I Bet You (Page 25)
“Jock! S**t! Ryker!” Vampire Bill squawks, and I stifle down my giggle.
“But he is funny.” I look back at Ryker, who’s now standing next to me at the cage.
“Did you teach him that?”
I blink innocently. “Maybe.”
“Uh-huh. You talk about me to your bird. Fascinating.”
“Not really. We do a word of the day sometimes,” I say as he stalks around my den, his eyes checking out my small but well-built house. His gaze takes in the decor in shades of gray and soft ecru. An elegant but rustic farmhouse-style chandelier illuminates the beige leather sofa and two baby blue plaid chairs across from it. The baseboard trim is thick and was recently painted a vanilla color by me this summer when I needed something to keep my mind busy and writing wasn’t cutting it.
“Oh, what was today’s word?”
And we do that staring thing.
“Nice place,” he says, breaking our gaze as his eyes drift over the furnishings. “Homey. I like it.”
“I grew up here,” I tell him, my fingers touching one of the lime green pillows on the chairs. “My mom decorated. She was…pretty awesome.” I pause. “I guess you don’t get back to Austin much?”
“Nah, it’s just me and my dad, and he’s always busy with work. Hey, I’m sorry about your mom.” He pauses. “You mentioned it in the bookstore…”
I rarely tell anyone the details of my mother’s death. “She…she had a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in her lungs. It was completely out of the blue and happened while she was riding her bicycle to work.”
“S**t. I’m so sorry. That must have been awful.”
Since her death, I’ve learned to harden myself to the events, but the sincerity in his voice gets to me. Tears tug at my eyes, and I push them down, adjusting my glasses. “It was a shock. What about your family? You said your mom left when you were three?”
“I rarely see her,” he says. “My dad works all the time. He runs a small real estate company in Austin.” His eyes land on the TV. “So, is this the movie you love so much?”
My gaze follows his. “Wanna watch with me? I just made some popcorn.”
“I’m more of an action and adventure guy.”
I sniff, feeling offended. “I bet if you watch the rest of this with me, you’ll like it.”
A smile tugs at his lips. “You’re making a bet with me?” He shakes his head. “Oh, Red. You’re on dangerous ground.”
I nod, feeling confident. “There’s some action in this one—scary killer dude.”
“What are the stakes?”
“If you like my sparkly vampires, you’ll have to make me spaghetti tonight.” I’m giddy at the thought of watching him cook.
He considers me, his gaze thoughtful. “Done. And if I think Twilight is stupid, I get to read your notebook.”
I lick my lips, and his gaze traces the movement. “How will I know if you’re being honest when you say if you liked it or not?”
“You’ll just have to trust me.” His sea-green gaze glitters. “Why do you like it so much anyway? The way I understand it, Edward’s not even a badass. He’s more of a touchy-feely bloodsucker.”
I huff. “How do you know so much about it?” I put my hands on my hips as he plops down on my couch and proceeds to make himself comfortable by arranging pillows and propping his feet up on the ottoman next to him.
“I may have googled it after you mentioned he was on your pillow. Can I see the pillow?”
“Nope. You’re getting nowhere near my bed.”
As I watch, he leans back and raises his arms to stretch before grabbing the remote and starting the movie back up.
I’m still staring down at him, trying to wrap my head around the fact that Ryker Voss is sitting on my couch, acting casual—and is going to watch a movie with me.
He pats the spot next to him. “Come on, Red. We’ve got a vampire to ogle.”
Ryker Voss is the most annoying football player alive.
Twilight is over. It’s after midnight, and I should be dead tired, but instead, I’m debating the merits of my favorite book.
“That movie just plain sucked,” he announces smugly.
I sit cross-legged, facing him, blue in the face from trying to explain the plot points.
He’s shaking his head at me.
I’m feeling petulant and grumpy. I wanted him to love it as much as I do. “Don’t you have a heart?”
He laughs. “Where were the gore and fangs? Not to mention the questionable hairstyles, creeping on her when she sleeps—and the sparkling in the sun thing? Toss in the no sex and it’s two stars at best.”
His eyes are lit with amusement as he watches me sputter. I wave my hands around, trying to find the right words to bring him over to my side.
“You’re telling the truth?”
My shoulders slump. It’s like eating the best piece of chocolate ever and giving a piece to your friend only to have them spit it out.
“I think the no sex is part of the appeal,” I say. “Saving yourself for the one person you truly love—that means something.”
He scoffs but then sobers when he reads the look on my face.
His lips part, and I see a dawning on his face. “Are you a virgin, Penelope?”
Panic at being so transparent rises for half a second until it ebbs away. I don’t know why, but I feel like I can be myself with him. “Yes.”
His face changes, the humor softening into amazement. “A twenty-one-year-old virgin…at Waylon? Impossible.”
I stare down at my hands.
“Are you sure?” He’s leaning in closer to me now, the heat from his body radiating to mine.
I roll my eyes. “I can assure you I’ve never had my cherry popped, hooked up, yada, yada, yada…”
I glance back up, and he’s staring at me, his gaze swirling with an indecipherable emotion.
“How far have you gone with a guy?”
I c**k my head. “Seriously? You’re asking for specifics?”
“It’s just so rare. I’m fascinated.”
I chew on my lips. “Good. I’m glad you’re not prejudiced against virgins.”
His lips quirk. “You’ve been kissed. Obviously.”
His gaze lingers on my chest. “And second base?”
His face grows still. “Third base?”
The air grows heavy. “What is third base?” I murmur.
“You want me to describe it?” he asks. There’s a flush on his cheeks as we stare at each other.
Heat rises in my face. Yes. I want him to spell it out in excruciating detail, so I can replay it over and over when he’s gone.
“Third base is when a guy—or a girl…” He stops and looks at me.
“Puts their hands…” He glances down at my legs and clears his throat. “Inside your underwear and touches you.”
Fire licks at me. It feels as if he’s touching me now, sliding his hands under my panties, his fingers dipping inside—
I suck in a breath. “Hmmmm, I see. And the purpose of this is to…”