Am I sure? I hesitate.
Just sex, I remind myself. Opening my mouth to answer in the affirmative, Damon nods, a knowing smirk on his lips.
“Let’s just eat something and go from there,” he says. “There’s no need to rush.”
My libido would disagree. At the same time, part of me is relieved. It’s not like me to jump into bed with a guy after knowing him less than a week. It’s not like me to jump into bed with a guy after knowing him a month. Of course, it’s also been so long that I can’t recall the last guy I was with.
Casanova leads me to the kitchen stool and starts digging through my refrigerator like he lives there. I can’t help but watch him, bemused. I’m still hungry for him, and staring at his backside isn’t helping. Lord, help me, he is put together well.
To distract myself, I get up and grab some plates and forks while he starts putting plastic containers of food in the microwave.
“What did she leave us?”
“Looks Italian. Cheesy pasta and some meatballs.”
My mouth starts watering. Gina’s a fabulous cook, and when she decides to do Italian, she puts Mario Batali to shame.
We carry our food to the sofa and, turning on the TV, I hand Damon the remote.
“I’m never home to watch it, but I never got around to cancelling my cable. Anything you want to watch…”
He smiles. “And if I want to watch you?”
“Then you’ll get bored, because I’m going to be eating.” I shrug as though it wouldn’t faze me if he watched, but inside, my stomach is flipping, despite my hunger. Damn his charm.
Luckily, he chooses a movie and digs into his own food. As I exhale, I hear him chuckle.
“Nothing,” he says, but I can see he’s smiling. “Is this okay?” He motions toward the screen.
The Princess Bride. “Sure, it’s one of my favorites.”
“My parents used to watch it with me when I was a kid and I loved it. The swashbuckling, the adventure, the Fire Swamp…” He continues to surprise me.
The aroma of oregano and marinara sauce is too much to deny and I have to keep from shoveling the ziti into my mouth. I hadn’t realized how much I needed food until now. The tangy cheese and sweet tomatoes mix well with the oregano and parmesan sprinkled on top. The Bigger the Figure jumps into my head; I wonder if Damon would still be interested if I ate the way I wanted to—all Italian, all the time.
After we finish eating, he pulls me close to watch the rest of the movie. It feels natural to snuggle into his warmth, and I curl my feet up beside me, leaning into his side. He drapes his arm around my shoulder and lets his fingers brush back and forth on my upper arm. The casual movement is deceptive—both soothing and tantalizing in one.
Bright sunlight assaulting my eyelids wakes me, and I sit up quickly. I’m still on the sofa, but I’m alone. Stretching, I look around the apartment, wondering when I fell asleep and whether Damon stayed all night.
“Good morning, gorgeous. Coffee?” His voice sounds from the kitchen, answering my unspoken question.
He looks like a freakin’ model this morning, all smiles and his shirt off. My eyes pause at his bare chest, and my mouth drops open. His shirt off? Maybe I’m still dreaming.
And he’s still looking at me. Oh, right. “Coffee would be great.”
“And breakfast? Eggs? Bacon? Toast?”
Yup. I’m still dreaming.
“Eggs and toast. No bacon—I don’t eat meat on Fridays.”
Panicking, I search for a clock that tells the correct time. Eight-thirty!
“Oh, shit! I have to go downstairs.” I yank on my sneakers without socks and take the steps as fast as I dare, jumping over the last few to the landing. The humidity in the air slams into me, even this early in the morning, but I keep moving. Swinging my body around the corner, my heart stops as I see the delivery truck pulling away.
“Hey! Wait!” I shout, running after it.
The driver either doesn’t hear me or ignores me. My steps slow and I stand there, staring after it, panting. Damn, damn, damn.
“What are you doing up?”
I turn to see John standing in the door of the bar.
“What do you mean, what am I doing up? It’s delivery day. I’m always up. What are you doing here?”
“I figured you’d be too tired this morning, so I signed for it.” He winks.
“Oh.” I feel silly now, and I’m not really sure what to do. “Thank you.”
I’m not used to feeling useless. In fact, I’m usually the one making others’ jobs obsolete, so this is an entirely new situation for me. Not that I ever questioned John’s competence, but it never occurred to me to ask him to do some of these things for me.
“So, is he still up there?”
Glancing over my shoulder as if he’s behind me, I answer, “Yeah. He’s making breakfast.”
“Then what the hell are you still doing here?”