My knees trembled as I reached out to grip his bicep for support. Bad idea. The warm, solid muscle under my hand made me question everything. Should I invite him to stay? See where things went? I chewed on my bottom lip, the words on the tip of my tongue. But he was right . . . I was hesitating, not quite brave enough to take what I wanted. Stupid brain.
I sighed. My mom was good for him. I wished he were home more, because they really did balance each other out.Thank you, I said. That’s all I wanted to hear.
I know. Sometimes I just want to protect you, and it’s hard for me to remember you’re not a child anymore.I know. I’m glad I have a dad who wants to protect me, but let’s wait for me to call for help first, okay?So I don’t need to beat up Cooper when I get home?
He knew what happened with Cooper too. I looked at my mom with narrow eyes, and she acted innocent.No. I took care of that on my own.
You beat him up? he asked.
I laughed, but then stopped. Yes, Dad. I think maybe I did.Do you want to?
She hesitated and I spun her in my arms. As turned on as I’d been on the dance floor, I wanted her to see that she could trust me to go slow. She’d once requested that I be a gentleman with her and I wouldn’t betray that trust. She’d done too much for me, taken a leap of faith on even being here and I couldn’t f**k this up. Not for me and McKenna and not for my brothers either.Brilliant sapphire eyes looked up into mine, so trusting and full of hope. She gave a tight nod. Even if she knew she shouldn’t want this with someone like me – she did. That was all the reassurance I needed. I wouldn’t lure her into my world or force anything on her. The fact that she was choosing to be here meant everything. She knew my f**ked up past, and still she was here.
I placed a soft kiss on her forehead and gathered up some pajamas for her. A pair of a sweatpants and an oversized T-shirt I knew would be huge on her. For you. I left the clothes in her hands and headed into the bathroom to give her some privacy. After brushing my teeth and waiting for McKenna to do the same, we crawled into bed together.In the dim light from the moon and street lamps outside, only the faint outline of McKenna’s curves were visible under the sheets. Are you warm enough? It didn’t escape my notice that she’d forgone the sweatpants, dressing only in the T-shirt I’d left for her.