Heat flashed across my face.
“Except we fall into the category of doing practice runs,” he continued, his grin sly. “Though I’d love to see a little redheaded Andrea.”
Oh my word, my eyes widened. Did he really mean that? My tummy dropped in a pleasant way and my heart started to dance, but I turned around, catching the end of the package. There was no way he was being serious, and I was not going to allow myself to read into that comment. Nope. I was not going to let my brain do anything stupid.
Earlier, while Tanner was in the shower, and I’d gone into my head—those quiet moments…they hadn’t been so great. And while I’d showered, my thoughts went to familiar places filled with doubt, areas where overthinking ran rampant.
Sometimes…sometimes it felt like there were too many thoughts running around in my head, and that was one of those moments. I started to panic as I stood under the showerhead. Would Tanner regret last night and this morning? Did it mean anything to him? What would happen if I told him that I thought…that there was a good chance that I was in love with him? Did he really even know me?
The answer to that question was what scared me the most. I didn’t think that he did know me. At least not the “me” that existed when there were quiet moments, and that was a “me” I didn’t know how to deal with.
But it wasn’t just about Tanner. Those feelings of panic and uncertainty. Those feelings were never about just one thing. If they were, they’d probably be easier to deal with.
“Was that too honest?” he asked, and his voice was closer—real close.
I shivered as I continued to rip open the package of chicken and then picked up the tongs. “I just don’t think you…you really mean that.”
“Are you inside of my head?” His hands settled on my hips and I gave a little jump. “Do you know what I think?”
That question hit too close to home. So I took a moment and picked up the chicken with the tongs, plopping it down in the boiling water. “I don’t think I want to know what’s inside your head.”
“Uh-huh.” Tanner circled an arm around my waist and pressed into me. He kissed the side of my neck. “I think you’d like the things that go on inside my head.”
Despite my earlier thoughts, I smiled as I picked up the last piece of chicken. “Okay. Maybe.”
“Definitely,” he murmured, dropping a kiss against the sensitive space below my ear.
Tanner stepped back as I took the tongs over to the sink and washed them. When I turned around, he was staring into the pot with a look of disgust on his face. “This…this is gross-looking. All that white stuff floating to the top?”
I laughed as he shot me a look. “Don’t be a baby.”
“Will it get me spanked if I act like one?”
“Oh God.” I laughed again, shaking my head.
Grilling the chicken and then eating dinner pretty much consisted of us bickering and then Tanner making some kind of random, perverted statement that either made me giggle, blush, or both. There were no quiet moments, not for a while, not even when Syd and Kyler returned from their camping trip.
But those quiet moments surged back with a vengeance as we all sat in the basement’s media room.
Rain had started up again, shortly after Syd and Kyler had shown back up, and we were currently watching the boys engage in an impromptu air hockey death match once more. Kyler had a beer. Tanner had a beer. Even Sydney, who rarely drank, had one of those fruity beers.
I wanted a drink. Bad.
So much so that I sort of felt like banging my head against a wall, but I didn’t want Tanner to look at me like—actually, I wanted Tanner to look at me. That was the thing. Once our friends had shown back up, he hadn’t really looked at me or…or paid attention to me.
At first, I thought it was just me being stupid. No big surprise there. Sounded legit, because my history of being stupid was well-known. When Kyler and Syd returned, there was a lot of commotion, and they were hungry and wanted to talk about their trip while they ate our leftovers. I’d been nervous, unsure of how I should act, if I should just walk up to Tanner and grab his junk or something or wait to see what he did, so I didn’t do anything really. And when Syd had gone upstairs to shower, Kyler had monopolized Tanner’s time, and then when Syd had returned, my mother had called, and I ended up having to listen to how epically proud they were of Brody and how worried they were for me. By the time I got off the phone, I really, badly, needed a drink, but I resisted.
So Tanner and I obviously hadn’t had a lot of time to make googly eyes at one another or to expose our sudden, undying passion for each other, but as the evening eased into night, the indifference he’d started showing when Syd and Kyler returned continued.
Maybe that wasn’t a bad thing. I wasn’t sure. But I’d thought that he would at least pay attention to me. Honestly, I think we’d exchanged a handful of words. There were no long looks of lust or stolen touches. When I’d gone upstairs to get a freaking soda, he hadn’t followed or anything.
So maybe he was treating me differently, because usually we did talk…or argue…or whatever, but now it seemed like he didn’t want….
I cut myself off before I could finish that thought.
I didn’t know what to make of any of it.
But my heart was pounding in a way that was so not pleasant and my stomach was twisted in knots as I watched Tanner strut around the side of the table, grinning as Kyler smack-talked him.