“You know where I’ve been this time.”
“I just want you. I missed you. Missed this.”
I throbbed inside of her, felt the way her body paid testament to her words, and I think it made me even harder. Her chest was pressed intimately into mine and I could feel the tiny points of her ni**les stabbing into me, slipping along with water trailing between us.
“I don’t know how love works, Dovie. I don’t know how to be anything other than this, but I know the only thing that gives me hope is the idea of you and me. I know I’m not the ideal, not the dream guy, but no one will ever fight for you the way I will. I promise you that you will always have the best parts of me I have to give.”
“I know, Bax, and I know that’s how you love me. Now, can you please get your ass in gear and MOVE? Three months was way too long.” She leaned forward and ran her tongue along the shell of my ear, which made me shiver, and not just because the water was now cold as hell. She whispered in a husky voice that just turned me inside out. “I need you to make me come.”
“Shit.” Of course I was in love with her. Who didn’t love a good girl who could get bad when the mood struck her?
I slid my hand around her hips and grabbed her under her ass so I could heft her up and sink more fully inside her damp heat. I braced a hand on the slippery tile next to her head and buried my face in the curve of her neck. She tightened her arms around my neck and I felt her drop kisses all along my shoulder as I thrust inside her like I had no control. I didn’t. She felt so good, felt like where I should always be, that I just lost all sense of being and ground into her, moved along her until I heard her whimper, felt her inner walls start to spasm around my quivering dick. It wasn’t just sex, it wasn’t just making love, it was her imprinting on me, and me on her, with nothing between us ever again. It was a primitive claiming of another person in the most basic way possible.
I lowered my hand from the wall and tangled it in her hair. I pulled her head back and tapped her lax mouth with mine. I breathed my life into her as I felt my body start to release into hers. She brought a shaking hand around to the front of my face and rubbed my cheek. She tapped her middle finger along my star and wordlessly mouthed my name as I pumped into her until I was empty and spent.
It took the last of the strength I possessed to reach behind me and crank off the freezing water as we just stood there, replete and soggy.
She put a kiss on my shoulder then walked around me to climb out of the shower. She made a face when she saw the mess on the floor, but just walked around it to fish some towels out of the linen closet. I just stared at her, trying to get my head around the fact this was all real. She was here, she had given me a place to call home, and she was going into it wide-eyed, with no illusions about who she was going to be crawling into bed with each night.
I climbed out of the shower and sat on the toilet to struggle with my boots. I’d just got one off when she came back in, wrapped in a towel, and handed me one. I ran it over my head and looked up at her.
“Gus left me the garage.”
She leaned a shoulder on the doorframe and lifted a rust-colored eyebrow at me. “That’s sad, but kind of fitting. What are you going to do with it?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Whatever you decide, I’m behind you.”
I got the other boot off and tossed it with a thud onto the floor. I had to do a little wiggle and shake to get the damp denim down my legs, and by the time I was done, her eyes were glowing bright green at me again.
“What if what I do isn’t exactly on the up-and-up?”
She came back into the bathroom and took the towel from my hands. She wrapped it around my waist and used the tip of one of her fingernails to trace the top of one of my flags.
“Three months apart was a really long time, Bax. I just want you to consider that when you make whatever choices you make. I love you and I’m not going to tell you what’s the right or wrong thing to do, but you need to remember now that what you do ultimately affects me too.”
I closed my eyes briefly and pulled her against my chest. “All right, Copper-Top.”
She smoothed her hands along my sides and grasped my hand. “What do you think of the house?”
“It looks like home. It looks like you, and I love the bedroom.”
She giggled a little and I followed her to the big bed. It just took a little nudge and she was sprawled on her back, the terry cloth between us long gone. I braced above her and grinned down at her.
“I want to spend every night in here with you.”
“That was the plan.”
“I don’t know how this happened, Dovie, but I will always be grateful Race put you directly in my path.”
Her mouth hooked up on one side and I bent down to trace the puckered skin of her scar with my tongue.
“Things have a way of working out, Bax. You just need a little faith.”
I lifted my head up and stared down at her. She was just so lovely, so optimistic and full of goodness, and kindness. She was the only way I was ever going to find some sense of rightness in this ultimately backward and wrong place we existed.
“I don’t need faith, Dovie. I have you.”
And I did have her, over and over again, because I was making up for lost time, and because she was beautiful, and mostly because I felt like another person was truly mine, and that she was choosing to be here with me. No matter how bad it got, or what kind of road I might end up taking us down, she was in it with me for the long haul. I had never done anything right or righteous to deserve her, but now that I had her, I wasn’t letting her go and I was going to make a conscious effort to live a better life, knowing she was my reward and she deserved to have some good, even if she could handle all the bad.
6 months later . . .
I HAD A BUNCH of schoolwork spread out on the table in front of me, Brysen was sitting on the couch next to me, and we were gossiping about Ramon’s new boyfriend. I had cut back on my class schedule a little, so getting my associate’s degree was gonna take a little bit longer than I planned, but I had picked up an extra shift at the restaurant in order to squirrel money away for when I had to transfer to the actual university in order to finish my degree. Bax told me repeatedly he would fund the rest of my schooling, he had money left over from his real-life game of Grand Theft Auto and the garage was doing really well. But starting school and getting my degree was something that I had always planned for myself and wanted to achieve on my own, so eventually he quit offering. He paid all the house bills and gave me money on the regular anyway, so I figured it wouldn’t kill him to let me have this one thing for myself.