Shannyn woke up disoriented. What..? The crying baby she was used to but the pounding on her door was new. Heart pounding in her chest, she grabbed the knife under her pillow and jumped out of bed. If even one of those fucking marauders tries to get in this house…
She glanced over at Kayne as she left the room, but he was fine. The banging had woken him up, same as her. She crept down the stairs and leaned up on her toes to look out of the small window across from the bathroom. The figure she saw on the other side pissed her off even more.
She threw the door open, “What the fuck do – “She cut herself off as she took in Jason’s beaten and bloodied face. “What the fuck happened to you?”
He stumbled into the house, favoring his left leg. “The marauders.”
“Son of a whore.” He groaned as he dropped down onto the couch.
“You look like shit.”
“Thanks. Really.” He reached up and probed at his jaw, sucking in a hissing breath through his teeth.
“I have to go quiet Kayne down. Don’t die of internal bleeding or something while I’m gone.”
She turned and headed upstairs where Kayne was still screaming bloody murder. “I know,” she murmured softly as she lifted the angry little bundle into her arms. “The nasty man woke you up, didn’t he?” Some minutes later, he was finally sleeping again.
When she returned downstairs, she found Jason exactly where she’d left him. Something was different though. She sniffed at the air. “I smell smoke.”
He limped to his feet and opened the door, looking down the road toward his shelter. He then swore vilely. “They’re razing it. Goddamn sons of bitches.”
That might actually be the first time she’d ever heard him swear. “Well, shit.”
He shut the door and took a seat on the sofa again. “Look, I hate to impose – “
“You can stay here tonight,” she said, knowing where he was going. The matter of where he’d be living after that would wait, probably until he’d gotten home from work. “Try to sleep. You don’t want to have to find another job on top of finding another place to live.”
As he shifted around and tried to get comfortable on the much-too-small sofa, she almost offered to let him – platonically – share her bed for the night. Almost. In the end, she merely turned and went back upstairs to get a few more hours of sleep.
Kayne woke her again some time after dawn. After seeing to him, she padded downstairs to find Jason awake and munching on strawberries.
“I hope you don’t mind.”
She shook her head and pulled a couple off of the shelf for herself before sitting down next to him. “When do you work?”
“In about an hour.” He looked down at his hands for a long moment before turning to face her. “There was something I wanted to talk to you about.” He let out a deep breath. “I’ve been mulling it over, and I think it’d be a good idea if I lived here.”
She glared at him. “The fuck you say. You don’t get to make decisions about who lives in my house.”
He held up his hands pleadingly, expression earnest. “Please, hear me out. We’re stronger together. We already spend so much of our time together, and we’re already combining a lot of our resources. We’d be safer together, more secure.”
Shannyn got to her feet and paced around. She wanted to be pissed – what right did he have to suggest moving in to her place? – but her sensible side knew that he was right, had known it for a long time. She trusted him as much as she’d be willing to trust anyone in this apocalypse. Enough to let him in her home, to leave him alone with Kayne. He was strong; he’d managed to get away from a group of marauders.
Kayne would be safer with him around.
Really, nothing else mattered except for that last bit.
Finally, she turned to him. “Alright. You can stay.”