31. loose liquor lips.

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The patio door opened and Ethan wandered out, looking a little lost.

"There you are," he said to me with a crooked grin. I still felt a little weak in the knees whenever he looked at me that way. "I was looking for you everywhere."

"Game over?" I asked. In truth, I wouldn't be heartbroken if he was finished so we could hang out again.

"For me, anyway. Thanks to Axel," he said, looking at Iz with narrowed eyes.

She laughed. "I'm going to go check on him. I'll leave you two lovebirds out here."

"Hey," Ethan said, leaning in to kiss me. His lips found mine and his tongue slid into my mouth, insistently. Butterflies ran through my stomach as we melted into each other, like we always did. But to my surprise, things escalated when he moved his hands down my hips and grabbed me from behind, picking me up so that my legs were around his waist.

I knew he had to be feeling a decent buzz because people were not all that far away; everyone was inside at the table and we were right by the dining room window. Usually he wasn't quite so pro-PDA.

"Hey, babe."

"What do you say we take this upstairs?" he murmured in my ear.

Desire began to stir within me. And I was tipsy enough that it almost sounded like a good idea. But not quite.

"We can't leave everyone else," I giggled, pulling back to look at him. "They'll notice if we do."

"Who cares? We don't have to be long," he said, waggling his eyebrows.

I tilted my head. "Wait, are you trying to use that as a selling point?"

He paused. "I guess that came out wrong," he admitted, setting me down as he started to laugh.

For some reason, this caused us both to dissolve into a fit of uncontrollable, hysterical laughter. Once we caught the giggles, we started to feed off each other and it just got worse and worse. Finally, I was nearly crying, I was laughing so hard.

"Oh my god," I said, wiping my eyes. "I don't know what just got into me. I couldn't stop."

"I know," he said, shoulders still shaking. He took a deep breath, exhaling loudly, as we both calmed down slowly, random giggles occasionally punctuating the silence.

Looking at me, his expression turned serious. "I think I love you. Or, I'm falling in love with you. Something. I don't know. But it scares the hell out of me."

As the words left his mouth, his expression took on a deer-in-headlights quality. A mix of emotions washed over me. It was something I wanted to hear, but I wasn't sure if he was just saying it because he'd had too much to drink. And I didn't like that it seemed to scare him so much; I was worried he might freak out and bail. I was all in it, and I hoped that he was too.

I'd probably have to wait for a sober moment to know if he really meant what he was saying.
Still, the only answer I could really give him was the truth. Softly, I said, "I feel the same way."

He sighed, and gave me a little smile. "Good. And I'll probably regret what I just said in the morning, huh?"

"I hope not," I smiled, kissing him again. As we pulled back, mouths inches apart, he leaned his forehead against mine and stroked my chin.

"Nah, I won't."

The moment was interrupted by an alarmingly loud crash from inside. I wasn't sure what we even had in the condo that was capable of creating that sound, whether it was now broken, or whether it was the sound of a falling person. Hopefully, not a broken person.

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