My hands were shaking. My stomach was going to empty out, and I was about to be sitting here texting with him and crapping my pants all at the same time. But I took a deep inhale and typed it to him.
Me: What are your thoughts on a girl who sends you random questions because she’s too scared to tell you the one simple truth?
Me: That she fell in love with you.
Me: And she’s now pissing herself, knowing she’ll have new baggage over losing out on someone she doesn’t deserve, but she’s hoping he’ll give her one more chance?
Me: Because she’s a lot more sane. Promise.
Me: Because she really is working on herself now and she’s just really hurting and sad, but she has love in her to give and she knows if you can just put up with the void inside of her that may never go away, she’s hoping you’ll deem her worthy enough for a second chance?
Me: I’m talking about me, by the way. Just making that clear, because talking in third person probably doesn’t help sell the whole ‘I’m more sane here’ premise.
I sent another flurry of texts because I couldn’t stop myself.
Me: And beware with your rejection. I’m a reformed stalker, but the reform could be temporary.
Me: What would happen if a camel was born with three humps? Deformity or evolution?
I was faintly aware of Trent’s phone buzzing beside me. I kept on. I was committed now. Good luck on knowing when I’d stop.
Me: Thoughts on ending poaching worldwide?
Me: Rugby or football?
Me: American football or the real football?
Me: Favorite book? Besides your playbook.
Me: Why are manatees so cute?
Me: Who’d win in an ocean selfie contest? Dolphin or manatee?
Me: Seahorses don’t look anything like real horses. Discuss.
Me: Who really puts together the DSM? Do we actually need all those volumes?
Me: What do you think—
A hand rested over mine, stopping my text in mid-type.
I was almost desperate to get these questions out, but Trent wasn’t looking at me. He nodded toward the front of our box. “Look.”
I did, my insides a hurricane, tsunami, and let’s throw in a few tornadoes. All were happening. All at once, and they were inflicting horrific damage, but there he was. Standing just at our entrance, his glasses still on and a firm scowl fixed on those so-kissable lips.
I held the phone up once more.
Me: Can you even see with those sunglasses?
He read the text, shaking his head, and I saw a crack. His top lip curved up, but it was flat the next second. He shoved his phone into his pocket, took mine, and grabbed my hand.
“Let’s go,” he said.
Trent tossed him a set of keys. Reese caught them, giving him a nod.
Then we were leaving.
He walked me down the hallway.
Hand in hand.
His face forward.
He wasn’t looking at me, and I couldn’t help myself. The texting had unleashed something in me.
“You had a girl on your lap.”
I didn’t mean it to come out accusing—no, no, I totally did. Let’s be honest here. I was seeing green and red at the same time. It was Christmas in the nightclub.
Reese’s hand tightened over mine. He spared me a brief glance, and then his phone was out and he was using his other hand to type on it.
“She grabbed me when we came in. I let her stay because I thought the guys would leave me alone then. Chicks on laps usually do that, unless they’re hoping for a share.”
Oh. God. What I could do with that one from him.
I gulped, only asking with a bite, “Do you usually share?”
He stopped. I almost slammed into him from the abruptness, and he rotated around.
“No,” he clipped out, taking the sunglasses off and shoving them into his pocket. “Do you?”
I reared my head back. “Are you kidding me? I would never not be texting then. Everyone would be getting the texts.”
He grinned, just slightly, and it made my heart flip over.
He shook his head, starting forward again as his phone flashed. “You are truly insane.”
I snorted. “That’s been established. Long ago. Keep up.”
We were at the front of the club. He paused before stepping out. A few people had gone past us in the hallway, and only a couple had stopped to look back at him, but it was different now. He was going out into an open area, and beyond that, there were more people. If the press knew almost the entire Seattle Thunder team was at Whisper, they’d for sure be camped outside.
I tsked him, grinning from the side of my mouth, because—another truth bomb here—I was feeling a little maniacal. “Where’s the hood? It’s like you don’t know how to do this whole celebrity thing.”
He laughed shortly, but mostly ignored me, staring out. He checked his phone again.
“What are you doing?”
He showed me. “I called a driver.”
The dot was getting close. We were going to make a mad dash.
I was thrilled.
I pushed the phone back at his chest. “I know I joke about being crazy, and there’s a little truth in there, but I can turn on the Crazy if you need it. People stay away from Crazy, unless they are too, and no one’s going to out themselves as that level of Crazy here. I can raise the bar if you need me to.”
He stared down at me, and it finally happened.
He’d been all hard and ice and monotone, a wall over his face, but at my suggestion, some of it melted away. A small grin tugged at his mouth, and he placed a hand on the small of my back.
He pulled me against him, just for a second, and murmured into my ear, “Keep the maniacal crazy till later, because you’re right. I want to fuck. you. tonight.” His mouth closed over my ear, and I swooned, my knees buckling.
Flames burst inside of me, and I sagged against him.
He continued his kissing, moving down my neck to my shoulder, and his hand joined the exploration. It fit right under my shirt, and then tunneled under my jeans. He grabbed a good portion of my ass before going even farther, and I squeaked, feeling his fingers go somewhere I was not ready for.
“Holy shit!” I jumped, dancing away.
My breath was shallow, and I knew I was flushed. All sorts of flushing here.
He was on me. Literally.
His eyes smoldered, and he dipped his head to stare at me eye-to-eye. He backed me up against the wall, guiding me until I had nowhere to go and the club melted away, the world with it.
When it was only the two of us, he said, so softly, “I do not scare. Stop using the crazy card on me, because it’s not working. I’ve seen crazy. Remember? You are hurting. You are sad. You are broken, but you are not crazy. You may feel that way at times, but you’re not. Trust me. So stop saying it.”
He took my breath away.
I reached for him, my hands running up his arms, over his shoulders, curving around his neck, and just as we both felt his phone buzz, his eyes trained on my lips and he groaned.
Moving quickly, his mouth was on mine, and he sealed everything with that kiss.
I would do anything he wanted.
Everything. Anything. Nothing.
Whatever he wanted, because I just wanted him. I wanted to feel him, be in his arms, be able to speak the words to him that so far I only had enough courage to text.
But more than anything, I just wanted to be with him in whatever way he was going to allow that.
Fireworks continued exploding in me as he groaned and his lips nipped at mine. “Our car is here. Ready?” He took my hand again.
He turned, his shoulders rolling back. He was preparing too, slipping his glasses back on.
I—yeah… Where was I? That was about my mindset right now.
But then he tugged on me, and we were going.
I followed him.
We walked out through the club’s main entrance, and I was aware of flashes of light all around us. A few people gasped Reese’s name, and then we were outside on the street and more camera flashes were going off.
Someone had definitely called the press. It wasn’t a barrage, but enough to disorient me.
Reese ignored everyone and herded us both into the car.
When he gave the directions to Trent’s apartment, I looked at him.
“It’s not a great idea to bring girls to the hotel. Trent offered his place. Said he’d stay at his girlfriend’s.”
Well. Okay, then. It was all settled.
We were about to have it out. The driver didn’t seem to care who was in his back seat, but I still didn’t want to talk about anything until we got to Trent’s.
The drive wasn’t long—a little over twenty minutes. Reese kept a hand on the small of my back as I got out, and then stepped out beside me.
“You were here earlier?” he asked.
I nodded. “We came for a bit, ate, changed, and went back out.” I led the way inside.
Trent didn’t have a doorman, so I held my hands out for the keys. Reese handed them over, and for being in Chicago, I was surprised not to see anyone else out in the lobby on a Thursday night.