She couldn't sleep. It was a common occurrence these days, unfortunately. Her nights were filled with endless nightmares of the past she so desperately wished to escape from. Jessica didn't have any friends to confide it...except maybe her nerdy next door neighbor Spencer.
Jessica wasn't sure what to make of him. He was currently MIA. She hadn't seen him in two days, not since that mishap at the coffee shop. Oddly enough, that's where Jessica now worked. She'd gone back for coffee the next day, alone, and she'd seen a "help wanted" sign. It wasn't glamorous. But it was better than nothing.
Jessica heard a shuffling from just outside her apartment. Shifting the pain of muffins she'd just finished baking onto the counter top, she went over for a peak. It was Spencer. Heavy bags hung beneath his eyes, disheveled hair looking even more of a mess. She glanced at the clock that hung just to the left of her door. It was a little bit past midnight. What on earth was bringing him home this late?
Fiddling with his keys, he offered a glance in her direction. A ghost of a smile haunted his lips. Jessica knew that look all too well. It was a look she wore when she could hardly force herself out of bed in the mornings. Like her, Spencer had demons. That alone should've been enough to persuade Jessica that Spencer was no good for her. It did the opposite.
Her eyes shifted to the dozens of muffins that littered her countertop. If there was one thing in this life that she was good at, it was baking. She toyed with the idea of going over to his apartment, arms full of goodies. Would he appreciate such a late visit though? Probably not.
When morning finally broke, Jessica had only managed a few hours of restless sleep. She'd been up half the night, baking. Her kitchen was now littered with dozens and dozens of baked goods. In the back of her head. She glanced at her clock. It was barely six in the morning. Spencer would still be asleep.
She gathered some of the muffins and cupcakes, placed them in a rather large plastic container. She'd had the intent on simply placing them in front of his door but, as she stepped out into the hall, she found herself not alone.
A man, with skin the color of melted chocolate, stood in front of Spencer's door. Jessica hesitated, container of muffins clenched tightly against her chest. For a moment, she panicked. He knocked on Spencer's door.
"Come on, pretty boy. I know you're in there!" He called out.
When Spencer finally did come to the door, he looked even worse than the night before. His hair look as if he'd stuck his finger in a light socket, frizzy and unkempt. Jessica took a step back, intending on retreating back to the safety of her apartment. Too late. Spencer saw her. His eyes flickered from the stranger than back to her.
The man with honey for words turned. He lifted an eyebrow before turning back to Spencer. "Friend of yours?" There was definitely something going on between the two.
Spencer shot the man a look that said "back off" before redirecting his eyes towards Jessica. "Hey." He said, shifting rather awkwardly. His eyes dropped to the collection of baked goods, "Special occasion?"
Jessica shrugged, "N-not really." She ducked her head, tucking a loose strand of hair behind one ear, "I, uh, I couldn't sleep so…" Her words trailed off. Before she could lose her nerve, she offered the container of baked goods to Spencer, "I thought...I thought you might like some."
A faint smile tugged at his lips, his nimble fingers slowly taking the container from her, "Thanks."
It took Jessica a minute to realize the other guy was still there, watching this interaction between them with a shocked but somewhat pleased smirk plastered across his face. "Oh. Shit. I'm sorry I'm being rude." She offered her hand to the stranger, even though she really didn't want to, "I'm Jessica." She jutted a thumb to her door, "I just moved in across the hall."
He took her hand. "Derek Morgan."
"So, tell me, Derek. How do you know Spence?"
"We should, ah, probably get going, Derek." Spencer spoke without warning, interrupting the two of them, "We don't want to be late."
Derek's smile only widened, "Riiiight. Well, it was nice to meet you, Jessica."
"You to, Derek."
It was almost as if Spencer was intentionally keeping the two of them from talking. Was there something about his job that he didn't want Jessica to know? Spencer didn't bother going back into his apartment to place the container inside. He merely took it with him. She watched the pair until they made it to the staircase. Spencer turned. He offered her a wave and a smile. She returned said wave with one of her own.
She barely made it back inside her apartment before her phone began to chirp. Caller ID was unknown. She picked it up, "Hello?"
"Hello, Jessie." The voice on the other end of the line sent a chill of her spine.
"Jason. How...how did you get this number?"
"Oh, don't you worry your pretty little head about that."
"I don't want to talk to you." Jessica hung up the phone. It immediately began to ring again. Same number. She picked up, "Leave me alone!"
"We are made for each other, Jessie. I can't and won't leave without you."
Jessica hung up again. She flipped her phone over, snatched the battery from it. She then ripped the SIM card out and promptly tossed it down the garbage disposal. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.
Jason was her ex. She'd been with him since her senior year of highschool, almost six years ago. He was older than her by two years. At first, things had been great. Then, things had changed. He'd grown possessive, controlling. He began to abuse her...physically, sexually, and emotionally. She'd finally found the courage to leave a year ago, after he'd been arrested for physically assaulting her in public. He was supposed to be in jail.
What would she do if he found her? Jessica had barely found the strength to leave the last time...she didn't think she could do it again. He'd kill her first.