Building Faith (Long Beach Series Book 2) (10 page)

BOOK: Building Faith (Long Beach Series Book 2)
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Chapter Twelve
Faith

 

I figure it's high time to do some laundry when I realize I'm nearly out of clean panties. As I begin to gather all my dirty laundry in a basket, I let my mind wander back to last night. I'd gone out with Logan, and I'd actually had a good time. He'd taken me out to eat and then to a club. I'd been a little uncomfortable, but Logan's the type of guy that's good at getting you to relax. I danced with him a couple times, and we talked about random stuff but nothing too deep. When he brought me home, I let him kiss me at my door, and I'd enjoyed it. He's a good kisser, and I could tell that he'd been hoping for more.

My brows furrow as I grab the basket and detour to the bathroom to grab detergent before leaving the apartment. Logan's sexy, and I could have easily had sex last night, no-strings-attached. It just hadn't felt right to take things further, so I'd said goodnight at the door. He didn't ask for my number or for another date, so I'm assuming we won't be going out again. I'm okay with that. It was fun, but I know he's not relationship material, and eventually I'll probably want to try one again. That is if I can find a guy that I trust.

I make my way down to the basement where the washing machines are located, and I'm pleasantly surprised to find Ace down there. The large room is empty but for him, looking bored to death while sitting on one of the hard, plastic chairs that are lining a wall.

He looks up and spies me, his lips immediately curving in a welcoming smile. “Angel.”

His smile makes my heart thud faster, and I return it. “Hi.” Not wanting to seem overly excited to see him, I turn and focus on putting my clothes in the nearest washing machine and getting them started.  When I'm finished, I walk over and sit down near him. “How's it going?”

“Better now that you're here,” he says easily.

“I haven't seen you around much.” I fight back a blush at how forward that sounded. Ace makes me nervous sometimes but in a good way.

He shifts in the chair, broad shoulders shrugging. “Between classes and my clinical training, my schedule's pretty tight during the week.”

“I bet. I've been working on my list,” I tell him, smiling with anticipation. I haven't seen him, so I haven't had a chance to tell him about my tattoos. Is it just my imagination, or did he just tense up slightly?

His face is relaxed though, his gray eyes warm as he looks at me. “Z told me you got some tats.”

I'm disappointed she got to him first. “Zoey was with me. I'm glad I did it.”

“I hear Logan asked you out,” he comments as he folds his arms over his chest and stretches out his long legs.

She told him that too?
I shrug it off. Ace is just a friend, who cares if he knows I went out on a date. “We went out last night,” I confirm.

He studies me intently. “Did you have a good time?”

“Yeah, it was fun,” I say truthfully.

“I see. You going out with him again?”

“I doubt it.”

Something flickers in his gaze, and a muscle ticks in his jaw. “He not treat you good?”

“No, he was great,” I say. “He was polite and respected my boundaries.”

“Boundaries?”

“Yeah. I warned him ahead of time when he asked me out that I wasn't going to sleep with him.”

Ace stares at me. “But I thought...”

My eyebrows lift as I give him a deliberate look. “You thought I'd throw myself at the first available guy that shows interest? Thanks,” I say dryly.

“Last I knew, you wanted casual sex,” he points out. “Last night would have been the perfect opportunity to cross it off your list.”

“I know,” I say with a sigh. “But it didn't feel right. I don't think I could do that with a stranger. I have...issues,” I mutter, looking away. My insecurities about my body will for sure get in the way. I know it will, and going home with a stranger would only make the problem worse. A guy expecting a one-night stand isn't going to want to deal with someone like me.

“Issues? Like what, Angel?”

“It's nothing,” I say and quickly switch the topic. “So, what did you do last night? Did you go out with the group?”

“Yeah. What are you doing tonight?”

“Me? I don't know yet.”

“Want to do something?”

My mood immediately perks up. “Sure.”

We talk a bit longer until his clothes are finished. We agree he'll pick me up at eight before he goes back upstairs, and I'm left alone with my laundry.

The rest of the afternoon flies by as I wait with anticipation for my evening with Ace. By the time eight rolls around, I've changed my clothes four times. Ace will be here any minute, and I'm not sure how to dress. I hadn't thought to ask what we would be doing. We have yet to exchange phone numbers, so I hadn't been able to contact him to ask. Considering he lives just two doors down, I could have simply knocked on his door to ask. I hadn't wanted to be pushy or have him think I was using it as an excuse to see him before tonight, though.

“This is not a date,” I warn myself. He asked me as a friend and nothing more. I'm in the friend zone. I've never been in this predicament, and I'm not sure how it all works. I guess I need to treat him like he's Zoey...sort of. He's a friend, so I need to remember I'm not out to impress him. He's there to have fun with and get to know.

I look down at my outfit. It's a cute, little summer dress and screams 'date.' Crap! I quickly strip off the dress and stand there in my bra and panties. What should I wear? Jeans would be too casual. I think of Zoey's outfit from Sunday night. I bet something like that would be suitable for an evening out.

I dig through the clothes Zoey talked me into buying, and I'm relieved to find a pair of white, dressy shorts. I slip them on and then grab a pretty, yellow, satiny shirt that resembles a tank. Lastly, I slip my feet into a pair of brown, strappy wedges that'll give me an extra couple inches. I run a hand through my long hair and breathe a sigh of relief when I look in the mirror. Not bad. Casual but cute. Much better than my other outfits.

A knock on my apartment door startles me, and I feel myself flushing with excitement. I'm looking forward to spending more time with Ace. I grab my purse and hurry to answer it. When I open the door, I instantly feel better about my outfit. Ace is wearing jeans and a short-sleeved, light blue shirt that hugs his upper body and makes his tan darker.

His eyes roam over me with appreciation. “You look gorgeous. Yellow is definitely your color.”

I fight back a blush at his compliment. “Thank you, you look nice too,” I say lightly.

He smiles. “Ready?”

I step into the hall and shut the door behind me. “Where are we going?” I ask as we walk down the hall to the elevator.

“There's a live band playing tonight that's really good. You game?'

“Sure.”

We step into the elevator, and I glance at him. He's watching me. I avert my gaze and watch the number above the door light up as we descend to the first floor. I hope he doesn't think that I think this is a date. We didn't really put a label on this outing.

When the elevator doors open, Ace puts a polite hand on the small of my waist, and like a gentleman, he leads me out the back door and into the brightly lit parking lot. I know where he usually parks his Hummer, and I think we're walking towards it until he leads me to the visitor's lot.

“We're not taking your car?”

“No, we're riding this tonight,” he says as he pauses in front of a big, black and chrome motorcycle. He turns and looks at me, waiting for my reaction.

I pull my eyes away from him to study the motorcycle. I've always wanted to ride one, and it's on my list, which is why it's out here. I can't believe he tracked down a motorcycle for me tonight because it's something I wrote down. Up close, it looks much more intimidating than I thought it would. I lift my eyes and look at him tentatively. “Do you know how to drive it?”

“Yes.”

I look back at the large, intimidating piece of machinery on two wheels. “Where did you get it?”

“Jeremy has a friend who was willing to let me borrow it for the evening.”

Excitement shoots through my veins, and I take a step forward and cautiously trail my finger across the seat. I bite my lip and let my eyes wander over it. It's not lost on me that there's no helmets. I could die riding this thing, but I'd die happy.

“We can take my car if you're not sure you want to ride it,” Ace says lightly.

“No!” I exclaim and look at him. “I want to ride it,” I tell him firmly.

His eyes search mine. “I don't want to pressure you, Faith.”

“You're not,” I promise, and I beam up at him. “You got a motorcycle for me. That's so sweet.”

Ace grimaces. “Angel, don't call a man sweet. It makes us feel like a pussy.”

A snicker escapes me, and I toss my hair over my shoulder, lips twitching. “You getting a motorcycle for me is soooo badass. Thanks...babe.”

Ace's eyes widen a fraction. “Holy shit, you just willingly swore. I never thought I'd see the day that you'd find your inner potty mouth.”

Now my eyes roll. “I'm not as naïve as you think I am.”

“Sure you are,” he muses as he playfully ruffles my hair on the crown of my head before stepping forward and slinging a long leg over the bike. I stare as he straddles it, and he looks incredibly sexy. “Climb on,” he tells me.

I walk over and carefully climb on behind him. I know I'm going to need to hold on to him or I'll fall off, so I scoot up as close as I can, and it feels weird to have his butt cradled between my thighs. Especially when my legs are bare.

“Hold on tight. Make sure you lean with me when I take turns. Don't fight it,” he warns.

“Okay.” I slip my arms around his waist, and I can feel his rigid stomach muscles. Being this close to him has my panties dampening slightly. When the motorcycle starts up, I flinch with surprise at the deafening sound, then I simply adjust my hold on his waist and tighten my grip.

“Ready?” Ace yells over his shoulder.

“Yeah!”

We cruise out of the parking lot, and I know I'm grinning like a fool.

The ride to the bar goes by way too fast, and I'm disappointed when we climb off the motorcycle. When Ace sees my expression, he promises he'll take me for a long ride before taking me home.

Inside the bar, I get a wristband because I'm underage, and Ace and I manage to snag one of the last available tables. Once Ace is sure I'm comfortable, he walks to the bar to get a soda for me and a beer for himself. As I watch from the table, I see that a pretty blonde has approached him. My heart sinks, and I'm filled with that nasty little emotion called jealousy. That is until he brushes her off to talk with the bartender. The blonde walks away with disappointment etched on her face while Ace walks back to me with our drinks.

“Thanks,” I murmur as I take a sip.

He nods as he settles comfortably in his chair. “You look more comfortable in your own skin these days,” he comments.

“Pardon?”

His eyes connect with mine. “The first time I saw you, you were really skittish and uncertain.” His eyes trail over me. “I don't see her anymore.”

I tilt my head slightly. “What do you see in her place?”

“I see a woman that's growing accustomed to who she is and what she wants. The woman before me is realizing she can have whatever she wants if she chooses to go after it. The knowledge is in your gaze now when it wasn't there before. You look more confident.”

“I still have my moments,” I confess. “There are times when I doubt myself.”

“Don't we all at one time or another? You're human, Faith.”

“I'm becoming my own person thanks to you, Caleb, and Zoey. I'm glad I'm here.”

“Cheers to that,” he says, clinking the neck of his beer bottle against the side of my glass.

I lift my drink and take a sip before looking at him quizzically. “You know, I don't even know your last name.”

“It's Wellington.”

“And are you originally from around here?”

He shakes his head. “Hartford, Connecticut.”

“Do you miss it?”

“No. What about you? Has it been hard leaving your family behind?” he asks with genuine interest.

Guilt sweeps through me. “Actually...no. That sounds terrible, but I feel free here. After everything that went down back home, I couldn't even walk into the supermarket without people staring at me. Here, no one knows me. I can relax and go unnoticed.”

Ace laughs softly under his breath while his eyes gleam. “I can assure you, you're not going as unnoticed as you seem to think you are.”

I look at him with puzzlement. “What do you mean?”

“To go unnoticed, you'd have to be ordinary. There'd have to be nothing about you that would draw the eye. Trust me, Angel, you're noticeable.”

His compliment has me blinking with surprise. I'm debating what to say when the music overhead is silenced, and a man comes out on stage to announce the band. I'm disappointed, but yet relieved our conversation is coming to an end.

For the next thirty minutes we watch the band, which plays hard rock. I've never seen a live band before, and I watch with fascination. Once the band is finished with their set, they clear the stage and music comes back on overhead.

BOOK: Building Faith (Long Beach Series Book 2)
8.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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