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I tossed my jacket on the back of the couch and dropped my bag on the floor beside it. I took in a deep breath, a small moan passed my lips as the smell of peppers, tomatoes, and spice met my senses. I followed the smell into the kitchen and found Kaine at the stove with his back to me. He was stirring a pot filled with pasta. He turned and looked at me as I walked up to the island and sat down on the stool.

“Hey, right on time.” He said as he pulled the pot off the stove and drained the water in the sink.

“It smells delicious. Is this your homemade sauce you always talked about?” I smiled.

“Of course.” He put the pot back on the stove before wiping his hands on the tea towel that he had thrown over his shoulder. “Wine?” He reached for the glasses.

“Mhm, yes please.” I smiled happily as he reached for a bottle out of the cooler. He poured a glass and slid it across the counter top.

I happily took it. Swirling the liquid in the glass before taking a sip of the cabernet. I sighed happily as the flavours assaulted my tongue.

“Wonderful choice.” I licked my lips as I set the glass down. I watched the liquid as I tossed thoughts around in my mind. “So Claire -”

“And I were together, but it wasn’t serious.” He finished for me as he prepared our dishes.

“That’s not what -”

“No, but you would have asked eventually.” He smiled. “I’m not going to say that I wasn’t abstinent while I was away. That wouldn’t be fair.” He pulled out a chair at his dinning table and waved me over. I gathered my glass and moved towards him.

“I had my dabble with relationships in the office and I wasn’t wanting to dabble in anything serious again.”

“Yet here you are.” I smirked.

“Yes, but you’re not Claire or any other woman in the office. You’re a childhood friend, family, my first love and as it happens my mate.” He said everything so casually as if these proclamations were easy for him to admit…with just me around but my heart fluttered at his words.

A part of me still felt some hesitation. This was all so much. Although these admissions were great to hear, I didn’t feel as if I was totally ready to hear that. I shifted in my seat, unsure of what to say. I wasn’t ready, not yet. I needed time.

“You seem to be saying that a lot.” I forked some pasta before I placed it in my mouth. I rolled my eyes to the back of my head as I let out a satisfied moan. “This is the best pasta I have ever had.”

“I’m glad. What have I been saying a lot?” He asked as he took his own bite of food.

“That I’m your mate. Once I put it in the open, it’s all you’ve been saying when we're together, without others around of course.” I shrugged.

He raised an eyebrow, his eyes watching me, assessing me before he replied. “Does that bother you? That I only say it when we’re together?”

“Yes and no.” I looked down at my plate.

“You said you needed time.” He leaned back in his chair. “I wanted to give that to you, I didn’t want to make you feel pressured.”

My eyes met his honey swirls. I gave him a soft smile.

“I appreciate it, that you’re giving me time. I do need it. Everything is just new and old…” I shook my head. “It’s just confusing for me right now.”

We finished our dinner and found ourselves stretched out on the living room floor. An empty wine bottle sat on the floor between us, and a half-empty one was beside it. I laughed at something Kaine said and took another gulp of my wine.

“Does your person wear glasses?” I asked as I watched him look down at the board.


“Damn.” I whispered as I flipped down all the faces with glasses. I looked at the eight options I still had up and glanced at Kaine’s board. He only had five.

I’m so losing this game. I thought.

“I can’t believe you still have this game. I feel like I’m fourteen again.”

“Never hurts to be a child again.” He shrugged. “Do you have green eyes?”

“Yes.” I groaned as he flipped down three people. “Go for it, just ask. I won't be able to catch up.”

“Are you Dean?”

“Ugh.” I pushed the tray away from me. “How do you do it? You’ve always kicked my ass at this game.”

“I’ll let you in on a secret,” He pushed our wine glasses out of the way before he moved his face closer to mine. “You have no poker face.” He smiled.

I rolled my eyes. “That’s not a secret! I already knew that!”

“That’s how I win.” His eyes flicked down to my lips. My heart fluttered in my chest as he watched my lips before his eyes met mine once again. I watched him, questions swirled in his eyes as he watched me. I could feel his breath gently caressing my face. I waited for him to make his choice. Watched him as he waited for my lips to tell him no. They didn’t.

Blame it on the wine. Maybe this would be good, maybe it’ll be a huge mistake. I’ll blame it on the wine.

He leaned forward and pressed his lips against mine. I sighed into the kiss, letting my mind slip away as I embraced the feeling of his lips on mine. I felt my hand move against the side of his neck, my fingertips laying against his collarbone. He slowly pulled away, placing one last peck on my lips before pulling back and looking at me. He gave me a soft smile before he slowly stood up, picking up the wine bottles.

“Come on.”

“What do you feel like watching?” I stood up with him, grabbing each of our glasses and setting them down on the coffee table before I flopped back on the couch. I landed with a soft thud, air puffed out of the pillows as I leaned back.

“Whatever you want, Livy. I’ll go get some snacks.” He said as he walked behind the couch.

“Oh!” I said, quickly flipping around I leaned against the back of the couch, my knees underneath me. “Do you have popcorn?” I asked with excitement.

He stopped and looked down at me. “When you’re around there’s always popcorn. I’ll make us a bowl.” He leaned down and placed another soft kiss on my lips before he moved into the kitchen.

I watched him as he walked away, his body was a magnificent sight. I licked my lips with approval. My body was humming, my blood rushing through my veins making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Definitely the wine’s fault. I thought as I sat back down on the couch. My tiger rumbled with disagreement.

Okay, maybe not the wine. I agreed as I let my mind slip into thoughts of Kaine as my eyes barely registered the movie options on the screen.

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