“What did she say to you?” I ask him as we head down the stairs to the front door.
He glances back at me and shrugs. “The usual ‘I know who you are’ speech.”
I don’t know why that makes me frown, but it does. “And does she?”
“Know who I am? Sure … I mean, it’s not hard to figure out. I’m probably the only new face in town.” He drops the suitcase he’d insisted on carrying to the floor and waits for me. “Let me go out first and make sure your ex isn’t waiting.”
“What if he is?”
His smile is a quick baring of teeth. “Oh Goldilocks, I really do hope he is.”
I swear he’s disappointed when he opens the door and Sam isn’t there. We head back to his car and he throws the suitcase on the back seat before opening the passenger door and waiting for me to get in.
Once he’s settled into the driver seat, he glances over at me. “Where are we heading?”
I give him directions to my sister’s house and he pulls away from the kerb. I watch him covertly as he drives. None of the men in my life, except for my dad possibly, would have taken my unexpected appearance in their life as easily as he has. From the moment I showed up in his bedroom, he’s had this air of amusement around him, like he finds me entertaining. For a second, I feel like that should be insulting, but it’s not. I like how he’s dealing with it.
He doesn’t speak, and strangely that doesn’t bother me. The silence feels comfortable and I don’t feel obliged to make conversation. He’s looking straight ahead, concentrating on the road and I can’t help but admire him. He has one hand curved around the wheel, the other arm is propped on the door, elbow resting in the gap where the window would be if it was closed.
My eyes fall to the tattoos covering his arms, again, and the memory of how they also cover one side of his torso flashes before my eyes. I want to paint him. It’s been so long since I’d last painted anything. While Sam had never said anything outright, I knew he hadn’t liked that side of me and I’d tried to tone it down. I’d taken a job at the local bank, and packed away my art supplies.
‘Finally joined the adult world’, Sam had told his friends.
“This the place?” His words broke through my reverie and I blinked.
“Yes,” I confirm.
He parks and climbs out. I wait where I am, knowing he’ll come and open the door. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly capable of getting out of the car myself, but it seems to be an ingrained response for him and, I have to admit, it’s kinda nice.
When he opens the door, he catches me grinning and cocks an eyebrow in query.
I shake my head, take his offered hand and let him help me out of the car. “It’s nothing,” I say once I’m standing beside him. “It’s just cute how you keep opening doors for me.”
He laughs. “My mom would kill me if I didn’t.” A shrug follows his words and he reaches into the backseat and hauls out my case. “Don’t get me wrong, I can be a complete and utter asshole when the mood takes me.” His grin flashes on and off quickly. “And have been many times.”
Without thinking about it, I place a hand on his arm, lean up and press a kiss to his cheek. “Well, you had every reason to be an asshole to me and you haven’t.”
I feel his forearm flex beneath my fingers. “Aww Goldilocks,” he drawls. “You’re gonna make me blush.”
I pull back and punch his shoulder, then yelp at the impact. Eyes dancing, he captures my hand between his and raises it to his lips.
“Let me kiss that better for you.” His lips brush over each of my knuckles, his eyes never leaving mine.
A frisson of electricity shoots through me at his touch and I tug my hand away. “I’ll go make sure Andi is home,” I blurt and almost run up her path.
His laughter follows me.
The door opens before I reach it and my sister is framed in the doorway. The moment I see her, I feel tears form in my eyes and my throat closes up. Spending the last couple of hours with … I still haven’t asked him his name … anyway, the last few hours has kept my thoughts about why I’d ran to the Lodge in the first place at bay, but as soon as I see Andi, it all comes rushing back to me.
She takes one look at my face, her arms open and she rushes forward.
“What did that bastard do now?” she demands. I feel her stiffen against me, and her tone of voice changes to one of awe. “And who the hell is he?”
The chuckle behind me tells me my unnamed driver has caught up to us.