Urgh, why did I decide to scroll through his Instagram? This guy is handsome. I searched him, Nicole doesn’t comment on his photos, although he likes and leaves a comment on every one of hers. I can’t think of it now; she is waiting. I tried to slow walk from the car to Nicole’s front door, but it was useless. The need to see her, to touch her, to kiss her is too much. I decided tonight I’m asking her to be exclusive, after seeing the way her ex is still around, the thoughts of another man touching her are too much to bear.
I want her to myself.
My finger presses her doorbell, and I hear her walking quickly inside her small apartment. It’s not long until she is at the door and my breath gets stuck in my throat.
Nicole stands on the other side of the door, her hair straight but half up in a messy bun, wearing tight jeans that hug every curve of her body perfectly, and she paired it with a black off the shoulder shirt. The sight of her exposed collarbone and her lace bra is a little too much for me to handle.
Yes, I have a neck kink.
She extends her hand to me, and I take it still startled by her and stumbling inside her apartment. Nicole giggles, before tiptoeing and pressing her lips carelessly on mine, bringing me down from my daze.
“Hi,” she says, pulling back and searching for my eyes.
I curse myself under my breath for stuttering, but the truth is I don’t know what this woman is doing to me. I have seen her naked enough times not to be amazed by her. I know that happened with others. At some point it was even hard to lift the guy. But Nicole can swing her hips in front of me, and I’m done.
What is it with her?
“So, what are you cooking?” She asks curiously peeking the grocery bag I forgot I was holding.
I clutch it to my chest, tightly and turning away from her towards the kitchen.
“It’s a surprise,” I say over my shoulder.
Nicole follows me; I still see as she quirks up a brow before her gaze follows on my back and then lower. She is eating me with her eyes, and I don’t mind at all. I dressed tight jeans for that. With a snicker, she sits on the stool behind the counter and watches as I put on her black apron.
I take the groceries, but she has no idea what I’m preparing, so I start by asking her where the cut board is, and the pans. She points at everything, amused when I can’t find something.
“You start on Monday?” I ask cutting the onions and placing them inside the hot pan.
“Yes, I will be shadowing Jackson for the first week.”
I realize my brow shoots up before I have the time to stop it. Nicole frowns at me but then smiles as I try to not to make a big deal out of it.
“Don’t worry, I will still make time for you,” she says with a wink.
She grins at me before coming to the other side of the counter and resting her chin on my back.
“This is nice,” she says, circling my waist with her arms.
“Yes, it is.”
I let her rock me, humming to a melody as I finish dinner. We stay like this for a while; I dim the fire on the stove, so the food takes a while longer to cook because I’m enjoying this — the softer side of her.
The side I want to see every day.
But the food can only cook for so long, and we both know it. With a sigh, I turn the stove off while she hands me the plates, trying to peek to the finished dish.
“You made fried rice?”
She asks curiously eyeing the egg in the middle of the sticky goodness.
“I made my version of fried rice,” I reply taking the dish from her hand and placing it on the table. Nicole follows me or the food; I’m not sure which at this point, sitting close to me on the table. She stares at it, grabbing a spoon and eating a mouthful, chewing cutely before her eyes widen.
“Alex, this is good,” she says taking another spoon to her mouth.
“I know, it’s my mom’s recipe,” I state proudly.
“You’re close to your parents?”
She is trying to know more personal things about me, and that is something that warms my soul. Because I also want to know more about her.
“Yes, especially to my mom,” I reply, taking a bite and recalling the long conversations my mom, and I have every Sunday morning. “What about you?”
Nicole stops her spoon midway through; her eyes linger on it for a while before she dismisses her thoughts and stares at me. Whatever she was thinking is gone by now.
“It’s a long story,” she says, and I realize I touched a sensitive topic.
My hand crawls on top of hers, and I squeeze it tightly, before letting my thumb run small circles on her skin.
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
“I want to, is -” she locks her gaze on mine and for the first time since I met her I see the fade glimmer of tears in her sweet coffee eyes. “I don’t talk about her that much because it hurts.”
“We can talk about her when you are ready,” I say, leaning to her and placing a kiss on Nicole’s cheek.
She smiles, the most honest smile she ever gave me because even if I know she is hurting, the way her lips curled up, showed me she is opening herself to me. In a way that she doesn’t do to most people, and I feel so proud about that.
“Then we have my father, with who I don’t speak since I was 16.”
My heart stops at this. I want to ask why, but the fear of seeming I’m intruding stops me. Nicole, however, seems more carefree about this topic.
“It’s ok, Alexander,” she says softly chuckling. “Sometimes blood doesn’t mean anything.”
I frown at her words and think through all I know about the woman sitting with me. She has a strong personality; she is very protective of the people she loves, and most important she doesn’t like injustice.
“I’m sorry you had to face something like that.”
“Life is hard. Mine was cruel at some point when you’re 15 and your father-” Nicole stops speaking. She takes a sip from her red wine, something I notice she does when nervous, and then dismisses whatever haunted her. “He was never present, and when I lost my mom things got worse with him. He started to drink, spent away all of our money including the one saved for my college.”
I clutch the silverware in my hands, trying not to say any profanities about the man I don’t know. Nicole notices this; her slim fingers come to my cheek before dropping to my chin and forcing me to look back at her.
“I grew up just fin. He was just a drunk man who cared more about a full bottle than his daughter. At sixteen I decided it was time for me to leave, so I packed everything I could into a backpack and one handbag and got out. There was still enough money for me to get by for a while and that’s what I did.”
“You were very brave for doing that.”
She shrugs, making what happened to her seem like its not a big thing.
“I did ok, starved for a while only eating at my part-time job, but worked my ass off for good grades until I got to college. There I met my best friend, and ever since it’s been easier.”
Nicole explains me a little more about her past as I share some of mine as well. We end up staying at the table drinking the wine for one more hour laughing and comparing our college years, how I love to hear her laughing. It’s a sound that seems to be made to warm my heart.
“So you were the playboy?” She asks, snickering at me.
“Yes, I am afraid to admit I was.”
“One girl each night?”
My eyes widen at her question, and I see as she scooches closer in her chair, dropping her chin on the palm at her face waiting for me to speak. She finds this funny, making me fluster and search for words amazes her. It’s this, the way she stares at me, the way she drinks my words that make me see something in her I never saw in anyone else.
Nicole is not just interested in me physically; she sees more than looks; she wants to know more.
“No, I still had to study,” I say, filling both our glasses. “A different girl every other night.”
We both start to laugh, Nicole closes her eyes so hard trying to hold back the tears, one eventually crawls out, sliding down her cheek.
My finger finds it, and she watches me, her laughter diminishing until eventually it stops and both of us become serious.
“I am going to kiss you now,” I say slowly. “Because I want to make this moment perfect.”
She nods, staring deep into me before we both close our eyes. I connect our lips ever so softly and cup her face with both my hands pulling her closer. Nicole takes a deep breath between the kisses, her hands slide between my hair, and she pulls it lightly which as usual makes me deepen the kiss.
I don’t know for how long I kiss her, but breathing wasn’t an option. I want her to know how much I need her to be a part of me before; eventually, I ask her to be only mine. When I pull away Nicole takes a while to open her eyes, but eventually they meet mine.
She smiles, sweetly before wrinkling her nose. Her stare so sweet and kind teasing me to do more.
“Will you only kiss me?” She asks teasing.
Her tongue glides over her teeth as she waits for me to do something else.
“You little vixen.”
In less than a second, I see all sweetness and happiness fading as Nicole’s eyes widen, and she leans away from my touch. My heart pounds against my chest so hard while I realize the lie I’ve been hiding from her for months now is finally out.
I screwed up.