“Hey, bro, do you think you can put Shorty back on her chain?"
I stepped forward with my hands on my hips, only slightly intimidated to find Kaleb almost eye level with me when he was seated and I was standing.
"First of all, no one is the boss of me but me. Secondly, if you ever reference my 'chain' again, I will kick your ass." I jabbed him hard in the chest with my finger. Possibly breaking it. "And thirdly, don't call me Shorty."
Kaleb sat silently for a second, his eyes wide as he looked at Michael. "Where did you get her? Can you get me one?"
I blew out a loud, frustrated sigh and dropped down beside Michael, who didn't even try to hide his smile. "You should probably apologize to Emerson."
“I walked in without knocking. The screen door banged to a close behind me announcing my presence. I followed my nose to the kitchen and found Kaleb standing by the stove. He stirred something that smelled absolutely delicious a wooden spoon in one hand and a huge chef’s knife in the other.
“Are you sober?” I asked from the doorway.
He turned and leveled a smile at me that made me a little wobbly. “I am."
“Good. Because if not I was going to take the deadly kitchen utensil away from you.” I crossed the room and pulled myself up to sit on the counter beside the stove. A cutting board full of green peppers and two uncut stalks of celery waited for attention from the knife. Melted butter and diced onions bubbled in a sauté pan on the stove. “You cook."
Kaleb was so pretty I was jealous. Pretty with ripped muscles and a tattoo of a red dragon covering most of his upper body. “Yes,” he said. “I cook.”
“Do you usually wear a wife beater and,” I pushed him back a little by his shoulder “an apron that says ‘Kiss the Cook’ while you’re doing it? ”
He leaned so close to me my heart skipped a couple of beats. “I’ll wear it all the time if you’ll consider it.”
“He bent down burying his face in my neck. I reached back to grab onto the iron bars behind me to hold myself up. My jacket slipped off my shoulders. I was pretty sure I was on fire and at that moment I would have sworn that bursting into flame was a glorious way to go.”
“Aren't I supposed to be brave, fearless? Isn't that what the world expects?"
"Screw what the world expects. Think about all the things you've faced. You cracked, but you didn't break. You're still standing. I'd call that fearless. You've already conquered so much.”
“No matter what your reality looks like, you're the girl I'm in love with today, and the same girl I'll be in love with tomorrow and all the days after that. Not just because of who you are, but because of who you were.
“I wanted to be alone with him. Really alone. "Maybe we should take this back to my place." He lifted his head to look at me, a strange expression on his face. I let out a nervous giggle. "That sounded better in my head."