I Bet You (Page 51)
She closes the door behind her, and her eyes are bright as she takes in my naked body. Of course I pose, tightening up my muscles.
“Couldn’t stand to be without me, huh?” I grin.
She looks down at my c**k, which jerked to attention as soon I saw her.
She pounces and gives me a kiss, her legs wrapping around my waist. F**k yes. I’ll never get enough of her. I enfold her in my embrace, holding her by the a*s as our lips cling together. Heat roars through my veins. I feel like a rock star with her. Like I can take on the world and nothing bad will ever happen.
We get hot and heavy, and my fingers slip inside her panties from behind. I groan at the feel of her silky skin. “You’re wet, babe.”
“You’ve broken the seal and now I can’t get enough.” She gets a glint in her eyes. “How about third base right now, and later we can do the pirate thing?”
I kiss her hard. “I created a monster…but hell yeah.”
A few minutes later we walk out to the party.
“Nice shirt!” Dillon calls out as we pass by him.
I pop the strap on my blue tank top. It’s itty-bitty and my chest hair is poking out everywhere. “Yours too, man.”
He’s wearing the same parachute pants and a bright yellow tank. Looks like all the football guys were cornered. “You got a good one there.” He glances at Penelope and gives me a fist bump before turning to talk to someone dressed as Cyndi Lauper.
Penelope takes my hand, and we walk through the house. Several girls wave at her, and she smiles as we head to the back. I feel like I’m in a dream. And here’s the thing—I’ve had some kickass moments in my life, the time I won a state championship, the day I got my scholarship from Waylon, but nothing…nothing beats having her.
We step out into the yard, and I take in the wooden stage and the DJ bouncing around behind the stereo.
Penelope gets sidetracked by Charisma, and I head straight to him. After a few moments of explaining what I want, he shrugs and hands me the microphone. I tap it to get everyone’s attention. “Hello, my name is Ryker Voss, and I have something to say.” My voice echoes across the yard.
The music is turned down, and everyone slowly turns to face me. There’s some whispering going on, and I see rustling in the crowd as some of the people from inside slip out to join us.
“We know who you are, QB1.” I grin when I recognize Charisma’s voice.
“Go Wildcats!” someone says.
“Great game!” another one calls out.
I rub my jaw, feeling sheepish, struggling with what to say. I had the confidence when the idea struck, but now as I look out at all the curious faces, I’m not so sure.
“Spit it out,” someone yells, and I think it’s Blaze.
My gaze searches the crowd until I see Penelope. She’s standing on the right side of the yard and Margo is next to her. She arches her brows at me. What the heck are you doing? is written on her face.
I clear my throat. “We won a big game tonight…” The crowd cheers and I hold my hand up. “It’s been a great season and it means a lot that you guys are supportive—especially after everything we went through last year.”
I hear some murmurs of agreement and see heads nodding.
“First, I want to say thank you to the Chi Omegas for inviting us and providing these splendid outfits. I know they spent a lot of time deciding exactly how to best show us off, and the entire team appreciates it.”
“Here, here!” Margo calls out.
“I want to see you dance in those pants!” someone else says.
I rake a hand through my hair, and my hand shakes. I clear my throat. Again. “But most importantly, I want to say that I love Penelope Graham.”
The partygoers grow quiet. Some of them make awww sounds, and some search the crowd for the girl in question.
But I know where she is. I always will.
My gaze locks with hers, and she stares back at me, and maybe her lashes are wet—I can’t be sure, we’re too far apart—but f**k, I feel insanely giddy.
“Anything else?” someone yells.
“She completes me,” I say simply before lifting the cup someone pressed into my hand. “Party on!”
The crowd erupts in cheers. She meets me at the bottom of the stage, her big gray eyes luminous.
I stare down at her. “God, Red. I wanted to be more eloquent. I got nervous—”
She kisses me and my arms go around her.
“It was perfect,” she whispers into my ear. “We’re perfect.”
Two years later
I’m humming as I open the door to our penthouse. The smell of Ryker’s spaghetti sauce is the first thing I notice, and I groan, inhaling the yummy spicy scent. It makes my stomach rumble.
“S**t! Pen! Give me a cigarette!” squawks Vampire Bill from his perch next to the window that overlooks Central Park in Manhattan.
“No sir,” I tell him. “Smoking is bad for you.”
I call out Ryker’s name as I cross the room to check on my bird, but I don’t get his usual Hey Red call. I assume he must be too engrossed in cooking, and I give Vampire Bill a little scratch on the head.
“The word of the day is author,” I tell him, unperturbed by his glare. “I know. Easy, right. Well, today—and I’m telling you first because Ryker hasn’t popped out to see me—I signed my first contract with a publisher! Isn’t it great?”
Vampire Bill rolls his eyes.
“I know, I know, it’s taken a long time, but with enough perseverance, dreams do come true. Isn’t that cool?”
He shakes his head.
I grin. “Say Pen is an author. An awesome, deliriously happy author.”
He picks up a piece of leftover food from the bottom of his cage with his foot and flings it at me.
I sniff, dodging it. “I know you’re happy for me. You just have a hard time expressing love. Want a Ritz?”
I give him one.
“Ryker,” I call out as I leave Vampire Bill and walk into our ultramodern kitchen with its granite countertops, steel range, and white cabinets. Ryker and I bought it a year ago after he was selected by the New York Giants as the first pick of the draft.
After homecoming at Waylon two years ago, the Wildcats won the national championship, a first for our school. So, while he didn’t come out with the Heisman, there’s nothing sweeter than a championship ring that proves you’re the best. Archer ended up being drafted in the third round, but his career stalled when he was arrested for getting into a fight outside a nightclub.
It looks like a tornado has come through the kitchen. There’s a pot of delicious red sauce simmering on the stove and pans everywhere. I turn off the sauce and set it on the counter. Looking around, I see he’s made a platter of caprese salad, complete with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. There’s also a bottle of champagne open with two flutes next to it. Several lit candles glow on the table. I grin, imagining him going to all this trouble for me.
Where is he?
It’s the offseason, thank goodness, and part of me wonders if he hasn’t gotten sucked into watching old game tapes in his study.
I make my way down the hall, and when I hear a tortured groan coming from the bedroom, I detour and head that way. I open the door and freeze.
“What in the heck are you doing?”
Ryker’s standing bare-chested in his jeans next to our nightstand, his face white as he looks down at his very sparkly and magenta pink chest and then back up at me. I blink.