Finding cinderella, p.5
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       Finding Cinderella, p.5

         Part #2. 5 of Hopeless series by Colleen Hoover
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  The girl just fist bumped me and it was probably the hottest thing I’ve ever seen.

  I walk to my side of the car and open the door, then take a seat. Before I crank the car I turn to look at her. “Are you really a guy?”

  She raises an eyebrow, then pulls the collar of her shirt out and takes a quick glance down at her chest. “Nope. Pretty damn girl,” she says.

  “Are you dating someone?”

  She shakes her head.

  “Are you leaving the country tomorrow?”

  “Nope,” she says, her face obviously confused by my line of questions.

  “What’s your deal, then?”

  “What do you mean?”

  “Everyone has something and I can’t figure yours out. You know, that one thing about themselves that’s eventually a deal-breaker.” I crank the car and begin to back out. “I want to know what yours is right now. My heart can’t take another second of these tiny little things you do that drive me completely insane.”

  Her smile changes. It grows from a genuine smile to a guarded one. “We all have deal-breakers, Daniel. Some of us just hope we can keep them hidden forever.”

  She rolls down her window again and the noise makes it impossible to continue the conversation. I’m almost positive the overwhelming scent of perfume is gone, so I’m curious if her need for the noise is why she rolled down the window this time.

  • • •

  “Do you bring all your dates here?” she asks.

  I think about her question for a minute before answering. “Pretty much,” I finally say after silently tallying the ends of all my dates. “I did take this chick out once in eleventh grade but I took her home during the middle of the date because she got a stomach virus. I think she’s the only one I never brought here.”

  She digs her heels into the dirt and comes to a stop in the swing. I’m standing behind her, so she turns around and looks up at me. “Seriously? You’ve brought all but one girl here?”

  I shrug. Then nod. “Yeah. But none of them has ever wanted to literally play before. We usually just make out.”

  We’ve been here half an hour and already she’s made me watch her on the monkey bars, push her on the merry-go-round and now I’ve been pushing her while she swings for the last ten minutes. I’m not complaining, though. It’s nice. Really nice.

  “Have you ever had sex out here?” she asks.

  I’m not sure how to take her bluntness. I’ve never really met anyone who asks the same straightforward questions I would, so I’m beginning to feel a little sympathetic to the people I put on the spot like this. I glance around the park until I see the makeshift wooden castle. I point to it. “You see the castle?”

  She turns her head to look at the castle. “You had sex in there?”

  I drop my arm and slide both my hands into the back pockets of my jeans. “Yep.”

  She stands and begins to walk in that direction.

  “What are you doing?” I ask her. I’m not sure why she’s heading toward the castle, but I’m almost positive it’s not because she’s weird and wants to have sex in the same spot I had sex with Val two weeks ago.

  Does she?

  God I hope not.

  “I want to see where you had sex,” she says, matter-of-fact. “Come show me.”

  This girl confuses the hell out of me. What’s strange is how much I freaking love it. I begin jogging until I catch up with her. We walk until we reach the castle. She looks at me expectantly, so I point to the doorway. “Right in there,” I say.

  She walks to the doorway and peeks inside. She looks around for a minute, then pulls back out. “Looks really uncomfortable,” she says.

  “It was.”

  She laughs. “If I tell you something will you promise not to judge me?”

  I roll my eyes. “It’s human nature to judge.”

  She inhales a breath, then releases it. “I’ve had sex with six different people.”

  “At once?” I say.

  She shoves my arm. “Stop. I’m trying to be honest with you here. I’m only eighteen and I lost my virginity when I was sixteen. Plus, I haven’t had sex in about a year, so if you add it up, that’s six people in just a little over fifteen months. That’s like a whole new person every two and a half months. Only sluts do that.”

  “Why have you not had sex in over a year?”

  She rolls her eyes and begins to walk past me. I follow her. When she reaches the swings, she takes her seat again. I sit in the swing beside her and twist my body until I’m facing her, but she faces forward.

  “Why have you not had sex in over a year?” I say again. “You didn’t like any of the boys you met in Italy?”

  I can’t see her face, but her body language reveals that this could be that one thing. The thing that changes it all for me.

  “There was this one boy in Italy,” she says softly. “But I don’t want to talk about him. And yes, he’s why I haven’t had sex in over a year.” She looks back at me. “Look, I know my reputation precedes me and I don’t know if that’s why you brought me here or what you expect to happen at the end of this date, but I’m not that girl anymore.”

  I lift my legs until my swing spins forward again. “The only thing I was hoping for at the end of this date was a kiss on your front porch,” I say. “And maybe an accidental boob grab.”

  She doesn’t laugh. I suddenly hate that I brought her here.

  “Six, I didn’t bring you here expecting anything. Yes, I’ve brought girls here in the past but that’s only because I live across the street and I come here a lot. And yes, maybe I brought all those other girls here to have a little privacy while we made out, but that’s only because I more than likely just wanted them to shut up and kiss me because they were getting on my everlasting nerves. But I only brought you here because I wasn’t ready to take you home yet. I don’t even really want to make out with you because I like talking to you too much.”

  I close my eyes, wishing I hadn’t just said all that. I know girls like guys who play the uninterested asshole part. I’m usually pretty good at playing that part, but not with Six. Maybe because I usually am an uninterested asshole, but with her I’m as interested and curious and hopeful as I can possibly be.

  “Which house is yours?” she asks.

  I point across the street. “That one,” I say, pointing to the one with the living room light on.

  “Really?” she asks, sounding genuinely interested. “Is your family home?”

  I nod. “Yeah, but you aren’t meeting them. They’re evil liars and I already told them I was never bringing you home to meet them.”

  I can feel her turn and look at me. “You told them you were never bringing me to meet them? So you already mentioned me?”

  I meet her gaze. “Yes. I might have mentioned you.”

  She smiles. “Which one is your bedroom?”

  “First window on the left side of the house. Chunk’s bedroom is the window on the right. The one with the light on.”

  She stands up again. “Is your window unlocked? I want to see what your bedroom looks like.”

  Jesus, she’s nosey.

  “I don’t want you to see my bedroom. I’m unprepared. It’s messy.”

  She begins walking toward the street. “I’m going anyway.”

  I lean my head back and groan, then stand up and follow her toward the house.

  “You’re a piece of work,” I say as we reach my window. She presses her palms against the glass and pushes up. The window doesn’t budge, so I push her aside and open it for her. “I’ve never snuck into my own bedroom before,” I admit. “I’ve snuck out before, but never in.”

  She begins to lift herself up over the ledge, so I grab her by the waist and assist her. She throws her leg over the edge of it and slips inside. I climb in behind her, then walk to the dresser and turn on my lamp. I make a scan of the room to ensure there isn’t anything I don’t want her to see. I kick a pair of underwear under the bed.

/>   “I saw those,” she whispers. She walks to my bed and presses her palms into the mattress, then straightens back up. She scans the room slowly, taking in everything about me. It feels weird, like I’m being exposed.

  “I like your room,” she says.

  “It’s a room.”

  She disagrees with a shake of her head. “No, it’s more than that. This is where you live. This is where you sleep. This is where you feel the most privacy in your whole entire life. This is more than just a room.”

  “It doesn’t feel very private right now,” I say, watching as she skims her hand across every surface of my room. She turns and looks at me, then faces me full-on.

  “What’s the one thing in this room that tells the biggest secret about you?”

  I laugh under my breath. “I’m not telling you that.”

  She tilts her head. “So I’m right. You have secrets.”

  “I never said I didn’t.”

  “Give me one,” she asks. “Just one.”

  I’ll give them all to her if she keeps looking at me like this. She’s so damn adorable. I walk slowly toward her and she swallows a gulp of air. I stop when I’m several inches from her, then I nod my head down toward my mattress. “I’ve never kissed a girl on this bed,” I whisper.

  She looks down at my mattress, then back up to me. “I hope you really don’t expect me to believe you’ve never made out with a girl in your room before.”

  I laugh. “I didn’t say that. I stated I had never kissed a girl on this particular bed. I was being honest, because it’s a brand-new mattress. I just got it last week.”

  I can see the change in her eyes. The heavy rise and fall of her chest. She likes that I’m so close to her and she likes that I’m insinuating I want to kiss her on my bed.

  Her eyes fall to the bed. “Are you saying you want to kiss me on your bed?”

  I lean in closer until my lips are right next to her ear. “Are you saying you would let me?”

  She sucks in a soft rush of air and I love that we’re both feeling this. I want to kiss her on my bed so damn bad. I want it more than I even wanted the damn bed. Hell, I don’t even care if it’s on the bed. I just want to kiss her. I don’t care where it is. I’ll kiss her anywhere she’ll allow me to kiss her.

  I close the small gap between our bodies by resting my hands on her hips and pulling her to me. Her hands fly up to my forearms and she gasps. I dig my fingers into her hips and rest my cheek against hers. My mouth is still grazing her ear as I close my eyes, enjoying the feel of this.

  I love the way she smells. I love the way she feels. And even though I haven’t really given her an honest to God kiss yet, I already love the way she kisses.

  “Daniel,” she whispers. My name crashes against my shoulder when it rushes out of her mouth. “Will you take me home now?”

  I wince at her words, immediately wondering what I just did wrong. I remain still for several long seconds, waiting until the feel of her against me no longer has me completely paralyzed.

  “You didn’t do anything wrong,” she says, immediately easing the doubt building inside me. “I just think I should go home.”

  Her voice is soft and sweet and I suddenly hate every single guy in her past who has ever failed to get to know this side of her.

  I don’t release her immediately. I turn my head slightly until my forehead is touching the side of her head. “Did you love him?” I ask, allowing my brilliant brain to completely ruin this moment between us.


  “The guy in Italy,” I clarify. “The one who hurt you. Did you love him?”

  Her forehead meets my shoulder and the way she fails to respond to that question reveals her answer, but it also fills me with so many more questions. I want to ask her if she still loves him. If she’s still with him. If they still talk.

  I don’t say anything, though, because I have a feeling she wouldn’t be here with me right now if any of that were the case. I bring my hand up to the back of her head and I press my lips into her hair. “Let’s get you home,” I whisper.

  • • •

  “Thanks for buying me dinner,” she says when we reach her front door.

  “You didn’t really give me a choice. You left your house without a penny and then you shoved the bill in my face.”

  She laughs as she unlocks her front door, but doesn’t open it yet. She turns back around and lifts her eyes, looking at me through lashes so long and thick, I have to refrain from reaching out and touching them.

  Kissing her at dinner was definitely spontaneous, but I was sure it would make this moment a breeze.

  It hasn’t.

  If anything, I feel even more pressure to kiss her because it’s already happened once tonight. And the fact that it’s already happened and I know how damn good it feels makes me want it even more, but now I’m scared I’ve built it up too much.

  I begin to lean in toward her when her lips part.

  “Are you gonna use tongue this time?” she whispers.

  I squeeze my eyes shut and take a step back, completely thrown off by her comment. I rub my palms down my face and groan.

  “Dammit, Six. I was already feeling inadequate. Now you’ve just put expectations on it.”

  She’s smiling when I look at her again. “Oh, there are definitely expectations,” she says teasingly. “I expect this to be the most mind-blowing thing I’ve ever experienced, so you better deliver.”

  I sigh, wondering if the moment can possibly be recovered. I doubt it. “I’m not kissing you now.”

  She nods her head. “Yes you are.”

  I fold my arms over my chest. “No. I’m not. You just gave me performance anxiety.”

  She takes a step toward me and slides her hands between my folded arms, pushing against them until they unlock. “Daniel Wesley, you owe me a do-over since you made me kiss you in a crowded restaurant next to a dirty diaper.”

  “It wasn’t crowded,” I interject.

  She glares at me. “Put your hands on my face and push me against this wall and slip me some tongue! Now!”

  Before she can laugh at herself, my hands are casing her face and her back is pressed against the wall of her house and my lips are on hers. It happens so fast, it catches her off guard and she gasps, which causes her lips to part farther than she probably meant for them to. As soon as I caress the tip of her tongue with mine, she’s clenching my shirt in two tight fists, pulling me closer. I tilt my head and take the kiss deeper, wanting to give her all the feels she can possibly get from a kiss and I want her to have them all at once.

  My mouth isn’t having a problem remembering what to do this time. What it’s having a problem with is remembering how to slow down. Her hands are now in my hair and if she moans into my damn mouth one more time I’m afraid I might carry her to the backseat of my car and try to cheapen this date.

  I can’t do that. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. I like this girl too much already and I’ll be damned if this isn’t our first date and she already has me thinking about the next one. I brace my hands on the wall behind her head and I force myself to push off of her.

  We’re both panting. Gasping for breath. I’m breathing heavier than any kiss has ever made me breathe before. Her eyes are closed and I absolutely love how she doesn’t immediately open them when I’m finished kissing her. I like that she seems to want to savor the way I make her feel, just like I want to savor her.

  “Daniel,” she whispers.

  I groan and drop my forehead to hers, touching her cheek with my hand. “You make me love my name so damn much.”

  She opens her eyes and I pull back, looking down on her, still stroking her cheek. She’s looking at me the same way I’m looking at her. Like we can’t believe our luck.

  “You better not turn out to be an asshole,” she says quietly.

  “And you better be done with that guy in Italy,” I reply.

  She nods. “I am,” she says, although her eyes seem to tell
a different story. I try not to read into it because whatever it is, it doesn’t matter now. She’s here with me. And she’s happy about that. I can tell.

  “You better not take back the girl who broke your heart last night,” she adds.

  I shake my head. “Never. Not after this. Not after you.”

  She seems relieved by my answer.

  “This is scary,” she whispers. “I’ve never had a boyfriend before. I don’t know how this works. Do people become exclusive this fast? Are we supposed to pretend we’re not that interested for a few more dates?”

  Oh, dear God.

  I’ve never been turned on by a girl laying claim to me before. I usually run in the other direction. She’s obliterating every single thing I thought I knew about myself with every new sentence that passes those lips.

  “I have no interest in faking disinterest,” I say. “If you want to
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