When Dakota reaches me, she immediately wraps her arms around my neck and pulls me to her. Our embrace lasts a few beats longer than usual and when she pulls away, she leans her head on my arm and keeps it there. She's nearly a foot shorter than me at five foot three. Her hair adds height, the wild mass of curls lets her add three inches onto her driver's license.
The tip of her nose is slightly reddened and her hair is particularly wild today. She's not wearing mittens though, instead she's not wearing much of anything. I'm not complaining.
"What are you doing over on this side of the tracks?" Dakota asks me, her brown eyes resting on mine.
"And what the hell happened to your face?" She adds, pressing her fingers against the side of my forehead. I wince from the contact and she frowns.
"Is there a knot or something?" I touch over the sensitive spot with my fingers and sure enough, there's a knot.
"A knot and a bruise. Did you get in a street brawl on the way here?" She teases and I miss her.
There's no way in hell I'm telling her what actually happened to my head. Or my knee. Gah, I feel like a creep now that she's in front of me and I think of her every time I make myself come. I briefly wonder if she does the same.
"Not quite, I fell in the shower. But I like your version better," I laugh, looking down at her. My answer humors her and she bounces on the heels of her tennis shoes. The taut muscles of her thighs are defined, dancing full time agrees with her.
"So what are you doing over here? Do you want to get a coffee or something?" She proposes.
Her eyes dart across the street and she stares at the couple I saw earlier. Their hands are intertwined as they trot down the streets of Brooklyn. It's a romantic sight, him wrapping his coat around her shoulders, him leaning down to kiss her hair. Dakota looks up at me and I wish I could hear inside of her head. Does she miss me? Does seeing that couple happy and holding hands make her miss me?
She wants to hang out with me now, what does that mean? I have absolutely nothing to do, but I probably should act like I have somewhat of a life outside of school and work. Why do I have to overthink everything?
"I have some free time now," I shrug my shoulders and she loops her arm through mine and leads the way.
The walk to Starbucks is only a block and Dakota has been next to silent the entire time. Something is off with her, I can tell by her affectionate embraces and her silent tongue.
"Are you cold?" I ask her.
I should have asked her earlier. She has to be cold, she's barely dressed.
She looks up at me, her Rudolph nose gives her away.
"Here," I gently pull away from her and pull my sweatshirt up over my head and hand it to her.
She cuts me a little when she smells the gray fabric, just like she always used to. She was obsessed with wearing my hoodies when we were in High School, I had to buy one every other week to keep up with her thieving ways.
"You still wear Spicebomb," she says, not asking.
She bought me my first bottle of cologne for our first Christmas together and one every year after.
"Yep. Some things never change."
I watch as she pulls my sweatshirt over her head. Her curls push through first and I help yank the fabric down over her mass of hair.
YOU ARE READING
Book 1 of 2 featuring After worldwide fan-favorite Landon Gibson as he leaves Washington to navigate love and life in New York City. At the end of the After Ever Happy, Landon got married-but readers everywhere have been wondering who will get to ca...