When I get to Brody’s apartment tonight, I see the last absolute last thing I want to see: Sean Nolan.
I haven’t seen him since I was in the car with him while he was driving drunk. I stare at Sean’s sloppy grin, and even though I can’t smell any alcohol, I cringe internally. I don’t like Sean. Part of me had been hoping I’d somehow never have to see him again. Although considering he’s Brody’s brother, that was probably a little naïve.
“Emily!” he exclaims, clapping me on the shoulder. “Right on time! Come in! I’m cooking dinner for us.”
Brody wheels into the foyer, not looking much happier than I do. “Sean’s joining us for dinner,” he explains.
“And I’m cooking,” Sean adds unnecessarily. He winks at me then goes back to the kitchen to tend to the food. Which actually smells pretty good—like grilling steak.
Brody just shakes his head at me. “I’m sorry he’s here,” he says. “Mike had an emergency and couldn’t make it tonight, so I asked Sean if he could help me out. Then he insisted on coming for dinner.” He sighs. “It’s sort of hard to dissuade him when he gets an idea in his head. But he swore to me he’d behave. Whatever that’s worth.”
“It’s fine,” I say.
“I’ll make it up to you,” he says, looking into my eyes. “I promise.”
And my body starts to tingle. I really want to kiss Brody right now, like really kiss him, but I see Sean eying us in the kitchen and I can’t make myself do it. So we just sort of peck on the lips before heading to the living room to watch television.
Dinner turns out to be steak cooked medium-rare with a side of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. The steak has obviously been basted in butter, and the mashed potatoes are the super creamy kind. Even the spinach, which is a vegetable, doesn’t seem to be even remotely healthy. One thing I have to say for Sean—he knows his audience.
“Sorry, let me get that for you,” Sean says, as he leans over Brody’s plate to cut his steak into pieces for him. Brody nods his thanks, although looks mildly uncomfortable about the whole thing. Usually he gets his food cut up before it’s served to him—I’ve never seen anyone cut it while it was right in front of him, like he’s a toddler or something.
Sean has placed a bottle of red wine in the center of the table, and he pours some into his own glass while Brody gives him a dirty look. He tilts the bottle in my direction, “Emily?”
I nod. “Thanks.”
I definitely need some alcohol to get through the evening.
“Brody?” Sean asks, tilting the bottle in his brother’s direction.
Brody shakes his head. “I thought we agreed no drinking tonight.”
“It’s one bottle of wine,” Sean points out. “Christ, lighten up a little, Bro.”
Brody looks like he’d have a lot more to say if I wasn’t there, but he holds back. Honestly, I almost wish he’d just say it. I’m not any more comfortable with Sean’s drinking than he is. I don’t know how Brody can even stand being around Sean, after what he did to him.
The steak turns out to be really delicious. It practically melts in my mouth. I remember my father grilling up steaks when I was younger, and he always practically charred them to a crisp, but this one is absolutely perfect. And the potatoes taste like butter in the very best way. Yet the spinach is the best thing on the plate somehow.
“You like it, huh?” Sean says, appraising the rapidly disappearing food on my plate. I’ve finished nearly everything.
I loosen my grip on my fork as I feel my cheeks growing hot. Why the hell did I eat so quickly? In front of Sean, no less. This was absolutely the worst time to eat like a pig. I look at Sean’s plate, and see that he’s still only halfway through his steak. And Brody has eaten practically nothing.
“I wasn’t being critical,” Sean says quickly, a grin widening on his face. “You know, they say the best compliment to the chef is a clean plate.”
“It’s pretty good,” I finally mumble.
Sean beams and pours himself another glass of wine, having drained his first one (which I suspect wasn’t actually his first one). “See? That makes me super happy, Emily.” He glances at Brody. “She’s so much better than the last one. Or should I say, the other one.” He grins wickedly. “What was Linda? A Vegan?”
“She was a pescatarian,” Brody says, although he doesn’t look at Sean when he answers.
Sean shakes his head. “What the fuck is a… a…”
“A pescatarian is somebody who eats fish but not other kinds of meat,” I say.
“Christ, what a psychopath,” Sean comments. For once, I sort of agree with him. “Also, she was, like, really old.”
Brody glares at Sean. “She was 35. That’s not really old.”
“Yeah, it is if you’re only 23,” Sean says. “She was definitely robbing the cradle.”
Brody gives his brother a really dirty look. “Can we talk about something else, please? Something besides my ex-girlfriend? Is this really the best topic of conversation you can come up with?”
“Sure, we don’t have to talk about Linda.” Sean shrugs and turns his gaze in my direction. “How about you, Emily? Have you had a boyfriend before? I asked Brody if you had, and he wasn’t sure.”
Brody’s mouth falls open. As for me, I want to crawl under the table and just die. I can’t believe they were having that kind of conversation about me. The way Brody looked at me, sometimes I got the sense that he really did think I was very sexy—but if he told his brother he thought I’d never had a boyfriend before, he obviously didn’t really think so.
“Well?” Sean prompts me. “Brody and I are both dying to know.”
“No, we’re not, you fucking asshole,” Brody snaps at his brother. He looks at me. “Emily, don’t answer that. Really. Sean is just being a jerk.”
I stare down at my plate, unable to bring myself to look up at either one of them. I wish I had followed my instinct and ducked out when I realized that Sean was joining us.
“Christ, Brody,” Sean says. “You’re in a really shitty mood tonight.”
“I wasn’t in a shitty mood.”
Sean rolls his eyes. “Whatever, it’s all my fault, right?” He gets up out of his seat, shoving the chair back so hard that it nearly falls over backwards. “I’m going to take a piss. I’ll let you two lovebirds have a moment to yourselves.”
Sean sprints out of the room, and I watch Brody let out a breath. He closes his blue eyes for a second, then opens them again. “I’m really sorry, Emily,” he says. “That whole… I mean, we weren’t really talking about you or anything. It wasn’t a big deal. And I’m sure you’ve had other boyfriends aside from me.”
Except I haven’t. And I don’t know if I should feel obligated to tell him. Do I need to disclose my previous relationships? Or lack thereof?
“Anyway,” he says, “I don’t need to know.” He grins crookedly. “The past is the past, right?”
I nod, grateful he let me off the hook.
“Hey,” he says, glancing at the bathroom. “You should go. Like, now. Before he gets out.”
I raise my eyebrows. “Seriously?”
“Yeah.” Brody smiles again. “It’ll piss Sean off if you just take off. It’ll be hilarious. Also, on the way out, dump the rest of the bottle of wine in the sink. I think it’s the only one he brought.”
I laugh and feel the tension of the night release from my body. “Okay, I can do that.”
I get up and lean in to kiss Brody on the lips before I go. And this is the kind of kiss I’ve been wanting to give him all night—deep and long. That kiss makes me forget everything that happened here tonight.
And I laugh to myself when I pour half a bottle of red wine down the drain of the kitchen sink and am out the door before Sean can discover what I did.
I get this twinge of excitement whenever I see Brody’s number pop up on my phone. We’re on a nightly phone call basis right now—meaning, on nights we don’t see each other, he almost always calls. He calls me on the late side, which I’ve realized means that he’s calling me from his bed, after Mike has already left for the night.
Some nights we just talk. I can’t even tell you what we talk about. One night we spent like three hours talking about cartoons we used to watch as kids, and got in a pretty intense discussion about the Power Puff Girls. Another night, we compared Crazy Mother stories. I’ve gotten so comfortable with Brody that I feel like I could talk to him about anything.
Most nights, we just talk. But at least a couple of times a week, things get a little steamier. If you know what I mean. (I’m sure you know what I mean.)
It started one night when we were talking on the phone, and Brody blurted out, sort of out of nowhere, “You have the sexiest breasts I’ve ever seen. I wish I were touching them right now.”
If he had said that to me while we were together, I probably would have blushed. But because we were on the phone, I giggled. “Oh yeah? And what would you do with them?”
And then Brody replied in a voice that wasn’t at all joking: “I’d lick them all over. And then I’d lick your whole body all over.”
And that was the beginning of Brody and I having some pretty amazing phone sex.
Brody is good at phone sex. Really, really good at it. Really. And this isn’t exactly a phone sex virgin talking. In fact, you could call me a bit of a phone sex slut. Brody knows just what to say and just how to say it. As he speaks, I can close my eyes and picture everything he’s saying. It’s intense, to say the least.
But here’s the thing: a lot of the things Brody describes are things he can’t actually do. He describes ripping my shirt open, throwing me onto his bed, climbing on top of me, and plunging his large, erect penis into me. It’s all very sexy the way he describes it all in painstaking detail, but let’s face it, he can’t do any of those things in real life. It’s all kind of a lie.
Brody and me in real life is the G-rated version of Brody and me on the phone. In real life, we mostly just kiss. Sometimes there’s a little above the belt licking. But sometimes I look across the table at him, and I know what he’s thinking about, and my whole body tingles.
If only we could make it into reality.
The day after a particularly steamy, graphic phone sex session, I come over to his house for our usual dinner and a make-out session. As I watch Mike transfer him to the couch, I can’t help but feel a little frustrated. This can only go so far tonight.
“I’m sorry,” Brody says to me as I sit next to him on the couch in my usual spot. “I know what you’re thinking.”
“I’m not thinking anything,” I say innocently.
“Yeah, right,” he mumbles.
“I’m not,” I insist, even though I’m totally lying.
“I want to be able to do all those things to you that I said last night,” he says. “You have no idea how much.”
I shrug. “Really, no big deal.”
“Yes, it is a big deal,” he says. He reaches out and touches my face with his wrist. “Listen, I want to satisfy you, Emily. Maybe I can’t do all the things I said on the phone, but I know I can do something for you. And I will.”
There’s a determination in his voice that’s incredibly sexy. I lean in very close to him. His aftershave smells so good. “I’m already satisfied.”
“No, you’re not,” he says. “But you will be.”
I don’t want to call bullshit on him, but I’m skeptical, to say the least. How is he supposed to satisfy me so thoroughly? I mean, the guy can’t move. Still, it’s sexy that he wants to try so badly. And we do have a really nice make-out session, and I love the way his mouth feels on my lips, neck, and nipples. That will do. After all, it has to.
To be continued...