Unexpected Fate(7)

By: Harper Sloan


Oh. My. Gosh!

Cohen’s in my bed. Like, really in my bed. I don’t think my panic level could get any higher than it is right now. I frantically search the murky depths of my memories to see if I can piece the last few hours together.

All I remember is Nate and his disgusting wake-up call, Daddy dragging me to the doctor, and my Cohen dream. Holy crap. That was a dream, right?

Opening my eyes, I look over to where he’s standing with his phone against his ear. He looks up and gives me that panty-melting smile, and I feel myself flush instantly. Blush like an innocent schoolgirl. How. Embarrassing.

He shakes his head a few times and moves his attention to my dresser full of pictures while waiting for the call to connect. I use this time to study his handsome face.

He’s always been an attractive person. When he was a kid, he had that youthful perfection. His skin always looked flawless and he carried a good tan all year long. His brown hair, until he enlisted in the Marines, carried that sexy shaggy look any female worth her salt would get an itchy palm that just begged her to run her fingers through. Now, he keeps it slightly longer than regulation with a buzz on the sides. It brings out the sharp angles of his jaw and cheekbones. Not to sound like a freak—hey, maybe I am—but I’ve been studying this man for so long that I could probably draw him to exactness from memory alone.

What all his good looks really do is make him look like one deliciously sexy man who puts me in a state of constant arousal when he’s around. His dark-brown eyes look over at me again, and he raises a brow when he sees that I’m still looking at him, but he quickly glances away when I’m assuming my dad picks up.

“Axel,” he starts only to pause and roll his eyes. “She’s fine. Awake, tired, and I’m sure getting more annoyed by the second that I’m reporting to her father . . . Yes, sir . . . I’m positive I’ll get an earful as well . . . No, sir . . . I’ll get her to eat something as soon as I get off the phone . . . No, she hasn’t taken her meds yet. She just woke up, uh . . . She just woke up.” He looks over at me almost uncomfortably before looking away.

Weird.

I start to cough, and he rolls his eyes.

“It was just a cough, Axel. She’s already back to scowling at me. Yeah, I’ll get the soup and her meds and demand she doesn’t move a muscle indefinitely. No, sir, I’m not making fun of you.”

When I laugh, Cohen shoots me another look. This time, he’s warning me to hush before my daddy goes nuts.

“Yes, sir. She’s fine. I’m sure she going to listen because she knows that’s best too. Okay. Yes, sir. Bye.” He shoves his phone back in his pocket and shakes his head. “Your dad. I swear that man still thinks you’re six and riding a bike for the first time. Remember when he wouldn’t even let you attempt to ride it without training wheels before he had a fully stocked first aid kit attached to his back?”

We both laugh at the memory of just one of his over-the-top parenting moments.

“What are you doing here?” I ask, waving my hand around the general area of my bedroom.

“Nate. Well, Nate indirectly. He called me earlier.” He raises one shoulder in a shrug like that should be enough.

“Yeah? And that explains what, exactly?”

“Oh shut up, brat,” he teases. “He mentioned, in between his bouts of hilarity over the morning craziness at the Reid house, that you were sick, and I figured I would come bring you Mom’s soup and keep you company. You know, like old times.”

“Old times?” I question, confused.

“You know. I used to always sit with you when you were sick.”

“Cohen, the last time I was sick, I was, like, ten and you had no choice since we were the only two with the flu and our parents didn’t want us spreading it to our siblings.”

What in the hell is going on here? For a couple of years, he’s treated me with a friendly indifference. Not rude, but never . . . this.

“Still, it helped,” he smirks.

“Yeah, it did.”

Of course, he probably thinks it helps for an entirely different reason than it actually did. I was beside myself the whole week we were basically quarantined together. Not because I was sicker than shit and miserable. I was sick as hell, but I was in heaven. Absolute euphoria because I was alone with Cohen—just him and me—for a whole week.