‘Extremely,’ he murmured.
Shrugging, I relaxed into him, taking a sip of tea.
And that was as long as I got to relax. The sound of the front door opening moved me into instant action. I attempted to dive out of Cam’s arms.
He stopped me effortlessly with one arm.
‘What are you doing?’ I hissed, my eyes narrowed on him, my heart thumping hard at the thought of Cole walking in on us wrapped around each other without an explanation first.
‘Um, what’s going on?’
I closed my eyes briefly, shooting Cam a death look when I opened them and then peering past his head to smile apologetically at my brother, who took up a good portion of the doorway with his height and increasing frame. His green eyes were narrowed on the back of Cam’s head. They shifted to me. ‘Is this what you wanted to talk about?’
I nodded and tried once again, unsuccessfully, to clamber off Cam’s lap as Cole strode into the room. He walked past the sofa to the armchair and Cam smiled at him before sipping his coffee, completely relaxed except for the arm that bound me tight to him.
Cole sighed and dropped into the chair. ‘You two together, then?’
We answered in unison.
Unfortunately not with the same answers.
As Cole’s eyebrows rose, his eyes bright with amusement, Cam turned his head sharply to glare at me. ‘We’ll see?’
Bugger. Now he thought I didn’t want this. I did want this. I just didn’t want him to feel pressured in case that scared him off. ‘I don’t want us to feel rushed.’
‘Bullshit. You don’t want me to feel rushed. I thought we talked about that.’
I gaped at him. Cam wasn’t known for his intuitiveness when it came to me, but apparently the more he got to know me the more he saw. Was I becoming predictable?
I didn’t know how I felt about that.
‘If you’re looking for my approval, you have it,’ Cole muttered as he stood up again. He shot Cam a quick smile as he passed us. ‘Seems like you know what you’re doing.’
‘Oh, funny.’ I took umbrage at my brother’s droll comment, rolling my eyes at the sound of his chuckle as he disappeared down the hall into his room. My eyes slid back to Cam’s face only to find him grinning at me. ‘Don’t even think about becoming a tag team.’
He laughed, his eyes crinkling in the way that melted my insides. ‘Wouldn’t dream of it.’ He put his mug down and then mine, before wrapping his arms around me. I slid my arms around his neck, settling closer into him. ‘That went well.’
‘It went how every conversation with Cole goes lately.’
‘And what way is that?’
I felt Cam’s shoulders shake underneath me. ‘He’s a guy. We like to get straight to the point.’
Enjoying the mix of contentment and excitement I felt in his arms, I pressed my body deeper into his, feeling his erection grow against my butt. I brushed his mouth lightly with my own, glorying at the hitch in his breathing. ‘You took a while to get to the point this morning.’
The glitter in his eyes was the only warning before I found myself thrown back on the couch. Cam gripped my thighs, pushing my legs open so he could settle between them. I wrapped my long legs around him and he kissed me, slow and deep. We made out for a while like two teenagers. It was bloody brilliant!
As his strong hand glided up my outer thigh, I breathed in his familiar scent and wished we didn’t have to go to lunch. Reading my thoughts, he finally pulled back, and I couldn’t stop myself from tracing my fingers along his lips. He really had the most distracting mouth of any man I’d ever met.
Continuing our conversation as if five minutes of lip-locking hadn’t just happened, I whispered, ‘I didn’t mean that as a bad thing. I meant it as a very, very good thing.’
‘Then I’ll make sure to take my time getting to the point in the future.’
‘I said I was cool with it, not that I wanted to see it,’ Cole grumbled above us.
We both jerked our heads around to see Cole standing by the couch, glaring down at us, a plate of sandwiches in one hand and a glass of Coke in the other.
‘Oi, what are you doing?’ I huffed at my brother, pushing Cam off of me. ‘We’re going to lunch. You’re going to spoil your dinner.’
‘Wow,’ Cam said lightly as he sat up. ‘I just got a glimpse into the future.’
He laughed, shaking his head as he turned to Cole. He gestured to the sandwiches. ‘I’ll take one of those.’
Cole held the plate out and Cam casually took a sandwich.
I stared at them both, munching on their snacks, ruining their appetites. ‘God. Now there’s two of them.’
That only made Cam and Cole share amused, secret ‘guy club’ smiles.
A sense of warmth – beautiful, relaxing, contented warmth – radiated out from my chest, enveloping my entire body in a kind of happiness I’d never felt before.
The feeling absolutely terrified the bejesus out of me.
I spent the bus ride to Stockbridge talking. I don’t think I stopped to breathe once. Cole sat behind us with his earphones in, listening to an audiobook, so he was completely oblivious to my record-breaking nonstop chatter at Cam as I laid out the benefits of keeping our relationship on the down low. I honestly didn’t know why I wanted to keep it quiet. I thought it might have something to do with making sure there were few witnesses to my heartbreak if this went south, but I wasn’t going to tell Cam that. Instead I rambled, and rambled, and rambled at him.
He may have been sick of the sound of my voice by the time we got off that bus, but at least I knew my point had been made. We were keeping our relationship quiet.
‘Jo and I are together now.’
Ten minutes had passed since we’d got off the bus and we were standing in Elodie Nichols’s living room with the entire Nichols family plus Adam, Braden and Joss staring at us. Cam had made that little announcement in response to Ellie’s ‘So how are you?’
As Joss would say, I felt sucker punched. I shot Cam a disbelieving look. ‘Did you not hear a word I said on the bus?’
He gave me that wide, appeasing grin that did naughty things to my insides. ‘I have selective hearing, baby.’ He clutched my hip, trying to pull me close. ‘Good thing too or my brain might have melted out of my ears. I didn’t know it was possible for a human to say that many words per minute.’
I looked at my friends, who were all staring at us with sly grins on their faces. ‘Cam and I just broke up.’
Cam laughed, hugging me even tighter into his side.
I huffed, trying to wriggle free. ‘What are you doing?’
‘Getting back together with you.’
The sound of barely stifled chortles made my cheeks redden. Oh, God, we were being ‘cute’ in company. My eyes slid to Joss. Sure enough, she had a superior smile on her face. There was no way to win this round, but I could lessen the cuteness. ‘Fine,’ I mumbled ungraciously, relaxing against him.
Elodie and Clark, who had been introduced to Cam only three minutes ago, started firing questions at him about being a graphic designer, about growing up in Longniddry, and about his parents, until I eventually left him sitting beside Cole and enlisted Hannah in making an escape. Since I couldn’t feel the heat of Joss’s stare, I took this to mean that she was just happy Cam and I were together and didn’t need to know the details. Ellie was a different story. She would want to know absolutely everything. Her eyes bored into me, and I could almost hear her telepathic orders for me to look at her. That was when I started shooting Hannah ‘save me’ looks.
My little saviour shot to her feet. ‘I have to show Jo something. Alone,’ she said pointedly, giving her sister a look that allowed no room for argument. She got that look from Elodie.
We were already out of the room before Ellie could say a second word.
Trying to muffle our giggles, we fell into Hannah’s room. ‘You are the best person in the whole world.’ I grinned at her.
Hannah smiled in response as she flopped down on her bed. ‘You know you’re going to have to face the inquisition soon though, right?’
‘I know. I’d just rather face it later than sooner.’
Suddenly Hannah’s cheeks flushed a little red. ‘He’s really hot.’
Laughing, I moved to sit beside her, feeling my own cheeks heat as I remembered this morning and last night. ‘He is that.’
‘I won’t ask about Malcolm or anything, but … I heard Ellie speaking with Joss and they said Cam’s not really your usual type. I guess that doesn’t matter if you’re happy.’
I loved this kid. Truly and deeply. ‘I’m happy today. Scared. But happy. Cam has convinced me to do something just for me, rather than for me and Cole.’ I remembered all the security that had walked away with Malcolm last night and I felt a stab of fear and anxiety. In an effort to ignore it, I nudged Hannah with my shoulder. ‘So how is Marco?’
Heaving a massive sigh, Hannah fell back on the mattress and stared at the ceiling, avoiding my eyes. ‘He’s talking to me again.’
‘Why aren’t you more excited about that?’
‘Because the tool is acting like nothing happened. Like we’re just friends. Not to mention there is this girl in the year above me who’s been telling everyone she hooked up with him at a party last weekend. She’s really pretty.’
‘Well, considering you’re beautiful, I think you have one over on her.’ Hannah made a noise of disbelief and I patted her knee. ‘One day you’re going to look in the mirror and see what I see.’
‘A geek who needs an attitude readjustment?’
I made a face. ‘What?’
‘I got in trouble this week. Mum and Dad aren’t happy.’
My painfully shy Hannah had got in trouble? ‘What?’ I repeated in disbelief.
‘My PE teacher had a go at me because I refused to get into an all-girls team against an all-boys team at basketball. I told him that it’s scientifically proven that boys are stronger and faster than girls and that to put all girls against all boys was setting the girls’ team up for failure. He said that I was being unfair to my own sex. I said I was being realistic and that I thought he was deliberately favouring the boys over the girls. He reported me and, while our head teacher told him that all basketball teams during classes should be mixed from now on, the head teacher also called Mum and told her I needed an attitude readjustment.’
Choking down my amusement as I caught the twinkle of bedevilment in her eyes, I shook my head at her. ‘What happened to the crippling shyness?’
She somehow managed to shrug lying down. ‘I just feel like being shy is getting in my way.’
‘Is this because of Marco?’
‘No, not just that. Although I’m getting the impression I’m not really “cool” enough for him –’