I moved my hands down over her tight belly, feeling what was likely a foot pressing out beneath my palm. “Because I love you.”
Her big brown eyes met mine. “Did you ever imagine this?” she asked. “Four years ago, that we’d get pregnant only months after we had sex in a bar, and now we’re having our fourth baby and I can still kiss you and feel this way?”
“Do you miss it?” she asked, and I knew without having to translate what she meant.
“Sure, but we’ve got our return date settled.”
After Annabel, we’d taken a few months to return to our room at Johnny’s club. But after Iris, the room no longer felt quite right. We’d tried it a couple of times, tried to get back to that place where it was liberating and erotic and ours. But for whatever reason, making love in the room with the giant glass wall felt different. It was almost too intimate, too exposed. Simply put, it didn’t work anymore.
Instead, we had a new deal: Over our lunch hour, while Red Moon was otherwise closed, a brilliant photographer—whose name we never learned and who we’d never met—stood on the other side of the glass, taking beautiful photos while we made love. Johnny used them in tasteful decoration along the voyeurs’ hallway. Once or twice a month we would go for a session. More if we needed, less if life got in the way.
The regulars liked knowing we were still at it.
Sara liked being able to choose which images were used.
And I had the reassurance that we would always find a way to make this need of hers work: we would have this private pleasure between us as long as we lived.
“You’re happy?” she asked, dipping her hands beneath my shirt to press her palms to my navel.
She stretched, kissing me again. “I think we should stop at four.”
I laughed into her mouth. “I think you’re right.”
“I like having a nanny. I don’t want him to quit.”
This made me laugh harder. “I think George is pretty thrilled you have a nanny, too.”
In the pocket of my trousers, my phone vibrated, and I pulled it out, reading.
“Should we get a house in Connecticut?” she asked, musing, as she kissed my collarbone. “Manhattan isn’t going to work much longer.”
“Maybe we can drive up tomorrow, since your schedule is pretty light . . .”
I read the text again, and again.
Well, here we go. I let out a laugh. That poor bastard had no idea what was about to hit him.
Startling, I blinked over at her. “Yeah?”
“Maybe we could drive up to Connecticut tomorrow afternoon?”
With a grin, I turned my phone so she could read it. “Not quite yet, Petal. We’ve got a more important trip to make right now.”
Will poked his head up from under the covers, mouth curved in a proud grin. His hair was all perfectly rumpled and, no lie, if I weren’t such a gentleman I might be tempted to take his picture and share it with a few hundred followers on Snapchat.
Lucky for him, I was a gentleman.
I let my arm slide away from where it had been tossed across my forehead. “No.”
“Good.” He crawled up, kissing my chin. “Mission accomplished.”
I rolled to face him, pulling him close. With no space between our bodies, I could feel the heavy thump-thumping of his heart. Moments like this made me want to stand on the bed and burst into song.
“Can I tell you something?” he asked, kissing me, shaking my shoulder a little so that I’d look at him.
I opened my eyes. His expression was nervous, like it got when I walked out of the bedroom wearing something completely badass and I could tell he wanted to loan me a pair of old jeans and one of his T-shirts instead. His brown eyes had flecks of yellow, and they danced as he flickered his gaze over my face, studying. “I got you something.”
Oh. A very different kind of nervous, then.
He certainly had my attention. “A present?”
Laughing, he rolled away, reaching for something in the drawer of his bedside table. The sheets fell away, and I slid a palm up his back. “Not only do you have the perfect name and the perfect back, you bake, and you tolerate my love for boy bands, but you get me presents? How did I get so lucky?”
Every day I thanked the universe for the subway train that ran late so that:
1. Will Perkins was late for his interview for the manny position with Sara and Max Stella.
2. He was still there when I came by begging a change of clothes because I’d been drenched in filthy curbside water two blocks away and was closer to Sara’s place than mine.
4. I laughed and flirted simply because his name was Will.
5. He stared at my shirt clinging to my chest like he’d just found religion.
I always knew it was destiny I’d end up with Will. I had just picked the wrong one the first time around.
And I would have made endless fun of myself for ever believing in love at first sight, but fuck me with your spikiest Louboutins if it’s not real.
Just don’t tell Chloe. She’d pull out a ruler to measure her dick to mine.
Rolling back, Will put a small box in my hand, and the world tilted.
I’d been expecting a fancy lollypop from one of his outings with Iris and Annabel, or maybe a gift certificate to get my favorite shoes resoled because I’d been mourning their imminent death lately, and Will Perkins was thoughtful like that. But this gift fit in the palm of my hand. It had weight. It was black, and soft, and . . . it felt like a meaningful box.