8 Chapter 8

On the drive home, Troy pulled out his cell and grinned at the incoming text.

"What are you smiling about? That was a disaster."

Aside from Fisher getting pissed off, Baba insulting Cam to the point where he was pretty sure she'd cried upstairs, and Troy possibly losing his best friend for life, he'd say it was a complete success. "It wasn't that bad. They believed us."

"Only after Anna forced me to flash her in the kitchen."

He would've loved to see the look on her face for that. "Heather just texted me. She put your suitcase in the trunk so you can stay in my guest room."

Cam said nothing.

Troy screwed with his ringtones. Grinning, he played the demo for I Will Survive. "What do you think of your new ringtone?" She didn't respond. "No? Okay, how about this?" Crazy by Patsy Cline chimed through the car.

"I don't need my own ringtone. And you're not funny."

"I'm a little funny." He cued My Life by Billy Joel.

"What was my ringtone before?"

He fished through his downloads and played the Imperial March instrumental from Star Wars, the music used whenever Darth Vader entered a scene.

"Hilarious."

"Told you I was," he said. At least she was smiling now. He found When I See You Smile by Bad English, and hit Save.

She pulled into his driveway and looked at him out of the corner of her eye. "Are you sure it's okay I stay here? I could scar your reputation."

She was trying to be comical, but he wasn't buying it. "Your family was wrong, Cam. What Baba said back there, it was mean and completely not true."

Her gaze returned to the windshield. Her index finger drummed the steering wheel. "Fisher was pretty upset."

Yeah, and Troy didn't want to think about it. He exited the car, took her suitcase from the trunk, and unlocked the front door for them. "Go get your pajamas on. We're drinking beer and watching Night of the Living Dead."

She was going to laugh if it was the last thing he did tonight. The second time he'd been placed in foster care with the Covics, Camryn and himself, along with Fisher and Heather, had snuck downstairs to watch the movie on television. Heather had run upstairs crying and Fisher had fallen asleep. He and Cam had spent the whole movie laughing at the absurdity.

She smiled and took the suitcase from him. "Make mine wine instead of beer, and you're on."

Camryn stepped into her pajama boxers and stared at the sleeper sofa, then at the pool table. Who had a pool table in their guest room? No way was the bed going to pull out with the table that close.

"Um, Troy?"

His feet padded down the hallway. "I'm coming to get you, Barbara," he said in a gloomy drone, mimicking the line from their movie.

She almost smiled.

He leaned against the doorway and crossed his arms over his bare chest. Bare chest. Muscled biceps. Six pack abs. Or maybe it was a twelve pack.

All the moisture left her mouth. Her focus darted to his pajama bottoms and stopped.

He followed her gaze. "What?"

"You're wearing SpongeBob SquarePants pajamas."

"Yeah. And?"

"Do you have on Batman underwear, too?" God. Even he could make SpongeBob sexy.

He grinned, causing her face heat. "Nope. Plain tighty whities. Wanna see?"

Her skin was going to burn off her face. "No." Yes.

"What's wrong with SpongeBob?"

She stared him down. "Aside from the fact you're thirty years old, you mean?"

His eyebrows lifted. "I knew I should've worn the Scooby Doo ones. These don't turn you on, do they?"

She sighed.

He laughed. He had a great laugh. An uninhibited sound meant to dissuade unease and born to light every nerve in her body.

"Where's your shirt?" she asked, irritated he could get to her just by doing nothing. He did nothing better than anyone she knew.

He shrugged.

"You promised me pajamas. That includes a shirt." Please, for the love of all humanity, put on a shirt!

He nodded. "So I did." He left the room and came back seconds later wearing a Kermit the Frog tee. "Better?"

Dear God, she was going to be sharing a house with a man who just stepped off a preschool choo-choo train. "Do you own anything without a cartoon character on it?"

"Technically, Kermit's a Muppet."

"Never mind, Troy."

He took a step closer. "Why does it bother you?"

"You're an adult."

He shrugged again. "One should embrace their inner child."

"Or never outgrow it, in your case."

He stared at her a moment, letting a slow, easy grin form. Curse him. "Even you were a kid once, Cam. Don't you ever wake up early on a Saturday morning, just for the hell of it, and eat a bowl of cereal while watching cartoons?"

He was hopeless. "No."

"What a shame." He was watching her again like he wanted to laugh at her. Or start a pillow fight. "Emily bought me these. Every Christmas, Anna takes her shopping for my gift. I wear them because they remind me of her."

"Oh." Oh. Now that was really sweet, actually.

She tore her gaze away and glanced around the room to avoid looking at him anymore. The vision of him without a shirt would be permanently etched in her brain forever, combined with the sweet sentiment of him wearing something his goddaughter bought him. What right did he have to flaunt his sexiness anyway? It was even more charming he cared that much for Emily.

And what had she called him in here for?

Bed. Right. "I can't pull out the sleeper sofa with the pool table so close."

He came up behind her, pressing his chest against her back. Something strange happened to her insides at his touch. She froze. Pinched her eyes closed. He had her boxed in now. He smelled so good, like the outdoors in early summer. And soap. His breath fanned the back of her neck. Mentally, she told herself to close her mouth. Physically, she couldn't even swallow.

Leaning forward, he slid his hand over her belly and pulled the handle on the sleeper in front of them. His arm brushed hers as it hung limp at her side. He had such dark, tanned skin compared to hers. The springs creaked as he pulled. Half the bed emerged.

She looked over her shoulder, realizing the bed would clear the pool table. Barely.

"Oh. I guess it does fit. Never mind," she said, feeling like an idiot. And flustered. Troy could always get under her skin so easily. "I got it from here."

He didn't move, still determined to help. The heat from his body had her temp mounting. They both reached for the bar to extend the bed the rest of the way, and while ensued in a battle of who could pull it out first, they flew backward. She landed on top of him on the pool table.

She paused, arms sprawled. "This is awkward," she muttered.

"I don't know," he argued. His voice sounded strange. Deeper. "I've never had sex on this table. Might be fun."

She uttered a sound of distress and scrambled off him, landing on the sleeper. "Would you be serious, Troy?" She sort of wished he had been.

"We are supposed to be dating," he answered, as if not disconcerted in the least.

"Not without witnesses." She pushed her hair away from her face.

His laughter filled the room for several seconds as he sat upright and hopped off the table. "Can I help you with anything else, Cam? Finding the shower? Using a blanket?"

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Exhaling, her eyes narrowed. Infuriating man. "Does the neon Miller Lite beer sign turn off? It's a bit bright for a nightlight."

He pulled a string hanging under the sign on the wall, sending the room into near darkness. "Better?"

"Yes. Thank you." Now get out before a fantasy pops in my head. Again.

Troy stared at the pool table as if thinking the same thing as her. He blinked and looked back at her. "Why don't you take my room? I'll sleep in here."

"No, no. I'm fine." Sort of.

"You sure? I have Transformer sheets."

Swallowing, she looked him in the eye, wanting to know what he was really thinking. "Why are you doing this?"

A look of irritation crossed his face. "Doing what?"

Being nice. Making me want to know what's under the boy-child clothes.

She crossed her arms to block out the chill. "Agreeing to date me."

He stared at the pool table again. "I don't know, but I said I would." He looked back at her, his gaze roaming her face and dropping to her mouth, where it hovered for several seconds. "I'd do just about anything for you. You know that. And you know why."

Her mouth popped open. No, she didn't know.

He glanced away and rubbed the back of his neck. "'Night, Cam."

"Troy." She struggled to stand. "Thank you."

He turned from the doorway. "No need to thank me.."

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