Never been nerdy, p.26
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       Never Been Nerdy, p.26

           C.M. Kars
 
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  We get to Roxie in an awkward silence. I beep the car open and Dean gets into the passenger seat. The drive over to the restaurant is uneventful, and Dean’s put on the radio where Kurt Cobain’s rough vocal chords serenade “Come as you are”.

  If that’s fate’s way of saying ‘go for it’, that’s just not cool.

  I pull up in front of the restaurant, and hold my hand out for Dean’s keys. He hands them to me, then leans in lightning-quick to lightly touch my mouth with his. I sigh when he pulls back.

  His eyes rove over my face, searching maybe for an answer I can’t give him verbally. He nods, just a shallow dip of his chin, and then he’s gone, the metal of his keys warming in my hand.

  ***

  “Sera, please let me in,” I plead into the intercom after punching her apartment number in, and she picks up the phone. “Please. It’s got to do with Dean.”

  I’m not above conning my way into her apartment. I’ll do whatever I can if it’s going to make her hear me out. She has to give me a chance - just to listen. She has to. If she doesn’t, well, I don’t want to think about that.

  Yeah, no, I’m not going to think about that.

  She doesn’t answer, but lets me in. I use the stairs to go up instead of the elevator, feeling the burn in my quads and calves, and Jesus, I need to hit the gym more often. I sound like I’m about to die when I knock on her door and can’t give MacLaine all of my attention when his royal hotness decides to open the door for me.

  I give him a little wave and stumble inside once I’m given the signal and spot Sera on the couch with Matty in her lap, eyes glued to the TV.

  So that’s how it’s going to go. I just need a glass of water and I’m ready to rumble. Bring it, Delos.

  “Hey, Matty, wanna go for a walk?”

  “You…” I pull in a sharp breath, “you don’t have to-go-for-a-walk,” I sputter out, breathing hard now. “Oh my God, never taking the stairs-again. I can talk with Sera-in-Matty’s-room.” I nod like this is going to help with their understanding.

  MacLaine’s eyebrows lift and he turns to look at my best friend, asking her without asking her if it’s okay. Shit, I love that he does that – seeks her permission.

  I need to be at their wedding. And I need to deliver an epic speech that will end all speeches and help them remember how much they love each other. Shit, if my parents had that, maybe everything would be so different… and I wouldn’t be like this.

  And I could tell Dean that I possibly love him – just a tiny bit.

  “Yeah, Hunt. We’ll go in Matty’s room. Come and sit down. Relax a little, enjoy your weekend off.”

  Just great. I ruined their weekend when they’re all home together. Good job, DiNovro.

  Applause, applause.

  “I’m sorry about this. I just really need to speak with Sera. Shouldn’t take too long.” I smile at Matty who gives me a huge smile and a violent wave of his hand that shakes his whole body. I blow him a kiss and he grabs it, smacking his cheek hard enough to make it pink. Hunter chuckles and rubs the kid’s cheek trying to take the sting out of it.

  “Daddy, that’s mine! Thea Katie gave it to me!”

  MacLaine quickly calms him down, and I follow Sera into Matty’s room aka nerd heaven.

  She’s painted it red and gold, all Iron Man style, and the kid has his dad’s drawings of the philanthropist, playboy, billionaire. Dean would’ve enjoyed that joke – it’s probably the only reference I’ll make for the next year – and he missed it.

  I pull in a deep breath and tackle Sera into a hug.

  I count the seconds it takes for her to react. And when she does, it isn’t to push me away but to somehow wind her arms around me tight enough that lung-injury could happen.

  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry for being such an asshole.”

  Sera rubs my back, and squeezes me tighter. “I know, K. I know.”

  “I’m sick of crying. Crying sucks balls. And I feel so worn out after.”

  “Welcome to the club.”

  I pull back, wiping away some stray tears. Sera moves over to Matty’s bed and I take off my shoes and plop onto it next to her, the springs squeaking. Sera frowns down at the bed like she wants to go buy a new mattress right now.

  “I…I need to tell you something.” I pull in a deep breath, heart aching and trying to outrace my words-

  “You love Dean,” Sera tells me, completely taking the wind out of my sails.

  “Jesus, Delos! The one thing that is momentous enough in my life for me to freak out about and you steal my thunder! What is that?”

  Sera grins, turning towards me with her legs crossed on the bed. It’s been two weeks since I last saw her, and the circles under her eyes have gotten lighter and the way she holds herself doesn’t seem so fragile anymore.

  I can’t believe I wasn’t here for that. Stupid me.

  “So you landed yourself a nerd, huh?”

  I nod slowly. “Yeah, but he doesn’t hurt my brain with all the references.”

  Sera pats my knee. “Give it time. He probably doesn’t want to spook you.”

  “He told me he loved me. Can you believe it? We slept together and he started mouthing off about it right after.”

  Sera looks thoughtful. “Yeah, but he’s been holding out for you ever since high school. Weirder shit’s been known to happen than high school sweethearts finding each other again after years apart. You could even say it’s something out of a movie.”

  “Real life’s a million times harder than a movie, Super S. I… I don’t know how I’m going to be able to stay in a relationship with him.”

  “Maybe you should stop trying to think about the long-term and just deal with the day-to-day stuff. You’re giving me heart palpitations. Look at you, you’re so nervous you’re gonna jump out of your skin and I just painted these walls.”

  I frown at her and twist my mouth. “So what do I do?”

  “What do you want to do?”

  I cover my eyes with one hand. “I don’t know.”

  “Yeah, you do, K. You know exactly what you want to do. I’ve noticed how you look at me and Hunt. You’ve just been too scared to try.”

  “I don’t want to hurt him.”

  Sera nods, tucking some hair behind her ear, and giving me a small understanding smile.

  “He knows that, trust me, he knows that. He knows what he’s getting into. Could you live with yourself if you never tried it with him again? If you didn’t give yourself a shot?”

  “I’m not a good person, I’m not like you, Sera. I’m not considerate, and I swear too much, and I hurt people I love, and I’m angry and tired all the fucking time…”

  “You’re no superhero, K, that’s all. Welcome to the real world.”

  I look at her face and wonder who I’ve thought I’ve been all these years. Why my problems trumped everybody else’s, why I was the only I thought suffered.

  Everybody hurts, everybody’s having a hard time of it, no matter what their circumstances.

  No one’s happy a hundred percent of the time, but shit, those moments where you are, they bring you through the not so great ones.

  “Russia’s in love with you, you know. Or at least he thinks he is.”

  Sera nods like this isn’t news to her. “I guess that makes sense. He’s been blowing up my phone with texts. He’s stopped texting me now that I told him I’m engaged. I want to tell you something.”

  “Should I be worried?”

  Sera shakes her head. “I love Hunter, which is new for me because I never thought this would happen to me in a million years, and a lot of that’s my fault. I believed what my parents used to say about me, and I’ve found this wonderful man and his son, and we’re a family now, and that’s going to take work.” She pulls in a deep breath.

  “I worry everyday of how he feels, of how Matty feels. It’s unfair what’s happened to both of them, and when you’re young and you have taken away from you… it feels like the world
is ending, it feels like there isn’t a point to living at all if you’re not able to go after it a hundred percent of the time.

  “I’ve given up junk food, and I live in an apartment that fits just the three of us and my books and DVDs. My life has changed immeasurably since meeting those two, and only for the better. I’m excited to get married, K, because I never thought I would. I don’t know where to start, or what to do first. That’s why I’m going to need your help. But I need you to promise me one thing - okay, maybe two things.”

  So close to the light at the end of the tunnel just to hit a pothole and have to detour back into the darkness. Shit.

  “Okay…”

  Sera smiles like she used to before I went all asshole on her.

  “I want you to be my maid of honour, for real this time, and believe me when I say I’m not going to ruin Matty’s life, I’m not going to break up with Hunt. As long as we’re together, we’re going to do our best to make it work – that’s all we can do.”

  I nod, throat burning like the fire pits of hell. “What’s the second thing? Or was there a second thing in there, ‘cause I lost count.”

  Sera’s face is solemn, a study in seriousness when she stares at me. “I want you to tell Dean you love him. I want you to take a chance on him and see where it goes.”

  Can I do that? Tell him?

  Ovary up, DiNovro. What’s the worse that can happen? Your bad luck might kill your chances but at least you’d have tried.

  “I’m going to try.”

  “Good. Now, I have something of the utmost importance to ask you.”

  “What now? Delos, I can’t handle all these questions…”

  “It’s the last one, I swear!”

  “Alright, shoot.” I rub my eyes and ruin my makeup. Whatever.

  “What do you think about a Harry Potter-themed wedding?”

  Chapter 29

  I’m currently surrounded by three furry bodies when my phone starts buzzing across Dean’s coffee table. I mute the TV and grab it.

  “Hello?”

  “Hey,” Dean says. He sounds absolutely wrecked. Maybe now isn’t a good time for this.

  Now you’re looking for excuses. “Could you come unlock the door for me?”

  “Yeah, be there in two seconds.” I hang up, gently remove Potter from my lap and place him next to his big brother Pongo for puppy snuggles. I move to Dean’s front door and unlock it.

  He looks exhausted. His dinner clothes are full of stains as I watch him take off his coat, and he smells like grease and onions fried in butter. His hair’s slipping out of its bun, and there’s a spark in his eyes that’s telling me no matter how tired he is right now, he’s not going to be able to sleep anytime soon.

  Perfect.

  “Thanks for watching the dogs. You okay if I drive you home now?”

  Not so perfect.

  “Uh… yeah. Let me get my stuff.”

  Shit, what if I’m too late? What if he figures I’m not worth it?

  Fuck that, he needs to know what he’s missing.

  “Dean, look at me.” I stop putting my heels on, and glare at him. I take in his features, the way they look like they’ve been stitched together with the utmost care trying to hide the truth from me. I’ve hurt him again, but hopefully what happens next will fix that.

  “I’ve… I’ve never been nerdy.”

  “What?” His head comes up and now I finally have his full attention. The boys come rushing to him after hearing his voice and rush him with all their canine affection.

  Don’t they know that this shit is HARD for me? All I need is a little cooperation!

  Maybe it’s my bad luck… or maybe it’s a just a series of events that have brought me here, to Dean, ten years after the fact. Maybe all of this brought me here… for a reason?

  I’d sure as hell like to think so.

  “I’ve never been nerdy. I’ll never be nerdy. I won’t get your references off the bat, and I won’t be able to share a lot of your enthusiasm over a show, or movie or book because I’m not wired that way. I like shoes and nail polish, and puppies.”

  Deep breath, K. Here we go!

  “I might get your references only about five percent of the time. But Dean, I’m going to be here when you need me to be and I’m going to show up whenever you ask me and I’m going to ask the same of you.

  “Because… even though I might not understand you a hundred percent of the time… I want to. I want to make you smile, and I want to make you laugh. I want us to adopt a hundred dogs and you can name whatever you want and I won’t care. I’ll love them anyway just… like I love you.”

  Sweet Virgin Mary, he looks like he’s going to pass out. Maybe you shouldn’t have proclaimed your love for him when his brain’s clearly fried after work.

  “Cages,” he orders, and I jump at the sound of his voice.

  What the what?

  Potter, Kal and Pongo all run to their respective cages in Dean’s second bedroom, all whimpering all the while like he’s ruining their lives.

  “Dean-”

  “Just one second. I gotta check something.”

  Well, there you go. Maybe he had a wake-up call this morning. Maybe he’s decided to get over what he feels for you. Or thinks he feels.

  Okay, this hurts. This hurts a motherfucking lot, but I’ll be okay. That’s what wine’s for. An anvil is squeezing all the air out of my chest, and my skin feels numb, but hey, I’ll survive.

  Bad luck… it’s just bad luck. Or maybe it’s just the flip of the cards. Fate. Whatever.

  “Hey, where you going?”

  “I’m gonna leave, it’s okay, I shouldn’t have-”

  “Kitten, did you think I was going to let you get away after I’ve heard the words I’ve been waiting a million years for you to say?”

  “It’s been a lot shorter than a million years, Dean.”

  His hands are on my waist, and he’s backing me up against a wall. “Yeah, but exaggerating is a lot more fun. Plus, it felt like a million years. Ah, kitten, you’ve made me pretty fucking ecstatic.”

  Warmth infuses my cheeks. “Yeah?”

  “Absolutely,” he nods. “Let me take a quick shower, I smell like a kitchen.”

  “I don’t mind at all, come and tell me about your day.”

  “I don’t want to talk about my day, I want to get into bed and have you tell me how very good I am at my new job.”

  I laugh, heat pooling in my lower belly. I could get used to this. “And what’s that?”

  “My job is to make sure I have you very ready for me before I get to be inside of you. So, what’s the verdict, boss? Do I get a pay raise? Promotion? Stock options?”

  I pretend to mull this over. “It depends on how well you can handle taking direction.”

  “I’m up for that. Shall we adjourn to the bedroom so I can start demonstrating my skills?”

  “After you,” I say, waving out an arm for us to go to his bed.

  “No, no. I insist, after you. It’ll always be after you.” I look at the couch too long. “I want to do this on a bed,” he whispers, voice gone hoarse.

  “And I want to do this on a couch,” I tell him, sinking my teeth lightly into his earlobe. He groans and bucks his hips into me, easing the ache between my legs for all of two seconds as he’s pulled me close to his body.

  “I don’t want the boys to watch us,” he says, and I start laughing uncontrollably, snaking my hands onto his back and clutching at the muscles there. “I don’t know why you’re laughing – we could scar them for the rest of their lives.”

  “Pretty sure they won’t know what’s happening,” I say, shaking with laughter.

  Dean shakes his head against the skin of my neck, grazing his teeth against my skin there.

  My body goes up in goosebumps and now it’s my turn to grind against him, feel his cock against me, hitting me sweet and right where I need it.

  “Bedroom it is, then.”

  Dean throws me o
n the bed hard enough that I bounce a few times. He then gives me the sweetest grin when he climbs on top of me and starts kissing me with enough intensity that I’m pretty sure I start to lose my mind.

  There’s a lot of laughter, a lot of smiling that turns into moaning. A lot of touches that turn into mind-melting caresses. A lot of sweating and calling out each other’s names; a lot of sucking and tasting, and nibbling all so that I can say with absolute certainty: if I can somehow make sure that this works, I’m going to be one hell of a lucky woman.

  ***

  I don’t know why I agreed to this. I don’t know why I decided to meet him in the first place. Sera’s gonna think I’m conspirating - if that’s even a word. But I’m passed that now, and so should Russia be, too.

  I took notes last night, and I did my research on Pinterest.

  I’ve got a shit-ton of ideas for Sera’s Harry Potter wedding and hopefully she loves about eighty-percent of them. I see a re-read of the seven novels in my near future, just so I can make sure I get the details right. This is her day, after all, and I want it to be perfect. And if it can’t be perfect, it better be magical.

  “Hey, Katie.” I almost don’t stand up, but we bump cheeks and then Russia settles down in front of me, undoing the button on his suit jacket like we’re at a business meeting. I don’t think I’ve seen him wear jeans and a t-shirt in the past six or so years.

  “Hey. I didn’t think we needed this clandestine meeting, Russia. I told you already, by text and by phone call, Sera’s not going to leave Hunter. They’re engaged.”

  Russia’s blue eyes are dimmed, and he looks like he hasn’t been eating. He’s not even oozing that special Russia-charm we’ve all come to know and love, and by know and love, I mean want to throttle him for.

  Woah. He must really love her. A guy, not eating? Red flag, red flag!

  “You said you were going to help me out,” his accent comes through thick enough that I have to give my head a chance to catch up. “I’m better for her, you know this. Now we just have to convince her.”

  I shake my head. “No. She’s happy with Hunter. I’m the maid of honour. I’m not going to let you ruin this for her. Don’t you have some Christmas shopping to do? Just don’t be here when she gets here, okay?”

 
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