Back in my room, I could hear that he’d returned to the punching bag in full force. Still reeling from his words, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was right. Maybe I was really just a clueless person. But he never exactly expressed his feelings to me back then, either. Was I supposed to be a mind reader? I felt like I needed to make that point. It was bugging me. I returned down the hall and spoke through his violent hooks to the bag.
“The other night you asked me why I never told you how I felt. Well, clearly you didn’t have the balls to tell me how you felt, either.”
Justin stopped punching but kept his arms on the bag, leaning against it. He took a few seconds to catch his breath. “I thought it was understood. How much more obvious could I have been? All the fucking songs I wrote you? Did you ever even see me with any other girls?”
“No. But you did admit to kissing someone before that night at Brian’s.”
“I did kiss one girl before that night. Wanna know why? Because I didn’t want to be clueless as to what the fuck I was doing when I finally got the courage to kiss you. I never considered it a real kiss. I wanted my first real one to be with you. I wanted everything with you. But I was afraid you were too young, so I was waiting. I didn’t want to rush things and ruin it. But you’re right. A part of me also didn’t have the balls to tell you how I felt.”
“I wish you had. You were being careful, and I was just clueless. Together, we were…careless.”
“Careful plus clueless equals careless? Did you just make that up right now?”
“That’s pretty fucking cheesy.”
“Thanks a lot.”
“You’d better get ready for your date with Trapper Con M.D.”
I laughed, relieved that he was smiling about things now. “Will you help me?”
“Help you? What the fuck do you need help with?”
“Help me pick out what to wear. Because I think you’re right. This is a little skimpy.”
“A little skimpy? Hustler would be calling you tomorrow if I sent them a picture.”
“Alright. A lot skimpy.”
“You can’t figure this shit out on your own? It’s pretty simple. You cover your tits and ass. Done.”
“Yeah. But I still want to look good. You know I have a tendency to pick weird stuff. Potato sack couture and all. I feel like I go from one extreme to the other, and I don’t know how to dress in between.”
“Fine.” Justin let out an exhausted breath and followed me to my room.
I started to take dresses out of my closet, throwing them on the bed one by one. “How about this?”
“You got Birkenstocks to go with it?”
“Well, that would be one way to get rid of him.”
I covered my face. “Aargggh! This is so frustrating.”
“I know a solution.”
“Don’t go on the date.”
“Because I can’t figure out what to wear?”
“Yeah. I think you should stay home.”
“You just don’t like him.”
“You’re damn right.”
“He just wants in your pants, Amelia.”
“Well, he’s not getting in my pants.”
“You sure about that?”
“I don’t sleep with guys on the first date.”
He lifted his brow skeptically. “You’ve never slept with a guy on the first date?”
“Even if I wanted to sleep with him—which I don’t—it wouldn’t be tonight.”
“Why is that?”
“I stabbed myself again.”
He shook his head and chuckled when he figured out I was referring to my period. “I see.”
“Why do you think that he’s only interested in me for my body anyway?”
“It was his eyes. I don’t trust them. You can tell a lot about someone by the look in their eyes. His gave me a bad vibe.”
“Well, I have more going for me than my tits and ass. So, hopefully you’re wrong.”
“You’re right. You have nice deep-set dimples when you smile, too.”
My body felt flush from the compliment that had come out of the blue. I didn’t know how to respond, so I simply said, “Shut up.”
“Just be careful,” he said seriously, reaching into his back pocket. “Speaking of which…take this with you.” It was his old red Swiss Army knife from when we were younger.
“You still have this?”
“I’ll never stop needing this.”
“You really want me to take this with me?”
Taking it from him, I said, “Okay.”
“Are we done here?”
“We still haven’t picked out what I’m wearing.”
Justin walked over to my closet and ran his hand slowly along the lineup of outfits, eventually stopping at a simple black sleeveless dress that was far from revealing. It looked more like something you could wear to a funeral. Actually, it was the dress I had bought to wear to Nana’s funeral before I realized she had explicitly written that she didn’t want one. She wanted to just be cremated with her ashes thrown in the ocean without any fanfare.
“This one? Really?”
He held the dress in his hand. “Don’t ask for my help if you’re not gonna listen.”
“Okay. This one it is.” I took it from him and watched as he made his way out the door. My eyes focused on the rectangular tattoo on his back. Even though I always thought it was sexy as hell, I was never able to get a good enough look at it for some reason until now.
He turned around. “Yeah.”
“What is that tattoo on your back?”
His body stiffened. “It’s a bar code.”
“That’s what I thought. I always wondered. Does it mean anything?”
Refusing to answer my question, he simply said, “Get dressed. You don’t want to be late for Dr. Dick.”
Will was supposed to be picking me up in about twenty minutes. I sat on the kitchen counter sipping a glass of white wine to relax. The black dress that Justin had chosen actually looked pretty nice. There was no unnecessary skin showing, and that was probably the way it should have been. I ended up putting my long, dark brown hair up into a twist.
A waft of his cologne prompted me to look to the side. My heart clenched at the sight of Justin standing in the entryway. I hadn’t noticed him until I smelled him. He seemed to be observing me without my knowing.
He’d just showered after his workout and looked so incredibly hot in a simple black shirt that hugged his muscles. The jeans he was wearing were the ones that always displayed his ass in the best way. Even though I had the night off, Justin was supposed to be playing at Sandy’s. The women were going to go apeshit over him tonight.
He walked over and pulled up a stool next to me. My nipples perked up at the closeness of his body.
He examined my face and said, “You don’t look too excited.”
“I’m not sure how I feel, to be honest.”