It was a little easier to pretend that I didn’t want him, that I wasn’t totally crazy about him, when we were traveling with the team or when he was angry at me or when we were dancing around each other, trying to build a bridge back to a friendship.
But this, being around him all the time in close proximity…it’s getting to the point of being unbearable.
And instead of being relieved that we’re almost coming to the end of working on my dad’s car—well, Carrick’s car—so that I can put that distance between us, I’m finding that I want to etch it out longer, so I can be around him—hence, the reason it’s taken me two and a half hours to fit the wiper motor.
Two and a half bloody hours to do a job that should have taken me one hour maximum.
I just…I don’t want this time to end. I want to be around him all the time.
I want him. I just wish I knew a way I could have him.
But all my wanting is fruitless. Carrick is past all of that now. He’s past me. I can tell…feel it in the way he is toward me. It shows in his body language. There are no more accidental touches. He keeps himself at a friendly distance from me.
Aside from that little moment in the car the other day, he has shown no indication of feeling the way he used to about me.
He’s affable, and we have our usual banter, but that feeling I always got from him, the one that told me he saw me through different eyes, is now gone.
I know he just sees me as a friend. I know that was what I wanted when I was telling myself that I needed him to stop wanting me, so I could stop wanting him. But now that he has, I hate it. It hurts like a bitch.
And now all I want is for him to see me the way he used to. Look at me the way he used to. I want him to want me like he did before…like I now want him. And it hurts beyond belief that he no longer does.
“How’s it coming?” Carrick’s voice comes from behind me.
It jolts me, stopping my thoughts and my humming along to the song playing on the radio.
I give another turn, tightening up the final screw. “Yeah, all done.”
Turning, I see him holding two coffees in his hands. I give him a smile of appreciation.
I put the screwdriver back in the toolbox and wipe my dirty hands on a rag. After tossing it on the workbench, I take the coffee from him. “Thanks.”
He leans back against the workbench. “So…we’re nearly done.”
My lips turn down at the corners, so I take a sip of my coffee, covering it. “Yeah, nearly done. Just need the starter motor, and we’ll be finished.”
“It’ll be delivered tomorrow. I know you’re back at work then…so I can fit it, if you want?”
“Oh, yeah? Okay, sure.” I try to hide my disappointment with a smile.
Carrick’s watching me. Dropping his gaze, he takes a sip of his coffee. Holding the cup against his chest, he says, “Will you come by tomorrow after you’re finished with work? I was going to wait to start her up. I thought we could take her out together.”
That brightens me up. “Sure. I’ll try to get out early, and I’ll come straight here.”
“Cool.” He smiles at me and takes another sip of his coffee.
The air feels strained between us, and I’m not really sure why. Maybe I am causing it because I’m feeling sad at the thought of my time here with him coming to an end.
I’ve just taken another sip of coffee when David Guetta’s “Dangerous” starts to play out of the speakers.
This song was playing in the garage the first time I met Carrick.
I feel a sudden energy in the room. Like pure electricity.
I lift my eyes to Carrick and find he’s already staring at me. There’s something deep and intense in his eyes, and it’s making my stomach flip and my knees weaken.
“This song…it was playing the first time we met.” His voice is low with meaning.
And it’s like he just read my mind.
I can’t believe he remembers.
“You…remember?” My words come out in a breathy whisper.
“I remember everything.”
Drawing a breath, I lower my eyes.
I feel like I’m being blasted with every single feeling I have for him. The feelings I’ve had since the moment I turned my head and saw him standing there in the garage at Rybell. The feelings that have kept on growing ever since.
Growing and changing into something so big that I can no longer see past them.
All I can see now is him.
I lift my eyes, and I’m met with Carrick’s. The look there nearly brings me to my knees.
I start to tremble, right down to my bones.
Wordlessly, he puts his coffee down and slowly walks toward me, not moving his eyes from mine.
I’m paralyzed. And even if I weren’t, I wouldn’t move. I need him close to me right now more than I need air.
Taking the cup from my hand, he places it on the side. Then, lifting a hand, he brushes a stray hair from my face.
I suck in a breath. My body triggers to life under his touch.
“What are you doing?” My voice trembles.
“Taking what I want…what’s mine.”
He cups my face with his hand, running the tip of his thumb over my lower lip, sending a shiver hurtling through me.
“I can’t do this anymore, Andressa. I thought I could handle just being your friend, but I can’t. I’m tired of pretending, pretending that I don’t feel what I feel for you. I want you, and it’s not going away. And I know you feel the same. I can see it in your eyes…feel it in your body.” He runs his hand down the curve of my waist. “I’m sick of ignoring the inevitable.”