29 Sep Sample Sunday – Off Kilter
Unedited. Subject to Change. Coming soon.
That was the first word that came to mind when I returned to my bedroom from the shower to find Keris still passed out asleep. She’d shown up at my door last night, still wearing her same clothes from work, which let me know she’d been putting in extra time on the website.
And then, instead of going home, she’d come to me.
There was something she wasn’t saying, but that wasn’t unusual with Keris.
Showing up at my door, was.
So instead of harping on the unspoken details, I let her inside, and reveled in the benefits of whatever she was trying to get her mind off of.
Reveled in the fact that she’d, without a single word of prompting, spent the night.
I had a full day ahead of me, with my parents being here, and all the last minute managing involved with the official product launch in two days. I didn’t have time to sit down, still mostly undressed, coffee in hand, to watch Keris sleep. But I took it anyway.
This shit was weird, man.
I wasn’t one of those dudes who fucked off his whole twenties and thirties and then suddenly wanted to settle down – I wasn’t even thinking about it.
After Emil left, I was laser-focused on Night Shift – it encompassed my work, my social life, the people who helped bring it to fruition had become my friends, damn near family. Any time I had left, was quickly consumed by being a Kimble. And every once in a while, yeah, I’d engage in a quick fling.
Keris Bradford had thrown me off kilter.
My eyebrows lifted as she stirred, and I watched her come awake. Her eyelashes parted just enough for her dark, coppery irises to come into view as she frowned.
Probably wondering where the hell she was.
“Good morning,” I spoke, offering a hint that made her flinch, and her eyes opened further. Her gaze wasn’t pointed at me before, but she shifted in my direction at the sound of my voice.
A blow to the fucking chest.
One of my first impressions of Keris had been that she didn’t smile much, and it worried me before I realized why, at the time, they were so hard to come by. Now, I saw it often enough that if one didn’t easily appear, I knew something was up.
This, though, was a new experience.
Keris, in my bed, first thing in the morning, after spending a good portion of the night buried deep inside her. Her hair was a disheveled mess, her face puffy and swollen with sleep, nude body twisted haphazardly in my sheets.
“What time is it?” she asked, scrubbing a hand over her face. Her fingers went to her hair, immediately hitting a roadblock of tangled strands. “Shit.”
“It’s just after seven,” I told her, putting my coffee down on the windowsill. “I’ve got something for you.”
Her eyes went wide as she sat up, wrapping herself in the sheet – unnecessary modesty when I’d seen, touched, tasted every part of her. “Something for me?”
I grinned, making a point of looking around. “You’re the only other person here, aren’t you?”
I stepped into the closet, walking to the back shelves for a box that had been there at least a week. As soon as I came back into view, Keris started shaking her head.
“Laken, no. I don’t need gifts—”
“Hush, woman,” I told her, putting the box down on the bed in front of her. It was big enough that I’d brought it in with two hands, so I could understand why it might be a bit intimidating. “Just open it.”
She shot me a stubborn glare, but innate curiosity won over obstinate nature. She pulled the top from the box and peeked inside, then instantly sat back and looked away, her expression indecipherable.
I crossed my arms over my bare chest and frowned. “What? Did I do something wrong?”
“No,” she answered quickly, shaking her head. “The opposite. It’s just… it’s… it’s really thoughtful.” She gave her attention back to the box, lifting out a pouch containing a brush and wide-toothed comb, and various hair products curated for me by Lark.
“Well… last time I asked you to spend the night, your excuse was that you didn’t have any toiletries or clothes to be ready for the next day. I rectified that immediately, but… this is your first time overnight since then. I noticed you didn’t try to sneak out this time anyway though.”
Her happy demeanor deflated a little, and she sighed. “Well… that’s a bit of a double-edged sword, if I can be honest.”
“You can always be honest with me, Keris.”