Home > Simply Complicated(6)

Simply Complicated(6)
Author: S. Nelson

“I’m happy to walk for miles with you, but we should figure out where it is we’re going.” He finally took a step back. “My place or yours?”

This time I answered. “Neither. It’s only one time, so I say we go to a hotel.”

He contemplated my suggestion, making a clicking sound with his mouth as his left eyebrow rose.

“Okay. You win. Hotel it is.” He pulled out his phone, typed in something and scrolled. “There’s one two blocks down that way.” He pointed east of where we stood. “My car is over there,” he said, gesturing back toward the bar. “I can drive.”

“I’d rather walk.” I needed the fresh air to clear my head enough to figure out if I should even be doing this. I agreed Luke was probably the best choice for me to “experiment” with. But when I’d revealed my plan to Brooke, I envisioned a stranger. Someone who, if they judged me afterward, I wouldn’t care because I’d never have to see him again. And while this was going to be a one-shot deal tonight, chances were pretty good I’d run into Luke again at some point.

We walked together in silence. My thoughts were jumbled and incomplete. I could only imagine what he was thinking, but there was no way I was going to ask. Something told me I’d regret it.

“Ollie.” Luke grabbed my wrist and pulled me back a step.

“What?” I swung my arm back and he let me go.

“We’re here. You were going to keep on walking had I not stopped you.”

“I saw the hotel,” I lied. I brushed past him toward the walkway to the main entrance. “And why do you insist on calling me that?”

“Ollie?” I glanced back at him without answering. “Because it gets under your skin. And it seems only fair.” He fell in step with me once again, opening the door for me before I could wrap my fingers around the handle.

“What’s only fair?”

“That I get under your skin. Because you got under mine years ago.” I refused to dissect his comment, my heels click-clacking across the marble tile, quieting only when I hit a patch of carpet. Before he headed toward the woman standing behind the desk, he may have mumbled, “You’re still there” but I couldn’t be a hundred percent sure.

As I waited for him to check us in, I tried not to let my nerves get the better of me. I’d fantasized about having sex with him countless times when I was younger, and the one time I offered myself to him, he rejected me. For some reason, I still harbored a piece of the insecurity he’d helped to create, and conjuring the memory angered me all over again.

Maybe he was right.

Angry sex could be the key.

I supposed we’d find out together.

Staring at the back of him, I allowed myself a private moment to appreciate his physique. His black T-shirt was molded to his broad shoulders and toned arms, but looser toward his tapered waist. His dark jeans hung on his hips in a way that made me want to imagine shimmying them down his legs, legs I knew for a fact were muscular from the various pictures plastered on the Internet from one of his many games.

“You ready?” He was suddenly in front of me. I flinched at the sound of his voice because I’d been lost inside my head.

“I have to use the ladies’ room,” I countered, ignoring the look on his face, which silently screamed “what the hell is wrong with you.”

“I’m pretty sure there’s a bathroom in the room. Come on.” He placed his hand on the small of my back, the heat from his touch disorienting me. What would happen when he put his hands on my naked skin?

“I’ll use the one down here.” My tone was curt, and I was positive my mouth had turned down in a scowl. But neither fazed him. All he did was roll his eyes and lean against the nearest wall, shoving his hands in his pockets as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

Wasn’t he the least bit nervous?

Was he really that presumptuous about his abilities in the bedroom?

The restroom was empty, which was a blessing as the words poured from my mouth as soon as the door closed behind me, all my insecurities and doubts bouncing off the walls.

“This is stupid,” I mumbled, looking in the mirror. “You’re gonna get up to the room and freeze. I can’t have sex with him. With Luke Sorenson. I should’ve picked someone else, a stranger. Someone I don’t have any kind of history with. What was I thinking?” My breaths came short and quick, sounding more like a woman in labor than someone who was about to have sex.

After rinsing my mouth with water and checking to make sure my makeup wasn’t smudged, I worked to calm my erratic heartbeat before exiting the restroom. But when I saw Luke in the same exact position, another bout of nerves stole over me.

Not a word was spoken during the short walk to the elevator. He pressed the button and we stood side by side waiting for the car to arrive, his hand brushing against mine when he shifted his weight. The chime sounded right before the doors opened and I flinched, even though I’d been expecting it.

“Jumpy?”

I ignored him, stepping inside, and moving to the far-right corner. I half expected him to crowd me, but he stayed near the entrance, giving me my space.

Traveling to the fourth floor should’ve been quick, but every second inside with him, slowed down time. Time I didn’t want because I lost myself to my inner ramblings, yet again.

Once we stepped into the hallway, he tapped the room’s key card against his palm, leading me around the corner and to the second door on the right. The click of the lock echoed in the otherwise quiet space.

“What do you think?” he asked, pushing open the door and gesturing for me to enter. A millisecond of hesitation passed through me before I took the first step over the threshold.

“About the room?”

“Yeah. Not bad for last minute.”

“It looks clean and has a bed. It’ll do.”

He waltzed past me and toward the window, drawing the drapes open briefly to look outside. A moment later, he swiveled back around, his gaze landing on mine.

“Were you checking out my ass?”

“No.” I had glanced at his butt while he had his back to me, but I’d never admit it.

“Why are your cheeks red?”

“They are not.” I touched my face, and sure enough, the warmth blossomed beneath my fingertips.

While I tried to get my wits under control, he was suddenly in front of me, reaching out to feel the heat of my cheeks. I moved to the side before his hand could connect.

“They are. I think it’s cute you’re embarrassed you got caught checking me out.” He widened his stance and stretched his arms to his sides. “Stare all you want. But I can assure you I look better naked.” All I could do was huff in response as he did a dramatically slow turn, winking at me once he was faced forward again.

“Were you always this arrogant?” My question was rhetorical, of course, because he most certainly was. But for some reason, I’d found it charming when I was younger. Now… not so much.

We weren’t touching, but the intensity radiating from him was enough to make me want to squirm. But I didn’t move a muscle. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of calling me out again.

Awkward moments of silence bounced between us as we regarded each other. At least it was awkward for me. For him, I couldn’t readily tell because that grin was still plastered on his face.

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