I walk into the bathroom before remembering I left my bag. I go back out to grab it, and he has it in his hand, holding it out to me with a smirk on his face.
“Thanks,” I say, reaching out to take it. I squeak out when he drops the bag, grabs my hand, and pulls me back to him, hearing the thud at the same time his mouth lands on mine. His hands go to my ass, lifting me closer to him, and this time, the kiss is a lot deeper and rougher than the ones before.
I’m panting and trying to crawl up his body when he pulls his mouth away from mine, muttering a quiet, “Fuck.”
“Wow,” I say, bringing my fingers to my lips.
“I’m going to need to work out a lot,” he growls, making me smile at his words. “All right, now,” he says, picking up my bag. “Go get ready for work.”
I look into his eyes, seeing that they’re heavy with lust. My heart skips a beat as I take my bag from him and stumble into the bathroom, shutting the door behind me. I lean back against the cool wood and take a few deep breaths. Once my heartbeat calms, I look into the mirror; my lips are dark pink and swollen, my cheeks are flushed an attractive shade of pink, and I see a happiness in my eyes that looks foreign to me.
After I finish getting ready in the bathroom, I slip on my heels—four-inch cream-lace peep-toe booties with bows going up the center. I straighten out my navy-blue pencil skirt and make sure my top is tucked in before heading into the kitchen. I walk across the living room carpet, watching as Nico types away on the laptop in front of him at the counter. He’s still shirtless; his golden skin covered with tattoos is so gorgeous that I really want to trace every single one with my tongue and fingers as he tells me the history behind each of them.
As soon as my feet hit the tile floor, his head comes up and turns towards me. I watch him shake his head when his eyes travel down my body to my feet. When our gazes meet again, my step falters at his heated look.
“I don’t know how I’m going to be able to cope knowing that men are looking at you when you’re out. I don’t even want to think about the times I’m out of town, leaving you alone.”
“Men don’t look at me.” I scrunch up my eyebrows and shake my head.
“Fuck yes, they do! You just don’t notice, and they’re too chickenshit to talk to you. No man wants to give a woman the power to crush his ego, and baby, I hate to tell you this, because I like that you don’t realize how beautiful you are, but you are the kind of woman that could make a man feel like he has it all or make him feel like he has absolutely nothing.”
I’ve been holding my breath; I can’t believe he just said that. I’m not stupid. I know I’m considered attractive, but I’ve never had anyone make me feel like he just did with those few words.
“Do you want some coffee?” he asks like he didn’t just turn my world upside down. I look at the clock, seeing that I have time, so I nod once, walking the rest of the way into the kitchen. “How about some toast?”
“Yes, thank you.”
I sit on one of his barstools and watch as he moves around the kitchen, first putting bread in the toaster then pulling out a coffee cup and pouring me some. He pulls the milk out of the fridge and holds it up in question; when I nod, he pours some in the mug and then does the same with the sugar. When he’s done, he places the cup in front of me. Then he gets the toast, spreads butter on it, and places it in front of me, where I’m sitting at the island.
“Do you have any honey?” I ask, picking up a piece of toast.
“Sure, babe,” he says, handing me a bear-shaped bottle of honey from one of his cupboards before coming back to sit next to me.
“Did you decorate?” I ask, squeezing a giant glob of honey onto one of the pieces of toast.
I love his house; I’m surprised at how well it’s decorated. All of his furniture is modern and edgy. In the living room, he has low black carpet and a dark-grey suede couch with black and red pillows, and the entertainment center, coffee tables, and side tables are all the same black-lacquered finish. The kitchen is all dark wood and black granite, with gleaming stainless-steel appliances. Even in his guest room, the furniture was well put together. I could see him in everything, but have a hard time believing he decorated it on his own.
“No, Liz did,” he says so affectionately that my stomach drops.
I watch as he takes a drink of coffee; I never even thought that he might have a girlfriend. Oh, shit—what if he still has a girlfriend? My stomach rolls, and I drop my piece of toast to my plate.
“Liz is my sister-in-law,” he says, catching me off guard. I turn to look at him. He has a look on his face that makes me feel like an idiot. “I like that look on you though.”
“What?” I look away, trying to hide my face with my hair.
“You, looking like you lost something…but only because it was me you were thinking about.”
“You’re full of yourself,” I say, trying to cover how I really feel.
“Nope. I know I want you. Now, seeing that look, I know you feel the same,” he says in a tone that is so serious I hold my breath for a second before recovering.
“I may not have any experience dating, but I’m pretty sure that this,” I say, pointing between the two of us, “isn’t normal.” I shake my head.
“Baby, if I was normal, you wouldn’t be sitting here right now. You would be at work or at home doing what you do every single day after you pushed me away the first time,” he says, taking another drink of coffee.
He is right. I hate that he is right. I hate that I am so transparent to someone who is a virtual stranger. Everything Maggie said keeps running through my mind—which reminds me that I never called her after our dinner the other night. I look over at Nico and my stomach drops. I don’t think it’s fair to explore this thing with him when I’m not even sure who I really am.
His eyes meet mine, and he shakes his head. “I don’t know what’s going on in that pretty little head of yours, but know this—you run and I will find you.”
“What are you talking about?” I ask nervously.
“Tell me something,” he says, turning towards me, his knees caging me in. “What do you feel when we’re together?”
I want to say, “Safe,” but know that sounds stupid, so I keep my mouth closed.
“Tell me,” he urges, leaning towards me.
“I…I don’t know.” I look down at my hands.