Forever (This)(4)

By: J.B. McGee

He takes a deep breath. “I’ll talk to you later.”

“Yeah. Have a good night.”

Why does it feel like we just broke up when we were never together in the first place?

Surprise, surprise. It’s moving day, and instead of being here helping me pack, Ryan got called into a shift at the hospital. It didn’t used to bother me so much, but the more serious things get here, the more bothered it makes me. The doorbell rings. I tuck the side-swiped bangs of my pixie cut behind my ear as I walk to the door. Opening it, the butterflies rush into my empty, growling stomach as Joe’s lips curve up into a brilliant, dazzling smile. His brown hair is short on the sides and longer on the top. It’s like an organized mess of pieces out of place. It looks like sex hair. He looks like sex on a stick. His eyes are like chocolate ganache, dark and rich. “Hi,” I say.

“Hey. You gonna stand there or invite me in? I can barely breathe in this Charleston humidity.”

“It’s not even hot yet. I thought the ATL was supposed to be the humid capital of the south.”

“Eh. Different kind of heat in Georgia.” He wiggles his eyebrows. “I guess you’ll see soon enough, huh?”

I smile. That’s the nicest he’s been about the move. I won’t push my luck with a smart comment back. “Yeah.” I extend my arm, offering him entrance into the living room. “Welcome to my humble abode.” It’s the first time he’s been to our house. Even though I’m the only one who lives here, our mom left it in both mine and Gabby’s name when she passed away from breast cancer when we were still in high school.

As he’s entering, I get the bright idea to try to look out in the driveway, which causes our bodies to crash together in a hug.

His arms immediately wrap around my waist. “I could get used to your body pressed against mine like this. Don’t move.” His voice is low and raspy. “Let me enjoy it for a minute.”

I stand on my tippy toes so my arms can reach around his neck. It’s just a hug. Friends hug. Girlfriends hug their boyfriends’ brothers all the time, right? We’re practically family. Except I don’t think boyfriends’ brothers should make girlfriends’ bodies feel like someone set a blow torch to them. “Did you ride with Bradley and Gabby?”

“No. I drove in case I need to get back to the club for anything. Gabby mentioned this morning that Ryan got called in.” At the mentioning of Ryan’s name, I release Joe, but he holds on tighter. “Such a shame.”

“Um.” My hand taps his back.

He inhales, then sighs as he exhales. “Mmm. You smell like raspberries and…peaches…and damn. I could eat you right up.”


He pushes away. “It should be a sin to go around smelling like that.”

“I’ll be sure to get Taylor Swift the memo next time I see her.”

The lines of his forehead ripple. “Huh?”

“Her new fragrance, Wonderstruck.”

“Are you a Taylor Swift fan? I wouldn’t have pegged you as such.”

“How can anyone not be a Taylor Swift fan?” I ask, mirroring his face.

He chuckles as his eyes wander from my head to my feet. “You’re a pint-sized scoop of adorableness.” He takes a step past me, and I shut the door behind him.

“Somehow that sounded a lot like a description for ice cream.”

“I guess eating you up is still on my brain. Man, the things I could do with ice cream to your body.”


“I love the way you say my name.”

“I wish you would stop giving me so many reasons to say it.”

“This is nothing. If you were mine instead of his, you’d have a lot more fun reasons to say my name. Nah. To scream it.”

My insides twist like someone’s squeezing a rag dry. Heat starts to stir between my legs. “You can’t say stuff like that to me. How many times do we have to have the chat?”

“I was trying to keep it light. I figured it’d be a real mood killer for me to come in here like some pussy, drop to my knees, and beg you to not move.”

I can’t hide my smile from him at the thought of him on his knees begging. “I told you this move is not just for Ryan.”

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