Page 40 of We Were Once

After slipping on my boxers, I find her standing in the kitchen. Taking two bottles from the neat rows on the counter, she tosses me a bottle of water. I twist the lid and sip, looking around—beige couch, blue pillows, and those giant-ass textbooks.

“It’s not a fancy omelet, but I have chips,” she says.

“Chips work.”

“I’m so hungry,” she replies, pulling a bag of chips from the fridge.

It takes a solid second, but my mind finally catches up with the fact that she keeps water on the counter and chips in the fridge. “Why do you keep chips in the fridge?”

“They stay fresh longer.” She doesn’t feel the need to go on although I kind of need her to.

“I’ve never had a bag last long enough to worry.” I drink half the water while letting my gaze bounce around the room again. “Do you always leave New Haven in the summer?”

“Yes.” I catch her eyeing me, but she’s quick to turn back around and eat a few chips. Holding the bag out, she offers, “Chips?”

I take the offer, shoving my hand in the bag in search of whole chips. With a few in hand, I say, “Thanks.” Leaning against the counter, I find the sparsely filled room doesn’t tell me anything about her, though it might represent her ambition. She’s amazing—attentive, funny, and focused.

Guess I’m just used to my mom’s place, which after twenty years of living in it, has tchotchkes and framed photos of our lives. I cross the room to mist Frankie, then press my finger to the soil. “You’re taking good care of her.”

“It’s a kind of a hassle. Bonsais need a lot of attention.”

I return, leaning the counter next to her. “They do. It’s supposed to be a Zen activity.”

“It’s stressful. I find myself thinking about her when I’m in class, worried I’m going to kill her.”

Rubbing her shoulder, I say, “I’ll make sure you don’t.”

“It’s good to have backup. Peanut butter and jelly?”

“Protein and flavor all in one. The perfect food.”

She pulls the jars and bread out. Dipping into a drawer to get a knife, she says, “Glad you approve.”

So meticulous, she covers every millimeter. “You’re going to be a great doctor.”

Laughing, she says, “Hope so.”

When she finishes, she lifts half over her shoulder, letting me bite most of it before turning to face me and eating some. I finish my sandwich about ten bites before she eats hers. She says, “You eat too fast.”

“I got a bit of size on you, baby. If my mom didn’t own a diner, she’d be broke from feeding me.”

“I like your size.” Her hands run over my shoulders, feeling me bef0re wrapping around my neck. “A lot.”

“I like you a lot.” I dip my head ready to kiss her neck, but then hear her breath catch. Staring at her creamy skin, I can almost see the pulse dancing for me. Closing my eyes, I breathe her in, filling my lungs with her scent before I run the tip of my nose from the curve of her jaw and behind her ear.

Her breathing quickens as I wait to kiss her, to taste her the way I want. Sweet teasing torture appears to be the way to her heart.

Braver than before, she runs her hands over my ribs and then lower and around to the top of my ass. I attack her neck with kisses and then under her ear. She whispers, “You didn’t hurt me if you’re worried.”

“I was.” The night replays how I wanted to protect her earlier. Again, proving she doesn’t need that from me. She just wants me. Despite my lack of finances, she has never looked at me less than worthy.

My heart clenches, and we head back to bed.

Her smile only wavers under a yawn when we drop back in bed, sleep catching up with us. Pulling the covers over her shoulder, she cuddles against me, and asks, “Should I be this tired?”

“Yes,” I reply, arrogance seeping in.

“And sore?”

Now I feel bad. “Sorry.”

“It’s a good sore. Like a solid workout for muscles that are never used.”

I yawn, my own muscles begging for rest. “Looking on the bright side?”

“Is there any other way to see it when I’m happy?”

Lying next to her, I already know my world’s been rocked onto a new axis, one that aligns with hers. She’s captured more than I thought I had to give, and I’ll let her keep it, keep all of me because she’s given me a newfound peace I never knew until we met.

Kissing her head, I close my eyes and bury my nose into the back of her hair and inhale. “Sweet dreams.”

I start to let fatigue drag me into sleep when I hear her whisper, “Sweet dreams.”

15

Chloe

Joshua Evans is no boy.

There’s not one thing about him that isn’t all man. Holy moly, he makes my heart spin and my body feel alive. He’s a drug, an addiction. He’s everything I never knew existed. All that goodness and handsome package of sunshine dimples, molten chocolate eyes, and a body that embraces me like the world’s on fire and I am the last drop of water he needs for survival. What is it about him that makes me feel this way?


Tags: S.L. Scott Romance
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