Home > Only You (One and Only #1)(4)

Only You (One and Only #1)(4)
Author: Melanie Harlow

Inside my loft, I saw the leather bag containing my laptop and a few files sitting right where I’d dropped it on the floor. I’d just gotten in the door from work when I’d heard Emme’s screams and took off running. Given the girl’s propensity to overreact, I thought maybe she’d found a gray hair or broken a nail. One time I heard her shrieking and shouting obscenities at the top of her lungs, and went over there only to find her rolling around on the living room rug in agony trying to zip up her skinny jeans.

But I’ll admit to a fearful adrenaline rush tonight as I’d fumbled for my key to her apartment and raced across the hall. Those screams had sounded real, and I’d had this anxious feeling all day I hadn’t been able to shake, like something was going to go wrong. I’m not a superstitious person by any means, but I don’t believe in ignoring gut instincts. I might not talk about them, but I have them, and they’re usually spot on.

Emme had given me a key to her place because she locked herself out so frequently. She had one to mine as well, but the only time she’d used it was to water my plants when I traveled. I’d never locked myself out. How hard was it to check that you had your keys before you shut the door?

Loosening my tie with one hand, I headed up the stairs to my bedroom. While I changed out of my suit and into jeans and a light gray sweater, I wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t come home when I did. Would she really have pulled the fire alarm?


I shook my head, laughing a little as I hung up my suit pants and jacket—trousers from the hem on a felt clamp hanger so the wrinkles would fall out (I fucking hate wrinkles).

After sniffing the white shirt I’d worn to work, I decided it could use a cleaning, so I tucked it into the bag destined for the dry cleaners. In the bathroom on the other side of my closet, I checked to see that my neatly-tended scruff wasn’t veering too close to mangy hipster territory and ran a hand through my dark hair, pleased to see I hadn’t grown any additional grays since this morning. Lately, it felt like they’d been cropping up overnight. Going gray didn’t worry me because I was getting older—I had no problem with aging. I had the job, the apartment, the car, the social life, the bank account. But I was vain as fuck and liked to look good. The minute I thought the gray was cramping my style, it’d be gone.

Downstairs in the kitchen, I filled a martini glass with crushed ice for Emme and let it chill on the counter, then poured myself a few fingers of bourbon. I was about to text Emme to ask what kind of takeout she felt like having when she messaged me.

Emme: Do you have enough vodka?

Me: Enough for what?

Emme: For my bitterness, my jealousy, my fat ass, my broken heart, and my vengeful soul.

Me: Maybe not for your vengeful soul. But for all the rest, yes.

Emme: Good. There in 20.

A minute later I got on Grubhub and decided to order Chinese from The Peterboro without asking her. She loved the crab rangoon at one of our favorite local places, but if I asked her, she’d probably squawk about having to watch her weight, which was ridiculous. I thought she looked better with a few more curves on her, anyway, but I couldn’t tell her that.

Occasionally I wondered what the fuck the guys she dated were saying or not saying to her to make her anything less than one hundred percent confident in her skin when she was so confident about other parts of her life—her job, style, her family relationships, her opinions. But then I’d remember the kinds of guys she chose—nothing but douchebags and assholes, none of whom were worse than fucking Richard the Turd, and that’s saying a lot. The entire time she was with him, I wanted to tell her what a weasel he would turn out to be.

I’ve known a million guys like him, guys who lie and cheat and don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves. (I swear to God, half of them are lawyers in this city. And their pants are always wrinkled.) But I never said a word because it wasn’t my place, and she wouldn’t have believed me, anyway. The last time I tried to give her dating advice, our conversation went something like this:

Me: What do you see in that guy?

Her: Potential.

Me: Potential is not sexy.

Her: Relationships take time and effort. It’s not only about sex. You wouldn’t understand because you are not a relationship person; therefore, you are not qualified to give advice on them—not that I asked for it.

But I didn’t need to be a relationship person to smell Richard’s bullshit. It stunk to high heaven. It was amazing to me that someone as smart and sexy as Emme would fall for a guy like that.

But what could you expect from a woman who thought Daniel Craig made a good James Bond?

After ordering the food, I wandered over to the windows with my drink and looked out at the city while I waited for her knock. It was kind of surprising to me how much I liked spending an evening with her, given that our relationship was not now and had never been sexual, and sex was usually the way I preferred to connect with women. Our friendship was pretty unlikely on all levels, really. I didn’t generally gravitate toward needy women, preferring those who were independent, maybe even a little aloof or reserved, those looking for short-term pleasure rather than long-term connection—the total opposite of Emme. That woman was a no-holding-back, no-poker-face-whatsoever, here-have-some-feelings Seeker of The One. I always teased her that she wore her heart on her sleeve and a sign on her heart that said HOMELESS—PLEASE HELP.

Not that she was needy in a clingy sort of way, because she wasn’t. There was something kind of nice about the way she needed me, actually—I think it was that she didn’t want to need me, and she would have argued until her dying breath that she didn’t need me, not really. It made it kind of fun in an antagonistic way to be the one she turned to all the time. Mostly I liked to make fun of her for it, sort of like the way you’d poke at your best friend’s younger sister.

But no matter how cute that sister was in her own hot-tempered-girl-next-door way (and probably a firecracker in bed), you couldn’t sleep with her.

Even if you sometimes thought about it.

Even if you sometimes sneaked a peek at her legs in that short black skirt. Or her ass in her tight jeans. Or that little, accidental glimpse of a bra strap when a sleeve slipped from her shoulder.

Even if you sometimes had to work really, really hard not to fantasize about her while you were in the shower. Or alone in bed on a Saturday morning. Or not alone in bed on a Saturday night with a woman who turned out to be a little too reserved and aloof and you needed a little fiery inspiration to get the job done.

Fiery inspiration. Fuck, that was funny.

And hot.

Grimacing, I adjusted the crotch of my pants as they threatened to grow too tight for comfort. I didn’t want to have to hide an erection from Emme when she arrived. I’d never live it down.

I closed my eyes and tried to think of something else, something not sexy. This morning’s contentious arbitration. This afternoon’s tense phone call with my mother. That ridiculous blackened rabbit. Those things distracted me for maybe five seconds, but then my mind took an unauthorized detour to Emme crawling toward me on her hands and knees, slowly this time, her eyes hooded and hungry instead of wide and panicked.

Oh, fuck.

Heat rushed my chest, making my sweater feel tight and itchy. I couldn’t breathe for a second. My stomach muscles were clenched tight as blood rushed between my legs. I imagined her looking up at me. Her hands sliding up my thighs. Her fingers unbuckling my belt. Her tongue wetting her lips. The sound of a zipper being lowered.

My cock jumped.

“Not gonna happen, pal,” I muttered to my dick, focusing on a church spire in the big arched window. “Not in a million years. That girl is off limits. She falls in love way too easily. And it’s not like you don’t get enough attention.” Although lately, all the attention had been from me. I was in one of my rare dry spells. Maybe that was my problem. Tomorrow night, I’d do something about that.

Tonight, it was out of the question.

Because Emme was one of those girls who could not separate love from sex—I saw that the first night we hung out together (she was locked out of her apartment, and I’d invited her to hang out in mine until the building manager could bring her another key). For her, the emotional and the physical were inextricably linked. For me, that was like a neon sign screaming “RUN! RUN AWAY!” I’d made the mistake of sleeping with one or two of those girls in college…never again. Sex was a great way to feel good and make someone else feel good. But it wasn’t emotional. Not for me. I made sure of it.

Most Popular
» Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1)
» Kill Switch (Devil's Night #3)
» Hold Me Today (Put A Ring On It #1)
» Spinning Silver
» Birthday Girl
» A Nordic King (Royal Romance #3)
» The Wild Heir (Royal Romance #2)
» The Swedish Prince (Royal Romance #1)
» Nothing Personal (Karina Halle)
» My Life in Shambles
» The Warrior Queen (The Hundredth Queen #4)
» The Rogue Queen (The Hundredth Queen #3)
romance.readsbookonline.com Copyright 2016 - 2020