“Only around the hot nurses.” I wink.
She groans again. “You aren’t going to make this easy for me, are you?”
I press my lips to hers again. “And what fun would that be?”
After the banana bread is done, she sets it down to cool. It smells fucking amazing, and I’m tempted to start eating it right out of the pan.
“You have to wait,” she warns. “It tastes best when it’s just the right temperature. Warm, but not hot.”
“That’s torture,” I whine as we sit on the couch together, only a small throw pillow between us. “Coming in here, smelling up my house with banana bread and coffee and you, and I can’t have any of it.” I pout, getting a laugh out of her.
“I guess it’s time you learn one of life’s hard lessons.” She puckers her lips. “Travis King doesn’t always win.”
I toss the pillow at her; her laughter brings a smile to my face. “The king always wins, princess.”
“I’m not so sure…” She pinches her lips and taps a finger against her bottom lip. “But making you work for it just might be what you need to shrink that big head of yours.”
“Never had an issue with working for what I want.” I grab her hand and kiss the finger she was just tapping against her mouth. “But I was hoping we were done playing games now that…” I let the words rest on my lips in hopes she gets what I’m trying to say.
“That we can be in the same room together without the urge to kill one another.”
“Just because you kissed me doesn’t mean the urge went away.” She spits it out so quickly, without a beat, making me smile at her words.
“Well, I guess some things never change.” I pull her closer, forcing her to be right next to me. We’re both on the couch, facing each other, neither caring what’s on the TV anymore. “Like my feelings for you, Viola. Since I was twelve years old. I always knew there was something between us, even before I wasn’t old enough to understand what those feelings meant.”
“Yeah, I had feelings for you, too.” She pauses with a grin. “Feelings of hate.”
“Viola…” I hiss under my breath, knowing damn well she’s making this much harder than it has to be. “Why are you being so difficult?”
“Because it’s fun to see you sweating for once,” she answers honestly, flashing a victorious smile.
“Well, mission accomplished, smartass. Now would you drop the act and just listen to me?”
She exhales and then smiles, her eyes softening. “Are you asking me to go steady?” Her voice is high pitched like an overly exaggerated cheerleader on those ridiculous chick flicks she watched when she was in high school.
I drop her hand and sigh. “I give up.”
She licks her lips, holding in a smirk. “Defeated the King! Finally!”
“You’ve been waiting twelve years to say that, haven’t you?”
“Pretty much.” She flashes a smug grin. “In fact, everything in my life has led up to this very moment.”
“Fuck, you’re a sassy thing today. What happened to the sweet little girl I first met?”
“You corrupted her,” she says matter-of-factly.
“Can’t say I’m sorry about that.”
She looks at me as if she’s in deep thought, and I try to read her. I know I have a lot of proving to do, but I’ll do whatever it takes to gain her trust again.
“I don’t want anyone else, Viola,” I say genuinely, knowing she needs to hear it. “I never truly did. It’s always been you.”
“I want to trust you,” she says softly. “But I’m scared.”
“What are you scared of?” I ask, hoping I can ease some of her fears.
“I’m scared of getting hurt again. Scared Drew will throw you across the room. Scared I’ll never fully be able to trust you.”
“Viola, listen to me. I’ll do whatever it takes to take those fears away. Don’t worry about Drew. I’ll talk to him and do whatever it takes to gain his trust, too. But don’t be scared of getting hurt. I can’t promise there won’t be times I fuck up, but I would never intentionally hurt you.” I take her head in mine again. “But I will promise you one thing. I won’t be like those guys you read about in your romance novels. I won’t feather the bed with red rose petals, make love to you under the stars, or write an original song and sing it to you on top of Butternut Hill.”
She chuckles, tilting her head to look deeper into my eyes.
“Because I’m not like those guys in your romance novels. I’m the guy that’ll fuck you against the wall, wrap my hand around your throat, and pull your hair as you scream out my name. I’m the guy that’ll have you waking up on a bare mattress because we fucked the sheets off it in the middle of the night. I’m the guy that can’t sing a tune to save my soul, but I’d tell you every single day of my life how much you mean to me. So, before you make your decision, you need to know everything it entails.”