How dare he make me start questioning everything? How dare he make me feel something I shouldn't for him? I found my voice and my breath. “I accidentally saw you naked this morning and so-freaking-what if I happened to like what I saw, okay? Are you trying to say you like me?”
“Yes,” he said in a tone so serious it made me want to duck under the table.
“No... No! NO! You can't. Not now. Not after all these years of being so mean to me. It's not fair. If that's how you feel, then why are you such a jackass?”
I waited for my childhood nemesis’s usual spiteful response, but it never came. Instead, he simply finished the conversation by saying, “You're right. I've been mean to you for far too fucking long. It ends tonight.” Then very carefully, very calmly, he slid his beer and mine to the other side of the table. I watched him with guarded eyes, my heart jack-hammering against my ribs.
“What are you doing?” I demanded.
He stood, ignoring my question, and started moving toward me.
“Don't you dare.”
Still he came.
“Leo.” I tried one last time, but my voice came out in a terrified whisper.
With the confidence of a rock god, he came to me. He grabbed one of my now trembling hands, and in a single swift motion, pulled me up and into his arms. I let him do it too. I let him because I knew what was coming and I had no willpower to stop it. Then, Leo tangled his hands in my hair in a way so tender and out of character that if my eyes weren't open, I wouldn't have believed it was him.
“Clara?” His eyes searched my face, screaming with unexpected vulnerability and fear. He seemed genuinely worried about me. “What's going on? Say something, please. Are you okay?”
I nearly lost my nerve. How easy it would have been to kiss him and fall into his arms all over again? A big piece of me wanted to do just that, but one moment of weakness was all I was going to allow myself for the day. “Am I okay?” I asked him, trying to sound indifferent and not angry. “What's that annoying code word you and Maggie used to say all the time? The two of you probably thought I was too dumb to crack that little language you created to use against me. Oh yeah, I remember now. Peaches. I'm just totally peaches.”
Standing tall, I reached my arm above his head and slowly poured the remaining contents of my beer on top of him. A shocked breath left his lips, but he didn't budge and took the beer shower like a man. “Real mature, Clara,” he grunted, glaring a shitload of hate-fire my way as the liquid coated his hair, face, and clothes. Angry as hell and soaking wet was a good look on him.
“That's for making me care,” I told him, setting my empty glass back down on the table. Then my hand swung hard and made stinging contact with his wet face. “That's for being a jerk to me since we were kids. And this...” I stood up on my tiptoes, grabbed hold of his handsome, shocked face, and planted one firm kiss on his wet lips. “That's so you know I'm not fucking around.” I held onto him for another moment. “Prove it to me,” I whispered. “Prove to me you aren't an ass and I'm all yours.”
Then I pulled away, turned on my heel, and left Leo standing there, soaking wet and stunned.