I never expected to see Wyatt back in town again.
I also never expected to end up being married to him.
I had been in love with Wyatt Jones since I hit puberty and boys went from being yucky to yummy. I was pretty sure that was when all other girls in Salvation, Nebraska fell in love with him too. But I had what I thought was an advantage; Wyatt was my brother Ryder’s best friend. He spent a lot of time at our house, so I got to know him pretty well. I learned that he wasn’t just a dark-haired, green-eyed, drool-worthy hottie. He was smart, and sweet, even though he often seemed lost, which I suspected came from his home life that was rumored to be chaotic.
What I didn’t know was that Wyatt and Ryder’s being friends was a hindrance to my being with him until just after we graduated from high school. Wyatt and I were helping my brother move out of our family home to his own little apartment in town. Ryder’s truck was packed to the hilt, including in the cab where a TV and gaming equipment acted like a wall between the driver and passenger seat. It was so cramped that I had to sit on Wyatt’s lap as we drove to Ryder’s new place.
I, of course, didn’t complain about this situation. Wyatt always smelled so good, a mixture of the outdoors and soap. His jeans were butter-soft under my bare thighs. As we bumped along the road, those jeans filled with something hard. My entire body came alive with electricity when I realized what that meant. Wyatt was turned on. By me!
He shifted and cleared his throat. He must have been uncomfortable or embarrassed. Wanting him to know I was okay with his response, I took his hands and set them on my thighs, moving them over the top and all the way to the edge of my cutoff jean shorts. He stilled, but didn’t remove his hands. I glanced over toward the driver side of the truck, but I could only see the top of my brother’s head as he chatted away about this new stage in his life where he could work full-time on his budding music career. Emboldened, I worked Wyatt’s fingers under the hem of my shorts, the action telling him he could have me if he wanted me. His breath was hot against my ear as he shifted again, and I wondered if that was to reduce the friction or increase it.
Unfortunately, Salvation was a small town, so we arrived at my brother’s new place before I could really push my luck. Once we moved Ryder in, we all drove back to my parents’ house, but with everything out of the truck, I didn’t need to sit on Wyatt’s lap. But I knew what I felt, and when I had a moment alone, I confronted him about it.
He smirked. “That’s what happens when girls sit on a guy’s lap.”
His comment was like a slap. “So, what you’re saying is that any girl sitting on your lap, you’d…you’d…”
“Get a woody, yes.” He made it seem like no big deal, and when my brother rejoined us bringing iced tea, the conversation was dropped.
I should have known, I told myself. I’d been dropping hints about my attraction to him since the moment I realized I loved him, but he’d ignored them or didn’t notice them.
Later that night, I headed down to the little creek that ran through the back of my parents’ property to sit under a large tree. I was still stinging from Wyatt’s comment that basically said I wasn’t special. It wasn’t his fault he wasn’t into me, but my heart was still aching.
“What are you doing?”
I looked up to see Wyatt leaning against the tree.
I shrugged. “Just sitting.” I wasn’t going to let him know how much he hurt me. It was time to let this silly crush go. In a few months I’d be heading off to college. Like my brother, Wyatt was going to remain in town, except he was going to work on his father’s cattle ranch.
He came and sat next to me. “I feel like I owe you an apology.”
“Why?” I kept looking out over the moonlit water, trying to ignore the heat of his body next to mine.
“You can’t help it if you don’t like me.” Inwardly I winced, not liking having revealed so much.
“Then I really do owe you an apology.”
I turned my head, not realizing just how close he was. His green eyes stared at me and it felt like a magnet pulling me to him.
“What do you mean?”
“I do like you.” His gaze drifted down to my lips and then back up to my eyes.
I turned away, determined not to let my hormones get caught up in the fantasy of Wyatt Jones again.
“As friends, I know.”
“We’re friends, yes, but it’s more than that.”
My head whipped around to look at him. “What?”