He was fuming.
He hadn’t fucking seen her all evening.
Nathaniel glared at the couple that stood at the sink, the touches and teasing that they exchanged getting on his nerves. He shut his eyes and turned to the closed door of the bedroom where he knew she was hiding behind.
He was pissed.
What the heck was wrong with him? He didn’t do this shit. Ever. Girls were just that. Girls. And the ones he had encountered in the past wouldn’t throw away an opportunity to get laid, as far as he knew. And besides, getting laid was good. Have a great night and then part in the morning with no conflicts. No expectations or demands. Then why was he waiting here right now?
Dinner was done with. Susan had ordered Chinese takeout and the three of them had had a nice meal. Atleast he had pretended to. When he had come over, the first thing his eyes had searched for was the raven-haired minx that he couldn’t seem to get off his mind. He was surprised to feel disappointment cloud him when Susan informed them that she was unwell and had asked not to be disturbed throughout the evening.
Unwell, my ass.
She had to be faking it. She was avoiding him and he knew it. Absently, his eyes roamed over the apartment, taking in the minor details. He deliberately avoided Matt and Susan. Seeing them together like that made him uncomfortable. He refused to think that the emotion was probably jealousy. That would be absurd.
His eyes fell on the table that stood against the wall. That’s when he noticed the bright orange book that lay on it. Curious, he stood up from the couch, walked over and picked it up. The cover of the book read Ptolemy’s Gate. It was a novel. The author was Jonathan Stroud. Nathaniel flipped through the pages till he found the bookmark between them. It was a pale lavender color and looked quite artistic. It had the words Carpe Librum written on one side in calligraphy and a sketch of a pile of books on the other side.
Nathaniel went back to the couch. On the cover of the book, a golden eyed lion held an emerald stoned trinket in his paw. The book was a part of The Bartimeaus Triology.
" Susan?“, he called out before he could change his mind.
She turned around and looked at him questioningly.
He pointed at the book.
" Is this yours?”
She instantly shook her head.
" That’s Zara’s. She reads a lot.”
Nathaniel stared at the book in his hand. A weird sensation lodged itself in his chest as he opened it and turned the pages. Zara had held this book. It was her first possession that he had had the chance to look at. It felt almost intimate. He frowned. He was getting fucking soft.
He skimmed through the first few pages and then abruptly paused when he caught sight of a particular word. He felt a smile form on his lips. Turning the book over, he read the brief summary that was printed on its back. The main character had his name!
He wanted to laugh.
Zara had obviously been reading the book recently. He smiled even more. Did she think of him when she did? He glanced at the bedroom door. He hoped she did.
Susan plopped down next to him, pulling her feet up. Matt sat down right behind her, his arm around her waist.
" Whatcha doing?“, she asked brightly as she took the novel from his hands and looked at the cover with disinterest.
" Zara said something about not reading this anymore for a while.“, she said suddenly, turning it over.
Nathaniel paused midway through reaching for it again.
" Why?“, his voice was sharp.
Neither of them seemed to notice it.
Susan shrugged, ” She didn’t say. I’m guessing, it must be boring.”
He doubted that.
" When did she say that?“, he asked again.
Susan gave him an amused look and then handed over the paperback.
" Just this afternoon.”
Nathaniel felt his heart jump in his chest. It had been after that episode in the cafeteria. He couldn’t help but feel a bit of smugness at the thought at he could affect her like that. At the same time, he wanted to barge into the bedroom where she was and demand why she couldn’t accept the attraction between them. And then he wanted to pin her to the wall and fuck her senseless.
Gulping, he sat up straighter. The long shower he had taken just an hour ago had been useless.
" So you guys are in the same class right?“, Matt asked as he leaned into the couch, pulling Susan to him. She didn’t protest and gave a huge yawn, snuggling closer to him. Nathaniel turned away at the sight, his eyes going back to the dratted door that kept him back.
He wanted Zara. So fucking badly.
" We are.”
What did he want with her? A one-night stand? Or more?
He didn’t know it himself.
He glanced down at the book, running his fingers over the smooth cover. He sighed. He didn’t do relationships. He hadn’t, not once in all these years, ever stayed with a girl for more than a night. And in whatever time they did spend together, there was hardly any talking involved. Just plain fucking.
When he thought of doing the same thing with Zara, it didn’t feel right. It was wrong on so many levels. When he looked at her, he knew she was the kind of girl that deserved more than just a casual fuck. And the part that irked him was that he wanted to be the one that gave it to her. And in return, he wanted her all to himself. Just the two of them. The way she blushed and reacted to him proved that she wasn’t overly experienced. He didn’t think she was a virgin and for some insane reason he didn’t want to think about the number of boyfriends she had had. The very thought made him clench his fist in rage.
He felt confused with the barrage of feelings that this one girl seemed to evoke in him so easily. What was it about her that set her apart from all the others he had been involved with?
He hardly knew anything about her except that she wasn’t keen on letting him near her, she loved to read, she was aloof most of the time and that she had five tattoos out of which he had been lucky enough to spot the one on her ankle. It was a different matter that she was the most beautiful girl to him and that he wanted her smiles for himself. He wanted to know what she liked and hated, what she couldn’t do without and what made her scream in bed.
He cut off his thoughts when he felt his cock twitch.
He turned to see Matt staring down at Susan who was half asleep in his arms. His best friend caught his gaze and smiled apologetically, his eyes shining with pure adoration.
" I think that’s our cue.“, Nathaniel joked as he stood up and placed the book on the couch.
Matt gave a soft laugh, sliding his arms under Susan’s sleeping form and picking her up, cradling her to his chest. The blonde-haired girl uttered a sigh in her sleep, tucking her head under his chin.
" Could you get the door?“, Matt asked softly as he walked forward, careful not to make any sudden movements.
Nathaniel grabbed at the opportunity and almost ran to the door that had been a barrier to him that evening. He pushed it open slowly. The light from the sitting room filtered through the doorway, illuminating two beds that lay in the middle of the room, close to each other. One of the beds was occupied and as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could make out the outline of a face peeking from the sheets. Nathaniel heard Matt behind him just before dismissing him from his mind.
He strode forward to the bed where Zara lay. She was wearing a loose light blue tshirt. Her dark hair cascaded over the pillow. She was fast asleep with her back to the wall. Nathaniel knelt down at her bedside, his eyes feasting on the sight of her breasts pressing against the fabric of the tshirt. She wasn’t wearing a bra and the curve of her cleavage could be spotted over the neck of the shirt.
She looked calm. The slight frown that she always seemed to have on her forehead had vanished and she looked beautifully peaceful. Behind him, he heard the sounds of Matt tucking Susan in for the night. Nathaniel leaned forward, his eyes riveted on Zara’s face. Her lips were slightly apart, her breath coming through them. She looked tired, even in her sleep. Reaching out, he ran a single finger along her cheek. Her skin was soft and slightly uneven. Unbidden, he felt a sense of déjà vu.
The thought niggled at his brain. But before he could grasp it, it disappeared.
He touched his forefinger to her lips. Matt had stood up and was already moving toward the door. Nathaniel leaned forward and kissed Zara’s forehead, his lips lingering, his senses taking in everything about her.
Standing up, he gave her one last glance and then followed Matt out of the room and then out the apartment door.
They descended the steps in silence.
It was only when they had stepped out of the building that Matt spoke.
" She’s a sweet girl on the inside, Nathaniel. I hope you know what you’re doing.”
There was no threat in his voice. Just a warning. Nathaniel understood it. She was his girlfriend’s best friend, after all.
" I hope so too.”