Getting to Me

Chapter Fifteen

A week had passed since the day in the barn, and Zacky and Mandy’s relationship had only gotten stronger during that time. Though she hadn’t been home often—she’d worked every day during the week, and she’d had two days where she’d had night classes in Dickinson—they had made the most of the time they had together. Zacky had moved into Brian’s bedroom the first night they’d gotten back to the ranch, like Suzy had suggested, and they spent most of their time in her room after Brent and McKenna had gone to bed for the night. They hadn’t slept together since the night in the hotel room, but it felt nice to just sit together at night, talking about random things that meant nothing at all, just getting to know each other better.

It was now Saturday, and it was Mandy’s first Saturday off in over two months. She was planning on enjoying every minute of it, and she smirked as she quietly crept over to Brian’s bedroom door to crack it open a bit, smiling when she saw the dark-haired man sleeping haphazardly on the bed. His arm and one leg were hanging off of the mattress, and his face was turned at an awkward angle into the pillow that was propped up against the wall, his other hand tucked underneath of his butt. She thought it was adorable how he slept, and as she giggled, his sleeping form groaned before he cracked open an eyelid.

“Watching me sleep, huh? Didn’t take you for the creeper type,” he joked, his voice rough and slightly husky from having just woken up. Mandy knew that her younger sister was still in her bedroom, and because she didn’t want to wake her up any earlier than she had to, she walked into her older brother’s bedroom and closed the door quietly behind herself before moving over to sit on the edge of the bed, looking at Zacky with a small smirk as she leaned down to hover her lips above his.

“It’s not being a creeper if you enjoy it,” she whispered to him before pressing her lips softly to his stubbly cheek, avoiding his lips because of the morning breath she knew that they’d both have. Zacky groaned again and moved the hand from underneath his butt to wrap it around her waist instead, pulling her tightly against him and grinning at her before snuggling his face into her neck, his snakebites warm against her flesh as he pressed a gentle kiss to the hollow of her throat.

“It’s nice waking up and seeing your face first thing in the morning,” he whispered to her, pushing some hair out of her eyes as he turned on to his side to look at her, a small, loving smile splashed on his face as he watched her.

“I like seeing you right away, too,” she breathed to him, her eyes not wavering away from his as she moved so that she was sitting on top of him rather than beside him. She giggled when she felt his morning wood pressing against her thigh, and leaned down to look him straight in the eyes, her hands braced on either side of his face to support her upper body.

“And it’s especially nice to see you like that,” he murmured, reaching behind her with one of his hands and grabbing her ass, squeezing firmly before letting go after she made a small squeal, her face turning red.

“Don’t tease me like that, Zacky,” she whispered to him, her face still red. “I don’t want to wake—”

“Mandy?” McKenna’s voice asked from the doorway before a loud bang sounded. Zacky chuckled as he saw the ten-year-old slam the door shut immediately after she’d seen the position that Mandy and Zacky were in, and then he looked back up at the girl positioned above him.

“As much as I hate to tell you to get off, you should probably go explain to her why you’re in Brian’s bedroom this early in the morning and sitting on top of me,” he whispered to her, an amused smirk on his face as he pressed his lips chastely to hers, wincing when he remembered that they both had morning breath. She shrugged, not caring that he didn’t taste of his usual cigarettes, and nodded as she slid off of his body.

“You’re right,” she told him, grabbing his hand for a moment and lacing their fingers together as he stood up. “She’s walked in almost every time, I think. She walked in on us when we kissed that one time,” she giggled, looking at Zacky’s eyes as she mentioned their first kiss. The green in them lit up, as if it had been his happiest memory to date.

“Yeah, but that wasn’t as compromising a position as this,” he chuckled, hugging her to his body before letting her go, knowing that she needed to set things straight with her little sister. Mandy gave him one last smile as she left Brian’s bedroom and returned to her own, pulling on a pair of snug blue jeans and a white turtleneck sweater before making her way down the stairs towards the kitchen, where she saw McKenna eating her Trix cereal at the large, cedar table. When she saw Mandy walk into the kitchen, her face blushed a deep red, and she looked at the floor, stopping eating.

“I’m sorry I walked in,” she squeaked in a high voice, obviously embarrassed and thinking that her older sister was going to be angry with her. She recalled that any time either of them had ever walked in on Brian with a girl, he’d yelled at them, so she wasn’t surprised that the ten-year-old thought she’d be angry.

“It happens,” Mandy shrugged, sitting across from her little sister. “What do you say we go for a ride today? Just you and me. No boys, no Mom and Dad. Just us. It’s been awhile,” she smiled at McKenna, whose face lit up at the mention of getting to spend some time with her older sister.

“Really?” She asked, a toothy grin on her face. Mandy laughed at her sister’s face and nodded, and the girl responded by immediately resuming shoveling the colorful children’s cereal into her mouth, splashing droplets of the white milk onto the tabletop.

When she finished, Mandy told her to go upstairs and change into something warm so that the cold, bitter wind wouldn’t bother her, and she herself returned to her bedroom to find a pair of socks to wear. She knocked on Brian’s door and looked in to see Zacky texting on his phone, and she gave him a smile. “I’m gonna go take a ride with ‘Kenna for a bit. Just the two of us,” she smiled at him.

“Before you go, can you come in here a minute? I need to ask you something,” Zacky smirked at her, dropping his phone on the bed and standing up. Mandy nodded, calling over to her sister’s room that she was just telling Zacky what they were doing and that she’d be out in a minute before she closed the door, smiling at the green-eyed man who was now standing directly in front of her.

“So what’d you need?” She asked him, a small smile on her face as she looked up at him. He grinned down at her as he pushed some hair out of her face, thinking about what he wanted to say before he spoke.

“What do you think we have between us?” He asked her, licking over his bottom lip as he watched her expressions carefully. “Do you think…It could be more than just a flirting game?”

Mandy blushed immediately at Zacky’s words, and a small giggle escaped her pouty lips as she looked up at him before reaching down and grabbing his hands with hers, lacing their fingers together once again before she lifted their hands, pressing them between their chests as she leaned in closer to him.

“Yes, I think it’s a little stronger than just a flirting game,” she looked up at him, her chocolate-brown eyes swirling as she met his gaze. A relieved look seemed to cross over his face as he nodded, swishing his hair to the side of his face with a toss of his head before he continued speaking again.

“Then why don’t we see what we can make of it and make us something more?” He asked her, his voice dropping to a husky whisper as he tightened his fingers around hers. “I’ve never really had a actual girlfriend before, but…I want to try it with you, and see if we can make it work like all those sappy romance movies. I already told you that you’re getting to me, and now I want to see what we can do with what we have.”

Mandy was shell shocked at Zacky’s words. Never in a million years had she expected him to be confessing these sorts of things, let alone asking her to be his girlfriend. She realized that he hadn’t admitted he loved her yet, and her father’s conversation came to mind. He was right; she wanted Zacky to be the first to admit that he loved her, before she said anything to him about her own feelings. She bit her bottom lip between her teeth as she looked at him, nodding slowly as she pressed her head against his chest when he let out a huge sigh of relief and wrapped his arms around her.

“I was so scared you were going to say no,” he chuckled into her ear once he’d released her from the hug. “I thought you were tired of having me around,” he told her, his green eyes. She smirked as she crossed her arms over her chest.

“You never said the words, Zacky,” she teased him, taking one step back from him and watching his face fall before he chuckled, understanding what she was talking about.

“If it’s words you want, it’s words you’ll get,” he joked before pulling her up against him again and looking her straight in her eyes in a way that seemed to make Mandy’s heart melt as she listened to his words. “Mandy I-Don’t-Know-Your-Middle-Name Haner, will you be my girlfriend?”

She laughed at his prhasing of her name, and she couldn’t help but nod again as she wrapped her arms around his middle, feeling him kiss the top of her head before an impatient sigh sounded from the doorway.

“Zacky, stop hogging my sister,” McKenna complained as she stood at the doorway. “And for your information, you have to ask me if you can be her boyfriend before you ask her,” she told him, crossing her small arms over her chest, glaring at him. Zacky and Mandy both giggled, and then Zacky licked over his bottom lip as he moved to kneel in front of the ten-year-old so that he was at her height and she didn’t have to look up at him.

“McKenna, I like your sister a lot,” he told her, a small smile on his face as he pointed over at her. “That girl has my world upside down, and she makes my stomach do somersaults just by smiling. Will you please give me permission to date your older sister?” He asked her. Mandy was covering her mouth with her hand at this point, trying but failing to mask her giggles as McKenna thought about it for a minute before tapping her foot.

“I don’t know,” she frowned at Zacky. “Your breath stinks. Why would she want to kiss someone with a stinky mouth? And you stole her from me,” she told him, a faux glare directed at him. McKenna didn’t mind him, really, but she was annoyed at the fact that Mandy didn’t spend all of her extra time with her now that Zacky was in the picture. He’d have to do a lot to make it up to her.

“I’ll wash my mouth out every morning with mouth wash,” he chuckled, looking at her. “And I’ll share her with you. You can have her sometimes, and I can have her sometimes.”

“But what about the times I don’t have her with me?” McKenna questioned him. “Who am I supposed to play with then?”

Zacky looked up at Mandy, who was giving him a playful look as he returned his attention back to McKenna, who was still giving him that challenging look on her face. “I tell you what,” he thought after a minute. “If your Mom and Dad will let me, I’ll get you a puppy for the house,” he told her. Immediately, the ten-year-old’s face lit up, and she was sold on the idea.

“If you get me a puppy, you can have Mandy all the time. Mommy! Mommy, Zacky has something to ask you!” McKenna said excitedly as she turned and ran down the hallway, leaving Mandy and Zacky alone once again. Zacky chuckled as he stood up again, turning to look at his girlfriend.

“I’d say you better get her that puppy,” Mandy said, shaking her head as she hugged him carefully. “Otherwise, she’s not going to like you very much.”

“If it’ll give me more time with you, I’ll buy her ten puppies,” Zacky smirked as he pressed his lips against the corner of her mouth. He couldn’t help but feel like he was the happiest, luckiest man on the planet right now. Not only did he feel good about being out of Fargo, but he had who could quite possibly be the world’s most beautiful girl as his girlfriend.

Now all he had to do was work up the courage to tell her that he loved her.