Finding cinderella, p.4
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       Finding Cinderella, p.4

         Part #2. 5 of Hopeless series by Colleen Hoover
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  I open the door for her and she crawls into the front seat. Once she’s inside the car, I climb in after her and slide into my seat. We’re both crouched down, which is pointless if you think about it. If Sky were to look out her bedroom window, she’d see my car parked in Six’s driveway. It wouldn’t matter if she saw our heads or not.

  Six wipes the dirt from her hands onto the legs of her jeans and it completely turns me on. She turns her head to face me and I’m still staring at the dirt smeared across the thighs of her jeans. I somehow tear my gaze away and look her in the eyes.

  “You’ll have to disguise your car next time you come over,” she says. “This is way too risky.”

  I like her comment a little too much.

  “Confident there’ll be a next time already?” I ask, smirking at her. “The date just started.”

  “Good point,” she says with a shrug. “I might hate you by the end of the date.”

  “Or I might hate you,” I say.

  “Impossible.” She props her foot up on the dash. “I’m unhateable.”

  “Unhateable isn’t even a real word.”

  She peers over her shoulder into the backseat, then faces forward again with a scowl. “Why does it smell like you had a harem of whores in here?” She pulls her shirt up over her nose to cover up the smell.

  “Does it still smell like perfume?” I don’t even smell it anymore. It’s probably seeped into my pores and I’m now immune to it.

  She nods. “It’s awful,” she says, her voice muffled by her shirt. “Roll down a window.” She makes a fake spitting sound like she’s trying to get the taste of it out of her mouth and it makes me laugh.

  I crank the car, then put it in reverse and begin to back out.

  “The wind will mess up your hair if I roll down the windows. You didn’t bring a purse, which means you didn’t bring a brush, which means you won’t be able to fix your hair when we get to the restaurant.”

  She reaches to her door and presses the button to roll down her window. “I’m already dirty and I’d rather have messy hair than smell like a harem,” she says. She rolls the window down completely, then motions for me to roll mine down as well, so I do.

  I put the car in drive and press on the gas. The car immediately fills with wind and fresh air and her hair begins flying around in all directions, but she just relaxes into the seat.

  “Much better,” she says, grinning at me. She closes her eyes while inhaling a deep breath of the fresh air.

  I try to pay attention to the road, but she makes it pretty damn hard.

  • • •

  “What are your brothers’ names?” I ask her. “Are they numbers, too?”

  “Zachary, Michael, Aaron, and Evan. I’m ten years younger than the youngest.”

  “Were you an accident?”

  She nods. “The best kind. My mother was forty-two when she had me but they were excited when I came out a girl.”

  “I’m glad you came out a girl.”

  She laughs. “Me, too.”

  “Why’d they name you Six if you were actually the fifth child?”

  “Six isn’t my name,” she says. “Full name is Seven Marie Jacobs, but I got mad at them for moving me to Texas when I was fourteen so I started calling myself Six to piss them off. They didn’t really care, but I was stubborn and refused to give up. Now everyone calls me Six but them.”

  I love that she gave herself a nickname. My kind of girl.

  “Question still applies,” I say. “Why did they name you Seven if you were actually the fifth child?”

  “No reason, really. My dad just liked the number.”

  I nod, then take a bite of food, eyeing her carefully. I’m waiting for that moment. The one that always comes with girls, where the pedestal you place them on in the beginning gets kicked out from under them. It’s usually the moment they start talking about ex-boyfriends or mention how many kids they want or they do something really annoying, like apply lipstick in the middle of dinner.

  I’ve been waiting patiently for Six’s flaws to stand out, but so far I can’t find any. Granted, we’ve only interacted with each other for a collective three or four hours now, so hers may just be buried deeper than other people’s.

  “So you’re a middle child?” she asks. “Do you suffer from middle-child syndrome?”

  I shake my head. “Probably about as much as you suffer from fifth-child syndrome. Besides, Hannah is four years older than me and Chunk is five years younger, so we have a nice spread.”

  She chokes on her drink with her laugh. “Chunk? You call your little sister Chunk?”

  “We all call her Chunk. She was a fat baby.”

  She laughs. “You have nicknames for everyone,” she says. “You call Sky Cheese Tits. You call Holder Hopeless. What do you call me when I’m not around?”

  “If I give people nicknames, I do it to their faces,” I point out. “And I haven’t figured yours out yet.” I lean back in my seat and wonder myself why I haven’t given her one yet. The nicknames I give people are usually pretty instant.

  “Is it a bad thing you haven’t nicknamed me yet?”

  I shrug. “Not really. I’m just still trying to figure you out is all. You’re kind of contradictory.”

  She arches an eyebrow. “I’m contradictory? In what ways?”

  “All of them. You’re cute as hell, but you don’t give a shit what you look like. You look sweet, but I have a feeling you’re just the right mix of good and evil. You seem really easygoing, like you aren’t the type to play games with guys, but you’re kind of a flirt. And I’m not judging at all by this next observation, but I’m aware of your reputation, yet you don’t seem like the type who needs a guy’s attention to stroke your self-esteem.”

  Her expression is tight as she takes in everything I’ve just said. She reaches to her glass and takes a sip without breaking her stare. She finishes her drink, but holds the glass against her lips while she thinks. She eventually lowers it back to the table and looks down at her plate, picking up her fork.

  “I’m not like that anymore,” she says softly, avoiding my gaze.

  “Like what?” I hate the sadness in her voice now. Why do I always say stupid shit?

  “I’m not how I used to be.”

  Way to go, Daniel. Dumbass.

  “Well, I didn’t know you back then, so all I can do is judge the girl sitting in front of me right now. And so far, she’s been a pretty damn cool date.”

  The smile spreads back to her lips. “That’s good,” she says, looking back up at me. “I wasn’t sure what type of date I’d be, considering this is the first one I’ve ever been on.”

  I laugh. “No need to stroke my ego,” I say. “I can handle the fact that I’m not the first guy to ever express an interest in you.”

  “I’m serious,” she says. “I’ve never been on a real date before. Guys tend to skip this whole part with me so they can just get to what they really want me for.”

  My smile disappears. I can tell by the look on her face she’s being completely serious. I lean forward and look her hard in the eyes. “Those guys were all fucktards.”

  She laughs, but I don’t.

  “I’m serious, Six. Those guys all need a good kick to the clit, because dinner-talk is by far the best part of you.”

  When the sentence leaves my mouth, the smile leaves her face. She looks at me like no one’s ever given her a genuine compliment before. It pisses me off.

  “How do you know this is the best part of me?” she asks, somehow finding that teasing, flirtatious tone in her voice again. “You haven’t had the pleasure of kissing me yet. I’m pretty sure that’s the best part of me, because I’m a phenomenal kisser.”

  Jesus Christ. I don’t know if that was an invitation, but I want to send her my RSVP right this second. “I have no doubt being kissed by you would be fantastic, but if I had to choose, I’d take dinner-talk over a kiss any day.”

  She narrows her eyes. “I call
bullshit,” she says with a challenging glare. “There’s no way any guy would pick dinner-talk over a good make-out session.”

  I attempt to return her challenging look, but she makes a good point.

  “Okay,” I admit. “Maybe you’re right. But if I had my way, I’d pick kissing you during dinner-talk. Get the best of both worlds.”

  She nods her head, impressed. “You’re good,” she says, leaning back in her seat. She folds her arms over her chest. “Where’d you learn those smooth moves?”

  I wipe my mouth with my napkin, then set it on top of my plate. I lift my elbows until they’re resting on the back of the booth and I smile at her. “I don’t have smooth moves. I’m just charismatic . . . remember?”

  Her mouth curls up into a grin and she shakes her head like she knows she’s in trouble. Her eyes are smiling at me and I realize I’ve never felt like this before with any other girl. Not that I have it in my head that we’re about to fall in love or we’re soulmates or some shit like that. I’ve just never been around a girl where being myself was actually a good thing. With Val, I was always trying my hardest not to piss her off. With past girlfriends, I always found myself holding back from all the shit I really wanted to say. I’ve always felt like being myself with a girl wasn’t necessarily a good thing because I’ll be the first to admit, I can be a little over the top.

  It’s different with Six, though. Not only does she get my sense of humor and my personality, but I feel like she encourages it. I feel like the real me is what she likes the most and every time she laughs or smiles at the perfect moment, I want to fist bump her.

  “You’re staring at me,” she says, breaking me out of my thoughts.

  “So I am,” I say, not bothering to look away.

  She stares right back at me but her demeanor and expression grow competitive as she narrows her eyes and leans forward. She’s silently challenging me to a staring contest.

  “No blinking,” she says, confirming my thoughts.

  “Or laughing,” I say.

  And it’s on. We silently stare at each other for so long, my eyes begin to water and my grip tightens on the table. I try my hardest to keep my eyes locked on hers but they want to stare at every inch of her. I want to stare at her mouth and those full, pink lips and that soft, silky blonde hair. Not to mention her smile. I could stare at her smile all day.

  In fact, I’m staring at it right now so I’m pretty sure that means I just lost the staring contest.

  “I win,” she says, right before she takes another drink of her water.

  “I want to kiss you,” I say bluntly. I’m a little shocked I said it, but not really. I’m pretty impatient and I really want to kiss her and I usually say whatever I’m thinking, so . . .

  “Right now?” she asks, looking at me like I’m insane. She sets her glass back down on the table.

  I nod. “Yep. Right now. I want to kiss you over dinner-talk so I can have the best of both worlds.”

  “But I just ate onions,” she says.

  “So did I.”

  She’s working her jaw back and forth, actually contemplating an answer. “Okay,” she says with a shrug. “Why not?”

  As soon as she gives me permission, I glance down at the table between us, wondering what the best way to do this would be. I could go sit with her on her side of the booth, but that might be invading her personal space too much. I reach in front of me and push my glass out of the way, then scoot hers to the left.

  “Come here,” I say, placing my hands on top of the table as I lean toward her. She must have thought I was kidding by the way her eyes dart nervously around us, taking in the fact that we’re about to experience our first kiss in public.

  “Daniel, this is awkward,” she says. “Do you really want our first kiss to be in the middle of a restaurant?”

  I nod. “So what if it’s awkward? We’ll have a do-over later. People put way too much stock in first kisses, anyway.”

  She tentatively places her palms facedown on the table, then pushes herself up and slowly leans in toward me. “Okay, then,” she says, following her words up with a sigh. “But it would be so much better if you wait until the end of our date when you walk me to my front door and it’ll be dark and we could be really nervous and you could accidentally touch my boob. That’s how first kisses are supposed to be.”

  I laugh at her comment. We still aren’t close enough for me to kiss her yet, but we’re getting there. I lean forward a little more, but her eyes leave mine and focus on the table behind me.

  “Daniel, there’s a woman in the booth behind you changing her baby’s diaper on the table. You’re about to kiss me and the last thing I’ll see before your lips touch mine is a woman wiping her infant’s ass.”

  “Six. Look at me.” She brings her eyes back to mine and we’re finally close enough that I could reach her mouth. “Ignore the diaper,” I command. “And ignore the two men in the booth to our left who are swigging their beer and watching us like I’m about to bend you over this table.”

  Her eyes dart to the left, so I catch her chin in my hand and force her attention back to me. “Ignore it all. I want to kiss you and I want you to want me to kiss you and I don’t really feel like waiting until I walk you to your porch tonight because I’ve never really wanted to kiss someone this much before.”

  Her eyes drop to my mouth and I watch as everything around us disappears from her field of vision. Her tongue slips out of her mouth and glides nervously across her lips before it disappears again. I slide my hand from her chin to the nape of her neck and I pull her forward until our lips meet.

  And holy shit, do they meet. Our mouths meld together like they used to be in love and they’re just now seeing each other for the first time in years. My stomach feels like it’s in the middle of a damn rave and my brain is trying to remember how to do this. It’s like I suddenly forgot how to kiss, even though it’s only been a day since I broke up with Val. I’m pretty sure I kissed Val yesterday, but for some reason my brain is acting like this is all new and it’s telling me I should be parting my lips or teasing her tongue, but the signals just aren’t making it to my mouth yet. Or my mouth is just ignoring me because it’s been paralyzed by the soft warmth pressed against it.

  I don’t know what it is, but I’ve never held a girl’s lips between mine for this long without breathing or moving or taking the kiss as far as I can possibly take it.

  I inhale, even though I haven’t taken a breath in almost a minute. I loosen my grip on the back of Six’s head and begin to slowly pull my lips from hers. I open my eyes and hers are still closed. Her lips haven’t moved and she’s taking in shallow, quiet breaths as I remain poised close to her face, watching her.

  I don’t know if she expected more of a kiss. I don’t know if she’s ever had a peck last more than a minute before. I don’t know what she’s thinking, but I love the look on her face.

  “Don’t open your eyes,” I whisper, still staring at her. “Give me ten more seconds to stare, because you look absolutely beautiful right now.”

  She tucks her bottom lip in with her teeth to hide her smile, but she doesn’t move. My hand is still on the back of her head and I’m silently counting down from ten when I hear the waitress pause at our table.

  “Y’all ready for your ticket?”

  I hold up a finger, asking the waitress to give me a second. Well, five seconds to be exact. Six never moves a muscle, even after hearing the waitress speak. I count down silently until my ten seconds are up, then Six slowly opens her eyes and looks up at me.

  I back away from her, putting several inches of space between us. I keep my eyes locked with hers. “Yes, please,” I say, giving the waitress her answer. I hear her tear off the ticket and slap it down on the table. Six smiles, then begins laughing. She backs away from me and falls back down in her booth.

  I breathe and it feels like the air is all brand new.

  I slowly take my seat in the booth again, watching her laug
h. She scoots the ticket toward me. “Your treat,” she says.

  I reach into my pocket and pull out my wallet, then lay cash down on top of the ticket. I stand up and reach out for Six’s hand. She looks at it and smiles, then takes it. When she stands, I wrap my arm around her shoulder and pull her against me.

  “Are you going to tell me how awesome that kiss was or are you going to ignore it?”

  She shakes her head and laughs at me. “That wasn’t even a real kiss,” she says. “You didn’t even try to put your tongue in my mouth.”

  I push open the doors to walk outside, but step aside and let her out first.

  “I didn’t have to put my tongue in your mouth,” I say. “My kisses are that intense. I don’t even really have to do anything. The only reason I pulled back was that I was sure we were about to experience a classic, ‘When Harry met Sally’ moment.”

  She laughs again.

  God, I love that she thinks I’m funny.

  I open the passenger door for her and she pauses before climbing inside. She looks up at me. “You realize that classic scene is Sally proving a point about how easy it is for women to fake orgasms, right?”

  God, I love that I think she’s funny.

  “Do I have to take you home yet?” I ask.

  “Depends on what you have in mind next.”

  “Nothing really,” I admit. “I just don’t want to take you home yet. We could go to the park next to my house. They have a jungle gym.”

  She grins. “Let’s do it,” she says, holding up a tight fist in front of her.

  I naturally bring my fist up and bump hers. She hops into the car and I shut her door, dumbfounded over the fact that she just fist bumped me.

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