Home > The Opportunist (Love Me with Lies #1)(11)

The Opportunist (Love Me with Lies #1)(11)
Tarryn Fisher

“I didn’t know I was putting on a sensitive guy routine,” he said sounding pretty honest.

I studied his handsome face trying to see past his looks and into his soul.

He had the kind of eyes that always looked like they were laughing at you. Their color was amber and smile lines already creased their corners like delicate folds in paper.

“Give me a break,” I said. “You bring me to this cute little place for ice cream like we’re in high school. You know that old guy by name, you’re giving me looks….” I trailed off because he was frowning at me.

“You’re not very good at reading people.” He flicked a stray kernel of popcorn at me and it hit me on the forehead. I rubbed at the spot, insulted.

I was very good at reading people.

“Maybe, I’m a nice guy, Olivia.”

I snorted.

“You can read a lot about a person by their features and what they do with them. But, getting to know someone, who they really are, takes time,” he said.

“What can you tell about me?” I asked, “—since you’re such an expert.”

Caleb squinted at me like he didn’t think I was ready for his evaluation.

“Come on,” I urged, “if you’re gonna brag about it….”

“Okay…okay. Let’s see….”

I immediately regretted my decision. I had just given him license to stare at me and I was already blushing.

“There’s something sad about your eyes, maybe it’s how big they are or the way they dip downward like they’re disappointed. They’re definitely vulnerable, but bold too, because you look at everything like you’re challenging it. Then, there’s the way that you hold your chin. You are defiant and stubborn, and you have a snobby little nose that’s always pointing due north. I think you pretend to be a snob to keep people away.”

I felt sick. Too much ice cream. Too much truth.

“And my personal favorite, your lips.” He smiled as a pink flush crept up my neck. “Full and sensual, puckered, and always turned down at the corners. They kind of make me want to kiss them until they smile.”

I balked. He thought about kissing me? Of course he thought about kissing me. Guys were always thinking about that kind of stuff, stuff that led to sex. Underneath the table my fingernails dug into the palms of my hands.

“Am I making you uncomfortable?” he was leaning back in his chair, one elbow resting casually on the table.

I swallowed the volleyball in my throat. My heart was acting the fool as it beat sporadically.

“No.”

“Good, because I don’t take you for a woman who’s ever really surprised, especially when the school jock proves her wrong.”

Now I felt ready to pass out.

Okay, so maybe there was a little more to this egg-head than I thought. I crossed my arms over my chest and narrowed my eyes like cowboys did in old westerns.

“Okay, why did you miss the shot?”

“Why did I miss the shot?” he repeated. “Because I cared more about knowing you than I did about winning another game.”

This time I didn’t even try to conceal the dumbfounded look on my face. He had just passed me the greatest compliment, even better than the one about kissing my lips. Fuhgettabouit. I didn’t even have a quip to deliver. I didn’t care if my wit had failed me.

On our way out we stopped to browse through the candy and toys for sale. As if the place wasn’t small enough, they had to cram it full of junk.

Caleb was studying something in the corner as I studied him.

“Look at this thing,” he beckoned me over. I wedged myself between him and a row of sherbet colored Beanie Babies to get a look. It was a penny press, one of those souvenir coin makers in which you placed fifty cents and a penny. The machine would then press your penny and stamp a random message on it in its newly flattened form, keeping your fifty cents as payment. Caleb was pulling change from his pockets like he was roped on too much sugar.

“You do it,” he said, dropping the coins into my palm. I slid the change into the narrow slit on its front and pushed the start button. The press began to hum and vibrate in a polite vibrato. I was acutely aware of how close we were standing and I would have edged away if there was anywhere to go. I knocked a few of the Beanie Babies off the shelf. As we bent to pick them up, the machine made a small burping sound and the penny landed in the return slot with a tinkle. He rubbed his hands together and I giggled.

“Now there’s something you don’t see very often,” he said, tapping me lightly on the nose.

I swallowed my girlishness and resumed my dour face. My nose was now tingling.

“It’s just a souvenir machine, calm down, Stokes.”

“Aaah, but this isn’t just any coin maker,” he said, pointing to advertisement on it that I, unfortunately, had failed to see.

“This is the romantic coin maker.”

I paled.

The penny was still warm when my fingers found it. I handed it to Caleb without even bothering to see what the message was.

“Well, well.” His voice was smug. Curiosity got the best of me. I pulled his arm down until the coin was directly in front of my face and read:

Good for one kiss

Anywhere, anytime

The nerve! I backed out of the tight spot and started walking to the door.

“Good luck collecting that one.”

He didn’t say a word and he didn’t need to. His strut and the smile on his face were enough to

tell me what he was thinking.

I asked him about Laura on the way back to the dorms. He told me that he only dated her for a week their freshman year and that she was a nice girl. By the time he walked me to my dorm room, I was so preoccupied with thoughts of him kissing me, that I stumbled over my own feet.

“Careful, Duchess,” he said, grabbing me by the elbow, “if you sprain something, I’m going to have to carry you to your door.” He laughed at the look of horror on my face.

“Most girls would be excited by that prospect, you know?”

“I’m not most girls.”

“Yes, so I see.”

He took a step toward me and I shrank back against the door, trying to press myself into the thin plywood. He was unbearably close. Placing both hands on either side of my head he was inches…inches from my face. I could feel his breath on my lips. I wanted to see his lips, watch what they were doing—but I kept my eyes locked on his. If I could just hold his eyes he might not notice that my chest was heaving from my labored breaths, and that my fingernails were curved into the door behind me. He moved his head closer his nose was practically touching mine. My lips parted. How long had we been standing there? It felt like five minutes, but I knew it was probably more like ten seconds. He moved a millimeter closer. There was nowhere for me to go. If I pressed myself further against the door, I’d melt into the wood. I was so afraid…but of what? I’d been kissed before. He spoke and he was so near to my face, I could feel his lips brush against the corner of my mouth.

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