The edgy, disheartened feeling does not abate as I follow Professor Lambert into our class. I just want to go home and crawl under the covers. The room is too cold, and the tips of my icy fingers begin to throb as I take my seat and pull out my AirBook. Due to the meeting, I’m early and Drew isn’t here. But he will be soon.
I’d been looking forward to seeing him for days. Missing him and wanting him with a force that ties me in knots and robs me of sleep. Now, glancing at Lambert and then away, anxiety rolls within my stomach.
And then he’s here. As always, I sense him before I see him. But when I do, I can’t breathe.
Drew stops at the entrance to the room and simply looks at me. Then smiles. His entire body seems to light up. Like he’s plugged in to me. And that energy bounces back over me, lifting the little hairs along my skin, tripping up the steady beat of my heart. Lost. I know that now. I’ve lost myself to him. Utterly.
His grin grows as he strides forward. He’s so lit up, people stare as he walks by. And my pulse races faster. I’m practically bouncing in my seat with the need to jump up and wrap myself around him. But then I catch Professor Lambert’s knowing gaze and tense. Fucking busybody Professor.
Drew stops before my desk. “Hey.” Oh, that soft, for-me-only voice, it melts me every time.
Before I can say anything back, he leans down and captures my mouth with his. I feel it down to my core. The kiss is possessive, tender, and just enough to have me wanting to chase after him as he pulls away. But we’re in class, so I brace my fists against the desk and keep still.
The glint of affection in his eyes tells me he knows exactly what I’m doing and how affected I am. His warm hand cups my cold cheek, and I shiver.
“I missed you,” he whispers before brushing a kiss over the tip of my nose and then slipping into his seat.
I start to give him a sidelong smile but notice the sets of eyes on us. Jesus. Everybody stares. They stop as soon as Drew notices them. But he doesn’t seem to care. He simply moves his desk closer to mine, until our arms brush, sparking off more tingles of feeling over my skin.
When his fingers twine through mine, I lean into him. “Do you really have to give them more to gawk at?”
He snorts softly under his breath. “I’ll never understand why they care what I do.”
“I think it’s more about who you do,” I mutter darkly.
He laughs, his thumb caressing the back of my hand. “Well, I care about that too.”
Another glance from Lambert, and I draw my hand from Drew’s to open my laptop. He does the same, but he remains close to my side, touching me in small ways every chance he gets. And I feel suffocated, as if wrapped up in thick, hot wool. Not by Drew, but by the rest of the world, watching us from the corners of their eyes the whole time.
Notice of us doesn’t let up after class. It follows us as we walk out of the lecture hall and onto the grass. Drew, as usual, is oblivious. He’s more concerned about putting his arm around me and nuzzling my hair.
“God, you smell good,” he says. “What is it that makes you smell so good, Jones?”
I can’t help but laugh at that. “A liberal application of Moroccan oil to keep my hair from frizzing out of control is the likely culprit.”
“Ah,” he says with a small smile, “the expensive stuff that kicks my dime store shampoo’s ass, right?”
“You know it, babe.”
I think it’s the “babe” that gets to him, because as soon as I say it, I’m surrounded by Drew. One hand slides to my nape while his arm wraps around me to gather me close.
Part of me wants to melt into him and never leave. The other part feels as exposed as an open nerve. The better half of me wins as he kisses his way down my neck, heading for that spot that makes me his slave. I shudder, pressing my hand to his taut side.
“Call me babe again,” he murmurs, his breath hot against my skin.
“Why?” I can’t resist running my fingers through his hair.
His teeth graze a particularly sensitive spot. “Because I like hearing it.”
My lips twitch, as warmth floods between my legs. “Babe.”
“Mmm.” He holds me closer. “Again.”
“Goof.” I laugh softly.
“Lay it on me, Jones,” he insists, his own husky laugh lost in my curls.
“Babe. Babe. Baby...” The last one comes out far more tenderly than I intended.
I can feel him grin against my neck. “Come home with me tonight. I have something for you.”
“That’s my dirty girl,” he teases.
Then I hear them, the voices of two girls who aren’t trying to hide their disdain. “Oh my God, that cannot be who he’s with.”
“Her? Why her?” says the other. “Because I could so rock his world better than that.”
“Look at the size of her ass. Just no.”
The comments come at me like rapid gunfire, ripping through my skin and shredding my insides. I don’t think Drew hears them. He doesn’t tense or even flinch as he nips and licks the curve of my neck, his hands going to my ass to squeeze it. My ass that currently feels five sizes larger than usual. I jerk back, bracing my hand on his chest to keep him from following.
His eyes are hazy, confused, and he gives a slow blink as if to clear his thoughts. “Does it tickle?” He looks far too pleased at the prospect.
“Not here.” I refuse to look at our audience.
“What about here?” A crooked smile tilts his lush mouth as his warm palm skims up the back of my neck to cup the base of my head. His lips capture mine, soft, searching, and it’s easy to forget the world. He hums in the back of his throat, an irresistible sound that makes my knees weak. I can’t help but grip the front of his shirt, if only to hold on.