The throbbing in my head beat in a double time rhythm with my heart. I groaned and rolled over, throwing my arms across the bed and hitting flesh. The throbbing and my heart stopped. I slowly opened my eyes and saw Roman next to me. I pinched at the flesh on the inside of my arm and winced in pain. I wasn’t dreaming. Roman was next to me. What the hell was he doing in my bed? I was in my bed wasn’t I? I looked around the room and sighed. Yes, I was in my bed.
“What the fuck are you doing in my bed?” I whined as I pushed at his chest.
Moaning, he pushed my hand away from him. “What do you want?”
“I want to know why you are in my bed? Better yet, how did you end up in my bed with me?”
“Stellan carried you up here.”
I sat up and buried my head in between my hands. “What? When?”
Sitting up as well, Roman answered. “You fell asleep in the cab.”
“Why didn’t you just wake me?”
“He wouldn’t let me.”
I smiled to myself. “Tell me what happened.”
“Like I said, you fell asleep on the ride home. When we got here, he said he didn’t want to wake you and that he’d carry you up here and put you to bed.”
“And that’s it?”
I turned and looked at him. “What else happened?”
Sighing, Roman tucked a pillow behind him and leaned against it. “First, he’s hard headed.”
“What do you mean?”
“He wouldn’t let me pay for the cab.”
“He’s a gentleman,” I answered defensively.
“He’s a hard headed gentleman,” Roman said, crossing his good arm across the arm in the sling.
“How are the arm and the face?”
“Hurts like hell, but on the upside, I’ve got some kick ass pain pills.”
“Go back to the story.”
“You interrupted me.”
“Well, I after I finally convinced him to let me pay for the most expensive cab ride on the planet, we brought you up here. He carried you in here and put you to bed.”
“You know I just want to gush awe don’t you?”
Roman nodded with a smile. “I said it in my head. Go ahead and smile. You’ve got every reason to be happy.”
Squealing, I beamed a smile at him. “He could be the most perfect person on the planet,” I sighed.
“Can I continue now?”
I nodded and sighed again. My insides were a happy mush and I was glad Roman was there to share that with me.
“He walks out while I make sure I put everything away for you, and when I walk out of your room, he’s at the front door ready to walk out. I was upset when I saw that.”
“I think it was from everything that happened. I asked him if he was just going to walk out without saying goodbye and he looked at me as if I was insane. He said he didn’t feel like I needed a goodbye but if it meant that much to me he’d say goodbye. I let him know that I was talking about you not me.”
“I was fast asleep Roman.”
“I know that. I told him that he shouldn’t dare leave without at least leaving you a note or something. I told him I might have ruined the night for you guys but he didn’t have to be a jerk to you.”
I felt my mouth drop open. “You didn’t.”
I collapsed back onto the bed and pulled a pillow over my head. “Roman, if you weren’t injured right now, I’d kick you in the face.”
“Well, he quickly corrected me so don’t worry. He told me that while you were asleep in his arms that sent you a text so you’d have it when you woke up this morning.”
I sat up, dropping the pillow into my lap. “Where’s my phone?”
He leaned over to the nightstand and grabbed my phone. “First, I finish my story,” he said, clutching the phone against his chest.
Closing my eyes, I nodded. “Continue.”
“I of course felt like a huge jack ass and apologized until he was sick of hearing it. I asked him how he was going to get home and he said he was just going to go downstairs, call a cab, and wait in the lobby. I told him to stay here but he refused and said that as great as the offer was, he couldn’t because it was your place and you hadn’t invited him to stay so he couldn’t.”
I smiled. “You appreciated it and you know it.”
“I did. Made me feel even shittier than I already felt for ruining your night.”
“What happened next?”
“I told him I’d at least go downstairs with him and wait. It was the least I could do and that I was paying for his cab home and to pick up his car. He said okay as long as I stopped apologizing.”
“And that’s it?”
“Did I say end of story yet?”
I shook my head. I really wanted it to be the end of the story because I desperately wanted to know what Stellan’s text message read.
Roman closed his eyes. “While we were downstairs talking, I might have let it slip that you thought he was the most beautiful person that ever existed.”
“What!” I slammed the pillow against his chest. “Why did you say that? He was to never find that out.”
“I blame the pain killers. I swear, I didn’t mean to,” he replied, tucking the pillow under his bad arm. “We were talking and I said as your friend I didn’t want to see you get hurt and that if he had any intentions of doing so that though it looked like I couldn’t fight, I’d definitely fight for your honor.”
“But I want to get hurt!” Okay, I really didn’t want to get hurt, but what the hell, I was willing to try anything with Stellan at this point.
“No you don’t. You’re just lusting and that makes you think you want to get hurt.”
“Stellan said he wasn’t that type of person. He said if he wanted to get quote unquote get in your pants, he would have already tried to do so. He then told me that leaving you at your apartment door the previous night was possibly the stupidest yet smartest thing he had ever done.”
My heart sighed.
“That’s when I let it slip about the beautiful thing.”
“What did he say?”
“He blushed. Well, from what I could tell he blushed. He’s got a pretty scruffy face.”
“I kind of like it,” I admitted. “More of turn on than I thought.”
Roman rolled his eyes and threw the pillow back at me. “Going to throw up here.”
Putting my hands on my hips, I looked at him. “And how many times have I had to sit and listen to you tell me what you liked about a woman that you met and now potentially a man that you meet.”
“Done with what?”
“Both sexes right now. Look at this face. I’d scare a blind person right now.”
I smiled and shook my head. Roman was going to be just fine. If he had his humor, then he could get through anything. It was the one thing I admired about him. “So what did he say?”
“Nothing. He blushed and ran a hand through his beard.”
“I’m going to throw up. I can’t believe you told him. You didn’t tell him where I saw him first did you?”
Roman shook his head. “When he made the stupid smart comment, I kind of chuckled to myself that no wonder you thought he was the most beautiful human on the planet.”
I collapsed back on the bed and pulled the covers over my head. Yes, I was embarrassed Stellan had found out I called him beautiful. I don’t know why it bothered me so, but it did. Maybe because I never thought I’d see him again after he was in the bar or after he knocked me on my rear.
“That’s the end of the story. The cab came and I came back upstairs.”
I held out my hand. “Phone please.”
“Again, I’m very sorry about last night,” he said, dropping the phone into my hand.
I sat up and looked at him. “Don’t be. Don’t ever be sorry for needing help from a friend and don’t ever be sorry for being there for a friend in need.”
Roman smiled. “Read the text and if it’s not too personal, read it to me. I’m dying to know what Mr. Beautiful said to you.”
I took a deep breath, unlocked my phone, and found Stellan’s text. It was too late for me not to get excited. I think if Stellan said he had ran over my dog or stabbed Roman; I would have been just as excited. As I read his text, I know I squealed, said at least three awes, put my hand over my heart once, and sighed countless of times.
“What’s it say?”
“Anna, sorry for long and multiple texts but you’re asleep next to me,” I read, “and I’m sure by the time the cab reaches your place, you’ll be in a deep sleep that I don’t want to disturb. I didn’t want you to wake up thinking I just ditched you or that I was mad at you for last night. I had a great time with you last night. I’d love to see you again too. Sooner than later. I’m sitting here thinking about kissing you again. This time in private with no cabdriver watching. Call me when you can and I hope Roman’s okay. Stellan.”
“That was in one text?”
I held the phone to my chest and sighed. “Three texts.”
“You’re ready to fall head over heels with this guy aren’t you?”
“I’m ready for something. I’m hoping he’s that something.”
“What if he’s not?”
“I’ll at least enjoy kissing him.”
I looked at Roman. “Um, fucking fantastic and don’t you dare tell him this, but possibly the best kisser I’ve ever kissed.”
“Do you think he felt the same?”
My face reddened. “He did ask if my kisses were always that intense and I told him he just had this affect on me. Enough about me though. I’m going to get up, make coffee for my wine hangover, and breakfast to help you heal then you’re going to tell me every stinking detail of last night. If you don’t, I’ll hunt this Robert character down myself and hurt him.”
“I’d rather talk about you and wine make out session with Stellan.”
“I know you would, but you need to share your experience so it doesn’t eat you up. Then you can tell me if you still want to meet my gay friends so they can judge you.”
“Even though I got the shit beat out of me by a gay man, I think I’m still gay.”
“If you are, just stay away from Stellan okay. He’s the first hot guy I’ve met that isn’t gay.”
“Straight Stellan off limits. I swear.”
“Come on, read his text to me again while I make coffee. I promise not to squeal like a thirteen-year old.”
“I doubt that’s going to stop. Something tells me that Stellan is going to make you squeal a lot and not all of it is going to be channeled through a thirteen-year old. Maybe he’ll have you channel your inner a porn star though.”
This page copyright © 2009 Shelia Taylor
All rights reserved | This is an excerpt of the rough draft and not the final version