The Rider's Keeper

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6

BLAKE.

MY heart flutters inside my chest, my eyes narrowing as a silly smile widens on my face. I couldn't have read it right.

I read over the bold and daring text a few times, my doubt increasing with every read.

"Come see me then"

It's nine-thirty, and driving to her house is not a problem. I grab my keys and slip out the door, sending a quick text back as I head down the elevator.

"On my way"

As crazy as it seems, I love it, judging from the countless methods of hugging her that I can't get out of my mind. If this was a test to see whether or not I'll come, then Sparkles baby, you're on.

I hop on my bike, fix my helmet, and take a deep breath to brace myself before riding off into the night. City lights trail past me as I speed across the street, cutting between cars on my way to Olive's home. I am on an all-time high as my heart races from the adrenaline and the anticipation of seeing Olive.

"You have arrived at your destination." The woman in the GPS says, and I hop off my bike and lean against it, sending a text to let her know I'm here if she hasn't already heard the roar of my bike.

"I'm here"

The front door bursts open, and my stomach drops, my lips going dry as Olive stalks toward me, wearing a three-piece, long cotton pajama set with lace trim, hair pulled into a messy bun held together by a pencil.

"You're bold. You know that?" She folds her arms, an incredulous smile playing on her lips.

"I wouldn't be me if I was anything less," I smile lazily, silently appreciating the sexy being that stands in front of me. "Were you in bed?"

"I was, in fact," She nods, chewing on her bottom lip, and all I can think is 'the things this woman does to me,' it's taking all the willpower I have not to pin her against my bike and ravish her sweet lips. "I guess I should have known that telling you to come would end in my demise,"

A low laugh escapes from my lips. "Be careful what you wish for, Sparkles. Never tell a man who sends you an I miss you text to come and see you."

She rolls her eyes at me and leans against her neighbor's wall behind her. "I was trying to be kind," She frowns. "Bold, but kind, removing you from stranger status to something else."

My heart skips inside my chest, a slow smile rising to my lips. "Something else?"

"The one that gets to see me in my pajamas, apparently," She gestures up and down her body. I push from my bike to lean against the cold wall beside her, the pine scent on her body invading my senses.

"I'm not mad at that. I'm not mad at all that you rushed to see me looking like a meal prepped and ready to be ravished by me."

Olive gasps, pushing me away from her, the short contact sending electricity through my body. "Get away from me, you pervert,"

"I'm sorry about that," I laugh. "It's kind of hard for a man to think when you're looking like that,"

"Oh my God, stop." She runs her hands up and down her arms, a slight tinge of red covering her cheeks.

The transition from the fierce girl from the Café to the shy girl in front of me is enough to send heat rushing to my core. "You don't have to be shy, you know? I'm just telling it as it is. You're beautiful."

Her eyes snap up to capture mine in a heated gaze I am not sure she is aware of. The street light above us gives an almost forbidden golden glow to her eyes, and my heart slams against my ribcage as her pupils seem to cover most of her irises.

Her lips part open seemingly lost for words. And as much as I crave to slam my lips against hers at this moment, I don't. It took some time for me to practice restraint once. Once I did, I never go wrong.

I want her to come to me.

My head is filled with Olive in this moment of silence as we gaze upon each other. And I wonder what is going through that lovely head of hers. "Why did you come here?" She breaks the silence.

"You told me to," I shrug.

"But you're smart enough to know I didn't mean that, so why?" She frowns.

"I wanted to see you," I tell her, straightforwardly.

She arches a perfect eyebrow. "Do you like me, Blake?"

"Yes," I say in a heartbeat.

Her eyes widen, her lips parting again, taken aback by my straightforward answer. "Why? You barely know me."

I don't think she gets it when I say I am all for knowing who Olive Greene is. Quick flings do not interest me anymore. I am not the silly boy I was in college who could only be with a woman for sex, kicks, and giggles.

That part of myself is long gone. I guess you can say I outgrew it? I don't know, but I feel something with her, and I want to keep feeling it. I push from the wall and position myself in front of her. She backs away a little, leaning against it as I take a step forward, extending a hand to tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear.

Her breath hitches. My mind and body, all too aware of the proximity. My skin tingles where my fingers are barely touching her, my racing heart echoes inside my ears, and her eyes are wide and on high alert as she penetrates my dark ones. "I don't think you understand what you do to me," I whisper, unsure if she heard me but still hoping that she did. "I pursue what I want, and if my heart is telling me it's you, then that is where I'm going."

Her eyes flutter closed, and she barely whispers back. "You're crazy,"

A small laugh escapes my lips. "I guess you better get used to having this crazy man around,"

She smiles, chewing on her bottom lip as she shakes her head, her face flushed and glowing.

She looks so good I have to wet my lips, trying to think of anything to prevent myself from descending upon those sweet lips, and soon I push myself to my standing height, backing up toward my bike as I take in all of her. "You must be cold. You should get inside," I say, throwing a leg over my bike as I slip my gloves on. "Best believe that you'll see me again, Sparkles."

"I-" She starts but pauses and looks away, causing a teasing smile to rise to my lips.

"I have to admit," I slip my helmet on and turn the key on my bike, smiling as it roars to life. "I like this something else that isn't on stranger-status," I wink, enjoying teasing her until the end, and before she can muster up a coherent reply, I am already speeding down her street and out the streets of Oregon.

Slipping my leather jacket off and hanging it on the wooden rack behind the door, I hit the shower to cool off. My head was all fuzzy from seeing Olive like that, but I'm not done with her yet. For tonight at least.

A text pops onto my screen as soon as I lay down on my bed, and a smile rises to my face when I see it's from Olive.

"Touch me again, and I'll shove my boot up your ass."

I can't stop the laugh that escapes my lips, and I shake my head and let it die down before I press the call button. The phone rings for a while, making me think she won't answer. She answers on the 7th ring.

"It's a little late for that reaction, don't you think?"

She clears her throat on the other side of the line. "It doesn't matter, I-" She trails off.

"What?" My smile widens. "Cat got your tongue?"

"I'm not usually like this, you know?"

"Oh yeah?"

"If it was any other day, I would have kicked your ass,"

I laugh, not doubting a word she said. "Then why not today? Why didn't you?"

"People sometimes dare to do things to me, foul things, and usually I show them where to shove it. I can put them in their place just fine, but your daring is of a different kind. One I am especially not used to dealing with. You're bold, straightforward, and free. I was taken aback for a while."

"Were you, now?" I tease. "Which part was it? When I tucked your hair behind your ear?"

"I am not answering that."

"Or when I licked my lips while staring into your eyes? Did you want to kiss me, Ms. Greene?"

"I am not answering that!"

"Or was it when I told you that I like you?"

Olive stays silent.

"So it was. I'm happy to hear that."

"I didn't say anything,"

"No, but silence says more than a thousand words ever could."

"Right, whatever floats your boat. I didn't catch your last name, you know?"

"That's because I didn't give it to you,"

"I know, smartass, tell me,"

I bite my lip, wondering if she should know who I am. "Lincoln."

"Blake Lincoln," She repeats my name slowly, savoring it as it rolls off her tongue, the simple words causing goosebumps to spread across my skin. "What do you want from me, Mr. Lincoln?"

My heart skips a beat, deciding that I like it when she calls me that. I take a few moments to process her question, trying to think of an answer that won't repulse her or scare her away when she's just beginning to let me in.

"You." Olive gasps on the other side of the line. "I want to invade your thoughts as you do mine, and I want you to think about me when you wake up in the morning or go to bed at night. I want to occupy your headspace, to be the one you open up to when you need it. I want to get to know you. That's all I want for now."

"For now?" She asks.

"For now, yes. If I tell you more, you might run away from me."

"And if I run still?"

"I'm grabbing my bike, and I'm coming over, right now,"

Olive laughs out loud, and it is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard. "Let the chase begin, then,"

"Awww, you miss me already?" I chuckle, my legs curling as the blankets wrapped around me.

"Keep dreaming, Lincoln."

"I will, but be careful. My dreams always come true."

"Do they now, then maybe this one might just come true."

"Are you finally confessing your undying love for me, Ms. Greene?" I tease.

"You are supposed to work hard for your dreams, Blake, not will them to come true."

I laugh, rolling on my bed. "Will flowers do the trick?"

"I hate flowers."

I laugh. "I thought as much, tell me what you like,"

We remain on the phone for an hour, and every time she speaks, I learn a new thing about her. And every new thing that I acquire from her pulls me closer and closer to the fire. I like that I can listen to her laugh. I feel like the luckiest man alive. I like listening to her speak her mind and not shying away from the prospect. I like Olive more and more with every second that I spend listening to her.

By the time we decide to call it a night since she has school the next day, it is twelve-thirty in the morning. I can't remember the last time I spoke this much and enjoyed it. Hell, I can't remember the last time I smiled this much that my face fuckin' hurts. But if I had a chance to do this again, I wouldn't trade it for a dime.

"Goodnight, Sparkles."

"Goodnight, stranger."

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