We Were Once - Page 21

This place fits me to a T—boring. And Joshua is about to find that out firsthand. Doesn’t matter that he was here before. He was in the doorway, not spending enough time to psychoanalyze my neat freak tendencies.

I pull the mug from the cabinet and leave it on the counter next to the olives. Inspired, I hurry under the sound of another rap on the door to my closet and pull a red scarf I’ve never worn and place it over my banker’s lamp in the living room. I don’t have time to overthink it, which is probably a good thing.

There’s not enough time to continue panicking before he knocks again. Resolved, I straighten my cotton top and tug down my shorts, hoping they cover my ass, and go to the peephole. With him looking down the hall, I’m given a porthole view of that great jaw of his. The ticking muscle is a bonus. “Who is it?” I giggle, slightly out of breath.

“Hi.”

“I didn’t order any food.” The whole setup is the gift that keeps giving.

He holds up a bag. “That’s too bad. I had a special delivery for Chloe Fox.”

I don’t keep him waiting. I open the door and tilt my head sideways under the chain to see him. “You play dirty.”

With one hand pressed to the doorframe, he leans in with a big juicy grin and says, “I play to win.”

God, I want to kiss his face. Or smack the smirk right off, but kissing it is more fun. I undo the chain and step aside. “Entrez-vous?”

“Oui. S’il vous plait.”

I do a double take. “You know French?”

“It’s shoddy at best.” I catch his arm and pull him back before he passes, welcoming him with a quick kiss. My lips tingle like little fires ignited beneath my skin. When I free him, I slide my tongue over my bottom lip to dampen the flame. Like he mentioned, I want to get to know him. It may be tough to resist those magnificent lips, but I have no doubt it will be worth the wait.

Closing the door, I lock it and lean against the back of it. “For someone so cocky, sometimes you can be really self-deprecating. It’s pleasantly surprising.”

“Glad you noticed, but more importantly, which side of me do you like best?”

“Your backside. It doesn’t talk back.”

“Good to know you noticed my ass.” He stands there shamelessly looking me over from head to toe.

“Well, I wouldn’t go that far.” I shrug. “But there might be some truth to that. Make yourself at home.”

Moving closer to the couch, he scans the place like it could take all day. “Your place is so clean.”

With his back to me, I shuffle a flip-flop into the walkway to add to the mess. “Eh.”

Peeking back, he asks, “You live alone?”

“Yep.”

Giving himself permission, he glances around the room. “Nice building.”

“I like the location. My friend Ruby found it.” And then because he doesn’t say anything, I keep rambling, “I can walk to school, and I’m close to shopping.”

“It’s a great location.”

“Ruby lives next door.”

His interest is piqued when he turns back to me. “Oh, really? Why don’t you live together?”

Now I’m searching the apartment for answers because I’m unsure what to say. “Never thought about it.”

“It’d save some money.”

“More importantly,” I start while picking up my phone and holding my phone screen so he can see it. “Can you explain this to me?” His whiskey-colored eyes can’t hide his inner thoughts. Neither can his smile. “I must have missed the part where you labeled yourself as Soulmate in my contacts.”

Moving toward the window, he peers down one side of the street and then another. “Understandable. You were distracted by the potential of a happy ending.”

“I was not.” I sound petulant even to me.

With a raised brown, he looks back at me. “You sure about that?”

“Honestly, no,” I say, crossing my arms. “I’m not.”

Laughter rumbles through his chest. “At least you’re honest.”

Most of the time, I think, thinking about the lie I told about my age.

Kneeling, he prods the dirt in the pot. “Frankie looks good in her new home. She likes the window.”

I sit on the couch and watch him stare at this plant like it’s a patient of his. The sweetness isn’t lost on me. Neither is the fact that Mom told me to do the same thing. “She’s a diva. She’s been preening for you all week.”

Standing back up, he’s smiling, and I just flat-out like it. “You’re funny, you know that?”

“Eh,” I say, waving him off. “What’s in the bag?”

“It was a ploy to gain entrance because I didn’t think you’d appreciate me as the special delivery.” Slamming his hands together, he bursts the paper bag.

“That’s disappointing.”

Concern weaves its way into his expression as he sits on the couch. “Why? Are you hungry?”

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