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  • Home > Samantha Young > On Dublin Street Series > On Dublin Street (Page 31)     
    On Dublin Street(On Dublin Street #1)(31) by Samantha Young
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    Braden’s gaze sharpened at my reaction and then he shrugged. “You’d only end up with a bunch of wasted paper if you had a typewriter.”

    He was giving me an out. My smile was a little weak as I replied, “Hey, I have good typing skills.”

    “It’s not the only thing you’re good at.” He grinned lasciviously as he wandered into the room.

    “Oh you have no idea.”

    He chuckled and I thought he was coming over to kiss me. To my surprise he walked around the bed to my bedside table and he picked up the photograph of my parents. “This your mum?”

    I looked away, my shoulders tensing up. “Yeah.”

    “You look like her, but you’ve got your dad’s coloring. She was beautiful, Jocelyn.”

    Pain dug its claws into my chest. “Thanks,” I mumbled getting up, my back to him as I headed towards the door. “So what are you doing here?”

    I heard his footsteps quicken behind me and felt his arm come around me, his palm flat to my stomach as he pulled me back against him, my head resting on his chest. I was quickly getting used to Braden’s tactility. The man liked to touch me. All the time. I’d thought it would be harder to get accustomed to since I wasn’t really an overly affectionate person myself, but Braden didn’t really ask me whether I wanted to be hauled into his arms every five seconds.

    And the truth was, I didn’t really mind it.

    Another surprise.

    His breath whispered across my ear as he bent his head to murmur in it, “I thought I’d come by and pick you and Ellie up for family dinner. Make sure you turned up. Wouldn’t want you to miss the after dinner dessert at my place later.”

    I relaxed as we returned to familiar ground, turning my cheek to catch his lips with mine. “Wouldn’t want that either.”

    “Okay, gross,” Ellie’s voice broke us apart. She stood before us in the hallway. “Could you close the door when your friends with benefiting each other?”

    I pulled out of Braden’s arms. “What are you, twelve?”

    She stuck her tongue out at me and I laughed, swatting her playfully on the ass as I passed her to get my shoes. I was just shoving my feet into my favorite boots when someone’s cell rang.

    “Hullo,” I heard Braden answer and turned around to watch him walk into the hall past Ellie. He had his serious face on. “What? Now?” He sighed, running a hand through his hair as he shot me ‘a look’. “No. It’s fine. I’ll be there soon.” He slipped his phone back into his back pocket with a frustrated groan. “That was Darren. Family problems. He can’t do his shift today at Fire and I’ve got a Sunday delivery coming in, as well as a guest DJ tonight, and he can’t get anyone who knows what they’re doing to cover for him. I have to take care of it.” His eyes held mine for a moment and I saw the frustration deepen.

    “You’re missing another family dinner?” Ellie grumbled. “Mum’s going to love that.”

    “Tell her I’m sorry.” Braden shrugged regretfully, eyes still on me. “Looks like tonight is out.”

    Oh yes. His plans for me at his apartment. I felt a strange mixture of relief and disappointment as I grinned at him. “Oh well.”

    “Don’t look too disappointed.” He threw me a sardonic smile. “We’ll just have to arrange some time this week.”

    “Um,” Ellie stepped between us, “Can you not schedule whatever this is that’s going on between you in front of me, please?”

    Smirking, Braden leaned down and gave Ellie a quick peck on the cheek. “Els.” And then he walked past me. “Jocelyn.” He gave my hand a squeeze, his thumb trailing softly along the back of my hand before he let go and kept walking right on out the front door.

    I stared after him, even once he was gone. What had that been? The hand thing? I looked down at my hand, the skin still tingling from where he’d caressed it. That hadn’t felt very friends with benefitty.

    “Just sex.”

    “What?” I looked up at Ellie who was staring at me incredulously. “What?” I repeated.

    “Just sex.” She shook her head and grabbed her jacket. “If you two want to believe that, then it’s none of my business.”

    Ignoring her and the ominous churning in my gut, I shrugged into my own jacket and followed her out the door.

    ***

    “What are you doing here?”

    I’d collided into the back of Ellie in the doorway of her mother’s sitting room so I didn’t know who she was asking, accusingly, that question of.

    “Your mum invited me.”

    Ah, Adam. I peered around Ellie to see him sitting on Elodie and Clark’s couch with Declan beside him. They were watching soccer together. Clark was reading a newspaper. Clearly not a soccer fan.

    “My mum invited you?” Ellie strode into the room, her arms crossed over her chest. “When?”

    “Yesterday,” Elodie’s voice trilled behind us, and we turned to see her and Hannah walk in carrying glasses of soda. “What’s with the attitude?”

    Ellie glowered at Adam who grinned back up at her, unrepentant. “Nothing.”

    “Adam, you’re missing it.” Declan pulled on the sleeve of Adam’s light blue sweater that did great things for his body. No wonder he and Braden got laid so easily. Together the two of them were like a GQ ad.

    “Sorry, bud.” He gave Ellie a teasingly solemn look. “Sorry, can’t talk. We’re watching the football.”

    “Better watch you don’t get a football rammed up your arse,” Ellie muttered under her breath, but both Adam and I heard her. He laughed, shaking his head as he turned back to the screen.

    “What’s funny?” Elodie smiled sweetly, completely unaware of the tension between her daughter and Adam as she handed everyone a glass of Coke.

    “Ellie said a bad word,” Declan replied.

    Okay, so Adam, me and Declan were the only ones to hear.

    “Ellie, he hears everything,” Elodie complained.

    Ellie scowled, throwing herself onto an armchair. I thought it was best to give her some support since Adam being here had clearly thrown her for a loop, so I perched beside her on the arm of the chair. Ellie sighed. “I’m sure he’s heard worse at school.”

    Declan grinned at his mom. “I have.”

    Clark sniggered into his paper.

    Elodie shot her a husband a suspicious look before turning back to Ellie. “That’s no excuse to speak that way in front of him.”

    “I just said ‘arse’.”

    Declan snorted.

    “Ellie!”

    She rolled her eyes. “Mum, it’s not a big deal.”

    “It really isn’t,” Declan agreed. “I’ve heard way worse.”

    “Why did you say arse?” Hannah asked serenely from the other couch.

    Clark choked on a laugh as he turned a page of the paper, still refusing to look up.

    “Hannah!” Elodie spun around to glare down at her. “Young ladies don’t use bad language.”

    Hannah shrugged. “It’s just arse, mum.”

    “I was calling Adam an arse,” Ellie explained to her little sister. “Because he is an arse.”

    Elodie looked like she was about to explode. “Would everyone stop saying arse!”

    “I know,” I blew out an exaggerated breath of exasperation. “It’s called an ass, people. Ass.”

    Clark and Adam burst out laughing and I shrugged apologetically to Elodie, smiling sweetly at her. She rolled her eyes and threw up her hands. “I’m going to check the dinner.”

    “Do you need help?” I asked politely.

    “No, no. My ass can handle itself in the kitchen, thank you very much.”

    Chuckling, I watched her leave and then looked down at Ellie with a wide grin. “Now I understand why you don’t curse a lot.”

    “So why is Adam an arse?” Hannah persisted.

    Ellie stood up, shooting the man in question a dirty look. “I think the question is: when isn’t he an arse?” And then she stormed off after her mother.

    Adam’s gaze followed her out the room, his eyes no longer laughing. He turned back to me. “I messed up.”

    Understatement of the year. “I guess you did.”

    I could feel Clark’s eyes on us as Adam sighed, and when I looked over at Ellie’s stepdad I could see he wasn’t amused anymore. His gaze was burning into Adam with a million questions, and I got the impression he was putting two and two together.

    Time to divert his attention. “So Hannah, did you read the books I recommended?”

    Her eyes lit up as she nodded. “They were amazing. I’ve been looking up more dystopian books since.”

    “You’ve got Hannah reading dystopian novels?” Adam asked with surprise, smiling at me.

    “Yes.”

    “She’s fourteen.”

    “Well, these are written for fourteen year olds. Anyway, I was taught 1984 when I was fourteen.”

    “George Orwell,” Clark muttered.

    I grinned. “Not a fan?”

    “Hannah’s reading Animal Farm for English,” he said, as if that explained it.

    Hannah was smiling, a little twinkle of devilment in her eyes that reminded me of Ellie. “I’m reading it out loud to mum and dad so they can help me.”

    In other words, she was torturing her mum and dad for fun. She and Ellie really were full of surprises. Angels with dirty faces, as they saying goes.

    A few minutes later we were sitting around the table, Ellie and Elodie bickering unintelligibly.

    “I just said you looked pale.” Elodie eventually sighed as she took her seat with the rest of us.

    “Which translates into ‘you look like crap’.”

    “I never said that. I asked why you’re pale?”

    “I have a headache.” She shrugged, her shoulders tense, her lips and brow pinched.

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