“Oh, I . . .”
“I could really use a friend right now.”
My heart hurting, I wrapped my arms around him, squeezing him tight as sympathy choked me. “I know, but I can’t tonight. What about tomorrow after school?”
Gavin’s arms circled me, and he dropped his chin to the top of my head. His chest rose with a deep breath. “What are you doing tonight?”
“Um, I’m going to get a smoothie with Jensen,” I said, and Gavin immediately stiffened against me. “He brought me here. He’s waiting outside.”
“He’s waiting for you,” he repeated slowly. He drew back, dropping his arms. “So, are you and Jensen a thing?”
“What? No.” I tucked my hair behind my ear. That was definitely not true. We were definitely a lot of something. “That doesn’t matter, Gavin. We can do dinner tomorrow. Or maybe later tonight if—”
“Forget it.” Gavin wheeled around. “I’ll see you later.”
“Wait.” I pushed off the wall, following him down the silent hall. “Gavin, come on. Don’t—”
“Don’t what?” He spun around, face mottled. “Don’t drop one for the other? Isn’t that what you’re doing? You dropped me at the end of last year, and now you’re hooking up with Jensen.”
I gaped at him. “Wait. It’s not like that at all.”
“It isn’t? Could’ve fooled me. After all, you have a habit of doing this, right? You and Jensen both. Always moving on to something better. Isn’t that what you did to Penn? And isn’t that what Jensen did to you before?”
Getting slapped in the face would’ve felt better. Tears raced up my throat as I shook my head. He looked at me a second longer and said, “You two are really perfect for each another. Have at it.”
Later that night, after sharing a cup of warm tea and telling Mom about my appointment with Dr. Oliver, I tugged the blankets back from my bed. A slight citrusy scent clung to the pillows.
The prescription Dr. Oliver had written me sat on my desk. I wasn’t sure yet if I’d get it filled. Yes, I wanted to sleep the entire night, but those things knocked me the hell out, and waking up from them always took an ungodly amount of time.
After changing into my pajamas, I went into the bathroom, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and did my nightly routine. I stepped back into my bedroom and stared at the bed. I took a deep breath and—
A soft knock on my bedroom window caused me to jump at least a foot into the air. I smacked my hand over my mouth. What the hell? Rooted to where I stood, I wondered if I was hearing things.
The quiet tapping came again.
Okay. The likelihood of a killer tapping on my window to come in had to be rare. That’s what I told myself as I crept over to my window. Slowly, I pulled the curtains back.
My heart leaped in my chest.
On the other side of my window, Jensen was perched on my roof. Grinning as if this wasn’t abnormal or anything, he pointed at the windowsill.
For a moment, all I could do was stare at him. Then I glanced over my shoulder. My bedroom door was shut, but if Mom came in here . . .
It would not be pretty.
But I couldn’t leave Jensen out on my roof. That would be . . . um, wrong I supposed. Shaking my head, I slowly eased the window open. “What are you doing?” I whispered.
“Watching the stars,” he whispered back, his eyes glittering in the darkness.
I narrowed my eyes. “On my roof?”
All I could do was stare at him.
“What?” His grin turned mischievous as he gripped the edges of the window. “Your roof is better than mine. And you know what else is?”
“Your mother’s hearing is better than my mother’s. So you should let me in before she catches me on her roof.”
I had no idea how him being inside my room meant that my mom wouldn’t hear him, but I found myself stepping aside. Within the span of five seconds, he was in my room.
The first thing I noticed now that he was in my room, in the light, was that he was dressed for bed. “What are you doing here?” I asked.
Reaching around me, he grabbed the remote and turned on my TV. The volume muted our conversation. “I wanted to talk to you.”
“That’s why God made cellphones, Jensen.”
His chin dipped as he stared up at me through thick lashes. “Silly Ella, God didn’t make cellphones. Some extremely brilliant nerd probably did.”
Rolling my eyes, I slapped his arm. “You shouldn’t be here.”
“Where should I be?” He took a step toward me.
I took a step back. “Not in my bedroom this late.”
“Hmm . . .” He advanced on me, backing me up until I was pressed against the door. “Guess what else is better than mine?”
My heart pounded as he placed a hand beside my head. I stared at his arm, taking in the ropey muscles that disappeared under the sleeve of his shirt. “What?”
His head dropped low, his voice a shiver against my ear. “Your bed is so much better than mine.”
I bit down on my lip as his mouth brushed my earlobe. “I’m sure that’s not the case.”
“It is.” He reached around me again. A second later I heard the door lock, and blood thundered through my veins. “Did Gavin come over?”
I’d told him about running into Gavin when I was leaving Dr. Oliver’s office. “No. I tried calling him, but he didn’t answer.”
“I’m not surprised.” His hand settled on the curve of my hip.
“You’re not?” The material of my sleep shorts was thin, like they had been this morning, and the heat of his touch was like a brand on my skin.
“Nope.” His lips brushed the sensitive spot below my ear, and my knees went weak. “He doesn’t like that you and I are together.”
There was a hummingbird in my chest. The fluttering returned with a vengeance. “We are not together.”
My breath caught as his hand slid up, skating over my ribs, leaving a trail of fire in its wake.
Jensen’s deep, low chuckle traveled across my throat. “After this morning, we are most definitely together. We just haven’t worked out the specifics of our together-ness.”
“Together-ness is not a word.”
“Now it is.” His hand slipped away from the door to cradle my cheek. He tipped my head back, and I thought my heart would burst from my chest. “So let’s talk about the specifics.”
My eyes locked with his, and I couldn’t look away. “Can’t this conversation wait?”
“You’re going to get us into so much trouble.”
“Where’s the fun in anything if there’s no risk?” His head dipped once more, and he placed a quick kiss against my wildly beating pulse. “And don’t try to distract me. I’m on a mission. I want you.”
My stomach did a backflip.
“I think that part is pretty obvious,” he continued. “I couldn’t even hold back this morning. When you told me it was okay, I just . . . lost it.”
A throbbing pulse shot through me. I didn’t need the reminder. What I did this morning—what he did this morning had not slipped far from my thoughts.
His eyes met mine once more as his hand dropped from my cheek to the other side of my ribs. He lifted me up as he pressed in, sliding one leg between mine. My hands clamped down on his shoulders at the shock of him.
“And you want me,” he murmured. “I think that part is also obvious.”
My fingers curled into his shirt. There was no denying that. Very few people in the universe would deny that. “I’m not into being friends with benefits,” I whispered.
“Good. Because neither am I. Not with you,” he added, his thumbs moving in slow circles. “Here’s another specific. I don’t share. It’s just me. It’s just you.”
“Do you think I normally date more than one person at a time?”