I Wanna Text You Up (Page 20)

Caleb: Peanut butter cookies? With extra kisses. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Me: GAG.

Me: You’re so corny sometimes.

Caleb: You enjoy it.

Me: Only never.

Caleb: LIES!

Caleb: Fifteen minutes.

Me: WAIT. How are you getting here from the bus station?

Caleb: Walking. It’s only about two miles.

Me: Caleb…

Caleb: Zoe, I’ll be fine. It’ll be good exercise. I didn’t get the chance to work out these last two days so I need it.

Me: Fine, but I’m only agreeing because you have one hot body and I know you like to keep it in shape.

Caleb: You think I’m hot, huh?

Me: Your body is hot.

Caleb: Which means I’M hot.

Me: No, it means your abs and your ass and your legs and your arms and your back and your jawline and your crooked nose and your stupid sexy full lips and your blue eyes and your hair that’s in desperate need of a cut are hot. You’re a whole different story.

Caleb: You make no sense.

Me: Personality, Caleb. Your personality is what makes YOU hot.

Caleb: So I AM hot? Or I’m not?

Me: You’re sexy. That’s a whole different level of hot. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Caleb: Oh. I see what you did there.

Caleb: Bus just stopped. I’ll see you in about twenty.

Twelve

“I get to whisk it? Whisking is easy. I got this shit.” I shove Caleb out of the way. “Move it. I’m a whisking pro, bro.”

“You’re proud of yourself for that, huh?”

“So proud,” I tell him, whisking away at the creamy Alfredo sauce in the pan as he periodically pours in milk. “This cooking thing is easy so far.”

“Yeah, you’re not doing too bad. We only had to put out one small fire and start over twice. That’s progress.”

“Oh, I’m kicking ass and taking names. BAM!”

“Did you just Emeril that sauce?”

I give it another good whisk. “BAM! BAM!”

Caleb laughs. “You’re not even doing it right.”

“You’re not right.”

“Sure. Okay, I’ve turned the water on for the noodles. Watch that and finish out the sauce while I run up the street to grab garlic bread. You can’t have Alfredo without garlic bread.”

“Sticks—grab sticks. I like eating those more.” He opens his mouth and I lift a finger his way. “Ah, ah, ah, not one dick joke, you got it?”

He tightens his lips, laughing to himself. “Yes, ma’am. You think you have everything under control?”

“Yep.” I scan the recipe and directions on my phone. “It says add Parmesan and peppers.”

“Pepper, like black pepper.”

“Oh, well that makes more sense. Okay, so add pepper and then remove from heat when it reaches the consistency we’d like.” I pause and grin his way. “I don’t know about you, but I like it thick.”

“And you said I couldn’t make a dick joke? The shit is that?”

“I’m cuter than you, so I can do what I want.”

He stalks toward me, chuckling. “Is that right?”

“Yep.”

“Even in this apron of mine?”

Giving him a onceover, I screw up my lips, contemplating what he’s offering. I gave him my apron that has a hand-painted portrait of Chris Hemsworth on it.

“Well…you do have Hemsworth on your apron, so that’s giving you at least a few points.” I push onto my tiptoes and lean into him. “But I’m still winning.”

He places a gentle kiss on my cheek. “I’ll just keep letting you believe that. Watch the food. I’ll be back in ten minutes.”

“Ten minutes?” It comes out a squeak.

“You can manage ten minutes on your own. You’ve been doing great so far.”

“Yeah, because you’ve been here. That makes me relax and not panic.”

“There’s nothing to panic about. You’re turning the sauce off and you’re boiling water. You’ve boiled water plenty of times for your mac and cheese obsession. You got this.”

“And if I burn the apartment down?”

He shrugs. “It’s not my apartment.”

“Hey! Is too!”

“Fine. I’ll be mildly upset. There’s a lot of money worth of comics in that bedroom.”

“Plus Mittens.”

“Well I was hoping in your haste to escape, you’d at least think to grab the cat.”

“You’re right. Good point.”

Caleb grabs my keys off the counter. “You mind?”

“You remember how to drive, right?”

“I think I can manage a three-mile round trip.”

“I hope so.” I pat him on the shoulder twice as a good luck gesture. “I’d hate to have to chop off your nuts when I haven’t yet had the chance to see them.”

“If it’s nuts you wanna see, baby…” He pretends to begin unbuttoning his pants.

I push at his chest, sending him closer to the door. “Get out of there. Out of my kitchen!”

He just laughs, shaking his head at me.

“Please don’t be mad at me!”

Caleb pauses in the doorway, one hand still on the knob, the other holding a paper bag. “That’s never a good thing to hear.”

“I know, I know, but you have to understand, this is kind of your fault.”

“My fault?” He sniffs at the air. “What’s that smell? What did you do, Zoe?”

I hold out my hands, trying to defend myself against his words. “You’re the one who said I would be just fine on my own for ten minutes. You were right, but Caleb? You were gone for twelve.”

His eyes widen as he makes his way into the kitchen, sets the bag on the counter, and peers into the pot on the stove.

“Am I looking at what I think I’m looking at?”

“Y-Yes.”

“That’s the sauce we worked on?”

“Uh, yes. Yes it is.”

He tips his head to the side. “How?”

“Um…how?”

“Yes. How?”

“It just happened.”

Caleb barely manages to suppress a shocked laugh. “Just happened? The sauce magically conformed to the pan and turned brown?”

I nod and wiggle my fingers. “Magic.”

“Mmhmm. And the water?”

“Th-The what?”

“The water? For the noodles?”

My mouth drops open. “Oh.”

“Oh? What does ‘oh’ mean?”

“I forgot.”

His head whips toward the pot that used to hold the water for the noodles, just in time to catch smoke billowing out from underneath it.

Rushing into action, he grabs the pot and switches off the burner before a fire can catch. He takes the pot to the sink, running water over it to cool it off before refilling it and setting it on a new burner.

He points at it. “No touchy touchy.”

“But…but…” My shoulders sag in defeat. “Fine, but I didn’t catch it on fire! That’s an improvement!”

He regards me with an amused smile. “You turned our nearly done sauce brown and you boiled an entire pot of water until it was empty. Within ten”—I open my mouth to correct him and he holds a hand up—“sorry, twelve minutes. You are officially fired from cooking tonight.”

“And the cookies?”

“I said cooking. You can still bake. You’re somehow actually good at that.”

“It’s because there are directions and timers and love involved. Baking is a labor of love!”

“Okay, grandma, calm down. I’ll remake the sauce, but you need to keep your distance. I don’t know what kind of voodoo you’re up to, but there will be none of that in my kitchen.”

I hang my head, feeling a little embarrassed about my flub. “Okay, I get it, I suck.”

“You don’t suck.”

I can’t not make the comment… “Oh, but I do,” I say, winking.

He breaks out in laughter and grabs the bag he brought home, pulling out the package of breadsticks and shaking it. “Can you manage putting these on a pan?”

I narrow my eyes at him. “Yes, you ass.”

“Hey, I have valid reasons for questioning your cooking skills. All I asked you to do was watch water boil and move a saucepan from one burner to another.”

“A watched pot never boils,” I mutter.

“What was that?”

“I said the water wouldn’t boil. I was watching and watching, and nothing was happening, so I turned up the heat and starting working on the cookie dough.”

“And then what happened?” he pushes.

“I forgot.”

“You forgot?”

“That’s what I said.”

He drops his head, and I can see his shoulders shaking.

I toss a hand towel at him, barely missing the stove—and another fire. “Stop laughing! This is a serious problem!”

“This is why I am so confused on how you can bake, but not cook.”

“Timers, man! Timers make all the difference.”

“I am so happy I moved in so you’re not dying of starvation or cursing me in ten years when all that mac and cheese is sitting on your hips.”