“Yes, but only that one.”

She gives me my favorite laugh: the quiet thrust of breath from her mouth. The sound she probably doesn’t even know she makes. And then she bends, time stops, and after a tiny beat of hesitation where she holds her breath, Lola presses her full lips to mine.

Warm, soft, and just the tiniest bit wet: it’s the sweetest first kiss I’ve ever had. Lola gives me a blissful few introductory kisses before the eventual parting of her lips, and the careful capture of my bottom lip between hers.

When she sucks, gently bites, and makes a tiny rough growl, I am wrecked.

When the tip of her tongue grazes mine, my heart seems intent on punching its way out of my chest.

I can barely keep my hands beneath my thighs on the chair when she pulls away, licking her lips.

My voice shakes: “I thought we weren’t allowed to do that.”

With a tiny one-shouldered shrug, she whispers, “I think I’m going to do it again.”

My pulse is hammering so hard, I can barely manage an “Okay.”

When she comes back, I groan, pulling my hands free and so desperate for the taste of her that I stretch forward, meeting her halfway with my palms cupping her face. It’s explosive: the feel of our skin touching just here. I perceive the kiss in every tiny hollow part of me, filling me up with her sweetness, and lust, and abandon. I want to devour Lola, but this first series of kisses is remarkably gentle. Aimless. Everything wild and tense is held in our muscles: in the tight clench of my quads under her ass, and my hands barely holding her face. In her hands in fists in the shirt at my shoulders, her legs trembling over me. It feels like sex, the way she’s kissing me, the way her tongue slides across mine, but slower, and infinitely more innocent.

“I can’t believe you’re doing this,” I murmur into her mouth. “I’ve wanted this for so long.”

The words cause her to tense and she sits back, blinking slowly. “Will this mess everything up?”

I move my hands from her face and rest them, carefully, on the outside of her thighs. “It can make everything better. We can do whatever you want.” I stretch to kiss her again, repeating, “Whatever you want. We can put on a movie and relax. We can stay here and kiss. We can play some more cards.”

The clock in the hall must tick at least a hundred times before Lola speaks.

“I don’t want to stay out here and play cards.”

I nod, choking on my own breath. “Whatever you want, pet.”

“And I don’t want to just kiss.” She stands, pulling me up with her. We’re so close my exhales puff against her hair as she stares, wide-eyed, up at me.

Her hand comes down the inside of my arm, fingers curling with mine, and she turns, tugging me down the hall.

I’VE ONLY BEEN in Oliver’s room one other time—when he was fixing something in the garage and needed me to grab his phone from his dresser—but I didn’t take the time to look around and take in how he’d put his secret space together. That time, it felt too personal to be in his sanctuary; I located the phone and dashed out. Back then, too, I hadn’t really let the enormity of my feelings sink in. We were still Just Friends. Being in his room wasn’t intense because he would be naked here, or sleep here. It just felt like a level of personal that Lola + Oliver didn’t do.

But right now—after that perfect kiss, after the feel of him rock hard beneath me, and knowing what we’re about to do in this room—my heart is a banging drum in my ear.

This is really happening.

Oliver’s hand is wrapped around mine, the memory of his mouth still makes my lips tingle, and his bed is mere feet from where we stand. It’s on the far side of the room, near the window that overlooks the ocean, which is a couple of blocks away. His window is open and it smells like salt water and ocean air and the clean pine scent of his laundry detergent.

I lead him over, and with a shaking hand pull back the covers and carefully slide in. His sheets are clean, the cotton cool beneath my back, and it makes my skin feel charged. Oliver watches me turn and lie down, and waits only a moment before he moves, slowly prowling over me and settling between my legs. His expression is so full of wonder when he looks down at me; it gives me a dizzying rush of power. He wants this as much as I do. I knew it, because he’d told me, but until just tonight, I didn’t truly believe.

The cold of the sheets is gone in only seconds and I’m too warm in an excited, frantic sort of way; the prick of sweat rises on my neck, down my chest. My nipples feel swollen and sensitive, and the heat of his skin when I rub against him pulls a soft gasp from my mouth.

“Lola.” My name is an urgent whisper on his lips, and I reach up, pulling his glasses from his face. He takes them from me and slides them onto the nightstand with so much caution that I wonder if he also feels so deliberate in every movement, it’s like moving through water.

“There,” I say when he turns back to me.

While my eyes adjust to the darkness of his room, I let my fingertips trace the outline of his face, the sharp line of his jaw. He’s angles and slopes; his skin is smooth along his cheeks, rough along his jaw. I stretch into him, pressing my bare chest to his, and Oliver lets out a shaking groan, sliding his hand down my side, along my thigh to my knee, where he pulls my leg over his hip. Beneath the denim of his jeans, his cock is rigid against me, and I feel the shape of it as we press together and apart, together and apart, rocking.