The fresh sunlight burned through my eyelids as I forced myself up into a sitting position. I woke with the unusual feeling that today was significant. I gave up trying to remember what it was when I noticed I was wearing the same clothes I had on yesterday, the light grey tee shirt and black jeans were stained by what I could only presume was drugs. I spent most of the day before cooking meth in the lab that was recently bought over by Stephen. I hate drugs, but it's pretty fun making them I have to admit.
I crawled out of bed, the damp, dank walls of the cabin I called home seemed to be turning a rotten yellowish colour. I could hear the faint snoring of Stephen in the other room, the sound always made me feel calmer, it reassured me that everything was going to be ok. Recently I have begun to feel a lot more panic-y about work. I never used to panic. I'm just scared I'm going to lose someone close to me, I mean we have lost a lot of people on the job, but never someone important to me.
Ok, that was a lie.
Maybe the panicking started after Danny died, and that's when I realized how easy it was to loose someone close to me. I couldn't imagine the pain I'd go through if Stephen was to die. The thought alone makes my stomach twist into an uncomfortable knot.
I still remember the way Danny used to try and protect me when we got ourselves into a sticky situation, and he would always look out for me to make sure I was ok, and he always found a way to keep me happy. And his smile. I miss his fucking smile the most.
He was my best friend for two years, and I'll never forgive myself for what happened to him. Maybe part of the reason I helped Erin when she was getting the shit kicked out of her the first time I saw her was because she reminded me of Danny.
When you lose someone close to you you feel empty inside, you know? Like you lost a part of yourself that you are never going to get back.
Maybe that's why I grew so attached to Erin, because when I'm around her I feel like I've got that little part of me back, and just for a while I forget how much it kills me that I will never see him again.
And the thing is, I feel like I'm constantly drowning, and everyone else around me can breathe just fine, the reason being that I cannot tell anyone how I feel because in this line of work your feelings can be used against you, or make you look weak. So we solider on, straight faced acting like our pain is non-existant. Because we have to. It's just how things are.
I have to stop thinking about him before I get upset.
I listened to Stephen's distant snoring again. Our breathing in sync. Hours could have passed for all I cared. After a while I remembered why today felt so important. Today was D-Day (drug day). It was marked on my calendar in red sharpie, December 22nd was always D-Day.
It was also my birthday, funnily enough.
I can't even remember the last time I got a birthday present. But I don't care about that kind of thing, I'm not into the rampant commercialism of birthdays. And honestly, I would be a lot more excited about the idea of selling drugs than I would ever be at the prospect of having a birthday party.
D-Day was a tradition made by Stephen where we would sell all of our products, which was mainly drugs, and use the money we made to finance the business for the rest of the year. If you don't already know, our business is the manufacturing of methamphetamine and various other illegal produce.
D-Day was always one of the most exciting times of the year, it was always thrilling knowing you were going to make huge profits, and the selling itself was always a bit of an adventure. This year I promised to take Erin along with me like a kind of day trip type thingy. She insisted. I said ok, but I told her she wouldn't get paid though, because she was there voluntarily and that the drugs were made by me and therefore belong to me. I'm not trying to be cheap, but I need the money and she really does not.
The house smelt of stale alcohol and damp wood, a smell I was often greeted with as I made my way through the house. I knew I had some fresh clothes in the laundry room, I moved as quietly as possible, not wanting to wake Stephen. After I got changed into some comfy clothes I decided to take a look at what I'd be selling today. Yesterday I helped out at the lab, I was working with Stephen's head chef Jack who spoke some bullshit about the 'art' of cooking meth. He was probably high the entire time I spent with him because he kept on muttering to himself about wanting to kill his brother with a blunt axe. So yeah, I imagine that he was either high or has serious mental health problems.
I quickly got changed into a light grey hoodie and some black leggings, then i slipped my Ugg boots on and left my room, if you could even call it a room, it's more of a cell, or a space.
The living room of my humble abode was occupied by a snoozing middle aged man who had crashed on the couch drunk the night before. Some bottles of beer and nameless other products lay discarded on the floor. I shook him a few times, which caused him to moan and roll over, burying his head into the cushions.
It was barely a whisper.
One of those rare smiles spread across my face. A sincere smile, the ones that make your eyes crinkle at the sides and show your dimples. I always thought Stephen was funniest when he was hungover.
I decided it would be best not to annoy him, you really don't want to see Stephen when he's mad. Like I said before, he has anger issues.
Snowflakes sprinkled on my face as I stepped out onto the front porch. Snow had littered the ground around me, making a safe trip down the stairs near impossible. The banister was of little help as I slowly made my way down the slippery ice-caked steps.
The cold air turned my breath into a misty fog as I made my way towards the garage. My hands had already turned red and numb and my nose felt the same. The snow had turned the usually colourful garden into a dull, bland white.
I opened the garage door and checked to see that everything was in order. The boot of the truck was just as I had left it last night; full to the brim with crystal meth. Great, now it was time to sell.
I heard Stephen shouting from inside the house as I pulled the truck up onto the driveway.
'Lizzie! Hold on, don't go just yet!' He he jogged up to the car and leaned inside the window.
'Happy birthday. I'm sorry I didn't get you anything, but I'll make it up to you, I swear.'
The intimidating growl seemed to have vanished from his voice, giving him an almost innocent appearance.
'No, not at all, I didn't want anything anyway. It's the thought that counts, right?' He always does this. He always makes himself feel guilty about my birthday, he doesn't realise that I don't give a damn.
A wide smile made its way across his lips as he put his face in his hands.
'Why are you so fucking nice to me.' He coughed.
'Ha ha. Because I love you? Really though, I don't need anything, all I want is you to be happy. Are you ok? You look freezing.' I said as I handed him the scarf I had on around my neck. He wrapped it tightly around his hands and laughed.
'I'm fine. I always am. Take care on the roads today, it's gonna be really icy. And we'll meet at the entrance to Santa Monica pier at six. You got that?' His usual growl had returned to his voice, and the innocence vanished as quickly as it came. I like his voice better this way anyway.
'Yeah yeah yeah, Santa Monica pier. I'll see you then.' And with a quick smile I left.
He waved until I was gone.