It's been a long time since someone has infuriated me the way that Bradley does. Everything was fine until I got a glimpse of him and his chiseled abs.
I didn't know he would be sitting in Calvin's house. I wasn't ready for the conversation that followed. I didn't have time to prepare for Bradley.
He is so sexy, but he's not cocky, which makes it even worse. I'm feeling things that I don't want to feel.
It's taking all of my willpower to sit across from him at this table and pretend that I don't feel the slightest tingle from his gaze... pretend that his voice is not as smooth as butter...
pretend that the accidental brush from his hand earlier didn't cause the hairs on my arm to stand on end.
I don't even know this guy that won't take his eyes off of me. I do know that me plus him could lead to some very bad things. I can barely bring myself to look at him again.
The barrier that I've built stands strong, but this guy... He has me wondering if I could get to know him without everything falling apart.
What does he want with me? Wait, maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself. We are just four people who happen to be hungry, eating dinner together. Totally platonic and spur of the moment.
Why on earth did I agree to this? I think to myself as I pick at my fries.
"You really love your ketchup."
I look up at Bradley when I hear his voice. "Hmm?"
"Ketchup... it must be a favorite. Should I be taking notes?"
Taking notes? For what? "No, my mind wandered off for a minute. I didn't realize that I was drowning the poor fry." I smile, and he chuckles at my comment.
Emily and Calvin left us sitting here to go pick out a song on the jukebox. Now they're swaying on the makeshift dance floor in the diner.
My nerves are so screwed right now, that I can't even appreciate the sweetness of what they are doing.
"So, do you want to tell me all about that special transfer now?" Bradley asks.
Something in his voice makes me spill it. I give him a brief history lesson about my time at TVI and how I ended up here. He seems genuinely interested.
His interest in me fuels me to want more information on him.
"Enough about me. Tell me something about you. How do you know Calvin?"
"I know Calvin from the football team."
"Oh? Do you play too?" I don't want him to think that I remember him from the other day. It might give the impression that I like him.
"Nah, the coach lets me practice with the team. I never joined. It's too big of a commitment."
So, he has commitment issues? I wonder to myself. It would be okay if he did. It's not like I'm looking for anything serious. Before I can fire off another question, he continues.
"I love the game, but it's not what I want to spend the rest of my life doing. My main focus is elsewhere." He smirks and looks me directly in my eyes.
"I'm not afraid of commitment, not anymore. The boy that I was used to be afraid, but the man that I've become is far from it."
His comment traps me momentarily into thinking that it was meant for me. I clear my throat and shake the thought away. It wasn't directed at me. He's just stating a general fact.
He just happens to be talking to me about it.
"If not football, then what is your main focus?" I ask him.
"I'm studying to be a mathematician."
"A mathematician? Really?" The tone of my question was all wrong. "I mean, that's great." I try to rephrase. I feel hot all over.
Not only is he smoking hot, but he's also got the brains to match. He's not a true jock. This just keeps getting worse. My attraction to him is growing by the minute.
The vibration from his laughter reaches me from across the table. "I know... that's the reaction that I get from everyone when they find out what I want to do. I'm full of surprises.
" He leans up to whisper over the table. "FYI, I don't like them myself."
Note to self... he doesn't like surprises. Why would I even care?
He sits back. "In case you're ever thinking about throwing me a party or something." He answers my mental question. It's like he's reading my mind. That could be bad if he is.
"Why would I be thinking about throwing you a party?" I raise my brow in question. At the same time, I'm amused by his premonition.
"That's what people do when they're dating, right? They plan for birthdays and holidays. I figured I'd give you a head start on the small stuff.
When you say yes, it's one less thing you'll have to worry about."
"When I say yes to what exactly?"
"To our second date."
"I wasn't aware that we had a first date."
He smirks like he knows a secret and leans closer to me. "Will you go out with me again?"
His question catches me off guard. I don't know what to say. If I say no, I feel like I would be letting Lacy down, but I know that saying yes would mean that I'm agreeing to try.
I like him. There is something about him that won't let me speak the word no.
I want to say yes, but would he be willing to take me as I am, with all of the broken pieces that can never be made whole again?
His eyes plead for my yes, and the flame inside of them won't let me say no. "Yes."
He sits back in his seat, satisfied. "Where should we go on our second date?"
"Yes, you just agreed that this was our first."
"I did not."
I asked if you would go out with me again, and you said yes."
"You tricked me."
"No. I got you to admit what you already knew. I'm going to have fun getting to know you, Samantha." He begins to scribble something onto a napkin.
This guy... I'm going to have fun getting to know you too, Bradley.
He reaches over and places the folded napkin into my hand. It brings a smile to my face when I open it and read the note written down. "Can I have your number, Samantha?"
"You know, you could have just asked. I'm sitting right here."
"Yeah, I could have, but I wouldn't have gotten the same reaction."
I scribble my number down along with my added note, 'for emergencies only,' and slide it back to him.
He reads it and looks up at me, one eye raised slightly higher than the other. A slow rumble comes from his chest. "I plan to have a lot of those."
Bradley pulls out his phone and saves my number inside and begins twiddling his thumbs across the screen. My phone dings. He watches me with expectant eyes.
My skin heats at the message displayed. It's his number along with an invitation. "Anytime, day or night."
"Did anything interesting happen while we were gone?" Emily plops down in the booth next to me.
I feel like I've just stolen a piece of candy from the sacred dish, and it's time for me to confess. I open my mouth to reveal my secret, but the handsome hunk across from me beats me to it.
I'm relieved when he opens his mouth to speak.
"Samantha just agreed to go out with me." Bradley grins from ear to ear.
"Smooth talker," Emily says to Bradley.
I blush from embarrassment. Bradley is a very smooth talker. My intent was not to like him. I had already made up my mind from the moment that I saw him.
I would not give him the satisfaction that he so obviously wanted. I didn't care that his cheeks dimple when he smiles.
All of that was thrown out the window the second he opened his mouth to speak. It didn't matter to him that I was trying to ignore him. He could care less that I had a plastered scowl.
He didn't give up, and I finally gave in. I only hope that my giving into him doesn't come at a vast cost.