[Happy Thursday Morning, Heather Ann.]
If that pounding didn't stop there was going to be hell to pay. The living pillow next to me shifted, easing away from me. I promptly rolled into the warm spot Murph left behind, eyes resolutely shut and really only half-awake.
"Ol - Oh. Hi."
That was Jo. A very confused Jo who was wondering why a boy was answering my door on a Sunday. Early on a Sunday.
I missed the exchange, tuning back in once the door was shut. Murph pushed my hair away from my nose and I blinked sleepily.
"Jo wanted to know if you wanted to go to brunch."
"Text?" Almost incoherent on my part.
"A ton, apparently."
I scooted away from the edge of the bed, holding up the comforter so Murph could climb back in. He did, settling on his side to look at me across the pillow.
"You do not look awake."
No shit, Sherlock. And I wouldn't be until and unless I got more sleep or some coffee. Either. Or both. Really didn't matter.
He moved his hand, slowly and gently, to my cheek, tracing with his index finger under my eye and down the bridge of my nose. I had no idea what he was doing, and was more than content to let him do....whatever he was doing.
Good Lord it was too early for coherent thought.
"You have very pretty eyes," he murmured, inching slowly across the pillow.
If that line had come from anyone else but Murph I'd have hit someone. Murph - Murph was so genuine that it made my heart ache. That I'd found this boy - young man, really - and that he was mine...
What did I do to deserve this? And when was someone going to take him away? Because, seriously, shit this good doesn't happen to me, no questions asked. There's always a catch, a hidden string.
"And," he whispered, now close enough to tangle our legs together, his bare feet cold on my calves, "you have crazy hair."
I snorted softly. 'Course I had crazy hair. I'm Polish. Practically everything about me's crazy in one way or another.
Murph touched his nose to mine; I went cross-eyed for a couple seconds.
"Your smile gives me an arrhythmia."
Which was a big word for this hour of the morning. I grinned; he chuckled, "See? Instant arrhythmia."
"I'm a walkin' heart attack, I am," I said, choking back a giggle.
"You don't walk so much as..."
He drew back enough to look at me properly, clearly offended. "I was going to say something along the lines of glide but if you'd rather me use that then, fine..."
I was giggling like a nutcase. "Murphy."
"This is what I get for trying to be a nice boyfriend." He smiled anyway, sliding one hand around my hip to rest in the small of my back.
"Well," I said, poking that ticklish spot under his ribs - I'd been there when Liam and Dev had double-teamed him and practically made him shriek - to watch him wiggle. "You're not exactly flat-footed."
His expression was priceless. In a please continue kind of way.
"You're light on your feet for someone...your size." I'd seen him move - last football game it was like he'd had a personal vendetta against the opposing team. And Murph had a certain grace to him, anyway. More than I had, at any rate. He might have danced when he was younger. Or maybe in college - it was quite common for athletes to take an intro dance class. Not only better balance but it fulfilled the fine arts goal, too.
Murph bit his lip, face falling like the expression had just melted off. "Is that okay with you?" His hazel eyes locked on my right ear. "My size. I'm - I'm a big guy."
Oh, Murph. This was a side I would be good money not many saw. This self-conscious, hesitant, blushing Murph who wouldn't look me in the eye. It wasn't one of my favorite looks on him and it made my heart hurt. I know there's no rules on for who can and can't feel like a fan of their own body, but...Murph was and probably always would be nothing short of keel-over gorgeous to me. The pretty smile and hazel eyes were a bonus to what actually made Murph, well, Murph.
"Murph," I said, drawing his eyes to mine. This required an interesting answer on my part. And some tact. "You make me feel dainty."
Of which that delivered neither. And made us both wince.
"Hear me out." I slid the hand on his side around to his chest over his heart. "I have broad shoulders, for a girl, and big thighs from so much soccer. I'm not a pixie. You make me, the girl who usually feels clumsy and out of place, you make me feel feminine. And dainty." Cue flaming cheeks. "Even though I'm sturdy, and I'm still that way around you...the way you can fold yourself around me and almost hide me....I feel safe with you. So safe and warm and..." My throat tightened. Shit. I was in serious danger of crying. "You make me feel pretty, even when I can't stand my thighs or my love handles or my back fat. Even when I've eaten something that bloats me like a balloon, you make me feel pretty. And all the things that make me feel safe and warm - your shoulders, chest, arms, the way you tangle our legs and my smaller hand in your big one - they're you." I sniffled, barely keeping the tears corralled. "And I like you. All of you. Like, a lot." I did, too.
Murph caught the tear on his thumb as it fell. "You, my favorite crazy Polish girl, don't have love handles. You have curves." He slid his hand to the small of my back by way of my hair, nape, neck, and spine.
I looked at him oddly. "How many crazy Polish girls do you know?"
He stuck his tongue out in faux-concentration. "Just one." He grinned at me. "And I like her. A lot."
It was then that I noticed his teeth weren't straight. Not serial-killer crooked, but that the teeth between the front ones and his canines were shoved a bit forward, onto the others. And the ones on the backside of the canines were the same, only less angled. His bottom teeth were straight.
"Good," I said, tearing my eyes away from his gumline to the rest of his face. "I hear she's pretty cute."
"Aye, that she is," he said, "but a bit snarky when she hasn't had some coffee."
"Heard she's got love-handles and hates fashion."
"It's curves and she wears jeans and t-shirts. Though she'd look good in anything."
More blushing on my part. "Heard she's Polish."
Murph rolled his eyes with a chuckle. "Absolutely."
"Anything else I should know about her?"
He propped himself up on his elbow, learned in next to my ear, and whispered, "She's a Sci-Fi nut, looks adorable in her lab goggles, and is one very fierce central defender. Personally, she's amazing. Just as she is." He drew back, pressing a kiss to my cheek. "And I like her. Like, a lot."
And then kissed me, tasting vaguely of stale Winterfresh. But I liked it. Quite a bit.