I’m back! But unfortunately not feeling very wordy. However, I am going to continue to hopefully write the extra few thousand needed to catch up tonight. This installment felt like pulling the teeth of a sasquatch. Very painful.
Thank you all for sticking with me!! 🙂
If you are just happening onto this site, this is a nano unproofed draft.
Current word count: 37,544; where I should be: 41,675.
Kaden climbed the steps to Phoebe’s front porch, surprised by the uneasiness he felt suddenly. On the plane he had fallen asleep so there wasn’t time to second guess this decision and on the drive he had been too busy concentrating on the bumper to bumper traffic. He had forgotten was it was like to be driving around on the day before Thanksgiving when people were traveling for the holiday. It had been several years since he had joined his family for Thanksgiving although he did make it a point to get home for Christmas, most of the time.
He breathed in deeply and caught the scent of roses, which smelled remarkably like the cologne that Serena used to wear. He tried to stifle the involuntary shudder at the thought of her. He knocked on her front door and waited, mentally rehearsing the slapdash speech he had assembled from what seemed like the appropriate words.
When the door opened and Phoebe stood there, her hazel eyes staring up at him inquisitively, her riot of curls, no longer purple but now dark red, framing her pale face, the appropriate words departed. Her eyes narrowed at him the longer he stood unspeaking. Then he did the only thing he could thing of: he kissed her.
“Whoa, cowboy,” she said, pulling back. “Just what do you think you’re doing? Didn’t you have more important things to do?”
“I’m sorry, Phoebe. I was an idiot,” Kaden said.
She smirked. “Well, that’s a start. But what are you doing here? I thought you have ‘stuff’ to do.”
Her arms were folded across her chest and she just stood there, not even inviting him in. This was not exactly the way he thought this would go.
“Can I come in?” he asked.
Her gaze was hard as she considered him. Was she reading his mind?
“No, I’m not,” she said and then turned around and disappeared into the kitchen.
He presumed that meant he could come in so he did. He closed the door behind him and then followed her to the kitchen. The first thing he noticed on the counter was a bottle of bourbon and pecans. He looked from those things to her and tried not to get too hopeful.
“Are you making me a pie?” he asked.
“I was making a bourbon pecan pie. But how could it be for you when I didn’t know you’d be here?” she asked as she placed the pie crust into a pie tin and began crimping the edges.
“It means something,” he said softly.
“It means you were thinking about me.”
She looked up from her pie crust and rolled her eyes. “It means I like pecan pie and thought bourbon pecan pie sounded pretty yummy.”
“You look good as a redhead,” he said. “But the purple was nice too.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Really.”
He nodded. Why had he thought she would just throw her arms around him and be ecstatic that he had returned? Because most of the women that he had ever been with would have done just that? But wasn’t it true too that he liked her a lot because she was not like other women? She was not awed by the fact that he was a rock star. To her, he was just like any other guy and because of that, he was out of his depth. He had never had to work at a relationship before. And, of course, part of that was because he had never been in a real relationship before. But he wanted one with Phoebe.
Maybe honesty, pure blunt honesty was the best policy with Phoebe.
“I’m not good at this, Phoebe,” he said and something in his voice made her look up and watch him. “I’ve never done relationships. I’ve avoided them. You know that. But I want something with you. I want to give us a try.”
She wiped her hands on a dishtowel. “Excuse me if I don’t get really excited. Nothing’s changed since last week. You still live in California and I live here. You made it very clear that you’re not going to just up and change. So are you thinking it’s going to be me? That I’m going to move to California to see if things work out? And what about me if things don’t work out? I’ll have changed my life . . .”
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought it all through . . .”
“Obviously. Don’t you think you should?” she asked.
He pulled out a chair from the table and slumped down on it. “I’m . . .”
“This is hard. I don’t know what to do,” he said. “Maybe first things first, right? Do you want to be in a relationship with me?”
She didn’t immediately say, “Yes” which was what he expected. He wished he could read her mind. Or not.
Cat wandered in and rubbed her chin on his brown Timberland book. Her emerald eyes glittered at him and she gave a single “meow” before gliding toward the sliding glass door and sitting down to clean her herself.
Phoebe set aside the bowl with the beaten eggs and shrugged before looking at him. “Yes, I think so. I like being with you. Most of the time.”
“You had to go and qualify it,” he said.
“Well, sometimes you have the ego of three men.”
“Ouch. Don’t hold anything back, Phoebe.”
“I thought we were being honest.”
He nodded. “Honest is good as long as I’m left standing at the end of it.”
“Poor you,” she said.
She smiled that playful smile of hers that instantly cheered him. For the first time since he had arrived, he felt like maybe he had a chance with her. He grinned in return.
That was hard. Phoebe had to fight every desire she had to keep from returning that beautiful kiss or wrapping herself around his body, but she succeeded. It wasn’t playing games. It was being smart and self-protective, although she knew better than to be too self-protective. She had started to change and she liked the changes. She wanted to take risks. Kaden Roarke was a huge risk.
Right now with him sitting there in a blue button down that made his eyes brighter and smiling at her, she felt her heart skip and a pulling in her abdomen. She turned back to her ingredients and finished assembling the pecan pie.
“Okay,” she said at last. “I don’t know how it’s going to work, but I’ll give us a try.”
He crossed the room and pulled her to him and kissed her. She melted against him the way that she had wanted to do earlier. Her palms flattened against his muscular back holding him tightly against her.
“Let’s make love,” he said, his voice a whisper.
“No,” she said.
“But it’s beautiful when we do it.”
“But I have things to do or should I say, ‘stuff.’ I have lots of stuff to do for the potluck tomorrow.”
He chuckled. “You’re not going to let me forget that I said that, are you? Let me help.”
“Do you know anything about cooking?” She looked at him skeptically.
“Nothing. Except I make a mean jambalaya. My granny taught me.”
“Maybe you can make it for me sometime.” She kissed his throat.
“Anytime, chere.” He kissed her temple.
Reluctantly she pulled away. She had another pie to bake and a side dish to cook. As her eyes moved over his face, she thought he looked good enough to eat.
end of Day 25