she almost threw up at the smell

The Tayvin Wooing Series

The knock at the door came unexpectedly, even though she knew he was on his way up – perks of having security. No one can take you by surprise at your front door. Yet, the gentle thud of his knuckles on her door caused a disruption in her thoughts, in her heartbeat. She looked at the time. Almost fifty minutes have passed since his unknown phone number called her and he invited himself over to her apartment. Since then, she threw on two different outfits before deciding the navy shorts with a slouchy white t-shirt set the mood very distinctly that this was a very casual thing. This wasn’t a date because she dresses up for dates; for casual things, she wears casual clothes. She had lit a candle, inviting the smoky scent of sandalwood to fill the room. No reason other than to make her place smell inviting. Not to set the romantic mood.

The door opened and there he was, standing in the doorway, the corners of his mouth pulled upwards in a loopy, close lipped smile. In his arms were shopping bags with the Whole Foods logo printed on the sides. “Hi,” he said, eyes flashing up over her shoulder, peeking into her spacious apartment. The sounds effects of Law & Order rang out in staccato beats in the background. He raised his arms in offering. “I brought the food.”

She leaned against the doorframe, taking note of how much taller he was tonight than he was when she saw him last. She had been wearing four inch high heels at the Brits. Now, she was barefoot, slouched against a wall and he was so way taller than she remembered. She loved it. He still looked the same, though. He looked good. He looked really good as a matter of fact, dressed down casually like she was in jeans and a black t-shirt. “Thank god, it took you long enough,” she chided, stepping aside, making room for him to walk through. He passed her and she was hit with a wave of his heady aroma. She was lightheaded, but it might have just been because she hadn’t eaten anything since he’s called. “I’m starving. What’d you bring me?”

“Whole Foods. I didn’t know what you liked, so I got a little bit of everything,” he explained, walking in slowly, unsure of where to go. He was distracted as he was saying it, taking in his surroundings, that his words came out sweeter than he probably intended them to sound. He didn’t look like a stranger in her apartment. He looked right at home. It didn’t feel weird him being here, especially with such short notice. Their conversation at the Brits had been good. It had flowed and it made her feel like they were already close friends. She liked that.  Taylor smiled and pointed to the coffee table and he dropped the bags on top of the stained wood. “What are we watching?” He gestured to the TV.

She narrowed her eyes warily, eyeing him. “Law & Order,” she answered.

“What?” he asked, seeing her expression.

“You really flew all the way over here and you’re fine with sitting on the couch watching SVU reruns?”

“Yeah, I’ve actually never even seen any of it before, so it’s fine with me.”

Taylor’s eyes widened. “You’re kidding. You’ve never seen Law & Order before? This is my favorite show. Of all time,” she emphasized.

He shrugged in explanation. “I don’t really watch TV.”

“Really? What do you do in your free time? What do you do to relax?”

“I like to fly across the world and surprise girls with Whole Foods in their apartments.”

“Oh, that’s right,” Taylor nodded appreciatively, “I forgot. That’s quite the hobby. Must keep you pretty busy.”

“You have no idea. After this, I have to head out to Toronto, so we gotta make this quick.”

“Of course,” Taylor laughed. “Anything for your busy schedule.”

They ate on the couch. Taylor used both hands to pull the coffee table close up to the edge of the sofa and they spread out the cartons of food. They ate grilled chicken with lemon garlic sauce and drank bottled water as they watched another episode of Law & Order, this one about a teacher getting a little too close to a student.  In the beginning, they were only half watching, half eating as they picked up right where they left off their conversation in London. Taylor remembered why she had invited him to Nashville now. He was cool. He was a genuinely cool guy. Everything about him was interesting. He wasn’t jaded or cynical like he very easily could have been.

Once the food was all gone and their conversation naturally faded out, the plot of the episode had quieted them both down and they were both pulled into the storyline.  This was a good episode, but Taylor forgot how it ended. Minute by minute, she was pulled onto the edge of her seat. Adam watched her out of the corner of his eyes with a slight grin, liking how very unpretentious everything about her was. She didn’t feel the need to put on a front for him. She was as comfortable with him at a celebrity filled award show as she was with just the two of them watching TV on a couch. He liked it. He liked her. He knew he wasn’t crazy when he got on that plane headed for Tennessee, though he thought he was there for a minute. And who knew, he actually liked the detective show about sexual based offenses in New York City. 

But Adam was a talker. He loved to talk during movies and the shows. He would ask what was happening every two minutes and who was who and wondered aloud who the bad guy was. Taylor usually hated it when people talked during shows – it was her biggest pet peeve – but his voice didn’t bother her as much as other people’s. She would give him a hard time though every time he asked yet another question about what was going on.

Adam asked another question, getting a kick out of how annoyed it made Taylor.  “If you keep talking, I swear to God, I’m gonna kick you out,” Taylor threatened. This was the second time she’s threatened him with that same line.

“Haven’t you said you’ve seen this episode before?” The death stare Taylor gave him was enough for him to quit down. “Okay, okay, sheesh, I’ll be quiet. I promise” A few moments went by and then a new character got introduced on screen. “Okay but wait, who’s this guy now? Why is he –”

Taylor reached over and whacked him in the gut with the back of her hand. “Oh my god, shut up!” She hit him with more force than he thought she would have and he laughed, feeling the impact of her hand on his stomach. She was laughing too, and in the process, his hand grasped hers in his. She didn’t make any movement to get out of it. Instead she scrunched her nose and squeezed his hand and leaned back into the couch, not bothering to shush him anymore, choosing to relish in the feel of his hand in hers.

At the next commercial break, Taylor realized she never offered him a drink besides the water when he came in. Some hostess she was. “Can I get you a drink?” Taylor said, closing her eyes and shaking her head. “What do you like? I have everything – scotch, beer, whiskey?” She trailed off, rising up off the couch, her hand slipping from his.

Adam opened his mouth and made a rolling, hesitating sound in the back of his throat before answering, reluctant to have let her hand go. “I don’t drink, actually.” His tone was firm. Polite, but firm.

“Of course, yeah,” she responded. But after a moment, her curiosity got the better of her.  She imagined he’d be the type to kick back a few at all those crazy after parties she was sure he frequented. EDM was an wild piece of the music industry. “Why not?”

“Ah,” he smiled, cocking his head to narrow his eyes at her. “That’s second or third date material.”

She smiled, fighting that tickle of allurement he had ignited in her belly. She wanted to know more about him. He was doing this on purpose. Dropping a line, fishing her curiosity out of her with one small, unusual comment about himself that she wouldn’t expect from someone like him. She wondered if she had pried too far for asking why. People have their reasons and it might have been insensitive to ask. But his easy, relaxed expression made her feel alright. She felt at ease. She felt closer to him, for some reason. She smiled, chewing on the inside of her cheek, playing with her fingers. “So, I can’t get you drunk and convince you to make bad decisions with me?”

He laughed, a tittering, involuntary laugh. His lips pulled back into the type of smile that revealed the thoughts running through his head at warp speed. “You don’t need to get me drunk to make bad decisions with you. Trust me, not with you.”

She smiled to herself at that. He was being earnest and honest and truthful.
They settled back into the couch, this time, Taylor leaning into him, with his arm draped over the top of the couch. About halfway through the next episode, Taylor leaned her head on his shoulder and Adam dropped his hand so it was resting on her arm. Taylor appreciated the move. She liked the feeling of his arm around her, holding her against him. She wondered if this was too fast, having him over, eating dinner just the two of them, having such a long term relationship kind of date as their first one – but it felt right.

At around ten, the night was drawing to a close. They had turned the TV off and silence filled the room. They walked to the front door with their arms brushing against each other and Taylor already knew she was falling for him. Not in a lovey way or a head over heels, fall to the floor, lose your breath, weak in the knees, sweeping, dramatic type of way. No, she was falling for his personality and how he felt like a real person, not like a status obsessed celebrity. She could visualize how he must’ve been when he was a kid, awkward and adventurous with ambition in his heart. She was falling for the way he was so comfortable and reassured in his own skin and for the inherent kindness she could see in his eyes. She was falling for him in the way that she wanted to become his best friend because he was so funny and could make her laugh. Everything he said made her laugh, even when he wasn’t trying. She was always the person people wanted to be friends with. She was always the interesting one. But this six foot five DJ from Scotland who doesn’t drink and likes to talk while watching TV shows and didn’t mind her cats curling up around his feet and was adventurous enough to fly to a city he’s never been to before for a girl he’s known for not even a week was now here in her living room was the most interesting man she’s ever met and right now, he was looking at her with a soft light in his eye that made her simultaneously lean in closer and want to back away.

They were staring at each other, a string pulling upward in Taylor’s stomach, pulling her head up in a tilt toward him, drawing her toward him. All of the joking and sarcasm and light heartedness from earlier had slowly disappeared. It was just the two of them and the mood had changed.
She watched as his pale blue green eyes flickered from her own to her mouth and then back up to her eyes again. It felt warm in the room, like she had forgotten to turn the heater off, or maybe her candle had tipped over on its side and her kitchen was on fire and neither of them had noticed. A rush of hot blood flooded to her face as his eyes ran roamed over her face.

She swallowed, breaking whatever was just going on between them. There was something happening. She whispered as if she was in a museum and didn’t want to disturb the beautiful silence that had formed between them. “This is second or – “ Taylor breathed out, forcing her body’s involuntary reactions to Adam to slow down. She continued, “second or third date material.” He was looking at her lips again. Several seconds drifted by and Taylor wondered if that soft smile on his mouth had been there this whole time or only after she had repeated back to him what he had said to her earlier. She wondered if he was going to kiss her and if that was a good idea. A kiss was second date material.

He nodded slowly, understandingly, but didn’t back away.  Adam was still looking at her. He was so much taller than she was and she had to tilt her head back a little bit more than she was accustomed to, feeling an unfamiliar strain in the back of her neck that was deliciously satisfying. Taylor’s eyes traced the smooth, sharp line of his jaw, strong and covered in rough stubble. His skin was tan, his hair different shades of bright blonde and dark gold in the pale light coming in from the lamp next to them.

He didn’t’ back away, despite what she said. She didn’t either.

Adam drew one hand and placed it on her neck. The wide expanse of his palm pressed into the warmth of her skin, hot from all the blood that had been rushing to her head all night long. He craned his head down and heated lips pressed down onto hers from above, his fingertips finding their way into the hair at the nape of her neck. Adam kissed her long and slow and then when she went back in for another, needing the feeling of him against her for just one more minute, he pulled back, only a thin layer of humid air between their mouths. His hand was still tangled in her hair at the base of her neck. She opened her eyes, feeling her eyelashes brush against the skin underneath his eyes.

He whispered into her mouth, breathily, tantalizingly, his lips floating up her cheek and into her ear, his lips moving against her hair. She felt his smile in the way the tops of his cheeks rose up against her own.His voice was the type of warm that sent her heart racing faster than it’s ever raced before. “Anything more requires a second date, Taylor Swift.”