Something Like That

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Dinner

Lia woke with Cody’s arms wrapped around her. She laid there staring at him, admiring his good looks and thinking about their conversation overnight. Lia gently stroked his cheek, trying not to disturb him. Seeing that it was afternoon, she quietly snuck out of bed and went to get some food started for them. While she was busy making a small brunch of fresh fruit, toast, and eggs, Cody slipped up behind her, wrapping his strong arms around her waist.

“Good Afternoon.” He kissed her neck, making her giggle.

“Good Afternoon, sir. I was just preparing some food and was planning to serve you in bed.” Lia smiled.

“Oh my! Pretend you never saw me!” He laughed then ran back to her room, jumping into the bed. Lia laughed the whole way to her room; she loved his playful side.

“Well, Good Afternoon, I see you are finally awake!” She winked at him.

“Ah yes, just waking up.” He stretched and forced a yawn.

“You’re too cute.” She gave him a quick peck on the lips before sitting down with their meal. They ate in relative silence, Cody staring at the beautiful woman before him. His phone pinging brought him out of his stare; he checked to see a text from William.

12:30 p.m.- I just wanted to confirm that we’re still on for dinner at my house this evening? -Dad

12:31 p.m.- Still going to hold me to it?

12:32 p.m.- I never back out on a deal, son. I thought I taught you that as well.

12:33 p.m.- Should be fine. Time?

12:34 p.m.- 6:30 on the dot. I am looking forward to it.

Lia sat eating her fruit, scrolling through her phone, and enjoying a calm and relaxing start to her day while Cody replied to his phone messages.

“Sorry about that. My days are a bit thrown off with all the schedule changes and events; I didn’t realize it was already Friday.” He shrugged, hoping Lia would be okay with the dinner still.

“Yes, it is. Does this mean we’re still on for dinner?” She smiled, popping a piece of apple into her mouth.

“As long as you’re fine with it. At the time, I was willing to do anything, but I suppose I should have considered your thoughts.”

“It’s just dinner; how bad can it be?” Lia laughed at Cody’s nervousness.

“My Father doesn’t do anything casually and makes nothing easy.”

“Well, now you’re making me nervous.” She gave him a look.

“No, No. You’ll be fine. It’ll be fine, I’m sorry. William would like us to arrive at 6:30 if that works for you?”

“Of course. Is there a dress code?” She giggled, joking.

“Just Sunday best, I suppose.”

Lia gave him a questioning look, raising her brow. “For dinner at home?”

“I told you, nothing casually and nothing easy.”

Lia shrugged, mentally going over her wardrobe and what she should wear.

Cody could sense her hesitation. “Lia, it’s fine. You’ll be fine. My issues with my Father shouldn’t make you nervous. He’s nice to everyone else.” He laughed.

They finished their meal, hearing the front door open.

“Lia? Cody?” Dani called out.

“My room!” Lia returned.

“How’s it going?” Dani smiled, standing in the doorway, raising her brows excitedly.

“Fine. Just finished brunch.” Cody smiled at her, taking the dishes to the kitchen.

“OMG!” Dani smiled. “Did you two?!”

“What?! No!! Gosh, Dani!” Lia shook her head at her crazy friend.

“Ugh. It’s a matter of time. Seriously. It’s palpable.” She rolled her eyes, coming further into the room.

“Danielle Elizabeth, soon to be Morgan! I’m having fun with him, it’s nice, and I think taking it slow is good.” Lia stood, starting to make her bed up.

“Yes, soon to be Morgan!! I’m so excited. We only have a few more weeks, you know. I was going to see if you want to go over some things with me before work tonight? You know you’re off the schedule until next week. Have you talked to Cameron?”

“What? Why?!” Lia stopped.

“She wants you to recoup from everything going on and come back fresh to start. No worries, she’s not upset at all. Dr. Wallins is coming back; that should be fun. Did you know he and Tara are a thing now?” Dani sat on the half-made bed.

“Okay, you’re throwing way too much information at me at once, and you’re also in the way of me making the bed, so scoot, let me shower, change, and we can chat.”

“Yes, Ma’am!” She giggled, going out as Cody was returning.

“Girl talk?” He smiled at her.

“Dani, talk, Lia, listen.” She laughed.

“As much as I’d love to stay here with you, perhaps I should go and prepare for the dinner this evening? You and Dani can gossip, or you can listen to Dani gossip, and I’ll pick you up around 6?” He kissed her cheek lightly.

“That sounds good. I’m looking forward to it.”

“That makes one of us! I’ll see you in a bit, cutie.” He winked at her before taking off.

“Okay, I think I’m ready for whatever ya got.” Lia laughed, joining Dani in the living room. She felt refreshed after a shower, wearing her bathrobe until time to dress for dinner. Dani smiled at her in return.

“I’m just going over my little binder here, making sure all the details have been taken care of. I’m worried about everyone making their flight; A destination wedding was not the least stressful idea.”

“It will all be fine. You kept it small, the right people, and on the beach! That is the makings of a perfect wedding. I’ll do my best to make sure everything goes smoothly and perfectly for you both. I also need to get on the whole apartment hunt, so I’m not living with the newlyweds” Lia laughed.

“That is the last thing on my mind; you are welcome here for however long you’d like. Seriously. I know Nathan feels the same way.” She reassured her. “Besides, why get an apartment when Cody has a cute little cottage house that would be perfect?” She winked.

“Oh my gosh! You just won’t stop!”

“Nope.”

“Well, you just keep on. I need to start getting ready for this dinner with Cody’s Father.” Lia spoke, her eyes going wide.

“That’s tonight! I forgot! William is a decent man, has his demons like everyone else, but you’ll be fine.”

Dani left for work, leaving Lia to get ready after helping her pick out a lovely dress. It was a simple black dress, sleeves to her elbows, and form-fitting, one of her favorites with pockets! She kept her long hair down, curling it to create some soft waves, pinning a small piece back. She made her make up simple and light. Lia slipped on her heels, patted her dress, and applied some lip gloss just as Cody knocked. She giggled at him for having knocked at the door since he never had before.

“Good Evening” He smiled, eyes sparkling as he stood with a small bouquet of wildflowers.

“Hello, Handsome.” Lia smiled widely. Cody stood, taking her all in. He thought she was gorgeous before, but she was stunning now standing before him. He held out the flowers for her; his voice stuck in his throat.

“Thank you. Are you okay?” She laughed, motioning for him to come inside.

“I’m fine, you, wow. You’re stunning.” He ran his hand through his hair. He stood looking quite handsome himself, wearing a black shirt, with a suit jacket over it and dark jeans with boots.

“Thank you; you look very handsome yourself.” She blushed.

“Are you ready for this?” He shrugged.

“Of course. Ready for anything with you.” She put the flowers in a vase and grabbed her purse. His heartbeat sped up with her words if she only knew how hard he was falling.

“Oh wow,” Lia exclaimed as they pulled up outside of William’s lavish home.

“A bit much, eh?”

“It’s something.”

“It’s ridiculous, but to each their own.” Cody parked his truck and ran around to assist Lia in exiting the vehicle. She smiled at him, happily taking his hand and holding onto it as they walked to the door.

“Good Evening Mr. Hudson.” An older lady greeted them at the door. “What a pleasure to see you again.” She held the door open for them.

“Hello, Miss Anne. Miss Anne, this is Lia. Lia, this is Miss Anne, my Father’s housekeeper.” Cody nodded to them both.

“Hello.” Lia smiled sweetly, completely surprised and taken aback at the large mansion before her.

“Mr. William is waiting in the den, this way.” She led them from the foyer down a long hallway, the floor was marble, and the walls were dark. Various artwork adorned the walls, the house itself decorated more like a museum. Miss Anne stopped in the doorway of the den, introducing them.

“Mr. Cody and a Miss Lia are here, sir.” She nodded, and off she went. Lia could feel her nerves creeping up on her. This dinner was the most formal dinner she’s ever attended. Also, not knowing the full history between Cody and his Father and his Father’s help in the matter with Dr. Brosen, she felt like she was going to puke. She took a deep breath as she could feel Cody squeeze her hand before letting go and placing it on the small of her back as they entered the room together.

A corner lamp softly lit the room; a leather sofa and two matching chairs sat in the middle with little else in the room. Lia’s eyes scanned and finally came upon an older man, looking much like Cody though aged about 30 years and a little slimmer in size. He had salt and pepper hair, smoothed back, with dark eyes. He wore a blue sweater with black dress slacks and shoes. His hands in his pockets, he warmly smiled when they entered.

“Son.”

“Good evening, Father,” Cody spoke, his voice different from the way he usually spoke. It was cold, distant almost.

“This must be Lia?” William reached out his hand, taking hers and giving her hand a quick peck. “Very nice to finally meet you.”

“Nice to meet you as well, sir.” Lia smiled, fighting the nerves and uneasiness about the room.

“I’m so glad you two could join me for dinner.”

“You didn’t give me much choice, Father.” Cody laughed.

“Thank you for the invite,” Lia added, giving Cody a look.

“Come in, have a seat. It should be ready shortly; Anne will let us know.” He motioned to the sofa. Cody led Lia over, his hand still on the small of her back. The men waited until she was seated before they took their seats as well. Lia crossed her legs, sitting as properly as she could manage. Cody tried to keep from staring at her long legs and imagining things that were not very gentleman-like, especially in front of his Father. William noticed how his son admired Lia; he had never seen him this way before. Not that he frequently had met any of the women in his son’s life, but he could tell that this was quite different.

“Well, how are you two doing? I hope well. It seems that Dr. Brosen will be out of our fine county sometime first of the week, so that’s good news.” William stated bluntly.

“Father, let’s not discuss that this evening, please.” Cody sighed.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought that would be good news?” He looked confused.

“It is. Thank you so very much for all your help, sir. I appreciate it more than you could ever know.” Lia was genuine with her words.

“I’m glad that I could help. I’m glad that my son called.” He smiled at Cody.

Cody was staring at Lia, thankful she was such a kind soul and was joining him for this dinner. He figured if he focused on her, the evening wouldn’t be so bad, and he was looking forward to being alone with her after the meal, in a more relaxed setting back at Nathan’s.

“Son?” William called, drawing him out of his gaze.

“Yes?”

“I said that I’m glad you called.” William seemed to be irritated.

“Oh. Well, yes. I’m thankful as well; I do appreciate the help you’ve given me to help Lia.” He choked out. William went to speak just as Miss Anne entered the room.

“Dinner is ready.” She smiled warmly. Miss Anne was an older woman, Lia estimated mid-seventies. She had gray hair, pinned up in a bun, and wore black scrubs with a white apron. The men motioned for Lia to stand first, so she did, and they followed suit, following Anne to the dining room. Cody pulled out her chair for her, sitting across from him and next to William, who sat at the table’s head.

“Would anyone like wine?” Miss Anne asked. Cody shot his Father a glance, raising his brow then shaking his head in disbelief or disgust; Lia wasn’t sure which.

“White please, Anne,” William replied.

“No, Thank you,” Lia spoke quietly.

“No thanks, Miss Anne. I’m driving this evening and prefer not to drive when I’ve had a drink.” Cody spat as Lia observed William fidgeting in his seat.

She nodded and went on her way. Lia found herself staring at Cody; he looked uncomfortable and generally unhappy to be here. She felt the weight of the guilt of them having to be here for this dinner and the impact upon Cody. Lia pushed her salad around the bowl, not feeling the desire to eat as they all began eating in silence. William sat back, sipping his wine. He looked from Cody to Lia. Then cleared his throat before speaking.

“So, how long have you two been dating?”

Lia’s eyes grew wide, and she narrowly choked on her food.

“We’re not dating,” Cody answered plainly.

William snorted. “Not dating, and yet you came to me for assistance regarding her?”

“Father!” Cody snapped.

“We’re friends, getting to know one another,” Lia answered quietly. William nodded in her direction. Lia couldn’t tell if he genuinely did not know how to interact with his son or if he was trying to anger him. She, herself, was starting to feel a bit irritated with the man herself.

“I see. You’re the first lady I’ve seen Cody with in quite some time. Much more beautiful than the last young lady, what was her name? Sarah?” William mused.

“Father, This is the first time you’ve seen me in quite some time. You’re rude.” Cody answered, shoving his plate out in front of him, sitting up straight.

“Oh, I meant no harm. Just conversing.” He smiled. Miss Anne brought out the main course, roast beef with vegetables and a squash puree.

“Why did you want me to come to dinner?” Cody asked sharply.

“I helped you, and now I need you to help me,” William answered point-blank.

“No. You said the condition was to come to dinner, and here we are. I’m not doing anything else for you.” Cody hadn’t touched his meal. Lia sat, pushing the food around the plate, chewing on her lip nervously.

“Yes, that was the condition. However, I was hoping that perhaps I could implore you to change your mind once we sat face-to-face. I’ve got some dealings in London that I could use your help with since I’m too old to be bouncing back and forth.” William explained while taking bites of his food. Miss Anne had popped in to check on them, refilling drinks.

“I’m not working for you, Father. We’ve been over this. I think this dinner may have been a mistake.” Cody looked down. Lia felt terrible as he had not made eye contact with her in some time. She finally decided this was going nowhere, and being all her fault; she felt obligated to intervene.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Hudson. I can’t help but feel at fault for this whole thing. Whatever you need help with, perhaps I can be of service? I mean, you went out of your way for me, not Cody, so it only seems fair I extend myself instead of you asking of him.” Lia sat up tall, trying to exude the confidence she didn’t have.

“No, Lia. No way. You want nothing to do with him and his business, trust me.”

“My businesses are just fine. I appreciate the offer, Miss Morgan, though I was hoping my son would return to his roots and join me. He’s never been one to enjoy the family businesses, though, since his Sisters untimely passing, well he has kept his distance.” William went to continue.

“You’re treading on dangerous territory,” Cody warned.

“What do you mean, son?”

“You know exactly what I mean.” Lia felt very uneasy as Miss Anne came to retrieve their barely eaten plates. She could sense the tension in the room.

“Shall there be dessert?” She questioned.

“Of course,” William said as if it was just the most obvious thing.

“Now, back to what I was saying. After Emily’s passing. “William was interrupted by Cody slamming his fist on the table.

“That’s enough,” He stood abruptly. Lia sat, unsure of what to do.

“Now, Cody, please. Let’s be reasonable.” William stood as well.

“Nothing reasonable about you talking about my Sister, being rude to my friend, and trying to guilt me into doing your dirty work.” He went next to Lia. “I’m sorry, Lia, I can’t be here any longer.” She nodded, standing to go with him.

“Cody, please. I’m sorry. I. we can start another topic.” Lia couldn’t believe how clueless this man was and how much anger Cody harbored for the man as well.

“That’s enough.” Cody stood. “We’re done here.” He grabbed Lia’s hand and headed to the door, Lia feeling drug along as she could barely keep up. He opened the truck door for her, holding her hand as she climbed in. Lia let out a breath she didn’t even realize she was holding once inside. Cody climbed in, sitting for a minute before starting the engine.

“Lia, I am so very sorry. I’m so, so sorry.” He moaned.

“No, please don’t apologize. I’m the reason we had to endure all of that, and I’m sorry.”

“What a mess, what a fucking mess of a family, huh?” He sighed, pulling out of the driveway.

“Every family is, I think. I am sorry, but I’m still thankful for all of your help.”

“As much as I despise that man, I’d do it again.” He smiled at her. “I’d like to salvage the evening if you’d allow, come back to my place? I think I can throw together a dessert, and we can talk?” Cody asked sheepishly.

“Yes, I’d like that.” She relaxed in her seat, hoping the rest of the evening would be smoother for them both.

Lia was pleasantly surprised when they pulled into a small country cottage’s gravel drive, just as Dani said.

“Much more of an appropriately sized home, eh?” He chuckled.

“It’s adorable.” She smiled at him.

The house was decorated sparsely, mostly with pictures of Cody and friends on his many adventures, it seemed. Several images of Cody with Nathan through the years. It was very manly, but not uncomfortably so. Lia nosed about while Cody rummaged through his cabinets in the open kitchen and living room.

“Success!” He held up marshmallows, chocolate bars, and a half-opened bag of graham crackers. Lia laughed. “No fire pit tonight, but this will do!” He turned on the stovetop and got to work. Lia sat at the kitchen counter watching as Cody carefully made smores for the two of them. She was so taken with this man and so intrigued with everything from the evening. How he had come to be the way that he is, she wanted to know more. As they sat eating their smores, Lia finally built up the courage to ask some burning questions.

“I don’t want to bring down the mood, but I have to say, I’m curious how you got to be like this” she motioned around the small house, the smores, his down to earth personality “when you came from that” she pointed toward the direction of William’s estate.

“Ahh. I was never like that. I’m not going to say the financial benefit of it isn’t comforting; no worries about that have left me able to do things I want to do without worrying. But the stuffy, hateful businessman, that was and never will be me.” Lia nodded.

“I’m assuming you’d like to know about my Sister?” He said barely above a whisper.

“I mean... well, only if you’d like to share.” She shrugged.

“I think it’s fair. I know a great deal about you, your struggles. I suppose I should open up as well?” He questioned.

“I suppose so.”

“My Sister, Emily. She was three years younger than me. We were pretty close, I mean, we had our share of sibling fights and all, but we became good friends as we grew up. She was amazing, kind, and feisty. She was in college, studying to be a lawyer” he rolled his eyes at that part. “She had come home for a brief visit, and during one of our parent’s many fights, she attempted to smooth things over. My precious Father was and apparently still is a sloppy drunk. After their fight, he got drunk as usual, then someone called him to come into the office. Emily being Emily, tried to stop him, not just for his safety but for the safety of others and to save him embarrassment with his career.” Cody paused, taking a deep breath.

“Cody, it’s okay. You don’t have to.” Lia comforted him, putting her hand on his shoulder.

“She got in the car with him, and they argued. I don’t know what happened in the car, but William ended up crashing the car. He crashed into a brick barrier outside of a neighborhood.”

“Oh, Cody. My God. I’m so sorry.” Lia covered her mouth with her hand, tears beginning to fall. She couldn’t imagine the heartbreak he must feel and how she felt for him, as well as the guilt for stirring all of this up for him.

“Of course, William wasn’t severely injured, but Emily, she was nearly crushed to death. By the time my Mother and I made it to the hospital, she was already gone.” He stood, walking over to the window.

“I’m really sorry, Cody.” Lia walked up behind him, placing her hands around his waist, hugging him. He turned to her, half smiling and kissing her forehead.

“I wasn’t a very good person for a while after that.” He mumbled.

“To your Father?” She asked, following him to sit on the sofa.

“To anyone really. Thank God for Nathan. He put up with all my bullshit.”

“I can’t imagine you being anything but the way you are now.” She laughed, putting her hand on his knee as they sat side by side.

“You’re pretty amazing; you know that? I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through, and I’m even more sorry you had to experience this evening with my Father. I’m sorry I put you through that.” He leaned forward, kissing her forehead again.

“Well, thank you. I happen to think the same of you and do not apologize for your Father. If it hadn’t been for me, you wouldn’t have to be dealing with all of this right now. I feel terrible for it.” She sighed.

“You are very much worth it.” He winked at her.

Lia felt the little butterflies twirling around in her belly; she loved how he looked at her. She still had so many questions, though, especially after the dinner.

“Can I pry more?” She giggled, raising her brow, hoping the playful nature would make him want to open up.

“Hmm. Let me see, you have questions for me, and I don’t mind answering, but what’s in it for me?” He rubbed his chin, smiling.

“Ha! You think you’re funny?”

“I try.”

“A kiss.” She blurted out, knowing she wanted it just as bad.

“Oh?” He questioned.

“Yes, how about a kiss for every question.” She giggled again, loving this playful time with him.

“Sounds like a great deal to me, ask away!” He turned to face her, sitting closer to her on the couch. Lia felt all tingly inside, a mixture of excitement and nerves.

“Now I feel pressure to make these questions good!” She smiled so wide, smiling so much her cheeks were starting to hurt. “Oooh, okay. Your last relationship?” She asked with a twinkle in her eye.

He rubbed his hand over his face. “You’re going to make me work for this, eh?” He sighed. “relationship? Well before my sister passed. I’ve gone on a date or two after that, no thanks to your Brother for setting me up on horrible blind dates.”

“You didn’t?” Lia asked, shocked about her Brother setting anyone up on a date.

“Well, it wasn’t at my request. You know how your Brother is.”

“Yes, I do, and I would’ve run the other way before going on any date he set up.” She laughed.

“So that’s one kiss.” He smirked.

Lia shook her head. “Your Father’s business, you worked for him at some point?”

“Ugh. Yes, briefly.” He ran his hand through his hair, kicking off his shoes and leaning back on the couch, getting comfortable. “Two.” He smirked.

“How’d you come to be a police officer?” Lia kicked off her heels, stretching her legs out over Cody’s, without hesitating; he placed his hands on her legs, rubbing his fingers up and down as they talked.

“After my Sister’s passing, my Father used his legal ease to get himself out of any trouble with the situation. I’m not innocent. I helped too, as working with the business, I felt it was my part. After a week or two, when everything really hit me, I guess I just felt that no one else should deal with what I was dealing with, and I wanted to serve and protect as they say.” He shrugged.

“That’s heartbreakingly sweet.” She whispered.

“I wish I were as sweet and wonderful as you seem to believe I am.” He laughed. “Oh, and that’s three.”

“I do think you’re sweet and wonderful, but don’t be fooled, I know no one is perfect.” She poked his arm.

“I’m far from it, for sure.”

Lia raised her brows. “Enlighten me.”

“Does that count as a question?”

“Sure.”

“I said I worked for my Father, briefly. Being an attorney in his business, you lie, cheat, and steal. Cutthroat business deals, that’s how you make money.”

“Wait... You’re an attorney too?” She exclaimed.

“Was.” He corrected. Lia shook her head in disbelief.

“An attorney, a police officer, and a volunteer fireman. Seriously?”

“I went from the dark side to the good side.” He chuckled.

“It would seem so; I think the good just in our brief time has most likely outweighed the bad.” She mused.

“I’m not sure; I can hope, though.” He began rubbing her feet without even realizing it. “I think that’s four now.”

Lia rolled her eyes playfully. “Maybe I should stop?”

“Technically, that is also a question.” He smirked.

“Now you sound like a Lawyer.” She teased.

“Ouch!” He held his chest like he was wounded.

“I guess five is enough, I suppose.” Lia laughed.

“Five is most definitely enough if done properly.” Cody leaned over Lia’s legs, closer to her face, smiling. Just as his lips were about to crash into hers, his phone rang.

“Ugh!!” He growled, pulling his phone from his pocket. “Sorry, just one second.” He stood walking into the kitchen area, answering. Lia was trying to be polite and not eavesdrop; she walked around the living room and into the small hall that led to two separate rooms next to each other. The doors were open, one-room Cody’s. The other looked like a spare room, sparsely decorated. Across from them was the bathroom, and at the end of the small hall was an open space, looked like a game room/library with patio doors. She made her way in, walking to the patio doors and opening them before stepping out onto the deck.

The fall air hit her hard, the temp had dropped, and it was pitch blackout. Lia had no idea the time at this point. She slid her hands into her dress pockets and curled into herself to keep warm, looking up at the sky. Lia loved being able to see the stars and moon without city lights obscuring the view. As she stood there soaking it all in, she felt a blanket placed around her shoulders. She turned her head to see Cody smiling at her, still on the phone.

“Yes, Mom. May I go now? I have company, as I mentioned.” He rolled his eyes, being silly as she spoke. “Yes, I will tell you all about her another time; love you too.” He hung up the phone, slipping it back into his pocket.

“Sorry. I’ve learned never to ignore her calls; otherwise, she gets into a panic.” He giggled.

“No need to apologize. Thank you for the blanket.” Lia snuggled into it. “I hope I wasn’t rude wandering out here. The view is amazing out here.”

“Not at all. I agree that’s why I built the deck, and the patio doors and windows all slide open, for warmer weather, of course.” He said proudly.

“You did a wonderful job. Your home is lovely. Speaking of homes, I need to be finding one.” Lia laughed.

“Nathan kicking you out on the streets?” Cody wrapped his arms around her waist, leaning his chin on her shoulder. She smiled so wide and felt her cheeks warming up.

“Not yet. But I assume newlyweds would prefer not to live with the sister/sister-in-law. The wedding is coming up quick.”

“Ah, yes.” Cody clicked his tongue.

“Please don’t tell me you’re a realtor too?” Lia asked, looking up at him.

Cody laughed a deep laugh, his body shaking as he did.

“No, sorry. I guess I can’t help you there.”

“I’m glad. You were starting to make me feel like an underachiever.” She teased. Cody turned her around to face him.

“You know you’re adorable, right?” He smiled. Lia felt her breath catch in her throat, his blue eyes sparkling in the moonlight. She was cold, but her shivers weren’t from that; it was from the intense stare Cody was giving.

“I guess I’m okay.” She shrugged, smiling.

“You are more than okay.” He leaned in and kissed her lips, both leaning in, their tongues fighting for control. Lia’s hand slid up to the back of his neck, tangling her fingers in his hair. Cody held her face in his hands, cupping her gently. He kissed her as if this was the last kiss they’d ever share, and he loved every minute of it. Finally coming up for air, they both leaned back, slowly opening their eyes, smiling at one another.

“Hi.” He whispered.

“Hello.” She giggled.

“I think that counts as one.” He squeezed her closer to him.

“Shameless!” Lia cried out, smiling.

They spent the rest of the evening kissing and talking and kissing more. They were both content to take things slow and enjoy the butterflies each kiss gave them. After midnight, Cody drove Lia back to Nathan’s. They sat in the driveway talking.

“Tonight has been amazing, Cody.” Lia gushed.

“Yes, it has been. Can I take you on a proper date tomorrow night?” He asked, eyes smiling wide.

“I think that would be lovely.” Lia leaned over to kiss his cheek. He grabbed her hand, pulling her back in for a deep kiss.

“Good night, Lia.”

“Good night, Cody.” She slipped out of the truck and into the house, giddy and full of happiness.

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