The water ran cold. The faucet wouldn't turn off. Lights flickered on and off. A strange crunching noise resounded throughout the apartment at all hours of the night.

Welcome to the suburban hell.

"You have thirty seconds to get your ass over here," Jude yelled.

I enjoyed every one of those thirty seconds. I channeled molasses on a cold day in the Artic.

"Five seconds," the puppet master called again.

When I entered the bedroom, Jude ran to greet me and harshly snapped the handcuff on my wrist. The metal claw pinched my skin and I yelped in surprise.

Jude frowned. "That's your own fault."

I frowned to counter his frown and initiate a battle of the frowns. "Even sadists possess some fraction of humanity."

He rolled his eyes. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but you're the one who will die alone and bitter."

I blinked. "That's not how it goes."

"It's a prophecy," he said. "A prophecy I just made up. Foreshadowing, if you will."

I imagined how long a fistfight between two handcuffed people would last.

"Do I have to sing you a lullaby or can you manage to fall asleep on your own?" He asked sarcastically.

I hesitated at the foot of the bed. Jude sat of the comforter.

"I'm going to fall off," I mumbled. The two feet between the floor and the mattress are an unwelcome surprise at two in the morning.

"And," Jude said. "If you pull me down with you, I will insure that you never wake up."

This was gearing up to be a lose-lose situation. "That's not fair."

"What's not fair is that you have the emotional strength of a three year old. What are you afraid of, Emma? Zombies? Clowns? Judes?"

I moved toward the bed and we awkwardly coordinated the cuffed appendages until we could sit comfortably next to each other.

Then I entered the longest night of my life.

Sometime around 2:00 am I woke up to remove Jude's hand from my hip.

Sometime around 2:20 am I woke up just in time to save myself from the edge of the bed.

Sometime around 2:30 am I woke up for no particular reason. I herded sheep in the plains of New Zealand until I could fall back asleep.

Sometime around 2:40 am I woke up because the sheets had wrapped around my leg, thereby inducing a strange dream about being a mermaid caught in a fishing net.

Sometime around 2:50 am I woke up to remove Jude's hand from my back.

Sometime around 3:00 am I woke up to remove Jude's hand from my thigh.

Sometime around 3:10 am I woke up to remove Jude's hand from my throat. Only, the hand could not be moved. The hold tightened. I squirmed and pushed against Jude's chest.

He smiled.

"Let go!" I growled hoarsely.

"Funny, this is just what I was dreaming about," he said. The smile widened.

Normally, I don't believe in fighting violence with violence. At three in the morning, no one is expected to stand by their morals.

So I kneed Jude between the legs.

Jude cursed and flinched away from me.

This immediately backfired.

The sudden, exaggerated flinched caused him to roll over, handcuffed arm and all. I yelped as the motion pulled me across the bed. Jude stopped curled up in the fetal position with me sprawled on top of him.

I gave up fighting.

If I had a gold medal, I would award it to this night for being the worst night of my life, hands down.

"Emma," Jude moaned.

"Yes," I answered.

"Your wrist is bleeding."

The handcuffs felt so sorry for me that they decided to save me the trouble of taking my own life.

Jude uncurled. I cradled my wounded arm.

"I think we should wrap the cuffs."

I nodded.

Despite my bleeding hand, I did not want to get up. I would have gladly returned to sleep and bleed out in the night. Jude, however, did not want to sleep with a "festering hole of corroded flesh" in the bed next to him.

"You're overreacting," I told him.

I had no choice but to follow Jude into the bathroom to get a band-aid. He clumsily searched through the cabinets with one hand.

"I'm perfectly fine. No oozing flesh here, no sir. Just one dangerously tired person."

Jude didn't reply. He found a single band-aid and noisily ripped off the wrapper. "Stop moving your arm," he growled angrily.

I frowned. "I'm not moving my arm, you are."

In his band-aid expedition frenzy, he carelessly pulled my arm through the bathroom only managing to exacerbate the damage on my wrist.

"Right," he whispered. The tiny band-aid only covered a sliver of my cut.

"Fine with me," I dropped my arm. "Please, can I sleep now?"

Jude pulled a hand towel off the counter. My sluggish feet somberly followed him back into the bedroom where he found a roll of scotch tape.

My wrist ached. Vibrant drops of crimson blood speckled my sweatshirt.

Jude wrapped the towel around my cuff and secured it with tape.

"Great," I cheered sarcastically. "Now you can abuse me all you'd like."

He glared. "You kicked me!"

"Because you were trying to strangle me!" I reminded him.

"Because you were waking me up!"

"Because you were touching me!"

"Trust me, Emma. I wasn't doing it on purpose!"

His eyes quickly flipped across the room. I could tell he wanted to storm away, slam a few doors, escape. Thanks to the cuffs, there would be no storming today.

Perhaps we could each store all our respective thunderclouds for two months then unleash them in one gigantic monsoon when we were freed. This will no doubt make national news.

I will be shocked if either of us has the strength to last that long.

By four am we were back in bed. Jude was sound asleep, breathing deeply into my neck with pungent breath reminiscent of a spoiled tuna sandwich.

I drifted smoothly into a REM cycle of my own.

A wash of colors spun around me, a merry-go-round of lights. Rain splattered against the car windshield. Jens Lekman spilled form the radio. I saw myself laughing. Slow, contented laughter.

A bright light. The pit of my stomach dropping. Then the scent of Jude's carpet.

One second later, before I had a chance to breath, Jude's heavy body came crashing down on mine. It knocked the breath from my throat and the wind from my lungs. I spluttered on the ground.

", Emma," I heard Jude shout.

A knee dug into my back, an elbow pressed down on my neck. I struggled to lift myself then, flattened like pancake beneath Jude, stopped altogether.

The knot of arms and legs took minutes to untangle. After, extricating myself, I sat on the floor, my knees brought up to my chest. My handcuffed arms hung loosely in the air.

Even in the low light of the evening, I could see shadows forming on Jude's face from the deepened brow of a glare.

"You fell off the bed," he accused. "You pulled me off the bed." He chuckled, though not in a light-hearted manner. "I haven't fallen out of bed since I was five."

I glared back at him. "Not my fault."

"Yes, it is!"

"No. It's your own stupid ignorance for not listening to me!"

He shut his eyes. "I just want to go to sleep, Emma."

"As do I!"

"You're going to be the death of me," he spoke softly.

I purposefully fell on my side, not even caring to drop gently to the floor. I curled up into a tight ball. "Conversation over," I said. A smile spread across my face. "Goodnight, Jude."

I felt Jude lift his hand to grab a pillow from the bed then listened as he lay down on the carpet as far from me as possible.