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After our talk, Ezra left to run some errands before tomorrow’s departure. I showered and dressed to head out to Ms. Olivia’s. It was pointless to sit around the house all day, waiting for tomorrow. I walk out into the kitchen and grab a bottle of water from the refrigerator.
Nate is sitting on the sofa with the TV on. I walk over to the sofa and sit cross-legged next to him. I ask, “Have you called your parents?”
Nate drapes his arm over the back of the sofa and leans back. “Not yet.”
I pull my hair to the side and start braiding it. “You need to talk with them. There has to be a reason they never said anything about Xander.”
His eyes never leave the TV screen as he ignores my suggestion. I finish braiding my hair and we watch the news in silence.
Nate breaks the silence a few minutes later. “So. I was wondering.”
His voice sounds different, so I look at him giving my full attention.
Nate takes a slow breath in, then releases it. “After we leave Ms. Olivia’s tonight, would you like to grab something to eat with me?”
I am caught off guard by his question and I quickly divert my eyes away from Nate, looking at the TV screen again. I feel him looking at me out of the corner of my eye, measuring my reaction to the question. Did he just asked me out? I keep my eyes steady on the news anchor when I ask, “ You want to take me to dinner? Like a date?”
He doesn’t answer right away, so I look in his direction. Nate is looking at me with those comforting eyes again. “Yes. A date.”
He shifts his body to face mine. He laughs a little then says, “ I mean I guess I should take you out, since I sneak into your room every night.”
I throw the pillow from my behind me at his head. “Ugh! That is so sincere Nate.”
He laughs histerically at my weak attempt of being frustrated with him. I can’t keep from giggling when Nate’s laugh intensifies. When Nate finally catches his breath, he says in all seriousness, "I only sneak into your room to check on you. Scouts honor!”
He has been so good with me at night. When I wake up sobbing from the dreams of our potential future, Nate is there to console me. It pains me to know that it is my feelings of fear and sorrow that wake him from his sleep. I clear my throat and look at him with sincerity. "I know you are nothing but honorable. Thank you."
His smile is soft when he bows his head, accepting my thanks.
I get up and walk toward the kitchen counter to grab the car keys. I ask Nate, “Do you want to drive?”
When he doesn’t answer, I turn around to ask again. As soon as I turn, he is standing mere inches from me. He is so close, I lean back against the kitchen counter.
Without taking his eyes from mine, he leans forward and puts his hands on either side of the counter; keeping me from escaping. I feel my cheeks flush from the thoughts rushing through my mind and I move my eyes from his to his lips. Nate runs his hand along my cheek, and his fingers brushing away a few strands of hair that had fallen lose from the braid. His fingers caress my jawline, then rest his hand on the racing pulse at the base of my neck. The familiar energy I always get when he touches me is coursing through me like a shot of adrenaline. Nate sees my reaction and his voice is labored when he whispers, “I’m sorry, I just needed to touch you.”
He starts to pull his hand away, but I stop him from moving and place it back on my neck. I close my eyes and whisper, “It’s alright.”
That is all the permission he needs to slip his arms around me and pull my body flush against his. I put my hands on his chest and inch up on my toes to get as close to him as I can. His breath dances on my lips, sending surges of an addictive tension straight through my core. My lips feel like they are on fire without even touching his. I whisper breathlessly, “You didn’t answer my question. Do you want to drive?”
Nate brushes his lips against mine once, then pulls back just enough to make me want more. He whispers, “Yeah, I'll drive."
His lips take mine and I moan from the wave of energy that explodes within me.