“I like that.”
She stretches her legs out beside her and my eyes travel up the length of her bare skin. I clench my hands together to keep from reaching out and touching her, but the urge won’t go away.
“I like this,” I finally say as I force myself to sit back, desperate to put distance between us. “Dinner with you has been nice, and I’d like to do it again.”
She nods and for a second she doesn’t answer as she takes a sip of wine. “But only if you give me a hair tie back.”
“Never.” I smile and she does the same.
“I guess I’m just going to shed all over your perfect pristine home.”
“I wish you would. It will remind me you’re here.”
“You mean long after I’m gone?”
I shrug, unwilling to think of a time when she won’t be in my space. “What’s your favorite movie?”
“I don’t know.” She looks caught off-guard but I need to change the subject. “I have so many. Maybe I could pick based on a genre, like favorite comedy or favorite scary movie.”
“Okay, start with that.”
We talk for a long time about movies and then move to music. At some point we clean up dinner while we’re discussing the benefits of live concerts versus seeing them on screen and eventually we make it to the living room. We talk for a long time and one subject leads us to the next and we never run out of things to say. We both get more and more relaxed the longer we talk and by the time I realize it’s really late and going into early morning, I’m on the couch facing her while she’s leaned back with her feet stretched out toward me.
Her cheeks are rosy, possibly from the wine, as she tells me about all the pets she’s had. She’s telling me about a dog she recently adopted named Moose that’s next door at her grandmother’s place and I graze my thumb over the top of her toes.
“Why didn’t you bring him over here?”
She stops talking and watches me touch her toes before she swallows and then smiles. “This doesn’t look like a pet friendly place to me.”
“It is,” I say simply and keep rubbing her toes.
I want to rub all of her, but I’ve just been enjoying the sound of her voice and her adorable stories.
“Maybe I’ll let you meet him.”
“Are you playing hard to get?” I look up at her and grin and that’s all it takes to send her cheeks into overdrive. “I should go.”
Suddenly her smile falls and she looks around as if realizing what time it is. “Already?”
“It’s almost one.” Saying the time really has nothing to do with how I feel, but I have to leave now or I might not be able to control myself.
With one last touch down the side of her bare foot, I place my beer on the coffee table and stand up. When she starts to move, I hold my hand out to stop her.
“No, don’t get up. You look perfect just like this.” I move in closer and place one hand on the back of the couch as I hover over her. “I’d like to see you tomorrow.”
She nods as she licks her lips. “I’d like that too.”
“Then it’s a date.”
I lean down and before I can stop myself I place a kiss on her cheek. I linger there and inhale her sweet scent, the one I can’t get enough of. I close my eyes and enjoy the feel of her warm cheek against mine and take my time. It’s not enough and I crave more, but this will do for tonight. I will sleep with her inside my lungs and that’s more than I had last night.
“Goodnight, Erin,” I whisper, and then I’m moving to the door before I can change my mind.
Leaving her might be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
“No one makes breakfast better than you, Grams.” I take another bite of my omelet as I sneak Moose a sausage link under the table. Grams tops off my coffee and then hers before joining me at the table.
“It’s nice to have someone to cook for.” She takes a sip of her coffee as she watches me. I look down at my plate and keep eating, trying not to fidget in my seat. Why does it suddenly feel like I’m back in high school?
“So,” she says, and I look back up at her. She’s staring at me with an expectant expression.
“I had a good time last night,” she finally says.
“Maybe next time I’ll come. Although I’m not sure I can keep up with your dance moves.”
“Have you ever gone dancing?” She gives me a skeptical look.
“No,” I laugh. “I went to a few campus parties, but they were so packed no one could dance in there. They sway while everyone is crammed up against each other.” I shiver thinking about it.