My phone rings. Like, actually rings, which never happens and I practically jump off the bed.
“Who in the world is calling you?” Kelli asks as I scramble to grab my phone.
“Probably my mom,” I say as I bring the phone up, the air clogging in my throat when I see whose name is flashing on my screen.
I answer tentatively, surprised that he would actually call. When we communicate we usually only text. “What did I do to deserve this call?”
“Considering I have no idea where you are and you never answered my text, I thought I’d go straight to the source and hope like hell you’d answer.” He sounds irritated. Sort of pissed. Maybe even a little worried. “Why weren’t you in class?”
“Are you checking up on me?” Uh oh. I’m getting a little screechy again.
“I was waiting for you in the parking lot. I planned on picking you up but you never came out of the building. I started to…” His voice drifts and he’s quiet for a moment. “Panic.”
My heart flips over itself. “Well, I’m fine. I’m in my dorm. I never went to class.”
I glance over at Kelli to find her watching me with rapt fascination. Ugh. I hate that I have an audience. “I’ve sort of been having a bad day.”
“I can change that,” he says swiftly. Confidently. His voice full of that sexy Shep swagger that only he can seem to pull off.
“How so?” I ask.
“I can come over right now, pick you up, take you back to my place and proceed to go down on you for the next two hours.” He pauses and my heart beat pulses between my legs, I swear to God. He knows it’s my absolute, all time, favorite thing. There is nothing better than Shep’s mouth between my thighs. Well, his cock runs a close second. In fact, they’re probably in a tie. “You game?”
“Um.” I glance at Kelli again, hoping she doesn’t notice my blush. I can feel it so I know my cheeks are pink. “How soon can you get here?”
“Ten minutes.” I hear him start his car. “Be waiting outside for me, baby.”
“I’m going over to Shep’s,” I say after I end the call.
“I figured that,” Kelli says wryly. “You’re going to tell him about your little problem?”
“Sure.” I nod as I push myself off the bed, though I doubt I’m going to talk about my problems tonight. I’d rather just lose myself with Shep. Maybe I should change. I’m in a T-shirt and shorts, my hair is in a braid and I have no makeup on. But I think Shep likes me this way. Though he won’t like the hair. He prefers it down. Maybe I should…
No. I shouldn’t have to change myself for this guy. I don’t believe he wants to change me either. I think he likes me for who I am.
That’s sort of mind blowing.
The second she slips inside my car, relief settles over me, leaving me weak with wanting her. Without thought I reach for her, cup her cheeks as I bring her face to mine and kiss her with all the pent up intensity I’ve been keeping inside me for the last, I dunno, six hours? Maybe more?
I haven’t talked to her all damn day. Since we’ve started seeing each other, that’s never happened.
“Well, hello to you, too,” she says breathlessly once I finally break the kiss.
I’m still holding her face, my forehead pressed to hers and my eyes still closed. I decide to go ahead and be honest. “I missed you. A lot.”
“You just saw me this morning.” She pulls away slightly so our gazes meet, her brows lowered in a frown. “Everything okay?”
“Kind of a crazy day,” I confess. How can I admit to her that I was worried when she didn’t come out of that building earlier? That I seriously fucking panicked when I realized she never texted me back? I sound like an old married man but damn it, my mind immediately leapt to the worst possibilities.
After being a guy who had zero interest in relationships or spending any extended time with a girl, it’s like I’ve done a complete one-eighty. The craziest thing? I’m okay with it.
She chews on her lower lip and I brush my thumb across the plump flesh, tugging a little. A silent order for her to stop. I hate it when she hurts herself. “What happened?”
I lean in to kiss her forehead, her cheek. “I’ll tell you about it on the drive home.” I say home on purpose because seriously, without her there, it doesn’t feel like one. A home. Craziest fucking thing ever but I’m rolling with it. Reveling in it. This girl, it’s like she belongs with me. To me. Not sure if she realizes it yet but I’m fairly convinced.
After doing a lot of thinking and worrying over the last few hours while waiting for Jade to get out of class, I believe I’ve come up with a solution to our summertime problem. Now I just need to get Jade on board.
That’s not going to be easy. I’m not sure how I’m going to approach her. And I really don’t want to talk about it tonight…
“So tell me what’s up,” she says as I pull away from the curb and head back to my place.
I let her know we’re closing the gambling house this weekend. How we’re having one last blowout event on Saturday night and then it’s dark until the fall semester resumes. She didn’t really seem to care all that much, not that I can blame her. She hates that place. Weird considering it’s how we met but the circumstances weren’t the best.
After all, I did win her in a bet. Something I don’t mention anymore.
“My mom called,” I drop nonchalantly as I turn onto my street.
“Oh?” she asks just as nonchalantly. I never talk about my family with her. And she really doesn’t talk about hers either, though I know it’s just her and her mom. Family has turned into one of those off the table subjects for us.
“They’re in Los Angeles for business this upcoming weekend and they’re stopping by here Saturday night.” I pause and slow down, turning into my short driveway and hitting the remote so the garage door opens. “They want to go to dinner.”
“How nice. Though won’t that interfere with your gambling plans?” she asks, with just a hint of snark.
I choose to ignore the snarkiness. “I was wondering if…you wanted to go with us. To dinner.”
She’s so eerily quiet. I pull into the garage and shut the engine off, turning to look at her to find her staring straight ahead, an impassive expression on her pretty face. And damn, she really does look pretty. No makeup, hair pulled back into a braid, little wisps of red floating around her face. Painfully gorgeous.
“Jade?” I urge when she still hasn’t said anything.
Slowly, she turns to face me. “You really want me to go to dinner with you and your parents?”
I shrug. “Yeah. I mean, I don’t necessarily want to subject you to them because let me tell you, they kind of suck. My dad’s a narcissistic asshole and Mom only cares about booze and shopping but she uh, made a special request.”
Jade frowns. “What do you mean?”
“She asked me to bring my new female friend.”
“And how did she know about me?” She’s frowning harder, which I thought was impossible.
“Tristan told his mom about us and so his mom told mine.” I smile, trying to make a joke. “We’re just keeping it in the family.”