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|Before Jamaica Lane(On Dublin Street #3)(34) by Samantha Young|
Yes. Nate Sawyer did. And it sounded a lot better coming from him.
I looked down and then glanced back up at him from under my lashes. ‘Thank you,’ I murmured and then casually twisted my head to look back over at my friends.
Nate was standing near the table, but a short, slender and well-formed blonde was practically pressed up against him, and he dipped his head to her ear to be heard over the music, his lips brushing her skin.
I shivered, feeling cold, and the nerves in my stomach turned to ash.
He wasn’t even aware that I was doing well on his test. There was a pretty blonde girl with slim hips and a gorgeous face pressing her body against his, so why would he be aware of anything I was doing? Heat, and this time I was pretty sure it was the heat of hurt and anger, burned under my skin, and I looked away, only to catch Jo’s eye. She stared at me for a second and then glanced back at Nate. When she returned her attention to me, I could see the concern in her expression, so I smiled at her like I hadn’t a care in the world and turned back to Will.
He was frowning.
‘Is that your boyfriend?’ he asked, tipping his chin in Nate’s direction.
‘No.’ I rushed to assure him. ‘They’re all just my friends.’
Relaxing, he said, ‘So you are single?’
‘I’m single.’ So single it wasn’t funny. ‘You are, right?’
‘Hard to believe it, but yeah.’ He gave a little self-deprecating laugh, and I relaxed too, liking his answer.
‘So, what is it you do, Will?’
‘I’m an engineer.’
Intrigued, I took a sip of my whisky, nursing it now that I felt more calm. ‘Tell me about that.’
And as it turned out that was pretty much the way to a guy’s heart. Or at least to Will’s. For the next thirty minutes I asked about him, his interests, his work, his hobbies, all the while smiling and giving him the impression that everything he said was fascinating.
I had him eating out of my hand.
However, if it hadn’t been a test I’d have given up ten minutes before then. I kept waiting for Will to ask me questions about myself, but for the most part he seemed happy to revel in my attention.
Getting bored, I shrugged with mock reluctance. ‘I really should get back to my friends … but …’ Be brave, Soda Pop. ‘Can … can I have your number?’
Will grinned and held out his hand. ‘Give me your phone.’
Opening my clutch, I pulled out my cell and felt the relief swamp me as Will typed his number into it. When he handed it back to me, he curled his hand around mine and gently tugged me forward, holding me to him as his head descended.
I stood frozen as he pressed his mouth to mine.
Then Nate and his blonde popped into my head and I angrily let my lips part.
Will kissed me, his tongue lightly touching mine.
It wasn’t a bad kiss. In fact, technically he was a good kisser.
But I felt nothing.
Pulling back, I smiled a little shyly, which he seemed to like, and I said, ‘I’ll call you.’
Once he let me go, I ignored the grins his friends threw me and turned on my heel to head back to my table.
Nate, no longer with the blonde, was watching me with an unfathomable expression on his face. My eyes quickly darted over him to the others. Cam and Adam were grinning boyishly at me, Ellie was biting her lip to stem her own immature little smile, and Jo looked confused.
‘What was that?’ she asked, looking at my phone.
I waved it, and filled my voice with amusement and nonchalance as I replied, ‘I got myself a number.’ My eyes flicked to Nate and he gave a chin lift, silently beckoning me to him.
I sat down next to him and waited, but he didn’t say anything until the others started talking among themselves. ‘Enjoy yourself?’ he asked quietly, his eyes searching mine.
I shrugged. ‘I passed your little test.’
His dark eyes flicked back to the bar, where Will was still standing with his friends. I waited for some kind of reaction, but his expression was blank when he turned back to me. ‘I didn’t say you had to kiss a stranger.’
‘No. But I did.’
‘Seems I’ve got an overachiever on my hands.’
We were quiet for the rest of the night, I think mostly because I was lost in my own thoughts. When it was time to head home, as usual Nate insisted on walking me. I hugged the girls good-bye and said good night to the guys, then followed Nate down George Street in the gorgeous heels that were starting to pinch.
‘So …’ I tried for breezy. ‘It looked like you got a number tonight.’
I snorted. ‘Is that her name?’
He slanted me ‘a look.’ ‘It’s the only name I need to know.’
In that moment I really had to try to remember why he was the way he was so I didn’t call him on his asshattery. Tonight he would drop me off at my flat and then he’d call up the blonde girl, go meet her wherever, screw her, leave her, and then delete her number from his phone.
It was not a good way to live, but it was the way he chose to live, and I had to respect his decisions. If he was just your regular old player I’d give him a lecture until his ears bled, but every time I thought of it now, I thought of the tattoo he had inscribed across his chest.
The closer we got to my flat, however, the more uneasy I grew, and as I remembered the hurt and fury that had ripped through me at the sight of him flirting with the blonde, it occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t that I was uneasy at his choices, but at the thought of him leaving me to go screw some stranger.
I didn’t even want to analyze that.
Yet, as we came to a stop outside my building, I found myself saying his name quietly.
‘Aye?’ he asked, shoving his hands in his pants pockets.
Staring into his handsome face, I reached somewhere deep within me for the courage I needed to ask him the question that had been burning inside me since we’d kissed. I led with, ‘When we kissed it helped.’
He gazed back at me, waiting silently for me to make my point.
I cleared my throat, taking a mental bat to the swarm of butterflies that had erupted in my belly. ‘I felt better,’ I said, attempting to explain. ‘I felt … more confident.’
‘What are you trying to say, Liv?’