So Shanna and Ronnie approved. Now I just needed my family to approve. I was sure they would, though, because we take in pretty much anyone. It's like 7th Heaven at my parents' house. They even tried to host three hockey players my senior year of high school, while I was, in fact, dating one of them. Unfortunately the housing coordinator didn't think it was a good idea to place three 18- to 24-year-old boys in a house with me and my two sisters, no matter how welcoming my parents were.
I lay in bed that night pressed up against Cayden's naked body with a smile on my face and thoughts of him at the family dinner table in my head. I didn't want to fall asleep. If I slept I'd lose time with Cayden. But the poor guy couldn't keep his eyes open so he dozed off quickly, breathing softly in my ear.
I looked up at him from my favorite place on his chest and watched him sleep. Not in the creepy way, just in the adoring way. Like I wanted to freeze him there forever. Well, not freeze him, because then he wouldn't be able to kiss me. But I just wanted to freeze that image of him in my mind. I rolled onto my stomach and cuddled into my cold feather pillow and Cayden rolled with me, even in his deep slumber he didn't let go of me. His arm stayed around my waist and I fell asleep still smiling.
I woke up in the same position, but now Cayden was on his back, the back of his hand still resting against me. I lifted my face off my pillow and propped myself up on my elbows, rubbing my eyes until I felt like I could keep them open. He felt me shift so he rolled to face me.
"Good morning, beautiful," he said in that accent that made me want to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
I felt for my ponytail and found it on the side of my head, sticking straight out at 90 degrees. With that hair style and my non-make-uped face, still puffy from sleep, I'm not sure 'beautiful' is the right word.
"Good morning, handsome," I said in my husky, less-than-attractive morning voice. I cleared my throat and reached for the Life Saver Wintergreen mints I'd stashed on the headboard. He rubbed his warm hand up and down my naked back, giving me goosebumps from head to toe.
"Did you sleep OK?" I asked, popping a mint in my mouth and handing one to him.
"I did. I've been awake for about an hour, though," he said, then popped a mint as well.
"Ah, I'm sorry! I know how annoying that is when you're wide awake and I'm not!" I said, pulling myself on top of him with the help of his hands on my waist. That's when I noticed every part of him was wide awake, if you know what I'm saying. Good thing I'm one of those girls who wakes up as horny as I go to bed after a couple tequila shots. (In other words, pretty damn horny.) We kissed with our mouths closed, still rolling the mints around on our tongues.
I moved his head to the side and kissed his neck, up to his ear, then lightly brushed my teeth against his earlobe. This time it was his turn with the head-to-toe goosebumps. When I was confident the mints were fully enacted, I moved back to his mouth, and he pressed his parted lips against mine.
I wanted to wake up like that every morning. I tried to forget about the fact that four mornings from then I'd be waking up to nothing but my stuffed teddy bear, Cappy. That was the only way I could stay in-the-moment. Cayden did a good job of keeping me in the moment when he rolled us over so he was on top of me in one quick movement. He kissed down my chest, and I opened my legs to him, letting him know that was all the foreplay I needed. Good thing he's excellent at understanding non-verbal communication.
By the time we finally pulled ourselves out of bed we were starving. I threw my lacy black nightgown on and Cayden pulled on his shorts.
I started brewing a pot of coffee while I rummaged through my pantry, trying to figure out what to make. I'm a terrible cook, but breakfast is the one meal I'm not 'rubbish' at. I could make fried eggs, scrambled eggs, and hardboiled eggs. I could microwave a mean Hormel pre-cooked bacon. I could dominate a "just add water" package of muffins or pancake mix, and if I really wanted to put forth the effort, I could even make French toast without burning the sides too badly. Oh, I'm not to bad at regular buttered toast, either.
Cayden wanted to help. No, I don't think he sensed my complete lack of kitchen skills; I think he just wanted to make a meal together. So I made the coffee, toast, and pancakes while he took charge of the scrambling of the eggs.
"Do you have a pot?" he asked, opening random cabinets.
"A pot? For what? Did you change your mind and decide to do hardboiled?"
"No. A pot. For the scrambled eggs. How else would you make them?" he asked, confused.
"Ummm, in a pan. Did you mean pan? Do yall call your pans pots over there?"
He laughed and shook his head. "No, I make scrambled eggs in a pot. Like the thing you cook soup in."
"Well, I cook my soup in a bowl in the microwave, but here's what I boil eggs in," I said, handing him a saucepan.
I started to wonder if he'd think it was strange if I made the toast in the toaster.
We worked well together in my small kitchen, ducking, pivoting, and weaving past each other as we scrambled and flipped. We'd stop every now and then and kiss mid-pancake flip. It was perfect.
The meal wasn't so bad, either. The pancakes got cold before the toast was done, and the coffee was no longer steaming, but other than that, it was delicious. We sat at my kitchen table, in the corner of my apartment, with almost floor-length windows on each side. I didn't even care that I was only wearing a tiny nighty and Cayden was half naked. If the neighbors wanted to look, they could look. We talked and laughed and ate and drank until our bellies were full and our cups were empty.
"So, what's the plan for today?" he asked, placing his hands on his still-flat belly. I looked down at mine and thought I could see the four pancakes I ate. Why did I get a food baby and he didn't? Not fair.
"Well, we could go to the botanical garden..." I said, trying to gauge his reaction.
Just then I received a text on my phone from my coworker Phil: Are you bringing Cayden to meet us at the Idle Rich for lunch?
"Or, we could meet my coworkers at the Idle Rich Pub for lunch," I said.
"Oh, let's do that!" Cayden said. With our bellies as full as they were, it was obvious he had no interest in the botanical gardens if he chose lunch instead.
"But can we go to that coffee shop first? The one you told me about?"
"Oh, Crooked Tree! Let's go!"
I texted Phil back: Yep. We'll see you there at 12:30!