A Perfect Ten

Page 107

He merely cocked his head to the side. “What’re you doing in Caroline’s room?”

“Well, I was sleeping,” I muttered irritably. “What’re you doing in here?”

“I had a bad dream. I always sleep with Caroline when I have a bad dream.”

“She’s sick, man. Can’t you pick on someone else, go creep them out this time, instead of her?”

The stubborn little fucker shook his head. “No. I need Caroline.”

I grumbled a few seconds before lifting my side of the sheet and sighing. “Then crawl in over here. Just don’t bother her; she needs her rest.”

He didn’t move when I motioned him over. He shook his head and pointed to a different spot on the mattress. “I want to sleep in the middle.”

“Jesus Christ, kid. This isn’t a slumber party. You’re lucky I’m letting you in at all.”

“And you’re lucky I’m not telling Noel you’re in here right now.”

I narrowed my eyes at him in the most intimidating glare I could muster. He narrowed his eyes right back.

I cracked. “Damn it. Get in the middle, you little shit. But crawl in on this side, and don’t wake your sister.”

Grinning, he skipped around to my side of the bed and kneed me in the gut when he climbed over me to claim his spot.

“Fuck. Watch your pointy knees, will you? Those things are deadly.” When he wiggled some more to get comfortable, he accidently jabbed me again, in the spine this time, and forced me further to the edge of the bed until I was half hanging off the damn thing. “You better not be elbowing Caroline over there,” I warned after the third time he caught me in the center of the back.

In answer, he rolled in toward his sister and dragged half the blankets with him, leaving me with a tiny square of coverage over my hip.

“Comfortable?” I asked, my voice loaded with sarcasm.

Colton sighed peacefully. “Mmm hmm.” I rolled my eyes just as he said, “Ten?”

“What?” I muttered.

“Will you come over later on and play catch with me, because I want to play catch?”

I snorted. “Yeah, I don’t think so. You just stole my spot next to Caroline.”

“Well...do you want me to tell Noel about you and her?”

What the hell? “Hey. You already blackmailed me to get into this bed and sleep in the middle. You can’t ask for more.”

“Why not?” the spoiled little brat asked.

Shit, I didn’t have an answer for that. “Why you greedy little—”

Colton pulled in a breath as if he was going to shout for Gamble right then. I growled and slapped my hand over his mouth. “Fine. I’ll come over later and play ball with you. Whatever.”

His grin was instant. “Thank you,” he said, all sweet like, as soon as I removed my palm from his mouth.

“Good,” Caroline said, her back still to us and her voice filled with sleep. “Now can we all get back to sleep? Please?”

Shit, we’d woken her.

“Caroline,” Colton cheered, good-naturedly. “You’re awake.”

She sounded worn to the bone when she answered. “It was a little hard to sleep through you two bickering.”

I reached across Colton, making sure I caught my armpit right in his face, so I could rub her arm. “How’re you feeling?”

“Much better, aside from the fact my bed’s turned into Grand Central Station. Seriously, how are we all fitting on my full-sized mattress?”

“No idea,” I said. “But I’ll get out so you can have room. I should probably get going anyway.”

As I slipped off the bed, I met the kid’s gaze. He smiled up at me so smugly I had to mouth the word, “Fucker,” at him, to which he mouthed right back, “Asswipe.”

Damn, I was turning him into a potty mouth. That couldn’t be good.

After pulling on my clothes, I went around to Caroline’s side of the bed and knelt beside her, touching her hair. Her eyes opened slowly.

“I’ll call later, okay?”

When she nodded, I touched my mouth to hers gently. “Take it easy today. I’ll see you when I check in for blackmailing duty with shit-breath over there.”

“I have to work this evening.”

I frowned. “Maybe you should take the day off to recuperate. That food poisoning kicked your ass, baby.”

Her chapped lips only widened as her smile grew. “Listening to you worry about me is hot.”

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