New Adult STANDALONE Romantic Comedy
“How’s it going in here?” Tucker stands at the doorway, his hand gripping the top of the molding, his shirt lifting just high enough that I get a peek of his boxer briefs.
“Good.” I scan my bedroom and chuckle. There are boxes, books, clothes, and pictures scattered all over the space. “It looks like a giant mess right now but I know what I’m doing.”
“I sure hope so, because your floor looks like a nightmare.”
I wave a hand of dismissal at him. “Controlled chaos, that’s all it is. But, I finally figured out where to put my furniture. What do you think?”
He takes in my set-up and nods. “Looks legit to me, but what do I know? My furniture consists of a bed and a TV upstairs.”
“I’ve noticed.” Biting my bottom lip, I contemplate asking him about the other furniture, which is non-existent. Will he get offended? Only one way to find out. “I really like what you’ve done with the place. Keeping it very light on the furniture, great idea.”
He chuckles, his chest rising with the sound slipping from his mouth. “Yeah, I haven’t really gotten around to decorating. Sorry about that.”
“No need to apologize. I’m so grateful for you offering your house to me. I would be happy sitting on cardboard boxes if I had to. I’m just glad there is a roof over my head right now.”
His brow creases, irritation masking the smirk on his face. “If you were in trouble, you should have called me, Emma. You know I would have helped you out.”
Ashamed, I look down at the clothes in my hand. “I never would have called you, Tucker.”
“Why the hell not?” He steps into the room, his irritated presence making the room feel smaller. Squatting before me, he forces me to look at him.
His unruly hair looks like he’s been running his hands through it all night and his eyes, they are bloodshot in the corners, like he’s carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Unable to lie to him, especially when he only speaks the truth, I say, “Because, I haven’t really heard from you in a while. I didn’t think it would be appropriate to just call you up and ask for a place to live. Plus, I uh, I didn’t know you had a house. I honestly had no idea where you were living.”
Still squatting in front of me, he searches my eyes. I feel intimidated under his watchful eye as if there is a certain way for me to react but I have no clue what it is.
Standing, he reaches out to me, his hand extended for me and says, “Fair enough. I guess it’s time we reconnect. Come on, I ordered pizza.”
Smiling brightly, I grab his hand and allow him to help me to my feet. He starts to head to the kitchen when I stop him and point to a box by the door. “That’s kitchen stuff, you interested?”
He scans the box and then smirks at me. “I don’t know. Do you have a bottle opener in there?”
“One in the shape of a lobster.”
Chuckling, he picks up the box and says, “This I have to see.”
He leads us to the kitchen where there is a pizza box resting on the counter and a six-pack of Angry Orchard. I eye the alcoholic beverage and give him a questioning look.
“Seemed like a chick drink you would enjoy and I would tolerate.”
When he sets the kitchen box down, I dig through it quickly, find my lobster bottle opener, and snag two bottles from the six-pack. I pop them open and hand him one. “For the record, I’m a whiskey girl if you want to drink with me.”
“Whiskey, huh?” A lazy smile spreads across his face. “Damn, Emma, I never would have guessed. You’ve always been the girl drinking lemonade with a touch of vodka at parties.”
“I’ve ventured out in college. It’s hard to drink heavy alcohol when I have to deal with you hooligans blowing crap up and severing limbs.”
“I don’t remember limbs being severed, but you didn’t always have to be the one to take care of all the drunk idiots. You could have had fun too, Emma.”
“I did.” I flip open the lid of the pizza and grab a slice. Grease drips off it, just like every other New York-style pizza as I fold it length-wise and bring it to my mouth. “I’ve just had a little bit more fun in college.”
Before he grabs a piece of pizza, he steps forward, encroaching on my space and places his hands on my hips, his fingers igniting a wave of heat in my body.
Before I can ask what he’s doing and get too distracted by the delicious smell of his cologne, he lifts me up on the counter and then steps toward the pizza box to grab a slice for himself. He sits on the counter across from me and says, “Well now that you’re living under my roof, I demand that you have fun these last few months you have in college. No more of this taking care of people shit. We are all grown-ups, if we decide to sit in a pile of poison ivy, that’s our own damn fault.”