Home > Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3)(11)

Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3)(11)
Author: Samantha Young

‘I do not waffle.’

‘You waffle, babe.’

Deciding to let it go, I smiled wearily at him. ‘Are you really going to write that in your review?’

‘What? That you waffle?’

I rewarded his deliberate obtuseness with a blank expression and he shook his head, his gorgeous soft, dark locks shifting with the movement. His hair was longer than usual, but it looked good. Really good. Great, even. ‘A lot of teens read the magazine.’

As he pulled his jacket on, I eased myself up off the couch and handed his cell to him. ‘Did you get everything you need for it?’

‘Enough to annihilate it with words.’ He leaned over and pressed a kiss to my cheek, the warm, spicy scent of his cologne comforting. ‘ ’Night, Liv.’

I smiled and stepped back to let him pass, then followed him to the door. ‘Thanks for dinner and my Rocky Road.’

Nate grinned back at me. ‘Thanks for the quotes.’

The door was almost closing behind him when I suddenly grabbed the handle. ‘Nate.’

Turning on the second step of my stairwell, he raised two questioning eyebrows at me.

Looking at his hair, I shrugged and leaned against the door. ‘Don’t cut your hair, okay?’

His smile was slow, cheeky, and incredibly cute, and I totally pretended not to feel it in my long-neglected woman parts. ‘Like what you see, do you?’

Laughing, I leaned back, readying to close the door. ‘Just helping a bud out. I know you like to look your best for the ladies.’

I’d almost closed the door when he said, ‘Liv.’

I peeked back out at him.

His eyes were bright with mischief. ‘Don’t stop leaving your red, wet underwear around the flat when you have a man around. We like that. Just helping a bud out, you know.’

What?

My eyes bugged out in horror as I turned to look around my apartment. Red caught my eye and mortification sank in. My lacy bra and panties were draped over the radiator, drying.

How did I not notice this?

‘Kill me, kill me now,’ I moaned, my cheeks blazing with embarrassment as I winced at the sound of Nate’s laughter echoing down the stairwell.

After I’d locked my front door I started to clean up, sporadically shooting lethal glares at the drying underwear, as if somehow it was the underwear’s fault I was stewing over the fact that Nate now knew I had a taste for sexy lingerie.

Finally I rolled my eyes and told myself to buy a sense of humor.

As I undressed in my room, pulling my gray jersey pajamas out of the dresser, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I was wearing my favorite emerald green satin lingerie set today. In the bottom of my dresser and in a wicker box in my closet, there was plenty more where it came from. I liked nice underwear, but I didn’t like looking at myself in it. I just liked the feel of it.

Frozen, I took in my wide-eyed expression as I indulged in a long look in the mirror. What I saw made me want to hunch my shoulders over. What I saw stole away the good mood Nate had put me in, and it reminded me why I would never end up with a guy like Benjamin Livingston.

It’s not that I was ugly – I knew that. It was just that when I looked in the mirror I didn’t see anything particularly special. I saw a plain face, with the exception of the high cheekbones Mom gave me and my dad’s unusual golden eyes. I saw flabby arms. I hated those flabby arms of mine. At five seven I wasn’t short, but I wasn’t tall enough for my height to carry my ever-widening hips, pretty huge ass, and little rounded stomach. Thankfully I didn’t have a thick waist, but you couldn’t tell that to the little pouch on my lower belly that refused to be flat.

After losing my mother to cancer, I knew and I believed that having a healthy body was far more important than having a skinny, fashion-friendly one. I knew that.

I knew that.

Yet somehow I still didn’t feel sexy or attractive. It was more than frustrating – it was painful – to know what was right but feel what was wrong.

Saddened that I, a smart, semi-funny, nutty, loyal, good woman, could feel so negative about myself under all the smiling and humor, I felt the sting of tears in my eyes. The way I felt about my physical appearance was bad. Really freakin’ bad.

My fists clenched at my sides as I stared at my average figure.

I was so taking up Pilates in the morning.

The smell of dinner wafting into the room was causing overproduction of saliva under my tongue. After three days of cutting out food that was bad for me and painfully enduring a Pilates instructional DVD, I was more than ready to chow down on Elodie Nichols’s hearty Sunday roast.

‘I swear to God I’m going to gnaw off a finger,’ I muttered, examining my hand.

‘Pardon?’ Ellie asked absentmindedly as she looked at photographs of the flower arrangements Braden and Joss had chosen for their wedding. The arrangements had been selected months ago, as was everything else. After a disastrous start with Ellie as wedding planner (not because she couldn’t do it, but because she and Joss had such different tastes), Braden had taken over organizing the wedding and Joss had helped with the decision making.

‘Why are you staring at those photos? Again?’

‘I would have gone with roses.’

‘Well, I went with lilies,’ Joss butted in from across the room where she was sitting on the arm of the chair where Braden was relaxing. He was talking about something with Adam. Clark was in the other armchair by the television, somehow managing to grade papers among all our chatter. His son, Declan, a twelve-and-a-half-year-old computer geek, was huddled on the floor with Cole, playing a Nintendo DS, while Mick and Cam sat on the other end of the sofa that Ellie and I were on. Jo had disappeared upstairs with Ellie’s sixteen-year-old half sister, Hannah. They were really close and tended to disappear to Hannah’s room for a chat before dinner.

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