I don’t do girlfriends, Red. I only fuck.
My stomach tightens in response as his vulgar remark echoes in my head. It’s something that happens to me often since meeting him. He makes my body crave things I have yet to want with anyone else.
I’m pretty sure I’m the only twenty-two-year-old virgin on this planet and it’s not because of my faith or religion. It’s because I haven’t met anyone yet who I feel a strong enough connection with. I know it’s crazy I’m feeling that now, but there are times in life where I believe some things happen for a reason, that we are meant to meet certain people, and I strongly believe Cade is one of them. How else can I explain the feelings he evokes in me?
I hate thinking that the day will soon come when we won’t be having these nights together anymore, but what’s even more upsetting is to know I will most likely never see him again after this. I’ve thought about asking him for his contact information, but I don’t want him thinking I’m some crazy stalker. And, if I’m being honest, I’m a little scared of his rejection.
Although with the way things are going tonight, I may not even get the chance to say goodbye. I glance at my phone again to see another thirty minutes has passed and again I start fearing something has happened to him. But as soon as the thought emerges I spot him across the field, walking toward me.
Oh thank God. My entire body floods with sweet relief then, not being able to stop myself, I get up and run toward him, meeting him halfway. I slam into his hard body and throw my arms around him, hugging him tight. He tenses and is clearly uncomfortable at my sudden affection, but I’m too relieved to care.
“Everything all right, Red?” he asks, sounding both confused and worried.
“It is now. I was so scared something happened to you, you’re never late.”
Silence descends on us for a few seconds before his arms come around me. My heart falters in surprise at his returned gesture but more than anything, pleasure erupts through my body. His warmth embraces me and I breathe in deep, loving the smell of his clean masculine scent.
He clears his throat. “Sorry, things ran late today. We’re getting close to wrapping up what we came here to do.”
His response slams me back into reality, and disappointment crushes my heart but I try to push it aside, not wanting to ruin what may be our last night together.
After one more deep breath, I step back and paste a smile on my face that I don’t feel. “Well I’m glad you’re here now because I brought a surprise for you.” Grabbing his hand, I lead him back to my spot and try to ignore the tingles that shoot up my arm just from the contact of our joined hands.
“You brought me something?” he asks with irritation.
“Yes. Actually, I brought us both something.” Sitting down, next to my guitar, I pull him down beside me and dig around in my case until I find what I’m looking for. “Ta da!” I hold up the chocolate bar and dance it in front of his face. He stares at me expressionless, clearly unimpressed.
“Hello? Do you see what I have here, Walker? Chocolate with caramel. It’s my very last one. I thought I would be nice and share it with you. That goes to show how much I like you, because I do not share my chocolate with just anyone.” This still does not seem to impress him. “Sheesh, you’re a hard guy to please. I thought you would go crazy over this. How long have you been away from American food? It’s only been ten days for me and I already miss some of my favorites.”
“It hasn’t been that long, and chocolate isn’t something I miss. Now if it were a steak you had that would be a different story,” he replies and lies down like he always does with his hands behind his head.
Looking down at his hard, lean body stretched out like this has my mouth watering. I hurry up and open the chocolate bar before I do something impulsive, like jump him… or take a bite out of him. That thought has a small snicker escaping me. He looks at me questioningly, wondering what I find so funny.
I clear my throat. “Well sorry to disappoint you but that will never happen, because I don’t eat meat. I’m a vegetarian.”
His eyes widen in shock. “What? How the fuck do you survive without meat?”
I roll my eyes. I’m used to hearing that comment from people, especially men. “I survive quite easily, and a lot healthier than most I might add. Animals are our friends and I refuse to eat them. Want to hear the story on how I became a vegetarian?” His response is another blank stare.
“Good. I planned to tell you anyways. So here it goes: when I was seven I had a friend who owned a cattle farm. They had the sweetest cow named Hank, and we had quite the bond. He always recognized my parents’ vehicle when we drove up and he would always wait for me at the fence. Honestly, I usually spent more time with him than my friend. He was nicer than she was, if you get my drift.” He quirks his eyebrow at me so I take that as confirmation he does. “Anyways, one day I came over and Hank was gone. When they told me what happened to him I cried for three days straight and swore I would never touch meat again. All through my childhood I begged my parents to buy a farm so I could have cows, pigs and chickens-ones I would never let anyone eat. Unfortunately it fell on deaf ears, but at least they never forced me to eat meat, even though they still did.”
He watches me silently for a moment before he says, “That’s what cows are meant for, Red.”
I glare at him. “No, they aren’t. That’s it, no chocolate bar for you now, buddy!” His lips lift slightly and my heart skips a beat. Oh man, I can only imagine how sexy he would look with a full megawatt smile. I will make it my mission to see it before he leaves.
Raising the chocolate bar to my lips, I take a bite. My eyes fall closed and I moan with pleasure at the sweet, yummy explosion in my mouth. A low growl penetrates the air and pulls me out of my chocolate loving bliss. My eyes snap open to see Cade watching me with an expression that has my heartbeat escalating. I swallow my bite, embarrassed, then pass the chocolate bar to him. “Want some?” I offer, even though I said I wouldn’t share it.
“That’s all right, Red. You have it.”
“I don’t mind. I was only kidding about the cow comment… well kind of. I brought it for both of us to enjoy.”
“Believe me, I enjoy watching you eat it.” Whoa… His fierce gaze never wavers from mine, and his words, along with the arousal that’s thick in his deep voice, has me squeezing my legs together to alleviate the minor ache that’s starting between them.
Before I can think of a clever response, he quickly breaks the moment by looking away and changing the subject. “When do you go back to wherever it is you’re from?”
Putting my chocolate bar away for later, I lie down on my side to face him and prop my head up on my hand. “Is that your way of asking me where I’m from, Walker? You know, in case you ever want to look me up?” I giggle when he gives me his usual hard stare, and when I realize he isn’t going to respond I decide to give in. “I’m here for another week. Then I go back to Montana. Where are you from?”
“I’m originally from Colorado but live in California. Not that I’m ever home.”
“You go on missions often?”
“Yup. Just the way I like it.”
“Are you going on another one after this?” He nods. “And you’re leaving soon?” I try to keep the sadness out of my voice but know I don’t succeed.
He looks over at me. “Yeah. Probably in the next day or two.”
Nodding, I swallow back my disappointment and try to lighten the mood. “Poor guy. You’re going to be so lost without me.” He quirks a brow.
“It’s true. Who’s going to sing for you when you’re gone? Or show you how to rock out to your music? Admit it, Walker, you’re going to miss me when I’m gone…” Sitting up, I start slapping my knees and clapping my hands with rhythm, then begin to sing: “When I’m gone, when I’m go-o-ne, you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone. You’re gonna miss me by my hair. You’re gonna miss me everywhere, oh, you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.”
The sound of crickets fills the night as he stares at me in silence. “Pitch Perfect? Fat Amy?” He shakes his head, having no idea what I’m talking about. “Seriously, Walker? It came out to theaters a few months ago. It’s an epic movie. You must watch it when you get home.”
His noncommittal grunt doesn’t sound promising. “I’ll take your word for it, Red.” I shrug; whatever, his loss. “But you’re right though,” he adds quietly, not looking at me, “I will miss you and your voice.”
My heart stalls in my chest and warmth spreads through me at his unexpected words. I see his expression turn into a scowl and I can tell he regrets his admission. “I’ll miss you too, Cade… a lot.”
I can tell things are getting too intense for him, so I quickly lighten things up again. “I mean, the next week is going to be so lonely sitting here and talking to myself… oh wait, I already do that.”
A second after the words leave my mouth something incredible happens. Not only does my joke elicit the biggest smile I have yet to see from him, but also, a deep laugh rumbles from his chest. It’s gravelly, rusty and the most beautiful sound that has ever fallen upon my ears. It literally robs me of breath.