Carter's gentle snores woke me the next morning. I could feel that it was too early to get up, but sleep evaded me. Oh well, I thought, it gives me an excuse to stare at Carter. I studied his face intently, comitting his features to memory. My eyes swept over his square jaw, the stubble making him look extra handsome, his perfect Roman nose, and his flawless bone structure.

I delicately ran my hand through his hair and traced his full lips with my fingertips. He stirred and his blurry eyes opened to meet mine. His face softened and he pulled me closer to him, wrapping his arms tighter around me.

'Good morning,' he said groggily, planting a kiss on my forehead.

'Morning,' I said with a smile, 'Did you sleep well?'

'Like the dead,' he mumbled as he nuzzled my neck.

We lay like that for a while, my hand slowly stroking his forearm, with its dusting of silky black hair.

'I love you,' he said suddenly.

I stiffened in his arms, my pulse hammering, and my breathing becoming incerasingly shallow. Oh God, here come the tears, I thought. I had never been in love before, and all of this falling in my lap at once really overwhelmed me.

'I love you too,' I whispered as the tears spilled over.

'Are you alright? Did I do somethig wrong?' he asked worriedly, holding me tighter against him.

'No, no, it's not you. The problem is me,' I stated.

'What are you talking about?' he asked.

I hesitated. 'It doesn't make sense for you to love me. You're the popular sports God, and I'm the bookworm,' I said, leaving out the fact that this relationship was such a cliche.

He rolled us over so that he was hovering over me, resting on his elbows.'It makes perfect sense. You're amazing, and smart, and funny, and.........perfect for me. I've never told anyone that I loved them before, so that should tell you how much you mean to me. Don't sell yourself short like that,' he stated firmly.

I dried my tears and looked up at his flawless face. I loved him so much that it hurt, and he gave me the validation that I so desperately needed.

Wrapping my arms around his neck, I pulled his face to mine until our lips touched. He kissed me softly for a moment before trailing his lips down to my throat. His hand curved around my elbow, moving slowly down my arm, across my ribs and over my waist, tracing along my hip and down my leg, around my knee. He paused there, his hand curling around my calf. He pulled my leg up suddenly, hitching ir around his hip. My breath caught and his lips moved to the hollow at the base of my throat.

I threw myself into the kiss with a little too much enthusiasm, tugging at his shirt in a futile attempt to pull it off.

He gently pushed my hands away and pulled his lips from mine, laying his head on my chest to listen to my rapid heartbeat.

'We better stop,' he said, 'or we'll go to far, and I want the first time to be special.'

'Me too,' I whispered. I know what you're thinking; of course we want it to be special and perfect, don't they always? But when you're in love, the statement holds more truth.

After we calmed down and my pulse was under control, we discovered that we were ravenous. I didn't feel like cooking, so we had to settle for cereal.

'What's on the adgenda for today?' I asked.

'Hmmm...' I watched him frame his answer carefully. 'Would you be opposed to meeting someone special?'

I gulped.

'Um-uh...is it....family? I stammered.

He laughed. 'No, but they're like family.' he said with a smile.

'Um....ok,' I said uncertainly.

'Awesome! I'll run home and prepare them for you,' he said happily.

'You make me sound like a deadly disease,' I said through laughter.

'Maybe, but I love you anyway,' he replied with a goofy grin.

'What should I wear?' I asked.

'Whatever you want to. This isn't a fancy thing,' he said.

'Ok, then, sweatshirt it is!' I said. When I dress, I value comfort above all else.

I followed him to the door, slightly dismayed to see him leave, but knowing that he would be back soon.

'I'll be back. Love you,' he said with one last kiss.

I wathced him drive away, and then I was all alone.

 

Red

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