Jace spread his arms. "I'm right here, Lex." My heart skipped a beat. "Uhm, no thanks, you probably have cooties and other diseases." Jace, man-whore that he was, was one of my best friends, not to mention my house mate. So falling for him probably wasn't a good idea, right? Shit.
(note: some language, but nothing major, so still rated T).
"Oh my god, you are like, so lucky!"
Raising my eyebrows, I turned to acknowledge the random blonde girl who slid into the barstool next to me. "Oh?"
"Your boyfriend is gorgeous," she trilled, practically draping herself across the bar to annunciate her point. I smirked.
"He's not my boyfriend."
"No!?" she sounded horrified, her eyes going deer-in-the-headlights round. I suppressed the urge to snort. Drunk people seriously amused me sometimes. "But, like, why not?"
I shrugged. Because he was a womanizing ass who never settled down? But I wasn't about to explain that to her. "He's just a friend," I said, taking another sip of my drink. And it was true. Jace, despite his man-whoring tendencies, was one of my closest friends in this world. And also, unfortunately, my housemate.
My new friend shook her head. "Girl, you're crazy. Tell me you've at least tapped that?"
Amused, I smiled tightly and shook my head. "Nope," I said, popping my lips to accentuate my point. I swear the girl nearly fell off the bar in shock. "Would you like me to introduce you?"
If possible, her eyes got larger. "You would do that?"
Again, I shrugged. "Yeah, sure, why not?" Glancing over my shoulder, I whistled; a sound which, despite the din of the bar, managed to catch Jace's attention. Turning from his current possy of people, he took a second to locate me, and then gave me a large Cheshire-cat grin before sauntering over to the bar. I took a moment to see him as Annabeth might. Tall; lean but clearly well built; dark, ever so slightly curly hair; tight dark jeans accompanied with a black tee; and yes, I couldn't deny that my roommate was attractive.
"You beckoned, my lady?" he asked, his voice low and sultry, all of his attention devoted to me, completely ignoring the girl next to me like the skilled player he was. I rolled my eyes.
"Jace, I wanted you to meet my new friend…" at this point, I looked over at the girl, not having any clue, and not really caring, what her name was.
"Annabeth," she filled in for me, her voice dripping with honey as she leaned across me, extending her hand to Jace, making sure to twist her shoulders "just so" so that her boobs seemed to want to overflow her low-cut top. Lovely.
Jace took the extended hand, his blue eyes sparkling as he lowered his lips to her knucks. "Charmed." I found myself fighting the urge not to gag as Annabeth giggled. And at that point, I instantly became the third wheel.
"Right, well, I should let you two get better acquainted, so I'll just…" I slid off the bar stool.
"Oh, you don't have to go, I didn't mean to…I mean, I just wanted to…"
"Leaving so soon?"
Even though they both feigned interest in keeping me around, which I slightly appreciated, I knew my role was finished. I waved them both off. "I've got plans."
"Oh, well, it was nice meeting you!" Annabeth chirped giving me a wide grin that clearly had thankyouthankyouthankyouthan kyou written all over it. I gave her a tight smile. Poor girl.
"You too. Jace," I said, nodding and giving him a two fingered salute, which he returned. "Catch you later." He nodded. I waved at both of them.
As I walked away, I spared a glance back. Jace, anticipating this, threw me a quick wink over Annabeth's shoulder. "Don't wait up," he mouthed.
"Don't wake me up," I retorted.
He grinned and shrugged. "No promises."
Sighing, I threw my hands up in the air and continued out the door, pulling my coat tight around me for the quick walk back to our apartment. I breathed deep as I walked. The night was quiet, and it was that new-spring weather…crisp, but not cold, and you could smell the threatening promise of rain in the air. In a word—refereshing. I smiled.
When I got back to the apartment, I was overwhelmed by an immediate sense of boredom and loneliness. Dropping my purse in the corner and my coat on the rack, I picked up my phone and dialed a number I knew by heart. Two rings later, a sleepy voice answered.
"Liaaaamm," I whined, throwing myself onto the sofa with a whump.
The voice on the other end sighed. "Yes, Lex?"
"Liam, I'm boreeeeeddd."
There was a chuckle on the other side, and I grinned. Liam was perhaps my closest friend in the entire world, and the damned nearest thing to a brother I was ever going to get. Hell, at this point, we knew each other to the point that that we essentially were siblings. My mother had always wanted us to date, but one, I knew I could never, and two, he had a long-term girlfriend he adored. "I'm sorry, love, I don't know what you want me to do about it."
"Keep talking to me in that sexy British accent of yours?"
"Jace is spending the night with some hooker, isn't he?"
"Oh, that's right, I keep forgetting, he's the hooker. My bad."
I couldn't help but laugh. "Liam! Be nice."
"Oh we all know it's true, Lex. You just need to finally admit that it bothers you."
"It does not," I protested.
He hummed a note of disbelief. And unfortunately, I couldn't blame him. "You wouldn't be calling this late on a Friday night if you had company. You really need to start dating again."
"Blech, boys are dumb," I groused. And, so was I, really, when it came to dating. The first part of his sentence caught up to me then. "Ohmygod, I didn't wake you up, did I? Or…interrupt anything. Is Quinn there!?"
I heard a muffled, "Hi, Lexie!" in the background, and then, "You're on speaker, now, Lex, and yes, she's here."
"Well unless you started to learn how to imitate your girlfriends voice to a tee—and don't, by the way, I will disown you the instant you do—I figured as much. Hi Quinn!"
I could hear them both laughing. And then I realized, yes, I probably had interrupted something. My heart sank a bit—I loved both of them, but I knew they probably wanted time to themselves, and as much as I was bored and lonely, I couldn't add selfish on top of that. "Well, I should probably leave you guys to it…"
"We wouldn't have answered the phone if you were interrupting anything, Lex," Liam reminded me gently.
"Well good to know that if I was dying of a gunshot wound and you two were going at it like rabbits, you wouldn't answer the phone to help!"
"Lex, if you were dying of a gunshot wound, I'd hope your first call would be 911."
I pursed my lips. "Fine, Liam, be logical. Whatever. Anyway…"
"Liam's right, honey," Quinn chimed in from the back. "You need a boyfriend. Or a hobby…"
"Hey, I have plenty of hobbies!"
"And yet you're calling us…" I heard a slap and then an "ow!" as Quinn chastised her boyfriend.
"Or a dog, you could get a dog," Quinn added.
"Ooh! There's an idea."
"Oh, good, make her responsible for something. That's a great idea hon…ow! Stop that!"
"And that's my cue to leave, before all that slapping turns kinky…"
"Ech, Lex, honey, sometimes I worry about you…"
"Ah, don't worry that when I become an old maid, I'll just move in and live with you two and babysit all of those blonde curly haired children you are going to have!" I heard them both sigh on the other line. I knew they thought my dating life was hopeless, that I could be doing better for myself other than living with Jace in a completely, okay, mostly, platonic relationship. "Anywho," I continued, cutting in before they could start berating me, or trying to find someone to set me up with. "I should go. Call it a night. I'll catch you guys later, k? Dinner soon?"
"That'll work. We'll set it up later. Bye guys!"
And then, with a click, my world was back into isolation. Looking at the empty apartment around me, I heaved a sigh, got up from my spot on the couch, and made my way to my room to crash into my large comfy bed where I sincerely hoped that I would fall into oblivion and not be woken up if Jace and Annabeth decided that his place—our place—was the place to be tonight.
I was already up and making pancakes the next morning when the front door opened and Jace slunk through, his clothes from last night a rumpled mess and his hair clearly showing signs of bed-head. There was a neat line of stubble on his jaw as he had yet to shave this morning. I felt something twist in my gut, and I went back to my pancakes.
"Just getting back?"
"Ngh." I heard a thump followed by a second thump as his shoes came off and hit the floor.
"Mehneh." There was the sound of socks on hardwood as I heard him shuffle into the kitchen. A second later, his weight draped across me as he hugged me from behind.
"Ugh, yes, okay, good morning to you too. Now get off." I shrugged my shoulders, trying to dislodge him.
"No," he said, his first coherent word. And yet, it was spoken like a petulant child. He held me tighter, nuzzling his face into my neck. I fought to keep my heart rate down, and reminded myself that this behavior was irritating, not cute.
"Yes. Your stubble is scratching my neck. Getoff." I gave a more forceful shrug, accompanying it with a gentle elbow to his gut. Needless to say, that did the trick.
"Ow," he protested, "You're mean."
"And you're hungover," I said, turning him and directing him towards refrigerator. "Get yourself some orange juice, and while you're in there pull out the syrup."
As per usual, Jace made a large show of grumbling about me telling him what to do, but nevertheless followed my instructions.
"Oh, and pull out the plates and forks while you grab your advil?"
I heard him sigh as I flipped a pancake. "Yes, madam drill sergeant," he grumbled as he pulled out the eating utensils and set them on the table, wincing as the ceramic clacked against the wood surface. He plopped himself into a chair afterword.
"You know, I don't know why I put up with you sometimes, Lex, you can be so…"
Finishing the last pancake, I grabbed the stack and made my way over to the table, dropping some on his plate as I headed for my own chair.
"Nice. You're nice," he said, his voice perking up as the food landed on his plate, a complete about face from his original tone of voice. "Have I ever mentioned how nice you are, or how pretty? You're pretty. And nice."
I rolled my eyes. "Uh-huh. Sure."
"I mean it."
"Whatever," I said, pouring syrup onto my pancakes. "Just eat."
Typical man, he didn't need to be told twice, and promptly proceeded to scarf down his breakfast. We ate in a comfortable silence. Routine. And then I piped up. "So, I've been thinking."
Jace took a swig of orange juice to chase his pancakes. Yuck. "Well that's dangerous."
"I know, right? Anyway, I think we should get a dog," I said, grinning.
Jace looked at me like I had two heads. "A dog," he deadpanned.
"Yes! What's so crazy about that?"
"You? Be given responsibility for a living thing?"
I made an indignant noise, picked up the closest tea-towel I could find, and chucked it at him. "I'm not that bad! I'll have you know I owned a dog for many years. I can do it!"
He gave me his best "okay, crazy" look as he stuffed more pancakes into his mouth. Then, swallowing, he tilted his head and gave me a curious look. "Why the sudden drive for a dog anyway?"
I flushed and shrugged. "Quinn suggested it."
Jace raised an eyebrow. "Quinn. Why, exactly?"
"She said I needed a boyfriend, a hobby, or a dog. So….I think we should get a dog." I fought to keep the blush out of my cheeks.
A ragged grin stretched across Jace's face, and he waggled his eyebrows at me. "Babe, if you're desperate, all you ever have to do is ask," he said, gesturing up and down to his body.
Having thrown my tea-towel already, I settled for picking up a piece of a pancake and flicking it at his face. "Ew. Thanks, but no thanks, Jace."
He shrugged, his grin growing. "One day you'll change your mind."
"Uh-huh, in your dreams maybe." I was glad that I had long ago learned to mask my inner thoughts.
"Babe, in my dreams, we've already been together. Many times." He winked at me. I scowled at him.
"Mnh, right, okay. I'll believe that," I said flippantly. Because I didn't. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Jace would give me a good once over if he ever caught me naked, and would never actually object if I wanted a night of pure sex. In fact, there had been one or two stupidly drunk nights where he had suggested it as I led him to his room and dumped him into his bed. "There's a reason we live so well together, Jace…and it's because we don't date." I thought about it and then added, "Or fuck."
He shrugged. "You tell yourself whatever you need to to get through your day, Lex."
I stuck my tongue out at him. It was true, though. We originally moved in together because we were conveniently moving into the city for school at the same time, and we already knew each other somewhat well enough to make the decision. Actually, we had both gone into it with a "better to live with the devil you know than the devil you don't" mentality, expecting the arrangement to last until we could find a better one, but were both surprised to find we lived together well. I personally hadn't dated in over a year and a half, so I never brought any guys back, and whenever Jace brought girls home, there was usually enough warning for me to make myself scarce…or watch a really loud movie. And more often than not he would use my existence to scare the girl away the next morning. I rued the day he gained a serious girlfriend, however. That I didn't know if I could live with.
"Anyway," I said, changing the topic, "How was your night with…Annabeth?"
Jace smirked, and nodded at me. "Thanks for that one. She was..." he paused, hunting for the most appropriate word, "fun," he finished delicately, although his grin said it all.
"She was desperate."
"That's what made it fun. I bow down to your wingwoman prowess," he gave me a bow from where he sat. I laughed and shook my head. "I'm serious though! You're the best wingman I've ever had."
"Well, we both know that's the only reason you take me anywhere," I chided.
I was surprised to see the grin slip from Jace's face, and he looked serious for a second. "Lex…"
"Anyway, are we going out tonight?"
Jace sighed and shrugged. "Maybe?"
"Fair enough, we'll play it by ear then." I stuffed the last bit of my pancakes into my mouth and stood up. "I'm going to go shower."
"Hey," Jace said, grabbing my attention as I started walking away. I looked back. "Thanks for breakfast."
I grinned. "No problem. I made it…you clean it up."
Jace opened his mouth as if to argue, and then, realizing better, groaned and thumped his head on the table. "Yes, ma'am, drill sergeant ma'am."
I chuckled all the way to the bathroom.
After a day of homework, essay writing, a brief conversation with Liam and Quinn setting up lunch for tomorrow, wandering around the house like a madman from boredom, and more homework, it was practically me begging Jace that we go out tonight, instead of the other way around. Laughing, he consented, and that was how I found myself in the bathroom, staring in the mirror debating the use of makeup.
Making a face, I reached for my black eyeliner. That and foundation were going to be my only two applications for the night. After all, it's not like I was going out to pick up guys. As I traced a line on the lid above my hazel eyes, I reconsidered that last thought. I may not be going out to pick up men, but I still prided myself on looking good every now and then. …hence the slim red dress and black heels I had picked out for tonight.
Shrugging at myself, I reached for my lengthy brown hair, twisting it up this way, and then that way, and then back to the first way. I huffed in irritation at my lack of ability to make a decision. I was just trying another style when Jace banged on the door.
"Alexis!" he all but roared. "Are you ready yet?"
"I can't figure out what to do with my hair!"
I could hear him growl on the other side of the door, and I could only imagine him throwing his hands up in exasperation. "For God's sake, woman, your hair is fine, just leave it as it is and let's go!"
I made a face at the door that he couldn't see, and dropped my hair, letting it flow down past my shoulders to just beneath my breasts. Lucky for me, today was a good enough hair day, and I conceded, leaving it as it was. I slipped on my heels and strode over to the door, yanking it open and brushing past Jace. "Alright, I'm good, let's go."
When he didn't respond, I turned and looked back at him to see what was the matter. My heart skipped a beat when I turned to find him giving me a blatant once over, scanning me up and down. "What!?" I snapped, perturbed by the attention. I resisted the urge to cross my arms in front of my chest, knowing that would only make matters worse.
Jace smiled slyly and shook his head. "Nothing. You look good." He walked over and brushed a hand through the hair I had left down, curling a strand of it around his finger. "I like this down."
I spluttered. "Uh…thanks. You look good too?"
He held a hand over his heart. "You're too kind."
"You're too egotistical," I snapped, grabbing my purse and my jacket and opening the front door. "C'mon. You're buying the first round."
Jace shook his head. "Whatever you say, Lex."
"You're soooo lucky!"
I was really beginning to wonder if these girls had any other introduction to a conversation. I turned to look at who was most likely going to be my "new friend" of the night. I turned to regard her, an eyebrow raised. She continued on her own.
"He is so into you."
I nearly snorted my drink out my nose. Instead, I coughed a bit before responding. "Who, exactly?"
"Him!" I followed her gaze, and heard her dreamy sigh as she looked at Jace. As if sensing the attention, the devil himself looked over his shoulder, caught my gaze, and threw me a wink. I rolled my eyes as the girl giggled. "See?"
"Sweetie, he is into anything with two legs, boobs, and a vag."
The girl opened her mouth to protest, and then, as what I said dawned on her, changed her mind. "Wait…" I could see the hope blooming in her eyes.
"Yes, you have a chance with him," I said, cutting off her thought process, used to this by now. And as I spoke, I could feel my heart clench. I was really getting tired of this, being his "wingman." Wingwoman, whatever.
"He's a regular Casanova, that one."
The girl giggled. "Wait, does that mean that…"
I held up my hands, cutting her off with a grimace. "I really have no idea. I have no experience in that department."
"Really?" again, the wide-eyed stare of disbelief. Did these girls all belong to the same club or something? "But…"
"Would you like me to introduce you?" I cut her off, the words tumbling out of my mouth as routine. Her bright eyed response sickened me.
Without comment, I turned and whistled, and watched as, once again, Jace's attention snapped away from what I was doing, and looked in my direction. He excused himself from his group, and, eyes on me, sauntered over, giving me a large grin. "You rang?" he drawled he dropped his arm over my shoulder and nuzzled his face into my neck. "Oh, and you smell delicious." I gasped and palmed his face away from mine. My "new friend" was looking slightly uncomfortable, and I shot her my best apologetic look. Even though I wasn't.
"Jace, I want….Jace get off…I want you to meet…" I looked at the girl, and she supplied her name.
"Alexa. Lex," she said, and my heart clenched—I really should have gotten her name first. I wasn't prepared for it to be, for all intents and purposes, mine. She extended her hand with a little more dignity than the girl from the other night had. No boob spillage.
"Lex, is it?" Jace said, looking at me pointedly as he took her hand and gave it a squeeze. I watched as his thumb brushed against the back of her hand seductively. The slight shiver that racked her body meant it worked.
Disgusted, with them and myself, I dug my phone out of my pocket, looked at the screen, and announced, "Oh, well, my other plans just texted me. I'll leave you to it then. Bye guys!"
Without giving them time to pretend to protest, I hopped off the bar stool, gave them a wave and headed out the door. Contrary to my usual routine, I didn't look back.
I was surprised when, only an hour later, the door opened and Jace entered…alone. Raising my eyebrows, I looked down at my watch. 12:45. Early night for him. Closing the door behind him, he spotted me on the couch and tipped his chin in greeting. I raised a hand in a wave, and turned back to my movie, still confused.
A few seconds later, I felt the other side of the couch depress as Jace collapsed onto it with a huff, kicking his feet up onto the table. "Top Gun?" he asked, looking at the movie as he absentmindedly dug into the popcorn which was in a bowl between us.
I shrugged. "Was in the mood for it."
"Ah." Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him tilt his head back and drop the popcorn in. "Good choice."
"Thanks." I focused on the scene, clutching the pillow I was holding slightly tighter.
Hell no, man, we got our butts kicked.
Thirty seconds! We went like this, he went that way. I said to Hollywood 'Where'd he go?' Hollywood says, 'Where'd who go!?'
I smirked, mouthing the lines along with the movie.
Yeah, and he's laughing at us, right on the radio. He's laughing at us.
That was me, dickhead…
"Hey." Something beaned against my head. Looking over, I realized Jace had thrown a piece of popcorn at me. "You okay?"
Not really. I was wallowing in my own angsty girly mood swing. "Huh? Yeah, I'm good." Reaching over, I grabbed the remote, turning the volume down on the movie. "How about you…you're home early? Did I fail at my wingman duties?"
"Hmn? Nah, I just, I dunno. She was into it, I just…got bored?"
I looked over at him in surprise. "You. Bored?"
He shrugged. "It happens."
I snorted. "Rarely."
"Hey, give me some credit. I do have some standards." I resisted the urge to snort again. "Besides, every time I said her name I thought of you and that was just…"
"Weird?" I automatically supplied, shocked by the sound of my own voice.
He paused. "Yeah, sure. It was weird."
I tilted my head, confused by his tone of voice. More like, I couldn't actually figure out what his tone was. I opened my mouth to say something, and then realized I had nothing to say, and closed it again.
"Anyway, you got out of there pretty fast. Thought you said you had plans?"
I gestured at the TV screen. "I did. See. Look. And I'm fulfilling them."
Jace gave me a droll look. "I thought maybe you met a guy."
I barked a laugh. "You're funny, Jace."
"What? It's completely possible. You were dressed to kill tonight, after all."
I blushed, and was glad I was watching the movie in the dark so he wouldn't notice. "I dressed for me. Because I felt like it."
Jace sighed, and stretched a hand out, placing it on my thigh. "And here I thought it was all for me."
I swatted his hand away, and he laughed.
"Ah, well, you'll always have me, Lex." I swung my gaze to him in surprise. Jace rarely gave any declarations of sentiment or attachment. I guess he thought I was low about not having a boyfriend, and felt the need to console me. Not necessary, but I appreciated it anyway. If he was being serious. He gave me a smile and a small shrug.
I sighed and shook my head. "You could have been having an evening of wonderful sexual adventures, and yet you came home to this."
"Hey, I had sexual adventures last night," he said, reaching for more popcorn. "I'm tired. Besides, sometimes watching a movie with you is more fun than banging some random chick."
I scoffed and took some popcorn as well. "Sometimes."
Jace smirked. "Well, you know…"
I threw some popcorn at him before he could continue with explaining one or another of his sexual endeavors. "Shut up and watch the movie."
I was practically bouncing…okay, let's be serious…I was literally bouncing with joy when I saw Liam and Quinn round the corner and head in my direction. Standing up from the table I had snagged outside the café, I waited until they reached me before closing the distance and throwing my arms around the necks of first Quinn and then Liam.
"Dear Lord, Alexis, you would think you haven't seen us in months," Liam chortled, staggering under my assault.
Pulling back, I stuck my tongue out at him. "Whatever. It feels like it sometimes."
Quinn laughed as we grabbed our seats. "It really does. Did you order yet?"
"No? I was waiting for you?"
"Alright, alright, just checking. So, do tell, what's new with you?"
The next hour was spent with me and Quinn girl talking over food while Liam at first tried to seem interested, then tried to change the topic, and then gave up and spent the meal on his phone. Eventually, us girls took pity on him and let him talk about his life, work, school, etc. Then, once dinner was cleared and we were left with our drinks, the conversation lulled into a comfortable silence. I basked in it, admiring the setting sun in the distance and relishing in the company of friends. Cheesy, I know, but true. There were only a handful of people I felt truly myself around, and the two I was sharing a table with were included in that number.
"Oh!" Quinn said, looking at me with a grin, "So, have you decided to get a dog?"
I laughed. "I brought it up with Jace. He thought I was crazy. I'm totally serious though! I miss having a dog."
"Or you could just get a boyfriend," Liam chimed in.
I rolled my eyes. "And where would I find one of those?"
"Just date Jace, already," Liam retorted, as if it was the most logical thing in the world.
"And why would I do that?" I could feel sweat beading on my palms, and hoped that I was coming across as cool and casual.
"Oh c'mon, Lex, we all know you have feelings for the chap. Just give in already and get it over with."
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Quinn stiffen at the same time that I did. As a girl, she recognized her boyfriend was treading on dangerous territory. "Liam!" she hissed under her breath.
"What?" he said, giving his girlfriend a clueless shrug. He looked over at me. "Don't deny it, Lex, we all know you have feelings for him."
"I do not!"
Liam snorted. "Really, Lex. I've known you long enough."
If I had been standing, I might have stomped my foot. "I…Quinn?"
She gave me a helpless look, clearly not wanting to take sides in this argument. "It's true, honey. You try to deny it but…."
Liam stretched his hand out across the table. "You were practically besotted with him when you moved in together…"
"It was convenient!"
"You haven't dated since you've lived with him…"
"I didn't date three months before that! I haven't dated since Curtis and I broke up!"
"Curtis was a bit of an ass," Quinn threw in. I jerked my hand in her direction.
"See! Quinn agrees!"
Her face scrunched up. "I still think you have a thing for Jace, sweetie."
I sighed. "Guys, why does this even matter?" I didn't understand. This was a futile topic.
"Because it's tearing you apart, Lex," Quinn said, reaching across the table, covering my hand with hers. "Every time he goes off with another girl. When he doesn't come home at night…"
"I practically give him sex!" I shouted, and then flushed in embarrassment when I heard a few people from neighboring tables snicker. "Ugh. That sounded bad. I mean, I find girls for him to have sex with—that sounds worse! I…" I was flustered, and clearly stuttering, desperately trying to defend myself.
"Lex, you should…."
"Stop," I said having had enough. "Just please, stop."
Quinn touched Liam's shoulder. She looked at me. "Sorry to pry, Lex. We're just trying to help."
Liam snorted and started to open his mouth, but Quinn hit him squarely in the shoulder. "Aren't we, hon?"
"Yeah, that's it."
I gave them a tight smile. "I appreciate it. But really…it's not going to happen."
Dinner with Liam and Quinn left me frustrated. When I made it back to the apartment, I was glad Jace was out. I didn't know if I could face him after the conversation I had just had. They thought I should date Jace? Like that was ever going to be possible. It just…ugh. Kicking off my shoes, I stormed over to a bookshelf in the corner and sat down in front of it, browsing through the collection of dvd's we had accumulated over time, separately and together. I needed a chick flick. Something with a good love plotline. Maybe one with a stupid boy. I scanned the titles. A-Team. No. 10 Things I hate About You. Too cheesy. Reservoir Dogs. Ugh, no. Titanic. Maybe… Monty Python. No. Pretty Woman. Nah. Stardust.
My fingers paused on the movie, and I grinned. Romance. Stupid boy. Fantasy. Epic music. Humor. Robert de Niro as a crossdressing pirate. Happy ending. That'd do. Snagging it, I popped the movie out of its holder, put it in the dvd player, and collapsed onto the couch, grabbing a pillow and clinging to it much in the same way I had last night. I sighed heavily, letting myself get lost in the movie.
Unfortunately, not even halfway through the movie I heard the key in the door. I groaned. Jace walked in, kicking off his boots in his normal routine. Catching sight of him, I felt my stomach do a flip-flop, and my heart clench. I closed my eyes. Shit.
"You alright over there, Lex?"
Blinking an eye open, I realized he was looking at me. I managed a smile. "Just grouchy."
"Thought you went out to dinner with people," he questioned, heading for the kitchen. I heard him go into the fridge and open a soda.
"It was okay."
Jace didn't respond as he walked back into the room. He made his way to the couch, and took a seat. "Whatcha watching?"
We watched in silence for a few minutes, and then I sensed him staring at me. When I looked over at him, I could see amusement clearly strewn across his face.
"You're hugging that pillow awfully tight, Lex."
I clenched the pillow tighter. "We seriously need a dog."
Jace laughed. "Why is that, again?"
"So I can have something to cuddle on."
Jace spread his arms. "I'm right here, Lex."
My heart skipped a beat. "Uhm, no thanks, you probably have cooties and other diseases."
Again, he chuckled. "C'mon, Lex. We used to do this all the time."
And he was right. We did. Back in undergrad, it was common to find us snuggled up together. And then one day, things changed. He stopped appearing interested, and for a while just seemed to disappear. When he started coming around again, our friendship continued on without too much issue, but we were never as physically close as we used to be. I never asked what had changed, and I took it for granted that whatever the switch in behavior was made it perfect for us to room together.
"I don't need your pity cuddles."
"Aw, c'mon Lex, they're not 'pity cuddles.' Get over here."
I wanted to resist. I wanted to fight him on it. I wanted to be stubborn. And I opened my mouth to do just that. But what came out instead was "fine," and I felt myself scootching down into his embrace. We came together naturally. I nestled myself between his arm and his side, placing my hand on his chest, resting my head against his shoulder. He put his arm around my waist, lightly laying his hand against my hip. I breathed in deep, and found myself inhaling the smell of him, and I could feel my eyelids flutter as memories washed over me. Jace, as if he sensed this, held me tighter, dropping his head until it rested against mine. I tried to focus on the movie.
"Isn't this better than a dog?" Jace rubbed his cheek against my hair playfully to prove his point.
"Oh shut up," I chided, but there was no anger in it. I could already feel my frustration from earlier lifting. Which….in all honestly, probably wasn't a good sign. "I'm watching the movie."
He conceded, and the movie played on, and I felt myself fully relaxing for what felt like the first time in a while.
Aren't you tempted?
Tempted. By what?
A snort interrupted the dialogue. "That guy's a dumbass."
Immortality. Say it wasn't my heart. Not me. Just a star you don't know.
You seriously think I could kill anybody.
"Why's that?" I murmured distractedly. This was one of my favorite scenes, and he was ruining it by talking.
And even if I could…ever lasting life? I imagine it would be kind of lonely. Huh…maybe if you had someone to share it with. Someone you loved. Maybe then it might be different. C'mon…I think we're safe.
"He doesn't realize what he's got right in front of him." Jace's voice was low, and dangerously close to my ear. I fought not to shiver. I felt his thumb brush my side. Probably an accident.
I huffed. "Well that's the whole point of the movie," I retorted, fighting to keep my tone neutral.
Jace shrugged under me, and shifted slightly so that he also wound up pulling me closer. "I'm just saying."
As the movie continued, I tried to ignore the subtle movements Jace made. His hand against my side, his thumb occasionally making stroking motions. A brush against my hair. It was all in my imagination, I was sure of it. And then, before I knew it, the movie was over. Blinking, I brought my arm up to look at my watch. Nearly 11:00. I had gotten back from dinner late—having taken a longer route back in a failed attempt to clear my mind. I stretched, and made an attempt to get up.
Jace's arm snaked around kept me down. "No," I heard him say groggily.
"Jace," I admonished, "Let me up."
His grip tightened.
"I want to go to bed."
"You can always come to bed with me," he said against my ear, his hands tickling my side suggestively.
Rolling my eyes even as my heart thudded against my ribcage, I swatted him at the chest. "I'm serious, Jace," I said, pushing away from him.
"So am I."
I took in a deep breath. He wasn't, I reminded myself. Not in the way I wanted him to be. "I'm not one of your whores, Jace."
With a sigh, he relented, and I was free of his arm. I stood. I felt the absence of his touch almost instantly, and silently cursed myself. Jace was still sprawled out on the couch, looking up at me silently. I smiled slightly. "Good night, Jace," I said, giving him my two finger salute. He returned it wordlessly.
Once in my room, I closed the door, and rested my head against it. What had I just gotten myself into?
The next day, as I was getting ready for classes, I found myself calling Liam. He answered the phone with a tentative, "Hello?"
"Liaaaaaaaaam," I whined.
I heard him chuckle. "Yes, Lex?"
I sighed. "Liam…you were right."
"I should have flipped on you yesterday. You…you were right."
"Well I'll be damned. Hey, love…." from the way his voice disappeared for a second, I could tell he was calling Quinn over. "You'll never believe this. Alexis just admitted she was wrong. You're on speaker, Lex."
I gritted my teeth. Leave it to Liam to make things difficult. "About Jace."
Quinn squealed and I had to hold the phone away from my ears. "Guysssss," I whined. "It's not funny. I don't like this. I don't know what to do about this. You suck. Make it better."
I knew I sounded like a petulant five year old, but that's how I felt and honestly, these guys were used to it. Both of them laughed.
"I already told you, love, you'v…"
"Lex, honey, what time are you done school and work and stuff tonight?"
"And Jace is done when?"
"Er...he'll come home around 7:30ish, usually."
"Right, well, I have work at 7, so Liam and I will swing by on my way there, okay? Say 6:15?"
I smiled. Leave it to Quinn to make time to make this a priority. It would probably be better that way, anyway. "Yes, please."
"Great! See you then."
"Aw, cheer up, Liam, I'll bake cookies or something."
There was a pause. "Fine. See you then."
I laughed. "Thanks, guys."
"You make a move, that's what you do."
"I…how does that sound like a good idea. Quinn?" I looked to the girl for advice, not trusting Liam's. They had dropped in as promised a good twenty minutes ago, and after I attempted some normal chit-chat, they succeeded in getting me to talk about my newest problem. Which…according to them, wasn't exactly "new."
Quinn shrugged. "Why not?"
"Why not? Because it's Jace."
They both stared at me.
"Because, one, we live together…."
"So…if I fail, if things go wrong, if he isn't even interested…"
"Trust me, love, he's interested."
I blinked. "I…really? How do you kno…No. He can't be."
Quinn rolled her eyes at me. "Why not, Lex?"
"I'm not his type!"
This time, she snored. "Oh come on. First I don't think that boy has a type. Second, he'd be stupid not to want you! You're smart, you're pretty…"
"You'll keep him on his toes."
I narrowed my eyes at Liam in confusion. "That's a good thing?"
It was Quinn who answered. "Most definitely. Anyway, you were listing reasons why you couldn't date him?"
I sighed. "He doesn't date. He's the one night stand type. He hasn't had a serious girlfriend in years. And…I don't want to be that girl who falls for him. I never wanted to be that girl who fell for him. I don't want my heart broken."
"Tough luck there, love."
Quinn smacked her boyfriend. "What my oh-so-articulate boyfriend means is…aren't you already hurting, Lex? Do you really think you can talk yourself out of feeling for him?"
She was right, and I knew it. I pulled my legs up to my chest and mumbled, "I don't want to feel like an idiot."
"Liam!" I cracked a smile at the pair. "Again, what my oh-so-articulate boyfriend means is, maybe you should try anyway? If you miss an opportunity, you'll feel like an idiot anyway. Remember Jason?"
I cringed. "Yes."
"So then…give it a shot. That's my two cents anyway. But," she paused, looking down at her watch. "I need to head to work, so I'll leave you with Liam…"
"Your 'oh-so-articulate boyfriend?'" he interrupted.
"Exactly. I'll leave you with my sometimes-articulate boyfriend to help you figure out how." Standing up, she leaned down and gave Liam a quick kiss on the mouth, and then planted one on my forehead. "Good luck, sweetie."
As she reached the door I stopped her. "Hey Quinn?"
"Can I cuddle on your boyfriend while you're gone?"
"Her 'somewhat-articulate' boyfriend."
Quinn laughed. "Be my guest. Just no making out or having sex."
I pouted. "Aww, Quinn…you take all the fun out of it," I said, just as Liam said, "But babe…"
She laughed again. "Bye guys."
As soon as the door closed, I bounded over to Liam's part of the couch, throwing myself down next to him and wrapping myself around him. Sighing, he put his arm around me, giving up without even trying to fight. It wasn't the same as with Jace, but it was comforting in a much different way. I sighed.
"Do you really think I should do anything?" I asked him.
"I think you really want to. And I think you should go for it."
"And you really think he'll be interested?"
"I don't think he would have chosen to live with you if he wasn't interested."
I felt myself blushing. "That's not why we roomed together."
"Uh-huh," Liam said. But he apparently knew not to argue further. "He's a man, Lex. If he has any sense in him, he'll be interested."
The subtle compliment—Liam wasn't good at giving direct ones—warmed me. I gave him a squeeze in gratitude. "But how do I make a move, exactly?"
Liam shrugged. "Just kiss him?"
"I'm serious! It will get his attention."
"I can't…I'm not that bold."
He seemed to consider. "Fair enough. Well, you said you've been cuddling right?"
"Well, last night, yes, but that was only one night."
"So make it more than one night. Just go with the flow. Make it subtly obvious. If he…"
The sound of a key in the door made me slap my hand over his mouth. I looked down at my watch, which only read 6:45. "What the hell is he doing home?" I hissed. "You're not done coaching me!"
Liam's eyes danced with amusement. I resisted the urge to hit him. I went to sit up, but Liam pulled me back down. Surprised, I didn't resist.
"You're home early," I called as Jace walked through it.
"Yeah, I figured why not, I…" he paused halfway through kicking off his shoes. He had noticed Liam. "And you have company."
"Yeah, you remember Liam," I said. Liam waved and gave a "Hey" of greeting. I sat up.
"Ah, yes," Jace returned the wave. "Hey."
"And you literally just missed Quinn."
"My articulate other half."
Jace raised an eyebrow. "Does Quinn know you're canoodling with her boyfriend?"
I gave him a droll look. "No, she left, so Liam and I decided we were going to make sweet, passionate love while she was gone. Which, clearly, you just walked in on. Of course she knows, dumbass." I shot back. "And we weren't 'canoodling.'"
Jace shrugged. "Whatever." He made for the bedroom.
"Anyway," Liam said, standing. Confused, I followed his lead. "I should be off."
"Don't leave on my account," Jace said, still walking.
"Nah, I needed an excuse to de-leech this one anyway." Liam made his way for the door and I followed, good host that I was. Jace, poor host that he was, walked into his room, closing the door behind him. I looked up at Liam, who was grinning.
"That right there…" he said, pointing at the door Jace had just shut. "If he wasn't interested, he wouldn't have reacted like that."
"Like what?" But even as I said it, I fully realized the stiffness of Jace's shoulders, the attitude he was giving.
"Like he was ready to kill me for touching you." Before I could respond, Liam pulled me into a hug. "I'd say see you soon, but I'm sure you'll call much before that. Bye, Lex."
As the front door closed behind him, I found myself looking between the two doors both boys had walked through, completely and utterly confused. I bit my lip. Could Liam actually be right?
The week passed much the same as any other week went around here, with only my heightened awareness of everything Jace adding any difference. That's not to say interactions between us were different. In fact, they were pleasantly normal…except for the fact that I found myself analyzing the smallest of nuances in our daily routines. Was his smile different? Was that phrase flirty? Eternally the pessimist when it comes to love, I convinced myself I was being foolish. Apart from that, classes, work, general life carried on as normal, and by the time it hit Friday, I was ready for a break.
Therefore, when I walked out of my room at just about 9 o'clock on Friday night, I was surprised to see Jace sitting in front of the TV, instead of in his room preparing for the night.
"Aren't you going out?"
"Nah. Hadn't planned on it." Jace twisted around on the sofa to look at me. "Why, were you?"
"No. I'm wiped. Just surprised you're not."
Jace shrugged. "Needed a week off. Figured a movie night sounded better. Want in?"
I smiled. "Only if pajamas are allowed," I said, gesturing to my pajama pants and t-shirt.
He grinned. "They're encouraged."
I walked around to the other side of the couch and sat, picking a spot not tight to the other end, as I had been the previous two pillow nights, with the pillow clutched in my lap, but rather in the middle, closer to Jace without being too close. Realizing that, I nearly smacked myself. I was way overthinking this. "What are we watching?"
"Wouldn't you like to know," he said, smirking as he leaned forward and grabbed the remote.
I grabbed the pillow next to me—the one that I usually used to cuddle on—and thrashed it at him. "Share! That way I can get up and change it if I have to."
Laughing as the pillow hit him, Jace only shoved it back at me. "You won't want to change it."
A few seconds later, the menu screen came on, and I squealed. "The Hobbit!? When did you get it?"
"Stopped by the store on my way home," he said, shrugging. "Figured it was a good weekend for a marathon."
"I like the way you think," I said, throwing him a grin. Getting up, I headed for the kitchen. "Beer?"
It was his turn to grin. "I like the way you think."
Reaching into the fridge, I grabbed two Yuenglings, then swiped a bag of chips from the counter on the way back to the living-room. As I came back into the room, Jace hit the play button. Handing him a beer as I sat, I put the bag of chips between us and settled down to watch the movie.
Another beer and three quarters of the movie later, Jace surprised me by grabbing a pillow, dropping it my lap and laying down, putting his head on the pillow without a word. For a moment, I was frozen, looking down at him in shock. And then, tentatively, my hands remembered old routines, and I threaded my fingers through his hair, making slow, rhythmic motions. He wiggled in appreciation, and, blinking, I kept up the pattern. Eventually, my heart rate slowed back to a normal speed. And then, I was reabsorbed back into the movie, puzzling out riddles alongside Gollum and Bilbo, and then, not long after…the movie was over.
I groaned and stretched as much as I could with having someone on my lap.
I laughed mid-stretch. "Jace, it's too late to start the next one. Especially if we're doing the extended editions."
"Is there any other edition?"
I smirked. "Nope. But it's…" I checked my watch. "Going on 11:30."
"You're old! Live a little. It's a Friday night."
"But I'm tiiiireed," I whined. "I'll fall asleep in the middle of it. I won't even finish the first disc!"
"Then we start the first disc, and we watch it in my room," Jace said, turning on his back so he could look up at me.
I blinked stupidly. "Why?"
"I've got the TV. And if you fall asleep, it's on a bed. Win/win!"
Jace shook me a little. "C'mon, Lex," he said, giving me his best puppy dog eyes. I thought for a second. Normally, I would fight to say no. But Liam's voice popped into my head, and that, combined with the alcohol, the tiredness, and the fact that I actually really wanted to had me answering, "Fine," before I knew it.
"Win!" Jace scrambled up from the couch, and went over to get the movie and take it to his room. I stood, and not knowing what else to do while I waited, headed for the bathroom to brush my teeth, since like I told him, I would likely fall asleep watching the movie, and I didn't want to have to wake up and do it later.
By the time I finished, Jace was already sprawled out on his bed with the movie paused on the first scene. I walked around to the left side of the bed, ready to collapse onto my own half, but as soon as I went to sit, Jace snaked an arm around my waist and pulled me into him. My instinct was to object, but I thought better of it, knowing he'd only hold tighter. Instead, I curled up against him as he pressed play. It was different than the other night, as we were now both fully horizontal on a bed, instead of sitting up on the couch.
It was easy to make myself comfortable. I found myself pressed up against his side, my head nestled against his shoulder, much as it had been before, my right hand flat on his chest, and my right leg crooked over his. My left arm, to avoid getting squashed, was crossed over my stomach and rested on my hip. Jace's fingers brushed against mine moments later. I spread my fingers in response, and, taking that as an opportunity, he laced his through mine. I shifted slightly in pleasant surprise, and felt him draw me closer, holding me tight to his side.
As the movie progressed, we didn't move. Occasionally, Jace would bring his other hand up to stroke at my hair. Me, I found my fingers wrapped up in his shirt. And then, true to what I had predicted, I found myself drifting off. I awoke to silence I don't know how much later, and realized the movie had ended and was back on its menu screen. Blinking in surprise—I rarely fell asleep around, and especially with, anyone—I looked up and noticed that Jace was passed out. At that moment, a part of me considered staying, and going back to sleep. But, with a sigh, I wriggled out from under him, padded softly across the room, turning off the TV as I went, and walked out, shutting the door behind me.
Back in my own room, I lay wide awake, staring at the ceiling and wondering what the hell was going on.
I was finishing my bowl of cereal the next morning when Jace woke up, walking out of his room with a sleep shuffle step, rubbing at his face.
"Morning," I said as he made his way into the kitchen.
"Mrning," he mumbled, not fully awake. I watched him grab a bowl from the cupboard and shuffle over the table to join me, grabbing the open Lucky Charms box and pouring some into his bowl. As he reached for the milk he asked, "What time did you leave last night?"
I shrugged. I honestly hadn't bothered looking at my watch. "No idea. After the movie finished."
He nodded, and spooned cereal into his mouth. He looked up at me with a wry smirk. "I was confused when I woke up alone this morning. That doesn't usually happen to me when I go to bed with a girl."
I rolled my eyes. "I'll bet," I said dryly.
Another spoon of cereal went into his mouth. "You could have stayed, you know."
I paused with a spoon halfway to my mouth, and then, recovering, shrugged again. "I don't think I would have fallen back to sleep."
"Shame. You were comfortable."
"Sorry." Finishing my cereal off, I grabbed my bowl and headed for the sink, grabbing a mug on the way. Filling the mug with water, I put it in the microwave to help satisfy my craving for tea. A brush on my shoulder made me turn, and I found myself colliding chest to chest with Jace. His arm, which had been raised to reach behind me—reaching for a cup, maybe?—came down to my hip to steady me.
"Sorry," he said, looking down at me. "I just wanted a cup."
"Right," I said, and I could hear the breathlessness in my voice. His hands tightened on my hips, and a slight motion on one of our parts, although I'm not exactly sure who, had me pressed up against the counter. My gaze was still unnecessarily locked with Jace's, whose stunning blue eyes roamed over my face. I felt my lips part as if I was going to say something, and one of his hands came up tucked a lock of hair behind my ear, and then brushed a thumb against my lips. My eyelids fluttered, and I could hear my breathing quicken.
"Jace," I breathed, not really knowing whether I was saying his name to encourage him or stop him. I watched his eyes darken in response, and he took a step closer, so his hips were flush with mine, effectively trapping me against the counter. The contact made me shiver, and this brought a crooked smile to his lips. His eyes still on mine, I watched him tilt his head, and….
We both jumped away—well, more like I pushed him and he jumped back and I successfully managed to slam my heel into the floorboard—at the sound of the microwave. My heart thumped wildly in my chest. Ignoring eye contact, I spun to the offending machine and quickly took my mug out, although at this point, I was no longer interested in the hot beverage.
"Lex…" I heard Jace say. I dumped the water down the drain. Really, no interest.
"I think I'll make tea later," I heard myself saying as I rinsed the mug, even though it really didn't need rinsing. "I'm going to head for the shower."
I avoided his eyes as I turned and headed for the bathroom.
I turned back. "Are we going out tonight?" I asked, innocently ignoring his train of thought.
He sighed. "I don't know? I thought we might continue with the trilogy."
I beamed at him. "I like that plan," I said, and before he could get another word in, I scampered into my room, grabbed some clothes, and made it into the bathroom , closing the door before he could see my whole body shaking. Behind the closed door, I raised a finger to my lips, where he had touched them with the pad of his thumb only moments before, and wondered…had he really been about to kiss me?
Jace's roar shook me out of my reading assignment.
"Get your ass in here, I'm starting disc two!"
I blinked and looked down at my reading, then at the clock. It was 1:00 in the afternoon! Still homework time!
"I'm working!" I yelled back.
"It's a Saturday. No excuses!"
I opened my mouth to retaliate, and then realized, no, he probably had a point. Grumbling, but not unhappily, I put my pen down and walked out to the livingroom. Where…Jace wasn't.
I turned and saw the door to the room adjoining mine was open. Jace sat on his bed, waving me in. I looked back at the couch. "But…" I said, pointing.
"Beds are better, now get in here," he said. I could feel my heart-rate already starting to increase. The way he was looking at me was not as playful as his tone…it was much more…predatorial. I fought back a shiver, licked my lips, and marched into his bedroom, hoping I came across more secure than I felt.
Like last night, I headed for the far left side of the bed. I noticed that Jace had arranged the pillows against the headboard to make it comfortable to sit and watch the movie. Sighing, I went to sit, and once again found myself being snaked towards him even as he hit "play."
This time, the tension between us was palpable. My breathing was measured. We didn't hold hands, like last night, but I felt Jace's hand on my waist sneak under the hem of my shirt. His fingers danced light patterns on my skin, and my breathing hitched. When he pressed a thumb at the sensitive spot next to my hip bone, I leaned into him, my hand lightly brushing his side. His other hand came up then, brushing at the hair around my face, tracing down my jawline, and then, with a gentle tug, tipping my chin so I was looking up at him.
I said nothing as I stared into his searching eyes. The movie had long since faded into the background. Jace's thumb stroked at my cheek. "Lex," he murmured, his voice nearly as breathless as mine had been this morning. My lips parted in response, but no sound came out. Jace wasted no time. The hand that was on my cheek darted back into my hair, cupping the back of my head and pulling me into him even as he dipped his head, his lips crashing against mine. The contact made me gasp, sending flashes of fire racing through my blood, and my eyes fluttered closed as I gave in, relishing in the feeling of his soft lips moving against mine. The hand that was on my hip shifted, and without breaking contact, I felt him shift, pulling at me until I was sitting in his lap. I complied willingly, marveling at his skill.
I lost myself in the kiss, letting my hands run over his chest, his shoulders, up his back, through his hair while his hands toyed with my hair, my hips, caressed my arms, brushed tantalizingly up my side, barely tracing my breasts, and then worked their way back down to my hips, starting the whole cycle over again. With a grunt of frustration, I felt myself shifting my legs until I found myself straddling him, changing my angle so we were closer to the same level. Jace groaned against my mouth, and his hands clenched at my hips.
And then, out of no where, reality crashed into me.
With a gasp, I pulled away, swinging myself off of him to a seated position on the bed. I stared at him wide eyed as he looked at me in confusion. My hand came up to touch my lips. A flicker of concern passed through Jace's eyes, and I saw him reach for me.
"Don't freak out, Lex."
Damn, he knew me too well sometimes.
"We shouldn't have done that," I said softly, pushing his hand away.
Fury flashed across his face. "And why the hell not?"
"I don't want to be one of your girls, Jace!" I shouted, angry now. "I don't want to be some one night stand who you use and then forget about. We live together for Christ's sake!" I could feel tears pressing against my eyes, and I held them back stubbornly, my jaw tight with the effort. He would not see me cry. I would not be one of those girls.
The anger washed from his face, and his shoulders relaxed. "Alexis," he said, putting a hand successfully on my knee. "That's not what I want, either."
For some reason, this surprised me. I narrowed my eyes at him. "What do you want then?"
Jace shifted uncomfortably. "I….Damn it, Lex," he rubbed his hand across his face. "I want…" he sighed, and I could feel myself starting to smile slightly. Flustered Jace was rare, and, in this case, it was beginning to be amusing. "The girl from last Saturday…every time I said her name, all I could see was her face. All I wanted it to be was you. That's why I came home early. She wasn't you." He emphasized this as though this was his point.
Could it be…. "Are you saying you want to date me, Jace?" I asked quietly, barely trusting the words out of my mouth.
He looked relieved. "That's exactly what I'm saying."
I shook my head. "You don't date, Jace. You screw. When was the last time you even dated?"
"Jesus, Lex, will you at least let me try?" he was irritated, I could see that. Personal confessions never sat well with him, and I could see the tightness around his shoulders that showed his inner struggle. He took a deep breath and calmed himself. "You make me want to try. What's the worst that could happen?"
"It could blow up in our faces, and one of us would have to move out?" I offered.
He gave me a wry smile. "Neither one of us expected to make it this far, anyway," he countered.
I pursed my lips. He had a point. I looked at him, and felt my heart wrench. I wanted to try. I wanted him to try. I was just… "I'm scared, Jace," I whispered.
The look of empathy that washed over his face nearly broke my resolve not to cry. With a swift motion, he had reached over and gathered me into his arms, pulling me back into him. "So am I, Lex," he said, pressing his lips against my temple.
I paused a moment, thinking. Weighing the options. Imagining the possibilities, both the good and bad. But after this last week, that exercise was no longer new. I took a breath. "Be scared together, then?" I offered.
Jace's grip tightened around me, and I felt him sigh, the remaining tension leaving his body with the exhale. "Deal."
Turning in his grip, I bit my lip as I looked up at him. He looked down at me, his gaze open and full of wonder. My stomach did a little flip-flip, and I smiled. "So the question is…do we even bother trying to finish the marathon?"
"Oh, no, the movies will be played," he said, quite seriously. But then he grinned. "I just don't know if they'll be watched much."
I laughed. "Yeah, probably not."
"I'm alright with that," he said, already leaning down to press a kiss against my mouth. I sighed into it, pulling away long enough to say, "Me too," before I was assaulted again. As I wound my arms around his neck, a part of my mind realized that I was going to have to tell Liam and Quinn, meaning I as inevitably going to have to deal with haughty looks and "I told you so's." Blech. But the payoff was worth it, I supposed.
"For the record, Lex," Jace said, breaking away for a breather. "I usually don't make out with my wingmen."
I scoffed. "Well that's good to know, seeing as they're traditionally men. I guess that makes me special then, huh?"
His thumb brushed my lips, "Pretty damned special. Although, I think I may have to fire you anyway."
He smirked. "I don't think your services as a wingwoman are required anymore."
"Ah, fair enough. I think I can live with that."
"But don't worry, I'll find you a new position."
"Oh you will, will you?"
"Mnh. Girlfriend has a nice ring to it, don't you think?"
I couldn't stop the grin that spread out across my face. "I don't know," I said, giving a theatrical sigh. "That sounds a bit more complicated than wingwoman."
He made a face at me. "I think you can manage," he said, pressing an open mouthed kiss against my neck that made me gasp. He started making a trail up my neck.
"I think you might have to teach me, but don't worry," I paused as he began nibbling on my ear. "I'm a quick learner."
Jace turned my face back to him, and covered my lips with his again. "I think I can handle that," he said. Something else made him pause, and he pulled back, looking at me again with an amused smile. "Still want that dog?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
I wrinkled my nose. "Yes. But I think I'm good for the time being."
"Thank God….I didn't need that competition."
I gave him a playful swat. He kissed me in return. Yeah, I could wait a bit for a dog. This was definitely good enough for the time being.
Well, there you have it, folks, I haven't disappeared completely. Not sure how I feel about this one, now that it's done. Bit cheesy, but hey, that's what I do. I tried to spend a bit more time building them, and giving them enough of a backstory so that they're relationship itself wasn't terribly rushed (after all, they did have some history, and they lived together!) But hey. It's done. And it feels good to have written for the first time in a long time.
WHICH REMINDS ME. If you would like to own a collection of my short stories (not including this one, since it's so new), I am published on Lulu . com. If you search for "Battle Scars" it will take you right to it. Currently, I have the print version up, and I am going to work on getting the epub version back up this week (they changed some of the DRM rights, so I have to fiddle with it.) If you have questions about it, go ahead and ask. I'd appreciate any support you can give!
Anyway, that's all from me for now. I apologize for any minor grammatical errors. As per usual, I do not own any of the branded items mentioned, but the characters are mine.
Hope you enjoyed! :D Thanks for reading, as always!