Above me, Jensen froze and then slowly rolled off me, onto his side.

“Don’t get weird,” I said, scooting toward him and cuddling into his chest. “We’re just talking.”

“I mean . . . no,” he said quietly, staring up at the ceiling. “We were drunk one night our sophomore year of college and hooked up. After that, it was just sort of assumed that we were together.”

“But presumably you liked being around her.”

Shrugging, he said, “She was Becky. She was my girlfriend.”

He turned to look at me. “Yeah, she was fun.”

What a weird compartmentalization he practiced. “This is why you don’t do flings, you know,” I said. “Because you put people into categories. Potential-girlfriend-maybe-someday-wife, or friend.”

“I’m not putting you in any category,” he said, finally smiling a little again.

“Which is why I think you find me unexpected.”

Pulling back, he studied my face. “How old are you? I should know this.”

This made me grin. “I feel like an idiot much of the time, so I’ll take that compliment and tuck it in here.” I pretended to slide it into a pocket on my chest.

Bending forward to kiss my hand, he said, “Tell me about your last boyfriend.”

“You want to hear all about Mark again?” I asked, incredulous.

He shook his head, laughing. “Sorry, no, whoever came before that guy.”

“I am assuming you mean a man who I was with longer than a shag?” Laughing more, Jensen nodded, so I said, “In that case, his name was Alexander—not Alex, by God!—and he essentially wanted to get married after three dates.”

I thought about this. It felt so long ago. “I did. I believe I liked him a lot. But I was only twenty-four.”

“So,” I said, growling playfully at him, “I feel like I barely know myself now. How could I promise to be loyal to someone forever when I’m not really sure yet whether I’m loyal to this version of me?”

He stared at me after I said that, and I wondered whether it shook something loose in him about Becky, or about himself.

“You don’t want to get married?” he asked, slowly, as if working it out.

“I do,” I said. “Maybe. Someday. But it isn’t my endgame. I don’t wander the world wondering if the man I’ve just passed who smiled at me might show up at the hotel bar later and we get to talking and boom, I’m in a flowing white dress.”

He nodded, understanding. And then he pulled back a little, probably overthinking something, so I yanked him back to me, asking, “Do you approach every date thinking of marriage?”

“No,” he said carefully, “but I don’t bother dating someone more than once if I can’t imagine myself with them.”

He smiled, kissing my nose. “Well, my friend Emily would be the exception, but as a general rule, I don’t sleep with women I’m not dating.”

He kissed me, tongue sliding over mine, warm and slippery, making me ache from my chest and down, down between my legs. “It’s nice not having the pressure, knowing neither of us wants more.”

“I think you enjoy this kind of sex,” I whispered. “I think you like being a little fast and dirty with someone.”

“It’s true I usually wait until a few dates in before sleeping with someone. And I haven’t had a girlfriend, strictly speaking, in a while.”

“Who was the last woman you were with? Emily?”

He shook his head and chewed his lower lip, thinking, as his hand absently smoothed up and down my bare back. “Let’s see. Her name was Patricia—”

He rolled to me, tickling my side. “How did you know? She actually is an executive at Citibank.”

Jensen pulled back a little, admonishing me with a look. “Relationships are about more than what happens in bed.”

And when he said this, I could feel the ironic press of him against my stomach, and slid my hand down to wrap around him.

“But what happens in bed is crucial for a relationship,” I reasoned. “At least to start.”

He shifted forward and back in my grip. “True . . .”

We shared a lingering moment of eye contact, his hips slowly shifting forward and back as he dragged his cock across my palm. I wanted to touch him everywhere, not only because I liked the lines and the tension of his body but also because I sensed that no one had ever made it their mission to learn each and every bit of him.

“It’s too bad . . .” he began, and then let the rest remain unfinished as he started moving faster, breath catching.

It’s too bad I’m too eccentric for you.

It’s too bad you’re too busy for me.

It’s too bad I’m only learning my heart and you have yours rolled in bubble wrap.

His mouth came over mine then, lips warm and just a tiny bit wet, moving down my neck. He pulled at my breasts, sucking, teeth scraping down lower, over my navel until he was there, warm and breathy, tonguing at the aching space between my legs.