I couldn’t sleep. I restlessly lay in bed, nearly all of my thoughts focused on Edward. I couldn’t get him out of my mind.
I don’t know how many times I’d run through my evening with him in the coffee shop. Every time I closed my eyes, I pictured him vividly.
What was it about him that kept me awake?
I repeatedly replayed our kiss—his body stepping close to mine, the strong grip of his long fingers around my waist, the warmth that emanated from his firm thighs as he stood between mine.
I groaned at the memory.
I felt his soft breath as he whispered in my ear, and when he said he’d do anything for me, a wave of passionate heat rolled through my body.
I recalled his intense stare as he leaned in to kiss me. His eyes were a mix of subtle shades of green surrounded by long, thick lashes. Did he really flutter them just before our lips connected? He certainly did by the time I was on my fifth or sixth replay.
It was such a delicious kiss, short but oh so sweet. I parted my lips and tried to remember the feel of his touch, the warmth and moisture as he moved sensitively against my mouth. My whole being shuddered with the resonating hum of pleasure that had begun in Edward’s throat and was now spreading through me to every cell of my body.
My mind lengthened the kiss until in my daydream we kissed each other with exuberance. I imagined him rubbing his hardness against mine as we made out in the coffee bar.
I lay under the bedclothes panting, with my body overheating and my cock throbbing with desire. I rubbed my hand over my engorged length in an attempt to relieve the growing pressure. Deciding I’d only get to sleep if I jerked off, I slipped my hand under the waistband of my briefs and started to stroke myself. With thoughts of Edward making love to me, I was soon spurting out ribbons of creamy-white jizz all over my hand.
I cleaned up in the bathroom, and as I settled back into my bed, I rolled onto my side determined to get at least a couple of hours sleep.
I took several long, deep breaths as I tried to relax and calm my inner turmoil.
I liked Edward.
Not only was he good-looking, but also there was some inner core of kindness that had radiated from his actions earlier. He’d been so considerate and protective of me. I felt he’d even have taken a hit for me, although I didn’t know how much of his bravado was due to having Ellis and Jack as potential backup. But still, he’d stood up to Jedd and I hoped sincerely he’d not just been acting when he kissed me. I wanted it to mean much more to him.
Yet at the same time, I was a little uncomfortable with his slightly effeminate mannerisms. I tried to imagine having a boyfriend who was so O.T.T. at times. Would I be embarrassed by his flamboyant nature or would I learn to love this side of him? When he kissed me and held me tightly to his body everything had felt so right. I knew I couldn’t change his nature any more than I could change the color of those sexy eyes of his. I decided I didn’t want to change him anyway.
It was the early hours of the morning by the time I finally decided I wanted to give Edward a chance. I was cross with myself for foolishly turning down an invitation to meet up with my new friends over the weekend. They all shared a large house close to the college, and as we were leaving the coffee shop, Ellis had casually invited me over to their house for supper the following evening.
Because I was unsure about Edward, I came up with excuses regarding essays and research for assignments due in soon. I said I’d be busy working all weekend, when in fact I was going to be on my own. Edward hovered, examining his fingernails. He remained quiet and made no attempt to persuade me otherwise. But as I said goodnight to everyone, I caught what I thought was a look of disappointment in his eyes. He gave me a slight smile before he twirled around and headed towards his car.
“Jayden, give me a call if you change your mind,” Ellis had shouted as he followed his brother to his car. “You can always come over on Sunday instead, if you like.”
I’d nodded and said I’d call him if I managed to finish all my work.
I woke up late on Saturday morning, and as I still felt groggy after a restless night, I decided to go for a quick run around the block. I hoped my mind would clear as my feet pounded heavily on the streets. I built up to a steady rhythm and debated if and when I should call Ellis. I wanted to see my newfound friends again and Edward in particular. But I didn’t want to seem too eager or too needy. Even though I felt lonely, I wasn’t that desperate. Surely I could wait until I saw them all again at college on Monday.
The weekend seemed to stretch out endlessly before me and the thought of being alone for the next two days wasn’t an attractive proposition. Deciding to call Ellis that afternoon, I sprinted back to my room. After showering and having an early lunch, I sat on my bed with my phone in my hand. My fingers hesitated over the keypad and my heart pounded in my chest.
I wanted to sound composed and laidback, and I definitely didn’t want to send the wrong message to Ellis. It took me several minutes to prepare what I wanted to say and it took a few more before I plucked up the courage to finally make the call.
“Hey, Jayden, good to hear from you,” Ellis breezed down the phone.
“Yeah, and you,” I said as calmly as I could. “I’ve just been thinking. Perhaps I could do with a break tomorrow after I’ve written my essay. I wanted to know if I could still pop over to see you guys sometime.” I didn’t want to name anyone in particular.
I could almost feel and see the smile forming on his face. “That would be great, Jayden. Why don’t you come over for lunch? We’re planning to have a barbecue in the garden if it’s a sunny day. Come any time after two. I think everyone should be up and about by then, even Jack and Zachary.”
Disappointingly, he didn’t mention Edward. “Thanks, Ellis. I’ll bring some beer with me. I’m looking forward to it already. See you tomorrow.”
For the rest of the day, it seemed like I paced up and down. I couldn’t settle to do anything in particular. What the hell was wrong with me? I felt like I had enormous butterflies in my stomach and hardly ate a thing. Because I was so restless, I went for a five-mile run in the early evening. I told myself I wanted to check out where their house was so I wouldn’t be late the following day. I slowed down when I ran past. Edward’s car was parked outside, and if I hadn’t been in such a sweaty mess, I might have stopped in the hope I’d catch sight of him and have a chat.
Sunday lunchtime seemed to take forever to arrive, but at least I’d used my time wisely and written an essay that wasn’t due in for two weeks. It was my only way of taking my mind off Edward. Being engrossed in history was a passion of mine and provided a much-needed distraction. I think I’d have gone insane without it.
I dressed smartly but still as casually as I could. My room was strewn with discarded clothes by the time I was ready to leave. For each item of clothing I put on, I tried to analyze Edward’s potential response to them and wondered what he would wear. In the end, I chose the clothes I’d first selected; my best dark jeans, a white T-shirt with an open blue and white checked shirt over the top. I’d shaved closely and spent ages trying to get my hair into some sort of style. I should have had it cut, but it was too late now.
If I was in this state now, what the hell would I be like if I ever went out on a proper date with Edward? Why was I suddenly so obsessed with my appearance? It had never been that important to me in the past. Not even when I first went out with Jedd. I tried not to think about Jedd and pushed him out of my mind.
Ellis opened the door within seconds of me knocking. He greeted me with a welcoming smile and ushered me towards the main living area. Surprisingly for a house shared by five guys, it appeared clean and tidy. Ryan stood in the kitchen vigorously chopping up salad items. I offered him the beer I’d brought with me. He nodded to acknowledge my arrival and put it in the fridge without saying a word to me.
Jack and Zachary came in from the backyard, greeting me in a friendlier manner. “Glad you could join us,” Zachary said chirpily, giving Ellis and Ryan a quick glance.
I noticed some discord between the two of them and I hoped it wasn’t because of me.
Although desperately wanting to ask where Edward was, I decided to wait patiently for him to appear. He would probably make a grand entrance shortly.
I sat down on the dark leather couch and heard heavy footsteps coming down the stairs. Turning expectantly, I was surprised to see an unfamiliar face.
“This is Seb, our other housemate. Seb, this is Jayden.” Ellis did the introductions.
I raised my hand. “Hi, Seb, nice to meet you.”
Seb dipped his head, smiled, and walked towards the fridge. My mind rapidly paired everyone up. If Jack and Zachary were partners and Ellis and Ryan were sort of together, did that mean Edward and Seb were an item, too? I hoped I was totally mistaken, but felt bitterly disappointed.
“Is Edward here?” I asked as casually as I could.
“He’s probably still deciding what to wear,” Ryan quipped and everyone laughed.
“It takes time and effort to look this gorgeous, darling, you should know that,” Edward gushed as he entered the room and my insides melted.
He did indeed look gorgeous—loud and slightly eccentric, but still totally fucking gorgeous.
He wore a bright red and black shirt with a marble effect, and smart black pants. And before I could take in what else he wore, he flounced over to me and gave me a peck on the cheek.
“So glad you could make it, Jayden,” he almost whispered, making it quite an intimate moment between the two of us.
I smiled at him and then at the others who were staring at us open-mouthed.
“Why don’t I show you around, hun, before we start cooking on the barbecue, “he said, taking me by the hand.
“Edward…” Ellis started to say, but didn’t finish when Edward shot him a surly look.
Edward pulled me in the direction of the double doors that led out into the backyard. The gas barbecue was already set up on the patio alongside a large wooden table laid with a white cloth, cutlery and glasses.
I nodded towards the round table. “Do you entertain a lot?”
“Not really, but we do eat together like a family at the weekends. I prefer the table to be laid out properly so that has become my chore, along with a lot of the cooking, too,” he said with a smile, adjusting the vase of pastel colored flowers in the middle of the table.
“So, you’ll be doing the cooking on the barbecue today, then?”
“You can give me a hand if you like, sweetie.” Edward grinned at me. “I’ve got an apron you can use.”
Jack and Zachary joined us, bringing with them a bottle of wine and a few beers. I took a beer and cast my eyes around the rest of the garden.
“Who’s in charge of the garden?” I was impressed with how neat and tidy it all was.
Edward lifted his bottle to his lips, but spoke first. “We have a married couple who come in once a week to help us out. He does the gardening and she gives the house a clean, except for my room. I do that myself.”
Ellis, Ryan and Seb all filed out of the house, each carrying something for the table. Jack and Zachary were already seated. I decided to observe how Seb and Edward interacted in an attempt to see if they were actually together.
“Do you want some help carrying the meat out?” Seb directed his question to Edward.
“I think Jayden and I can manage, thanks.” Edward smiled, but then looked intently at me. “That’s if you don’t mind helping me, Jayden.”
I shot a quick look toward Seb first to make sure this wasn’t going to cause any friction between the two of them, but he was already opening the bottle of wine. Relieved, I nodded at Edward and followed him into the house. However, as we entered the building, Ellis said he needed to fetch something else as well. It wasn’t a very subtle attempt, but he made it clear that he didn’t want Edward and me to be alone for even a short period of time.
Edward handed me a plain apron and then proceeded to put one over his smart clothes. I expected something garish or vulgar, but surprisingly it wasn’t.
He must have noticed my reaction. “I do have one with a picture of a naked man sprawled across it, but I only wear that when I’m on my own.” He looked at me, giggling.
We both carried out the trays of raw meat to the barbecue. I didn’t really help with the cooking as Edward had it all under control. I passed him a few things when he asked, and was happy to be standing and talking with him. By the time he’d finished, everything looked perfectly cooked and smelt divine.
Everyone else was seated when we brought the cooked meat over to the table and served it onto the plates. The two spaces left for us were not next to each other. I felt disappointed that I wasn’t going to be sitting next to Edward for lunch.
Edward sighed loudly. “Is there any chance that one of you could move so I can sit next to Jayden?” He placed one hand on his hip and looked at each person in turn around the table.
“Sit next to me, Edward,” Seb requested. “I’m sure Jayden will be fine next to Ellis. He won’t bite him.”
Edward huffed, but he took his place. Ryan shifted uncomfortably in his seat when I sat down next to Ellis. For a few moments, the atmosphere felt a little awkward again and I kept my attention focused on the delicious food in front of me.
“Great steaks, Edward, as usual. Thanks for cooking for us.” Jack broke the ice with his praise.
We all agreed and Edward seemed to forget about his almost tantrum.
“I told you the marinade would work well, didn’t I?” He beamed and relaxed a little.
The conversation continued jovially with us all chipping in comments, some more than others. Ryan remained the quietest. He only seemed to want to converse with Ellis. And to my relief, Seb and Edward didn’t appear to be anything more than good friends.
The beer and wine flowed freely, although I restricted my consumption to just two bottles of beer because I’d be driving back later. I moved on to Edward’s homemade lemonade for the rest of the afternoon.
After clearing the table and moving the chairs to a shady part of the garden, we continued to sit in a group and chat.
“How long have you two been together?” I asked Jack and Zachary, hoping to eventually find out if Edward had a partner.
“Two years, three months and six days.” Zachary flashed his brilliant smile at me and took hold of Jack’s hand.
“You’re counting the days?” I asked incredulously.
“I think it’s so sweet.” Edward waved his arms in a big gesture before placing them over his heart. “I’m sure I’ll do the same one day. I’ll even count the minutes, too, hun.” Edward continued to gaze at me.
“And Ellis and Ryan are…?” I enquired tentatively.
“Just friends with benefits, if you know what I mean.” Ellis guffawed and winked at me.
“I’m not entirely sure I do,” I admitted. “Do I really want to know?” I looked at Ryan, who obviously wanted to be so much more than friends with Ellis. I actually felt sorry for him for the first time since meeting him. He probably took whatever he could from Ellis, as something was better than nothing at all.
“They use each other for a little stress relief once or twice a week if the noise they make is anything to go by.” Jack sneered, followed by a grin.
“Shut the fuck up, Jack. It’s none of your business what we do.” Ryan snarled before turning away.
“Boys, boys, boys… let’s not fall out in front of our guest.” Edward waved his hands and tried to calm the situation down.
“So, who’s up for a game of volleyball before we have Edward’s luscious dessert?” Zachary stepped forward, trying to lighten the tension.
“I’ll need to change into something more suitable first, sweetie.” Edward was already rising to his feet with a flourish.
“Can I use the bathroom before we start playing?” I quickly asked so I could follow Edward indoors.
“You can use my bathroom, hun. I clean mine every day so it’s spotless in there. These dirty dogs just leave theirs for the cleaning lady to do once a week, yuck.” Edward shuddered.
I made a mental note to tidy my room just in case Edward ever surprised me with a visit. I pictured all my clothes still strewn around on the floor along with at least a week’s worth of worn clothes and other stuff I hadn’t bothered to put away.
Leading me upstairs, we entered the first bedroom. “This is my room,” Edward said with a broad sweep of his hands. “The bathroom is through that door over there, Jayden.”
I walked across his spotless floor, my eyes flitting to books and CDs on numerous shelves. His bed was immaculately made with a few carefully arranged cushions. In fact, nothing was out of place, even his two guitars seemed to be standing to attention. I cast my eyes around the room once more and then looked at Edward’s unruly but sexy hair and smirked.
“Yes, I know my hair needs cutting.” He ran his fingers though it and flicked it back. “I just haven’t found a suitable place yet with someone I can trust to cut it properly for me.”
“Well, when you do, let me know because mine needs a good trim, too.”
“Sweetie, your hair is just perfect,” he said softly. “It suits you this length. So, please promise me you won’t get it cut for a few weeks at least.”
“Just for you, I promise, Edward.” And at that moment, I would have done anything to make him happy. And what I wouldn’t give to feel his fingers running through my hair.
Ellis suddenly shouted up the stairs, “Hurry up, you two. We’ve got the volleyball net set up and we’re ready to play.” He was definitely trying to keep our alone time down to a minimum.
I went into the bathroom, leaving Edward to get changed into something sporty.
When I came out, he was doing up the laces on his black sneakers. He was wearing loose red, white and blue checked sweatpants, and a white sleeveless T-shirt. He still looked drop-dead gorgeous and the sight of his exposed muscular shoulders almost made me groan. The thought of him working out was definitely something for my late night fantasies.
I made the most of the view of his back as I followed him down the stairs. I wanted to rub my hands over his broad shoulders and down his bare arms, and it took all of my willpower to control the urge to drag him back to his bedroom.
Ryan was sitting down with a book in his hand, so obviously he didn’t intend to play with us. Seb and Ellis were on one side of the net facing Jack and Zachary, tapping the ball back and forth.
“You’ve chosen the teams without us, then?” Edward huffed.
“You two were taking an awfully long time upstairs.” Ellis bounced the ball on the grass. “Jayden, why don’t you join us, and Jack and Zachary can have Edward on their side.”
I glanced at Edward expecting him to say something, but he didn’t. He just took his place at the back of the makeshift court.
Edward looked athletic and agile each time he moved to reach the ball and was so hot to watch. I was glad I was facing him after all. Seb and Ellis had the strength, but they relied on me to get to the ball if it dropped short over the net.
We played for quite awhile in the heat of the mid-afternoon sun. I grew to like the way Edward gave a little jump and clapped his hands in short rapid movements every time he scored a point against his brother. I also liked the fact that his hair and T-shirt were getting damp the more he excelled himself. In fact, I was getting rather too distracted by him, so I decided to put a bit more effort into reaching for the ball for my team.
All at once, after a sudden turn, a sharp ripping sound burst from my left leg. Pain swept through my calf muscle and I collapsed onto the grass gripping my leg in agony. My friends surrounded me, asking what the hell I’d done. I knew I’d torn my calf muscle and cursed at the thought of having to hobble around for the next couple of weeks.
“Do you need a doctor?” Ellis asked, his face full of concern.
Still gripping my leg, I shook my head, “No, I don’t think so—just some ice. I had a similar injury a couple of years ago.”
Edward dashed into the house, and within minutes, he knelt beside me and held a bag of ice wrapped in a towel against my throbbing muscle.
“How’s that feel, hun?”
“It’s okay. Thanks, Edward, that should ease it soon.” I placed my hand over his to adjust the ice pack to where I needed it the most and kept it there for a little longer than I should.
“Zachary, hun, could you fetch Jayden some painkillers?” Edward asked and his friend responded immediately. “The ones that are anti-inflammatory,” he called after him.
“Thanks, doc,” I teased him.
“My father’s a doctor, so I should know a few things,” he said softly.
I gulped down the tablets with some water, and after a few minutes, Ellis and Edward wrapped their arms around my back and helped me over to a chair next to Ryan. I rested my injured leg on another chair and tried to breathe through the pain. Edward stayed with me while the other guys continued with the volleyball game and held the icepack in place for me so I could lean against the back of the chair.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to drive for a few days,” I said when I suddenly realized this.
“Don’t worry, sweetie. One of us will pick you up and get you wherever you need to go.”
“But my car is parked out the front.”
“Yeah… I’ll drive you back tonight and Ellis can follow us in your car. See, all sorted. Don’t panic, Jayden. I’ve got you,” he said the last words quietly.
I gave Edward a smile and tried not to read too much into his offer of help.
When the temperature cooled around us, we headed indoors. I gladly wrapped my arm around Edward’s shoulders. He helped me into the house and into one of the leather armchairs.
I sat watching the sudden flurry of activity. Everyone chipped in to make sandwiches or coffee, and Edward quickly assembled some sort of fruit, cream and meringue dessert.
Zachary and Jack sat down closely on one end of the long couch and Ryan and Ellis joined them hand in hand. I was relieved the atmosphere between the two of them had eased since they’d played volleyball together later that afternoon. Seb sat on the other single chair, while Edward perched on the arm of my chair and passed me whatever I needed from the coffee table. His arm occasionally brushed against mine and I wanted desperately to lean into him.
“This dessert tastes wonderful, Edward,” I said after a few mouthfuls.
He beamed at me. “I’m glad you like it, hun. My strawberry pavlovas are always a hit.”
Edward shot him a warning look before turning back at me with a ghost of a smile on his lips.
We continued to sit around talking and joking, with Edward frequently asking me how I felt. Every time he showed his concern for me, my legs became the consistency of jell-o and an arousing flutter rippled down to my lower half.
As the evening drew to a close, I wanted nothing more than to be curled up in my bed, preferably with Edward’s arms wrapped tightly around me. I felt tired and happy despite the pain in my leg.
“Would you like to go soon?” Edward asked, his voice all warm and husky.
“Whenever you’re ready,” I whispered, because that was all I could manage.
“Right then, sweetie, let’s get you to my car.” He moved to ease me out of the chair. “Ellis, are you all right to drive Jayden’s car for him and I’ll bring you back home?”
“Yeah, I haven’t had a drink for over four hours.” He peeled a sleepy Ryan off his lap.
The short drive to my dorm in the college grounds took hardly any time at all.
Before we got out of the car, Edward checked when and where my first lecture was the following morning.
“Ten o’clock in East 17,” I muttered, my voice all soft and wavering for some reason.
“I’ll arrive at half nine then to help you get there on time.” His voice mirrored mine. “Come on, let’s get you up to your room.”
Ellis parked up behind Edward’s car and chucked me my keys. “Do you need some extra help?” he asked as Edward supported my weight and I hobbled on one foot.
Please give me some alone time with Edward.
“I think we can manage, bro. I won’t be long, so why don’t you wait in my car?” Edward’s eyes pleaded with his brother. Ellis shrugged reluctantly and held his hand out for the key.
“Here you go.” Edward acknowledged him and his lips quirked up in a half smile.
We shuffled our way into the building with Edward bearing a lot of my weight.
“Are you sure you don’t need to see a doctor, Jayden?” His green eyes crinkled in amusement.
“What’s so funny?” I asked, slightly annoyed.
“Well, if I get you upstairs and you change your mind, I won’t be impressed, hun.”
“Change my mind?” My voice was husky and breathy.
“About seeing a doctor, babe. What else did you think I was talking about?”
Embarrassed, I shook my head.
I was even more embarrassed when we met a few of the guys along my corridor, certain they were going to say something insulting or make fun of me.
“Hey, Jayden, what the hell happened to you?”
At least they didn’t accuse me of being drunk. “Torn my calf muscle, I think.” My arm was still slung across Edward’s shoulders.
“Well, give us a shout if you need anything,” one of them said, and he seemed to genuinely mean it.
“Thanks, guys.” I acknowledged their offer with a smile, but leaned into Edward slightly more.
We were about ten feet from my room. Oh, shit! My floor was still a mess. There was no way I wanted Edward to see what a slob I was. He probably wouldn’t want anything to do with me ever again.
We stood at my door and I hesitated. “Thanks so much, Edward, for your help tonight and the other night with Jedd, too.”
“You’re welcome, sweetie.” He gave me a beautiful smile. “Do you want me to open the door for you?” I hadn’t attempted to put the key in the lock.
“No, it’s okay. I can do it.”
“Do you want some help getting to the bathroom or taking your clothes off?” He grinned, teasing me.
“I think I can manage, Edward.” My heart pounded in my chest. I wanted nothing more than for Edward to strip me naked, but I didn’t want him to see my room. Damn!
“Have you got a woman hidden in there?”
“I’m afraid it’s worse than that.”
“Two women?” Edward laughed loudly at his own joke.
“Edward, I didn’t have time to tidy up this morning.”
“So?” Edward took the keys out of my hand and unlocked the door without saying another word.
I cringed as he took in the state of my room.
“Honey, you should see Zachary or Jack’s room. Compared to them, this is… well… not too bad.” I smiled at his attempt to be polite and considerate of my feelings.
We made it to my bed and I collapsed onto my back. Edward lifted my legs up gently and took off my shoes for me.
He spent the next few minutes picking up the clothes scattered on the floor, and hung or folded them up for me.
“There,” he said. “Don’t want you tripping over and hurting your leg again, do we?”
“Edward, you didn’t have to do that. But thanks anyway.”
He sat on the edge of my bed and reached his hand over to me. Tucking a few strays hairs behind my ear. “Is there anything else I can do for you, sweets?”
“I’ll be fine. Just need to sleep and keep my leg elevated.” Sleep wasn’t too far away.
“You’re not going to sleep in your clothes are you?”
At that moment, I would have been quite happy to lie there all night, clothed or otherwise.
“Come on, let me help you out of them,” he said matter-of-factly. And he did.
Despite the pain and despite feeling exhausted, I managed to get a huge boner by the time my jeans were pulled carefully over my sore leg.
Thankfully, Edward acted doctor-like and kept his eyes away from my underwear, and more importantly, what was bulging beneath it. He struggled to get my sleep pants on, but between us, we managed and ended up laughing about it.
“I’d better go, sweetie, before Ellis comes bounding up the stairs looking for me,” he said with some regret in his voice.
I nodded and thanked him again for all his help.
“See you about half past nine tomorrow morning, then.” He gave me a brief kiss on the lips. “Hope you sleep well, hun.”
“Thanks for a great day.” I felt my eyelids getting heavier by the second.
“Night, night, love,” were the last words I heard.