|Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > Echoes of Scotland Street (Page 36)|
|Echoes of Scotland Street(On Dublin Street #5)(36) by Samantha Young|
“Not as bad as I thought it would.”
“Are you going to get another one?”
I snorted. “I think I’m good for now.”
Rae abruptly clapped her hands together so loudly I blinked. “Tomorrow night! Drinks to celebrate Shannon’s tat.”
“Sounds good.” Cole smiled, busying himself with his tattoo equipment.
I felt shy and uncertain now that I could no longer sense his eyes on me. “Okay. But I’m buying for Cole since he won’t let me pay for the tattoo.”
Rae’s lips parted. “Free?” She whirled around and Cole raised an eyebrow at her bristling aggression. “You only gave me fifty percent off!”
His lips twitched as his eyes flicked from her to me and then he just shrugged and turned back to switching out the tattoo needles. Unwilling to make himself a target for her annoyance, Cole unwittingly set Rae on me.
“Fucking magical hair, all right!”
And with that she stormed out of the room.
Cole glanced over his shoulder at me and winked.
I burst out in peals of laughter, already contemplating whether a coffee or a donut or both would pacify Rae.
I spent the rest of that day attempting to concentrate, but I was too aware of my tattoo to manage it. I was trying not to rub or lean against anything . . . and, admittedly, I was trying not to think about the fact that Cole had very definitely been flirting with me.
And the flirting wasn’t like before either. This time it was like he couldn’t help himself. I had to admit that made me feel more than a little bit giddy. Cole was the hottest guy I’d ever met and he also happened to be one of the nicest.
It seemed like such a blah little word, but it was a quality that was too often completely underappreciated.
Not by me.
I appreciated the hot, nice tattooist I worked with.
I appreciated him a whole lot, so much so I was thrilled to have caught his attention.
Yet, at the same time, I was also apprehensive.
I knew Cole wasn’t Ollie or Nick or Bear the biker, or Rory the thief. I knew that. I believed Hannah. I believed what I could see with my own eyes, but that didn’t mean my fears were just going to disappear overnight. No matter how great he was, Cole could still end up hurting me, and I had this feeling in my gut that getting hurt by Cole Walker might just break me.
* * *
“Smells good,” Rae said as she got in from work that night. She kicked off her shoes and sank into a kitchen chair just as I laid her plate down in front of her. “Tattoo okay?”
“Yeah.” I sat down in the seat beside her. “Bit itchy, though.”
“That’ll get worse as it heals. Whatever you do, don’t scratch it. You’ll ruin the fucking thing.”
“Yeah, Cole already cautioned me.”
Rae nodded while chewing. As soon as she swallowed she said, “Speaking of Boss Man, what did I walk in on today?”
In all honesty . . . “I have no idea.”
“Do you like him?”
I looked up to meet Rae’s direct gaze and I nodded.
Rae smirked. “Well, every idiot with a pair of eyes in their head can see Cole likes you back. So, what’s the problem, kiddies?”
I knew if anyone might understand, it would be Rae. “I know he’s a good guy. Honestly I do, but I’ve been burned too many times not to be scared about starting something with him.”
“You would feel that way about any guy.”
“True.” I eyed my plate, no longer hungry now that turmoil had filled my belly.
“You want my advice?”
I gave her a small, wry smile.
“Go for it. Cole is the real fucking deal.”
“I told him,” I said, the words hushed. “About Ollie.”
Rae’s eyebrows rose. “You told him that? So he knows you come with a shitload of baggage and he’s still eye-fucking you across the room?” She grinned. “I knew I loved that guy.”
“I don’t want to ruin my friendship with him.”
“Since when were you two friends? The sexual tension between you since the moment you arrived . . . Well, it’s like living in an episode of the latest teenage drama series.”
I frowned. “I think there’s an insult in there somewhere.”
“There was also some advice I think you should take. If you blow off Cole again, he’s going to move on, and Cole does not do casual, so the next girl he moves on to is going to be around for a while, if not forever. Do you really want to have to make friends with Cole Walker’s girlfriend or do you want to be Cole Walker’s girlfriend?”
Tamara’s gorgeous face flashed in my mind.
Rae nodded. “Mmm-hmm. That’s what I’m saying.”
* * *
When I strolled into the Walk the next evening, Rae at my side, I found myself filled with anticipation. I didn’t know why . . . I just had this feeling in my gut that something was about to happen.
Cole, Simon, and Tony had grabbed a table in the corner of the room and had started drinking without us. As soon as Tony spotted us across the room, Cole turned his head and held my gaze as we approached.
I couldn’t look away.
He smiled and stood up when we reached the table, pulling the chair out next to him for me to take a seat. “How’s the tat?” he asked once I’d settled.
He chuckled. “It will be. Let me see it.”
My hyperawareness of him meant that every interaction with him made me think of sex. When I shifted around in my seat, I couldn’t look at Rae because my blood was hot and my mind was in the gutter and I knew she’d take one look at me and see that. Cole lifted the hem of my cardigan and the silk camisole underneath it so he could appraise his work. I braced myself for it, hoping I could control my reaction, but as soon as his fingertips brushed the skin around the tattoo I shivered.
“Have you seen it?” he said.
“Rae took a picture on my phone.” I cleared my throat of its sudden huskiness. “It looks amazing. Thank you.”
He traced the skin along the waistband of my jeans. “You’re welcome.”
The need to turn around and jump him was overwhelming. So overwhelming I jerked away from his touch and shrugged my hem back down. Everything felt too tight—my clothes, my lungs in my chest, even my skin. Never had I felt this explosive level of frustration before.