For a limited time I am going to post The V-Day Aversion (Dom & Kate #2), chapter by chapter every Saturday. If you haven’t read Bird Day Battalion (Dom & Kate #1), grab a free copy in any digital format at these retailers:
The V-Day Aversion
by Genevieve Dewey
Copyright 2013 by Genevieve Dewey. All Rights Reserved.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
Dominic ignored the metaphorical daggers he knew Kate was aiming at him and continued on into the kitchen to make a quick sandwich. He’d missed lunch because his mother had raised him with some sense of decency, so he hadn’t ordered anything without Katelyn. Now he was starving, which lowered his patience and yet did nothing to lower the horny, a counterproductive combination if there ever was one.
“Dom,” Kate sighed, with one of those woman tones that somehow said fifty-jillion things and nothing at all.
She dropped her keys on the counter with a clack.
He didn’t say anything as he got out the sliced chicken and cheese. It was a testament to how much he loved Kate that he was suffering through a chicken sandwich when his mother lived next door. She always had the best salami and prosciutto wrapped around fresh mozzarella… the extra drool that this thought elicited helped him get down Kate’s dry 12-grain bread.
Dom hated 12-grain bread.
“‘M not schtupid y’know,” he mumbled around a bite.
Katelyn blinked, but remained mute.
“You’ve been doing the avoiding thing you like to do ever since I started hinting you should move in with me,” Dom continued after he swallowed. “I’ve watched you do this with every boyfriend you’ve inadvertently tortured me with over the years. True, maybe it was a little arrogant to think it’d be different with me. But, if you’re not ready to move in together, just say so. I just figured that, you know, we’ve known each other our whole lives, so there’s no need for the getting to know you dating period and, obviously, sexually speaking, we are very compatible—”
“Ugh, please stop,” she said, holding a hand up and looking towards the hallway.
“Ugh?” he asked.
Really, what was wrong with this woman? Dom wondered.
First, she keeps him waiting for years, and now she was backtracking faster than a politician at a debate. If she wasn’t ready to move in with him, what would she say when he asked her to marry him?
He frowned at his sandwich.
“Dominic,” she said in that annoying ‘I’m about to lecture you’ tone she had.
He looked back up and narrowed his eyes at her.
She smiled that sheepish, just-been-caught smile. She had no idea how sexy she was when she did that. Or how much he wanted to just give her whatever she asked for. But Kyle was right; he had to put his foot down at some point. First, it was 12-grain bread, and no Valentine’s Day. Next, she’d be asking him to get up and run with her in the morning. Or wear her mother’s knitted sweaters. A guy had to have limits.
“Dom,” she said in a much softer tone. “Dom, I’m not opposed to the idea of us moving in together, but you know how much this place means to me, and every time you bring it up you imply it’s me who should move—”
“Well, excuse me for not relishing the idea of living next to my mother for the rest of eternity,” Dom interrupted. “Not to mention, you never changed the locks, so your parents have keys to this place and could walk in whenever they like. It honestly never occurred to me to move in here.”
Katelyn’s eyes darted towards the direction of next door and she winced a bit.
“First, I hardly ever see your mom, or dad for that matter. They spend more time visiting people than they do here. And my Mom and Dad wouldn’t show up unannounced,” she said, but her eyelid twitched the way it always did when she wasn’t being truthful.
It probably wasn’t normal that he found even that to be sexy.
Dom shook his head and stuffed his hands in his pockets to keep them from touching her. It was a habit he’d picked up somewhere around puberty when all he did was think about touching her.
He took a deep breath.
“You and I both know that my mother would be over here all the time if I lived here. And you hardly ever see her because you hardly ever leave the house.”
Katelyn gave him an affronted huff and dropped her purse on the counter by her keys. She glared at him in silence for what felt like an eternity in man minutes, but was probably not nearly enough in female minutes. Then she walked over to the kitchen island and started making herself a peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwich.
He stifled a shudder of disgust at all the sugar in the thing.
“I have a job in Lincoln now,” she finally said, chin in the air.
“And I’m happy for you, babe, but you do telecommute half the week.”
“To save gas!”
A little dab of honey came down the side of her mouth and her tongue darted out to catch it.
He felt himself harden, and instead of distracting him from their argument, he felt a sudden panicked urgency to get her to see reason. Like that last drive in the fourth quarter of a game, this wasn’t the time to get complaisant. He knew Katelyn Anderson like the back of his hand, obviously not all of her grown up quirks and philosophies, but the basic core of her. And he knew the more she felt pressured, the more she was inclined to run from any decision at all.
“Skate,” he said softly in that low, husky voice that always made her mouth part and her eyes glaze. “Babe, I love you, and I’ve loved you for so long that I just want to get started on our happy ever after. I’m sorry if I’m pushing you into something you don’t want, but you’re going to need to tell me what you do want if this isn’t working.”
She tilted her head to the side and sighed. A curl of hair stuck in the honey on her lips and he wanted to liberate it with his tongue. But she reached up and pushed back her wild brown curls behind her ears. She stuck her hands on her hips, then she smiled that spunky little crooked smile he had fallen in love with at the age of thirteen.
“You’ve been talking to your sister again, haven’t you?” Kate asked. “You always start speaking like a Hallmark card after you’ve been talking to Demetria.”
“I do not!”
“Um, ‘get started on our happy ever after’?” Katelyn repeated in a faux male voice.
“Fine. I’ve been talking to Demi. Is that a crime now, too? My girlfriend’s been avoiding me for the last two week. Desperate times, babe.”
“Just as long as you don’t start talking about the universal collective or whatever Zen stuff she’s into these days in Boulder. I’ve always thought Demi and Kellie should write travel brochures together. They’d sell like hot cakes.”
“You could use a little more Zen in your life, and you’re deflecting again, Skate. Why is it so hard for you to discuss our future like two rational adults? If I bring it up lately you either bolt or you try and distract me with sex. I definitely preferred the sex tactic to this one, just so you know.”
Katelyn sighed heavily and came forward.
“I’m sorry, Dom, I just… you know what this house means to me,” she repeated.
“What I know is it’s your security blanket because you hate to take chances.”
“I took a chance on you.”
“Exactly. So, I know you have no trouble changing your mind about something when you want to. You didn’t want to do that thing in bed until I showed you how good it could be and now it’s your favorite thing to do.”
She blushed crimson and stuffed some sandwich in her mouth.
“There’s a difference between taking a chance on a person and ignoring an obligation,” she said around a mouthful of food. “I took out a thirty year mortgage, Dom.”
“And you are not the first person in the history of house buying that is allowed to change her mind. It’s like, almost paralyzing for you. The rules say… the rules say…” he said in a mocking voice. “To hell with the rules, Kate! It’s just a house. Live a little.”
She stared dull-eyed at him and leaned on the counter, mouth in a straight line.
“First, why is it that you and everyone else says that when they want me to do what they want? Second, I don’t want to change my mind. It’s not just a house. It’s my house.”
“So is this just about the house or about moving in with me in general? You understand why I might be confused, because you loved outdoing me exchanging candies on Valentine’s Day when we were kids, and now apparently I’m not allowed to take you out and give you a gift.”
“You are allowed to give me gifts. Anytime. Just not because the calendar told you to. And it’s different with kids. When kids celebrate it, it’s about observing rituals and communal solidarity and teaching kindness like any other holiday. With adults it’s about obligation—”
“God, please don’t start on the lecture again. I get it. You hate the concept of Valentine’s Day. But I like the idea of taking out the woman I love and showering her with gifts. I don’t like the idea that the guys at the high school are going to ask me, ‘so what’d you get Kate for Valentine’s?’, and when I say ‘nothing’, I look like a jerk.”
“Well, that’s their problem,” Katelyn said with her chin in the air again. “We’re already going to go out for my birthday to Lo Sole Mio. I talked with the manager who’s friends with Mom and they’ll save us a nice table, and I’ll even wear a nice dress and heels, and… what?”
Dominic continued to stare incredulously at her for a beat before replying.
“I am supposed to get us reservations, not you. The man is supposed to do all that not the woman!”
Katelyn put her hands back on her hips, and her mouth parted as wide as her eyes narrowed.
In the back crevices of his mind he could hear Andrew’s warning buzzer, err, err, err…
“That has easily got to be the most sexist thing I’ve heard you say since that BS at Thanksgiving about taking care of a woman so she doesn’t have to work.”
“Well, you wouldn’t have to work if you lived with me.”
She glared at him for so long he was beginning to wonder if some guy somewhere had worked out the math conversion chart for the length of the stare translated into the degree of stubborn irrational female mad that would follow. She picked up her sandwich and slowly took a bite, all without releasing the predatory glare.
He took a deep breath in and out, and started over.
“What I mean is, if you wanted to not work you wouldn’t have to, but if you wanted to work, you could. That better?”
She slammed her sandwich back down on the plate and walked right past him into the living room.
He followed her.
“See you’re doing it again, first you change the subject to Valentine’s…”
“You changed the subject, Dominic,” she sneered.
“…and then you leave the room.”
“I left the room because you said I should curb my habit of smacking people when I’m upset. And I’m not going to get rooked into giving up my home, and then my job, like Kandace did and the next thing you know, I’m lurking in bushes and squatting at my sister’s house!”
“What on earth are you talking about?” he asked, thoroughly confused.
“Nothing! Never mind. Just forget it. This is not the time or place to be having this discussion.” She turned around as she said it and stopped.
Her eyes widened and she started backing up.
Dom hooked one arm around her and the other in her hair and kissed her with everything he had. He was so damned confused at this point – houses, jobs, Valentine’s – all he wanted was to make her happy and to figure out what would make her happy with him.
When Kate’s hands had made their way into his hair, and she started making those sexy pre-surrender mewling sounds, he pulled back. He grinned at the dazed and aroused look in her eyes.
“I love you,” he said.
“I love you, too,” she said, her eyes softening even more.
When she leaned in for more kisses, he leaned back.
“At least say we can celebrate Valentine’s here at the house.”
“I told you—” she cut off as he squeezed her tighter.
“Dom…” she sighed.
He could sense weakness of resolve, but then the doorbell rang.
“Ignore that,” Dominic said as his lips dipped to meet hers again.
“Wait, Dom, there’s something I need to tell—mmpff—”
He kissed her until her leg wrapped around his and she started doing that thing he loved with her hand on his…
“Dominic! Sweetheart, I saw you sitting on the porch. Open the door! I need to talk to you about your father,” Ramona Valentini called through the door.
His brain screeched to a halt.
“Annnd, I rest my case,” Dom said.
Kate grimaced and dipped her forehead to his chest.
He reluctantly let her go and walked over to open the front door. His mother quickly cupped his face in her palms and bussed him on the cheek before brushing past him into Kate’s home.
“Hello, Katelyn, how are you?” Ramona asked, then without waiting for an answer, turned back around to face Dominic.
“Your father is being completely unreasonable about Nonna and her beaux again, so I need you to go next door and make him see reason.”
“Mom, Kate and I were sort of in the middle of something…”
Dominic looked over at Katelyn and saw she was scooting around the couch about to escape to the kitchen. He tried to side step his mother to stop Kate, but Ramona grabbed his ear.
“Go next door and talk to your father. You can play hide the salami with your girlfriend later.”
Dom could hear feminine laughter coming from the hallway even as his eyes locked on the extremely embarrassed gaze of his girlfriend standing by the door of the dining room. He looked to the right and saw Kandace leaning against the wall of the hallway.
She raised a finger and waved it at him.
“You’re totally right about the hitting thing. She really goes all violent when she gets mad. We’re always ‘use your words, Katie’,” Kandace drawled in a sing-song, “… but no dice.”
Ramona turned and gave Kandace a confused look. Katelyn looked like she wanted to melt into the floor.
Dominic sighed. An overbearing mother, potential random in-law visits, and apparently a run-away flighty sister all in the same house…
And Kate really wondered why he didn’t want to move in here?
–Copyright 2013, Genevieve Dewey.
To Be Continued… NEXT SATURDAY.