Home > Watch Me Follow(15)

Watch Me Follow(15)
Author: Harloe Rae

“That’s really romantic,” I whisper with whimsy coating my words.

Doesn’t every girl want a boy to follow her wherever she goes?

Ryker jolts back against the table. “You think me stalking you is romantic?” Disbelief hangs thick from his tone.

I lightly swat his pec. “I don’t like that word. I prefer protecting or watching.”

“How are you okay with it? Me following you?”

My shoulders bunch around my ears. “I don’t really know how to describe it. I guess, I like that there is someone out there who finds me special enough to seek out. All those gifts and notes over the years? I’ve saved and cherished each one. Who wouldn’t love that kind of attention? It’s not like you ever threatened me or freaked me out. You were like an invisible friend, somewhere out there for me to cling to.” Gah, I sound like a nut. The strain in my upper body relaxes with a heavy breath. “I’d never had anyone really care for me before. My parents love me, sure, but they never gave me affection or positive attention. They pushed me to do well in school and sheltered me from any trouble. You know what I mean?”

Ryker’s eyes lose focus as he mutters, “Yeah. I get it.”

“Want to tell me about it?”

His gaze shifts back to me. “Nah, another time.” That makes two deflections but my heart is happy with what he’s shared.

My stomach suddenly growls loudly and I hunch slightly to silence the gurgle. “Urgh, sorry. It’s way past dinnertime.”

“Fuck, I’m an idiot.” Ryker growls while shoving away from the desk. He keeps his arms around me but the mood has completely changed. “I was supposed to bring you food. It’s Thursday and you always work late. It slipped my mind since I got here before picking anything up. Shit.” His body is rigid and practically vibrates with tension.

I dig my short nails into his strong back. “Hey, now. Don’t be silly. I would much rather have you here with me.” My fingers push harder until he looks down at me. “You don’t have to do all that stuff for me. I’m capable of getting my own dinner, especially if it means spending more time with you.”

Ryker grunts and his neck ripples with a jerky swallow. “I’m supposed to take care of you. That includes feeding you when you’re hungry.”

“Well, why don’t we go together?”

“What do you mean?” he asks with a raised brow.

I smirk at his inquisitive expression. “Let’s go to a restaurant, grab a bite, keep chatting . . . what do you say? It’ll be our first date.”

Ryker is already shaking his head before I finish talking. “No. That is not how our first date is supposed to go. Not a chance. Plus, crowds aren’t my thing. I much prefer takeout.”

He’s already thought about our first date?

My lips purse as I mull that over. Ryker just gave me an idea for later but for now, I’m focusing on food—however I can get it. “What type of food should we get? If you’re all right with us eating together on a first non-date.” I hum at his stony features, not a grin in sight.

“I want to do everything with you. We can get whatever you want,” his grumble moves through me as I think about him offering me everything. My cheeks flush and I bury my face against his firm chest.

Gah, I’m such a dork.

I clear my throat. “Well, aren’t you Mr. Agreeable. What if I want anchovies and sardines?”

Ryker doesn’t look the least bit disgusted by my suggestion. A deep rumble drops from his mouth and completely derails my thoughts, especially when those magnificent lips form beautiful words.

“Anything for you, Sunshine.”


Does she see the real me?

I’VE NEVER FELT like this before.

Everything is completely weightless as I soar high above the clouds without a worry on my mind. The girl of my dreams is walking beside me, completely aware of my existence, after sharing a delicious meal together. My heart beats an ecstatic rhythm as a smile hijacks my features, showing everyone just how fucking happy I am.

Let them gawk and be jealous—I’ll even keep my hood down.

My legs stretch ten feet with the pride surging through me. Does Lennon realize I noticed the subtle moves she was making earlier? Like sniffing my shirt or rubbing her cheek against my pec or slowly walking her fingers up my ribcage? If she’s trying to be sneaky or stealthy, it’s definitely not working. I’m completely blown away and totally perplexed that she’s chosen me but . . . these seemingly small tricks are driving me crazy with want. I don’t know how to handle the lust sprouting and growing like a wild ivy inside of me. Is she doing this on purpose? Trying to get me riled up with desire?

The idea makes me float even higher into the atmosphere, where nothing bad can ever harm me again. Lennon, my beautiful sunshine, wants to be near me. More than that, she likes me—stalker parts and all.

This is going to work out between us . . .

“What put that adorable smile on your face?” Her honey voice drips with sugary sweetness as we stroll along the path toward home.

Maybe I should feel emasculated that the term adorable is used to describe anything about me but Lennon can say whatever the hell she wants. I’ll consider myself lucky that she even talks to me.

I glance at her and find those gorgeous aqua eyes already looking my way. “You. Always you.”

Lennon giggles. “Ryker, you’re spoiling me. How’d you get to be so romantic?”

You is the word once again sticking to my tongue but I decide to be more creative. “I have the greatest inspiration and you’re meant to be treated like a queen.”

“Well, you’re doing a heck of a job already. I’m like a giddy pre-teen going gaga over her first as they hold hands. Like, omggggg!” When Lennon squeals, I almost laugh but then she groans and covers her blushing face.

I twist toward her. “What’s wrong? Why is your face all red?”

“Urgh, because I’m embarrassed. Who says stuff like that? Why am I so weird?” She whines and I want to wrap her in a hug.

“I really like the random stuff that pops out of your mouth. Although it’d be hard to find anything I don’t enjoy about you.”

Lennon huffs lightly. “See? You’re way too biased. Anyone else would think I’m a loon.”

“Good thing no one else matters then.”

She stares up at me, her light eyes shining, like she’s got a special secret. “No one else matters,” she echoes.

We arrive at the apartment complex and my chest contracts at the thought of saying goodnight. My muscles convulse with dread as my brain scrambles for something to say.

Lennon steals the words from me. “Today has been unexpectedly wonderful. I had no idea that you’d be here, standing in front of me. I wouldn’t have ever hoped for that.” She takes a deep breath while narrowing the small gap between us. “Thank you for everything, Ryker. For helping me back then and for coming back to me now. You’re everything I’ve dreamed of and hopefully we’ll be spending a lot more time together.”

I drag her tiny frame into my bulk. My voice is a murmur against her dark hair, “I’m the one who’s thankful. I never thought you’d accept me with such open arms. This couldn’t have gone better, even in my wildest fantasies.”

Lennon purrs, “Fantasies? That sounds interesting.”

My face flames as tension locks up my body. My taut control almost snaps from the exaggerated force stretching in two directions. The dirty cravings for Lennon’s body have been getting more powerful, practically interrupting my every thought. Yet, this newly uncovered bond between our hearts is still fragile and I’m not about to destroy my chances.

Her melodic laugh breaks the pressure pounding through me, especially when she whispers, “Just kidding. You looked totally freaked out for a second there.”

A weighty exhale deflates my chest and Lennon nuzzles closer. I’m more than happy to let that subject drop—for now.

“So, I’ll walk you to class tomorrow morning. Unless you’d prefer I keep my distance like usual. It’s up to you but making sure you’re safe isn’t negotiable.”

“No more hiding, Ryker. I want you to be with me, not following behind. The new usual is right next to me, okay?” Lennon leaves no room for argument, not that I would.

I nod in easy agreement, relishing in the sunny warmth beaming into my bloodstream. My hands grip her hips, reluctant to let her go, but knowing she needs sleep. “I’ll see you in the morning, Sunshine.”

Lennon’s fingers clasp onto my shirt and dig in as she tilts her head up. “I don’t want you to leave. How far away do you live? Who’s going to protect you?” She asks with a tremble in her pouty lip. Her worry for me is heavenly but totally unnecessary. My spirit skyrockets with the fact that she cares about me.

“Nah, my place is real close. I’ll be just fine. Sweet dreams, yeah?” My scruffy cheek rests on her smooth forehead. The urge to kiss her soft skin rams into me but I don’t want to ruin this moment with a wrong move.

She sighs and pulls away, taking her blanket of warmth with her.

“My dreams are always sweet because the beautiful blue ocean and crashing waves keep me company. I hope you sleep well too. Thanks again . . . for everything.”

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