#30 Not in front of your brother
Flirting with Khiêm has taken a backseat to my internship, working on my website, designing clothes and making small items to sell. I asked Khiêm to not promote my site just yet, since I want to see what I can do for myself first. His offer for him and Gail to promote my stuff is still on the table, but I want to see if I can drum up business for myself first. I do put my link on his web shop, and his link on mine, but that’s it. I’m not in a rush. I want to do this right.
Gail hasn’t been around much, thank God. Khiêm always has her over when I’m at work or out with friends or family. I still try to make sure to compliment him whenever I can, but he’s not reciprocating yet, and I’m too busy to worry about it for now.
After work, I pick up some groceries to make tacos for me and Khiêm. It’s technically his day to cook, but we’ve not been sticking to the schedule at all lately. I like cooking for him, taking care of him, doing nice things for him, and he loves letting me, so screw the schedule.
It was a pretty tough day at work. I screwed up a veil, so Sonia wasn’t too happy with me. We were able to fix it, thank God, but I could use some patented Khiêm-validation right now.
“Khiêm!” I yell when I walk in. I texted him I was close, so I was expecting him to open the door for me like he normally does. I kick off my shoes and struggle to not let the bags slide from my full arms. “It’s one of those days again,” I shout loud enough to be heard wherever he is. I’m guessing the living room, judging by the unmistakable sounds of a game being playing on the big TV. “I’m gonna need some fucking good validation and I need it now!”
“Khiêm!” Cursing softly, I push open the door to the living room with my hip. “Why the fuck aren’t you rushing out help me with-” I stop talking when I realize that Khiêm is not alone. Marcus and Jagger are sitting on the couch, staring at me with their eyebrows raised as high as they can possibly go. “Oh, erm… hi!” I feel stupid now. “I didn’t know you guys were here.”
Jagger is grinning a little too much. “I’m sorry to interrupt you getting… validation?... from your roommate. Whatever that means.”
Oh God, he thinks we’re sleeping together, doesn’t he?
Finally Khiêm comes over to help me with the groceries. “It’s not what you think, you dirty bastard,” he tells his best friend. “I’m a regular therapist, dude. Nia has been acting out in the past because she feels the need to prove to herself that she’s worth a damn by getting validation from men, and those men are usually sex-obsessed assholes, so we agreed she needs to stop being a fuck-up. I offered to give her validation instead.”
Fucking hell Khiêm, too much information…
We put the stuff I bought on the kitchen table, and he turns to put his hands on my shoulders, giving me a look full of fondness and pride. “You are a strong, smart, competent woman and you don’t need some stupid asshole to make you feel good about yourself.”
I stick out my tongue, trying to pretend I’m not melting into a puddle. “I know. Thanks.”
My brother clears his throat, making both of us look over at him. “That’s… Wait… you were looking for validation by having sex with a bunch of assholes? Are you still doing that?”
Is he seriously surprised about that after seeing what happened with Sebastian? And the way I threw myself at Jagger? I guess my big bro didn’t want to dwell on that.
“No,” I tell Marcus while I grab the lettuce to put it in the fridge. “I’ve got this asshole right here to give me validation and I don’t even have to spread my legs.”
Khiêm winks at me. “You wish I’d ask you to.”
Fuck yeah, I do. But I can’t let him know that in front of my brother.
“As if. You wish I wish that.”
“You wish I wish you wish that,” Khiêm shoots back.
“You wish I wish you wish that you wish…” I’m too mesmerized by the look on his face – joy, wonder and kindness – to pay much attention to what I’m saying. “Wait… what?”
“I win!” Khiêm gives me a playful shove, his fingers lingering on my arm a little longer than necessary.
“I wasn’t aware this was a contest.” I throw him the bags of chips so he can put them away. I hand him the yoghurt next, trying hard not to look at his ass when he bends over.
“Gimme some sugar,” Khiêm orders, making me laugh as I hand him the bag of sugar cubes. In turn, he throws an apple at my head, which I put in the fruit bowl.
When I move past him to put away the sparkling water, I accidentally run straight into him, and he steadies me, squeezing my shoulders.
“Thanks,” I breathe, thrown off by how close we are. “You smell good,” I blurt out.
Ah fuck, Nia, so not the time.
“T-thanks,” he replies, taking a step back. “I… erm…”
“What are you guys doing for dinner?” I call out to Jagger and Marcus, trying to diffuse the situation. “I can make tacos. That is, if you don’t mind me being here. I will hide in my room after dinner, I promise.” I know Marcus and Khiêm don’t see much of Jagger, and I don’t want to impose on their bromance bonding time.
“Don’t be silly,” Khiêm says, his easy smile back. “This is your home too.” He reaches out to ruffle my head, and I roll my eyes at him.
“So… tacos?” I ask Marcus and Jagger, who are suspiciously quiet. Why are they staring at me?
“I’ll help,” Jagger says, already moving into the kitchen.
“Great, because Khiêm sucks at cooking.” I stick out my tongue at Khiêm and laugh at him. “You know it’s true, you big nerd.”
He grins and moves over, putting both of his hands into my hair, messing it up so much it won’t look good again until I’ve washed and styled it. Asshole. At least him ruffling my hair doesn’t feel brotherly today. With my hair a mess, it’s a good thing the only people to see me are Khiêm, Marcus and Jagger. Khiêm sees me in my pajamas every single morning, Marcus is my brother, and Jagger… well, I honestly don’t really care if Jagger thinks I look good, I realize with a start.
Well, that’s new.
Marcus and Khiêm start a new game on the TV, yelling at each other, and I smile at how cute Khiêm looks in his jeans and one of the shirts I made for him. Jagger asks what he can do to help, so I hand him a knife and some vegetables, pointing to the cupboard where we keep the cutting board. I preheat the oven and get started on seasoning the ground beef for the tacos.
“So…” Jaggers says, looking over at me with a strange look on his face. “You and Khiêm get along like a house on fire.”
Ah fuck. Jagger may be a muscular god with a kind heart, but he’s not exactly subtle. He obviously picked up on something. I can’t let him know that I’m into Khiêm though, because he might report back to Marcus. “He’s great,” I say, faking a smile. “It’s like living with a big brother who doesn’t try to baby me the whole damn time.”
Time to change the subject. It’s not hard to find something to ask him, because his girlfriend has been all over the news lately. I was shocked to learn Rose had been sexually abused by one of her teacher during her first year at Harvard. She recorded a video with two other victims – or survivors, that sounds better – to encourage other girls to press charges. The guy was arrested trying to flee the country, the stupid bastard.
“How is Rose doing?” I ask Jagger. “I saw all the news coverage, and it looks like she really kicked up a… well… storm.” Which is funny because that’s her last name. Quite fitting. Rose Storm.
“Yeah, she did,” Jagger confirms with a smile. “She’s okay. It’s been tough, but Rose doesn’t let anything keep her down for long.” He looks so smitten when he talks about her.
“I’m sorry if I caused any problems between the two of you when I… you know… tried to get with you. I’m so sorry for that.” This proper apology is long overdue. I know Jagger already forgave me, but I want to make sure that we’re truly okay. “I know I was so far out of line that I couldn’t even see the line anymore.”
“The line is a dot to you!” Khiêm shouts from the couch.
I laugh when I recognize the quote. “Exactly.”
“What?” Jagger asks, confused.
“It’s a Friends reference,” I tell him, checking on the ground beef for the tacos. “I’d never seen Friends until I moved in here, so Khiêm took it upon himself to introduce me to what he insists is the best show ever.”
“It is,” Khiêm says, still listening in on our conversation. “Ah fuck!” he shouts at Marcus, who is apparently kicking his ass in the game. “Dude!”
“Stop talking and start fighting!” my big brother bites out. “I’m so gonna beat your ass this time.”
“No one beats Khiêm,” I say, unable to help myself. “It’s his fucking job to play games all day long. And trust me, he’s good at his job.”
“Fuck yeah I am,” Khiêm looks away from the screen for a second to wink at me, but then he’s back at it, and judging by Marcus’ grunts, my roommate is winning this round.
“Did he just wink at you?” Jagger whispers to me, getting started on grating the cheese.
“He’d flirt with a brick wall if it had tits,” I say, laughing way too loudly to deflect the situation. I wish that I’d know if he is truly flirting with me. So far, I have no idea if he is or not. All I know is that Jagger and Marcus can’t know that there is something going on between us. No way.
When Jagger is done with the cheese, I push him out of the kitchen so he can play games with the guys while I get dinner ready. I put in my earbuds and sign along softly, swaying my hips to the music as I put the tacos in the oven and put the veggies into the skillet with the ground beef. When I look over at the guys, I see that Jagger and Marcus are now facing off, while Khiêm is watching… well… me.
I smile at him, pulling up my hair to show him that I’ve got my earbuds in. He winks and does a weird little dance, making fun of what I was doing just now. In response, I shimmy, and then I do a slut drop, which makes his eyes widen. Yeah, Khiêm, you’re not going to win this game.
As I get four plates ready for us, I feel his gaze burning, and I make sure to bend over as often as possible, giving him a nice view of my ass. Marcus will never know what I’m doing even if he wasn’t so focused on the game. I’m pretty sure Jagger is already onto us, but I’m happy to see he’s focused on the screen as well.
When Khiêm sees I’ve got dinner ready, he moves into the kitchen, helping me put everything on the table. “Stop it,” he hisses when I brush against him to grab the cheese Jagger grated.
“What?” I ask, batting my lashes at him. “What am I doing?”
“You know what you’re doing,” he grunts, his eyes intent on mine. “Your brother is here. Now is not the time.”
Finally, he’s acknowledging that there is something for Marcus to catch onto. I can’t help but be happy about that.
“Fine,” I agree. “But you have to stop looking me like that.”
“Like what?” he asks, grabbing the cutlery to finish setting the table.
“Like you want to eat me instead of the tacos.”
His eyes widen and he takes a deep breath as he grabs the bottle of sparkling water from the fridge. “Stop it,” he warns me again, not denying that he was looking at me like that. “Get the glasses.”
“Yes boss,” I agree, throwing him a wink. I can’t stop. Not now.
“Nia,” Khiêm breathes, still watching me. “Please. Stop it.”
“Dinner is ready!” I yell to the other two guys, not acknowledging Khiêm’s plea.
Jagger and Marcus throw down their controllers and dive in right away. I make sure to grab the seat next to Khiêm, touching my foot to his. He doesn’t pull back. We stay like that all though dinner, and since Marcus keeps eating like he hasn’t been fed in weeks, we stay at the table for a long time. Jagger grabs some beers from the fridge and a soda for Jagger. When he’s back in his seat, he glances at his phone and sighs deeply.
“You miss Rose, don’t you?” Khiêm asks knowingly.
“Yeah,” Jagger admits, smiling wryly. “Being in love is pretty fucking great, but long-distance sucks, especially with everything she’s going through right now.”
“She’s strong,” Marcus says with his mouth full of taco. “She’ll be fine.”
As Khiêm and my brother cheer up their friend, I shift a little closer to Khiêm, putting my hand on his leg under the table, where no one can see. He makes a low noise in the back of his throat, and thank God the other guys don’t notice. I slow move my hand further up his leg until I’m palming his cock through his jeans.
He shoots me a warning look, but he doesn’t move away from me. I know what I’m doing is risky with Marcus across from us, but tonight in the kitchen was the first time Khiêm has let on that this is not all in my head. That he’s feeling something too.
I rub him, feeling him grow hard, and I have a hard time keeping my face blank. I take a sip of my beer just as Khiêm does the same, both of us pretending nothing is going on. Suddenly, his hand is between my legs, his fingers brushing over my core. Even through my jeans and panties, it feels amazing. I can barely keep myself from moaning.
“Okay,” Khiêm announces, clearing his throat while he’s still rubbing me through my clothes. “Let’s get back to our videogames, shall we?”
Jagger and Marcus get up right way, and Khiêm and I remove our hands from each other, not daring to look at each other for fear of giving anything away. My brother wastes no time grabbing a controller, but Jagger offers to help me in the kitchen. I seriously can’t be around him while I’m soaking through my panties, unable to stop looking at Khiêm, so I assure him I’m fine and tell him to go back to the game.
“I’ll be right back,” Khiêm says, rushing to the hallway. “I need to… pee.”
Hah. More like take care of his raging boner. I smile to myself as I get started on the dishes. I’m distracted, so I end up spilling a lot of foamy water on myself, but at least I’m not alone. When Khiêm returns, he sits down on the couch, getting his ass kicked on every single game. His eyes keep drifting to me, and I feel a rush of heat through my entire body each time our eyes meet.
“Dude, what’s up with you?” Jagger asks, looking at his friend. “You suck. Isn’t this the game you play almost every single night? For money?”
“I’m just tired,” Khiêm grunts.
“Tired?” Jagger repeats, looking from him to me, his eyebrows raised. “Sure…”
I need to get out of the room. Now. Or Marcus will surely start to suspect something. I can’t let that happen. Not when I don’t even know where Khiêm’s head is at. I tell the guys that I’ll be in my room, and while Jagger and Marcus assure me I can stay, I can tell Khiêm is on the same wavelength, knowing that as much as I’d love to curl up against him, we need some distance right now, or Marcus will know something is happening before we even get a chance to figure out what the fuck we’re doing.
Plus, I need my vibrator. Right fucking now.