Until Sadie - Sarah Curtis


Pitch black.

That was the state of Dean’s apartment as he stepped through the front door.

That should’ve been his first clue, but he was so fucking tired, it didn’t register that Sadie hadn’t left a light on for him.

He flipped the switch before tossing his keys on the entryway table. The clatter they made seemed especially loud.

That should’ve been his second clue. The place was eerily silent. The kind that only comes when no one was home. Sadie was supposed to be there. She’d said as much before leaving for work that morning. Being so late, she was more than likely sleeping after pulling a double shift that day. He’d give her that as an excuse—maybe she’d been so tired she crashed, forgetting to turn on the light.

He made his way to the kitchen, stripping off his leather jacket. He got a whiff of cigarette smoke and stale beer mixed with a hint of BO from too close of quarters.

He needed a fucking shower.

The faint glow from the streetlight softly illuminated the kitchen table as he hung his jacket on the back of a chair and navigated around it. More light filled the kitchen when he pulled open the refrigerator door, shining on the white-tiled countertop and drawing attention to the piece of paper sitting there.

It was lined, and its connecting holes were shredded with one corner torn off as though hastily ripped from a spiral notebook. Recognizing Sadie’s scrawl, he snatched it up.

Some of the dark purple ink was diluted and smeared, looking like a grief-stricken watercolor painting. A tingle at the back of his neck sent out a warning but he forced his eyes to the words on the page. Dread filled his stomach as he scanned the note, getting the gist of its contents while trying not to absorb the harsh words. That alone was a punch to the gut.

His girl had left him.

“Sadie!” His voice echoed into the responding silence.

Fisting the note, he wrinkled the evidence of her departure before chucking it onto the counter with so much force, it bounced off the backsplash and landed in the sink.

Heavy and quick, his booted steps pounded the linoleum as he left the kitchen to search out the letter’s validity. Her scent surrounded him as he walked through the apartment to the bedroom. Stopping in its threshold, he took a deep breath.

A single drawer was pulled out in the dresser—her drawer. Now empty.


Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his phone—his thumb on the screen to unlock it before it even cleared the denim. He brought it to his ear, listening to the many rings before her beautiful voice told him to leave a message.

His fist hit the wall, right below the spot where their cuckoo clock had hung, denting the plaster and making a small hole that caused a rain of drywall dust to fall to the floor.

His gut tightened as he stared at the empty space.

She’d taken the damn clock.

Checking the time on his phone, he sat on the edge of the bed to scroll through his apps. Finding the one he was looking for, he clicked on it.

The thirty seconds it took for the app to locate her felt like an eternity, but finally, the information loaded.

She was safe. At her apartment.

After stripping off his tee shirt, he leaned over to pull off his boots, knowing there was nothing he could do right then. He couldn’t go banging on her door at fucking midnight, waking up the neighbors. Though every instinct was telling him to do just that, he knew he had to wait until morning—but then there’d be no stopping him.

Standing, Dean shucked is jeans, then made his way to the bathroom. The countertop was bare. No makeup scattered about. No random hair ties. No fucking pink toothbrush in the holder next to his blue one. Though they didn’t live together, she stayed at his place more nights than not. There’d been traces of her everywhere.

Now there weren’t.

He started the shower, pointing the dial to more hot than cold. He had a chill that ran deep. But he doubted the hot water would help. Only Sadie could warm him.

Scrubbing the night’s activities from his skin, spice and musk filled the steamy air, masking Sadie’s scent.

He didn’t like that.

Wanted her smell back.

Noticing she hadn’t taken her shampoo, he grabbed it, squeezing a healthy glob into his palm. Her scent of roses mixed with his spice as he lathered it through his hair, and a vision of them