Chapter 3 ~ Racing Hearts
An hour later, I found myself knocking on Braxton’s door, my night bag in hand. I ended up taking a cold shower (yes they work for women too) to help with the pulsing in my veins when I thought about my hot new neighbor. I swear if he flirts with me I’m going to lose it. And by “it” I mean my pants because a girl can only endure so much.
I looked casual but I had picked my outfit with care. My jeans were tight and made my butt look great. My shirt was loose but was low-cut and showed the girls off nicely. My light brown hair was straightened and reached my waist. I did some light to bring out my blue-green eyes and some tinted chap-stick made my lips look soft and full.
I knocked on the door and I already knew I was in for some trouble tonight. Braxton had changed into a black band shirt and dark jeans. I bring my eyes to his and see him looking me over from my head to my toes and back again.
“Come on in, I made some pasta if you’re hungry? I’ve got some wine or beer too.” He stepped back to let me pass him, but I still brush against his chest. Grabbing my bag from my shoulder, he sets it down. A shiver passed through me.
“That’s sweet of you to cook. I love pasta and I’d love some wine.”
He flashed me a smile and my heart seized at the sight of his dimples. He leads me to the kitchen with a hand on my lower back. He still had quite a bit to unpack, boxes stacked against the wall neatly catching my eye.
The kitchen was pretty high end, filled with all new appliances. The table was off to the side and he pulled out a chair for me. As I situated myself, Braxton loaded up two plates with pasta, which smelled heavenly and looked amazing. Setting the plates down on the table, he goes back for our drinks. Wine for me and beer for him.
“So, Hope. Aside from living next door and being mugged, what’s your life?” I had just put a fork full of gooey pasta in my mouth when he asked so it’s a minute before I can answer. I take a sip of wine before I speak.
“Well, let’s hope being mugged was a one time thing. As for the rest of my life, there’s not much to tell. I’m 24 and I just got hired as a receptionist for a medical research facility in town. That’s the reason I moved here. I’m pretty boring to be honest. Apart from reading, crocheting and watching Netflix are my major hobbies. I draw occasionally and I love listening to music. I’m an avid horror fan. I love watching scary movies. However, I don’t really watch them too often because I do get pretty scared.”
While I was talking, he was listening and eating his dinner. He looked up my I talked about scary movies. “I love scary movies too! Horror is my favorite genre. And I like to read too, even though it’s mostly articles online. Doodling is the closest I’ve ever gotten to being artsy. It’s a tough skill, so anyone who is able to draw more than a stick figure, I’m impressed by. I don’t really know what crocheting is, so I can’t give you my thoughts on that, but if it’s a skill like drawing, then you are definitely talented.”
I had taken a couple bites of food and sipped my wine while I listened to him talk. He used his hands a lot when he talked and watching him reminded me of a man of Italian descent, which wouldn’t be too surprising. He was kind of tanned, so I did wonder what his ethnic background was. I smiled at him before replying.
“I don’t know if I’m all that talented with drawing, I can really only copy pictures I see and it’s all mostly cartoon or animated stuff. Crocheting is kind of like knitting, but different. In knitting you have two needles that you use, but you have only one hook for crocheting. But you can make a lot of the same things. I’ve made a few throw blankets, coasters, some hats, octopuses, and a few other random things. It’s not a bunch of fun actually making them, but it’s a good feeling to see the finished project. It gives me a sense of fulfillment when I can take what’s basically a long strand of yarn and turn it into something much bigger than what it started out as. Plus, it's awesome seeing people's faces when they look at the things I've made or have given them. It's like I did magic or something.”
He listened intently while eating and I could tell he was actually interested in what I had to say. Most guys I had known in the past didn’t care what I was talking about, much less what I liked to do in my free time. I’ve only known him for less than a few hours and I could tell he was very dangerous to me. Peeking at him under my lashes and seeing him doing the same to me, my breath caught in my throat.
“So, what about you? What do you like to do for fun? You said before that you’re a paramedic, so why did you go that route?”
He seemed a little surprised I had asked something about his life. I could only imagine what other women he's met ask him about. Probably just hit on him or talk about themselves. By his response to my asking, I would guess that I was right on both accounts.
“Oh, well, I’m 26. I work four days on then I have four days off, so in my down time I usually just hang out here and game online or at a friend’s place. Like I said before, I love mostly horror movies, so I watch those pretty often or go out and see the new films that get released. I was pretty set on becoming a paramedic from an early age. It’s a long story, but someone I was close to got hurt and I couldn't do anything to help since I was so young. When the paramedics showed up, I watched them work and it was life changing. The fact that they could help someone stay alive and bring them back from the brink of death. I knew from then on that was what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be part of the miracle that helps to save people. I wanted to help give them a second chance at life."
His eyes got this distant look and I knew he was reliving the memories of his story. It was a hell of a reason to choose that career path and it was something I definitely respected him for. He didn’t choose it to pick up chicks, to be noticed or so he could have some kind of power trip. He chose it to help people, to save them and give them another chance. It was intimidating. And alluring.
“I think that’s an amazing story and reason. Not many people would choose that career and if they did, they wouldn’t for the right reasons. It’s a bit intimidating to be honest. I mean, I didn’t go to college or anything like that, so I’m pretty limited in what I can do. Which is why I’m just a receptionist.”
He looked like he wanted to argue that fact, but I guess he figured he didn’t know much about me, so he couldn’t really do that. I took a sip of my wine and noticed it was empty. Before I could even ask where the wine was, so I could fill it up myself, he was out of his seat with my cup and reaching into the fridge to get me some mornt. After putting the wine back and grabbing another beer for himself, he set my glass down in front of me and asked if I wanted more food.
“This was amazing pasta, but I’m pretty full so, unfortunately, I’ll have to pass.” Plus, my face ached a little where I got hit with that gun and that made it a chore to chew anything. I’m glad I had put cover-up on over the bruise that was there. I got up from my chair to take my plate the sink and rinse it off before setting it down inside. When I turned around, he was standing close enough for heat to rise in my cheeks, but far enough away to not appear creepy or like he was crowding me.
“Since it’s only about 8:30pm, would you maybe want to watch a horror movie? It doesn’t have to be a scary one, but I figured I would ask because you said they were your favorite. I have a bit of a collection.”
“Yeah, that sounds good to me.” I nodded and slipped around him. As I started to walk out of the kitchen, I realized I didn’t know where I was going. Looking at him over my shoulder, I raised an eyebrow and he tilted his head in the direction of the living room. I watched as he slid his gaze down my body and, with pink cheeks, I walked into the living room.
There was a long sectional that looked to be suede and was dark grey in color. A few throw pillows that went along with the theme of the couch were placed here and there. Thick curtains that were also a dark grey were hanging from the windows. The walls were beige and the ceiling was tall. There was a low glass coffee table in front of the couch and a big flat screen hanging on the wall across from the couch. After taking all this in, I walked over and took a seat. I turned towards Braxton as he walked into the room holding both of our drinks.
“Sorry! I didn’t mean for you to bring that to me.” I shot up and went to grab my wine from him, but he just waved me away and set the drinks down on the table. He grabbed the remote next to the drinks and gestured for me to sit and then sank down next to me. Again, he was a bit closer than what would be normal, but I didn’t really mind. He smelled amazing and I had a flash of fantasy play out in my head.
I was lying back on the couch, naked except for my white lacy thong. Braxton was shirtless, settled above me and between my legs, his solid weight more welcomed than uncomfortable. His muscular arms and his rough, callused hands were planted on either side of my head, holding my wrists in a hand and cupping my face with the other. He leaned down as I leaned up and just before our lips touched, I blinked back into reality. I looked over at Braxton and he was smirking at me with a knowing look in his eyes. He gave me my drink and turned the T.V on. He brought up a list of movies on the screen and handed the remote to me.
“Here. You can pick which one we should watch. I like all the movies on here, so I don’t care which one you choose.” Taking the remote from him, our fingers brushed against each other and a shiver went down my spine. I didn’t dare look at him again as I flipped through each movie. There were so many to choose from, it would take me a while to go through them all. I spotted a scary one I had only watched once, but knew it was pretty good. It had lots of jump scares, so maybe I shouldn’t have picked it, but before I could change my mind it started up and the opening scene played.