She rolled her eyes when she saw a few girls from school drive to the Hut and decided it was time to make her escape. She could not wait to jump into a hot shower back at the apartment. Thank goodness for convertibles, otherwise she was not sure she could have stood sitting with herself on the drive home.
"Why do drunks decide that spinning around and gyrating is good?" This was something she would never understand. She listened to Aerosmith sing about love in elevators which segued into the Rolling Stones getting satisfied on her way home. She hadn't been getting love of any kind anywhere lately which left her feeling very unsatisfied. Things she doubted Steven Tyler or Mick Jagger knew much about.
Twenty minutes later she had used all of the hot water she was going to get that night. The bathroom was so steamy it felt like a sauna. She loved it. Finally, she felt clean enough to relax for a bit before bed. Her dad was out of town having received a tip on a bail jumper that afternoon. She had just gotten comfortable on the couch with a repeat of ER and a pint of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia in her hand when she heard a knock. The last thing she needed tonight was someone needing her help. She just wasn't in the mood.
"I know you're in there V. I see the TV."
It was highly unlikely Weevil was going to need any favors from her so she felt safe answering the door to him. Then again, he didn't usually show up at her place for no reason either. She regretted opening the door the more she thought about it.
"What?" He reached out and for a minute she thought he was going to touch her. Instead he took hold of a few strands of her still damp hair and wrapped them around his finger. She blushed and shook her head. "No. Bad night at work."
"How bad could it be? You work at a coffee shop."
"Do you really believe that?"
"I'm all ears, Chica. Talk to me. Tell Eli all your problems." He held out his arms to either side, reminding her of Fonzie on Happy Days a little bit. She couldn't help but smile.
"You didn't come here to hear me talk about my lousy night at work."
"Why not? Maybe I can make them go away?"
"Eli, why are you here?"
"A guy comes to visit a girl and his intentions are called into question within minutes of his arrival. I guess that's not a good sign."
"There are no signs here, Eli," she said, returning to the couch and her Ben & Jerry's.
She watched him eye the ice cream as she ate a spoonful. "You're playing hard ball. It must have been a really bad night."
He sat next to her on the couch and took hold of the remote control. ER was quickly replaced by auto racing. She rolled her eyes and cleared her throat lightly.
"Um, why are you here again?"
"Tell me about your night."
"There's not much to tell. The place was packed. A group of bubble headed sorority girls came in and one of them got sick on me."
"Is that why your top is down?"
"That would be why. I was afraid the stench would be there forever if I put it up."
"I'll close it on my way out."
"Thanks," she said, smiling brightly at the idea of Eli taking care of her. She prided herself on being independent but still enjoyed being taken care of once in a while.
"So, what's with the medical drama?"
"There was nothing else on."
He slid to the end of the couch and took a foot in between his hands. They felt so warm. Maybe she was cold from spending too much time in the shower. He began to massage her foot and her eyes drifted closed at the heavenly feeling. She no longer cared about her ice cream or what was on TV. She lay on her couch in a vegetative state for what seemed like an eternity. In fact, she might have even drifted off for a bit. She was that comfortable with Eli.
"Where's your old man?"
"Out of town for the night. Bond jumper."
"Ah." He released her foot and she let out a whimper of protest. "Just switching feet, Chica." He took the pint of ice cream from her, which she gave up gladly.
"Mm ‘k," she whispered.
"I never would have imagined V is a sucker for a foot rub."
"Only from the right person." Her eyes flew open. Had she really said that? His dark eyes looked as startled by her words as she felt. "I mean what girl isn't?"
He continued with her second foot, but the look in his eyes told her that he was not going to forget her comment. Damn. What had she been thinking? Where had that come from? Her concerns fell away when his thumb pressed on the ball of her foot, easing the tension out of her body. It was easy to forget about getting thrown up on and having guys eye her like she was a piece of prime rib. Duncan used to pick her up after her shift, which helped curb the interest from other guys. But Duncan was gone so she had to think of other ways to fend off the come ons.
She pictured Weevil being her guy dissuader. She laughed lightly at the idea of him picking her up at the Hut every night. Like that would happen. His biker buddies would have him for lunch.
"What's so funny?"
"I was just thinking about you picking me up from the Hut after my shift."
"Duncan used to do it. There's always some creepy regular hanging around who seems to think he can score my number or something."
"So he was a deterrent."
"You still haven't gotten to the punch line."
"Nothing, it just struck me as funny. The idea of you picking me up."
"Well, that'd be stooping pretty low. I mean it's not like I can't take care of myself. It was just kind of nice having that extra oomph to emphasize the fact I was off limits."
He seemed to ponder this and Veronica wondered what was going through his mind. It was hard to tell with Eli. He was a difficult nut to crack. She had tried and usually came up with only part of an answer. That wasn't normally the case for her. People were too easy to figure out. It's what kept her dad in business and her earning money on the side.
"So no pretty boys that drink coffee are turning your head. Is that what you're saying?"
She let out a soft whimper when he hit a particularly sore spot on her ankle, just by her heal. She had no idea why it hurt, but he was making it feel so much better.
"You like that?"
"Do you even need to ask?"
"A guy likes to know he's hitting the right spot."
She rolled her eyes and laughed. "Yeah, right." She slid further down the couch, resting her head against the arm on her side. It felt so good to just sit and relax. Eli's foot massage was a bonus and she had to admit it was making her a little sleepy. Her eyes were getting heavy. They weren't really talking about anything so she guessed it was okay to kind of drift off.
The next thing Veronica knew she was laying in her bed with Eli Navarro kneeling over her. She frowned, experiencing a serious case of déjà vu. Only this time the guy was still here and she didn't have to do the walk of shame home.
"What's going on in that pretty head of yours?"
"You can't lie to me, Chica. You're looking at me as if I was a leper or something. Talk to me."
"What are we doing in my room? On my bed?"
"You fell asleep. My hands were getting tired. The race was over."
"So, you thought you'd move things to my room for some necrophilia-like loving?"
He ran his hand over his head. It was an odd gesture on someone with no hair. "You can't be serious?"
She went over things in her head. Eli was a lot of things but taking advantage of her was not something he'd be stupid enough to do. "What were you doing then?"
"You fell asleep. I was putting you to bed."
"So why are you still here?"
"Moving you must have woken you up. We just got here, V."
Her mouth formed a silent ‘Oh' at the revelation. She had jumped to conclusions, but if he knew what had happened to her he would understand.
"I just put you down and was about to pull your covers out. You had this look in your eye, I wasn't sure what you were going to do."
"Let's just say I've woken up in a bed before not knowing how I got there."
"I wouldn't do that to you, Chica. I'm not that kind of guy. I like my ladies to remember being with ol' Weevil."
She smiled then with a shake of her head. "Can you be any more conceited?"
"It's tough to live up to, I know, but someone has to do it."
"Oh god now with the clichés." She laughed despite herself, her panic at waking up in her bed with him on top of her forgotten. Her stomach did a flip-flop thing when he smiled at her. His eyes were intensely thoughtful. It was almost as if he was studying her. She reached up to touch his face. She felt stubble along his jaw, long past a five o'clock shadow.
"What am I going to do with you, V?"
She didn't think he was expecting an answer. It was barely a whisper. If he had been any further away from her she probably wouldn't have heard his question. She wasn't sure she understood the question. She knew what her heart and body were telling her, though.
Her hand slid along the edge of his jaw to his ear and lower to his neck. Before she could put much thought into the wisdom in this she drew him to her. Her eyes fluttered closed expectantly as her lips touched his. Her hand slid to the back of his head, fingertips grazing the nape of his neck as she drew him even closer.
She sighed against his lips. She didn't have to worry for too long whether he'd respond. His whispered, "Chica," was followed by his arms going under and around her. She arced into his touch, lips parting in silent invitation. He was quick to respond, his tongue found hers and they both moaned softly.
He smelled like fresh air, aftershave, leather, and something that was solely Eli Navarro. He broke the kiss and she whimpered in protest. She wasn't ready for it to end. She was not ready to go back to reality. She wanted more. He kissed her chin and then nuzzled her neck. She tilted her head back on the pillow allowing him access to her throat. He continued lower, placing kisses against her throat that warmed her skin and burned right through to her core.
He drew away then. Her hand fell to his shoulder. She could feel how strong he was through his shirt. She opened her eyes then, sensing somehow he was watching her. "What?"
"This is wrong. I have to go."
"You what?" She couldn't possibly be hearing him right.
"You've had a bad night and you're missing your guy. I'm not made to be a stand-in, V."
She shook her head, surprised at how deep her feelings for him ran. She hadn't realized it until she kissed him and felt how right it was. "Is that what you think?"
He was studying her while he nodded his head. "That's what I know, V. You don't run around with guys like me."
"And here I thought you were my friend," she said, propping up on her elbows in an attempt to scoot away from him. He was on top of her though, preventing her from getting away from him.
"I don't give my heart to just anybody and I refuse to be used."
"I'm not sure how kissing you is using you, Eli. Clearly, I wanted to kiss you."
"A minute ago you thought I was capable of raping you."
"No, I didn't think that. It was one of those déjà vu moments, that's all. I wasn't sure where I was, what you were doing in my room. I didn't even really know it was you."
She shook her head, raising her hand to touch his cheek, stroking his face with her thumb. She'd never paid attention to how vulnerable he was. He just wanted to be loved like anyone else did. Lilly hadn't done that, Lilly hadn't been capable of doing that. Veronica wasn't sure she was either, but she wanted to try. "Eli, that's not what I meant. You're not easily forgettable. It's just that you put me so at ease out there rubbing my feet I forgot for a minute what was going on. I don't let that happen very often, let my guard down I mean. I should be thanking you."
He seemed to ponder this, the scowl on his face eased up a bit. "I want you to stay."
"If your dad comes home early or finds out."
"He's coming around when it comes to you."
"That'd rapidly change if he catches me here like this."
"He's not coming home and I'm not asking you to strip naked."
"That's too bad."
She rolled her eyes and smiled slightly. "As much as I expect I'd enjoy the view I'm not to that point yet. But some cuddling would be good."
"Are you sure, V?"
"I'm sure, Eli. And you're not a stand-in. I want you, here with me."
"We could start with you taking me to work."
"That would mean you'd need a way home, too."
"I guess it would," she said, smiling widely with a soft giggle.
He nodded his head. "I think I can do that."
She smiled then. "I was hoping you'd say that."
"I don't know, people might talk."
"Would that be a problem for you?"
"It would depend on what they said."
"How about, ‘hey did you see that waitress Veronica's sexy new motorcycle riding boyfriend?'"
He laughed. "That'd be all right."
"Yeah," she asked, hoping he couldn't hear the hint of uncertainty in her voice.
"Yeah," he replied before kissing her.
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Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com