I nervously bite my lip when I glance down at my cell phone. Elliot said he'd be here at seven o'clock. And now it's almost eight thirty. My high heeled shoes clomp across the bedroom and I timidly peer out the window, wondering in silence why Elliot is so late.
I stare at my phone, willing Elliot to contact me. And to my surprise, my phone vibrates a second later. I open it up when I see it's a text.
Elliot: Can I call u?
I text him back with shaking fingers.
Elliot's call brightens my phone to life and I answer it immediately.
"Hey," I say and my voice sounds more high-pitched than normal.
"Hey Jessie," Elliot responds with a calm voice. "Listen I know I'm really late. I meant to call you earlier but I just haven't gotten the chance. When I stopped home to get ready for our date, I got an emergency phone call from work and had to head right over. I've been here ever since."
"Oh, that's alright," I reassure him. But really? It's not. "I uh - I take it our date's cancelled then?"
There's a beat of silence and my face droops with disappointment.
"I think so. Listen - I'm so sorry Jessie. I just don't know when I'm going be able to get outta' here. And I don't want you waiting up for me all night, especially with you having work tomorrow."
My heart sinks by the minute. I start kicking off my heels and my body slumps into a pathetic ball on the floor.
"Jess? You there?"
"I'm here," I say trying to sound positive. "Yea, that's fine Elliot. Just - whenever you have time, give me a call."
I hear voices in the background and then Elliot's voice softens to a whisper.
"Hey, I got to go, Jess. I'll call you though - tomorrow. We'll set something up, alright?"
"Yea, ok. See ya," I mumble and hang up the phone.
I stay curled up in my childish fetal position, even when I hear a loud knock at my door. I tell whoever it is to come inside. My door opens wide and Kevin's confident face emerges into my room. He sees me curled up on the floor and gives me a sideways glance.
"What the hell are you doing, Jess?"
He shakes his head and lets out a fake laugh under his breath. "Ha, alright. Well, I'm just going around letting everyone know that my girlfriend's parents are gone for the next two days. So she'll be at the condo staying with me."
"Alright, whatever," I mumble.
Seriously, could this night be getting any worse?
"Her name's Audrey by the way," Kevin says coldly. "And I like her. A lot."
My eyes venture up to his and a knot forms in the pit of my stomach. Kevin's expression is so hard, so angry. What did I ever do to him? I remember the days when he used to look at me with love and kindness.
Apparently those days are long gone now.
"Uhm…ok?" I ask not really knowing what else to say.
Kevin crosses his arms across his chest, puffing it out so he looks more intimidating. He continues to look down at me, his expression turning colder and his glare hardening.
"Just…don't say anything stupid to her, Jessie. I know how you can get sometimes. And tell that fuckin' weird friend of yours to keep her mouth shut too."
When I hear the way Kevin insults Kelly, I can literally feel my angry blood sizzling through my veins. I don't care if Kevin puts me down. In fact, I'm used to that. But when he puts Kelly down?
Yea. That's another story.
I straighten my body and muster up my meanest glare. "Don't you ever talk about Kelly like that," I spat at him. "Do you understand me!?"
Kevin just rolls his eyes and gives me a dismissive wave of his hand. I'm so ready to rip him a new one, but then Kevin's eyes soften. The sudden change in expression stops me in my tracks. I wait for him to continue, my mind buzzing with anticipation of what he will say next.
"Well. Alright then," Kevin says refusing to make eye contact with me. "Oh yea and Jess?"
"I don't want to sound like a dick when I say this. But uh - Audrey and I started dating four months ago."
Four months ago…
"When we were still together?" I ask him and stinging tears begin to burn the corners of my eyes.
Kevin nods and for a split second, a look of guilt plasters across his face.
"Yea Jess. And I'm sorry about that. Really I am. But I like Audrey a lot and think our relationship could go somewhere. So, if you could just not say anything to her….."
I nod my head, fighting back the tears as best I can. I hate you Kevin. Hate, hate, hate you.
"Whatever Kevin. I'll keep my mouth shut. Just leave."
"Cool," Kevin says, and with a nod of his head he leaves my room and closes the door behind him.
I can't decide what I want to do more - cry by myself or cry in Kelly's arms. I lean my head in the direction of Kelly's room and can her light laughter muted though the walls along with Rex's booming voice. It'd be selfish of me to bother her right now. So I put my hands in my face and opt for option number one.
I don't know how long I cry, but when my bedroom door opens, I quickly shove my head under the blankets in fear that it's Kevin again. But then I recognize the low timbre of Hunter's familiar hum and my body relaxes ever so slightly.
I hear him walk to his side of the room. His springs squeak as he sits on the bed and a second later, the TV is turned on and the sound of ESPN comes blaring through our speakers. When he doesn't turn it down, I peak my head from behind my covers.
"Will you please turn that down?" I say, my voice still scratchy from crying.
Hunter nods and turns down the volume. He glances in my direction but does a double take when he notices my tear stricken face. He turns the volume even lower.
"You ok?" he asks and then his eyes observe my side of the room. "Where's Elliot?"
"He canceled our date," I grunt with a shrug.
A look of understanding passes over Hunter's features and he nods.
"Elliot's pretty devoted to his job. I don't know if he told you but he's got an internship with a pretty big law firm. So if his client calls him or something comes up for his case, he's always going to cancel whatever plans he has to attend to work. That's just how he is. Don't take it personally."
In an odd way, hearing Hunter tell me this is comforting. At least Elliot didn't cancel because he was having second thoughts about our date.
"Is that why you were crying?" Hunter asks in a gentler tone.
I shake my head and sigh. "Nope. I was crying because I'm an idiot and all men are pieces of crap."
Hunter surprises me when a low chuckle rumbles in his throat. He gets up and walks over to the light switch, flipping it off and engulfing the room in a blanket of blackness. The dim light of the TV frames Hunter's sexy build and my prior feelings of sadness transition into feelings of excitement. Hunter approaches my bed, looking at me as if expecting me to scoot over.
So I do.
Hunter gives me a sly grin and plops his body next to me. I can immediately feel his warmth and do my best not to cuddle up next to him. Why did he come to my bed?
Even better question, why did I let him?
I'm too nervous to talk so for a few minutes all either of us do is stare at the TV. I glance at Hunter and his eyes seem so absorbed into what the sports reporter is saying. Here we go again.
Does he want me or not?!
I shift uncomfortably beneath the covers.
"Erm, well. I think I'm going to go to bed," I say and fake a yawn.
"Cool," Hunter says. "Good night."
His eyes move back to the TV, and he makes no effort to get off my bed. I stare at him with wide eyes but his face remains impassive - as always. Feeling completely awkward, I lay my head down onto my pillow and attempt to close my eyes.
"Was it Kevin?" Hunter asks quietly.
I shift my body to face him. "Was what Kevin?"
Hunter sighs. My stomach erupts with dozens of baby butterflies as our eyes meet, and I wonder for the hundredth time how someone so good looking can possibly be real.
"Was he the reason you were crying?" Hunter asks.
"Uhm…. Maybe. Why do you want to know?"
Hunter shrugs. "Just curious."
I bite my lip, nervously debating if I should tell him about Kevin. Hunter's gaze intensifies as his eyes travel down to my lips. A fit of desire pulses through my body. I know I should stop biting my lip now. I'm just encouraging Hunter's flirtatious behavior. But I can't seem to stop.
"What'd I tell you about that?" Hunter asks huskily.
I freeze when I hear the tone of his voice. It's like a seductive spell, forcing me to stay in place. Hunter tilts his head to the side, reaching his hand forward and grazing my bottom lip with the pad of his thumb. A warm shiver dances down my spine. My voice somehow finds itself once again and I gulp down a fit of desire.
"Are y-you going to kiss me, Hunter?"
Hunter's eyes seem to darken, his expression becoming hungrier with desire. He licks his lips and begins to lean in slowly.
"Yes," Hunter whispers seductively. "And I'm going to enjoy every minute of it."
The heat of his breath treks across my face and I breathe in his delicious scent. My stomach quivers with excitement. Hunter pulls one of his hands behind the small of my back, pulling my body closer. My breath hitches in my throat and my heartbeat frantically hammers against my chest.
Hunter takes his other hand and trails it up the length of my thigh, stopping only when he reaches the bottom of my panties. His touch sizzles my skin.
Hunter's soft lips mesh against mine and a whole new set of desires swarms within my head. And as our kiss deepens, I swear to God - time becomes frozen in place. I sink into Hunter's touch, his lips and our kiss. His warm tongue wiggles its way into my mouth and when I let him inside, our tongues dance together in a perfect, delicious harmony.
I have neither felt so wanted before nor had such passion from something as simple as a kiss. Never. And even though I know it's wrong, I want this moment, this kiss, to last forever…
KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK.
The sound of someone rapping against my door jolts me back to reality. I shove Hunter away from me and hear him grunt as he is forced to the floor. I whisper frantically, ordering him to go back to his bed. A look of hurt flashes across Hunter's face, but a second later it's gone and replaced with only confusion.
Hunter holds my gaze as he moves back to his side of the bedroom. I want to tell him I'm sorry. But the words seem stuck in my throat. Hunter gracefully props himself onto his bed, turning his focus back to the TV and forcing his expression back to its natural, impassive state.
"C-come in," my voice stammers with uncertainty.
The intruder swings my door open and flips on the lights. When my eyes adjust to the brightness, I suck in a breath of disbelief.
"I didn't know if you'd be up or not, but I thought I'd take my chances," Elliot says with a wink.
He walks to my bed, pulling from behind him a beautiful bouquet of red and purple roses tied together with a frilly red ribbon. He takes a seat next to me, and I silently wonder if he can sense that Hunter was just here.
"I-I thought you had to work," I stammer, feeling beyond guilty when I accept his generous gift.
"I do," Elliot says grinning. "But you sounded kind of down on the phone, so I wanted to just stop over real quick."
"But…but why?" I ask still confused.
Elliot leans closer to me and lowers his voice so Hunter can't hear him. "Just to let this beautiful girl know I can't stop thinking about her."
And then Elliot dips his head down and presses his lips softly against mine - the very same lips Hunter was kissing just moments before. My cheeks flush red with shame as Elliot continues to kiss me. Because even though my eyes are closed, I can feel Hunter's fiery gaze watching us from the other side of the room….