I look away quickly, horrified that my stupid brain would have me do such a dumb thing. Winking? I’m not the winking type of guy, and I’m pretty sure that I just looked like the biggest creep. Ever.
Nora’s eyes meet mine, and her lips part. She steps toward me, closing the admittedly small gap between us with one stride. My body reacts and I retreat, my lower back resting against the sink.
“You’re so cute,” she says softly, and her eyes roam over my chest once again.
The word cute stings a little coming from someone who oozes sex appeal. From the curve of her lips to the curve of her hips, she’s pure desire. I’m always the cute one, the nice one. No woman has ever fantasized about me or called me sexy.
Nora lifts her hand toward my face and I flinch slightly, wondering if she’s going to slap me for imagining her naked more than once. But she doesn’t slap me, probably because she can’t actually read my mind despite how exposed I feel. She raises her finger to the tip of my nose, and taps it. I close my eyes in surprise, and when I open them, she’s already turning away.
Without a word, she leaves the bathroom and walks into the hallway.
I rub my hand over my face, wanting to erase the last five minutes . . . although maybe keep the last two.
When I hear Tessa ask her if I’m okay, I roll my head back, take a breath, and close the door, clicking the lock into place. The shower curtain is destroyed and the tiny room looks like it’s been hit by a tornado. The plastic rings from the curtain are scattered across the floor, the bottles of shampoo and Tessa’s body soap are all over the place. As I clean them up, I can’t help but start to laugh at this whole thing. Of course this would happen to me.
The clothes I brought into the bathroom with me are wet; the shirt has a huge water spot on the back, but the shorts aren’t too bad. I pull them on and grab the wet clothes to take into my room. My dark hair is drying now; only the roots are still wet. I rake Tessa’s purple hairbrush over my scalp and use a comb over the little bit of facial hair I’ve been growing lately. Her vanilla lotion is a little greasy, but it smells good and I always forget to buy my own. Luckily, there’s a Band-Aid in the cabinet, and I stick it over my cut.
Of course it’s not just a normal Band-Aid: Tessa bought Frozen-themed Band-Aids.
Yay. It just keeps getting better.
When I step into the hallway, Nora’s laugh is as loud as Tessa is silent. She hasn’t laughed since she moved here. It bothers me, but I’ve learned that she needs to deal with this breakup on her own terms, so I don’t push her. She’s not one to take other people’s advice, especially when it comes to Hardin. And somehow, thinking of him reminds me I have a shift tomorrow morning. Crap. Which means I need to get up early tomorrow so I can run, so I toss my clothes into the laundry basket in the hall and walk to the kitchen to get some water and say good night to the girls. You know, try to reestablish some normalcy. A nothing-to-see-here moment to end the night on.
Tessa is sitting on the couch with her feet propped up on a pillow and Nora is lying on the rug with a pillow under her head and my yellow-and-maroon Gryffindor house blanket wrapping her up like a burrito. I glance at the TV: Cupcake Wars. The usual. These women watch nothing but the Food Network and the teen dramas on Freeform. Admittedly, I do like some of those shows. The one about the teenage demon-hunters is my favorite. That, and the foster-family one.
“You guys need anything from the kitchen?” I ask, stepping over Nora’s fuzzy-sock-covered toes peeping out of the bottom of the blanket.
“Water, please.” Tessa leans up and pauses the show. A woman with curly black hair is frozen on the screen, mouth wide open and hands in the air. She’s stressed over burned cakes or something.
“Do you have anything besides water?” Nora asks.
“This isn’t a grocery store,” Tessa teases. Nora pulls the pillow from under her head and tosses it at her.
And Tess smiles, actually nearly laughing before catching herself. It’s too bad. She has a great laugh.
Besides Gatorade, I don’t know what we have in the fridge, but I hold up my finger and go to check it out. Inside the fridge, rows of bottles are lined up perfectly. Yes, Tessa even organizes our fridge, and it turns out that we have a lot to offer a thirsty soul other than water.
“Gatorade, sweetened iced tea, orange juice!” I call out.
I jump when Sophia’s voice comes at me from up close. “Ew. I hate Gatorade, except the blue one,” she says as if she’s personally offended by my favorite drink.
“Ew? How can you say that, Sophia?” I give her a disbelieving look and rest one arm on the open