Lick, p.14
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       Lick, p.14
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         Part #1 of Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott
Page 14

  Author: Kylie Scott

  “You look tired,” I said.

  “Yeah. Might be time to get some shut-eye. ” He planted a quick kiss of my forehead. Was it a friend’s kiss or more? I couldn’t tell. Maybe it, too, was just for scientific purposes.

  “We tried, huh?” he said.

  “Yeah. We did. ”

  He rose to his feet, collecting his beer bottle. Without him to warm me the breeze blew straight through me, shaking my bones. It was the kiss though that had really shaken me. It had blown my ever-lovin’ mind. To think, I’d had a night of kisses like that and forgotten it. I needed a brain transplant at the earliest convenience.

  “Do you mind if I come with you?” I asked.

  “Not at all. ” He held out a hand to help me to my feet.

  Together, we wandered back up to the house, up the stairs into the master bedroom. I tugged off my shoes as David dealt with his own footwear. We lay down on the mattress, not touching. Both of us staring at the ceiling like there might be answers there.

  I kept quiet. For all of about a minute. My mind was wide awake and babbling at me. “I think I understand a little better now how we ended up married. ”

  “Do you?” He turned his head to face me.

  “Yes. ” I’d never been kissed like that before. “I do. ”

  “C’mere. ” A strong arm encircled my waist, dragging me into the centre of the bed.

  “David. ” I reached for him with a nervous smile. More than ready for more kisses. More of him.

  “Lie on your side,” he said, his hands maneuvering me until he lay behind me. One arm slipped beneath my neck and the other was slung over my waist, pulling me in closer against him. His hips fit against my butt perfectly.

  “What are we doing?” I asked, bewildered.

  “Spooning. We did it that night for a while. Until you felt sick. ”

  “We spooned?”

  “Yep,” he said. “Stage two in the memory rehab process, spooning. Now go to sleep. ”

  “I only woke up an hour ago. ”

  He pressed his face into my hair and even threw a leg over mine for good measure, pinning me down. “Bad luck. I’m tired and I wanna spoon. With you. And the way I figure it, you owe me. So we’re spooning. ”

  “Got it. ”

  His breath warmed the side of my neck, sending shivers down my spine.

  “Relax. You’re all tense. ” His arms tightened around me.

  After a moment, I picked up his left hand, running the pads of my fingers over his calluses. Using him for my fidget toy. The tips of his fingers were hard. There was also a ridge down his thumb and another slight one along the bottom of his fingers where they joined the palm of his hand. He obviously spent a lot of time holding guitars. On the back of his fingers the word Free had been tattooed. On his right hand was the word Live. I couldn’t help but wonder if marriage would impinge on that freedom. Japanese-style waves and a serpentine dragon covered his arm, the colors and detail impressive.

  “Tell me about your major,” he said. “You’re doin’ architecture, right?”

  “Yes,” I said, a little surprised he knew. I’d obviously told him in Vegas. “My dad’s one. ”

  He meshed his fingers with mine, putting the kibosh on my fidgeting.

  “Did you always want to play guitar?” I asked, trying not to get too distracted by the way he was wrapped around me.

  “Yeah. Music’s the only thing that ever really made sense to me. Can’t imagine doing anything else. ”

  “Huh. ” It must be nice, having something to be so passionate about. I liked the idea of being an architect. Many of my childhood games had involved building blocks or drawing. But I didn’t feel driven to do it, exactly. “I’m pretty much tone deaf. ”

  “That explains a lot. ” He chuckled.

  “Be nice. I was never particularly good at sports either. I like drawing and reading and watching movies. And I like to travel, not that I’ve done much of it. ”

  “Yeah?”

  “Mm. ”

  He shifted behind me, getting comfortable. “When I travel it’s always about the shows. Doesn’t leave much time for looking around. ”

  “That’s a pity. ”

  “And being recognized can be a pain in the ass sometimes. Now and then, it gets ugly. There’s a fair bit of pressure on us and I can’t always do what I want. Truth is, I’m kind of ready to slow things down, hang out at home more. ”

  I said nothing, turning his words over inside my head.

  “The parties get old after a while. Having people around all the damn time. ”

  “I bet. ” And yet, back in LA he’d still had a groupie hanging off him, cooing at his every word. Obviously parts of the lifestyle still appealed. Parts that I wasn’t certain I could compete with even if I wanted to. “Won’t you miss some of it?”

  “Honestly, it’s all I’ve done for so damn long, I don’t know. ”

  “Well, you have a gorgeous home to hang out in. ”

  “Hmm. ” He was quiet for a moment. “Ev?”

  “Yeah?”

  “Was being an architect your idea or your dad’s?”

  “I don’t remember,” I admitted. “We’ve always talked about it. My brother was never interested in taking up the mantle. He was always getting into fights and skipping class. ”

  “You said you had a tough time at high school too. ”

  “Doesn’t everyone?” I wriggled around, turned over so I could see his face. “I don’t usually talk about that with other people. ”

  “We talked about it. You said you got picked on because of your size. I figured that’s what set you off with my friends. The fact that they were bullying that girl like a pack of fucking school kids. ”

  “I guess that would do it. ” The teasing wasn’t a subject I liked to raise. Too easily, it bought back all of the crappy feelings associated with it. David’s arms didn’t allow for any of that to slip through, however. “Most of the teachers just ignored it. Like it was an extra hassle they didn’t need. But there was this one teacher, Miss Hall. Any time they started in on me or one of the other kids she’d intercede. She was great. ”

  “She sounds great. But you didn’t really answer my question. Do you want to be an architect?”

  “Well, it’s what I’ve always planned to do. And I, ah, I like the idea of designing someone’s home. I don’t know that being an architect is my divine calling, like music is for you, but I think I could be good at it. ”

  “I’m not doubting that, baby,” he said, his voice soft but definite.

  I tried not to let the endearment reduce me to a soggy mess on the mattress. Subtlety was the key. I’d hurt him in Vegas. If I was serious about this, about wanting him to give us another go, I needed to be careful. Give him good memories to replace the bad. Memories we could both share this time.

  “Ev, is it what you want to do with your life?”

  I stopped. Having already trotted out the standard responses, extra thought was required. The plan had been around for so long I didn’t tend to question it. There was safety and comfort to be had there. But David wanted more and I wanted to give it to him. Maybe this was why I’d spilled my secrets to him in Vegas. Something about this man drew me in and I didn’t want to fight it. “Honestly, I’m not sure. ”

  “That’s okay, you know. ” His gaze never shifted from mine. “You’re only twenty-one. ”

  “But I’m supposed to be an adult now, taking responsibility for myself. I’m supposed to know these things. ”

  “You’ve been living with your friend for a few years, yeah? Paying your own bills and doing your classes and all that?”

  “Yes. ”

  “Then how are you not taking responsibility for yourself?” He tucked his long dark hair behind an ear, getting it out of his face. “So you start out in architecture and see how you go. ”
r />   “You make it sound so simple. ”

  “It is. You either stick with that or try something else, see how it works for you. It’s your life. Your call. ”

  “Do you only play guitar?” I asked, wanting to know more about him. Wanting the topic of conversation to be off me. The knot of tension building inside me was not pleasant.

  “No. ” A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth—he knew exactly what I was about. “Bass and drums, too. Of course. ”

  “Of course?”

  “Anyone passable at guitar can play bass if they put their mind to it. And anyone who can pick up two sticks at the same time can play drums. Be sure to tell Mal I said that next time you see him, yeah? He’ll get a kick out of that. ”

  “You got it. ”

  “And I sing. ”

  “You do?” I asked, getting excited. “Will you sing something for me? Please?”

  He made a noncommittal noise.

  “Did you sing to me that night?”

  He gave me a small pained smile. “Yeah, I did. ”

  “So it might bring back a memory. ”

  “You’re going to use that now, aren’t you? Anytime you want something you’re going to throw it at me. ”

  “Hey, you started it. You wanted to kiss me for scientific purposes. ”

  “It was for scientific purposes. A kiss between friends for reasons of pure logic. ”

  “It was a very friendly kiss, David. ”

  A lazy smile lit his face. “Yes, it was. ”

  “Please sing me something?”

  “Okay,” he huffed. “Turn back around then. We were in spoon position for this. ”

  I snuggled back down against him and he shuffled closer. Being David’s cuddle toy was a wonderful thing. I couldn’t imagine anything better. Pity he was sticking with the scientific rationale. Not that I could blame him. If I were him, I’d be wary of me.
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