And he knew why she did.
Her ex stopped. Her ex didn't go the distance with her before taking himself there. Her ex didn't fuck her on her knees at the side of the bed.
Jesus, with a hot little number like Carissa, what was that asshole's problem?
"Joker?' she called, and he focused on her.
Part of him wanted to ask. Part of him wanted to know if she'd ever been taken care of in any way, in bed or out of it, by Aaron Jackhole Neiland.
The rest of him didn't give a fuck. He'd give her that every way he could.
"Right here, Carrie," he muttered.
Her lips curved into a soft smile and she slid a hand up and around to cup his jaw and again run her thumb over his stubble.
"So, you got the groceries, that leaves only laundry." Her smile grew. "In other words, a lazy day." She moved her hand down, gliding her thumb over his jaw before it went down again to the side of his neck and she stroked his throat, telling him, "I haven't had one of those in a long time."
"Then we'll be lazy," he whispered.
She kept smiling even as she lifted her head and brushed her mouth against his.
She rested back on the bed and kept stroking, trailing her thumb up his throat and back to his jaw.
"You sleep good?" he asked.
"Awesome," she answered.
That time, he smiled.
Then he said, "Gotta take care a' this condom and get my girl some coffee."
"That'd be good," she replied.
He bent in and returned the lip brush before deciding it wasn't enough. Tangling his fingers into the side of her hair, he slanted his head and took her mouth in a slow, wet kiss.
She gave back what she got.
He broke the kiss, knifed out of bed, his arm wrapped around her to take her with him. She went straight for her nightshirt as he bent to nab her panties, holding up his jeans. Her shirt was falling over her hips when he handed her the panties, bent in to take another taste of her mouth then whispered, "Meet you in the kitchen."
She grinned back.
He walked to the bathroom, took care of business, and joined his girl in the kitchen.
* * *
That night, Joker sat across from Carissa in a booth at Dairy Queen.
They'd gone there for more than just Blizzards. He'd bought her chicken strips and fries, himself a burger and onion rings. They'd eaten them, shooting the shit, the mood mellow and easy.
Then he'd gone back to the counter to get them their Blizzards.
For both of them, it was Reece's Pieces and Cups, and she'd been right all those years ago. It was the best.
He swallowed a spoonful and looked to her to see her eyes to the side, the Blizzard cup held up, her spoon empty and forgotten in her fingers, her thoughts a mile away.
Her head jolted and she looked to him.
"Hey," she said softly.
Fuck, he felt that in his dick.
"Hey," he replied and tilted his head. "You're a million miles away."
"No, just eight years."
"What?" he asked.
That was when she landed the blow, giving him more pain he didn't mind feeling
"Waited eight years to sit and have a Blizzard with you, Carson."
He felt his throat start burning.
"I'm glad you cut your hair," she said, her voice quiet, her eyes on him steady, her intent was to say something with them and more than just her words. "I liked it before but it looks really good now."
"That's good, Butterfly," he murmured.
She swallowed and when she did, something washed through her face he didn't like. "I wish I'd remembered you on I-25. I wish I'd done it so I could have had my Blizzard-"
He dropped his spoon in his cup and reached out, grabbing the hand she held her spoon in and holding it tight.
"I don't want you to look back on it and be mad at me."
"I'm over it."
"You say that but-"
He gently tugged her hand. "I'm over it, Carrie. You're takin' this all on yourself, but don't forget I had it to give to you, let you off the hook, and I didn't. I let it go on too long. That's on me. Don't take it all on, 'cause it ain't yours. You fucked up. I fucked up. Even."
She stared in his eyes. She did this a long time.
Hers started to get bright, but when he was about to say something to stop that shit, she pulled in breath through her nose and said, "I'm glad you cut your hair."
He knew what that meant. He knew it meant she was glad they were past that. That they had what they had yesterday. That morning. That day. She was glad they were here, eating Blizzards. It meant a lot to her. A fuckuva lot.
And that meant a lot to him.
He let her go, ordering, "Eat your Blizzard."
"Okay," she said shakily, turning her attention back to her cup.
But he wasn't finished.
"Want you done so I can get your ass home and get it naked."
Her eyes shot to his.
"So hurry," he said.
The melancholy moved from her face as excitement moved into it which shifted straight to sassy.
"I am not rushing my first Blizzard with Carson Steele."
"You'll get other ones from me."
She straightened her shoulders and got even sassier.
"This is the first one. I'm savoring it."
"Baby, you'll savor more, you down that, get your ass in my truck and I get you home. Got a hankerin' to make my girl feel naughty."
Another eye flare before she turned her attention direct to her ice cream.
Joker sat back and turned his attention to his.
He did this smiling.
In the end, it was Joker who didn't feel like making his girl feel naughty.
After their first Blizzard together, as ridiculous as it was, high school crap, a lost fantasy resurrected in a bed with a phenomenal mattress, he took his time. He painstakingly built it for her, for both of them.
But he didn't fuck Carissa.
He made love to her.
So when he made her come, she whispered, "Carson," into his mouth.
It was the best moment of his life.
And it was that in a way he was determined it wouldn't remain that way making that moment the first time in his life he wanted more.
And he was going to get it.