I sat up, taking the washcloth from him, and I scooted down, my legs going around his waist, my front against his side. I tipped his chin toward me. “It happened the way I wanted it to. If you think a girl doesn’t think about the conversation to tell the guy she’s a virgin, you’re an idiot.”
He stiffened, but the corner of his mouth lifted. “Yeah?”
“Yeah. I didn’t want to have the conversation. This was how I wanted it to happen. Thank you for not being mad that I didn’t tell you.”
His hand flexed over my leg. “I’m not a complete dick.”
He wasn’t a dick at all, not to me. But I didn’t tell him that because I knew he wouldn’t believe me, not yet.
He grinned, his hand rubbing over my leg. “Wanna shower together?”
My eyes went wide, and he laughed. “Come on.” He stood, taking my hand. “You’re going to be too sore for anything, but this is the fun part.” A pause. “The other fun part.” He drew me to him, then moved behind me, his hands at my hips.
In the bathroom, he held me back as he turned the water on, testing it.
When it was warm, he maneuvered us into the shower. He was pressed all up against me, and he was right. As he drew soapy lines down my body, it was a whole lot of fun.
Fuck. I could’ve stayed here forever.
After the shower, we both got dressed, but there was a whole lot of touching, tickling, and laughing. I couldn’t get enough of Aspen. I was starting to think I never would, and that thought should’ve terrified me, but I wasn’t going there. Not now.
We snuck out for breakfast, and when we came back, Aspen told me to park in the driveway. I carried the coffee and bag of muffins as she led the way. We went through the garage and into the house, and that’s when I met Benny, the chef.
He was a nice guy, maybe in his forties, and he doted on Aspen. Miss Sandy was there too, giving me a tight-lipped look. I was thinking she knew I spent the night. I just flashed her a smile and she huffed, looking away.
Aspen was becoming a lifeline to me.
No way I could pull back, not if I wanted to keep breathing. And yeah, there was a prickle of alarm in the back of my mind.
I shouldn’t have needed someone like this. It wasn’t healthy—for me, but mostly for her. To have a guy like me come into your life and need you as much as I needed her? That couldn’t be normal, or good for her. I didn’t want her to feel like she was drowning in me. Ever. But we could deal with that later. We sat at the table and had our breakfast.
Benny and Miss Sandy joined us. The lawn guy came in later, sitting close to Benny, and it kind of seemed like these three were more Aspen’s family than her own.
That shit wasn’t right. Not at all.
Miss Sandy might’ve guessed my thoughts, because she gave me a pointed look. But I ignored her. After breakfast, Aspen wanted to be lazy, so we headed up to her movie room. She grabbed a journal. I lounged back, watching sports, and she sat next to me, writing.
I drew circles on her back as her leg pressed against mine, and this right here was heaven.
I never wanted to leave.
I knew she wanted to ask about what had happened with me last night, but I wasn’t ready to go there. She gave me space.
But it was pressing on me.
I was on borrowed time. Eventually that world would interrupt us.
My mom had taken a valium to sleep. Fuck. Every time an alert went off on my phone, I tensed. So did Aspen. She was reacting to me. When my phone finally rang, a part of me was okay with it.
It was time to get this shit over with.
It was Zeke calling.
Aspen saw the screen, but my hand stayed on her back.
“Can I take this here?” I asked.
She looked over her shoulder to me, biting her lip. She nodded, a strand of hair falling over her face.
I reached up to tuck it behind her ear as I lifted the phone and pressed accept. “Hey.”
“Hey!” Zeke’s voice boomed. “I’m surprised you picked up. Thought for sure you’d be MIA until Sunday.”
I cringed. “Nah. I’m here. What’s going on?”
“Wondering what you and that fine woman of yours are doing today. The boys called, asking to meet up. The party didn’t happen last night.” He offered no explanation, just kept on going. “So instead of having it at the field, I was thinking maybe we could meet up—put our heads together and see what everyone’s in the mood for today.”
My hand pressed against Aspen’s spine. I didn’t realize until she shifted, but then I jerked my hand back. “Sorry.”
She frowned. “What?”
“Nothing.” I put my hand back, and she leaned into it, relaxing, but she was eyeing me. That same strand of hair fell down over her face.
“What?” I asked her.
“That to me?” Zeke asked.
“No.” I pulled the phone away a little. “You okay?”
Aspen watched me, chewing her bottom lip until I ran my thumb over it. “Oh. Sorry.” She laughed. “I don’t even realize I’m doing that.”
I nodded, waiting. She had something to say.
After another couple seconds of silence, I smoothed my hand over her back again. “What is it, babe?”
“Babe?” Zeke asked, but he was a lot quieter than normal.
She looked down, as if she felt shy. “He can come here.”
I frowned. “What?”
She sounded surer. “He can come here, if he wants. You two can have your meeting here.”
This was big.
“You sure?” I asked quietly.
She nodded. “Yeah. Ask him if he’s had breakfast. I bet Benny would love to do a whole spread if he didn’t.”
I relayed the message and Zeke boomed, “Hell to the fuck yeah! I’m going to meet your babe, and I ate, but I’ll eat again. This boy never says no to food. Shoot me the address, and I’ll be over in two pumps in a virgin.”
Fuck’s sake. “Really, dude?”
But Aspen was grinning when I hung up, and I texted him the address.
Aspen pulled her phone out. “Carl? A Zeke Allen is going to be arriving later this morning. Let him through, please.”
She nodded after a moment. “Thanks.”
I waited until she hung up. “You sure about this?”
She nodded, relaxing back against me. “Yeah. He’s not going to be mean with you here, and he’s your best friend.” She reached over, running her hand up and down my leg. “Does he know what happened last night?”
I tensed. I didn’t want to tell her. So she was going to ask someone else.
My voice was a bit hoarse. “Yeah. And yes, you can ask him. I’ll tell you more later, but I’m okay if he tells you what he heard.”
“He was there?”
I nodded. “He was there.”
Her eyes held mine. “Okay.”
She climbed off the couch, heading to let Benny and Miss Sandy know about the impending arrival.
I lay back and cursed. Ready or not, my two worlds were about to collide.
“This place is lit! Holy pussy shit.”
“Zeke,” Blaise warned.
“Sorry, but wow.” His mouth hung open, and he hadn’t even stepped into the garage yet. We were still standing in the driveway.
This was a surreal moment for me. I never thought I’d have people over.
Owen was the one who made friends, and I’d thought his were mine—until after. Then it just seemed too much work.
Now I was getting the point. Kinda. But this was also surreal because it was Zeke Allen.
He’d been the most popular guy in our school until Blaise came.
I talked to Miss Sandy and Benny. Both were under strict instruction not to mention my last name. Blaise was worried about Zeke’s freak-out meter. I’d told them not to discuss what my parents did for a living—because again, freak-out meter.
I mean, he might already know but why bring it up? Why make it something when it might not be something. If that even made sense?
He finished gawking at the front of the house, and when he turned to me, his eyes warmed. “Hello there.”
Blaise introduced us, a hand to the small of my back.
Zeke looked me over before throwing Blaise a smirk. “I can see why you’re keeping her to yourself.”
Blaise’s hand pressed harder to my back. “Yeah?”
“You are one fine piece of as—”
“Dude.” Blaise glared.
I felt myself blushing. “Thanks?”
Blaise put his hand on my hip to propel me back inside. “Aspen, you do not have to thank a guy for telling you that. Any other guy who said that would be hitting on you with your man right next to you. That’s not cool.”
Zeke followed us. “But not me. That’s me giving my approval. I can tell you’re nice, and you’re going to take care of my boy for me.”
I almost stumbled, those words were so unexpected, but Blaise caught me. I looked up, and he was smiling. Five minutes in, and I was beginning to see why Blaise liked Zeke.
I never could before.
Zeke proclaimed almost the same sentiments when he met Miss Sandy and Benny, though fortunately he didn’t comment on their looks. And Blaise had given up trying to censor his friend.
After we sat to eat the breakfast spread or to watch Zeke eat, he leaned back and lifted his chin. “So, man, what’s the word? What are we doing today?”