The first couple of days at work run smoothly. No unwelcomed guests, hardly any unwanted thoughts. Again, the reason for that is a certain hot brunette, who’s on my mind most of the time. Unfortunately, at the moment, we only get to see each other in the mornings as I have to go to work in the early afternoon and stay until late at night.
Today—Wednesday—I start work a few hours later because my dad invited us to a barbecue. Us—that includes not only Kaitlyn and me but also my brother and his family. Let’s see how that goes.
But worries about a family meeting aren’t at the forefront of my mind. Kaitlyn is. I last saw her yesterday when I left her place to go to work, and I’m oddly excited to see her again. When I arrive at my dad’s house just before noon, I don’t bother to knock on Kaitlyn’s door because she’s surely already over here to help Dad with the preparations. And Ben’s car is parked in the driveway as well, so they came a little earlier too.
I turn off my car, and with a deep breath, I look at the house. Ah, there’s the worry I was waiting for. I hope this afternoon will go well. My dad knows about Kaitlyn and me, but I’m not sure the others do as well. And for some reason, a strange nervousness takes hold of me, leading to a sense of apprehension, like I will have to justify my relationship with Kaitlyn in front of my family.
The relationship? Where did that fucking thought come from? Damn, I’m losing it. I haven’t had a relationship in forever, let alone a grown-up relationship, so I don’t even know what that would be like. But whatever it is between Kaitlyn and me, it’s not just an affair either. The connection we share is already so much more than that. And I’m not sure my family will see that. At least my dad keeps saying he doesn’t want to see Kaitlyn get hurt. What a great testament to what he thinks of me—like I would just screw her and dump her.
Unfortunately, I have to admit it’s what I did in the past.
With a slightly frustrated groan, I get out of my car and walk up to my dad’s house. It’s safe to say, with all these different emotions raging inside me, I’m slightly confused.
I enter the kitchen. My steps falter when I spot Amy standing at the kitchen isle with her back turned to me, chopping up some vegetables. She’s wearing an ankle-length coral summer dress with spaghetti straps, and her long brown hair is tied back in a simple ponytail. My first thought is she looks nice.
Nice. Not beautiful or sexy, just nice. And that’s the first time I think that about her ever since we met. Talking about confusing.
“Hi,” I say as I place the drinks I brought on the countertop next to her.
She turns to me with a smile and greets me with a peck on my cheek. “Hey, Aaron! How are you?”
“Good.” I narrow my eyes at her when her lips stretch in a wide grin. “What?” I ask her.
She shrugs, puts aside the knife she used for chopping, and adds the cucumber to the salad she is preparing. She leans against the counter facing me and dries her hands on a kitchen towel. “So, you and Kaitlyn?”
I roll my eyes and sigh. Dad must have spilled the beans then. “I guess,” is all I respond.
She laughs and playfully hits me with the towel. “You guess? Aaron, I haven’t seen you with the same girl twice since-” She taps her chin with her index finger. “Hm, never, actually.”
I snort. “It’s not like two years is a very long time.”
“True, but long enough to be single. And now, spill. How are things between you two? Kaitlyn was pretty evasive last week.”
I frown. “She was the one who told you? I thought it was Dad.”
“She didn’t really tell us,” Amy explains with a shake of her head. “It came up, and as much as she tried to deny it, it was obvious what had happened.”
I let out a long breath of air. As there is no point in trying to deny anything either, I ask, “And what do you want to know? Things are good.”
Amy groans. “A few more details would be great.” She grabs my arms to give me a good shake. “Come on, look at you! You look happy.”
I laugh out loud. “So you’re saying for the past two years, I’ve looked unhappy?”
She scowls. “That’s not what I meant.” Her features soften, and her lips lift in a subtle smile. “But you do look happier. You have to admit that anything serious isn’t your forte, so this is a big thing, I’d say. I know you had your disagreements with Ben on that topic. Things haven’t always been... easy between you—and us.” She points her finger between her and me.
“Yeah,” I say with a deep sigh. I lean against the kitchen isle and cross my feet at my ankles. A million thoughts run through my head, and one of them is maybe the time has come to confess and set things straight. “I know I’ve been a jerk about it here and there,” I continue with my gaze directed at the floor. “Ben gets mad at me all the time for lusting after you. And to be honest, I like to piss him off.”
“So you never really lusted after me then?” she asks with a chuckle.
I lift my gaze to look at her with a frown. “Amy...”
Her smile falters, and she holds up her hand. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that. I know it’s a sensitive topic and no laughing matter.”
“No, it’s okay. But you know it’s not true. I wanted you.” With another heavy sigh, I run my fingers through my hair. I turn to her and continue, ”The truth is, I’ve been harboring feelings for you, which I shouldn’t have.”
“Aaron, you don’t have to do this,” Amy interrupts me.
I shake my head and push myself off the countertop I’ve been leaning against. “Yes, I do. I’ve been thinking about this, and I have to talk this out.” I take a step forward and turn my back to her, with my hands buried in the pockets of my shorts. “Has Ben ever told you about Eric?” I ask.
“Your best friend?” she inquires, her voice just above a whisper.
I nod and turn around to face her. “Losing him did a number on me,” I state with a deep breath. “I haven’t gotten attached to anyone since. Until you came along. You know I only flirted with you to aggravate my brother. At least at first. Because you turned out to be this amazing woman. I chose to holdonto that silly and unhealthy crush I developed even though it could never turn into something more because you chose Ben. That way I couldn’t lose you as there was never any chance I could have you.”
“Wow,” Amy says on a long exhale. She shifts left and right a little. “I’m not sure what to say. Why are you telling me this now?”
I push back my shoulders, telling myself once more this is the right thing to do. “Because it’s time to let go. Saying it out loud helps me organize my thoughts and realize how stupid I am. I have to stop persuading myself that things are better this way. I need to stop keeping people at arm’s length.”
Amy’s eyes go wide for a moment. She studies me silently with one palm pressed to her cheek. “Wow, you really like her,” she declares.
“Kaitlyn. You like her, like a lot. It’s her, in particular, you don’t want to keep at a safe distance anymore.”
I blink at her, scratching my jaw. I shake my head, trying to gather my scrambling thoughts. Is this what it all boils down to? “Fuck, I do,” I finally admit. Well, I already knew I liked her, but I wasn’t aware of the fact that I like her so much that I’ve seriously considered pursuing a lot more than a fling.
Damn, where do all these thoughts come from? I really have to hold my horses. “I do like her,” I resume. “But I don’t want to rush into anything, so please don’t call this anything it isn’t yet, okay? We enjoy each other’s company; let’s just see where this goes. And don’t forget the fact that she’s leaving in a few weeks.”
Amy rolls her eyes with a chuckle. “That’s no reason why this can’t work. You’ll figure it out once you have to,” she says with a reassuring smile.
I give her a curt nod and a weak smile. “Thanks.” I let out a heavy sigh. “I’m sorry for dropping this on you. Are we good?”
"Of course, you big oaf.” Amy chuckles. “I’m glad you confided in me.” She hugs me, squeezing me tight, which makes me laugh. She takes a step back and gives me a wide smile before she points a threatening finger at me with narrowed eyes. “Don’t mess it up, you hear me?”
I hold up my hands. “I’ll try. Promise!”
Amy and I turn around to the voice that entered the kitchen through the French door. We look at a slightly stunned Kaitlyn who stares at us as if she felt she interrupted something.
Instantly, my gaze wanders over her body. She’s wearing that turquoise sundress again, which makes my heart skip a beat or two. And now my first thought is how beautiful and sexy she looks.
Not rushing into anything my ass. I want to make this woman mine.
“Hey,” Amy says with a smile, bringing me back to reality.
Kaitlyn clears her throat. “I, um, just came in here to see if you needed help with anything.”
Amy shakes her head. “No, I’m done.” She grabs the bowl with the salad and squeezes my forearm before she leaves Kaitlyn and me alone in the kitchen.
My eyes meet Kaitlyn’s, and I give her a warm smile. She clears her throat once more before she walks over, coming to a halt right in front of me. “Hey,” she whispers.
“Hey, Sunshine,” I whisper back. We smile at each other for another moment before I lower my head to find her lips in a slow and deep kiss, and instantly, my heart pounds in my chest and the same delicious sensation rushes through me like every time we kiss. I bury my fingers in her hair, and she rests her hands on my chest. The soft moan that escapes her sends jolts of desire through me, and I have to pull back before my cock takes over the thinking and I drag her someplace private.
I rest my forehead against hers and enjoy the closeness until Kaitlyn takes a step back and looks at me with a frown. “I’m sorry I barged in. It looked like you were in the middle of something there.”
I shake my head. “Don’t worry; you didn’t.” I take her hands in mine and give them a gentle squeeze. “How are you?”
“I’m okay,” she murmurs as she lowers her gaze. “I missed you this morning,” she adds in a low voice.
I lift her chin with my index finger, and her eyes meet mine. “You were the one who said you needed to get some writing done,” I say with an amused smile.
She frowns. “I did. Turns out, thinking about you can be quite distracting.”
I lower my head so my mouth almost touches hers. “We’ll make up for it,” I breathe on her lips.
“Sounds good.” She goes up on tiptoe to press her mouth on mine for another lingering kiss, but I have to take a step back soon, or we won’t join the others for the barbecue.
I lace our fingers and pull her after me. “Shall we face the family?”
Surprisingly, the afternoon passes without any remarks from my dad or my brother; no one tells me not to break anyone’s heart, and no one watches us suspiciously.
I even manage to shut up my racing thoughts. There’s no need to over-analyze anything. I’m glad I had that talk with Amy because it did help me clarify what’s going on. I stop thinking about what Kaitlyn said a couple of days ago when we had our talk about what this thing between us means to the other. She seemed a little worried about where it might be going even though she tried to convince me otherwise, but now I know we can continue to take this one step after the other without dreading the end of the summer, only enjoying our time together.
That’s what we do during the afternoon, even though I refrain from being too close to Kaitlyn most of the time. I don’t want to draw too much attention to us, so we avoid almost any kind of PDA, which ultimately results in some major pent-up sexual frustration, which in turn results in me dragging Kaitlyn to someplace private before I have to go to work after all. That dress of hers is officially on my list of favorite pieces of clothing now because it’s ideal for the perfect quickie.
Only there is no quickie with this woman. I can’t seem to tear myself away from her, so for the first time in my life, I’m running late for work.
But I couldn’t care less.