I could feel my expression change. I moved my hand from her cheek out of worry that my touch would do more harm than good. I leaned back against the arm of the couch and rubbed my face with my hands as I processed what she said. I knew something had to have happened to make her so guarded but I wasn’t expecting this.
“I can imagine you want me to leave now that you know. So I’ll go,” Riley started to stand up but I grabbed her hand forcing her to sit back down.
“If anything this makes me want you to stay if only just so I can know you’re safe.” I looked her dead in the eyes hoping that she would know that I meant it, “It all makes sense now.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“You’re being hot and cold with me. The fact that you flinch and distance yourself from every man who comes near you. You find reasons to not deal with male customers at the store. It makes sense.” I explained.
She pressed her lips together and nodded.
I took her hand, “We don’t have to do this. I just want to spend more time with you. But I don’t want you to do anything you’re not comfortable with.”
She looked up at me her green eyes sparkling in the dim lighting. I could tell she was thinking trying to decide what to do next. I wanted to grab her and pull her into me and tell her everything would be okay but I also didn’t want to scare her away. So I waited for her to tell me what to do next.
The wait felt like it lasted forever. I wanted to reach out and slowly slip the dress she was wearing off and touch every inch of her soft translucent skin. She slowly reached out and cupped my face with both her hands and leaned in and kissed me. I grabbed her elbows pulling her closer to me and deepened the kiss. She opened her mouth slightly allowing my tongue access, a groan escaped my throat. I reached for the hem of her dress and began to pull it up but stopped. I pulled away from her suddenly conscious of what I was doing.
“What?” her eyes searched mine.
I looked down, took her hand, and shook my head unsure what to say.
“Hey,” she took her index finger and lifted my chin so that I was looking in her eyes – her beautiful green eyes, “I want this. I promise.”
I stood up and held my hand out to her. She smiled and took it – I led her to my room.
The next morning I woke and looked beside me. Riley lay naked beneath my grey sheets. I gently stroked her arm and smiled as I remembered last night. The feel of Riley’s lips on mine, her fingers running along my bare spine, the pink of her nipples and the way they hardened beneath my touch, her soft moans, listing states in my head to keep from finishing too quickly. I leaned down and kissed her shoulder gently then threw on my boxers and a white t-shirt. I headed out to the kitchen and opened the fridge to see what I had to offer her for breakfast. I decided to make coffee to start and figure out the rest after. I placed a filter into the machine and poured some of the grounds in. I pressed the start button and leaned against the counter smiling to myself as I thought about who was behind my closed door. I heard footsteps lightly slapping the laminate flooring. I turned to see Riley – she was wearing one of my grey button up shirts. She was smiling at me and my heart quickened.
“Morning,” I finally found my voice.
“Good morning,” she replied as she sat down at the counter.
We stared at each other in silence. I was trying to memorize every inch of her face knowing that all too soon I would have to bring her back to Winnie’s.
“I made coffee,” I gestured towards the machine, “I was about to make some breakfast but I’m not too sure what to make.” I ran my fingers through my hair.
Riley nodded. Another silence fell over us and I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable. Suddenly every moment we shared last night filled me with guilt. Here was this beautiful woman, maybe the one woman I’d been waiting for, but I didn’t know if I could be the man she deserved. I could never understand what she went through and I didn’t want to hurt her which was something I seemed to be an expert at when it came to my relationships – romantic and otherwise.
“You have the same look on your face that you did last night,” she commented breaking me from my thoughts.
I gave her a half smile, “Just thinking.”
“Treat me like you would any other girl. What would you do now?” she asked.
“Well,” I pulled two mugs out of my cupboard and poured some coffee, “Normally the girl would still be in bed. I would make her my famous lemon blueberry pancakes and bring them to her with a cup of coffee.” I handed her the mug and she took a sip.
“Should I get back in bed?” she asked.
I chuckled, “If you got back into bed I don’t think making breakfast is what I’d be doing.”
Riley’s cheeks flushed at my comment, “Okay. Well how about I take my coffee over to the couch and read?”
“Still not really thinking about making breakfast,” I winked at her.
She shook her head and walked over to the couch. I smiled and started looking for the ingredients to make pancakes.
When I was done making breakfast I pulled down a tray, two plates and put three pancakes on each plate. I grabbed the carafe of coffee and placed it on the tray along with some maple syrup. I arranged everything perfectly ad picked up the tray. I walked over to the couch and cleared my throat. Riley looked up at me with a smile.
I gestured with my head towards the bedroom, “Grab your mug and come with me.”
She stood up and followed me into the bedroom. I placed the tray on the bedside table and quickly straightened out the covers, “Hop on.”
She climbed onto the bed and wiggled her way back so that her back was against the wall. I pulled the legs out on the tray and place it across her lap.
“This looks delicious,” she smiled down at the pancakes. I crawled in beside her and grabbed one of the plates.
“Dig in,” I kissed her cheek and took a bite of the pancakes.
When we were done eating we sat on the bed facing each other talking. I was holding her hands in mine stroking her knuckles with my thumbs. I pulled one hand up to my mouth and kissed it.
“Tell me something about yourself,” I looked at her.
“Well,” she looked down at our tangled hands, “I hate coffee.”
“What?” I moved back from her, “I’ve been giving you coffee every day for almost a month now.”
“I know… I just… didn’t have the heart to tell you.”
I laughed, “Why not? It’s not a big deal.”
“I know but the thought was so sweet.” She blushed a little, “And if I’m being honest, I liked the idea that you thought of me every morning.”
Her honesty made me feel warm, I cupped her face and kissed her deeply. When I pulled away I looked down at her smiling – her hands on my wrists.
“What do you drink then?” I asked.
She pulled out of my grip, “Tea. I’m pretty simple. I’m an orange pekoe drinker mostly. I like it strong, really strong. Like I leave the tea bag in the entire time I’m drinking strong. But I’ll drink any tea really. I’ve never come across one I don’t like.”
I nodded, “That’s pretty simple.”
“However, the café where you get our coffee – they have amazing steeped tea. That’s what I normally get from there.” She added.
“Anything else?” I chuckled.
“I normally have a cup of chamomile before bed.”
“I need to know these things,” I reached out and stroked her cheek, “How am I supposed to show you what an amazing boyfriend I am if I don’t even know what you like to drink.”
Riley’s smile faded and I dropped my hand. Shit. Did I say boyfriend? I didn’t mean to.
“Boyfriend?” she asked.
I ran my fingers through my hair nervously. I didn’t want to mess this up and I managed to in under twenty-four hours.
“I’m sorry – I’m not trying to push you.” I took her hand, “We can take this slow.”
“No it’s not that.” She looked down, “It’s just you’re so experienced in all of this. I’m not. I don’t know how to be someone’s girlfriend.”
“Hey,” I lifted her chin and kissed her gently, “I don’t want you to be anything other than yourself. It’s you that I want to spend more time with Riley; not some fake version of yourself.”
She looked away from me again, “Wes, I think there’s something you should know about me.”
“Okay,” I put my hand on her knee.
“I’m not really…” she paused and licked her lips. She sighed and shook her head, “I’m not really a big blueberry fan either.”
I let out a small laugh, “That’s it?” I leaned in and kissed her forehead, “I’ll keep that in mind.”
She gave me a quick peck on the lips and then asked, “So what would you do next with a girl?”
I smiled and wiggled my eyebrows at her and she laughed. I crawled on top of her and kissed her deeply and was only too happy to find that she kissed me back.
A few hours later I pulled up outside of Winnie’s house. I put the truck into park and reached across the bench seat and played with Riley’s ear.
“We’re here,” I said.
“Unfortunately,” she smiled at me.
I chuckled, “You can come back to my place if you want – I won’t object.”
“No, I should go in. I don’t want them to worry about me.” She leaned in closer to me, “But your offer is very tempting.” She kissed me lightly on the lips.
“Alright get out of here,” I pulled away from her, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Okay,” she opened the door and hopped out. She turned back and looked at me, “Merry Christmas Wes – thanks for making it the best one I’ve had in a long time.”
“Back at you,” I replied sincerely.
I watched as she walked to the front door that was decorated with a beautiful Christmas wreath. She turned her head back to me when she reached the door and gave me a wink before disappearing inside. I let out a sigh – tomorrow wasn’t going to come fast enough.