"Waiting for attention – I'm not. Cut it to the left, and I rock. Need an invitation? I don't. Slide to the right and I – Ughhh," I growled, wrapping a towel tightly around my wet body and ringing the water out of my dark hair. Drops of water slid down my arms as I ran through the apartment towards the front door, leaving a trail of wet footprints behind me. The incessant knocking continued rhythmically, and I put on my best smile as I pulled the door open nonchalantly.
"Hey Gram–" …Or not. I stood there awkwardly in the doorway of my apartment staring at the stud – who clearly wasn't my Grandmother – in a towel that suddenly felt entirely too small. Clearing my throat, I narrowed my eyes and clutched the towel tighter to my chest.
"I'm sorry," he smiled sheepishly. "By any chance, does Devin live here?"
"She's my roommate," I responded, noting his velvety voice and British accent.
"She's my sister," he said, running a hand through his tousled blonde hair. Same accent, same hair color, same perfect nose, I observed.I bit my lower lip and shivered slightly as droplets of water slipped down my shoulders. Because I was getting cold and he seemed harmless, I stepped aside and let him in.
"She didn't mention any visitors," I muttered, closing the door and crossing my arms over my chest. Better not be getting any ideas, Brit.
He smirked, "Yeah, she wouldn't." His hands stayed in the pocket of his shorts as he leaned against the back of my couch and looked around.
"Dev's out for a run," I explained. He nodded slowly and continued scanning the room. Nosy little…
I breathed a sigh of relief as the door clicked open and we both turned, expecting Devin to run in. Ironically, Grams marched in. Your timing's great, Grandma.
"Roxy Selene Monroe!" she gasped, eyeing Devin's brother. "Did this young man spend the night?" she asked accusingly, her eyes were narrowed and she wore a disapproving frown.
I sighed. "No, Grams. No one spent the night. Devin's brother," I emphasized, "just caught me at the wrong time."
She eyed him questioningly.
"Penn McKnight," he grinned charmingly, holding his hand out. My grandmother's eyes popped as she returned the gesture and shook his hand.
"Roxy, what kind of impression are you trying to set for our guest here? Standing there all naked like that?" Grandma frowned.
I bit my tongue and sauntered back to the bathroom while I heard them making conversation. After throwing on a top and some shorts, I brushed through my damp hair and tidied up the bathroom. Grandma was still babbling in the living room, so I took the time to quickly apply some mascara and cover-up in an attempt to make my cheeks a little less rosy. When I rejoined them, Devin was already jogging through the doorway.
"Penn!" she squealed, running up to hug him. "Shit, I totally forgot all about you!"
Grandma tsked at the language before leaving our apartment.
Devin winced in my direction. "Aww, Rox, I'm so, so, so sorry. It totally slipped my mind," she explained.
"What slipped your mind, exactly?" I asked, looking at Penn.
"I kind of… told Penn he could come live with us," she said guiltily.
"Should I wear this shirt, or this one?" Penn asked as I released the last lock from the curling iron. I stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, observing both the black and the white button-ups he was holding.
"Hmm," I pondered, rubbing my lips together. "Neither."
"Neither?" he questioned.
"Wear the red one," I suggested, dabbing some cover-up on my face. I wiped it off right after; its light tone diminished my tan. If Devin were here, I'd jack hers.
He nodded appreciatively.
He was still standing in the doorway while I outlined my eyes with eyeliner and coated my lashes with mascara, my mouth forming an O shape and my forehead wrinkling as I did so.
"I wonder if Elena knows of your creepy habits," I murmured, popping my lips and wiping away the excess gloss with a tissue.
"I'm sure she'd disregard them," he said confidently. "My sexy looks make up for my curious ways."
"Mmmhm," I muttered. "Sure, they do." Of course they do…
I stepped back and took half of my curls, pinning them up and letting the remnants rest just above my sleeveless mini dress. I started humming, swaying around the bathroom. Reaching over I scanned the shelf for my favorite bottle of perfume; spraying the mist, I stepped into it.
Penn was grinning when I finally turned around. "How do I look?" I asked, clapping my hands by my sides.
"Rox," he began, giving me a once-over, "You look like you're asking for it."
"Perfect," I smiled, speed-walking past him to get my shoes.
There was a knock at the door, and I grabbed my clutch off the counter before composing myself and opening it.
"Hey Ja–" …nope. "Elena," I greeted awkwardly.
"Hey, Roxy, you look gorgeous babe," she giggled as she stepped in. I tried not to roll my eyes.
"Thanks," I murmured, chucking my clutch at the couch. It missed. "You do, too, babe."
"Baby!" she called in her Malibu Barbie voice.
I took a seat on the lazy boy and crossed my legs. Penn strolled into the living room, rolling up his sleeve to match the length of the other. Red was definitely his color. His eyes met mine before flashing to Elena's. They smiled and pecked like the cute couple they were. Blehhh.
"Penny, what is this?" Elena asked, flicking the silver chain around his neck.
"Devin gave it to me," he shrugged.
She reached over and unbuttoned another one of his buttons to expose more of his bronze chest. "Well, Tasha's boyfriend Carlos' brother, Rodrigo? Yeah, his friend wears chains like this. And he's in a gang."
I smirked and turned my head so she didn't catch me laughing.
The corner of Penn's lips turned up slightly. "Well, I'm not in a gang, Lena. You've got nothing to worry about. You ready to go?"
"Have fun," I offered.
She laced her fingers with his and pulled him out the door. He winked at me and shut it with a click.
James showed around ten minutes later. I got my clutch off the floor and smoothed out my dress before following him out.
I was home before ten. I took a long shower before curling onto the couch with some ice cream and flipping to Comedy Central.
"How was the infamous James?" Penn asked, sliding his spoon into my carton of Cherry Garcia.
We'd done this so many times I didn't even get scared when he came out of nowhere and jacked my ice cream.
"Eh," I shrugged. "I had more fun talking to Lorenzo than him."
"Lorenzo?" he asked with eyebrows raised as he pulled the spoon out of his mouth.
"The waiter," I informed him.
He shoved me with his elbow as we both chuckled.
"I see Elena was fun," I scoffed, the tip of my finger grazing the mark she'd left on his neck.
He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. "See, I thought that too. But then…"
"You realized she was a man?" I gasped enthusiastically.
He glared at me, trying not to smile. "Her boyfriend called."
"That was my next guess."
"Roxy," he said in his husky British accent. He brought his face closer to mine until we were barely an inch apart. I gulped, feeling my pulse accelerate. Strange, I thought.
"What?" I whispered. My eyes were trained on his dark ones.
He got even closer. I found myself fighting to keep my eyes open. I sneaked a peek at his lips, watching in awe as they began to move.
"Your phone's ringing," he whispered.
"Wha–" I mumbled blankly. Then my ears heard the familiar ringtone of my cell phone. I jumped off the couch and ran to the kitchen.
"Hello?" I answered breathlessly, though I wasn't sure the three-second jog was to blame. "Oh, hey Lorenzo," I grinned, twirling my hair with my finger.
"This Friday?" I repeated, leaning against the counter. Looking across the room, I caught Penn staring at me. He turned around and scooped out some more ice cream.
"Yeah," I sighed. "Sounds great."
I returned to the couch and grabbed my spoon.
"Hot date?" Penn smirked.
"Mhm," I confirmed. "Who's next on your list?"
"I'm thinking Clara."
"Think she'll approve of your bling?" I laughed.
Lorenzo was a sweetheart. A bit touchy-feely, but a sweetie. I got all dressed up; we went out to a movie... It was all nice enough. But I didn't feel anything – which sucked because I was really counting on the fireworks.
He called, but I kept coming up with excuses. I think he got the message.
For the first Friday in a very long time, I stayed home. While Penn was getting ready for a date with some Jasmine character I was on the phone with Devin.
"How's Bryan?" I asked, stretching out on the couch. "He treating you right all the way on the other side of town?"
"Oh my God!" she sighed happily, "Rox, he is amazing. I think he's gonna pop the question soon."
I gasped. "Really? Do you know what you're gonna say to him?"
"Yes, you know what you're gonna say?" I asked.
"Yes," she repeated.
"What?" I laughed. "You're going to say yes?"
"In a heartbeat," she gushed.
"Aww, Dev," I cooed. Penn walked into the living room, fixing his collar before unlocking the door. He turned to look at me, mouthing a goodbye before pulling the door open. He winked.
"Have fun," I mumbled.
The door clicked closed, but I continued to stare at it for a few moments.
"Roxy? Hello? Yoo-hoo! Roxy!" the person on the other end screamed.
"Huh?" I managed, turning my attention back to her. "Sorry about that."
"I swear, sometimes I feel like my brother is way more important to you than I am," she joked.
"That's redic," I smirked. "Why would you think that?"
"Because whenever he's in the room, he's the only one that seems to matter to you."
"Uh, yeah," she argued.
"Mm-mm," I shook my head even though she couldn't see.
"Mm-hmm," she laughed. "Eww, Rox! You like my brother."
"You're delusional, love," I said in my best British accent.
"And you're in denial, honey," she countered in English.
"Well, as life-altering as this conversation is, Dev… I'm gonna go take a long, hot shower and forget all about it," I told her. Getting off the couch, I stopped by my room to get a pair of boxers and a tank top.
"Bitch," she smirked.
"I love you," I sang.
"And my brother, too," she sang.
"I'm hanging up now," I told her.
"You gotta tell him before–" she yelled, and I pressed end.
"No hard feelings," I muttered, turning the shower on. Hot.
My shower was uneventful, to say the least. I just stood there, skin soaking up the water, fingers getting wrinkly. I finally stepped out, got dressed, and prepared myself for a long night of Comedy Central and Chocolate Chunk.
"What's the matter, Rox?" that low velvety voice asked. I nearly jumped.
I shrugged. "Nothing." The freezer rumbled as I reached in and pulled out the last pint of ice cream. I pulled the utensil drawer open, grabbed a spoon, and bumped the drawer closed with my hip. Hoping it wasn't evident that I was as nervous as a five-year-old on the first day of school, I leaned across the island counter and dug my spoon into the frozen chocolately goodness. He was watching me like a hawk.
"What?" I asked obnoxiously, my mouth full of ice cream.
I tried again after swallowing the cold spoonful of dairy. "Why are you here?"
His face was expressionless as he walked up to the counter and leaned against it as well. Perfectly aware of the fact that there was only two feet of wood and granite separating us, I stared into the carton.
"Jasmine was that bad, huh?" I scoffed, scraping the spoon against the ice cream. I opened my mouth and lifted the spoon up. Penn's hand shot out and pulled the spoon to his mouth. My eyes flashed to his, narrowing as he stole my ice cream.
He released his hold on the spoon and walked around the island. I turned around, regretting it as soon as his hands landed on either side of the counter around me and he leaned in. Trapped, with nothing but a spoon for defense, I stood there.
"Roxy," he breathed. "What's wrong?" he asked again.
That accent got me every time.
"Why do you assume something's wrong?" I asked.
"Because you weren't singing in the shower," he stated.
I narrowed my eyes. "So?"
"You always sing in the shower, unless something's the matter," he smirked sheepishly.
"You wanna know something?" I asked softly, searching his eyes. They had that familiar curious glint in them as he nodded. They bluntly trailed down my face, staring at my lips. Mine looked at his too, tracing them intently.
"You," I smirked, "…are such… a creep." He laughed as his hands found my hips and closed the distance between us. The first thing my brain processed was the taste of his warm, soft lips: Chocolate Chunk. Then I realized how skilled he was, how right this felt. I dropped the spoon. My fingers kneaded into his hair, eliciting a groan from him as I wrapped my legs around his torso and he gently placed me on the counter. From there, things got less and less gentle. But we weren't complaining.
The phone rang, and kept ringing until the machine beeped. We paid no mind.
"This is your favorite person in the world," Devin giggled happily, "I'm just calling to make sure that you guys have stopped beating around the bush – because if you aren't," she paused, sighing dramatically, "all over each other by now I'm going to–" Beep.
"Good riddance," he laughed, shaking his head. He leaned in, but I pulled back.
"Wait, so you really sit around listening to me sing in the shower?" I smirked breathlessly.
He nuzzled into my neck, leaving a trail of light kisses while making his way up.
"I find it endearing," he admitted, capturing my bottom lip.
The phone rang again, and we both groaned in annoyance. Beep. "I'm taking the silent treatment as a good sign. Woo! You go, Penn, I applaud the fact that you finally decided to grow some balls because, dude, you were seriously starting to worry me there. But I swear if you knock Roxy up I will hire someone to neuter–" Beep.