Oh shit, did I actually fall asleep cuddling Connor?
Opening my eyes very slowly I have never been so relieved to see Hopes perfect head of beautiful ringlets.
I definitely like the guy, but I’m not at the spending the night in someone’s arms stage at all. That’s an intimacy I’ve never really had before.
“Morning sleeping beauty.”
Turning slightly to see over the back of the couch I spot Connor standing in the kitchen, a huge grin on his face and an even bigger cup of coffee in his hand.
His eyes travel from mine to the little cutie still blissfully asleep at my side. “You left us here all night?”
He chuckles. “Well I did try to take her to bed but she was holding on to you like a life raft in the middle of the ocean. You didn’t seem to want to give her up either.”
“Well she is the cutest one here, who else was I going to spend the night with?” I smirk. He notices as Hope starts to stir, I slip myself up and roll out my neck as she snuggles herself back into the pillow.
Connor makes his way over to the chair whilst I wrestle with the blanket to try tuck her back in. Seriously how did I not throw her off last night? I must have been exhausted because usually she wouldn’t have lasted two minutes with how I roll around a bed at night.
I make sure she tucked in tight before letting my head fall back against the sofa, catching Connors eyes as he stares at me. There’s so much happiness in them, in fact it’s a look I’ve seen before. It’s the same look I saw a hundred times from Chad when he was falling for Al, that look where you know you shouldn’t feel this way yet but you can’t help it...
It’s a look that terrifies me.
I step up quickly and walk to the kitchen, grabbing the pot of coffee and searching for the sugar. “Don’t you have sugar in this place?”
He laughs as he moves to sit down on the stool. “Not really, it’s kind of bad for you. There’s sweetener there?”
Fucking hell Dad, what kind of guy doesn’t have sugar? No wonder this poor kid loves me, she’s clearly been neglected! I need to bring Granny’s brownies with me the next time I come, she’ll lose her shit.
I dump half a jar of sweetener into my coffee, making Connor give me a look mixed entirely of disbelief and disgust.
“Hey! Don’t you judge me!” He throws his hands up in mock surrender and laughs.
I can’t believe I didn’t even get to fuck him last night, he’s still in just some sweats and all I want right now is to let them fall to the floor while he bends me over this counter.
“What are you thinking?” He smiles at me and I realise I’ve been staring at him way to long, but seriously, that body is something else. When does he even have the time to train to look like that? The things I want to do to those abs... fuck Brianna, you’re still staring and you haven’t said anything!
“I was thinking, how long does Hope usually sleep for and if you have time to screw me so hard my legs forget how to work before she wakes up.” Connor chokes on his coffee and I burst out laughing, he really is too innocent.
Passing him the napkin I spot a princess arising from her slumber, her sleepy eyes widening as she spots me. “Beebee! You’re still here!”
Running around to my side of the counter she wraps her arms around my leg and I pull her up to sit on the worktop. “Of course princess, we were just discussing what your Dad should make us for breakfast.” Connor chuckles into his coffee.
Hope rolls her eyes then turns so only I can see her signing. ‘If Dad makes it then it’ll be yogurt, granola and fruit. He says it’s healthy but it’s gross, it’s all he makes.’ Her face scrunches up in disgust and I’m tempted to join her.
“What is she saying about me? I’m not sure I like this thing where you two tag team me.” Connor motions his finger between me and Hope while we laugh.
This poor kid needs me. “Okay then, I’ll make breakfast and I’m thinking... pancakes?”
Hope almost leaps from the counter she’s so excited and starts to point out where everything is in the kitchen. I let her stir the mix while I find a pan, she’s getting more flour on her than in the bowl but that’s why they invented baths right? I have a single moment of panic when I notice my thong is still on the floor in here but I shove it into my pocket before she sees it.
Connor doesn’t say anything, he just sits back and watches with a smile as we laugh and joke whilst making a batch of perfect blueberry pancakes, I think even Granny would be proud of these.
“Beebee I have ballet today, do you want to come?” Hope asks whilst wolfing down her third pancake.
“Oh I’d love to princess but I’ve got to do some stuff with a friend today, his brother has a big fight tonight so I said I’d keep him busy. Next time okay?” She smiles and nods but looks a bit defeated. “Do you like your ballet class?”
She fiddles with her piece of pancake, pushing it back and forth along the plate. “Yeah, I just can’t get my pirouette right.”
I nod. “Yeah they’re hard when you’re starting out for everyone babe. I can help you if you want?”
Taking her hand I pull her into the centre of the living room, pushing the coffee table to one side so I can make some room. “Okay sugarplum, show me what you got.”
Hope sets herself up, I can already see what’s going to happen by her positioning, as she steps to spin she takes a small tumble to the side before landing it, causing her to huff and puff. Bless her, I remember this frustration well.
Kneeling down in front of her I start to shift her stance, making sure to balance her weight so she can land properly. “Right, always start like this, it’ll help you to land and balance without falling over. Then I’m going to stand over there and you have to focus on my eyes, make sure to whip your head around fast, faster than your body does – like this.”
Standing up I move directly to my toes, spotting my point as a photograph on the wall and starting to spin. God it’s been so long, I can’t remember the last time I moved like this. Rotation after rotation I find myself getting lost in the movement, that dizzying buzz I haven’t felt in so long returning to me. Dance has the ability to make you feel alive like nothing else.
Stopping my twirls I look down at her just to see her looking up at me in awe, I’ve missed this. “Wow, you’re really good.”
I chuckle, moving across the room. “That’s nothing chick, you should see what I can really do. I’ll show you some stuff when you get this okay? So focus, take the stance and eyes locked on me. Spin.”
Hope takes a deep breath, looks directly at me as I smile right before she let’s herself twirl, landing with perfection.
She stares down at her perfectly placed feet before flashing her eyes to me again. “I did it!” Jumping up onto the sofa, she leaps straight over the back and into my arms, still squirming with excitement. I feel like a proud ma- teacher. Yes, teacher.
Pulling her back to face me, I make sure she can read my lips. “That was mint babe! I knew you could do it, you just needed a better teacher. What school are you in?”
She smiles, clearly very proud of herself, as she should be. “Riley Emberton Elite.”
I roll my eyes, of course Connor would send her somewhere like that. I always hated that bitch. She used to come to dance competitions where I was younger and try to intimidate people like Al into backing out, her Dad throwing his money around. She was crap then and she’s crap now. “Oh she’s shit hun, you should go see Ms Day, she’ll have you sorted in no time.”
Crap! I look at Connor and curse myself for swearing in front of his kid but he’s just smiling at us, it’s all he’s done this morning. It is kind of cute, the way he keeps looking at me like that...
“Could you take me there Beebee?”
Oh shit, I plead with Connor through my eyes. I can’t go back there, not yet. I really like this little girl but I’m not ready to step back inside that dance studio.
Connor steps up and takes Hope from me, remembering my conversation about dance and knowing I just can’t so that. It’s hard enough to even watch May dance and she hardly even does it anymore.
“Come on little princess, go brush your teeth, they’re still blue from the pancakes.” She giggles, jumping out of his arms and running off to the bathroom with an extra spring in her step.
I start gathering my things up ready to go but Connor takes hold of my wrist, pulling me to him and planting his lips onto mine. Oh god we shouldn’t be doing this.
“Connor... she could come out any second...”