Lick, p.26
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       Lick, p.26

         Part #1 of Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott
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Page 26

  Author: Kylie Scott

  “I will. ”

  “Bye. ”

  I said “bye”, but she was already gone.


  “You’re frowning. ” David walked up behind me slowly. His head cocked to the side making his dark hair fall over the side of his face. He tucked it behind an ear and moved closer. “Why are you doing that, hmm?”

  I’d been putting together dinner. I’d found pizza crusts in the freezer so I took them out to defrost and started cutting up toppings and grating cheese, while worrying about what Lauren had told me, of course. The house didn’t seem so welcoming anymore. Armed with the knowledge that it had been bought with another woman in mind, my feelings toward the place had shifted. I was back to feeling like an interloper. Horrible but true. Insecurities sucked.

  “Gimme. ” From behind me he snagged my wrist and brought my hand to his mouth, sucking a smear of tomato paste from my finger. “Mm. Yum. ”

  My stomach squeezed tight in response. God, his mouth on me that morning. His plans for us tonight. It all felt like a dream, a crazy beautiful dream that I didn’t want to wake from. Nor did I need to. All would be well. We’d work things out. We were married again now, committed. He snaked an arm around me and pressed himself against my back, leaving no room between us for doubt.

  “How are things going downstairs?” I asked.

  “Real good. We’ve got four songs shaping up nicely. Sorry we ran a bit over,” he said, planting a kiss on the side of my neck, chasing the last of the bad thoughts far away. “But now it’s our time. ”

  “Good. ”

  “Making pizza?”

  “Yeah. ”

  “Can I help?” he asked, still nuzzling the side of my neck. The stubble on his jaw scratched lightly at my skin, feeling strange and wonderful all at once. He made me shivery. Right up until he stopped. “You’re putting broccoli on it?”

  “I like vegetables on pizza. ”

  “Zucchini, too. Huh. ” His voice sounded slightly incredulous and he perched his chin on my shoulder. “How about that?”

  “And bacon, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and three different types of cheeses. ” I pointed the chopping knife at my excellent collection of ingredients. “Wait till you taste them. They’re going to be the best pizzas ever. ”

  “Course they are. Here, I’ll put them together. ” He turned me to face him, rearing back when my chopping knife accidentally waved at him. His hands fastened onto my hips and he lifted me up onto the kitchen island. “Keep me company. ”

  “Sure thing. ”

  From the fridge he took a beer for him and a soda for me, since I was still avoiding alcohol. Tyler and Mal’s voices drifted through from the lounge room.

  “We working again tomorrow?” Tyler called out.

  “Sorry, man. We gotta head back to LA,” said David, washing his hands at the sink. He had great hands, long, strong fingers. “Give me a couple of days to sort shit out down there then we’ll be up again. ”

  Tyler stuck his head around the corner, giving me a wave. “Sounds good. The new stuff is coming together well. Bringing Ben and Jimmy back with you next time?”

  David’s brow wrinkled, his eyes not so happy. “Yeah, I’ll see what they’re up to. ”

  “Cool. Pammy’s outside, so I gotta run. It’s date night. ”

  “Have fun. ” I waved back.

  Tyler grinned. “Always do. ”

  Chuckling quietly, Mal ambled in. “Date night, seriously … what the fuck is that about? Old people are the weirdest. Dude, you can’t put broccoli on pizza. ”

  “Yeah, you can. ” David kept busy, scattering peppers around the little trees of broccoli.

  “No,” said Mal. “That’s just not right. ”

  “Shut up. Ev wants broccoli on the pizza, then that’s what she gets. ”

  Ice-cold lovely sweet soda slid down my throat, feeling all sorts of good. “Don’t stress, Mal. Vegetables are your friend. ”

  “You lie, child bride. ” His mouth stretched wide in disgust and he retrieved a bottle of juice from the fridge. “Never mind. I’ll just pick it off. ”

  “No, you’re going out,” said David. “Me and Ev are having date night too. ”

  “What? You’re fucking kidding me. Where am I supposed to go?”

  David just shrugged and scattered pepperoni atop his steadily growing creations.

  “Oh, come on. Evvie, you’ll stand up for me, won’t you?” Mal gave me the most pitiful face in all of existence. It was sadness blended with misery with a touch of forlorn on top. He even bent over and laid his head on my knee. “If I stay in town they’ll know we’re here. ”

  “You’ve got your car,” said David.

  “We’re in the middle of nowhere,” Mal complained. “Don’t let him throw me out into the wild. I’ll get eaten by fucking bears or something. ”

  “I’m not sure they have bears around here,” I said.

  “Cut the shit, Mal,” said David. “And get your head off my wife’s leg. ”

  With a growl, Mal straightened. “Your wife is my friend. She’s not going to let you do this to me!”

  “That so?” David looked at me and his face fell. “Fuck, baby. No. You cannot be falling for this shit. It’s only one night. ”

  I winced. “Maybe we could go up to our room. Or he could just stay downstairs or something. ”

  David shoved his hands through his hair. The bruise on his poor cheek, I needed to kiss it better. His forehead did that James Dean wrinkling thing as he studied his friend. “Jesus. Stop making that pathetic face at her. Have some dignity. ”

  He cuffed the back of Mal’s head, making his long blonde hair fly in his face. Skipping back, Mal retreated beyond the line of fire. “Alright, I’ll stay downstairs. I’ll even eat your shitty broccoli pizza. ”

  “David. ” I grabbed his T-shirt and tugged him toward me. And he came, abandoning his pursuit of Mal.

  “This is supposed to be our time,” he said.

  “I know. It will be. ”

  “Yes!” hissed Mal, getting gone while he was ahead. “I’ll be downstairs. Yell when dinner’s ready. ”

  “He’s got a girl in every city,” said David, scowling after him. “No way was he sleeping in his car. You’ve been played. ”

  “Maybe. But I would have worried about him. ” I tucked his dark hair behind his ears then trailed my hands down to the back of his neck, drawing him closer. The studs in his ears were all small, silver. A skull, an “x” and a super tiny winking diamond. I hadn’t noticed it before.

  He pressed his earlobe between his thumb and a finger, blocking my view.

  “Something wrong?” he asked.

  “I was just looking at your earrings. Do they mean anything special?”

  “Nope. ” He gave me a quick peck on the cheek. “Why were you frowning earlier?” He picked up a handful of mushrooms and started adding them to the pizzas. “You’re doing it again now. ”

  Crap. I kicked my heels, turned all the excuses over inside my head. I had no idea how he’d react to my knowing the things Lauren had told me. What would he think if I asked about them? Starting a fight did not appeal. But lying didn’t either. Withholding was lying, deep down where it mattered. I knew that.

  “I talked to my friend Lauren today. ”

  “Mmhmm. ”

  I pushed my hands down between my legs and squeezed them tight, delaying. “She’s a really big fan. ”

  “Yeah, you said. ” He gave me a smile. “Am I allowed to meet her or is she off-limits like your dad?”

  “You can meet my dad if you want. ”

  “I want. We’ll take a trip to Miami sometime soon and I’ll introduce you to mine, okay?”

  “I’d like that. ” I took a deep breath, let it out. “David, Lauren told me some things. And I don’t want to keep secrets from you. B
ut I don’t know how happy you’re going to be about these things that she told me. ”

  He turned his head, narrowed his eyes. “Things?”

  “About you. ”

  “Ah. I see. ” He picked up two handfuls of grated cheese and sprinkled them across the pizzas. “So you hadn’t looked me up on Wikipedia or some shit?”

  “No,” I said, horrified at the thought.

  He grunted. “It’s no big deal. What do you want to know, Ev?”

  I didn’t know what to say. So I picked up my soda and downed about half of it in one go. Bad idea—it didn’t help. Instead, it gave me a mild case of brain freeze, stinging above the bridge of my nose.

  “Go on. Ask me whatever you want,” he said. He wasn’t happy. The angry monobrow from drawing his eyebrows together clued me in to that. I didn’t think I’d ever met anyone with such an expressive face as David. Or maybe he just fascinated me full stop.

  “Alright. What’s your favorite color?”

  He scoffed. “That’s not one of the things your friend told you about. ”

  “You said I could ask whatever I wanted and I want to know what your favorite color is. ”

  “Black. And I know it’s not really a color. I did miss a lot of school, but I was there that day. ” His tongue played behind his cheek. “What’s yours?”

  “Blue. ” I watched as he opened the gargantuan oven door. The pizza trays clattered against the racks. “What’s your favorite song?”

  “We’re covering all the basics, huh?”

  “We are married. I thought it would be nice. We sort of skipped a lot of the getting-to-know you stuff. ”

  “Alright. ” The side of his mouth kicked up and he gave me a look that said he was onto my game of avoidance. The faint smile set the world to rights.

  “I got a lot of favorite music,” he said. “‘Four Sticks’ by Led Zeppelin, that’s up there. Yours is ‘Need You Now’ by Lady Antebellum, as sung by an Elvis impersonator. Sadly. ”
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