He glanced down at his deflated boxers and thrust his hand through his hair in frustration. “You sure you want to talk about this now?” He sure as hell wasn’t.
Teal scoffed. “If it’s stopping me from finishing, you’re damn straight I want to talk about it. Let’s get this over with, so it doesn’t interrupt us again tomorrow.” Her voice seemed a bit playful and Trent loathed what he was about to say.
“Fine, I was thinking about Independence Day, and—”
“Did you book your flight?”
“No, I didn’t.” He paused, readying himself for the next bit. “But I booked you a flight here.”
Her silence was deafening, yet still he waited, hoping she was pleasantly shocked into silence, and not fuming on the other end.
After another beat, she finally spoke. “Okay.” Her voice was soft and slow, as if she were talking to a child. “I thought we discussed this. You were supposed to be coming here for the Fourth of July. You want to see your God-babies, and Katie and Logan, don’t you?”
He did want to see them, but Katie and Logan had already figured their shit out. They were building an extension on their house, Logan’s gym had taken off, allowing Logan to hire a manager—which gave him more time at home; and here sat Trent, clocking hand jobs over the phone with his woman. And that shit wasn’t going to work.
“Look,” he sighed, “I wanted to go up there, and I almost bought the fucking ticket to Vermont, but I had an idea.”
Teal groaned. “Oh no.”
He sensed she understood exactly where this was heading. They’d spoken about it plenty of times over the last few months. However, today, Trent wasn’t backing down. He sat up and moved the phone to the other ear, ready for whatever excuse Teal made.
“Yes, ‘cause I can tell you now that this over-the-phone shit is weighing on me. You are my fucking woman and I want to do more than hear your voice when you come. I want to wake up next to you every morning, I want to shower with you, and make actual love to you. How hard is that to understand?”
He stood and made his way to the bathroom as his frustration grew, words fell from his mouth faster. “And more than that, I want to make a life with you. I am not in this shit for anything else but the long run. This isn’t some seven-month fling. I want you in my life from here on out. You damn sure have to know that by now.” He paused.
Jesus Christ. What the hell was he saying? Was marriage on the table? Trent wasn’t sure he was ready for that shit. He just wanted to move their relationship to the next level. What the hell was the next level for a couple in a long distance relationship?
As if wondering or fearing the same thing, Teal sputtered, “W—what—what exactly are you asking?”
Trent was on a roll now. “Calm the fuck down, Teal. I wasn’t on my knees as I spoke, and I damned sure haven’t picked up a ring.” He took her silence as relief, as he used the toilet and washed his hands. “I think it’s time we had a conversation, and not an argument, over where we are going next. And it needs to be done in person.”
When the fuck had the roles reversed? In between his odd relationship with his crazy ex, and a few other women he’d dated, they were always trying to pin him down and get a move-in date. Some had even gone as far as to show him wedding dresses and floral arrangements. But, oh no, not Teal. She had to be a hard ass and make him fall to his knees for damned near everything.
Trent was no pussy, but he’d reached the end of his rope. Maybe their relationship was lopsided. Maybe he wanted more than Teal was ready to give. Their relationship had started with an inevitable collision of lust and passion, but perhaps the fog had lifted for her.
Or maybe, Teal wanted Trent to beg. But he wasn’t about to do that. He and Teal would get together this summer, and he would convince her to move to Kentucky—even if she killed him in the process. Because after the dust had settled, after he’d reached a new clarity in his life, all he could see, taste, and feel, was Teal.
Trent calmed, the anger leaving his body in a whoosh. He’d been holding back his need for her, after recognizing her fear of what they had. He’d held back his love for her, for fear of drowning her in it. But he would do that no more.
“I’m saying I bought you a ticket here for the celebration of the Fourth. I need to see you, and I fucking need to look in your eyes as you respond to the things I need to say.” When she was silent he added. “Logan already knows I won’t be up there, and he thinks it’s a fine idea that you head down here. I’ll see the girls some other time.”
Only the rustling of covers alerted him to the fact Teal hadn’t hung up. He waited, hoping she wouldn’t lash out. He could only imagine the things rolling through her mind. The pressure to move forward in the relationship was building in his chest, and Teal was either going to give in, or Trent’s upper body cavity was going to explode.
“Fuck, Teal.” His words came out in an exasperated breath. “Say something.”
After a bit more shuffling and crackling over the line, Teal spoke. “How hot does it get in Kentucky? Am I headed to the bowels of hell, or is it more like the summers we have up here?”
Trent’s heart flooded with relief, and words—unintelligible words—left his mouth in a rush. The ease in her acquiescence confused the fuck out of him, but he would roll with it. Trent only comprehended some of the babble that left his mouth. Words like the devil’s ass and hot as fuck left in a rush.
Shock didn’t come close to explaining how he felt about Teal coming to his home. He’d been prepared to beg, threaten, and if necessary, go to Vermont and abduct her ass. The fact that he would soon have his woman in his arms sent him into a tailspin.
He listened as she moved around her condo, mentioning the fact she would not deal well with heat . . . and then there was something about humidity and her hair turning into a cotton ball. But Trent didn’t care if she shaved the shit off, as long as she got her ass on the plane and ended up in his home. Soon.