Before Jensen had handed me off to the punching bag, we practiced evasive techniques, but admittedly my head had not been in it. “I was thinking about Wendy.”
Jensen didn’t respond immediately. “I’ve been thinking about her, too. We weren’t close, like we didn’t, um . . .”
“Talk?” I supplied.
“Yeah. That.” Holy crap on a chip, the centers of his cheeks actually pinked. “We didn’t talk a lot, and I know she could be a terror when she wanted to be, but she doesn’t deserve what is happening. I hope they find her and I hope she’s okay.”
“Me too.” I obviously wasn’t close to her, but that didn’t change the fact I prayed she would show up tomorrow alive. “I was also thinking about Gavin—about his car and what they did.”
“It’s messed up.”
“It really is,” I said, once again wishing there was something that I could do.
“Maybe after I drop you off at Linds’, I’ll swing by Gavin’s,” he suggested. “Talk to him.”
Surprised, I stared up at him. That was so going to be an awkward time, but the fact that Jensen was willing to go where he was not wanted to make sure Gavin was okay warmed me in a way very few things could.
That swelling was back, along with the haunting four-letter word I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. “Thank you.” I stretched my neck, kissing the corner of his mouth.
Jensen’s eyes held mine for a moment and then moved up my body. He turned his head so our lips lined up. He kissed me gently, and a shudder rolled through me. There was something infinitely tender in the way he coaxed my lips open. My arms looped around his neck as my breath caught in my throat.
The kisses changed and deepened into a slow-burning caress, sending shivers all through my body. When he left my mouth and dropped hot little kisses down my throat, my insides started sweltering. His hand traveled to my hip and my fingers moved through his hair, letting the silky locks sift through my fingers.
A deep sound rumbled up from his chest as his tricky fingers made their way under my shirt. I sucked in a sharp breath as his hand coasted up my side, his thumb smoothing over the cup of my bra.
“God, I feel . . . crazy in the best way when I’m with you,” he said in a low voice that sent shivers curling down my spine. “You have no idea how much I missed you—how I hated seeing you with someone else, knowing you should’ve been with me.”
“I felt the same,” I whispered, my lips feeling swollen and warm. Sometimes I couldn’t believe that we had made our way back to each other. There were many moments when it didn’t feel real. Like it was some kind of fantasy that I would wake up from.
His eyes reminded me of the bluest oceans. “You did?”
I wet my lips, drawing his attention. “I tried not to think about you with Wendy or someone else. It made me jealous and it hurt, because I—” I cut myself off before I said too much.
“You what?” he prodded, moving his thumb in a way that made me really wish we were somewhere more private and we had the whole evening to ourselves.
Forcing a smile, I shook my head. “I’m just happy we are together now.”
Jensen studied me for a moment and then kissed the tip of my nose. He lifted himself off of me. Climbing to his feet, he took my hands and hauled me up with him. “We should probably get going.”
We straightened up, turned off the lights, and I waited just outside the doors as he locked up. Jensen grabbed my hand, pulling me toward his chest. Over his shoulder, I could see that a couple of the doors to the other rooms were open. My gaze drifted back to his. The expression on his face was serious.
“What?” I asked.
His arms wrapped loosely around me. “I don’t like what’s going down tonight.”
“Me staying with Linds?”
“Yeah.” He dropped his forehead to mine. “No one’s there but you and her. With everything going on, it worries me.”
“I’ll be fine.” I tapped his cheek with my fingers. “She has an alarm system. It’ll be turned on. Besides, everyone—including me—was by themselves when . . . well, when it happened.”
“I know, but maybe I should come over, too.” He caught my hand, pressing his lips to the tips of my fingers. The tiny, innocent kisses caused my heart to skip a beat. “It could be a really interesting slumber party.”
I laughed, pulling my hand free. “Oh my God, you’re such a perv. No.”
“I wasn’t talking about that.” He waggled his brows, and on anyone else it would look ridiculous, but he managed to make it look strangely hot. “Although—”
“Don’t even finish that sentence.”
Laughing softly, he dropped his arm around my shoulder, tucking me against his side as we headed toward the entrance. “But seriously, I would feel better if I was there.”
“I know, but Linds and I haven’t spent any time together lately. And I even think Heidi is coming over. We need this.” I pushed open the door, glancing up at the cloudless sky. “A girls’ night.”
Jensen still wasn’t happy, but he relented when I promised to keep in contact, lock doors and windows, set the alarm, hide the keys and all sharp objects. We swung by my house to grab some clothes and check in with Mom. When he dropped me off in Linds’ development, he leaned in, giving me a not so quick kiss that left me rethinking inviting him.
He drew back, his fingers lingering on my cheek. “Text me later, okay?”
“I will.” I started to pull away, but then kissed his cheek. “Let me know how things go with Gavin.”
I climbed out, grabbing my tote full of clothes and stuff. Giving Jensen a little wave, I headed up Linds’ driveway. Her neighborhood was newer and nicer than mine, each house built within the last decade. It had the whole Stepford Wives thing going on.
Without looking behind me, I knew Jensen was still at the bottom of the driveway, waiting for me to head inside. As I crossed the neatly trimmed yard, the front door opened.
“Perfect timing,” Linds said, stepping aside and holding the door open. “I just ordered pizza. Extra mushrooms.”
Linds’ gaze flicked over my shoulder. “You know, he’s allowed to come in.”
“I know, but you and I haven’t spent a lot of time together. So no boys allowed.”
She shrugged as she closed the door. “Yeah, what happened to that whole being single our senior year? Apparently, I’m the only one following that rule.”
My grin turned sheepish. “Sorry, but I . . .”
“I wouldn’t turn down Jensen either.” Pulling a hair tie off her wrist, she pulled her tight curls up into a ponytail. “He could eat crackers and Chinese food in my bed and I’d be all right with that.”
I giggled. “At the same time?”
“Yep.” She sat on the arm of the sectional couch. Linds’ parents had very minimalistic tastes. Unlike Jensen’s house or mine, there was nothing cluttered about it. Everything had a place, and it was either black, white, or beige.
I was always afraid of ruining the furniture.
“So you guys talked it all out?” she asked.
Dropping my bag on the shiny hardwood floor, I filled Linds in on everything, stopping when the pizza arrived, then continuing again as we demolished the large pepperoni and extra mushroom goodness.
“I didn’t know about his brother,” she said, frowning. “How did none of us know about his brother?”
“I don’t know.” I rubbed my full belly. “God, I wish I did. I feel so bad for Jensen and his family, having to go through that mostly alone.”
“Yeah, but he could’ve told you what was up. You guys were best friends for so long. So don’t feel too guilty.” She stood, dropping a black and white checkered pillow on the couch. “I mean, I get why it’s not something one would want to broadcast to the world, but he could’ve told you. It would’ve saved you a lot of pain.”
True, but I hadn’t really given him the chance to tell me when it mattered most. There was nothing I could do about that now, and my decision to stop living in the past meant that I had to stop dwelling on it. I had to cut Jensen and myself a break.