It's a Saturday night special. Enjoy!
Wednesday morning, staring at her inspiration board with unfocused eyes, Beth replayed Sunday evening over and over and over in her head. Like she had the previous two days. Running into Mr. Leather and Smoke at the bottom of her stairs. He brought enough Chinese for a bunch of people. Enough that they could have locked the door and not left for days. Which would have been fine with her. An Avengers movie—Age of Ultron—which they didn't watch. And then… After sharing their fortunes, "You will soon get unexpected kisses in unexpected places." His was "I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be." At least, that's what he said. Just before he cupped her cheek with a deliciously calloused hand. Rough and gentle at the same time. His perfect lips brushed against hers. Soft and sweet and sigh-worthy. But it wasn't enough. Fingers tearing at what was left of her hair, after three days of pulling at it. Why couldn't I have been happy with that. It was lovely, and I ruined it.
Squeezing her eyes closed. Hands over her face. She could see it and feel it again, as clearly as when it happened. An almost out of body experience. His lips brushing against hers. Then, she was throwing herself at him. Grabbing at his shoulders, crushing his lips with hers. When he gasped in surprise, her tongue forced its way inside his mouth. He tasted so good. The sweetness of the cookie and beer and mint and smoke. Then their teeth were crashing into each other. There was so much spit. And blood when she accidentally nipped the edge of his lip or tongue or who knows. It had to come from somewhere. But god she didn't want to stop.
Her eyes popping open, he didn't want to stop either. Oh my gosh, I'm the one who pulled away. When he started bleeding. He had his arms, oh Lordy those arms, his arm was around my waist and his fingers were in my hair. And he wasn't letting go. Or pulling back. It was me.
Closing her laptop, she stood up. Grabbing her inspiration board, throwing it behind the sofa. He hasn't called, but that doesn't mean I can't… Said he lost his phone. Probably doesn't have my number. Or he has an aversion to getting bit so hard kissing, that he bleeds. Unless he's into vampires. I'm an idiot.
Storming into her tiny bathroom, shooing Tatters out because who likes to shower with an audience. Unless it's… Nope, not going there. Starting the water, she turned back to the sink. Waiting for the water to heat up. Idly combing through her hair with her fingers. Glancing out the open door, to make sure Tatters wasn't trying to sneak back in. He wasn't. She leaned into the mirror. Pulling back her lips. Checking her teeth for fangs. Nope, not a vampire. Maybe it's not too late, maybe I can save this. He's sweet, interesting, and all kinds of badass hot. Yum. Unless he really is into vampires. Maybe he's a vampire. Stripping her clothes, she slid under the tepid water. Trying to cool off.
An hour later, she was out the door. Her soft side cooler hanging from her arm. A plan in place. He told me where he works, if I hurry I'll get there right about lunch time. Jumping in her jeep, she headed for the construction site. The apartment complex he was working on. Remembering every detail he had shared. Wonder if that's where he lost his phone? Maybe it's buried in concrete. Maybe he didn't really lose it. After Sunday he probably wishes he lost it. And my address.
With the huge construction project, Beth had to park a full block away. But that was alright. It gave her plenty of time to get her breathing under control and practice her smile. So she wouldn't look or sound like a fourteen-year-old girl crushing on a hot guy. Cooler swinging at her side, she clicked along in her cute shoes and tight jeans. Pinching her cheeks and biting her lips, for color. Yep, totally back to being fourteen. And not allowed to wear makeup. What was I thinking, going out au natural. In the bright sunlight. I look all pasty out here. Maybe we can sit inside somewhere. Maybe showing up where he works wasn't such a great…
Rounding the corner, Beth's eyes immediately found him. Crossing the packed dirt yard with two other men. Pulling his hard hat off, and shaking out his hair. Sort of like a dog, only kissable. Two more steps and he was reaching behind his head with one hand. Oh Lordy, there goes his tee. God, he's perfect. Not 'I work out every day to impress people' perfect, but 'I work hard for a living' perfect. I could stand here and stare at him without a shirt all day perfect. I want to lick the sweat off him, perfect. What is wrong with me, now I'm creeping me out. Oh, oh, oh. He saw me. And now he's headed this way.
Frozen in place, Beth pulled on her practiced, teeth hardly showing, smile. Raising a hand in a casual wave. As he wiped off his face with his shirt, then quick pulled it back on. Damn. Waiting for him to reach her.
"What are ya doin' here?"
Holding the cooler behind her, Beth rocked up on her toes. Her tongue swiping along her lower lip. She pressed a kiss to the side of his cheek. "Just wanted to surprise you. I brought…"
"Yeah, um…" Daryl looked back over his shoulder. At the growing cluster of men who were whistling and calling out rude comments. Grabbing her arm, he firmly walked her back around the corner. Out of sight. The hooting slowly dying down. "Sorry, they's…"
Still holding her arm. "I meant to call, but I still can't find my phone."
"I brought avocado and tomato sandwiches. Apples. Sparkling water. If you want…" Bright sun, definitely not a vampire.
Not snorting, but definitely trying to hold back a laugh. "Avocado sandwiches. Um, I can't…" And he was bending down. A bit.
Yes! He's going to kiss me! Closing her eyes, Beth wobbled back up on her toes. Just enough that he missed her mouth. And her cheek. And landed a kiss on the edge of her collar.
Both of them groaned with disappointment. Until he caught her up in his arms. Those arms. And she was humming with pleasure.
Murmuring into his chest. "Come by after work."
"Come to my place, let me cook for you."
I could stand here like this all day. But he probably wants to eat eventually. "You brought Chinese last time."
"You brought lunch today."
"You didn't eat it." And I worked hard on getting my courage up to bring it.
"Yeah, avocados. I need real food. I'll pick you up when I get off, you come to my place, and I'll cook."
The man who does laundry in his vest and boxers, cooks? This looks like the same tee my… How many pairs of clothes does he have. "I'll pick up a movie." Maybe I can scope out his closet while he's cooking.
"Still got a movie."
Head spinning, feeling half drunk on arm overload she teetered away. Aware of his eyes on her. Is he looking at my ass or making sure I get to my car. Hope it's my ass. Her cooler still full of avocado and tomato sandwiches. Go home, get a little work done, and tonight…
Reaching her tiny upstairs apartment, Beth shoved the cooler into the small refrigerator. Not bothering to unpack it. Shedding her tight jeans for pajama pants, she retrieved her inspiration board from behind the sofa. Not very inspiring anymore. Circling her laptop, a half-finished chapter open on the screen, she came back to the board. And peeled the shirtless blonde hottie off, crushing the photo in her hand before dropping it on the floor. Mr. Leather and Smoke, what have you done to me? Haven't even kissed me properly and already you're all I can think about. Ruthlessly peeling the rest of the pictures off the board, she called her agent.
"So, I'm changing direction. No more billionaires, it's construction workers." Shirtless, with dark hair, hard bodies, riding motorcycles. Who smell like I want to ride them. And might be vampires. "With arms and shoulders that… Did I mention a mole?"
Three hours later, she had the start of a new inspiration board. A new title. And rough outlines for the first three books in her new series. Glancing at the clock, she set about getting ready. Prowling through her tiny apartment, picking up all eleven volumes from her billionaire series. Stacking them on her tiny table, intending to stick them in the back of her closet after she showered and dressed.
Rummaging through her closet and dresser, she found everything she was looking for except her pink panties. Her fearless pink panties. The ones that made her feel bold and sexy. The same ones that had somehow ended up stuck to the back of Mr. Leather and Smoke's dark tee on Friday night. I love those panties. Immediately becoming her lucky pink panties. Now, what am I going to wear. Yellow, no he'll expect yellow. Red, too slutty. Blue, every guy loves blue. But he's not every guy. What goes with leather? Black? Maybe it is red. Or green. Because my name is greene. Why do I think he'll see my panties. O Lordy, I hope he sees my panties. Finally settling on red, Beth finished dressing minutes before she heard him coming up the stairs. Banging on her door.
Hand on the doorknob, she did a quick final sweep of her tiny apartment. Laptop closed, inspiration board out of sight, everything seemed to be where it should be. Her happy face on, she opened the door. "Hey. Come on in. I'll just be another minute." Taking a step back to enjoy watching Daryl walk into the middle of the room. Coming and going. Ugh, control yourself. You'll have a repeat of Sunday. Two motorcycle helmets in hand.
Reaching her small table, he set down the helmets. And starting to turn back towards her, he suddenly stopped. Picking up the top book from the stack of novels. Beth's pen name on the cover. Flipping through it, his ears turning red. Making a choky sound, he held up the cover. "This one a yours?"
Oh, oh, oh. "Yeah. I mean no. I mean my sister Maggie brought those over with some clothes she didn't want any more. I guess she thought I'd like them." Her face redder than his ears. Sooo not telling him I wrote those. Yet.
Waving the book in one hand, he glanced down at the stacks of books on the table. "Raven Skye, guess that's the author. Think that's her real name?"
"No, most of those writers use pen names. A lot of them of men." And the women don't want people to know who they really are. "But, you know. Raven makes me think of someone really intense." Way to change the subject. Might as well tell him I wrote those. "And beautiful, with long inky black hair and violet eyes." Not like me at all.
Snorting, Daryl dropped the book back on the pile. Refusing to meet her eyes. "Bet she ain't as pretty as you are." His face flaming. The words coming out in a quiet slur, but she heard them.
"Really." He thinks I'm pretty. Using all her self-control to refrain from flitting around the tiny apartment. "Uh, thank you. I think you're pretty, too." Wait, pretty. Maybe he didn't hear me say that. Maybe he did. "I mean…"
The edge of his lip pulling up, he grabbed the smaller of the two helmets. Shoving it in her direction. "Here.
At his instructions, she climbed on his motorcycle behind him. Silently warning him 'if you kill me, I'll never forgive you.' And they were pulling away. Snuggling up between his shoulder blades, arms wrapped around his middle. Yum. All her hesitation about being on a motorcycle dissolved . And the ride itself was like riding a vibrator. Why didn't I know this. That jeep is gone.
It didn't seem to take long before he was coming to a stop. Announcing they were there. Beth didn't know what she was expecting, in terms of where he might live. But it wasn't the cute little cabin outside of town. With its perfect front room complete with fireplace, neat eat-in kitchen and two little bedrooms that she hadn't looked in. Yet. But best of all, the L-shaped porch that ran the length of the front and around the side. The front had a couple wooden chairs, a little barrel table, and a rocking chair. He has a rocking chair? Who sits in that rocking chair? He gets off his motorcycle and sits in a rocking chair. Maybe the second bedroom is his mama's. And that's her rocking chair. The porch along the side was partially screened in, with a little table, a couple chairs, and a small refrigerator inside. A grill sat on the open end.
As she watched he put mystery meat on the grill and potatoes in the oven. All while keeping all his clothes on.
Waiting until he fussing over the grill outside, Beth excused herself. Saying she needed to visit the bathroom. And get a look at what's in those bedrooms. See if one has mama clothes in it. Glancing back over her shoulder to make sure he wasn't watching. Or following her. Peeking in what looked like the smaller bedroom, it looked like it was being used more for storage than sleeping. With a couple long guns and a crossbow laying across the bed. The larger bedroom had a high four-poster bed in the middle and a matching dresser. Oh, I could be comfy here. Taking one step closer to the dresser, to take a quick peek at the pictures on top and... Are those my panties. He has my pink panties from last Friday. How did… Hand trembling, she snatched the panties from the dresser and marched back outside to confront him.
Storming out on the porch, to where he was standing next to the grill. Pink panties hanging from her hand, Beth jabbed her index finger into his chest. "Mr… Daryl. Are these my pink panties I found on your dresser?"
"What are you doin' in my bedroom?"
Yeah, why was I in his… "I asked you first." Her finger jabbing again, the panties bouncing against his chest.
Ducking his head, looking sheepish. "When I carried your laundry basket upstairs Friday, they were on top. I guess they stuck to my hand."
"Stuck to your hand." I was wrong. He's a creep. A panty stealing creep. Wonder how many pairs of panties he has in there.
Not coming closer, except for his hand which was dusting down her arm. Giving her goosebumps. "I shouldn't a taken them, but I saw them laying there, and... If it makes any difference, I was gonna give them back to you. Tonight."
Her anger melting. "Really." Okay, not a creep. He just couldn't help himself.
The edge of his lip pulling up, head tipping to one side. How can I be mad, he's so adorably hot. "Yeah, I was gonna give them back to you when you left. But…" And he was closing the distance between them.
Taking a step back, away from him. "But what? Now you're not?" Those are my….
Wrapping her in his arms, whispering against her cheek. "Now I don't want ya to leave."
And she didn't. For a good long time.
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Because Beth and Daryl find each other in every universe.
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