With him, my sounds are hoarse and free, I don’t seem to hold back words of pleasure and it’s completely without thought. I offer up everything and my sounds spur him on until he’s sucking frantically and I’m arching into his hand crying out—

Three fingers plunge into me, the heel of his hand taking over outside. It’s pleasure so intense it hurts. Or maybe it’s knowing how easy this is and how good, and that I have to either give him up or do something crazy to keep him. My orgasm lasts so long I run through both of these scenarios multiple times during the most intense pleasure of it. It lasts long enough for him to unlatch his lips from my breast and move to my face and kiss me, sucking all of my sounds into his mouth. It lasts long enough for him to tell me I’m the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen.

My body quiets and his kisses slow until it’s just the small slide of his lips over mine. I taste like him and he tastes like me.

Ansel leans over the side of the bed to pull a condom from the pocket of his jeans. “Are you too sore?” he asks, holding it up in question.

I’m sore, but I don’t think I could ever be too worn-out to feel him. I need to remember exactly what it’s like. The scattered shrapnel of my memory won’t suffice if I have to let him go tonight. I don’t answer aloud, but I pull him over me, bending my knees at his sides.

He kneels, brows drawn as he rolls the condom down his length. I want to pull out my phone, take pictures of his body and his serious, focused expression. I need the pictures so I can say,See, Mia? You were right about his skin. It’s as smooth and perfect as you remember. I want to somehow capture the way his hands are shaking with urgency.

When he’s done he places a hand by my head and uses the other to guide himself to me. The moment I can feel the heavy press of him, it occurs to me that I’ve never felt so impatient in my life. My body wants to devour his.

"Come back with me," he says, moving barely in, and back out again. A torture. “Please, Mia. Just for the summer.”

I shake my head no, unable to find words, and he groans in frustration and pleasure as he slowly pushes inside. I lose my breath, lose my ability to breathe or even care that I need to, and pull my legs up high, wanting him deeper, wanting to feel him entering me forever. He’s heavy, thick, so hard that when his h*ps meet my thighs I hover at the edge of discomfort. He’s the one making me lose my breath, making me feel like there’s not enough room in my body for him and air at the same time, but nothing has ever felt so good.

I'd tell him I changed my mind, I'll come with him, if I could find words, but with his arms braced beside my head he starts to move and it's unlike anything else. It's unlike everything else. The slow, solid drag of him inside me builds an ache so good it’s enough to make me feel a little unhinged at the thought that the feeling will end at some point.

He’s giving me a gentle warm-up, his eyes on mine as he pulls out slowly and then even more slowly pushes back in, occasionally ducking down to slide his mouth over mine. But when I drag my tongue over his teeth, and he jerks forward, sharp and unexpected, I hear my own tight gasp, and it unleashes something in him. He starts to move, hard and smooth over me, perfect curling thrusts of his hips.

I don't really know how many times we had sex last night, but he must have figured out what I need, and he seems to love to watch giving it to me. He pushes up on his hands, kneeling between my spread legs, and already I know that when I come it will be unlike anything I've felt before. I can hear his grunting breaths and my own sharp exhales. I can hear the slap of the front of his thighs against the inside of mine and the slick, smooth strokes of him moving in and out of me.

I won’t need his fingers or mine or a toy. We fit. His skin slides across my cl*tagain and again and again.

Lola was right last night when she teased about how it would be with Ansel and me: it ismissionary, and there's eye contact, but it isn't precious or soft-focus the way she meant. I can’t imagine not looking at him. It would be like trying to have sex without touching.

The pleasure climbs up my legs like a vine, building into a flush I can feel spreading across my cheeks, across my chest. I’m terrified I’ll lose this sensation, that I’m chasing something that doesn’t really exist, but he’s moving faster, and harder, so hard he has to hold my h*ps with his hands so he doesn’t push me off the bed. His eyes rake over my gasping lips and my br**sts that bounce with his thrusts. The way he f**ks me makes my slight body feel voluptuous for the first time in my life.

I open my mouth to tell him I’m falling and nothing comes out but a cry for more and yes and this and yes and yes. Sweat drops from his forehead onto my breast and rolls onto my neck. He’s working so hard, holding so much back, waiting waiting waiting for me. I love the restraint and hunger and determination in his beautiful face and I’m at the edge, right there.

Warmth rushes throughout my body a split second before I fall.

He sees it happen. He watches, mouth parting in relief, eyes blazing in victory. My orgasm crashes over me so hard, so consuming, I’m not myself anymore. I’m the savage pulling him down onto me, rutting up into him and gripping his ass to pull him in deeper. I’m pure desperation beneath him, begging, biting his shoulder, spreading my legs as wide as they’ll go.

The wildness unhinges him. I can hear the sheets pop away from the mattress and feel them bunch behind me as he grips them for leverage, moving hard enough that the headboard cracks into the wall.

“Oh,” he groans, rhythm growing punishing. He buries his face in my neck, groaning, “Here. Here. Here.”

And then he opens his mouth on my neck, sucking and pressing, shoulders shaking over me as he comes. I slide my hands over his back, relishing the bunching definition of his tense posture, the curve to his spine as he stays as deep as he can. I shift beneath him to feel his skin on mine, mixing my sweat with his.

Ansel pushes up to his elbows and hovers over me, still pulsing inside as he presses his palms to my forehead and slides them over my hair.

“It’s too good,” he says against my lips. “It’s so good, cerise.”

And then he reaches between us to grip the condom, pulling out and slipping it off. He drops it blindly in the vicinity of the bedside table and collapses beside me on the mattress, dragging his left hand down his face, across his sweaty chest where it comes to rest over his heart. I’m unable to look away from the gold band on his ring finger. His stomach tightens with each jagged inhale, jerks with each forceful exhale.

I have one last refusal in me, and I squeak it out: "I can't."

He closes his eyes and my heart splinters, imagining not seeing him again.

"If we hadn’t been drunk and crazy and ended up married last night . . . would you have come with me to France?" he asks. “Just for the adventure of it?”

"I don't know." But the answer is, I might have. I don't need to move to Boston yet; I plan to because I had to leave my campus apartment but don’t want to move back in with my parents for the entire summer. Paris—with Ansel only as a lover, maybe even just as a roommate—would be a wild adventure. It wouldn't carry the same weight of moving in with him for the summer, as his wife.

Moving because we’re married feels like pretending it could last. Moving as a lover is impulsive, wild, something a twenty-three-year-old woman should do.

He smiles, a little sadly, and kisses me.

"Say something to me in French." I’ve heard him say a hundred things while he’s lost in pleasure, but this is the first time I've requested it, and I don't know why I do it. It seems dangerous, with his mouth, his voice, his accent like warm chocolate.

"Do you speak any French?"

His eyes fall to my lips and he smiles. "Besides that."

He repeats "croissant" in a small laughing voice, and when he says it, it sounds like a completely different word. I wouldn't know how to spell the word he just said, but it makes me want to pull him on top of me again.

"Well, in that case I can tell you, Je n'ai plus désiré une femme comme je te désire depuis longtemps. ?a n'est peut-être même jamais arrivé." He pulls back, studies my reaction as if I'd be able to decode a word of it. "Est-ce totalement fou? Je m'en fiche."

My brain can’t magically translate the words, but my body seems to know he’s said something wildly intimate.

He twists his mouth to the side, amusement filling his eyes. “Because you wrote it into our wedding vows. We both vowed to stay married until the fall.”

It’s several long seconds before I get over the shock of that. I sure was a bossy little thing last night. “But it’s not a real marriage,” I whisper, and pretend I don’t see it when he winces a little. “What does that vow mean anyway if we plan to break all the others about ‘until death do us part’?”

He rolls over and sits up at the edge of his bed, his back to me. He curls over, pressing his hands onto his forehead. “I don’t know. I try not to break promises, I suppose. This is all very weird for me; please don’t assume I know what I’m doing just because I’m holding firm on this one point.”

I sit up, crawl over to him and kiss his shoulder. “It seems I fake-married a really nice guy.”

He laughs, but then stands, moving away from me again. I can sense he needs distance and it pushes a small ache between two of my ribs.

This is it. This is when I should go.

He pulls on his underwear and leans against the closet door, watching me as I get dressed. I pull my panties up my legs, and they’re still wet from me, from his mouth, too, though the wetness feels cold now. Changing my mind, I drop them on the floor and put on my bra and my jersey dress and step into my flip-flops.

Ansel wordlessly hands me his phone and I text myself so he has my number. When I hand it back, we stand, looking at anything but each other for a few painful beats.

I reach for my bag, pulling out gum, but he quickly moves to me, sliding his hands up my neck to cup my face. “Don’t.” He leans close, sucking on my mouth the way he seems to like so much. "You taste like me. I taste like you." He bends, licking my tongue, my lips, my teeth. "I like this so much."

His mouth moves lower, down my neck, nibbling at my collarbones, and to where my ni**les press up from beneath my dress. He sucks and licks, pulling them into his mouth until the fabric is soaked. It’s black, so no one but us will know, but I’ll feel the cool press of his kiss even after I walk out of the room.

I want to pull us back to the bed.

But he stands, studying my face for a beat. “Be good, cerise.”

It occurs to me only now that we’re married, and I would be cheating on my husband if I slept with someone else this summer. But the idea of anyone else getting this man makes something simmer in my belly. I don’t like the thought at all, and I wonder if that’s the same fire I see in his expression.