said, wrapping my arms around his neck. “But I love that you did. And you don’t even like the Celtics.”
He shrugged. “I know. But I do like basketball, and this is the final. The third one’s for your dad.”
I eyed him off suspiciously. “Are you trying to get into his pants, too?”
He made a face. “Daria, that’s gross.”
I grinned, grabbing the bottom of his shirt and pulling it up, yanking it off over his head. He did the same with mine and picked me up, carrying me over to the bed and dropping me on top of the soft covers. He climbed in after me and lay down, resting his head on my chest for a few seconds. “You smell good,” he murmured, lifting his chin to look at me. “And is your hair different?”
I rolled my eyes, picking up a pillow and hitting him with it. “Only took you more than a day to notice,” I sighed.
“No, I noticed yesterday when you got home, but I was too distracted by something else to comment on it.”
I grabbed his shoulder and pushed him over onto his back, climbing on top of him. “I’ll give you distraction.”
[comment with ‘hotel’ if you read?]