I shook my head. “Where exactly are we going?”
He tipped his chin down toward his chest but kept eye contact as he sent me a dry glance. “I’m driving you home.”
Immediately, I started to shake my head. “But you can’t do that. What if Noel sees your truck pulling into our driveway and me climbing out of it, and he kills you?”
He stepped closer. “And what if some psycho douchebag spots you on your eighteen-block jaunt and rapes you and kills you?” With a snort, he added, “I’d rather face your brother.”
Aww, he really was so concerned about me that he was willing to take on Noel to keep me safe. That was just incredibly sweet. I was about to tell him how considerate he was when he said, “Besides, we’ll just borrow Blondie’s car. She leaves the key to it hanging right by the front door. If he happens to be looking out his window when you get home, he’ll think she’s dropping you off. Problem solved.”
My lips parted as a bit of disappointment filled me. “Oh,” I said. “Good idea. Are you sure she won’t mind?”
He snorted. “Blondie? Of course not. She loves me.”
Ten minutes later, we approached my place, only two blocks away when I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. Zoey’s car was probably the most comfortable thing I’d ever ridden in, but it felt different in here tonight, with Oren behind the wheel. Plus there was the fact that nothing between us was even remotely resolved.
“You can pull over here,” I said quietly.
Oren sent me a hard glance. “I don’t think so. We stole Blondie’s ride so I can see you right to your front door.”
“Yeah.” I shrugged. “But if you stop here, I can give you a proper goodbye, and Noel wouldn’t have to wonder why Zoey’s windows steamed up before I got out.”
Stomping on the brake, Oren veered the car toward the curb and jerked us to a halt. But he didn’t reach for me. He didn’t even look at me. He wrapped his hands around the steering wheel and stared out the front window. His jaw looked hard in the glowing reflection from the dashboard lights, and his expression was tense.
I pushed my hair behind my ear and licked my dry lips as I realized what this meant. “You’re never going to touch me again, are you?”
He let out a breath and quietly said, “I don’t know.” Then he groaned and let go of the steering wheel to clutch his head. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.”
I hugged myself, feeling like shit for putting him through this. “I’m sorry,” I whispered.
He looked at me but said nothing.
I shook my head, defeated. “I know what kind of position I put you in. With Noel. With yourself. And I’m…I’m so sorry for making you go through this. I’m sorry I tricked you. I’m sorry…I’m just sorry for everything. But most of all I’m sorry that I don’t…I don’t regret it.” I winced. “I know that’s really awful and selfish of me, but I don’t regret it. I loved it. I loved every moment, and I just…it was the best time of my life. So, thank you—”
“Come here,” he murmured quietly, stretching his hand my way.
I went to him, and he pulled me into his lap. One hand went to the back of my neck, tangling in my hair, while the other rested on the side of my face. He gazed into my eyes a moment, the temptation on his face so acute that it filled me with a need to soothe him. Then he pulled me in close until my cheek was against his heartbeat and his arms were around me.
“You know I’m not mad, right?” he said softly. “When I blew up earlier, I wasn’t even really mad then. I was...I don’t know, having a freak-out moment because the reality of it all just overwhelmed me, I guess. I shouldn’t have directed it at you, though.”
I sniffed and wiped at my dry face, feeling shitty anyway for putting him into such a situation. Pulling away from his warm chest, I looked up into his eyes and whispered, “I’ll go.”
But he said, “No,” and kissed me. His hands held my face captive as he tortured my mouth, softly stroking his tongue between my lips and claiming a piece of my soul.
I gripped the front of his shirt and pulled him closer, sliding across his lap until I was straddling him and rubbing my heat against his hardness. He arched up and groaned into my mouth. I thought he was going to take me, right there in the driver’s seat of Zoey’s car, two blocks away from my brother, but he broke away, heaving and gasping.
He pressed his forehead to mine. “One week.”