A Perfect Ten

Page 75

He kissed me back just as lightly before drawing away. “Let’s get you home.”

I followed him from the bedroom, only to smell something really, really good coming from the kitchen. “Oh my God.” I squeezed his arm. “What is that smell?”

He winked back at me. “Saturday mornings with Zwinn. Come and see.”

After drawing me to the opening of the kitchen, he paused beside me and looped an arm around my shoulder. “They cook pancakes and bacon together every week. It’s kind of cute.”

Cute? It was freaking adorable. Quinn and Zoey had their backs to us as they stood at the griddle, one pouring batter in, one flipping pancakes. They talked in hushed tones, and their heads were intimately close. Every couple of seconds, one would touch the other.

I could see them in fifty years still doing this very thing, cooking together and just...reveling in ordinary things, as long as they did them with one another.

“It’s like greeting card precious,” I whispered up to Oren. “I think I’m going to cry.” He snickered and passed me an imaginary tissue. I pretended to accept and wipe my face. “Thank you.”

Zoey turned then. “Oh.” She jumped, and Quinn glanced over. “Caroline! You’re still here.”

“We slept in,” I confessed, though neither of us had once mentioned taking me home last night. I think we both knew I wasn’t going anywhere until morning.

“Since you’re already this late, why don’t you stay for breakfast? We always make plenty.”

I glanced up at Oren, and he answered for me as he stepped into the kitchen. “Sure. She needs to understand why I’m not willing to let either of you move out of this apartment.”

Zoey crinkled him a confused look. “O...kay.”

So we ate breakfast with Zwinn, and it was nice. Oren cracked his usual off-color jokes, and Zoey updated me on her life since I hadn’t seen much of her lately.

“My biological father keeps asking me to visit him in California where he’s staying this summer. But…I don’t know.”

“I say fuck him,” Oren spoke through a mouthful. “The asshole did nothing while he knew you were being raised by an abusive douchebag. You don’t owe that dick shit.”

I glanced at Quinn, who remained quiet. I had a feeling he probably agreed with Oren, but he would loyally back any decision Zoey made.

“I don’t know,” I murmured thoughtfully. “If I ever had the opportunity to meet my sperm donor, I’d want to, if nothing but for curiosity’s sake. Find out where my chin and eyes and stubborn personality came from.”

“I’ll tell you where your stubborn personality came from.” Oren stood and not only gathered his cleaned plate, but mine too. “That’s all from your brother.”

I watched him load the dishwasher. Not only did his sweetness in taking care of my dish impress me, but I liked how he reminded me that I didn’t need to know how far back my roots went; I knew where I’d come from and who my real family was. Noel. No matter how much his thoughtless words had hurt me yesterday, I loved my big brother and he loved me.

I needed to go home and talk to him.

Once Oren was finished, he dusted his hands on his thighs and turned to me. “Ready to get back?”

Zoey spoke up before I could answer. “Oh, I could take her home, if you want.”

Oren instantly scowled. I liked that he wanted to be the one to drive me home. But then he sighed in defeat and mumbled, “Yeah. That’d probably be best.”

So Zoey ended up driving me home, but not until Oren had yanked me into the hall for a goodbye kiss. “If Gam gives you any shit for staying out all night, call me.”

I grinned up at him and slid my fingers over his sexy scruff. “And what’re you going to do if he does?”

He shrugged and grinned back, rubbing his nose against mine. “I’ll come over and run interference, make him hang out with me or something so he can’t rag on you.”

“That’s sweet.” I lifted my mouth to his, but didn’t kiss him. “You’re so sweet.”

“Oh, yeah? How sweet?”

“Sweet enough that I may want to see you again.”

“You better, woman.” To stake his claim, he kissed me hard and long. Zoey finally had to clear her throat to break us apart. Still, Oren had to pat my butt and nuzzle my neck a second longer before stepping back and letting me go.

I couldn’t stop glowing all the way home.

“You’re still smiling,” Zoey said, glancing across her car at me.

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