I Wanna Text You Up (Page 17)
Caleb: Hello? Zoe? What are you doing?
Caleb Mills is hot.
Caleb Mills in a baseball cap? Hotter.
Caleb Mills coaching baseball? Holy shit, hold my panties.
Sitting in my car like a creeper, I watch as he stands before the team, hands on his hips and grin across his face. There’s no denying that he loves the game, no disputing his complete commitment to it.
Watching him in his element is magical.
I pop open the door and casually make my way over to the bleachers, grabbing a seat closer to the action. Caleb’s still giving the team a talk, and they’re listening with rapt attention.
I get it, kids. I get it.
“…and I’ll see you all on Wednesday. Have a good weekend.”
A little girl runs up to Caleb. “Mr. C! Mr. C!” She jumps around excitedly.
He goes down on his haunches. “What’s up?”
Their conversation is just out of earshot, but I love the way her face lights up when he agrees to whatever she’s asked.
He helps the kids gather their things and shakes hands with a few parents before making his way over to the bleachers and taking a seat next to me.
“You didn’t have to come out here, you know. I could have taken the bus.”
“And miss seeing you in action?” I bump his shoulder with mine. “No way.”
“Well you missed me almost getting whacked in the face by a flying bat because I was texting you.”
“So serious. It came this close”—he pinches his fingers together—“to hitting me right in the dome.”
“Little league sounds dangerous.”
“I see your lips twitching.”
My smile breaks through. “Sorry.”
“Not sorry, right?”
I rest my arms on my knees and glance out at the empty field. It looks damn near brand new, and I know that’s all thanks to his college team.
“The field looks great. Your fundraiser last year must have raised a ton of money for this.”
“Hell yeah it did. We brought in over $200k. Totally worth having to go on a date with that handsy seventy-year-old broad.”
“If it wasn’t for charity, I’d have pushed myself out of that limo while it was barreling down the highway. My ass has never been touched so many times in one night before.”
I laugh at the look of horror on his face. “Oh, come on, admit that you liked it just a little bit.”
He shakes his head at me. “I’m not dignifying that with a response.”
I bump his shoulder again. “I’m just giving you shit. Well, kind of—I do think you liked it.”
“I liked it about as much as I like you right now.”
“See!” I point his way. “You did like it.”
He puffs out an irritated sigh. “You just never stop, huh?”
“That would be boring.”
I glance back out at the field, smiling. He’s not irritated with me, not at all. He loves the banter and endless amusement I provide—I can tell by the way his body moves closer to mine, by the constant tilt to his lips.
“You play any sports when you were younger? Or have you always been attached to that paintbrush and easel?”
“I use more than a paintbrush, but yes, I’ve always been attached to my art. I’ve never even so much as played catch before.”
He spins my way, mouth dropped open in shock. “You’re kidding?”
Grabbing the glove he’d dropped on the bench beside him, he stands and extends his hand my way. “Let’s go. We’re playing catch. You have to play catch at least once in your life or you haven’t lived a full life. Trust me on this.”
I slip my hand into his and follow him over to his overflowing equipment bag.
“Pick a glove,” he tells me.
“Yep. Just put it on and see if it fits. Make sure it feels right.”
“How will I know if it feels right?”
“You’ll just know.”
I go through three gloves before I find one that feels comfortable.
“Good?” he asks.
“Okay, now step out about 15 yards. We’ll start there.”
He chuckles. “Just keep walking until I tell you to stop.”
I walk a few feet and glance back at him. “Here?”
“Keep going…there’s good. Now, do me a favor and don’t judge me for my bad throwing, okay? I don’t even think I should really be doing this yet.”
“We don’t have to, Caleb.”
Even with the distance, I can see him glower at me. “No, we’re doing it. I’ll just ice my hand later.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yep. Now toss me the ball.”
I follow the instructions he gives me then we’re off to the races. I’m playing catch—rather badly I might add—for the first time in my entire life. It’s kind of cool.
“How is it you’ve never played catch before?”
“I think it’s a combination of two things: I’m a girl, and I spent some of my prime catch-playing years bouncing from home to home.” I just barely catch the ball Caleb throws my way before lobbing it back at him. I cringe when he has to head far right to catch it before it hits the ground…again. “By the time I settled in with Sofia and Rafe, I was too invested in my art to pursue sports. They never pushed it either because they aren’t sports people themselves, or at least they used to not be. Now they play a lot of golf.”
“I guess those are valid reasons. What were you like in high school? What did you do for fun if you didn’t play sports?”
This time he misses my first near-perfect throw out of shock.
“What?” I shrug. “It’s true. I had a new boyfriend every couple months my first two years.”
“Just the first two years?”
Even though so much time has passed, I still feel the tiniest of tugs at my heart thinking about my high school boyfriend.
“Yep. I had a steady boyfriend the last two years.”
“You guys split because of college?”
“More like split because he couldn’t keep his dick to himself. He ended up getting my ex-best friend pregnant the end of senior year. Last I heard they got married after the baby was born and were divorced six months later.”
“Sad, I know. I feel bad for them.”
“Wait.” Caleb takes his glove off and walks toward me. His blue eyes are lit with marvel. “You feel bad for them? After what they did to you?”
“Yes. We were kids, they made a mistake—that doesn’t mean I wanted anything but happiness for them both.”
His stare bores into me, eyes still sparking. “You’re amazing.”
The words are whispered and then his mouth is on mine. This kiss is more passionate than our last as his hands cradle my face. He sets me at just the right angle, his tongue pressing against the seam of my lips, begging for entrance.
I grant it.
We kiss like we’ll never kiss again. Our tongues run together, exploring, learning. My hands grip his waist as I pull him closer to me, wanting to feel his hard body against mine.
Our kiss grows more intense, his hands now roaming into my hair. He grips me harder, but soft enough that it doesn’t hurt. The pressure feels good, feels right. Our bodies mesh together and when he rocks against me, I can feel the affect our connection is having on him. My hands dip under his shirt and up as I feel my way across his muscled back and around to his sculpted abs.
I begin to dip my hands into the front of his jeans but Caleb pulls away, his lips lingering on mine with a slow, lazy touch.
“We should probably stop before this goes any further and I’m not able to stop.”
I jerk away from him, the reality of what we’re doing setting in. I draw my hand to my mouth, touching the lingering tingle I feel there. I relish how good it feels.
“Caleb…w-we can’t keep kissing like this.”
His eyes fall to slits. “Are you making up silly reasons in your head again? Before it was we couldn’t be roommates because I used to date Delia, and now…oh shit.” The proverbial light bulb goes off. “This is because of Delia, right? We can’t kiss because of her and what happened in your past. You’d feel like your ex.”
“In a way, yes.”
“You’re not him—we’re not them. Delia and I are over. We’ve been over. There’s nothing left there. I don’t see the harm in moving on when she has too.”
I straighten my back and meet his heated gaze head on. “Because it’s so much more than that Caleb. You’re her ex. I’m her best friend. There are just some lines you don’t cross.”
“Did you fart? I said: bull…shit.”
“I bet you could call Delia up right now and ask her if she has a problem and she’d say no.” He grins, and it’s almost sinister. “As a matter of fact, I’ll do it.”