“Get out of those wet things.” He gestures at my clothes. “You’ll die of pneumonia. Or double pneumonia as my grandma always used to say.”
I don’t argue. I peel off my wet sweatshirt and rub the towel across my skin, trying to force the circulation back into it. My butt and thighs are numb, but I can’t take my jeans off. Not here. I just wrap the quilt around me and curl up on the couch again, still shivering.
Izzy ducks back into the room, zipping her jacket and pulling a woolen cap over her blond hair. “I’ll be back soon.”
“Where…” I can’t manage anything more.
“I’m going to your place,” she says. “I’ll make sure Lucy’s okay.”
Relief crashes over me. “Thanks.” I let my eyes close for a second. I wait until I hear the door click closed before opening them again.
Jake’s looking at me, standing by the couch, his eyes weary-looking. His hair is mashed against his head on one side, and his boxers sit low on his hips, hanging unevenly around his legs. He bends over, and before I know what’s happening, he’s knotted his hands behind my head, drawing me toward him. His lips meet mine, pressing my mouth against his. I pull him closer. I’m kissing him. Finally kissing him. And he’s kissing me! His lips are soft and full, warm, tasting a little like cinnamon candy.
It’s either a second or forever before I pull away. He steps back, and when I find the courage to look up, he’s leaning against the windowsill, wiping at his mouth with the back of his hand. What just happened? Am I dreaming?
“Have you any idea how long I’ve been wanting to do that?” Jake’s voice is shaking.
I must be dreaming. This can’t be real. Did he just say what I think he did?
“Me too.” I get up, letting the quilt drop from my shoulders. I stand before him, realizing he’s trembling too. I bend and kiss him again, gentle this time, testing the waters, seeing if this might possibly be real. His tongue touches mine, and something like electricity pulses through me, weakening my legs so I have to brace myself on the wall to keep standing.
This time he’s the one to pull away. For a long moment we just stare into each other’s eyes. I’ve never noticed the flecks of gold and brown in his before.
“So… If you’re…um… Why did…?” Words fail me. My heart’s pounding loud enough to deafen me and my lips ache to be pressed to his again.
“Why’d I freak out that day in the locker room?” Jake gives a wry grin.
I nod. How the hell did he know what I was thinking? The guy’s a genius. “Yeah.”
He sighs and moves away from the window. “I’m a dick. I told you that. I freaked out. I’d been trying so hard not to like you, man. When you came at me like that, it scared the hell outta me. So I ran. And then I tried to find out if you meant it, remember? At that motel? After the meet?”
“I remember.” I nod again, stare down at my feet, too scared to look at him.
“I asked you, man. I pretty much came out and asked. And you blew me off.”
“I was scared too.” Admitting it is incredible. It’s like I’ve lost ten pounds in an instant. “I mean, you ran off on me the first sign of anything like that. What was I supposed to think?”
We move toward each other, lips meeting once more. I can taste last night’s booze on him in a bitter undertone.
“You’re wet,” he murmurs, jumping as my leg comes into contact with his. “And freezing. Why don’t you take those off?” His hands make their way under the towel and fumble with the top of my jeans. They’re warm against my cold skin. I’ve dreamed of this moment so many times, but I never imagined this heat. I moan as he tugs my pants down to my ankles and I step out of them. The towel rises in front of me as if by magic. Jake’s fingers brush against me and I clutch at his shoulders.
It’s at this moment my exhausted muscles resign and I crumple to the floor.
Please, don't be afraid to tell me what you think!