Chapter 4

Not talking to Adam was killing me. I had Bobby to talk to, but there were some things I just didn’t speak to him about—like work. He never understood, because his job was like play to him. He didn’t understand why I did what I did because he didn’t think anyone could love it. He thought it was boring and made a point of telling me that. He said the only benefit was the hot outfits he got to see me in. With Adam it was different, Bobby was my friend to hang out with and have fun; Adam was my serious friend, the one I shared in-depth conversations with.  I hadn’t had a serious conversation in three days.

I missed Adam. A lot. I was avoiding him because I didn’t want to have to explain what about Amber arriving made me so upset.  Logically, from Adam’s perspective, there probably was nothing about the situation that should have upset me.

Besides the fact, I was utterly head over heels for him.

I shook the thought out of my head and concentrated on the sweat dripping down my forehead as I entered the most difficult part of the dance workout. I closed my eyes for a second, doing the moves to the music from heart as I let the rhythm sink into me. I heard my door swing open and assumed it was Bobby, so I kept dancing in my skimpy booty shorts and sports bra. It wasn’t anything Bobby hadn’t seen before. Bobby was my beach buddy.

When I opened my eyes, mid belly roll, I found a squeal escaping from my lips. Adam stood, arms crossed, one eyebrow up, and dimples deep in his cheeks with a smile.

“Wow, so that’s what you do this early in the morning, hmm?” he asked as he headed towards the fridge.

He was shirtless still, in his cotton pajama bottoms with his hair mussed from sleeping. I tried to concentrate on something other than his lightly sculpted abdomen, and then when he turned the indents on his back where his hips caught my stare. I was going to die a happy woman with that imagery.

He turned milk carton in hand and flicked it open.

“Don’t you dare!” I said, darting across the room at him.

He knew how much I hated it when he drank straight from the carton, but that didn’t seem to matter to him. As I charged him, he grabbed me by my sweaty waist and twirled me, taking a big gulp.

“You asshole!” I said as he pushed me against the counter so I couldn’t reach him. I was smiling, though, and he knew he won because I stopped struggling.

He wiped his upper lip before placing the carton down, hand still just below the band of my sports bra. His eyes wandered down to my low-rider workout shorts, hand lowering slowly. “How come you never told me about that?” he asked as he flipped his arm, placing it against the skin of my hip, so the tattoo on his forearm was directly next to mine.

“I swear to God it wasn’t on purpose!” I said, voice almost inaudible as I watched his eyes widened.

My head felt too tight from the sudden pounding of blood. What must he be thinking? My breath caught in my throat, and it came out in a whoosh as he smiled up at me.

“No wonder Bobby flipped shit on me when he saw mine,” he replied straightening. His eyes wandered back to my bare hips.

“Yeah, he came with me that day. He was upset already because I didn’t choose the butterfly he liked. I saw this one and loved it instantly,” I explained, watching as he reached forward and began to outline the stars with the tip of his finger. My skin was on fire with his touch, and I fought the urge to close my eyes and moan.

“I love the colors in yours,” he said. His fingers stopped tracing the outline, and he took a step away from me.

He looked down at his tattoo, which happened to be the same set of nautical stars. The only difference was his were baby and navy blue while mine were lilac and dark purple.

He leaned back against the island that separated the kitchen and living room, elbows resting on the counter.

“Explain something?” he asked.

I nodded. “What?”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Honestly…I was embarrassed. I thought you might think I did it on purpose.”

He looked up from his feet, eyes melting into mine. “I can’t tell you the rage that Bobby went into. He punched a hole in the wall! I thought he was just pissed I went and got it without him—that I’d do something like that without talking to him. He was jealous, though.”

I shrugged, trying to act nonchalant even though my heart was beating out of control. “He doesn’t like our relationship.”

“I don’t like your relationship with him either,” he said, and my head jerked back in response.

“Why?”

It was his turn to shrug. “Sometimes I get jealous. You’re more willing to do things with him than me, for example, you won’t ever go to the beach with me…and I bet from that toned body you’d make a mean beach volleyball player. I could use another person on my team.”

That toned body?  I liked the way he said it. My whole body felt too hot. It was as if he enjoyed it.

I blushed, and unable to hold his gaze anymore, I looked away. “I’ll make you a deal, next time you’re going to go to the beach with the boys I’ll go with you.”

“Really?” Adam leaned forward, a wide grin coming across his face.

Breathe, River – breathe!

“Yeah,” I said.

“This weekend it is.” Adam looked at me and then to the time on the microwave. “Don’t you need to get ready for work soon?”

“Shit!” I said as I turned and looked at the time. I would barely be able to take a shower.

“Sorry.” He cringed, but the smirk stayed on his face as he took the milk and headed towards the door. “I need this for my cereal.”

“You’re such an ass!” I yelled as I went towards my bathroom.

“River?”

“Yes,” I replied, turning with my hands at the bottom of my bra ready to lift it over my head.

Adam blinked twice, swallowed, and continued, “What are you doing tonight?”

“Nothing?”

“I need someone to help me pick out a new wardrobe for work. I have no clue what a teacher wears, or what it’s supposed to look like. Would you mind coming to the mall tonight and helping?” He ran his teeth over his bottom lip as if I would say no.

“Sure, what time you picking me up?”

“How about we make it a date—I’ll bring you out to dinner first, we can pick my clothes out and then catch a movie?”

My skin tingled as I repeated the word, “A date?”

He shrugged. “Not a date, date… you know what I meant.”

Of course, I knew what he meant. I was just off in la-la land again.

“Yeah, like always.”

He smiled at me, and I smiled back before turning into my bathroom and leaning my head back against the door.

What was wrong with me?

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