“Don’t say it!”
“Don’t say “until you” again, as if he and I… have a thing.”
Her eyebrow shot up. “You don’t have a thing?”
“I told you what I’m on, Nik! And in case you need a reminder, it’s not that man’s dick, because that’s not why I came here.”
“Unexpected perks, cousin.” She bent to wring the extra water from the mop before she slapped it to the floor again. “You could do a lot worse. I mean, it’s not like he’s one of those who was out there, like his homey Russ is. He never had like a bad reputation, he was just… a bachelor. Normal stuff.”
I shook my head. “Why does it sound like you’re trying to talk me into him?”
“Uh, duh, because I am,” she said. “I mean you obviously like him. Your whole face lights up when you talk about him.”
“I do not talk about him.”
“We’re literally having a whole ass conversation about him right now.”
“Only because you brought him up.”
“And I only brought him up because you so clearly want him.”
Sucking my teeth, I sat up a little straighter, giving way more attitude than needed when I asked, “Based on what exactly?”
“Based on you coming home the other night gushing about his opinion on your pictures, how his hair felt, how good he smelled, need I go on?”
“I don’t understand why you’re attacking me.”
“Oh hush,” Anika laughed, finishing up the last of the floor. “The truth is the truth – nobody is attacking you.”
“Then why does it feel that way?”
“I’m going to take a wild guess and say that it’s because you like him.”
“I don’t know him to like him,” I argued, following her down the hall to the bathroom to empty the mop bucket. Even as the words left my lips, they felt like a lie, as much as I didn’t want them to be.
The truth was that after being around him a whole three times, I liked him more than I should. Liked the back and forth, liked the flirtation, liked the… danger… of knowing that I shouldn’t be around him, but playing with that fire anyway.
I knew better.
For someone who claimed to not be interested in a “thing”, I found myself way too comfortable in his presence, talking and touching and if I was honest… seducing. I knew the effect I had on him – would have to be blind not to. But our vibe was so natural, so easy, that it felt impossible to pretend I didn’t want him.
So I didn’t.
He didn’t pretend either.
And something about the fact that we both knew what it was, what it could be, and still managed to play it cool made the whole thing more appealing to me. Like smelling the frosting on cake you knew you couldn’t eat.
“Okay, so get to know him,” Nik suggested, coming to stand beside me in the mirror as I prepped my toothbrush, then went to work scrubbing my teeth. “When is the last time you did that? Have you ever done that? Let yourself get to know someone long enough to really like them?”
“What would I do that for?” I asked, around a mouthful of toothpaste, before I spit.
“Because you’re human, and humans crave companionship?”
I looked up from rinsing my mouth to shoot her a wink in the mirror. “Oh I get plenty of companionship. No worries there.”
“I don’t mean by-appointment dick.”
“There’s another kind?”