I Wanna Text You Up (Page 21)

“They’d be the happiest hips in the world. Mac and cheese is goddamn delicious, and you know it.”

He grabs the sauce ingredients from the fridge…for the third time tonight. “Homemade mac and cheese is delicious. That boxed crap is shit, and you know it.”

“You have me there.”

The timer sounds on the oven so I grab an oven mitt, shove Caleb aside, and pull dessert out before switching it off. I place them on a cooling rack and turn to my baking cabinet, looking for Kisses to put on top of the cookies.

“Shit,” I mutter when I find my almost empty bag. I spin around, showing Caleb what I find. “Looks like you’re getting about four Kisses tonight.”

He grins, grabbing the paper bag he brought home off the counter and pulling out a brand new package. “Oh, I’m getting more than four.” Leaning against the counter, he crosses his legs, tossing the bag of chocolates from one hand to the other, back and forth. “How about this: you get one Kiss for every two I get.”

I cross my arms over my chest and mirror his pose. “One for one.”

“One for two.”

“One for one.”

“One for three,” he counters.

“One for two.”

A victorious grin spreads over his lips and I realize I just fell right into his trap.

“Dammit,” I groan. “Ass.”

“Hey, I won fair and square. It’s not my fault you suck at cooking and negotiating.”

An idea hits me, and I sashay toward him like he’s my prey. I slide up close to him, batting my lashes and bringing my lips within an inch of his, my hands resting on his solid chest.

“You’re right. You did win,” I whisper huskily.

My nearness is influencing him. It’s obvious in the way his chest begins to rapidly move up and down, the way his body cants toward me, his eyes dilating.

He’s teetering on the edge of excitement, and I know just what will make him tip over.

I slowly run my hands down his chest, over his abs, and rest them on the waistband of his jeans. I peek up at him. “But you didn’t say where I had to kiss you.”

I move just left of his lips and place a gentle kiss on his skin, and then another directly beneath it…and one more just along his jawline before pressing my lips to his neck. He sucks in a deep breath, his hips jutting out to make any sort of contact they can. His hands land on my waist, holding me close.

I continue to pepper kisses all the way up to his ear, relishing the way his body reacts when I reach the spot just behind it. An obvious shudder runs through him and his hips press my away again.

I trace a path all the way to the other side, eliciting the same reaction there.

My kisses continue until my lips have touched every inch of his face. He stands there accepting them, eyes closed and gasping for air, arousal clear as day.

When I settle the last kiss in the same place I started, he sighs and rests his forehead against mine. Hands tighten on my waist, and I’m sure I’ll be bearing an imprint even tomorrow.

“Zoe?” he says breathlessly.

“Yeah?”

“Move.”

“Huh?”

“You need to move or I’m going to kiss you like you’ve never been kissed before. I’m going to run my hands all over your body until you’re writhing beneath me in absolute want. Then I’ll devour you, and I don’t think either of us are ready to take that step just yet.” He swallows thickly. “So, please…move.”

I step away from him as he exhales a shaky breath and pushes past me.

“Start the breadsticks and watch the water. I’m taking a cold shower.”

I can’t help the laugh that escapes me, and it grows when I hear him mutter a “dammit” before the bathroom door slams closed.

I don’t know what’s worse: that I want him to devour me, or that I’d let him.

Caleb Mills is going to be the death of me.

“Feeling better?” I ask when he emerges fifteen minutes later.

He scrubs his hair with a towel and glowers my way. “You are an evil, evil woman, Zoe Williams.”

I lift a shoulder. “You’re the one who played dirty first, Caleb. Fair’s fair.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t get that dirty.”

“Uh huh. Now, check it out.” I wave a hand over the stove. “I didn’t ruin anything this time. Breadsticks are cooking and the water is boiling.”

“Wow, I’m impressed. I’ll whip up the sauce real quick and then we should be in business. I’m starving all of a sudden.”

“Were you masturbating in there?”

“What? No!” he says too quickly.

“That was not convincing at all. You totally jerked off in the shower just now.”

“I-I did no such th-thing.” His voices wavers at the end.

“You are a terrible liar.”

“I was in the shower for like fifteen minutes. What kind of man do you think I am?”

“Obviously a very speedy one.”

He rushes toward me, giving me a lazy grin. “Oh I’ll show you speedy.”

“All right.” I push at his chest. “Back it up, bucko. We have dinner to finish up.”

Caleb gives me an exaggerated eye roll. “You’re no fun sometimes.”

“I’ll show you fun later.”

“Is that a promise or…”

“It’s a we’ll see.”

“Come on, Zoe.” He waggles his brows. “You can’t resist this sexy body much longer.”

“I can, and I will.”

Now that he’s mentioned it, I realize this is probably the longest I’ve ever gone without sleeping with someone, especially with someone I’ve been…well, whatever I’ve been doing with Caleb.

We’ve been doing this tango of flirting for weeks now, sometimes in person and sometimes by text, but in this day and age, that doesn’t matter much anymore. Flirting is flirting no matter if it’s through a screen or not. It progresses the relationship like it never used to before.

Point is, we have something going on, and we’re clearly still tiptoeing around the end game of it all.

It’s like we’re stuck at bat waiting for the perfect pitch, the perfect moment.

Caleb can joke all he wants about me being the one waiting to make the final move, but truth is, we’re both too scared to push this any further. He says he’s over Delia, and I believe him about that, but I don’t think he’s too keen on jumping into bed with her best friend so soon. He’s not that kind of guy, and he’s never been that kind of guy.

It’s what I like about him so much: he gives a shit. He doesn’t jump into bed with anyone. He has to care about them. They have to mean something to him.

That is so opposite of what I’ve always done and what the men I’ve been with have always done.

For the first time in my life, I’m being cautious.

And I’m loving the slow build.

Though we make no sense together—the artist and the athlete—we somehow make two worlds collide in the best of ways.

“Whatever you say,” he mutters, not sounding convinced at all.

I don’t think I’m convinced either.

He moves around the kitchen, finishing up dinner. He pops the oven open to check on the breadsticks and pauses for a beat too long.

“Zoe?” The way he says it, like something is wrong, has me gripping the edges of the counter.

“Y-Yes?” My response is full of caution and worry.

“Did you happen to turn the oven on?”

I drop my head into my hands, covering my face in shame. “Shit.” He laughs and gathers me into his arms, pressing a kiss against my temple. “I told you I was bad at this.”

“Let’s just be thankful you can bake.”

“We make quite the pair, huh? You do all the cooking, I do all the baking.”

He stiffens ever so slightly, and I hear him gulp. “Yeah. Yeah we do.”

Thirteen

Caleb: I hear sappy music coming from your room. Should I be worried?

Me: Nah. I’m painting. I have a huge project due next week. I’ll probably be holed up in here for hours at time until then.

Caleb: Well can’t you put something good on?

Me: Good? GOOD? Joy Division is the epitome of good!

Caleb: Joy Division makes me want to rock in a corner with my thumb in my mouth.

Caleb: What about something from your infamous Breakfast & Beats I’ve yet to be able to participate in?

Me: No. You don’t paint to DMX or Tupac or Nas or Ice Cube. Or Color Me Badd.

Caleb: You actually listen to Color Me Badd?

Me: What? I Wanna Sex You Up is a classic!

Caleb: Hey, Zoe?

Me: Yeah?

Caleb: I wanna TEXT you up. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Me: I hate you for that.

Caleb: You liar.

Caleb: Now please, change the music. I won’t come in there and force you because it’s your zone and your space and whatever, but I will beg, and I will beg A LOT. I have nothing but free time right now.

Me: You do not have free time. You’re studying.

Caleb: And how do you know that?

Me: Because you’re studious and responsible, that’s how.

Caleb: Whatever. Change the music. No emo shit.

Me: But the emo shit is what you’re supposed to paint to. It brings out the emotions of the colors.