“Thanks,” she says, looking around, seeming a little unsure of herself.
“This is the bathroom,” I tell her, tapping my knuckles on one of the doors. I go to the closet to get down an extra blanket and set it on the bed. Daisy runs in excitedly and jumps up on the bed, looking between us for a second before curling up and lying down. “I don’t think so, girl.” I pick her up, bringing her to my chest.
“She can stay in here with me if she wants,” Sophie says, looking at Daisy with a small smile.
I unconsciously give the pup a peck on top of her head, eliciting wet licks under my chin when I look up and ask, “You sure?”
“Yeah, I don’t mind,” she says, looking at me with soft eyes.
I set Daisy back on the bed, and then pull Sophie into me. “Remember, I’m across the hall if you need me.”
“I remember,” she whispers.
“All right, baby. Get some sleep.” I bend down, kissing her forehead and then her mouth before heading out of the room.
I walk across the hall, take off my clothes, and get into bed. I lie there, hands under my pillow, looking at the ceiling, thinking about my life and what I do for a living, and wondering how that could affect the girl across the hall. It takes a while for sleep to take me even though I am completely exhausted, but when it does, I dream about a brown-eyed girl.
What I didn’t know was that, for the first time ever, the girl across the hall felt something other than fear when she went to sleep.
“Hey, you need to wake up.”
The voice close to my ear makes me scream out, and I roll away and sit up, looking around and not recognizing where I am. Then my eyes land on Nico, and last night comes back to me. I flop back down on the bed and cover my face with my hands while trying to get my heart back under control.
“I didn’t mean to scare you, but your alarm has been going off for the last twenty minutes.”
I uncover my face, look over at Nico, and inhale deeply. He’s only wearing a pair of loose basketball shorts. His whole body is perfect—from his defined arms, the expanse of his wide chest, his abs, and the deep V leading into his shorts.
“You were working out?” I ask like an idiot, seeing sweat covering his entire torso.
He smirks, running a hand over his head. “Yeah. I needed to burn off some pent-up energy,” he says, and I see his eyes drop to my br**sts, watching as they heat before meeting mine again. “Looks like I’m going to be working out a lot,” he mumbles.
I bite my lip to keep from laughing. Daisy decides then to crawl out from under the covers, where she slept the whole night. When she finally wiggles free, she runs back and forth between the two of us before deciding that she wants Nico. I watch as he lifts her to his face just far enough away that she can’t reach him with her tongue, and then he flips her to her back and holds her against his chest like a baby so he can rub her belly. I swear I can hear music playing and see little hearts dancing around my head with how swoon-worthy he is standing there with his tiny dog who, I can tell without a doubt, he adores. I never thought I would be jealous of a dog, but what I wouldn’t give to have him pet me like that.
“A little. What time is it?” I mumble, distracted by his abs.
“Just after seven.”
“Oh, shit!” I yell, throwing back the covers and hopping out of bed. “I have to get ready for work or I’m going to be late.” I run to the end of the bed to grab my bag and make a run for the bathroom when I’m tugged backwards. I look back and see Nico with his hand around the strap of my bag.
“You can get ready as soon as you tell me good morning.”
“Oh, sorry. Morning,” I say in a rush, trying to tug free.
“Tell me good morning with your mouth, Sophie.” The command in his voice has a tingle building between my legs, and I watch nervously as he puts Daisy down on the ground.
“What?” I breathe, and he laughs, pulling me closer with his hand on my bag.
“Kiss me, Sophie.”
“Oh. I need to brush my teeth,” I say, looking at his lips.
“No, you need to kiss me,” he says, tugging until I’m standing in front of him.
I fidget there for a second, just looking at him, not really sure how to do this but surprisingly wanting to. Then I remember that movie with Will Smith, when he tells the guy that, if he’s going to kiss someone, he should only lean in halfway and make the other person close the distance. I drop my bag, stand on my tiptoes, lean in my half, and close my eyes. When nothing happens, I open one eye and then the other.
“Good girl,” he says before his mouth comes down on mine in a light kiss that makes my insides flutter. “I always want you to know it’s me kissing you,” he says against my mouth.
“How could I not?” I say without thinking.
I groan and start to look at the ground when his hands circle my neck, his thumbs going under my chin to tilt my head back. His face lowers to mine, his tongue touches my bottom lip, and I lean closer, my hands landing on his chest, feeling the heat of his skin under my palms. My mouth opens, and he groans when my tongue touches his. I’m so lost in the kiss that I whimper when he pulls his mouth from mine.
“That’s how I want you to say good morning.” His hands travel down to mine, which are still on his chest, and he grabs them to pull them back behind his neck. Then his hands travel down along my sides and to my waist, pulling my hips closer to his.
“I have to get ready for work,” I say softly, my hands running up the back of his longer hair to run it through my fingers.
His hands palm my ass, pulling me even closer to him. “I like you here,” he says as his fingers travel up the back of my tank and run along my back. I like it here too. I don’t know what this is, but I like it, and I want more. “You get off at six, right?” he asks. It takes a second for me to answer; the warmth of his skin, his scent, and the way his hands feel on me all have my body buzzing with something I’ve never felt before. “You wanna have dinner at your house or mine?”
“Are you going to cook?” I ask, tilting my head to the side studying his face.
“Of course,” he says, nipping my neck and making my breath hitch.
“I really need to get ready for work,” I say again, my hands going down the back of his neck from his shoulders to his chest.
“I really don’t want to let you go, but I know you need to get ready,” he says, bringing his face to mine and kissing me once more on the mouth before turning me around to face the bathroom; he pats my ass, sending me on my way.