I woke up the next morning with a sad realization: Cayden would be leaving the next day. I'd only get to fall asleep next to him with my legs still shaking one more night. I'd only get to wake up to his warm naked body and steady breathing one more night. I felt another panic attack coming along, although this one would be much different than the one that rocked me my last morning in London. This time I wasn't freakin out because I wasn't sure I wanted him. I was freaking out because I was sure I didn't want him to leave.
I pried one eye open and glanced over at him. His chest rose and fell steadily as he breathed. His eyes were still, so I knew he wasn't dreaming. He was probably in that sleep/awake state, almost ready to open his eyes but not quite yet. I wanted him to be a permanent object in my bed, like Cappy, the teddy bear Will had given me before I moved to NYC. Only Cappy never cuddled me back or told me I was beautiful.
I reached for my hair to see where my pony tail had ended up this time, only to find out my hair tie was missing completely and I was sporting a mess of curls and kinks. I ran my fingers through my hair, trying to tame it, but I knew it was a lost cause.
I was just about to roll over to snuggle into the nook of Cayden's arm when my text message alert went off and scared the shit out of me. I was sure he felt me jump.
I reached for my phone quietly, trying not to wake him, but I could tell by his breathing that he was borderline awake.
It was a text from Phil.
"What does it say?" Cayden said, rolling over and putting his arm around me.
"Phil says they're going to brunch at Taverna. Wants to know if we want to join them."
I kicked myself again for forgetting to clear my throat first to take a little bit of huskiness out of my morning voice.
"That's nice of him. Didn't you have other friends wanting to meet for brunch?" he asked, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes with his free hand.
"Yeah, that's another option. We could meet some of my other friends for brunch at Sangria. Or, just you and I could go to Sangria. It's so romantic, and they have $1 sangria and mimosas!"
"Wow, sounds like we have a lot of options. We should get moving," he said, but didn't make any effort to get up.
"Or..." I said, reaching for the Life Saver mints in the drawer of my headboard. I popped one into my mouth and gave Cayden a knowing look. He pulled me on top of him so I was sitting up, straddling him, then I put a mint on his lips. He ran his hands up and down the outside of my thighs and looked up at me while we rattled the mints around in our mouths.
I looked down at my naked chest and laughed when I saw indentations of where the sheets were wrinkled underneath me. I was sure my face probably had similar marks because I always sleep on my stomach, one cheek against my pillow. Cayden's eyes followed my gaze and his hands moved from my thighs to my hips and up my sides until one rested on either side of each boob. Then his hands moved to my back and he pulled me down for a kiss.
His mint brushed my lips and I'm sure mine clicked against his teeth. I prayed he didn't choke on his because I could only remember the heimlich maneuver I learned in a babysitting class years ago, which I was sure was for infants. Besides, choking would kind of kill the mood.
I didn't usually sleep naked. When Cayden wasn't there I'd sleep in a T shirt and a pair of panties, but there were definite perks to waking up naked when you're both horny.
He broke the kiss for a minute, our chests pressed together, his legs between mine. He placed a hand on the side of my face and looked at me.
"You're so beautiful," he said. The words alone would have made me melt, but with that accent I almost couldn't take it. Any other guy and I would have laughed, told him he was full of shit, there's no way I was at my prime with no make up, bed wrinkles, and a serious case of bed head. But the look on his face, the touch of his hand, the tone of his words, told me he meant it. He held me there like I was some kind of dream. Like if he blinked or looked away I'd disappear. Then I remembered he'd be gone the next day, so I batted his hand away and started kissing down his chest.
I forgot to text Phil back. It had been an hour or so since the text came through, and we were just pulling ourselves out of bed. My stomach was growling and I couldn't get my mind off a steaming cup of coffee.
"So, we didn't exactly decide what to do about brunch," I said, picking my nighty up off the floor and scanning the room for my panties. "I mean, that was a great appetizer and all, but I'm starving."
I found my panties next to Cappy on the floor and stepped into them. Cayden pulled his shorts on and shrugged.
"It's up to you baby. But I'm craving pancakes. Do either of those places have pancakes?"
I knew damn well Sangria served some mouthwatering sweet potato pancakes with rum raisin-fuji apple compote and vanilla bean butter, the very thought of it made my mouth water. But I also knew I wanted nothing more than to have more alone time with Cayden. I didn't even want to share him with a waiter or other diners at tables various feet away. I just wanted me and him.
"Yes, but I also know this kinda bad ass Cuban chick who makes a mean batch of just-add-water Hungry Jack pancakes."
"That sounds perfect," he said, smiling and pulling me in for a tight hug.
In the kitchen, we moved about like dance partners. I flipped pancakes while he poured coffee. He watched over my shoulder as I flipped our fried eggs over medium.
"This is how my mom always made them. Well, like this and scrambled. I used to not know there were other ways to eat eggs, so I stick to what I know," I said, explaining my egg-frying technique. "Just like she used to make our tacos with ketchup instead of tomatoes or taco sauce. I didn't know it was weird until college. But I still prefer them that way. Ketchup tacos are the best."
He kissed my neck while I patted myself on the shoulder for not breaking the yolk.
At the table, we sat across from each other, our toes brushing against one another.
"Why are these pancakes so good?" Cayden asked after swallowing a mouthful of syrupy pancake.
"Probably because they're free. Things always taste better when they're free." I hadn't yet swallowed my bite before I spoke. What can I say? I'm not a proper lady. But then I thought about the sweet potato pancakes at Sangria and decided those tasted pretty damn good despite the $10.29 price tag.
I sipped my coffee as I thought about what it would be like to spend every morning just like that: shirtless Cayden, a hot cup of coffee, and memories of morning sex fresh on my mind. If anything, might make for a great Folgers commercial.