Never Sweeter (Dark Obsession #1)(10)By: Charlotte Stein
“Oh my god, you should turn up for class. You have to turn up for class. I cannot be the reason that you, Tate Sullivan, are barred from studying that you actually want to do. That would be even weirder and more gross than if you tried to take a picture of my naked butt when I was in the med room.”
“Jesus, do you honestly think I would do that?” He paused, long and hard enough that she knew he was figuring it out. His expression shifted from amusement to confusion to something that came very close to horror, in under thirty seconds. “Wait. Did you think that was the reason I was there?”
“It did cross my mind once or twice.”
Or a few thousand times.
“Letty, I was there because—”
“I know why, okay.” She closed her eyes for just a second, remembering that look on his face as he carried her. The concern all over his features, which she still couldn’t quite accept. “But maybe we could just…not go into that. Ever. Just never talk about it.”
“Hey, if you’re willing to talk to me at all we can do it about anything you want.”
She fell silent then, though not through choice. All the oxygen seemed to have left the stairwell, and it took her words with it. The only thing she could do was stand there, staring at him, but even that was a problem. It gave her too much time to take in a million new things about him—like how soft his gaze suddenly was and how serious he seemed. That smirking humor she had come to know so well was gone, replaced by some other weird thing she didn’t recognize.
She would have called it sincerity on anyone else.
But she couldn’t with him. Not now, not ever.
“I think this might be pretty much my limit.”
“Okay, well…that’s fine, too, I guess.”
“All right. So…goodbye then.”
“Yeah. Goodbye,” he said.
But he didn’t stand up.
He just kept on making way too much eye contact.
Heavy, hypnotic eye contact that she had to get away from right now.
“You don’t seem to be going anywhere.”
“Neither are you.”
“Because I need to go up.”
She pointed, and in response he shuffled to the left.
Not that it helped particularly.
“Do you really expect me to squeeze through that tiny amount of space you just opened up? I doubt I could get a toe in there, and am pretty sure you know that.”
“Don’t know anything of the kind. I’m betting you could slip through, no problem.”
“Careful, Tate. That kind of sounded like a compliment.”
“If it’s a compliment, then how come you’re backing away?”
She honestly hadn’t realized she was. It just seemed to be a reflex when it came to him. He started talking, and suddenly she was doing her best to escape. In fact, she was sort of surprised she hadn’t already. The fire escape was barely three feet behind her. He was still sitting on the step, and didn’t seem inclined to move.
Running would have been easy, yet still she stayed.
And talked. God, they were doing a lot of talking. More than they’d ever done, and most of it so lighthearted she couldn’t wrap her head around the words.
They made her want to laugh and puke at the same time.
“I’m not backing away. I’m just naturally leaving in an ordinary manner.”
“Call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure you usually leave facing forward.”
“I was just about to turn. You didn’t give me a chance.”
“So…do you need like total silence or…?”
“That would be a start.”
“And maybe I should close my eyes.”
“Sure, why not?” she said.
Though she didn’t expect him to really do it.
Or to stay that way for what seemed like forever.
She almost took a step toward him before she remembered who he was and what he was capable of.
“Like I’m going to fall for that old trick.”
“Closing your eyes is a trick now?”
“You’ll open them just as I think I’m out. And then…grab my legs.”
“I’m not some creature hiding under your bed. At least let me grab your shoulder.”
“And then what? Let me guess: you decapitate me.”