I wasn’t sure if the distraction of him was good or not. What I did know was that when I was with him I felt free in a way I hadn’t felt. Ever.
That was profoundly terrifying because as well as the sensational sex, no man had ever made me feel so valued.
I stood in my doorway that morning, a mug of coffee in one hand and a tea in the other and I stared at him as he slept in my bed on his stomach. He really was goddamn handsome. The kind of goddamn handsome that still kicked up butterflies in my belly when I looked at him.
“You’re staring,” he muttered, which made me jump, hot tea spilling down my left hand.
I hissed in a breath and Craig’s eyes flew open.
“You alright?” He pushed up from the mattress, apparently fully awake.
I nodded, scowling at him as I wandered over to hand him his coffee. “Do you make a habit of pretending to be asleep?”
Taking my cup of tea out of my hand and putting both his coffee and it on the bedside table, Craig took my injured hand in his and said, “Do you make it a habit of watching me sleep?” He kissed the hot skin and looked up at me. “I think you’ll live.”
I tried not to add that sweet gesture to the growing tally of things I was beginning to adore about him. “No thanks to you,” I teased, brushing his rumpled hair off his face.
Craig grabbed me around the waist, hauling me down onto the bed with him. I let out a squeal at the abrupt movement and giggled as my head hit the pillow. He braced himself over me and stared down into my face, something like wonder in his expression.
“What?” I said, bemused.
“I will never, ever tire of looking at you,” he replied, his words mirroring my earlier thoughts about him.
“You are such a sweet talker.” I brushed it off.
I really believed that Craig liked me and was enjoying the monogamy. At the moment. But tomorrow? Who knew? There was a part of me that believed he was going to wake up one day and realize how absolutely bored he was with the idea of just one woman.
Glaring at me, Craig sat up, straddling me so I couldn’t move out from under him. He crossed his arms over his chest, the muscles in his biceps flexing. “What the fuck does that mean?”
“It meant what I said. You’re a sweet talker.”
He grunted. “Last time I checked, according to you that’s not a good thing.” His anger suddenly melted into weariness. “I thought we were done with the whole bit where you don’t believe me when I give you a compliment?”
“I do believe you.” And I did.
“Fuck.” He ran a hand through his hair. “You’re the most exasperating woman I’ve ever met.”
“Not true. You’ve just not stuck around long enough to discover the exasperating side of women. We all have that side. Just like men have their obtuse side.”
Craig ignored my teasing, his eyes narrowing. “I’m not having the conversation again, Rain.”
“The one where I tell you that I’m not messing around here. That I plan to stay as long as this lasts between us.”
And that was exactly the problem. To me it sounded like he was only going to stick around until we hit a road bump, whereas I was willing to stick around beyond the arguments and inevitable issues that would arise. And that was really the problem. I was a romantic. He was a realist.
And I was falling for Craig. I was. I couldn’t help myself.
Which meant that I could think of him with forever in mind, knowing we’d face problems and that I’d fight for him. I’d fight to get through it.
I could promise him forever.
But he couldn’t promise me forever.
He said he was a realist . . . but what if he just didn’t feel the same way as I did?
“What is going on in that head of yours?” He braced his hands at either side of my head again and leaned down so our noses were only inches away from each other.
Melancholy was sweeping quickly over me. “I’m thinking our tea and coffee will be getting cold.”
“Liar,” he whispered against my lips. “What are you really thinking?”
I turned my head away from his. “I’m thinking you don’t get to know what I’m thinking all of the time.”
He grasped my chin and gently turned my head back so our eyes met. I saw a mingling of anger and frustration in his gaze.
“You don’t like that,” I whispered.
“No,” he said back. “I don’t like it.”
I did. I liked it. It meant that I was still in control of what I was allowing myself to give him. I was being smart because this man would hurt me worse than any who had come before him. I may have been falling in love with him, but that love was mine to give how I saw fit. And as far as I was concerned he wasn’t a safe bet. I was not putting any of my cards on the table just yet.
“I don’t like it,” he repeated, a stubborn set to his jaw.
I tilted my chin out of his hold. “Tough shit.”
Craig was so surprised by my words he didn’t make a move while I rolled out from under him to sit up and grab my tea. I felt the heat of his stare on the back of my head.
“Did I do something?”
I felt a little ache in my chest at his confused, sad question. Looking over my shoulder I found him still sitting where I’d left him, but this time his expression was troubled. It was like he was wounded but trying to hide that he was.
That ache in my chest worsened. I gave him a soft reassuring smile. “No. I’m just tired.” I reached for him, trailing the back of my fingers down his arm. “I’m being a cranky bitch.”