Page 17 of Buying the Bride

“I can’t eat another bite,” Heath says, then takes another bite.

I laugh. He’s so adorable. It makes me happy to watch him eat. It’s good to be appreciated once in a while.

I get up and start to clear the table. “No, don’t. I’ll take care of it,” he says.

“You’ve been working all day, grab a beer and go relax,” I tell him.

“There’s beer?”

“In the fridge. I didn’t know what you like, or if you even like beer, so I just bought something from the local brewery.” I shake my head. He’s probably more of a wine kind of guy. That didn’t even cross my mind.

“I like beer,” he says and opens the fridge. He pauses at the door. “It’s full,” he says in surprise.

“You needed a few things.”

“This is more than a few things.”

“You needed a lot of things, actually.”

He grabs a beer and follows me into the kitchen as I grab our dirty plates. I fill the sink with soap. He sets his beer on the counter and grabs the plate from me once I’ve washed it. He dries it with a towel and puts it in the cupboard.

We fall into easy conversation while we work. It’s surprising that, even though we have nothing in common, we have so much to say to each other. There’s never a lull in the conversation or uncomfortable silence. He tells me all about his family, and we go over the plan again and again. Then I ask him about his day. He tells me about his meetings and the insufferable building inspectors. He asks about my day, which surprises me a little. A lot of things surprise me about Heath, I guess. My ex never asked about my day. He never helped me with the dishes. He never told me I was talented in the kitchen. He just ate my food and burped, then plopped down on the couch and watched whatever game was on at the time. Turns out my fake relationship might be the best one I’ve ever been in.

Once the dishes are done, he says, “I’m exhausted. I’m going to turn in for the night.”

We say our goodnights, and go our separate ways. I try reading, and when that fails to put me to sleep, I think about Heath and I masturbate. Luckily I remembered to bring my dildo. A very important accessory to have when you’re sharing a house with a sexy man you can’t touch. Getting myself off usually relaxes me enough to put me to sleep, but knowing that Heath is just down the long hallway makes thinking about him a poor substitute. I’m tempted to walk in his room naked and have my way with him, but I couldn’t handle the rejection if he’s not into it.

Hours pass and there’s no way I’m getting any sleep, so I decide to get up and get some ice cream and watch TV for a while.

I’m in the kitchen when the door to Heath’s room opens. I didn’t think he’d be up so I didn’t bother putting on a robe. My t-shirt is just barely long enough to cover my ass cheeks.

“I’m sorry, did I wake you?” I say.

He’s wearing only a pair of flannel pajama bottoms, and damn, he wears them well. I can’t get enough of his bare chest, the way his muscles look as though they’ve been carved out of hard wood. The guy is sculpted, and those arms …

There is nothing sexier than a guy with nice arms. I picture them wrapped around me, pulling me toward him, crushing our bodies together. I realize I’m staring at him, so I look down at the tub of ice cream in my hands.

“No, I couldn’t sleep,” he says. He’s staring at me too, at my bare legs.

“Me neither. I have a hard time sleeping in strange places. What’s your excuse?”

I grab a second spoon out of the drawer and hand it to him. He takes a spoon full of the chocolate caramel swirl.

“My family. I’m always tense when they’re in town. They can be overwhelming.”

He puts the spoon in his mouth, rolls his shoulders and winces. I can literally see the muscle in his shoulders taut with tension.

“Sit,” I tell him. “I have something that’s guaranteed to help you sleep.”

He looks skeptical but says, “Okay.”

I go to my room where I find my toiletry supplies that I brought from my apartment. Inside are some massage oils I was given as a pampering gift from Mandi for my birthday last year. Cinnamon, my favorite scent. It’s also good for sore muscles. I take the oils and head back to the kitchen where Heath is still digging into the ice cream container.