Unexpected - *Book Five*

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“Next thing I know, he leans in, lips already puckered.” With an eye-roll, Jannie shakes her head, while I cover my mouth with my hand to contain my laughter.

For the past hour, my aunt and I have been sitting on the couch with coffee and cookies, and she has been telling me about her travels through South America—more specifically Brazil, where she had an encounter with some hot Brazilian, who was a little too flirty, though.

“No way!” I exclaim. “You didn’t even make a move on him. The nerve of that guy!”

She shrugs. “I would have, hadn’t he been so obtrusive. He was kinda cute, I admit. But–” She lets the rest of the sentence dangle in the air.

“He wasn’t Philip,” I state.

Her eyes widen. “What?”

“Come on! I know you’ve got a thing for him.”

She snorts and waves off my comment. “Stop the crazy talk.” She grabs another cookie from the tray on the coffee table, apparently not intending to elaborate on that subject. I take another cookie as well, studying her while I take a bite. She seems totally unfazed by my remark about Philip, and if she really has a thing for him, she hides it well.

Jannie chuckles when she notices me staring. “Sweetie, the only thing that’s going on is you and Aaron. You looked pretty cozy on my kitchen table earlier.”

I wince, and a sudden urge to flee from the room takes hold of me as a hot blush suffuses my cheeks. I tug at the collar of my t-shirt to hide my face. “Oh my goodness,” I mumble. “I’m so sorry about that.”

She laughs at my embarrassment. “Don’t worry about it. I’ve had sex on that table; I know it’s an ideal height.”

I gasp and stare at my aunt with my mouth agape and my eyes as wide as saucers. “You what?!” I shake my head. “Who with?”

She laughs. “Do you really want to know?”

If possible, my eyes widen even more. “I knew it! It was with Philip, wasn’t it?”

She gives me an evasive shrug, trying to deny the truth, but the smile on her face gives her away. So something is going on between them.

With a chuckle, Jannie gets up from the couch. She grabs our mugs and the now empty plate and makes her way to the kitchen. “Okay, honey,” she tells me with a look over her shoulder. “Call Aaron and tell him to come back. I’ll go next door to say hi to Phil.”

Once Jannie is out of sight, I sink back into the couch cushions. I wouldn’t mind for that hole in the ground to open up, but as usual, it bails on me. So with a deep breath, I get up and just laugh it off. We’re all adults here, right? Aaron and I did nothing on the kitchen table that a little Lysol won’t fix.

Come to think of it, I might need to disinfect a few other surfaces as well.

After cleaning up the kitchen, I look at the time. It’s been half an hour since Jannie left to say hi—or do other things—to Philip and I sent Aaron a text, telling him to come over. I feel giddy like a little girl, impatiently anticipating his return. Even though he’s only been gone for a couple of hours, I can’t wait to be in his arms again.

When the doorbell finally rings, I dart to the front door and tear it open. For the shortest moment, I consider playing it cool—just standing there, nonchalantly flipping my hair back, greeting Aaron with a, Hey, what’s up?

Of course, that’s not exactly how it goes because as soon as our eyes meet, the widest grin spreads on my face and I jump at him with a squeal. Luckily, he reacts fast enough to catch me. He wraps his arms around me and buries his face in the crook of my neck with a chuckle.

“Hey, Sunshine,” he mumbles. His deep voice vibrates through my body and makes me tremble, already bringing certain body parts to life.

“Hey,” I respond as I lean back, and because our lips are drawn to each other like magnets, it takes no less than one-point-two seconds for our mouths to touch. With me still clinging to him like a monkey and our lips locked, Aaron walks inside the house and closes the door with a kick. He moves us over to the living room and sits down with me on his lap.

We continue kissing like it’s been years rather than hours since we’ve last seen each other. At least I feel starved of his touch, and my body vibrates with need. Damn, I act like a right little hussy around him by now, shamelessly grinding my core over his groin. Bashful Kaitlyn is gone; say hi to the wanton and lascivious new me. Not that I care because it feels fucking splendid; he makes me feel better than any man before him.

Aaron tightens his grip on my hips, and for a fleeting second, it seems he wants to keep me still, which stands in odd contrast to the urgency he shows in the way he kisses me back. His tongue enters my mouth, sending a wave of pleasure through my body. I definitely need more. Now. My hands wander under his shirt, but as soon as my fingertips touch his skin, his body tenses up. Not much, but enough for me to notice.

I pull back and narrow my eyes at him. He gives off a sudden vibe that makes my stomach flutter—and not in a good way. “Is everything okay?” I ask.

He lifts his eyebrows and hesitates a moment too long for my liking before he answers, “Of course.”

I frown. “Is this still about Jackson?”

Aaron lets his head fall back and runs his hand over his face with a small sigh. “No, it’s not.” He lifts his head and meets my gaze with a grimace. “I was just wondering...” He clears his throat. “Are you going home sooner, now that your aunt is back?”

Oh, so that’s what he worries about. I chuckle. “I talked to Jannie about that. I’m not gonna go home earlier. On the contrary, I decided to stay.”

He blinks at me. “Stay,” he repeats in an odd tone and with an even odder expression, making my smile falter and my insides churn.

That’s when it dawns on me. With a gasp, I jump off his lap. “Oh my goodness!” I screech in an unnaturally high voice. I touch my throat with my one hand, trying hard to keep the acute sense of nausea at bay. “You don’t want me to stay!” I point my finger at him while I struggle to form a coherent thought. No, this can’t be!

But the way he looks at me—it’s hard for him to keep eye-contact. He takes in a deep, pained breath before he closes his eyes and lowers his head. “Kaitlyn,” he whispers.

My whole body stiffens because he’s never said my name like that. “No, no, no—just no!” I drag my hands through my hair, moving a few steps away from him. Wow, that escalated quickly. Just a minute ago, I wanted to rip off our clothes, and now I want to strangle him for doing this to me.

Aaron finally lifts his gaze and meets mine, but I instantly wish he wouldn’t look at me like this. He clenches his jaw as if to hold back the words I fear will tear me apart.

But I need to hear it. “Talk to me, Aaron.”

With every second he stares at me, the anger inside me builds, and it reaches its peak when he whispers, “I’m sorry.”

“You’re sorry?” I yell. “Are you fucking serious right now?”

He gets up from the couch and takes a step toward me, but I hold up my hands to stop him. His shoulders drop, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much agony written over anyone’s face. “Kaitlyn,” he repeats.

I clench my fists as I choke down a sob. I wish he’d fucking stop saying my name like that. I pinch my lips tight to keep them from trembling. This must be a damn nightmare; that’s why he doesn’t utter a single sensible word.

I take in a deep, slow breath through my nose. “I think you should go now and think about what it is you want. Once you’re done, let me know.” I walk past him out of the living room. “You know your way out, right?” I huff on the way to my room, where I slam the door shut and throw myself on my bed with a frustrated groan, pleading that Aaron didn’t just show me his true feelings—and hoping he’ll call soon.

He didn’t call.

For four days straight, I waited for him to come back to his senses—back to me. He didn’t.

He didn’t call, he didn’t text, and he sure as hell didn’t come by to talk. By morning of the next day, doubts crept up on me. What if I was wrong? Our conversation—that wasn’t really one—lasted for about two minutes, and I drew conclusions from his body language alone.

But he never contradicted me; he didn’t rectify things. He could have told me I was crazy for thinking he wanted me to go back home sooner rather than later, but he did no such thing. So no matter if he really meant what he said—or didn’t say—it revived my doubts and fears. It took me right back to the beginning of whatever this was between us when I thought a guy like him would never choose a girl like me.

Was I right all along?

Today is day five of radio silence—five days of hoping, cursing, and making decisions. I cried and cried—not only for Aaron but I also finally let go of all the emotions that raged inside me because of everything that had happened with Jackson. In the end, I came to the conclusion that maybe our meeting served a purpose. He helped me, I helped him, and now we’re done.

So last night, I returned to North Carolina. My parents picked me up from the airport, and even though I was utterly exhausted, we spent the whole evening talking. They’re still not too happy about my decision to become a writer, but because I could push thoughts about Aaron aside, I showed such enthusiasm about my plans that my parents couldn’t help but stop their nagging.

That enthusiasm was gone, though, as soon as I entered my apartment—alone. I spent yet another night crying myself to a restless sleep, only to wake up way too early this morning. Memories of Aaron torture me not only every waking second but also in my troubled dreams.

Somehow, I manage to get through most of today without curling up on the couch and becoming a sobbing mess, and now, it’s early afternoon, and I wait for Amber to pick me up after her work.

I had texted her before I returned home, giving her only a little info on the events of the past days. Of course, she had texted back she would take me to our favorite sandwich place to fill our stomachs with excellent food as a foundation before getting hammered at our favorite bar afterward.

No, it’s not the weekend, and yes, Amber has work tomorrow, so I’m not sure how that plan of hers will enfold, but I’m looking forward to seeing my best friend again.

When the long-awaited sound of my doorbell echoes through my apartment, I grab my purse and keys with a slow smile. “I’ll be right there!” I call as I slip into my shoes. Yes, an afternoon with my best friend is exactly what I need to process the things that are threatening to crush me.

It’s day one of getting over Aaron.

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