I started out with good intentions. I’m serious.
That’s fucking whack to hear, I know. Me and those two words strung together like that just don’t mix. But in this case, I actually did want to do what was best.
It was probably some stray brotherly vibe left over from days long past. I do still get weird when I learn a chick I’m with is someone’s sister. If I don’t know about it, I’m cool; I can proceed with my typical asshole ways. But if she has to go and mention it, I start itching with respect and shit, which ruins the wicked intentions I usually have.
So knowing she was a little sister before I ever laid eyes on her doomed everything from the get-go. What’s worse, she wasn’t just anyone’s little sister. She had to go and be his little sister. But meeting her as he was carrying her from a bathroom where she’d been deathly ill all night was what really cinched it for me. She looked like death warmed over with her skin so pale and translucent, strands of damp blonde hair falling out of a loose ponytail, and thin arms limp with exhaustion as she wrapped them around her brother’s neck.
After seeing her like that and listening in on what she’d told him had happened to her, I got all these freaking, pansy-ass reactions. The strongest was...what’s that one word? That thing that’s never applied to me. Oh, yeah. Protective. I turned protective. I wanted to yank her out of his arms, into my own, and kick anyone who came close to us right in the nuts.
I was ready to murder for this girl.
And that was before she even lifted her face from his shoulder and looked at me. Talk about a slap on the ass. I wasn’t expecting to experience a damn thing from merely making eye contact with some chick. But I did, and so much more. Her unforgettable blue eyes were bruised with sleeplessness, her perfectly shaped cheekbones were tinged with a sick kind of gray, and her lips were chapped until dried blood flaked off her delectable mouth. Yet even so, she was so damn beautiful in one of those hauntingly ethereal ways it stole my breath.
Yeah, yeah, I’m being all flowery and dramatic and bullshit, but it’s fucking true, so shut it.
I know what else you’re thinking. I’m Oren Tenning; I think a lot of women are gorgeous. What else is new? I can’t step outside my apartment without listing off attributes I appreciate.
Check out her ass.
Love the titties on that one.
Hey, let me run my tongue over that lip for you, honey.
Oh yeah, I’d do her in a New York minute.
That one’s so hot I’d even do her again.
But for me it’s rare when the appearance of any particular girl punches me so hard it leaves a hole in my gut and sticks in my mind.
Caroline Gamble left a gigantic hole burning right through the center of my stomach. The place still singes when I see her, or when someone talks about, or when I think, or even dream about her. Shit, I’ve invested stock in antacids because my entire digestive tract is one constant, sweltering mess.
I should’ve never been nice to her. That’s what really fucked me. I realize that now...now that it’s too freaking late.
See, I always—always—behaved when she was around. I watched what I said. I treated her politely, all things that are out of the norm for me, yeah, but I didn’t want her to know what a creepy perv I really was. I wanted her to think I was a nice guy. Plus her brother would’ve kicked my ass if I hadn’t been perfectly behaved around her.
But, fuck, did being nice backfire in a major way.
The damn girl tried to kiss me. Twice.
I know. The nerve.
There I was, attempting to be good for once in my life. I was already uncomfortable and irritated with all the respect and protectiveness I had going for her. Add that to how wildly attracted I was and the fact that her older brother—my best goddamn friend on earth—warned me away from her on a daily basis, and what do you get? You get one tempted motherfucker, that’s what you get. How dare she put the moves on me when I was trying to play good despite the fact I wanted to fuck her two hundred ways to Tuesday.
Worst moment of my life was turning her down on both of those occasions she tried to lay a wet one on me. Okay, fine. The second worst moment of my life. Whatever. But we’re not talking about número uno on my shit list. So, just drop those curious little thoughts already. We’re talking about that lost expression that invaded Caroline’s face the moment I said, “Don’t,” and “stop,” and “this is not going to happen.”
Yeah, don’t. First and last time I ever said that to a woman.
A light dimmed from her eyes, the smile dropped from her lips, and her shoulders curled protectively in around herself. I had never been so bothered about hurting someone as I was in those two moments. I think they crushed me more than they did her.