I Wanna Text You Up (Page 7)
Caleb without the cap is cute. Caleb with the cap? Sexy.
“You good with driving?”
I jingle my keys. “Yep.”
“Mittens was making his way into your room when I walked by—is that okay?”
“Sure, but don’t be surprised when he falls in love with me and only wants to sleep in there.”
“Ha. Like that will happen.”
“Hey, I’m just saying, I’m irresistible.”
“You mean irritating.”
I glower his way. “Watch it, mister.”
He reaches out and tweaks my nose, and I swat his hand away. “You look terrifying. Now scoot. Let’s get this show on the road.”
We make our way from the apartment and I lock the door behind us. It’s a quiet walk to the car but I can feel the heat radiating off his body as he follows me down the sidewalk.
“Where to?” I ask as we click our seatbelts into place.
“You good with Smart Shoppe?”
“Though I am irritated by their use of two Ps and an E, that works. Nice and cheap, just the way I like it.”
“I never understood the extra letters either. I think they were just trying to be fancy.”
“Those fake fancy bastards.” I tsk, turning from the apartment lot and onto the main drag.
The drive is quick and before I know it, Caleb’s grabbing a cart and navigating us to the fresh produce section.
“What veggies do you like?” he asks, grabbing a handful of fresh green beans and tossing them into a bag.
“Anything that isn’t green.”
I shrug. “What? It’s a gross-looking color.”
“How can a color be gross-looking?”
“It just can.”
He tries his hardest to hold in his sigh, but it’s no use. “Fine. Grab what you’ll eat then.”
I load up on carrots, cauliflower, red potatoes, and butternut squash.
“You like all that stuff?”
I blink at him. “Yes. Is that a problem?”
“No, I’m just surprised based on what I found in your cabinets.”
“Just because I can half-ass my way through mac and cheese doesn’t mean that’s all I eat.” He stares at me, unmoving. “I order out sometimes too.”
A grin breaks out on his face. “I knew that was coming.”
“Did you now? You a mind reader?”
“Nope. You’re just predictable.”
I grab the nearest item and chuck it his way.
“Did you just…did you just throw a fucking potato at me? In the middle of the store?”
I cross my arms over my chest and stare him down. “How’s that for predictable?”
He laughs and shakes his head. “You’re something else, Zoe.”
“Thank you…I think.”
“You’re welcome. Let’s keep moving. I’m starving, and the worst time to grocery shop is when you’re hungry.”
We move through the store and argue about what to buy.
“Oreos?” I suggest.
His lips curl at the suggestion. “Negative. How is it you survive off that crap?”
“It’s not that bad.”
“There are no nutrients in them.”
“I’ll have you know Oreos are vegan. There has to be some benefit to them,” I try to reason.
“That’s not how that works.”
“You’re not how that works,” I mutter.
“I heard that.” He grabs a box of whole-wheat noodles and tosses them in the cart.
“Those things taste like cardboard.”
“You eat a lot of cardboard in your life?”
He doesn’t even bother to turn to look at me, so he doesn’t see me flip him off.
“Stop flipping me off.”
How in the… “I think I hate you.”
“You wish you hated me.”
And I wish I didn’t want to pull that ball cap from your head and press my lips to yours. Why in the hell does he look so sexy grocery shopping?
Another box of noodles into the cart. “What is Breakfast and Beats?”
He gives me a peek over his shoulder before grabbing a jar of organic, sugar-free tomato sauce. “On your flyer you mentioned something called Breakfast and Beats. What is that?”
“Oh.” I shrug. “I just like listening to 90s and early 2000s rap music when I make breakfast.”
“Cereal isn’t real breakfast.”
“You’re very opinionated about what I’m putting in my mouth.”
His eyebrows shoot up and his lips quirk into a twisted smirk as I realize what I just said.
“Oh god, I didn’t mean dicks, Caleb. I meant food.”
There’s a strangled laugh and I turn to find an old lady standing directly behind me. Her hair is a wild mess of white, nails painted blood red, and a cubic zirconia bracelet hangs off her wrist as she grabs for a box of pasta. A long black cover drapes her shoulders, she’s wearing skinny black slacks and a white blouse, and a string of knockoff pearls sits around her slender neck to complete her look. She’s dressed to the nines, and it’s a bit much for Smart Shoppe, especially at this time of night.
My cheeks heat and Caleb doubles over in laughter, having known full well she was standing behind me the entire time. I swat at his bent form, trying to get him to shut up.
“You!” I whack him on the back. “You are such an ass!”
“Oh honey, now don’t be embarrassed. There’s no shame in taking a little bob on the knob.”
She winks and then sashays away, leaving me standing there with my mouth dropped open in shock and a laughing Caleb still by my side.
“Did she just…”
“Holy hell,” I murmur.
Caleb stands and wipes at the tears running down his cheeks.
“I think I love that old broad.”
“I think I love that old broad. I want to be her when I grow up.”
Caleb grabs my arms and tugs me down the aisle. “Come on before you run after her and propose marriage.”
I try to stick a few more snacks into the cart but it’s no use; Caleb notices. After the sixth failed attempt, I give up and let him get whatever he wants.
“So how’d you learn to cook?” I ask as I slip a carton of chocolate milk into the cart.
“I didn’t have the option to not learn.” He checks the carton of eggs he’s holding before handing them my way. “I was the oldest kid and my mom wasn’t home often. You can only do so much with mac and cheese and ramen before it gets old.”
“That’s why I order out from time to time—breaks up the monotony.”
He chuckles. “How do you know how to bake but not cook? That seems a bit strange to me.”
“Not really, when you think about it. There are a lot of variables to cooking. Baking is simple. There are ingredients that go together to make this or that and you need to bake it for X amount of time. It’s all very set in stone, no real room to deviate. I like the rules behind it.”
“Hmm…I never thought of it like that.”
And that’s all he says.
We mosey our way up and down more aisles, arms sliding against one another every so often. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but it’s starting to feel like it is. I mean, there are only so many times it can happen accidentally before someone takes notice.
“I’m going to grab a bag or two of frozen fruit for smoothies. You head over and grab a couple bags of steamable veggies you’ll eat.”
We head our opposite directions and I survey the coolers, trying to find just what I’m looking for. Of course it’s on the top shelf, where I’m too short to reach.
I open the door, the cool air hitting me and sending chills down my back, and hoist myself up onto the bottom of the frame. Even standing on my tiptoes, I can’t reach the bag of corn. It’s sitting at the back of the freezer, just out of reach, even with the boost.
A blanket of heat slides over my back and I shiver again, my nipples coming to peaks. This time it’s not from the cool air but the sudden change in temperature.
“Here,” Caleb says, his gravelly voice slipping over me, curling into my skin. “Let me get it.”
His hand rests on the small of my back, a slight pressure to the touch, and for a moment, neither of us moves. He’s so close that I can feel his chest brushing against my ass with every harsh breath he takes.
Our closeness is affecting him too.
I don’t know whether to be excited or alarmed by that.
Part of me wants to fall back, see if he’ll catch me, wants to know what it would feel like in his arms.
But I don’t.
Instead I climb down, savoring the feel of his calloused hand through my thin shirt.
I stand back as Caleb easily reaches up and grabs the bag of corn, tossing it into the basket.
“Anything else?” he asks.
I shake my head, not trusting my voice at this point.
“All right then.” He peers into the cart and around at the shelves one last time. “I think we’re good here. It’s a decent start at stocking up the fridge.”