Should I? Shouldn’t I? Do I even want to?

I offered him a nightcap—I actually said “nightcap”—to which he said yes. I moved to the kitchen, pulled down some glasses and poured a tiny bit for me, a large drink for him, hoping maybe it would make him sleepy. I turned to hand him his glass and was surprised to find him right there, completely in my space. A strange sense of wrongness seeped into my chest.

Dylan wordlessly took the glass from my hand and set it back on the counter. Soft fingertips brushed along my cheeks, over my nose. He took my face in his hands. His first kiss was tentative, slow and exploring. A small peck before he came back in for another. I closed my eyes tight at the first touch of his tongue, felt the racing of my heart and wished it had something to do with longing and lust, and not this clawing sense of panic that had started to build in my throat.

His lips were too soft and tentative. Pillow lips. His breath tasted like potatoes. I was aware of the ticking clock above the stove, the sound of someone yelling in an apartment nearby. Did I notice anything when I kissed Will? I noticed the way he smelled, the way his skin felt beneath my fingertips and the way it felt like I might explode if I didn’t touch me there and deeper. But never anything as commonplace as the garbage trucks rumbling outside.

“What’s wrong?” Dylan said, taking a step back. I touched my lips; they felt fine, not swollen or abused. Not thoroughly ruined.

“I don’t think this is going to work,” I said.

He was quiet for a moment, eyes searching mine, obviously confused. “But I thought—”

He nodded, taking another step back before running his hands through his hair. “I guess . . . If this is about Will, well, tell him congratulations.”I closed the door behind Dylan and turned, pressing my back to the cool wood. My phone felt heavy and leaden in my pocket and I pulled it out, found the name of He Who Effectively Hijacked My Brain, and started to type.

I started and erased a dozen different messages before finally stopping on one. I typed it and waited just a moment before I pressed SEND.

Where are you

Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I was walking—walking like I had somewhere to be. But in reality, I didn’t have to be anywhere, and I really didn’t need to be headed directly to Hanna’s apartment building.

Yeah, my place. He’s coming back, I’ll let you know how it goes.

My hands formed fists at the memory of the text—the words were burned onto my brain—and the image of her in there, with Dylan. It made my chest literally ache. And I kind of wanted to break everything I saw.

It was cold; so cold I could see my breath, and my fingertips were growing numb even shoved deep into my pockets. As soon as I got her text, I’d run out of the house, no gloves, a too-light jacket, and running shoes, no socks.

For the span of seven city blocks, I was furious with her for doing this to me. I’d been fine until she came fumbling into my life with her chatterbox mouth and mischievous eyes. I’d been fine before she pushed her way into my easy routine, and I half wanted Dylan to get the f**k out of her apartment so I could go upstairs and tell her what a pain in the ass she was, how pissed I was at her for pulling the very stable, predictable ground out from under me.

But as I approached, and saw lights on in her window, saw the shadows of bodies upright and moving around, I felt only relief that she wasn’t already prone on her bed, beneath him.

Pulling my hat farther down over my head, I growled through my teeth, looking along the street for a coffee shop, or something else to do. But there were only more apartment buildings, retail shops that had long since closed, and, in the distance, a little bar. The last thing I needed right now was alcohol. And if I was two blocks away from her apartment, then I might as well be home.

How long would I wait here? Until she texted me again? Until morning, when they emerged together, rumpled and smiling over their shared memories of the night before—of Hanna’s perfection and Dylan’s lame inexperience?

I groaned, looking up just in time to see a man leaving the apartment building, head bent into the wind, collar up. My heart tripped. It was definitely Dylan, and although my veins filled with the warm hum of relief, the fact that I could so easily recognize him from a distance made me feel like the creepiest as**ole of all time. I waited to see if he was going to return, but he kept moving down the block, never slowing his pace.

That’s it, I told myself. You’ve crossed a line and need to find your way back to the other side.

But what if she needed me? I should probably stay to make sure she was okay before walking home. I stared at my phone, brows drawn. If I left here, I was going for a run. I didn’t care that it was almost eleven at night and freezing out; I was going to run for f**king miles. I was so buzzed with relief, and frustration, and nervous energy that I could barely steady my thumb long enough to click on the icon and open our text thread.

I exhaled when I saw that she was already typing something to me.

It felt like minutes, entire minutes during which I gripped my phone, staring intently and waiting for her message to appear. Finally it delivered, and instead of the paragraphs I was expecting, it said only, Where are you

I laughed, dragging my hand through my hair, and took a deep breath. OK, don’t kill me, I typed. I’m outside your apartment.

Hanna came out of the building wearing a heavy down jacket over a silky blue dress, bare legs, and Kermit the Frog slippers. She shuffled toward me and I couldn’t move, could barely breathe.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, stopping in front of where I sat, perched on a fire hydrant.

“I don’t know,” I murmured. I reached for her, pulling her closer and spreading my hands over her hips.

She winced a little when I squeezed—what the f**k is going on with me?—but instead of stepping away, she leaned closer. “Will.”

“Yeah?” I asked, finally looking up at her face. She was f**king beautiful. She’d put on the smallest amount of makeup, had let her hair dry in soft, loose curls. Her eyes were heavy with the same look I’d seen when I’d been braced over her on the floor of my living room, or when I’d slid my fingers over the soft rise of her clit. When my attention focused on her mouth, her tongue peeked out, wetting her lips.

“I really need to know why you’re here.”

Shrugging, I leaned forward, resting my forehead against her collarbone. “I wasn’t sure you were really into him, and it was bothering me knowing he came back here with you.”

She slid her fingers under the collar of my jacket, stroking the back of my neck. “I think Dylan thought we were going to have sex tonight.”

Without meaning to, I dug my fingers deeper into the flesh just above her hips. “I’m sure he did,” I mumbled.

“But . . . and I don’t know how to handle this, because it should be easy, right? It should be easy to enjoy being with people I like. I mean, I find him attractive. I have fun with him! He’s nice, and thoughtful. He’s funny, and he’s good-looking.”

I remained silent, trying not to howl.

“But when he kissed me? I didn’t feel lost in him the way I get lost in you.”

Pulling back, I looked up at her face. She shrugged, looking almost apologetic. “He was nice to me tonight,” she whispered.

“And he didn’t even seem mad when I asked him to go.”

“Good, Hanna. If he gave you grief I swear to God—”

I closed my mouth, calmed by her interruption, and waiting to hear what she needed. I would do anything she wanted, even if she asked me to crawl. If she asked me to leave, I would. If she asked me to help her zip her jacket, I’d do that, too.

My heart climbed into my throat. I watched her for a few seconds more, but she didn’t take it back by breaking eye contact, or laughing at herself. She just studied me, waiting for my answer. I stood, and she moved back to give me space, but not too much space, because I was almost pressed against her once I was upright. She ran her hands down my sides, letting them come to rest on my hips.

“If I go up with you . . .” I started.

She was already nodding. “I know.”

“I don’t know if I can be slow.”

Her eyes darkened and she pressed against me. “I know.”

A light was out on one side of the elevator, casting the space in a strange half shadow. Hanna leaned into the corner, watching me from where she stood at the dark end.

“What are you thinking?” she asked. Always such a little scientist, trying to dissect me.

I was thinking everything: wanting everything, and panicking, wondering if I was cutting the last thread of control I had over my emotions. I was thinking about what I was going to do to this woman when we got up to her bed. “A lot of things.”

Even in the shadows, I could see her smile. “You want to be more specific?”

“I don’t like that that guy came up to your apartment tonight.”

She tilted her head, assessing me. “I thought that was part of dating. Sometimes guys will come up to my apartment.”

“I get that,” I murmured. “But you did ask what I was thinking. I’m telling you.”

“I’m sure he is. He can be a nice guy who doesn’t get to kiss you.”

She stood up a little straighter. “Are you jealous?”

“I don’t relish the thought of anyone else having you.”

“But all this time you’re still seeing Kitty and Kristy.”

I didn’t bother to correct her yet. “What were you thinking when you were with him tonight?”

Her smile faded a little. “I was mostly thinking about you. Wondering if you were with someone.”

This seemed to throw her and she fell silent for what felt like forever. We reached her floor, the doors opened, hovered, and then closed with a small ding. The elevator car fell quiet and wouldn’t move again until it was called.

“Why?” she asked. “It’s Saturday. That’s your night with Kristy.”

“Why do you even know that?” I asked, tamping down the white-hot frustration with whoever told her this information. “And I was with you the last two Saturdays.”

She looked down at her feet, thinking for a beat, and then back at me. “Tonight, I thought about what I wanted you to do to me,” she said, adding, “and what I wanted to do to you. And how I didn’t want any of those things with Dylan.”

I took a step closer into the darkness, ran a hand up her side and over the curve of her breast. “Tell me what you want now. Tell me what you’re ready for me to do.”

I could feel the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed faster. I ran the pad of my thumb over the tight peak of her nipple.

“You go down on me,” she said, voice shaking a little. “You do it until I come.”

“Obviously,” I whispered, laughing a little. “When I do it, you’ll come more than once.”

Her lips parted, and she wrapped her hand around my wrist, pressing my palm more firmly against her breast. “You lean over me on the couch, jerking off, and come on my chest.”

I was already so hard and fuck, that was a good visual. “What else?”

Shaking her head, she finally shrugged and looked away. “Everything else. Sex in all kinds of places on my body. How you like me to bite you, and how good it feels to do it. We’re ha**g s*x and I’m doing everything you want and it isn’t just good for me, it’s good for you, too.”

I lost my words for a beat, surprised by this. “Does that worry you? That I’m somehow humoring you?”

She looked up, met my eyes. “Of course, Will.”

I stepped even closer so I was pressed against her and she had to tilt her head back to maintain eye contact. Angling my hips, I pushed the rigid shape of my erection into her stomach.

“Hanna. I don’t know if I’ve ever wanted something more than I want you. I really don’t think I have,” I said. “I think about just kissing you, for f**king hours. Do you know that kind of kissing? Where it’s enough for so long you don’t even think of doing anything else?”

She shook her head, breath coming out against my neck in short, sharp bursts.

“I don’t know about that kind of kissing, either, because I’ve never wanted just that before.”

Hanna slid her hands under my jacket and beneath my shirt. Her hands were warm, and the muscles of my abdomen jumped and tensed beneath her fingers.

“I think about having you spread over my face,” I said. “And taking you on the floor just inside my apartment because I can’t wait long enough to get us anywhere more comfortable. I don’t want to be with anyone else lately, and it means I spend an awful lot of time going for runs at random hours, or with my hand on my own dick wishing it was yours instead.”

“Let’s get out of the elevator,” she said, pushing me gently through the opening doors and into the hallway.

She fumbled slightly with the key to her place and my hands shook as I reached for her sides, ran my palms from her waist to her hips. It took every ounce of self-control I had left to not take it from her and shove it into the lock myself.

When she finally got the door open, I pushed her inside, slamming it closed behind us and pressing her into the wall just a few steps in. I bent, sucking her neck, her jaw, running my hands under the skirt of her dress to feel the smooth skin of her thighs.