Pumpkin Spice Girl's story continues....
Click here to read Parts One and Two.
Click here for Part Three.
And now for Part Four of our saga...
Dean’s apartment is not at all what I imagined.
I expected, I don’t know, a solar powered tv, perpetually set to CNN, and a kitchen stocked with granola. Dean always struck me as a little crunchy. And I am definitely not a granola dipping tree-hugger. My idea of time in the outdoors is laying by the pool.
But no, we can blow away those misconceptions. For starters, Dean’s TV is massive. And there are three bookcases stacked with nothing but DVD’s. A bag of jelly beans rests on the coffee table, and there are two beanbags on the floor and a Star Wars poster on the wall.
“Wow, cool apartment.”
Dean grins. “You say that like you’re surprised.”
“Well,” I shrug. “You are a boy.”
He smiles. “Last time I checked.”
I swear, I can feel my cheeks flame red just at the idea of anyone checking to make sure Dean is a boy. Get it together, Kacey.
“Want a drink?” he asks.
“Sure.” I follow him into the kitchen. Simple, not overly tidy. Coffee pot, pizza box by the trash, nothing cutesy.
Dean opens the fridge. “What kind of soda do you want? Oh,” he turns back to me, “you probably want diet, which I don't have.”
Puh-lease. I shake my head. “Diet soda is carbonated filth. Hand me a Dr. Pepper.”
He tosses me a can. “I was hoping you’d be the type of girl who lives on the edge.”
I pop open my soda. “What, if I knitted or had a cat, you’d be turned off and end the night early?”
“One cat, no. But cats plural might have done it.” He leans against the counter and stares at me while I think of names for the babies we’ll have someday.
“Ready to play?” he asks.
I lasso my hormones under control. “Lead the way.”
Mario kart, it turns out, is actually loads of fun. And mind-blowingly frustrating. At one point I stand up and scream like a banshee.
“Easy there tiger,” Dean says.
I turn and glare at his confident smirk. “The wheels on that car are faulty. Luigi should totally file a lawsuit.”
Dean chuckles. “All a matter of training. You’ll be beating me soon, Kace, and then this’ll be no fun for me.”
Kace. My gosh, he’s nicknamed me. I might as well hand over my panties right now.
A grape soda, several hours, and dozens of Mario Kart losses later, and we finally call it a night. Dean drives me back to my apartment. I swear, my hands could not be sweating more. I am a woman he works with, dripping in mediocrity. Other girls are funnier, prettier, smarter, thinner.
I'm just me. My hair has fallen flat I can tell, and I wonder for a moment if I should’ve gone to the bathroom while I was there to at least check my hair or something. But vanity can be the death of any woman. I learned my lesson in college, after a bottle of self tanner left me looking like an oompa-loompa. So I resist the urge to flip down the mirror and check, and just hope he's still on whatever drug that made him think I'm attractive in the first place.
Dean walks me to my door. “ was fun.”
“It was. Thanks for the lesson. Maybe next time I’ll beat you.” Dangerous Kace, implying there’ll be a next time when he hasn’t said anything.
Dean smiles, then takes a step toward me. He leans so close I can feel his warm breath on my face. I glance at his lips, wanting him to kiss me and terrified of it at the same time. He's my boss. And I have a horrible history of liking guys who aren't as into me as I think they are. I stare up at Dean.
His lips hover inches from my face, and stretch into a grin. “Maybe next time, I’ll let you win.”
And because I couldn't stop there, here's the next installment ;)
The word I yell at the driver who just cut me off would have earned me a week's grounding if I were a teen still living at home. I honk my horn and speed through the intersection. Gah, how many days until Christmas? Thanksgiving is only a three weeks away, which means I'll finally get a day off work. Of course, I'll pay for it by being surrounded by overbearing aunts who want to know when I'm going to settle down. Gah, I'd rather face a firing squad.
Work was hell this week. I swear, my email notifications went off every five minutes, and Janet in Marketing gave me some sassy lip today about a report I turned in. I spent ten minutes fuming and contemplating the best way to set her cubicle on fire. Which would earn me praise from my colleagues - everyone hates Janet. But instead I redid the report (which was fine to begin with) just to get her off my back. I swear, I am one bad day from painting my face blue and impersonating Mel Gibson's "They can never take our freedom!" speech.
Get over it, Kace. It's the weekend. And oh man, do I love weekends. Especially now.
Weekdays I get Dean-at-work. No texting or emailing. Strictly business. He's my boss, and nothing more.
But weekends are turning out to be one interesting adventure. Because then I get not-at-work-Dean.
In in the four weeks since our first date, I've finally beaten him at Mario Kart, and seen all of the Star Wars movies. I’d even brought over Disney movies last weekend and talked him into watching one. I know his sister's names and about his dog that died when he was in fifth grade, and he knows about my Grandma Alice and how for a short stint in college I thought about joining the Peace Corp because my boyfriend broke up with me.
I roll my shoulders to work out the kinks as I pull into Dean's parking lot. I get out of the car and lean back against the door, huffing out a sigh and wondering what my odds are of winning the lotto if I never buy a ticket.
I snap my head up, surprised to see Dean standing in front of me.
"I was taking out the trash and heard this sigh that they probably heard two counties over," he teases.
I sigh. "Work was rough." I make a face. "My boss..."
Dean grins. “Is he a real jerk?”
I nod my head. “You have no idea. I had to get these quarterly reports to him, even though I’d already sent them last week. He needed them formatted differently and forgot to tell me.”
Dean winces. “Ouch. That guy sounds like a bastard.”
I force down my laugh. Reformatting the reports hadn't been a big deal, and Dean knows it, but this is fun. "Yeah, but what could I do? I don't want to upset this guy. You know there's a rumor that he might really be a woman? It would explain his mood swings."
Dean steps close and braces his arms on either side of me, pinning me to the car. “Oh really?”
I can feel my stress leaving my body. This is why it's so great to be with Dean. “Not that I believe it. I think he might be seeing one of the girls I work with."
He raises a brow. "Oh yeah?" He puts his hands on my waist.
"Yeah. I think he's sweet on this this older lady, Janet, who can be a real you-know-what. I think he and she would be perfect for each other.”
Dean shakes his head and squeezes my sides. “You’re walking a fine line there, lady.”
Then his lips are against mine before I can think to want them there. He moves his mouth against mine, his scruff scratching my chin and his kiss sending raging fire shooting through me. His hands reach around my back, pulling me to him. He tastes like, I don't know, heaven and magic and something distinctly male. I probably taste like estrogen and a little bit of psychotic. But he must like it, because he deepens the kiss, tilting his face and pressing me even closer to him. My body sizzles and I feel like fainting all at the same time.
He pulls his lips away, his nose nuzzling my cheek. Then he stands back, and I finger the bottom hem of his t-shirt.
Dean smiles down at me. "I think maybe your boss has seen enough of you this week." He brushes a piece of hair out of my face. "Now it's my turn."
And I die. Right here, leaning against my beat up Civic, life as I know it just ended. And this guy I've been seeing just plopped down in my heart.
And man, I hope he stays a while.