But I never did knock on that door, not with anyone. I’d take a couple of deep breaths and remind myself that I was all alone in this world, and I’d pull my big girl panties up and go back to bed without a word.
I take a deep breath in the darkness tonight, and it feels different somehow. Everything here feels different.
And maybe I’m different, too.
Maybe tonight’s the night I can finally knock on that door and reach out. Maybe tonight’s the night someone will actually be there.
My heart is in my mouth as I slip out of bed. The springs creak as I leave, and I wonder if Jack’s been able to hear me tossing and turning through the wall every night this week. I’m really quiet as I turn the door handle, steps light as I tiptoe along to his room.
I press my ear to the door and listen. There’s no light showing around the edges, and I can’t hear any movement in there.
I don’t know whether I can really do this, not knowing if he’s going to freak out and order me back to my own room. Maybe he’ll think I’m coming for sex, which I’m not.
It’s weird to find that I’m not, but I’m really not.
I press my forehead to the door, frustrated that my fingers are shaking and I’m not brave enough to knock. I think of all the times we’ve sat together with a beer in the evening. All the times he’s seemed pleased to have me around.
What’s the worst that can happen?
It can’t be any worse than Michael blowing me out with some bullshit friends only excuse, right? Right?
So I knock.
I knock loud but only once, and then I step back, recoiling as though my fist is on fire. My muscles are wired and ready to bolt back to bed, skin clammy at the thought of reaching out where I’m unwanted. I’m about to bolt when the door swings open, and my eyes are wide as they meet Jack’s sleepy ones. He’s naked. Stark bollock naked. But he isn’t shy and he shouldn’t be. He looks amazing.
He’s broader than I pictured him under his clothes. Solid and muscular with a dark line of hair under his belly button leading down to a…
A really big dick.
“You okay?” he asks and I nod like a dumbass.
“Yeah, I’m just…” I dither for words, suddenly so aware I’m in knickers and a vest top and nothing else. “Sometimes I can’t get to sleep…”
I feel like he’s staring right inside me. His eyes are thoughtful and kind and they make my stomach do weird flips.
“You wanted some company?”
“Yes,” I blurt, and then panic, in case he thinks I’m a slut looking for a ride, but I’m not and I tell him so. I tell him so fast that my words are garbled, and then I close my eyes and take a breath. “Sorry,” I say, “I’m crap at this stuff.”
“You think you’re crap at a lot of things,” he says. “But you’re not nearly so crap as you think you are.”
He nods. “I know.”
“Thanks,” I say and I wonder what happens now. I feel like a tit stood here outside his bedroom door begging for someone to talk to me. To hold me.
“I’m tired,” he says. “But if you want some company you’re welcome in here.”
“Please,” I reply before he thinks better of it.
He steps to the side to let me through and I brush past him into a room that smells of him. I love the way it smells. The lamp is on at the far side of his big bed, so I guess that’s his side, if he has a side. I slip into the other and hug my knees to my chest, heart racing at being in someone else’s personal space.
He slips into bed on the other side and flicks off the lamp. I can hear him breathing.
“That stuff earlier,” he begins and I feel him move closer. “You know that it’s because we give a shit, right?”
I nod, then realise he probably can’t see me in the dark. “Yeah, I know.”
“Good,” he says. “We give one hell of a shit about you, Carrie. Both of us.”
My heart pangs when I think of Michael walking away. “Do you think he’s okay?”
“He’ll be fine. He just needs to work things out.”
I roll to face him in the darkness. “You think he’ll be back?”
He laughs a little. “I know he’ll be back. He can’t stay away. The guy’s besotted with you.”
A ripple of shock runs from my head to my toes. “He’s what?”
He laughs again. “He’s crazy about you. Always has been.”
“But he said…”
“He said what he thought he should say. He’s being noble because he thinks that’s what a better man would do.”
“There is no better man,” I whisper and I hear him take a breath.