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We get back late, laughing as we come in the door, so I quickly try to shush the boys who have gotten a little out of hand, hoping they don’t wake up the rest of the house.
“This is another reason I love my sister,” Dillion whispers to Alex. “She’s showed me how to enjoy life, without needing a drop of alcohol.”
“I had a blast tonight. Thanks, Tiger.” He gives me a kiss on the cheek, “Good night.”
“Thank you for my present,” I say, hugging the package from the toy store.
“Hey now! No getting possessive. That doesn’t belong to you. You are only a temporary caretaker until the real owner arrives.”
I give him a mock salute. “Yes, sir. I will take very good care of your gift. I promise.”
“You better. Good night, Alex. Glad I’ve gotten this chance to get to know you better.”
“Yeah, me too,” Alex says, reaching out to shake his hand. My brother reaches for it but then pulls him in for a hug. Alex's obvious surprise makes me chuckle.
“Hey, you’re family now,” my brother tells him. “Thanks for looking out for Tiger here. I owe you one.”
Alex glances at me and smiles. My heart flutters and I catch Dillion looking at me.
That smug grin is back, so I wrinkle my nose at him, and he laughs before heading up to bed.
That’s right, it’s time for bed, a bed I’ll now be sharing with Alex. I swallow hard. “Shall we?” I say, gesturing to go upstairs.
“Ladies first,” he says, mimicking my gesture.
I give a shaky smile and lead the way back to my room. I find my way easily in the dark, having had a lifetime of wandering this room. Alex however, is not so lucky. I hear him bump into something with a painful noise, just as I turn on the bedside lamp.
“Mmmmm!” I see Alex with his lips pressed together and rubbing his hip. He must have bumped into my bureau.
“You okay?” I ask.
“Yeah, I should have waited until you turned on the light. I just followed you blindly.”
“Just admit it, you’d follow me anywhere,” I say, surprising myself with how flirty I sound. I blush at my own words.
He looks at me slyly and comes over to the other side of the bed. “I think that’s safe to say. May I?” he asks, pointing to the bag that’s on the bed.
I shake my head, yes, not daring to utter another word at this moment and he pulls out my brother’s present for the baby.
“It really is a great gift,” he says holding up a little tiger cub stuffed animal. “I feel bad that I haven’t gotten you anything.”
“Don’t be silly,” I say, reaching out for the toy. Alex hands it to me and I instantly hug it to myself. “You don’t need to do something like that.”
“I know I don’t need to Cat, but I’d like to,” he says, as he reaches down for the bottom of his shirt and starts to pull it off. His delightful abs are now showing and I find myself staring for a second or two before I shake my head and ask, “What are you doing?”
He pauses and looks at me strangely. “Getting ready for bed?” he says hesitantly, probably wondering what he is doing wrong.
Of course, he wouldn’t think it weird to undress in front of me. I’ve seen him in his boxers dozens of times but it's still a little too much for me to handle. “Do you uh… do you own pajamas?” I ask.
He just grins and shakes his head no. “Is that a problem? If you prefer I can sleep with my clothes on. I just tend to get overheated at night… but if it makes you feel weird, I’ll deal with it,” he rambles.
I don't want him to be uncomfortable. It is bad enough having to share the bed. “No, you’re fine,” I say hugging the stuffed animal a little tighter, wondering how I am going to survive this week with him nearly naked and snuggled up next to me.
He shrugs and says, “Okay.”
He pulls his shirt off the rest of the way, taking the time to fold it and place it in his bag. When he goes for his pants, I quickly turn around, but not before hearing a muffled chuckle.
I put down the cub, grab my pajamas and make my escape to the bathroom. He may be okay with undressing in front of me but I most definitely am NOT okay with doing so in front of him.
My mind starts to play with the idea of what it might be like to undress for him and then I pat my cheeks. Wake up, girl. Not going to happen. I quickly dress, brush my teeth and wash my face.
Having stalled long enough, I return to my room just to find him standing there with his robe on. It's the one he let me borrow the day I left Liam and Alex found me crying in his bathroom. I am ashamed of myself for being disappointed that he’s suddenly covered up. I’m hopeless.
I notice the toothpaste and toothbrush in his hand. Of course, he can’t very well go traipsing down the hall in just his underwear. He’s staring at me and I feel so self-conscious. I wish I had brought my PJ’s with bottoms instead of this T-shirt nightgown that only comes to my knees, but I didn’t expect to be sleeping with anyone.
“Bathroom is open,” I say, breaking the awkward silence.
He just nods and walks off. I sigh deeply as I sit on the edge of the bed and pick up the little cub stuffed animal again. It really is a cute tiger cub with huge eyes and I simply adore it. My own stuffed bear has been my favorite gift from my brother, until now.