“But,” she continued, “I promise I won’t if it’s weird for you.”

“It’s not weird for me,” I admitted. “I love her, too.”

Beside me, Pippa beamed. Hanna went very, very quiet before whispering, “What?”

“Ziggs, I’ve got to get home, but is it okay if I come by for dinner in a couple hours? I have a surprise, too.”

Walking up the steps to my place felt a little surreal. Would we eventually live together? Would we live here? It wasn’t so much that I was pondering each question as that I had a flurry of them spinning inside my head—when would we live near each other, when would we live together, was this forever, what job would she get, would she need a job—but everything went quiet and still when the door closed behind us.

Pippa looked around the living room. “I didn’t pay much attention when I was here last time.”

I could see her pulse in her neck, beneath the smooth skin over what was at once a delicate and strong throat. “Now may not be the time, either.”

She turned her face to me, smiling widely. “No?”

I moved to her, and she reached out, using the hem of my shirt to pull me closer. “So, we’re going straight to the sex, then.”

Nodding, I said, “Straight to the sex.”

I turned us, walking backward toward the stairs before taking her hand and leading her to the master bath. “Your hair looks great.”

I felt her giggle as a vibration from her throat against my mouth. “I thought you’d never say anything about it. I assumed you hated it.”

“I noticed it,” I told her, “but it didn’t totally register until you were sleeping on me. I think I was just so excited to see you, and so nervous, that it didn’t entirely compute. I like it.”

She tugged my shirt up and over my head, dropping it on the floor near the shower. “That’s a good answer.”

“Is it?” My hands came up to her shoulders, coaxing the fabric there away.

Her dress pooled at her feet, and she stepped out of it. “Yeah. Grandpa would like you.”

I pulled back, staring blankly at her. “Grandpa?” I looked to her hands as she worked my jeans down my hips, taking my boxers with them. “We’re talking about your grandfather right now?”

She smirked up at me. “I’ll tell you the story some other time.”

“Sometime over sandwiches and soda,” I said, laughing. “Not when we’re . . .”

She stood naked with her back to me, reaching into the shower to turn on the water. And fuck, it was like everything sort of slotted into place.

We were headed toward sex in the shower. And not for the last time before we said goodbye, and not with some sort of agreement that it was temporary, but with the assumption that it wasn’t.

Pippa curled up closer to me on the couch, her wet hair tickling my neck as she took the remote from my hands. “I’m not watching Game of Thrones.”

I pouted down at her. I’d recorded the entire previous season and was ready to binge. “I thought you were just going to sleep on me.”

“I’m sure it’s amazing,” she said, “it’s just too bloody and rapey for me.”

“I guess that also means you’ll veto The Walking Dead? Because I have that recorded, too.”

She laughed, stealing my beer to take a sip before putting it back in my palm. “Right-o.” Looking around, she hummed a little. “You need more color in here.”

“My ruse is up.” I bent, kissing her temple as she chose Trainwreck on iTunes. “I really just brought you back here so you’d redecorate.”

“Anything you’re particularly attached to?” I followed where her eyes landed, on an old, funky lamp in the corner.

“You can do whatever you want with me and my house.”

She stole my beer again, her eyes on the television and the opening credits.

“But not my beer.” I reached for it with a grin.

She pulled her arm back, moving the bottle out of reach and laughing. “I’ll probably come in here and turn everything upside down.”

“I’ll complain when you work too much.”

She tilted her face up to me. “I hope I get a job here. I want this.”

She pouted a little. “I like your shower—there’s tons of space in there for my million shampoos. And your bed is so comfortable. Hanna is here, and I love all the New York friends. And this, just curling up like this, I dread not having it now. Especially you.”

The vulnerability there made my heart twist. “Whatever happens with the interviews, we’ll find a way to make it work.”

Her eyes cleared as something seemed to occur to her, and she sat up a little. “Weren’t we supposed to go over to Hanna’s?”

I fumbled for my phone on the coffee table, nearly dropping it into Pippa’s lap. But as soon as I turned on the screen, I saw the single notification there: a text from my sister.

Can’t do dinner tonight. We’re headed to New York. Everyone is meeting there. Come join us ASAP.