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|Before Jamaica Lane(On Dublin Street #3)(9) by Samantha Young|
‘Don’t worry. You can handle it. You’re doing so well already.’ I rubbed his shoulder affectionately as I rounded the kitchen counter. ‘Do you want a coffee first?’
‘I’ll get it.’
‘No, no, go sit down, set up the movie. I’ll bring it over.’
Nate arranged my plate on the coffee table next to him and went about putting the movie on. He’d just relaxed back on the couch with plate in hand when I came out of the kitchen with his coffee.
‘Would you rather die after being experimented upon by aliens, or be eaten by cannibals?’ Nate asked casually, lifting a forkful of beef and rice to his mouth, his eyes never leaving the television screen.
I pondered his question as I placed his mug on the table and then curled up on the corner of the couch with my own plate. ‘Have I been given anesthesia?’
‘Does it matter?’
‘Well, yeah. If I’ve been given anesthesia then it doesn’t matter which one I choose because I won’t be aware it’s happening to me.’
Nate shook his head. ‘Not true. It does matter. If aliens experiment upon you they might find something from their research that they could use to destroy the entire human race. Or infiltrate us like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Cannibals, on the other hand … well, I’m guessing all they want is … to just eat you.’
I couldn’t fault his logic. I waved my fork at him in a gesture of agreement. ‘Good point.’
‘So? Aliens or cannibals?’
‘Me too. Fuck the human race – cannibals are creepy bastards.’
I burst out laughing, almost choking on rice as I inhaled sharply with amusement.
Nate chuckled at me, his dark eyes bright with affection. ‘You’ve got a great laugh, you know that?’
I had a very unladylike cackle of a laugh, but if he thought it was great I wasn’t going to argue. I shrugged somewhat shyly, as I always did when he threw out a random compliment, and then gestured to his bag to change the subject. ‘Aren’t you going to get your pen and paper out?’
Nodding at his phone on the coffee table, Nate answered, ‘Voice recording.’
He was recording our conversation? ‘I better shake out my sharpest wit, then.’
‘Just the usual commentary will do fine.’
Ignoring the slight insinuation that I wasn’t witty, I took another bite of chicken and moaned around it. ‘God, this is good.’
‘You like that, baby?’
‘How good is it?’
‘I think this is the best I’ve ever had, actually.’
‘My God, yes.’ The chicken was so tender and the orange sauce was just that perfect balance of sweet and tangy. ‘Mmm.’
‘That’s right. Take it, baby.’
I’d closed my eyes to savor my dinner, but now they popped open to find Nate shaking with silent laughter. My eyes darted to his phone and I mentally replayed what we’d just said and how it would sound on the recording.
Grimacing, I held my plate in one hand and launched a sofa cushion at him. ‘Very funny.’
Nate laughed out loud now, batting the cushion away while holding his plate well out of range. ‘You make it too easy.’
‘You’re a bastard.’ I shoved his hip with my foot. ‘You better delete it.’
He looked back at the screen, still smiling. ‘No way. That one’s a keeper.’
It turned out Nate was right. The pretty-boy actor really did make you want to stick a pen in your eye. ‘That sucked,’ I opined as he took the DVD out of the player. ‘But I guess not every movie can be The Wizard of Oz.’ My favorite movie. ‘Or The Godfather.’ Nate’s favorite movie.
His lip curled up at the corners. ‘Is that your expert opinion? Remember, you’re on tape.’
‘That is my expert opinion.’ I yawned and tipped my head back against the couch. ‘I came up with some choice phrases throughout that movie. You hereby have my permission to steal them.’
‘Well, when discussing the acting skills of the kid playing the hero’s dying brother I think I’ll definitely be using, “Dying is supposed to be sad. I feel as sad as a high school virgin in a Japanese love hotel with a prostitute and a wad of cash.” ’
Nate had almost choked on a prawn cracker when I said that. I wrinkled my nose as he quoted me. ‘I really need to work on my editing. “Virgin with a prostitute” would have sufficed.’
‘And yet not been nearly so funny. Your waffling is what makes you funny.’
‘I do not waffle.’
‘You waffle, babe.’
Deciding to let it go, I smiled wearily at him. ‘Are you really going to write that in your review?’
‘What? That you waffle?’
I rewarded his deliberate obtuseness with a blank expression and he shook his head, his gorgeous soft, dark locks shifting with the movement. His hair was longer than usual, but it looked good. Really good. Great, even. ‘A lot of teens read the magazine.’
As he pulled his jacket on, I eased myself up off the couch and handed his cell to him. ‘Did you get everything you need for it?’
‘Enough to annihilate it with words.’ He leaned over and pressed a kiss to my cheek, the warm, spicy scent of his cologne comforting. ‘ ’Night, Liv.’
I smiled and stepped back to let him pass, then followed him to the door. ‘Thanks for dinner and my Rocky Road.’
Nate grinned back at me. ‘Thanks for the quotes.’
The door was almost closing behind him when I suddenly grabbed the handle. ‘Nate.’
Turning on the second step of my stairwell, he raised two questioning eyebrows at me.
Looking at his hair, I shrugged and leaned against the door. ‘Don’t cut your hair, okay?’
His smile was slow, cheeky, and incredibly cute, and I totally pretended not to feel it in my long-neglected woman parts. ‘Like what you see, do you?’
Laughing, I leaned back, readying to close the door. ‘Just helping a bud out. I know you like to look your best for the ladies.’
I’d almost closed the door when he said, ‘Liv.’
I peeked back out at him.