First Comes Love(12)

By: Emily Goodwin

I smile. “What happened?”

“What?” she calls over the thumping base.

I lean in closer, putting my hand on her waist. She moves away but backs into the wall. She can’t get any farther from me. “What happened on this date?”

She purses her lips and shakes her head. Then she sighs and moves her face closer to mine, putting her lips by my ear. Her breath on my skin makes me shiver.

There is not a single woman in the world I’ve wanted more than Lauren Winters.

Not a single woman in the world is more off-limits than her.

And there has never been a single incident where she has indicated any sort of attraction to me. Not once, and I’ve thrown a few moves at her from time to time. It’s frustrating, a bit of an ego blow, and really, just makes me want her more. She’s a challenge, but it’s so much more than that.

Lauren is everything I’m not, everything I don’t deserve. I respect her as much as I want her.

“The guy was a total sexist pig. So I left.”

“You just walked out?”

She nods. “I said I was going to the bathroom. I think he got the hint when I took my coat and purse.”

I lean away just enough to look into her eyes. “Sorry you had a date that bad.”

“I got a free dinner out of it, at least. But Jenny’s probably going to get an earful. It was a friend of a friend sort of thing.”

“But how did you end up here?”

“We were at that Mexican restaurant down the street. He drove, and I’m not getting in a car with him. I called Katie, Colin, and Jenny, but no one picked up. So I walked here to get out of the rain and to hide from the asshole. And I can really use a drink right now.”

“I think you need one after that kind of night. Come to the bar, it’s on me.”

“Thanks,” she says. I extend my hand and she looks at it for a moment, considering taking it. She looks around the crowded bar and pulls her shoulders in. She knows she’s out of place here. After the longest few seconds, she puts her hand in mine and lets me lead her through the crowd.

I kick another regular out of his spot at the bar so Lauren can take a seat. She pulls her jacket closer to her body and smiles at me again. The gesture is cordial at best, and I know she’s just waiting for someone to come get her and take her away from this place.

It shouldn’t bother me. So why the fuck am I taking it personally?

“What do you want to drink?” I ask her.

She wrinkles her nose just a bit, and I find it adorable. “I don’t know. I don’t really like the way booze tastes, unless it’s wine.”

I laugh. “You can’t get wine here. Want a beer? I can get you one of those sissy lime-flavored ones.”

“I don’t like beer either.”

“You’re killing me.”

“Sorry,” she offers. “Make me something that tastes good?”

“I can do that.” I quickly make her a Cherry Vodka Sour then get flagged to fill another order. Joey is struggling, and Lauren is hunched over, busy texting, so I mix up another few drinks before I go back to her.

In the few minutes it takes me to get everyone around the bar what they ordered, Lauren has finished her drink.

“Can I have another?” she asks and leans back a bit. Her body begins to relax, starting with her shoulders. She’s always been a bit uptight. “That kind of tastes like lemonade. It’s good.”

“Sure,” I say and mix up another. She sips it slowly and diverts her eyes to her phone.

“Find a ride?” I ask, leaning on the bar so she can hear me.

“Not yet.”

“I can take you home,” I tell her.

“But you’re working.”

“Actually, I’m not. Just helping out.”

“Oh,” she says, looking confused. Is she drunk already? “Okay.”

I go back behind the bar to get my leather jacket, talking down my cock. Lauren is my best friend’s sister. I’ve known her for years. She should feel like my sister. I should not be thinking about rolling the straps of that tight dress off her shoulders, watching it fall to the floor. I should not be wondering what she tastes like, what it would feel like to stick my dick inside her.

“Ready?” she asks me when I get to her side.

“Yeah, come on.”

She follows me outside, heels wobbling on the gravel drive. The rain has stopped and the night is cool. I zip up my jacket and tell Lauren to do the same.

“Why?” she asks and pops buttons into place. “Does the heat not work in your car?”

“Oh it works just fine,” I say and fish the keys from my pocket. “But I didn’t drive my car tonight.”

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