He laughs and kisses me on top of the head. “I have a feeling I won’t be living you for much longer.” He gives me another quick kiss, then takes my hand. “Ready for the grand tour?”

I follow him toward his house, but I’m still stuck on the fact that he just told me he’s about to stop living me. If he stops living me, that means he’ll be loving me. He just confessed that he’s falling in love with me without actually saying it. The most shocking thing about his confession is that I really liked it.

We walk inside and the house is nothing like I expected. It doesn’t seem very big from the outside, but there’s a foyer. Normal houses don’t have foyers. There’s an archway to the right that leads to a living room. The entire walls are covered in nothing but books, and I feel like I’ve just died and gone to heaven. “Wow,” I say, eyeing the bookshelves in the living room. Books are stacked on shelves from floor to ceiling on every single wall.

“Yeah,” he says. “Mom was pretty pissed when they invented the e-reader.”

I laugh. “I think I already like your mom. When do I get to meet her?”

He shakes his head. “I don’t introduce girls to my mother.” His voice is as detached as his words, and as soon as he says it, his expression drops and he knows he’s just hurt my feelings. He walks swiftly to me and takes my face in his hands. “No, no. That’s not what I meant. I’m not saying you’re anything like the other girls I’ve dated. I didn’t mean for it to come out like that.”

I hear what he’s saying, but we’ve been dating as long as we have and he still isn’t convinced it’s real enough for me to meet his mother? I wonder if we’ll ever be real enough to him for me to meet his mother.

“Did Hope get to meet her?” I know I shouldn’t have said it, but I couldn’t keep it in any longer. Especially now, hearing him say “other girls.” I’m not delusional; I know he dated other people before he met me. I just don’t like hearing him say it. Much less calling me by their names.

“What?” he asks, dropping his hands. He’s backing away from me. “Why did you say that?” The color is draining from his face and I immediately regret saying it.

“Never mind. It’s nothing. I don’t have to meet your mom.” I just want whatever this is to pass. I knew I wouldn’t feel like talking about it tonight. I want to get back to the house tour and forget this conversation ever happened.

He grabs my hands and says it again. “Why would you say that, Sky? Why did you say that name?”

I shake my head. “It’s not that big of a deal. You were drunk.”

He narrows his eyes at me and it’s clear I’m not escaping this conversation. I sigh and reluctantly give in, clearing my throat before I speak.

“Last night when you were falling asleep…you told me you loved me. But you called me Hope, so you weren’t really talking to me. You’d been drinking and you were half asleep, so I don’t need an explanation. I don’t know if I really even want to know why you said it.”

He brings his hands to his hair and groans. “Sky.” He steps forward, taking me in his arms. “I’m so sorry. It must have been a stupid dream. I don’t even know anyone named Hope and I’ve definitely never had an ex-girlfriend by that name if that’s what you were thinking. I’m so sorry that happened. I should have never gone to your house drunk.” He looks down at me and as much as my instincts are telling me he’s lying, his eyes are completely sincere. “You have to believe me. It’ll kill me if you think for a second that I feel anything at all for someone else. I’ve never felt this way about anyone.”

Every word coming from his mouth is dripping with sincerity and honesty. Considering I can’t even remember why I woke up crying, it’s possible his sleep talking really was the result of a random dream. And hearing everything he just said to me puts into perspective just how serious things are becoming between us.

I look up at him, attempting to prepare some sort of response to everything he just said. I part my lips and wait for the words to come, but they don’t. I’m suddenly the one needing more time to process my thoughts.

He’s cupping my cheeks, waiting for me to break the silence between us. The proximity of his mouth to mine weathers his patience. “I need to kiss you,” he says apologetically, pulling my face to his. We’re still standing in the foyer, but he somehow picks me up effortlessly and sets me down on the stairs leading to the upstairs bedrooms. I lean back and he returns his lips to mine, his hands gripping the wooden steps on either side of my head.

Due to our position, he’s forced to lower a knee between my thighs. It isn’t that big of a deal unless you take into consideration the dress that I have on. It would be so easy for him to take me right here on the stairs, but I’m hoping we at least make it to his room first before he tries. I wonder if he’s expecting anything, especially after the text I accidentally sent him. He’s a guy, of course he’s expecting something. I wonder if he knows I’m a virgin. Should I even tell him I’m a virgin? I should. He’ll probably be able to tell.

“I’m a virgin,” I blurt against his mouth. I immediately wonder what the hell I’m doing even speaking aloud right now. I shouldn’t be allowed to speak ever again. Someone should strip me of my voice, because I obviously have no filter when my sexual guard is down.

He immediately stops kissing me. He slowly backs his face away from mine and looks down into my eyes. “Sky,” he says directly. “I’m kissing you because sometimes I can’t not kiss you. You know what your mouth does to me. I’m not expecting anything else, okay? As long as I get to kiss you, the other stuff can wait.” He’s tucking my hair behind my ears now and looking down at me genuinely.

“I just thought you should know. I probably should have picked a better time to state that fact, but sometimes I just blurt things out without thinking. It’s a really bad trait and I hate it because I do it at the most inopportune moments and it’s embarrassing. Like right now.”

He laughs and shakes his head. “No, don’t stop doing that. I love it when you blurt things out without thinking. And I love it when you spout off long, nervous, ridiculous rants. It’s kind of hot.”

I blush. Being called hot is seriously…hot.

“You know what else is hot?” he says, leaning back in to me again.

The playfulness in his expression chips away at my embarrassment. “What?”

He grins. “Trying to keep our hands off each other while we watch a movie.” He stands up and pulls me to my feet, then leads me up the stairs to his room.

He opens the door and walks in first, then turns around and tells me to close my eyes. I roll them, instead.

“I don’t like surprises,” I say.

“You also don’t like presents and certain common terms of endearment. I’m learning. But this is just something cool I want to show you—it’s not anything I bought you. So deal with it and shut your eyes.”

I do what he says and he pulls me forward into the room. I already love it in here because it smells just like him. He walks me a few steps, then places his hands on my shoulders. “Sit,” he says, pushing me down. I take a seat on what feels like a bed, then I’m suddenly flat on my back and he’s lifting up my feet. “Keep your eyes closed.”

I feel him pulling my feet onto the bed and propping me up against a pillow. His hand grabs the hem of my sundress and he pulls it down, making sure it stays in place. “Gotta keep you covered up. Can’t be flashing me thigh when you’re on your back like that.”

I laugh, but I keep my eyes closed. He’s suddenly crawling over me, careful not to knee me. I can feel him positioning himself next to me on his pillow. “Okay. Open your eyes and prepare to be wowed.”

I’m scared. I slowly pry my eyes open. I hesitate to guess what I’m looking at, because I almost think it’s a TV. But TV’s don’t usually take up eighty inches of wall space. This thing is ginormous. He points a remote at it and the screen lights up.

“Wow,” I say, impressed. “It’s huge.”

“That’s what she said.”

I elbow him in the side and he laughs. He points the remote back up to the TV. “What’s your favorite movie ever? I have Netflix.”

I tilt my head in his direction. “Net what?”

He laughs and shakes his head in disappointment. “I keep forgetting you’re technologically challenged. It’s similar to an e-reader, only with movies and television shows instead of books. You can watch pretty much anything at the push of a button.”

“Are there commercials?”

“Nope,” he says proudly. “So what’ll it be?”

“Do you have The Jerk? I love that movie.”

His arm falls to his chest and he clicks the power button and turns off the TV. He’s silent for several long seconds, then he sighs forcefully. He leans over and sets the remote down on his nightstand, then rolls over and faces me. “I don’t want to watch TV anymore.”

He’s pouting? What the hell did I say?

“Fine. We don’t have to watch The Jerk. Pick something else out, you big baby,” I laugh.

He doesn’t respond for a few moments while he continues staring at me inexpressively. He lifts his hand and runs it across my stomach and around to my waist, then grips me tightly and pulls me against him. “You know,” he says, narrowing his eyes as he meticulously rakes them down my body. He traces the pattern of my dress with a finger, delicately stroking over my stomach. “I can handle what this dress does to me.” He lifts his eyes from my stomach, back up to my mouth. “I can even handle having to constantly stare at your lips, even when I don’t get to kiss them. I can handle the sound of your laughter and how it makes me want to cover your mouth with mine and drink it all in.”

His mouth is closing in on mine, and the way his voice has dropped into some sort of lyrical, god-like octave makes my heart pummel within my chest. He lowers his lips to my cheek and lightly kisses it, his warm breath colliding with my skin when he speaks. “I can even handle the millions of times I’ve replayed our first kiss over and over in my head this past month. The way you felt. The way you sounded. The way you looked up at me right before my lips met yours.”

He rolls himself on top of me and brings my arms above my head, clasping them in his hands. I’m hanging on to every single word he’s saying, not wanting to miss a single second of whatever it is he’s doing right now. He straddles me, holding his weight up with his knees. “But what I can’t handle, Sky? What drives me crazy and makes me want to put my hands and my mouth all over every single inch of you? It’s the fact that you just said The Jerk is your favorite movie ever. Now that?” He drops his mouth to mine until our lips are touching. “That’s incredibly fucking hot and I’m pretty sure we need to make out now.”

Tags: Colleen Hoover Hopeless Romance
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