“No, not at all. It wasn’t you.” I look at her to find she’s looking at me too, offering up a weak smile. “It’s all me.”
And that’s all she says.
She gives nothing. Not an inch. More tight-lipped than I am and I thought that was impossible. I’m afraid to dig for more information because I know how that feels.
I hate it.
We’re quiet for a few minutes as I drive, the only sound the swish of the windshield wipers whipping against the glass, the patter of rain hitting the car, the radio playing low in the background. The air isn’t tense. I don’t feel as uncomfortable anymore, but I have another question I’d like to ask her. I need to know…
“Do you want to come back to my place?” I ask, my voice perfectly even. Inside I’m a nervous wreck. I don’t want her to say no.
I’m worried she’s definitely going to say no.
More silence as I can only assume she contemplates my question and holy shit, I seriously can’t take this. She’s going to turn me down and yes, I sound like a complete asshole, but no girl has ever turned me down. What did I do to fuck this up anyway? She’ll hang out with Steven and all of his lame ass friends—fine she lives with those lame ass friends but damn it, she spends quality time with them—but she won’t hang with me.
That hurts. Hurts bad.
“Yes,” she finally says, her voice this low, sweet murmur that I feel whisper straight through me. “I’d like that.”
Relief hits me hard, along with a heady lick of anticipation. I speed up, grip the steering wheel tight, and practically race home.
“I’ve never been upstairs before,” she tells me as I follow her up the staircase. My gaze is zeroed in on her perfect ass, especially since it’s eye level. The sweater she’s wearing covers it but those jeans are damn tight. They hug her slender thighs…the entire length of her legs, which seem to go on forever.
All I can ever imagine when I look at those sexy legs are them wrapping around my waist as I plunge deep inside her wet, hot body. Swallowing hard, I glance up to find her sending me a questioning glance over her shoulder. That’s probably my cue to answer her.
“Welcome to my lair,” I tell her with a leering sneer, hoping she’ll laugh.
She doesn’t. Damn it.
At the top of the stairs, I take her by the arm and escort her to my bedroom door, which is closed. Reaching out, I turn the knob and push the door open, waving a hand that she should enter first.
Without a word, not even a smile, she does as I ask, her arm slipping out of my grasp. I watch as she walks into my room, stopping in the center as she slowly turns in a circle, her wide-eyed gaze seeming to try and take in everything all at once before those pretty eyes meet mine. “It’s huge,” she breathes.
The urge to make a “that’s what she said” joke is strong but I keep it in. She doesn’t act like she’s much in the mood to joke right now.
“It works.” I shrug. I’m being modest. I know the room is huge. Shep’s is just as huge. This house is massive for two guys who only use it to sleep, fuck, shower and party. “I’m tired of sharing the house with Shep. Jade’s always here and when I come home they glare at me like they can’t believe I have the nerve to interrupt their domestic bliss. It’s annoying.”
“Sounds like it,” she says softly as she approaches my dresser, running her fingers over the items sitting there. A bottle of cologne, a shallow dish that I throw extra change in, a Big Ben replica that I got in London when I was twelve that’s also a bank. “Big Ben?” she asks.
“It’s one of those things I can’t seem to let go,” I admit. Does that make me sentimental? Probably.
Alexandria turns to face me, leaning against the dresser. “Have you ever been? To London?”
“Yeah.” I stuff my hands into my pockets. “A few times.”
“Me too,” she admits, as she drops her head and seems to study her boots for an inordinate amount of time. “There are a lot of things I used to do.”
I go to her. The cloud of sadness that seems to cling to her depresses the fuck out of me and I don’t like it. I don’t want her sad. I prefer her snappy and full of quick comebacks, challenging me, smiling at me like she thinks I’ve been put on this earth just for her amusement.
Stopping just in front of her, I gently grab her shoulders, causing her to glance up and meet my gaze. “Tell me what’s bothering you,” I say, my voice soft but firm. I can’t take this anymore.
She takes a deep breath and starts, “It’s noth—”
It’s my turn to press my index finger against her plush, warm lips. Christ, she feels good. One simple touch and I want more. “Don’t lie to me. I want to—be here for you. Tell me what’s wrong.”
Those big eyes blink up at me, her body tense. I trace her bottom lip before I drop my hand back to her shoulder, smoothing my fingers down her upper arms with both hands. Wishing I was touching her bare skin. Trying my best to be satisfied with the soft fabric of her sweater instead. Swear to God every time she gets close my heart starts to beat a different rhythm, one I only recognize when I’m in Alexandria’s presence.
Want, want, want, want.
Yeah. That’s the rhythm. It’s how I feel when I’m with her. I’m always left wanting more.
“Family problems,” she finally says, her voice low, reluctant. “My parents. They’re…gone.”
Oh shit. “As in—they passed away?”
She shakes her head. “They’re not dead. It’s just—it’s complicated.”
I pull her in close, slipping my arms around her so I can hold her tight. She melts into me, her head on my shoulder, her hair in my face, her arms loose about my waist. It’s weird, how well she fits. “If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s cool. I’m not big on family discussions either,” I tell her.
“Thank you,” she whispers against my neck and I close my eyes, savoring the feel of her in my arms, her breath a warm blast of air on my skin.
I run my hand down the elegant curve of her back, my fingers catching her sweater’s fabric as they sweep back up. I’m trying to be the supportive guy and instead all I can think about is getting her naked. Because I do. Want to get Alexandria naked.
I’m desperate for it.
She lifts her head to look up at me and I think about taking advantage. It would be so easy. I’ve done it before. A girl looks up at you like Alexandria is staring at me, and you just…make it happen. They’re open, they’re a little vulnerable, but they want it.
They always want it. Want me.
There’s trust shining in her eyes. Hell, just seeing her like this makes my heart feel like it’s going to pop out of my chest, grow legs and run away. The emotions running through me are foreign. I don’t know what to do, don’t know how to handle myself. I can’t bail. It’s not fair to Alexandria and I’m not giving myself a chance.
Life isn’t so bad when you fall in love, right? Not that I’m in love with this girl. Hell, no. I do want her. I like her. Fine, I’m fucking falling for her. But not in a love way.