Home > Built (Saints of Denver #1)(13)

Built (Saints of Denver #1)(13)
Author: Jay Crownover

He sent a message asking if I would be home on Saturday. I was so frazzled for a second I almost typed back YES in big, bold, shouty caps. When I calmed down I sent him back a reply that I had some work to do but he could swing by around lunch.

I didn’t even think to ask why he needed to see me and he didn’t elaborate, responding back with a brisk See you then.

At two in the morning the night before he was supposed to swing by, I gave up trying to sleep and went into my office to see if I could at least use my restlessness to get some work done, which really meant I sat at my desk and watched hours of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix without accomplishing much of anything besides wondering what Zeb could possibly want with me. It only took a few episodes before I decided that I was absolutely team Spike. I mean, hot, British bad boy, how could I not pull for him and Buffy to get over their obvious differences and find everlasting love?

I didn’t have high hopes for getting any kind of sleep, but when I finally dragged myself to bed around five, after some stern nudges from Poppy, as soon as my head hit the pillow my body gave out and my mind finally shut down on me. There were no visions of a handsome bearded man and no endless fantasies of all the things I wanted that man to do to me . . .
or fantasies of all the things I really, really wanted to do to him. There was just darkness and finally blissful, dense, consuming sleep. I had hit the wall and there was nothing left for my psyche or body to give.

When a soft hand landed on my shoulder sometime later I could have sworn that my eyes had just fallen shut. I jerked up in the bed and blinked at Poppy while I tried to figure out what was going on. I was confused for a second because the entire room was flooded with sunshine and she was dressed for the day. I was also surprised she was in my room and that she had voluntarily touched me.

“What time is it?” I pushed a messy handful of hair out of my face and stretched my arms up over my head. I groaned as every bone in my neck popped at the motion.

Poppy nervously fiddled with the end of her long braid and told me, “It’s twelve-oh-five. Zeb’s been downstairs for the last ten minutes waiting for you. I told him you haven’t been sleeping very well and he offered to leave and come back another day, but I didn’t think you’d want that, so I decided to come wake you up.”

At first I just stared at her like she was speaking Spanish, then I swore and threw the covers off of me.

“You’ve got to be kidding me? I finally fall asleep after months of sleepless hell and I almost miss the visit of the person keeping me up in the first place? Un-freaking-believable.” I never normally would have admitted that Zeb was the reason for my insomnia. That’s how unsettled I was. There went those pesky emotions again.

I scrambled out of bed and paused when I caught sight of myself in the full-length mirror that was mounted on the closet door. My hair was a wild mess around my head. It looked like an entire family of squirrels had moved into the mess overnight. My face was scary pale and my eyes were way too big in my face, making me look startled and almost frightened. I had on the stretchy tank top and comfy yoga pants that I always wore to bed, but it was the last outfit I wanted Zeb to see me in. I didn’t want to keep him waiting any longer than I already had, so I decided the sleepwear was going to have to do even though the idea of appearing as anything other than perfectly groomed and put together in front of him made me want to vomit. It felt like I was going into battle without armor.

Frantically throwing on a loose T-shirt to cover up the points on my chest that were also apparently excited to see him, I dashed around until I found a brush in the bathroom and ripped it through my hair until the tangled heap was smooth enough to put up in a ponytail. I wrapped a bandanna around my head and hurriedly slapped on some blush so I didn’t look so much like an extra from The Walking Dead.

Poppy watched the frantic spectacle with a smile on her face while she shook her head at my antics. “Sorry. I would’ve woke you up sooner, but I was talking to my sister on the phone and lost track of the time. I didn’t realize how late it was until the doorbell rang. I panicked for a second thinking it was a stranger that I was going to have to open the door for and try and talk to until I remembered you said Zeb was coming over. If it helps calm your nerves, he looks as uptight and stressed out as you’re acting right now.”

That gave me a moment’s pause as I was headed out the bedroom door. I looked at Poppy in question where she was perched on the edge of the bed. “He does? Did he say why he’s here?”

She shook her head. “Nope. He just came in and said it was nice to see me and that I looked pretty as a picture, but he did it without smiling at me. When I told him it would just take me a minute to go and get you, he muttered that he would just wait in your office.”

That was odd. Zeb was always charming and laid-back. He was quick with a grin and one of his booming laughs. He typically went out of his way to put Poppy at ease and never seemed ruffled or keyed up about anything. If he was being abrupt and distant with her, then something was definitely off and this wasn’t a friendly visit at all.

I took a deep breath and ran my sweaty hands over the thin material of my pants. “Okay. Well, I guess I’ll go find out what’s up with him, then. Thank you for waking me up.”

“No problem. You look better. You obviously needed the rest.”

No, I was pretty sure what I needed was to let the man waiting for me downstairs to fuck my brains out so I could stop dreaming about it, but I would rather have my tongue cut out with a dull knife than admit that.

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