I woke up the next day with the sounds of snoring instead of my alarm. I groggily looked at the other side of the room and saw Luca with his mouth slightly open. A few seconds later, he snored again. I breathed in deeply when I realized I wouldn't be sleeping again anytime soon.
I planted my feet on the floor and stretched my back. I heard the satisfying crack soon after and lifted myself off the bed. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and looked around the room.
There were two beds at opposite sides with plenty of walking space in between. He had a room to himself so I didn't have to worry about stealing someone's bed. Actually, he bought this bed specifically for me so I could have something to sleep on when I wanted to spend the night. In between the beds, there was a small drawer against the wall with an alarm at the top. On the right side of the room, where Luca's bed was placed, was a dart board just above his head. The darts, however, were sticking out in random places of the wall.
I let out a soft chuckle. Isn't he creative?
I continued looking about. His clothes were on the floor in a heap in one particular spot, his way of keeping things organized I supposed. His laptop was on the coffee table kept near the foot of his bed. I walked toward his closet that he always kept wide open. There were a lot of graphic tees, wife beaters, and sweaters. He also had a lot of shorts, khakis, and cargo pants. Surprisingly, he doesn't wear a lot of jeans. As I was rummaging through his closet, my hand banged against something wooden.
The sound reverberated loudly and melodiously then faded away. I snapped my head toward Luca to see if I startled him but he was sleeping as soundly as before. When the noise stopped, I reached for it slowly. I wrapped my fingers around the neck, pushing against the strings tightly so it wouldn't ring out again.
The guitar still looked beautiful after all these years. He kept the spruce top in grand shape and I could tell he cleaned it often. It gleamed in the sun light that came from his window. I bought that guitar for him for his birthday a few years ago. He had a random interest in the instrument when he found out I had one myself. He would always steal mine to practice away. I had gotten annoyed about it and when he mentioned that he wanted this particular guitar, I knew I had to get it, for my sake.
Well, I had told myself that but I was proud of the excited smile that he gave me when he got it.
I placed it back in the closet and looked at the alarm clock. 7:42 AM. Well, it was a bit too early for a Saturday morning but I might as well make the best of it.
I padded quietly out of the room and walked toward the kitchen. Since I imposed myself on all the boys, I decided to make breakfast to thank them for their hospitality.
I went to the sink to clean my hands but I forgot that I used a concrete wall as my punching bag last night. After the stinging calmed down, I carefully dried my hands and started to look for a first aid kit.
When I finally found the alcohol and bandage, I went to work. The stinging from last night was nothing compared to this. I had to bite my tongue pretty hard to keep myself from screaming out loud.
Boy, was I angry last night, I noticed.
After I bandaged myself up, I opened the fridge and found a decent amount of groceries. They had bacon (the boys would obviously have that), fresh eggs, at least 3 gallons of milk all labeled Luca, orange juice, butter, fruits and veggies, and my favorite Greek yogurt.
I grabbed what I needed from the fridge and the cupboards and quickly went to work. I was in the mood for a really big breakfast.
While I was looking for a spatula to flip the pancakes (I couldn't flip with the skillet, a person with adequate balancing skills could do that… like Luca), I gasped delightfully when I found chocolate chips. It looked like we were going to have chocolate chip pancakes this morning!
I grabbed the biggest bowl I could find and cracked all the eggs needed for 5 people. Yes, Luca had 3 roommates and it was all just one big testosterone mess around here. After I stirred the mixture and dripped onto the skillet, I expertly went to work.
Once I felt the eggs were nice and fluffy, I moved onto the bacon. I always had a little trouble with bacon. It was either burnt black or raw and disgustingly chewable.
Luckily, this time, I was able to make it nice and crispy. I made a little extra bacon since I knew the boys had quite the appetite. As I spooned myself a bite of the last Greek yogurt (in your face, guys!), I cleaned the skillet again in preparation for… pancakes!
I hadn't had chocolate chip pancakes in so long. It took a while to make all of them because I shaped them into Mickey Mouse. Might as well have fun while I was in the kitchen. One of them was a complete fail though, since it looked like a demented flower, so that was what it came to be. I made at least 20 Mickey Mouse pancakes and I grinned proudly to myself for creating such a big breakfast without hurting myself.
As I took the glasses from dryer, I heard rumblings for every corner of the place. I looked at the kitchen clock and it read 10:07 AM.
Wow, I surprised myself. It took 3 hours to cook a meal for 5 people.
I grabbed 5 glasses and filled each of them with orange juice. I placed them all around the kitchen counter that served as our breakfast table, since the boys had no dinner table. I inspected the plates of food before setting them on the counter then went back to the fridge to grab some fruit. The apples looked safe enough so I grabbed a whole lot of them and put them on the center of the table. Satisfied with the way everything looked, I walked toward the sink to clean up the mess.
I was frustratingly cleaning the greased-up skillet when I heard, "Who brought the hot chick home?"
I whirled around to see Jason looking at my legs. I blew my bangs out in annoyance when I realized I was wearing one of Luca's old football jerseys. Yes, he played a lot since high school. It was pretty big on me but it barely covered my butt. But I still had my shorts on, I swear!
"Whoa…" his eyes widened in shock when he recognized me. Whenever I was around the boys, I was usually in my jeans or sweats, maybe some capris but I never really showed much leg around them, except for Luca.
Oh, don't think like that! It's just coincidence that whenever I visit I cover my legs, that's it!
"Hot chick! Where?"
The twins, Maddox and Knox (Yeah, I don't know what their mother was thinking either), rushed through kitchen and stood dumbfounded at the sight of me.
I blushed from embarrassment as they kept staring. My hair was in a messy bun and because I wore my contacts yesterday and didn't bring any extra, I had to wear the emergency pair of glasses that I always kept in the car. In the middle of getting ready for bed the night before, I made Luca go back to my car to get them so I wouldn't be blind the next day.
"Kenna?" They questioned simultaneously.
"Uh, morning guys!" I waved with the soapy skillet in hand.
"Wait!" Maddox exclaimed. "You were the chick in the rain last night that Luca was talking to?"
I nodded in confirmation. Inside I was annoyed that after knowing them for several months, they still didn't recognize me.
"Well, hot damn! Luca knows some fine women," Jason stated lewdly but I knew he was teasing.
"You perverts," I joked with them. After I finished cleaning the dishes, they turned their attention to the grand pile of food in the middle of the room. I smiled and told them, "This is my way of saying thank you for letting me stay the night."
"Why? You always stay the night," Knox pointed out.
I nervously rubbed the back of my head, "Shit happened yesterday. Just wanted to say thanks for making the day end not so horribly."
The boys awkwardly took the thank you and looked at the feast again. Jason made a move for the food and I socked his arm with the skillet.
He yelped and glared at me.
"We're not eating until Luca wakes up!" I barked.
The boys grumbled and reluctantly sat on the barstools surrounding the table.
"I'm not afraid to use this skillet. I will make sure all of you will have a concussion that will knock you out until the next century!"
They nodded their heads rapidly in agreement.
Satisfied with their answer, I walked back to Luca's room to wake him up. The door was wide open so I poked my head through the doorway and was glad to see him up and about. He didn't seem to notice that I was in the room and right when I was about to tell him that I made breakfast, I saw him lift his shirt up.
Ok, so you know that scene in an action movie when everything just goes ape? Everyone's fighting and the main character is getting pummeled to the ground. Then out of nowhere, they have this new found courage that gets them fighting back better than ever. Then everything moves in slow motion, the adrenaline flows into you and you hold your breath for the moment they finally win.
Well, I may not have been in a fight but everything felt like it was in slow motion. His callused fingers grabbed the hem of his shirt and I could see his fingertips graze his torso as he pulled it off of him. Inch by slow inch, I could see the hard muscle that came into view. I saw the hard cut lines on his hips and his sculptured abs. They rippled with each breath he took and with each breath he took, those abs took mine away. My eyes continued to travel upwards to his broad chest where not a single hair was in sight. He was tall and those summers he helped his dad with hard labor helped him wonderfully. And he looked delicious.
Even if it was a side view and not full frontal, I enjoyed every minute of it.
A really long time ago, I had a massive crush on Luca. I thought that by dating, I would get over him. While I dating Owen, he helped alleviate the feeling. But from that unintentional peep show, I'm far from over Luca than I thought.
I moved away from the door and hid for a bit. I shook my head lightly and pretended that I didn't practically drool at my best friend.
After I thought I calmed down, I knocked on the door lightly.
"Hey. I made breakfast for everyone."
My voice sounded shaky and I reprimanded myself for not having better control.
He looked up and grinned boyishly at me, "Ok, I'll be there soon."
His body is anything but boyish.
Once I realized out that I still liked my best friend, it reminded me about Owen. I looked at Luca and when he saw the pain in my eyes once again, he finally asked, "What happened yesterday, Kenna?"
I sighed loudly and closed my eyes so I could avoid his concerned face. "Do you want everything from the beginning or just the plain ole' bad part?"
"Let's try the beginning."
So I told him what happened. How my alarm clock didn't wake me up in time. How I had taken a shower in ice-cold water. How I had to go to work in sweats. How I had the opportunity to taste black coffee. He laughed when he saw my face crinkle as I remembered how awful it tasted. Until finally, I told him how I caught my boyfriend of a year cheating on me with my roommate.
Luca's reaction? He was dripping in anger.
"He did what?!" he roared. Even the pigeons on his window sill flapped away from the volume.
"Luca, calm down. I had enough anger for the both us yesterday. Trust me." I raised my right hand to show him the damage my anger caused. "I have this, plus I trashed his apartment… bad. Enough that he almost called the cops on me."
He stared blankly at me when I slipped that up. I slapped my hand over my mouth to stop myself from spilling anymore beans.
"You went psycho on him," he declared. "You're that crazy ex-girlfriend that every guy has, aren't you?"
I groaned pathetically when I realized he was right.
"The only reason he didn't call the cops was because he would've gotten in trouble for having sex with minors," I admitted softly.
"I thought you caught him with your roommate," he repeated dangerously.
I shook my head and told him the rest. "He was with her and two other girls. They were screwing each other's brains out in front of a recording camera. If he called the police, he would've been placed under arrest for statutory rape and exploiting minors." I laughed coldly, "He didn't even know they were underage.
"Idiot," I mumbled.
For a moment, we stood there silently. I was staring at the ground avoiding his eyes and I could tell his anger grew more and more by the second. To diffuse the tension, I wrapped my arms around him. I muttered into his chest, "Stop being angry, doof. I already humiliated him yesterday by destroying everything in his apartment. I felt enough anger so please… just…"
I couldn't quite finish because I didn't know what I was asking him to do. I was happy he was so mad at Owen. I was happy that he took my side. But I knew that the anger wouldn't do much and telling him to calm down wouldn't do much either. He understood though, so he just hugged me back tightly.
"I'm sorry for what you went through." He pulled me closer, "You deserve the best, Kenna."
I lifted my head up to look at him. I wanted to tell him so badly that I loved him but look what happened when I tried to tell Owen. Besides, Luca was my friend. Maybe I was just really hormonal.
I mean, look at his abs!
So I settled with thank you, grabbed a random article of clothing and threw at his head.
"Get dressed. Breakfast is getting cold."
He saluted, "Aye, aye captain!"
For now, I was okay with just having my best friend… my really hot best friend.
Remember how I said that maybe I loved Luca? But I blamed my stupid hormones for my sudden deeper-than-best-friend affection for him, so it didn't really count?
Yeah, I lied.
What? It's not like I meant to! I swear it was my subconscious again! I never realize these things until the last minute!
So how long did it take for the hurling brick of realization to strike me in the face? It took a very, very, very long time.
The honest joy I would feel whenever he visited was because I hadn't seen him for a few weeks. The way my heart would flutter when he smiled was because I drank too much coffee earlier. Whenever I blushed around him was only because he liked to tease and embarrass me. The only reason I liked his hugs more than anyone else's was because I had known him for so long.
Those were the lies I had told myself and I believed in them for so long. I had no problem convincing myself but there were some things I couldn't mask lies over.
The disappoint I felt when he wrapped his arms around my shoulders when I'd much rather have it around my waist. How I would act like a jealous moron when he was with other girls. Plus, there was no way I could explain around the fact that every time I saw his face, the urge to grab him and kiss him grew stronger.
I would ignore those feelings and like the lies, they worked… for a certain amount of time.
The brick came about a year and a half after the break up.
I had moved out of the apartment just a few months after the incident occurred. Of course, I didn't like living with her after the ordeal, but I didn't have a place to crash while I found an affordable place of my own. Luca would have probably let me sleep over for as long as I wanted but I didn't like to mooch off people for too long.
However, it was a reaching dream because there was no place cheap enough for a single gal like me. I was able to find a roommate, though! She's the sweetest thing ever! Not even a college freshman yet but she wanted to "explore the world" as she said. I'm so glad I found her.
Anyways, I had come down for a visit and I realized that it was the second week of December. The boys and I were watching TV and there was an ad playing that reminded me of something that was kind of, sort of important.
"Holy Mother of God!" I yelled at the TV. I jumped off the couch and ran towards the door to get my winter gear.
Maddox and Knox were baffled by my behavior, "What just happened?"
I heard Luca reply with a groan. Followed by, "She's freaking out because she has no presents."
"I have no presents!" I repeated like a mad woman. "Christmas in is two freaking weeks and I have no presents!"
As soon as I jammed my shoes on, I grabbed Luca's shoes and threw them at him.
Before he could have the chance to oppose to the idea I said, "Oh no, you don't! You are not letting me shop alone!"
"But Kenna… it's snowing!"
I raised my eyebrow at him, wondering if he thought that was a legitimate excuse.
"That should be more reason for you to go out."
I caught him there. He growled, "Fine, you're right but I don't want to go shopping!"
"I know, I know. If you help me I'll buy your favorite shaved ice…" I tempted him.
"… With the Swedish Fish, green apple, and piña colada?"
Hook, line and sinker.
"Only the best for my best friend," I replied sweetly.
Luca reluctantly grabbed his coat off the hanger near the front door, "The things I do for you," he mumbled irritably.
"If you didn't have such a great eye for gifts, I wouldn't have to drag your butt with me." I opened the door and waved a quick goodbye to the twins and Jason as we left. "Seriously, Conti, it's all your fault you're so great," I teased.
He bumped into me lightly, "Shut up, Kenna," he said with a smile on his face.
I looped my arm through his and said, "Alrighty, Mister! To the presents we go!" When our feet stepped on the white ground I pulled him to the nearest store to begin our quest.
For two hours, he helped me find gifts for everyone. I bought a pair of earrings for both of our mothers and a toolbox for our fathers. I bought some shoes for our sisters, and because I was the only one with a brother, I enlisted Luca's help for a "manly" gift. He suggested that I should buy a video game. It was perfect that he mentioned it because I vaguely remembered my brother droning on and on about a certain game that he couldn't afford.
You see why I needed Luca for this? He's just perfect!
For his roommates though, we decided to get them gag gifts. For Maddox, I bought him bacon-smelling soap since the last time I made bacon, he literally ate half of the pile. It was like watching a shark eating a school of fish. For Knox, Luca convinced me to buy him a clear glass block with a scorpion inside. Apparently, Knox has been watching Animal Planet just a little too much. For Jason and his flirting ways, we bought him a mug with the word PIMP bedazzled on it. For my sweet roommate, Emma, I bought her a new winter coat since her old one barely keeps her warm.
And last but not least, Luca.
Of course, I didn't let him help me with his present. I did forget my presents for everyone.
Except for him. I always get him these mind-boggling puzzles because he loves to figure things out. It's been wrapped up in my room for a while now and I just couldn't wait to give it to him.
"I see you haven't bought me anything while we were shopping," he noted casually.
"That's not true, I bought you the shaved ice," I replied smartly.
Without looking, I knew that he rolled his eyes at my response.
"You know what I meant. You didn't buy me a present while we were out."
As we neared the car, I popped the trunk open to pack everything in.
"That's because I already bought it," I told him.
"Is it in the car?" he asked.
"Hmm, maybe… maybe not," I answered, deliberately being vague. I snickered as he groaned in response.
As soon as I closed the trunk, he rushed to the side of the car. Sensing that he was trying to find his present, I immediately squished myself between him and the car.
Squish was an understatement. He didn't realize I would be in the crack so much faster than him, so he basically rammed himself into me.
"The sting feels lovely, by the way," I said sarcastically while my eyes closed in pain.
"Sorry," I heard him, but it faded away as I opened my eyes again. It was then that I noticed how close we were.
The force of the impact left us flushed against each other. He inadvertently kept me caged since his arms were outstretched on either side of me. I was afraid to move so I stayed where I was. I slowly slid my eyes to him and locked with his gaze. I couldn't control my nervous breathing and the quick puffs of mist that came from my mouth showed him. My heart was beating uncontrollably and that urge to kiss him returned with a vengeance.
The brick punched me in the face and it showed ever so evidently.
"Are you still hurt?" Luca asked worriedly, probably thinking that I was stressing out about my back. He bent down, examining me even though I truly wished he didn't.
The realization left me speechless and the fluttering sensation in my stomach would not settle down. He easily opened up my jacket and placed his hands on the small of my back. He massaged the area and even with my shirt blocking the skin-to-skin contact, it felt amazing.
"No," I finally spoke, my voice soft as a whisper. "It doesn't hurt anymore."
His dark eyes still traced over my face. His gaze would always make me feel like we were the only two people in the world, but I felt unbelievably exposed.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah," I replied shakily. "Why wouldn't I?"
"You sound different."
He had to be so goddamned observant. Yet he wasn't observant enough to see that I was in love with him.
"I'm just tired," I lied. I knew he could tell that it was a flat out lie but he let it go for now.
He finally stepped away from me and I felt myself return back to reality. The cold settled into my body since my jacket was still open and I quickly zipped it back up.
After a minute, he broke the silence.
"Since you're tired and it's late, are you going to sleep over?"
"Yeah," I sent him a small smile. "Of course."