Into the Deep Page 34

Lowe snorted. “There will be a guy, Charley,” he said, sounding absolutely convinced on the matter.

I raised an eyebrow. “Are you clairvoyant?”

“Nah. I’m just not blind. It’s a miracle you’re single at the moment.”

The compliment hit me in all my good-for-nothing places and I shook my head, trying to laugh it off with everyone else. It wasn’t easy when I could feel Jake’s eyes burning into me.

“Claud, where do you see yourself in five years?” Matt asked her. “With me, right?”

I laughed as Claudia rolled her eyes for the second time that night. “If I’m going to be with anyone in five years, it will be Will McPherson.”

“Who the hell is Will McPherson?” Beck grumbled.

I answered for her. “The hot TA Claud has been lusting after for two years and has been too chicken to approach.”

“Why would you be too chicken to approach?” Matt guffawed. “Have you seen you?”

“Are you trying to kill me with compliments, Matt?”

“Seduce, Claud, not kill.”

“I don’t think it’s working,” Beck said, smirking at him.

“Well,” Melissa spoke up, her tone overly cheery, “in five years’ time, I’m hopefully going to be working on my postgrad, and spending Thanksgiving on vacation with my whole family and Jake.”

My fingers clenched around my wine glass. When I dared to look over at her, she was giving me a firm but pointed look. I managed to keep my flinch inward and calmly took another drink of wine.

Nice Melissa was gone then. Determined-to-keep-her-boyfriend Melissa was in town.

“Jake?” she turned to him, “what about you?”

He didn’t look at her, just sat staring at the beer bottle in his hand as he picked at the label. “What about me?” he answered a little flatly.

“Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?”

He shrugged and then shot the table a strained grin. “A roadie for The Stolen.” The guys laughed, helping him out. Lowe quickly turned the conversation elsewhere.

As I collapsed into my bed later that night, I wondered not for the first time that evening whether Jake spent the entire dinner remembering our first Thanksgiving together … and our promise that we would never stop loving each other.

Chapter Twelve

For the first time since rescuing my sister from the SUV, I wished to God I were Supergirl. I’d never read the old comics but surely Supergirl wouldn’t have been this nervous about going all the way with her boyfriend? Or maybe she would have, I didn’t know. Maybe like me, Supergirl put up this front that she was confident about everything, when in reality she was just as scared as the next girl.

I didn’t know why I was so nervous about my plans to lose my virginity to Jake. Throughout the last four months, I’d been the one making the moves, pushing for our first kiss, pushing for fooling around. We’d done a lot of “stuff” together, and although I’d felt a little flurry of jitters when we’d first started out, I hadn’t felt nervous or anxious the way I was now feeling nervous and anxious.

The truth was I didn’t want to disappoint Jake in any way. I’d gotten it out of him that he’d lost his virginity when he was only fourteen. He wouldn’t tell me how many girls he’d been with, which worried me more than a little, but he promised it was nowhere near as scary a number as I probably had in my head. Still, Jake was experienced for his age. I guessed part of that was due to the fact that he didn’t look sixteen.

Take Stacy Sullivan, the waitress at Hub’s, for instance. I knew the rumors that Jake had slept with her were true. I knew this because since dating Jake, I’d hardly been inside Hub’s and the reason was because Jake didn’t appear to like it all that much. That was ridiculous—Hub’s had great food—so I suspected it had more to do with the fact that he’d nailed Stacy.

So Jake was experienced. And I wasn’t.

I knew it was ridiculous to have those concerns. Jake loved me and he wanted to be with me no matter what. That didn’t mean I didn’t want to be the best he ever had.

“Ugh,” I groaned and dropped my head against the bathroom mirror, trying to take calming breaths. I jerked my head back, jumping out of my skin at the sound of my cell binging.

It was a text from Jake.

Coast is clear. I’m outside x

I sent him an affirmative text back, drew in a deep breath, and hurried out of the bathroom. Mom and Dad were at work, so at least I didn’t have to hide what I was up to.

It was a Saturday and Jake’s parents and Lukas had gone Christmas shopping in Chicago. Chicago was actually an hour closer to Lanton than Indianapolis, plus Lukas was meeting up with some old friends. Jake had begged off the family day trip with the excuse that he wasn’t feeling great.

In reality, we just wanted his house to ourselves.

Two weeks ago when Jake had mentioned the shopping trip, I’d instantly thought about having an uninterrupted day with Jake in the vicinity of a bed. We spent most of our time fooling around in Hendrix in Brenton Fields and a couple of those times, things had gotten seriously frustrating for the both of us. It was bad. It had gotten to a point where I was zoning out in class because all I could think about was Jake’s hands on my body.

That’s why I casually suggested that he didn’t go with his family.

Assured that I meant it and that I was ready for us to have sex, Jake had eagerly jumped on board with the idea.

Bundled up in my winter gear, I hurried out to Jake’s truck, jumping in out of the cold and rubbing my hands together. I gave him a small smile. “Hey.”

He stared at me a moment, his eyes searching. “You okay?” he asked softly.

I nodded quickly. “Yeah, let’s go.”

Instead of going, Jake put Hendrix in neutral and pulled up the handbrake. He twisted around, sliding his arm behind my seat so his body was turned into mine. “Baby, we don’t have to do this. If you’ve changed your mind, it’s okay.”

As his reassurances and kind expression sank in, I thought that I was amazingly lucky to have found Jake Caplin. I’d said it before and I’d say it again: he was not like other boys. However, I’d obviously done something to deserve him, so I was content to accept his adoration and devotion for the rest of my life. I smiled at him now, some of the nerves dissipating. “I haven’t changed my mind. I … just want this to be good for you.”

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