Against All Odds, страница 2
“You,” I answer, staring intently into her reddish brown eyes. My nerves are tearing me apart from the seams, waiting for her response.
“Why?” she asks simply, tucking her black short hair awkwardly behind her ears.
She’s blushing and my heart is racing faster with each passing moment. I watch as her lips part slowly, anticipating her next move. She closes them after a few moments, wringing her hands out.
“I’m sorry, am I making you uncomfortable?” She looks like a model, prettier even, it’s surprising she is so uncomfortable with my statement.
She shakes her head as if to say no and then takes another swig off the silver flask, setting it back down on the table with a slight thud.
“Maybe I should be going?” I ask, already beginning to stand up. I feel as though I have overstayed my welcome, and if I want to keep my chances intact, retiring back to my own room seems like the safest bet.
I don’t anticipate her grabbing my arm to stop me. “No, please.” Her eyes speak mountains. “I’m enjoying talking with you.”
I smile more to myself than her, sitting back down on the couch. “Good, I’m enjoying talking to you too.”
“Tell me something about yourself. I’ve been blabbering for too long now.” She laughs uncomfortably, running her palms over her arms.
Over the past hour, I have learned that Austyn is nineteen, a freshman in college, lives in San Francisco, and works part time at her school library. I was so caught up learning about her, I forgot to release any details about myself.
“Are you cold?” I must have been too enamored with her to notice the small goose bumps raised all over her arms and legs.
“No, I’m okay,” she answers, but her body tells a different story. I quickly remove my light green hoodie and place it over her shoulders. Her eyes widen as a smile plays upon her lips. “Thanks.”
“What do you want to know?” I throw my hands behind my head, and position myself more comfortably.
“How old are you?”
“Twenty two.” Although we do have a three year age difference, it doesn’t matter in the slightest to me.
“Do you work or go to school?”
“I work as a web designer.” I will be the first to admit that my job is the coolest thing about me. It has allowed me to travel, have money, and live comfortably. I didn’t even finish college, but honestly, I didn’t see the point when I was making close to a hundred grand a year without a degree.
“What do you like to do for fun?”
“Music.” Her eyes light up with my answer and it seems as though we’ve hit common ground.
“Do you play an instrument?” The way she shifts her body toward me tells me she has become more engaged in our conversation.
I nod. “Guitar, piano, drums, and bass.”
I like her even more when I recognize the love for music fill her eyes. “What’s your favorite genre of music?”
“Anything with a decent beat really.”
“Do you play?” I ask, already convinced she is perfect.
She shakes her head quickly back and forth. “My parents couldn’t afford music lessons. I’m a star in my shower though.” She giggles.
“You sing?” My eyebrows instantly raise. This girl is the walking definition of perfection.
“Only in the shower. I have extreme stage fright.”
It’s surprising for someone as exceptionally beautiful as her that she could be scared of anything. “Well someday, maybe I can get you onstage with my band.”
“You’re in a band?” The tone of her voice rises. I assume I’ve excited her.
I nod my head. “We play out all over Washington and Oregon. We’ve toured through California a few times.”
“That is so cool,” she says softly.
I chuckle. “Thanks. I like to think I’m a pretty cool dude.”
“Where do you live?”
“Seattle,” I pause, attempting to find the right words without scaring her. “Although, I’ve been thinking a lot about moving.”
“Where would you move to?”
Don’t scare her off Avery—you just met her. “I’m not quite sure. I was thinking about California…or Portland.”
She tries to hide it, but I can see a subtle smile playing across her lips. What I would give to be able to see that every day.
The air between us has changed, it’s tenser now. Sexual tension is definitely filling the air at a rapid pace. She licks her lips nervously, her teeth tugging on her bottom lip. It’s driving me insane. I’ve wanted to kiss her since the moment I laid eyes on her—but I definitely didn’t want a deck across the jaw, so I’ve been holding out. Waiting for it to happen organically.
If looks could speak, hers would say that she wants my lips on hers now. She keeps running her fingers through her hair awkwardly, breathing in deeply.
Just kiss her already.
I don’t want to scare her away, but I want nothing more than to mash my lips to hers in the worst way. I’ve never felt more desperate for something in my life. I scoot a little closer to her, my heart thumping out of my chest.
I hope she can’t tell how nervous the silence is making me.
I reach my hand up and stroke it across her face gently. She looks surprised, but her body is inviting. Her eyes are giving me the go ahead. “Is this okay?” I ask, even though I know the answer.
She swallows nervously, nodding lightly. I don’t take my eyes off hers for a second before I begin leaning in. I close my eyes seconds before our lips meet and the feeling is like nothing I have ever experienced before. Her lips are soft and gentle. Mine are rough and eager. I don’t want to move too fast, but it’s like our lips have been separated far too long and have finally found one another after years of searching. Mine yearn for her, for more. I’m caressing her face softly as our lips explore one another’s.
It’s as if my mouth didn’t know what was missing until it tasted hers. My insides are on fire, burning for her. I’ve never been in love before, but if I could guess, I’d assume it feels something like this. My body is aching for her. I want more—need more.
How have I gone this long in life without her?
* * *
My eyes are going bad from the unhealthy amount of time I spend staring at my computer screen. I swear I’m going blind. I blink a few times, attempting to focus my view when I finally close my laptop out of frustration. I’ve been working on this job for the past few weeks and the deadline is coming up within the next few days…but I need a break. I glance at the clock on the DVR and it reads 3 pm.
Austyn will be at work for at least another two hours and by the time she makes it home it will be around 6 pm. I have a few hours to kill in the meantime. I grab my phone and quickly send a text to my friend Tyler.
Hey man, what are you up to?
It’s a Monday and I know he is off today. It isn’t more than a couple of minutes before I receive a reply. Just chilling, aren’t you working?
My fingers type back quickly before I begin putting on my shoes and grabbing my windbreaker. I needed a break. You want to grab Happy Hour?
Not surprisingly, he is down for the idea. I’m out the door within minutes. We meet up at the Pyramid Brewery and Alehouse, one of our favorite local spots for Happy Hour deals.
I end up ordering an Apricot Ale while Tyler opts for the Espresso Stout.
“So, was work that bad today?” Tyler asks, as we wait for our drinks and look through the menu.
“It’s not even that man,” I reply, removing my jacket. “I’ve just been working so hard on this Melani deal that I’ve barely had time to spend with Austyn or even get a decent night of sleep.”
He nods, his eyebrows raising. “How much are they paying you?”
I chuckle. “More than enough, trust me. I just miss being able to play more, I guess.”
He grins. “You’re in higher demand. And plus, aren’t you cushioning y
I shrug. “Yeah.”
The waitress approaches setting down our beers. “Have you guys had a chance to decide what you would like to order?”
I look at Tyler and we both crack up. “No, I’m sorry we haven’t. Can we have a couple more minutes?”
“Sure thing.” She smiles politely before walking off to one of her other tables.
“What are you thinking?” Tyler asks me.
“I don’t know…I was thinking about getting the chili cheese fries and probably the pulled pork sliders. You?”
He glances down at the menu. “I’m thinking a burger.”
We grin back at each other. “Good choice.”
“Oh, shit! I totally forgot to tell you…” Tyler’s eyebrows raise animatedly.
I stay silent awaiting what he has to say.
He takes a big gulp of his beer before speaking. “Liv is pregnant!”
I already know this because of Austyn’s big mouth, but I act surprised anyway. “Seriously? Congratulations man. You’re going to be a father...”
His face falls. “You already knew, didn’t you?”
I’m surprised he is able to see through me so quickly. I shrug. “Yeah. Austyn told me.”
“Everyone got to know before me!” he whines.
I chuckle. “She wanted to surprise you.”
“I know,” he grumbles.
Our waitress returns and takes our order before slipping us two new beers to replace the ones we have nearly finished. This time I opt for my usual Hefeweizen.
“So, how did you react when she told you?” I ask curiously.
“I was scared shitless. How else do you think I’d react?”
I know without a fraction of a doubt Tyler is going to be one hell of a dad. I’ve seen him around kids and he’s just good with them. I understand why he is nervous but I think he’s overthinking it. “Isn’t this the next logical step after settling down and getting married?”
“Well…yeah…” he trails off, taking a swig of his beer. “You ever going to settle down?”
I stare back at him curiously. “What do you mean? I’ve been with Austyn for years…”
“That’s not what I mean and you know it…” Unfortunately, I do. It seems like I can never escape this conversation. It’s been brought up more than a couple of times the past few years.
I shrug. “Austyn and I have a really good thing. I don’t know what the big deal is.”
“Dude…she’s been waiting for you to propose since your first year together.” Tyler chuckles. This is news to me. I mean, I always knew if I wanted to ask her she’d say yes in a heartbeat, but I honestly never knew it mattered this much to her.
“Is that what she told you?”
“No man, that’s what Liv told me. Girls talk.” Yep…they most certainly do.
“I just don’t understand what a little piece of paper is going to do for our relationship. We already act like we’re married.”
“You really don’t get it, do you?” His mouth is hanging open. “Girls dream about their wedding day from the time they are children. It’s a big deal to them.”
I know I want to marry Austyn…there is no question in my mind that if I had to choose one person to spend the rest of my life with, it would be her. I just don’t believe in rushing things. We’re both still so young. I met her when I was twenty two and she was nineteen. People really change in their mid-twenties and I wanted to make sure that we could withstand the changes. Now, I’m nearing thirty and she’s almost twenty six. I just don’t want to make any mistakes.
“I’m going to marry her someday.”
“Someday…key word here. If I were her I would have kicked you to the curb long ago,” Tyler jokes. “Her internal clock is probably going bananas.”
I grimace. I can definitely entertain the idea of marriage…but kids? I can barely take care of our cat, let alone a real living, breathing human.
“Oh shit, she better start running for the hills,” Tyler continues making jokes at my expense.
“Shut up,” I snap. “Let’s talk about something else.”
He throws his hands up in surrender. “Whatever man, it’s your funeral.” He takes a gulp of his beer and then his eyes light up as the server delivers our food to the table. He rubs his hands together excitedly. “I’m so excited for this! I’m starving.”
Suddenly, I’ve lost my appetite. All this talk of marriage and children has really done a toll on me. What if I do wait too long and Austyn decides I’m not worth the wait? What if I am being selfish for no reason? What if I’ve been putting it off for reasons unknown to me? My head is spinning as I stare at my chili cheese fries in a daze.
Three- You Know It’s Love When Barfing Is Involved
“Welcome back to 105.5, the Bay Area’s hit music station. Heath and Austyn here on this beautiful fall morning.”
I wish I could smack that smug smile right off his face.
I force a smile across my lips at my douchebag of a co-host.
“Did you have a good weekend, Austyn?” Heath asks, his eyebrows raising animatedly back at me from behind his microphone.
It’s a difficult task to hide my disdain for Heath on air, but I come to work every day prepared for the potential innuendos and degrading comments he will throw at me.
“Actually, I had a great weekend,” I speak clearly into the microphone in front of me. “Avery and I were finally able to put our camping gear to good use.”
“Uh oh,” Heath speaks in an overly sarcastic tone. “Austyn out in the wilderness? Everyone take cover!” He laughs at his lame joke.
“Very funny.” I roll my eyes back at him.
“No, seriously,” he continues between a round of chuckles. “Weren’t you worried about breaking a nail?”
Breathe Austyn, just breathe. You can imagine all the ways you can murder him in his sleep when you get home.
That’s become my mantra the past year since 105.5 paired us up for our morning show, the Vibe.
The producers had showed up at my desk one day with a stack of papers basically showing that our two slots were the most listened to on the entire station. So naturally, they wanted to capitalize on it. People loved Heath’s brash and blunt nature, although it was beyond me why and they seemed to adore my sweet and genuine disposition.
Arnold, my producer said it would be a modern day Beauty & the Beast. In other words, crack for our listeners.
Although I’m known for my kind nature, everyone around the studio knows I won’t put up with Heath’s shit. They predicted it would be a hit and it was. It wasn’t long before we became the highest ranking slot in morning radio across California, Oregon, and Washington. I can’t blame them; they know what sells.
“You’re hilarious, Heath. Have you ever thought about going into stand up?” I ask, my voice dripping with sarcasm.