Home > Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(43)

Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(43)
Author: Tammara Webber

My ex had the sense to know when he’d reached a deadlock. He thanked me for coming Thursday and said he’d be in touch once he got back to campus, which I didn’t acknowledge.



It sounds like he wants you back, or at least, he wants something more than friendship. The question is, what do you want?

My family is just my dad and me. We had old friends over for Thanksgiving Day, so he was more conversational than he would have been otherwise. When it’s just the two of us in that house, we tend to go hours without speaking. If you don’t count “excuse me” and “pass the salt” sorts of things, the silence can encompass whole days.

Dad owns a charter fishing boat. Not much going on this time of year in the bay, though he arranges deep-sea fishing trips or native bird-watching tours over the winter. He’d scheduled one for today, so we said our goodbyes at 5am, and here I am, back at my place just after noon.


Lucas was ten minutes from me. I wrestled with the urge to text him and tell him I was back, too. I knew I wouldn’t win this battle for long.

I unpacked and did laundry. The machines on our floor were easy-access while there were so few of us back, but that wouldn’t be the case tomorrow, when everyone returned. I’d been choosing laundry times that didn’t require me to go up or down. Avoiding the stairwell altogether had become one of my quirks. I wouldn’t go into it at all, even in a group. My subterfuge worked with everyone but Erin, who eyed me closely the second time I used, “I forgot something in my room—I’ll meet you downstairs.”

One night, she asked me outright, “You’re afraid to go into the stairwell, aren’t you?”

I was painting my toenails blood red, and I stared at the tiny brush and tried to keep my hand from shaking. Start at the cuticle, sweep up. Start at the cuticle, sweep up. “Wouldn’t you be?”

“Yes,” she answered.

The next time, it was Erin saying, “Oh crap, I left my purse in my room. J, come let me in, would ya?” Turning to the others, she said, “Hey, we’ll meet y’all downstairs in five.”

Me: I’m back.

Lucas: I didn’t think you were coming back until tomorrow.

Me: I changed my mind.

Lucas: So I see. Free tonight?

Me: Yes.

Lucas: Dinner?

Me: Yes.

Lucas: I’ll pick you up at 7.

“I’ve never had a guy cook for me before.”

He smiled from the other side of the counter, chopping raw vegetables and drizzling something over them that he’d just mixed up. “Good. That should effectively lower your expectations.” He emptied the ingredients onto a piece of foil, rolled it up, and put it into the oven with the rest of dinner.

I inhaled through my nose. “Mmm, no, it smells good. And you look like you know what you’re doing back there. I’m afraid my expectations are abnormally high.”

He set a timer, washed and dried his hands, and came around the corner, taking my hand and leading me to the sofa. “We’ve got fifteen minutes.”

We sat side-by-side, and he examined my hand, the pads of his fingers cool as he traced the short nails that wouldn’t interfere with my bass playing, his thumb stroking over the back of my hand. Rotating it gently, his index finger traced up and down, inside the sensitive valleys between my fingers. He drew a spiral on my palm, slowly moving to center, and I was mesmerized, watching and feeling him touch me so softly.

His fingers slid between mine, palm to palm, and he reached to pull me onto his lap, his lips at the base of my throat. When the timer sounded minutes later, I was beyond being able to hear it.

The meal he’d prepared was enclosed in individual foil packets—veggies, baked potatoes and red snapper he’d caught two days ago. Francis meowed like a fire alarm until given his own portion of the latter. “So I guess you’re used to cooking for one?” I asked as we moved to the tiny table pushed against the only blank wall.

He nodded, “For the last three years or so. Before that, cooking for two.”

“You cooked? Not your mom or dad?”

He cleared his throat, picking at his potato with his fork. “My mom died when I was thirteen. Before that, yeah, she cooked. After… well, it was either learn to cook or live on toast and fish—which I suspect Dad does when I’m not home, though I try to get him to buy fruit or something green occasionally.”

Oh. His story lined up with Landon’s—living with his father, no siblings—and he must have been conscious of that. He’d also been a boy who’d lost his mother, and I was too aware of that to call him out for duplicity just then.

“I’m sorry.”

He nodded once, but didn’t offer anything further.

After we ate, he let the cat outside, came back to the table and took my hand, and led me to his bedroom. We lay on our sides in the center of his bed, facing each other, saying nothing. His touch was almost unbearably light, whispering over my jaw, trailing down the side of my neck before releasing the buttons of the white shirt I’d chosen, one by one. Sliding it from my shoulder, he touched his lips to the bare skin, and I closed my eyes and sighed. My hands pushed under his shirt until he sat up, yanked it over his head, and flung it off in one movement, lying over me and kissing me.

His mouth was demanding, his lips parting mine, tongue driving into my mouth. I thought I felt a tremor move through him when my hand gripped the place on his side where the words were inscribed. He rolled me above him and pushed the shirt from my opposite shoulder, left it there, half-removed, while he moved his attention to the bare skin above the flesh-toned bra, my entire body straining toward his like a static charge that drew me in.

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