Chapter Two

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The inside of our apartment was...modest. Okay, maybe it was a few levels away from pure suckage. But serving tips and babysitting money could only get us so far in Grisham Falls. Beck's income helped, splitting it a fifty-fifty down the middle, and whatever was left we stuck in a savings account.

Adulting. So fun, right?

"Are you seriously going to eat all of the cookies?" I demanded from my position on the couch, turned over the side to watch Beck eloquently stuff a double-chocolate chip cookie into his mouth.

"Who, me?" he asked around the bite, laying the other cookies onto the plate. From where I sat, I could still see steam rising. "I don't even like these things."

"Uh huh, sure." I repositioned myself on the couch, pulling the blanket tighter over my stomach, my fingers already itching to get ahold of the chocolate-gooey goodness. "These better be as good as you made them last time. I was so mad that you only made half a batch."

Beck rounded the edge of the couch and sat down, offering the plate out to me. His navy pajama bottoms rode up as he settled his feet on the ottoman, getting comfortable. "It's not my fault you didn't restock on flour."

It felt weird, sitting beside him while an old rerun of Criminal Minds came on, discussing grocery shopping. Weird because maybe this time last year, I would've never expected my life to be like this. Full of happiness and love. I had thought I'd be going through life on my own, just like I had been after my parents died. I had been prepared for it. But then came Beck, and everything was different.

But this was our normal. As normal as one could be with an alien boyfriend.

"It's so hot in here," I grumbled as I picked up a cookie, nibbling off a corner. It was still hot, burning my tastebuds.

"You literally have a blanket folded over your lap," Beck pointed out, tugging at the corner. "You can't complain that you're too hot when you're all covered up."

His fingertips snaked underneath it to graze the skin of my stomach where my shirt had been pushed up, a tickle of a touch. I stilled while it lingered, and only began to move once he withdrew his hand. "I can complain all I want, thank you very much. Especially when it's your fault."

"All right, fine." Beck leaned back deeper against the couch cushions. "Last time I try to fix something."

"You literally suck power out of things," I pointed out, placing the hot cookie back onto the plate. "Electricity and you don't really mix. What were you expecting?"

Beck held his hands out in front of him, fingers splayed, studying them. His expression was almost sorrowful. "Everything goes smoothly with some objects. The microwave isn't so hostile towards me."

I reached over and wound my fingers through his, feeling the delicate skin pulled taut over the slim bones. "You'd think after a year on Earth you'd be able to control it."

Right, rounding back to that alien bit. When I met Beck, I had no idea who or what he was. It all started innocently enough, something from a kid-rated romance novel. When he told me the truth, we bypassed into Fantasy Land. From another planet came Beckiheim, who crash landed on Earth, disconnected from his race.

"You'd think," he agreed, lifting our joined fingers to his lips. The warmth of them spilled over onto me, warming me from the inside out. "Do you really have to watch Cassian again tomorrow?"

"Yeah, after work I'm heading over. Probably late, too."

"I'll walk you over if you want. It's a bit of a walk." Beck sighed a little. "I was hoping we'd finally get a night to ourselves."

Ugh, no kidding. Either my nights were filled with babysitting or the night shift, closing up the restaurant. Both events always left me too exhausted to do anything more than cuddle on the couch, and even then I would always fall asleep before halfway into a movie.

I turned my head up at him, peering into his eyes. In this light, they were a deep and dark gunmetal, the way they always got at night. "We have right now."

Beck didn't take the bait. "You can't fool me. You'd choose cookies over me."

"You're right," I said, setting the plate down on the edge of the couch. "But they still need to cool."

Beck didn't move as I settled over him, my knees on either side of his hips. The gunmetal gray matched my own, and his hands came up to push the hair out of my face. "This is important to me," he said softly, speaking in a tone that was almost a whisper. "You are important to me."

"Ditto," I said back, and leaned forward to press my mouth against his.

There was no getting used to the zing that crossed between us each time we kissed, as if a spark dashed between us. Then the realization of the coldness of his mouth set in, making me feel even hotter.

I dug my fingers into his hair, curling around the strands and tugging him closer, closer, until nothing separated us. His own fingers trailed from the back of my head down along my spine, slipping underneath my shirt to brush my skin.

My mouth slipped a little against his. "Sometimes it's hard to believe you've never kissed anyone else but me."

His lips curved upward. "Isn't it said that practice makes perfect?"

I pressed closer, shifting my weight forward and making him gasp in a breath. The sound made me grin. "Definitely."

And then I slid off him, settling back into my position beside him and picking up my plate of cookies. I took an experimental bite. "Perfect temperature," I said.

"You're horrible," Beck said, grabbing the blanket from me and positioning it over his own lap. "Seriously horrible."

I held out my half-eaten cookie to him. "But you love me."

He took it and popped it in his mouth, reaching an arm around me and pulling me closer. "That I do."

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