《In Five Years》Chapter 11

Two days later, Tre is at my door at around six wearing expensive looking jeans and a white button down shirt that clings to his muscular chest.

"I thought this was a hang out session." I say with a smug grin. "What is this?" Then I wave at his outfit.

"Is it a crime to want to look nice?"

"No, but we could have just met somewhere. You didn't have to pick me up."

"You're impossible." He shakes his head and glances back to his Audi that's parked in the driveway. "Ready to go?"

I follow him out to the car and roll my eyes when he insists on opening up the door for me. He's being such a gentleman, and it's not that I don't like it, it's just that I don't like how it's making me feel. I don't want to get attached to him, but he's making it hard.

"In case I forgot to mention..." he trails off and pulls out onto the road. "You look amazing."

"Well, I hope so. You didn't exactly tell me where it was we're going. I had no clue what to wear."

I had picked out jeans and a light pink sweater. It wasn't much of anything, but Tre is staring at me like I'm wearing lingerie for crying out loud.

"What you're wearing is perfect." He says.

We continue driving for ten minutes or so, and in the distance superstitious mountain comes into view, the sun setting perfectly on the horizon. I could stare at this view forever. I missed it back in Connecticut.

It's not until he pulls into a grocery store parking lot that I furrow my eyebrows together in confusion and turn to look at him. "What exactly are we doing?"

He gets a small grin on his face, and for whatever reason it makes me feel so warm inside. "Well, I thought we could hang out like you wanted to. Taking you out somewhere would be considered a date, but I figured we could stop here and get all of our favorite snacks and ingredients to make a delicious dinner, then watch a movie or something back at my place."

Oh god.

The warm feeling enters into my chest again. It needs to stop. I can't get attached.

I can't.

"What?" He laughs as he continues to stare at me. "Is this too date-ish for you? It's a way for us to get to know each other. It's low key, not a lot of pressure, and-"

"Tre." I reach across the console and give his arm a tight squeeze. "This seems like fun. I like it."

The answer seems to please him enough, and once we're inside the store we talk about our favorite foods. We decide to make a stir fry since it's something the both of us like. I grab the chicken and appreciate the way Tre analyzes almost five different peppers before he decides on one.

Next are the snacks, and while I'm more of a salty person, he's more into sweets. I grab three different bags of chips and find out that his favorite candy is gummy worms. Our cart is full of junk food by the time we head to the checkout.

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As Tre loads our groceries into the car I find myself feeling happy. I haven't felt like this in a long time. From the pressures of school, to losing connections with all of my friends, I seem to forget about that whenever I'm with him.

He won't let me carry any of the groceries inside when we get back to his fancy apartment. He looks ridiculous with twelve plastic bags dangling from his arms, letting out a huge sigh of relief once he hauls them onto his island.

"I could have helped." I laugh.

"I got it. It's fine." He replies, but I can tell he seems winded.

He grabs two cutting boards and some knives and lays them out onto the counter, and then he takes the pack of chicken out of the plastic bag. "You can do the vegetables and l'll do the chicken?"

"Sure." I say.

I take out all of the vegetables and begin to run the water in the sink to wash them off before I ask, "so, is the reason you came to Arizona to escape your father?"

He pauses with the knife in his hand. "Getting right to it I see."

"Sorry." I blush. "I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable or anything."

"Oh no." He shakes his head and begins to slice the chicken into strips as I start on the green pepper. "It's fine. My father is just a dick. Thinks he's a big shot and could be pretty handsy with me."

"Handsy?"

"He beat me." He shrugs as if it isn't a big deal, and I find myself getting choked up. "And don't get that look on your face. I'm fine. I told him I was moving to Arizona, and in exchange I wanted early access to my trust fund. Otherwise I'd go straight to the police and show them my bruises."

Tre is such an incredible man from what I've gotten to know so far. He's kind, he's gentle, and it makes a lot more sense now that I know the past with his dad. He's the complete opposite of him, and I wonder if that's what he strives to be.

"I'm so sorry..." I find myself saying. I pick up an onion and begin to chop it.

"Don't apologize. You wanted to know, so I told you. It wasn't for sympathy."

He grabs a pan from another cabinet and pours a little vegetable oil in it before he turns the stove on. "Want a glass of wine?" He asks, and I'm thankful it breaks the awkward silence.

"Yes please." I smile.

He reaches up to the wine shelf and glances back at me. "Are you a red or a white girl?"

I don't know anything about wine, and from the expression on my face he can tell that. He smiles and takes a white bottle, using a wine opener to pop the top off.

"This one is sweet." He pushes the wine glass towards me with two fingers and as soon as I take a swig I immediately love it. It tastes like strawberries. "You like it?"

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I nod. "Yes. What's it called?"

"Chavy Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru." He lets the name roll of is his tongue so easily, and his voice travels right into my core. "It's an expensive wine, but this is a special occasion."

"You could have just given me barefoot." I shrug, and he erupts into laughter.

"Absolutely not." He cringes. "You're a high quality girl, Maddie. You deserve a high quality wine."

I don't have much to say to that. I finish cutting up the rest of the vegetables while he cooks the chicken, and when we put the vegetables in another pan to cook, he pours rice into a pot and turns to look at me.

We've both had about two glasses of wine at this point, and my body is feeling warm and buzzy. I've never been wine drunk before, but I'm starting to get why everyone talks about it.

"So, tell me about Yale." He says. "Other than the fact that you feel lonely. You told me that at the bar."

I inwardly groan. How embarrassing.

"There's really not much to tell." I shrug.

"I find that incredibly hard to believe. Yale is a school that so many people dream of getting into. You're at the top of your class, Maddie. That's impressive as hell."

I find myself becoming annoyed. He arches a brow up at me to wait for me to say something. "It's just not what it's cracked up to be. I'm the top of my class, and because of that I have no time to do anything. I can count on one hand the amount of times I actually was able to go out and party on campus, go to football games, or do things that college students rave about. If it's not work then I'm wrapped up in studying. I don't get a second to breathe it feels like."

"And what do you do for work?"

"I intern at Thompson Kids Pediatrics. I'm studying to be a pediatrician."

He gets that look on his face that everyone gets. He's impressed, but I appreciate the fact that he doesn't tell me that.

"I can see how that would be stressful." He says instead. "Do you need to be at the top of your class though? Would it be so bad if you were a B student instead of an A student?"

"I want to have a shot at getting into med school, and in order to be the best candidate I have to be at the top of my class. It's not really an option."

"I see." He nods. "So basically you're just going to be stressed for what? The next six years?"

"Probably." I laugh. His muscles flex as he grabs the pan with the vegetables and combines it with the chicken. "Is bartending something you're passionate about?"

"Actually, yeah. I like getting to know people. There's never a dull moment in my job, and I love that."

I think back to the altercation he had with Cameron. "I believe it." I tell him. "It must be nice though not having bills. You can do whatever you want."

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"It actually gets quite lonely believe it or not." He says quietly, and I can tell his demeanor has shifted.

"You must not be too lonely. It seemed like you had girls falling all over you the other night."

He laughs, and I'm thankful I was able to cheer him up. "Those girls don't actually want me, Maddie. They seek attention, or they're just getting out of a divorce, or they're trying to get back at an ex..." he trails off when he sees me smiling and laughs. "Moral of the story is that there's always a reason, and the reason is never me."

"You don't think you're a good enough reason?" I tilt my head to the side, and his eyes rake over my body. I'm finding it hard to breathe, and I don't know why I want to jump his bones right now, but I do. I definitely do.

I think it's the wine, or the heat from all of the pans in the kitchen, but then he clears his throat. It must not be just me feeling this.

"Maybe I am a good enough reason, but I don't ever take the chance to find out."

"Well then why did you say yes to me?" I ask, and that seems to catch him off guard.

He takes another sip of his third glass of wine and takes a step closer towards me. His lips are wet, and he darts his tongue out to swipe the remaining liquor off of them.

Do not do it. I tell myself. Do not.

"I guess I said yes because I couldn't say no." He smiles as the memory from that night comes to mind. "You are beautiful, Maddie, and it sucks that you'll be leaving in a few weeks. If things were different then..."

"Then what?"

Do not!

Maddie, do not.

"Then I would have already made a move on you by now." His stare hardens on me, and I'm speechless. "But you want to be friends. I respect that."

He's right. I do want to be friends. I don't want anything serious, but right now I find myself wanting for him. He looks so damn good. The button on top of his shirt is open, revealing a pop of chest hair, and before I know it I take another step closer until I'm in arms reach.

I shouldn't do this. I should go right back to cooking, but I want him right now. It doesn't have to be serious. I don't have to get attached.

Right?

Before I let my brain think about it any further I hook my arms around his neck. "Tre..." I trail off, biting on my lip to keep from smiling. "What do you think of one night stands?"

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