Be with Me(Wait for You)(8)

By: J.Lynn

I shuffled several feet down the walkway, peering between the trees and thick hedges. The hollows of my cheeks started to burn as I stopped in the middle of the pathway. I shifted my weight from my aching leg to the other. What was I doing out here? I didn’t even bring my phone with me. It had to be a mistake or a joke or a—

A thick shadow broke free from under the trees, moving between the hedges. The form was tall and solid and as it stepped into the pillar of light cast from the lamppost, my mouth dropped open. It was Jase, but what was he doing back there? As he turned toward me, his hands left the zipper area of his jeans. Oh my God.

“Jase?” I hissed, hurrying the rest of the way toward him.

His chin lifted at the sound of my voice. “There you are.” He said it like he’d been waiting forever and a day for me. One side of his lips kicked up. “You’re here.”

There was a flutter in my chest at the sight of his half smile. Recalling what he had said to me earlier helped me ignore the dumbass butterfly in my chest. “Were you just peeing?”

The half grin spread. “I had to use the bathroom.”

“In a bush?”

“Someone needed to water it.”

My lips twitched as I stared up at him. The unruly mop of hair fell across his forehead, brushing the edges of his eyes. The old, vintage style T-shirt he wore stretched across his broad shoulders and chest. As he lifted his hand to push his hair back, he revealed a slice of skin between his low-hanging jeans and his shirt. Rock-hard abs peeked out.

I averted my gaze because that was the last thing I needed to be staring at. “You’re drunk.”

“Ah . . .” He swayed to the left like there was some kind of invisible gravitational pull I was unaware of. “I wouldn’t go as far as to say I am drunk. Maybe a little buzzing.”

I arched a brow as he wavered to the right. That’s when I noticed the little pink box on the bench. “Is that yours?”

He followed my gaze and then grinned. “Shit. I forgot about it. Brought you a present.”

My brows shot up as he leaned over, nearly falling on his face before catching himself at the last moment, and picked up the box. “What is it?”

He handed it over. “Something as yummy as me.”

I snorted out a very attractive laugh as I looked down. Through the clear plastic top I could make out a huge, oversized cupcake. I glanced at Jase.

One shoulder went up in a shrug. “Cupcakes are good. Thought I’d be good and share with you.”

“Thank you.” I pried open the box and dipped my pinkie in the icing. Tasting it, I nearly moaned at the sweet richness.

Jase swallowed as he looked away. “I think I’ll sit down. You should too . . . you know, because of your leg.”

Like I somehow forgot that.

Jase watched me as I eased down, finding my knee stiffer than normal. “Is your leg bothering you?”

I opened my mouth, but he rushed on. “I didn’t even think about that. You probably shouldn’t be on your leg so much and—”

“I’m okay.” I took a quick bite of the cupcake. It was like a sugary orgasm in my mouth. “Want some?”

“Hells yeah.”

I broke the cupcake in half and handed him his half. Within five seconds, he’d devoured it. I finished mine off pretty quickly and after tossing the box in a nearby trash can, I took a deep breath. “You didn’t come here just to give me a cupcake, right?”

“Ah, no.”

“What . . . what are you doing here, Jase?”

He didn’t answer immediately, but when his gray gaze settled on me, his eyes were surprisingly sharp. “I want to talk to you.”

“That much I got, but I think you said everything you wanted to say already, and you showing up here is the last thing I expected.” I felt like a bitch for throwing it out there like that, but it was true. And he sort of deserved it. I was no one’s doormat.

Jase looked away as his shoulders tensed, then he came forward and sat down beside me. The smell of alcohol was faint as he looked at me. Without saying a word, he reached over and plucked up my free hand. My eyes widened as he lifted my hand, turned it over, and placed a kiss against my palm.

Yep. He was drunk.

And my skin tingled from where his lips had met, like an electrical jolt. Speechless, I watched him lower my hand back to my lap.

“I’m a jackass,” he said.

I blinked slowly.

“I shouldn’t have said the shit that I said to you earlier. It wasn’t right and I was lying.” He took a deep breath, shifting his gaze to the empty bench across from us. “I wasn’t drunk that night. I was far from it.”

My heart had begun pounding from the moment he kissed my hand and went up a degree as he spoke, and my voice was barely above a whisper. “I know.”

“And I really didn’t think you’d assume it meant anything because you had a crush on me or whatever.” One side of his lips tipped up again, but he had been right on that aspect. The kiss had meant everything to me. “I just . . . I shouldn’t have kissed you that night—touched you. Not because it was gross or any of that shit, but because you’re Cam’s little sister. You’re untouchable.”

As I stared at him, the butterfly moved from my chest to my stomach. Was that Jase’s problem? He felt bad because Cam was his friend. Seriously? Part of me wanted to smack him upside the head. The other part of me wanted to crawl into his lap, because if that was his big hang-up, we could work with that. Couldn’t we? Or did it matter?

But I just sat there, staring at him like I had all those times he’d come to visit Cam. If I started giggling, I was going to punch myself in the face.

“The moment . . . it had gotten away from me that night, Tess. You . . . you are a beautiful girl. Always have been and, goddamnit, that hasn’t changed.”

He thought I was beautiful—wait. The moment had gotten away from him? Torn between being elated and insulted, I shook my head.

“Anyway, I just wanted to say I’m sorry.” He glanced over at me, half of his face shadowed. “And if you think I’m the biggest jackass out there, I completely understand.”

What he had said earlier still stung like I’d kicked a nest full of hornets, but what he was saying now soothed a little of the burn. “I don’t think that.”

Jase stilled for a moment and then he twisted toward me, his head cocking to the side again. Our eyes locked, and I found that I couldn’t look away. “You’re still so . . . sweet.”