“If you kiss, you’we mawwied and you’ll stay forevew, wight?”
The toddler’s silly way of thinking floated through my mind as I pushed open the door to his room.
“Cas? Time to wake up…” I trailed off as I spotted Gabriel perched on the side of the kid’s bed, out like a light and snoring with his head back. Similar to the day before, he was dusted with glitter. It wasn't nearly as thick as yesterday, but it still made me wonder. I chuckled. Seemed like that was his routine after working the night shift. It wasn’t like he could sleep in his bed with me there.
Well, he could…nope. Not gonna think about that. I cleared my throat.
“Hey. Time to get up, guys. Breakfast is getting cold.”
Gabriel’s snoring cut off as he sat his head up. He blinked unevenly and mumbled something. I crossed my arms and tried to push away the thought of how cute it was to see the man sleeping.
“Cereal can’t get cold. It gets mushy.” The blond man muttered. He looked like he hadn’t slept much last night. Must have been a busy night at his ‘night job.’
“Are you a stripper?” I asked frankly.
“Shh, jeez!” He climbed to his feet, checking on his baby brother. Cas was still sleeping peacefully, his plush bee hugged close in his arms. Gabe turned to me. “I’m a janitor around the mall. Okay? I scrub floors. It’s not glamorous, but it pays the bills.”
“So, you smell like strawberries and are COVERED in glitter because you’re a janitor?” I saw his jaw tighten as he gave me a nod. “Uh huh. Right.”
- - -
Breakfast was cereal again. Not that I was complaining. All of my favorite foods were carbs coated in sugar. With how crappy I felt, I wouldn’t have said no to an actual bowl full of sugar. I knew that I had a fever, I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. That meant I was getting sick. Getting sick meant the chance of missing work. With Kali and Crowley dating, I felt like my job was already leaning over the edge of a cliff.
One little push and I’d wind up jobless like Dean. Speaking of him…
I glanced his way. He had borrowed more clothes from my closet – a sweatshirt from back in college that had the slogan ‘Ladies’ Man’ written on the back in gold letters. Those were the days.
I stirred my bowl again, trying to ignore the fact that my head felt like it was being squeezed from the pressure building in my ears.
I didn’t wanna be sick. I had shit to do. Two jobs, a kid to care for, a hot guy to avoid. Being sick meant being home and home was where DEAN was. I pouted and dumped a spoonful of milk back into the bowl.
Dean was pretty quiet through breakfast, so I was caught off guard when he finally spoke to me.
“What time do you work?”
I checked my phone screen.
“In half an hour. Why?”
“I told you earlier — we gotta talk.”
“About what? Me being a stripper?” I added dubiously. Dean shook his head.
“You said you’d pay me to babysit. When’s payday?” The handsome teenager took a seat next to me and rested an elbow on the table. “Baby needs some parts.”
Good gravy. Those freckles. Those eyelashes. Those EYES.
Those eyes narrowed as he stared back at me.
“Are you sick?”
“What? No. I’m not sick.” I turned back to my bowl and stirred it some more.
“Your voice sounds weird, you look half dead and your eye bags have their own carry on luggage.”
“Payday is in three days. I’ll pay you once I get paid. 'Kay? Cool.” I got up and stumbled over nothing, catching myself on the sink and shattering my bowl in the bottom. Milk splashed me in the face and I sighed.
“You’re sick,” Dean concluded somewhere behind me.
“No, I just need coffee.”
- - -
“Gabriel, coffee isn’t a cure all. You’re still going to be sick after your second cup.”
I glared at Crowley and took a long drink from my cup. My face felt hot and my nose was starting to run. If I had been a rich man, I would have been high on cold meds by then.
We had opened an hour ago, but like every Saturday morning, it was dead. It’d pick up around eleven, after everyone got done sleeping off their hangovers.
God. It had been years since I had had a hangover. I missed it. The exhaustion. The regret. The hatred of everything. The vomiting—
I gagged at the thought.
“Don’t you dare,” Crowley growled sharply as he sat a plate on the pass through. He circled around through the kitchen door. “This is a high class establishment.”
High class my ass, I thought bitterly. The smell of the food wasn’t agreeing with my stomach. A cool hand came to rest on the small of my back and I flinched.
“Why don’t just you go home?” Crowley said smoothly, guiding me to face the door. I pushed him away.
“So you can fire me? Nope. Not happening.”
“Why in the world would I fire you?” The cook said with a roll of his hazel eyes. “You work like a dog, you show up on time and you let me walk all over you so I can date your lovely ex girlfriend. Don’t be daft. It’s a marvelous deal.” He took the cup of coffee out of my hand and sat it aside. “Now go home, angel.”
I wanted to throw a fit about it, but I was too tired. I hated it when he called me angel. I didn’t want him touching me, and I was extremely close to punching him in his stupid sexy face.
I gathered my stuff from my locker and went to find my car. Crowley had a point. As long as I cooperated, my job was secure. He was the boss and he wanted me to go home. Fine. I could do that. At least I didn’t have to be near him and Kali all damn day.