Capture, p.34
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       Capture, p.34

         Part #1 of Seaside Pictures series by Rachel Van Dyken


  "By the giant smile on your face, I take it my plan worked," Zane said the next morning, as he poured himself a cup of coffee and tossed two marshmallows on top. He turned around and stretched his coffee above his head, his ab muscles basically stretching a wave of good morning in my direction.

  I'd already given up on him wearing anything but pants in the house. It was a battle just to get him to wear a shirt to the store, let alone in the actual comfort of my home, which he now referred to as his home. Part of me wondered if Jaymeson had adopted him or something.

  "Yes." I swiped a marshmallow from the top of his coffee and popped it into my mouth. "It worked. But he wants to be friends until after my birthday."

  "Ha!" Zane smacked my hand before I could reach into his coffee again. "Poor Linc's going to be in a world of hurt. I think I should help him by sending encouraging team-building texts like 'There is no I in team, but there is one in kiss.' Or maybe this one." Zane closed his eyes, then snapped them open. "'It's not the destination. It's the hot, wanton, sweaty journey.' Yes…" He nodded, and a self-satisfied smirk jacked up one side of his mouth. "… I like the last one best. Quick, take off your shirt so I can send him dirty picture texts with them."

  I rolled my eyes. "Not a chance."

  He pouted. "You're no fun."

  "Because I won't take off my shirt?"

  "A dirty text a day keeps the doc away."

  "You sure you're a virgin?"

  "I'm a virgin, not a priest." He rolled his eyes then went to the pantry to grab a few more marshmallows.

  "Zane…" I frowned. "… maybe you should have something other than sugar for breakfast."

  His gaze never leaving mine, he popped three more mallows into his mouth, chewed slowly, swallowed, then grinned. "You were saying?"

  "Protein?" I offered. "What if I make you eggs?"

  "Man don't need woman make eggs." He smacked his chest. "Man make own food!"

  I waited for him to stop pounding his chest then grabbed the eggs from the fridge and handed them to him.

  He stared at the eggs like they were born from an alien then stared at the stove. "Step aside, woman. I'm hunting and gathering here."

  With a laugh, I stepped out of his way then went back into my room to finish getting ready.

  I still had thirty minutes left before I would be needed on set. I grabbed a sweater because the beach always had a chilly breeze and swiped some lip-gloss on my mouth.

  By the time I made it back into the kitchen, Zane had set out two plates, both piled high with eggs, and had somehow either killed a pig or discovered the bacon in the fridge and fried it up as well. Two glasses of orange juice were set on the counter, and he'd buttered toast.

  "You can…" I pointed. "… cook?"

  "What made you think I couldn't?" He gave me a look of disbelief. "Damn, are my abs that distracting?"

  "You eat marshmallows for every meal," I said in exasperation. "I've been worried about your nutrition for three days!"

  "Please." Zane rolled his gorgeous eyes. "Just because I don't eat when you're around doesn't mean I don't eat. How else could I look this good? Marshmallow diets don't produce muscle, high school. Don't schools teach you anything anymore?"

  Ignoring him, I sat down, grabbed a piece of toast, and nearly screamed in protest when he dropped a marshmallow on my eggs for "added texture."

  "Seriously." I pushed the mallow away with my fork. "What is with you and these things?"

  Zane went still beside me, his face pale as he stared down at his plate. Jaw rigid, he gripped the countertop with both hands as if he was thinking about splitting the granite in half. Then he very slowly turned to stare at me. "I don't talk about it."

  I'd never seen Zane look so haunted, so serious. "Maybe you should."

  He hesitated, staring down at his plate briefly before saying in a hoarse voice, "They were her favorite."

  I reached across the table and gripped his hand. "Who?"

  His entire body shut down as he gave my hand one squeeze before releasing it and attacking his eggs with fervor. When he was finished, he was still tense.

  I wanted to ask him where she was, what had happened to her, but I was already going to be late, and something told me that he wasn't about to open up and have a therapy session with a girl he hardly knew.

  "Go." Zane sighed then flashed me a happy smile. "I'll hold the fort down here. Any special requests for dinner?"

  "Are you cooking for me?"

  "Well, I'm assuming I'm cooking for both you and Linc, considering he probably wanted to murder me last night."

  "Smother you with a pillow actually."

  He waved me off. "Details."

  "Spaghetti," I answered.

  "Messy for a date meal, but okay."

  "Not a date," I corrected. "Friends, remember?"

  "Oh, I really can't wait, Dani." His grin was evil as I ran out the door and toward my Jeep.

  Fourteen days was nothing. I knew I would be fine. Besides, my day was going to be insane since Jay had asked if I could assist him as well.

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