And it was the best game. I could see the moment she felt it, too, because her lips parted in this elated smile and she laughed, sliding her fingers over me and arching her spine to press my cock harder into her skin.

I was close, could feel the ache behind my naval build and spin downward until I was wild—one hand braced beside her head while I fucked earnestly, hips pivoting faster and harder over her until the growling sound I heard was my own voice, warning her, begging her, telling her how hard I was going to come and where.

Her chin and bottom lip when she bent, wide-eyed, watching me spill out onto her.

Still gasping, I slid down her body, smearing my hand down her wet skin and resting my palm on her belly as I settled between her legs, kissing her hip, her thigh, and finally the sweetness just between her legs. Her hands found their way into my hair and pulled, hips lifting from the mattress, circling as I sucked and licked at her, knowing how to make it fast and easy, knowing how to make the hoarse cries tear from her throat when she came, and then slowed, smiling up at her eyes closed in relief, her upper lip glistening with sweat.

I rose to my knees and slid my fingers into her, watching from above as I pumped them, fucking her. I’d seen her naked in every conceivable way—spread wide beneath me like this, or showering alone, begging for more pleasure or less pain, absorbed in my touch and oblivious to my proximity—and there was something so intimate, so safe, about sharing this sight of her but being the only one who could ever touch her, who would ever know each of those quieter moments. No one else would ever see her give birth to our child or bend and shave her legs in the bath. No one else would ever see her sleeping, curled around a pillow in our bed or nursing our daughter at four in the morning. So the owners of each set of eyes out there watching her come apart under my touch would never, not in a million years, be able to give her what I gave her. For Sara, nothing turned her on more profoundly than my total, obliterating adoration.

Every second that I loved her—a love story for the ages condensed into not even two years—coalesced into this single fucking touch. My hand slowed, fingers carefully pulling from her as I bent and covered her body with mine, covered her lips with mine. I was nearly hard enough again, and pushed into her, wanting to be inside when she completely shattered.

Her legs wound around my hips, hands slid down my back and she pressed her perfect, soft sounds right into my ear, telling me she was close, to move faster, to suck her, harder, and harder.

She was sticky with my orgasm and her milk, with sweat and scotch. Pleasure built brick by brick until it tripped that feeling that was too intense to simply be called pleasure anymore and was nearly painful with how good it was. I kissed her one more time, a gentle growl and the tiny press of teeth before my restraint crumpled and I turned wild, fucking her in a flurry of thrusts, messy and wet.

I ground against her, the tension in me building until it snapped and jerked above, coming with a sharp groan. Beneath me, Sara let out hoarse, moaning cries that broke with very rhythmic clenching around me.

“Max,” she whispered and pulled me close, the movement grating me against her sensitive skin so she shuddered at the friction. I began to pull back but she stopped me with her hands sliding down my sweaty back. “Stay in me.”

I caught my breath in the soft space beside her neck, halfheartedly working to keep my weight off her. Her nails scratched lightly up and down my back, legs still curled around my hips.

Beside me, she nodded.

“That was fun,” I whispered playfully, and felt her smile when she kissed my cheek.

“Welcome back, Mr. and Mrs. Stella,” she said.

We rode together in the back of the car, with Scott up front, navigating us through the streets of Manhattan. I felt uncorked, able to release pressure for the first time in months, and it occurred to me only now that I’d been rather terrified: I hadn’t known whether Sara and I would ever find our way back directly to each other, or if from now on there would forever be something else—children, careers, the gradual bricklaying of life itself—bridging us.

I would have been all right if it had gone that way, if the secret we had and shared had faded away and we had to learn to find our intimacy in other ways. But knowing how easily we could go back to that, and anytime, relieved something a bit guilty and dark inside.

“What are you thinking?” she asked, as she always did, right when I wanted to admit my thoughts the least.

“Ooh, then you have to tell me.”

I turned to her, took her hand in both of mine. “I was thinking that I’m relieved we still have this. That if it had gone away, I would have been okay, but I think I would have been a bit devastated at first, too. I can share you with any number of kids, as long as there is a piece there that remains only mine.”

“There’s more than one piece that is only yours,” she said, looking mildly surprised. “That’s what our marriage is. It’s the thing between us that we take care of, knowing that someday it will only be us in that enormous apartment again.”

“If you want more kids, you know we can’t stay in Manhattan forever,” I told her.

She put her fingers over my lips, saying, “Shh. Let’s enjoy this new baseline for a bit.”

We both straightened, seeming to realize in unison that we hadn’t heard our phones go off the entire time we’d been at the club.