Pride swells so fast in my chest I’m covering her mouth with mine, fucking her fast and shallow, and she’s wrestling free, finally crying out at the feel of my tongue on hers. Her hands dig into my hair, eyes open so she can watch me.

“It’s so fucking good.” I hear myself grunt on every shove, the sounds of sex making me harder—the wet slide, skin slapping, the creaking of my desk.

I’m grateful to the traffic on Fifth, the constant bustle of the shop for muting the noise we must be making.

Harder, faster, she’s gasping and clutching me at my neck, nails digging into my skin. Her legs are wrapped around me, sweat making us slippery, and I grip her ass to pull her onto me at the same time I shove as deep as I can, going off with a hoarse yell, in a flurry of wild thrusts. Light bursts behind my closed lids, bliss racing down my spine, tiny explosions of pleasure spreading across the map of my entire body.

I slump against her, pressing my teeth to her neck as my hips slow and eventually stop. It’s a miracle my desk is still in one piece.

Lola catches her breath against me, holding me tight. Her legs don’t let up; she doesn’t want to let me go, and, fuck, I don’t ever want to leave the warmth of her body.

The room is suddenly so quiet, and I can’t seem to pull in enough oxygen. My breaths feel too fast, too loud. Lola slumps forward on my chest and I wrap my arms around her. She feels tiny in my arms: willowy and delicate. I feel like I’m made of nothing but basic instincts—fuck, breathe, sleep—but I manage to remain upright. The pleasure slips away gradually, and I run kisses up her neck, pausing for a breath so I can tell her how fucking good it was.

Before I can get the words started, I stop, listening.

An odd stillness seems to have surrounded us, and I’m hit with a restless awareness: the magnitude of the quiet is nearly dystopian, almost as if the world outside ended while we were in here wildly fucking.

Lola’s eyes meet mine and I know the thought hits us both at the same time.

I close my eyes, waiting for the explosion. “Oh sh—”

Suddenly Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” blares from the front of the store. It’s so loud it may as well be playing in the room with us.

I look at Lola, who is still flushed from her orgasm. She claps a hand over her mouth to keep from laughing. “Oh, my God,” she mumbles.

Motherfucking Joe starts yell-singing along with it: “Demolition woman, can I be your man?”

Finally, I pull out, quickly tying off the rubber and dropping it in the trash bin. Together, we start putting our clothes back on: I pull my pants up my legs, tug my shirt over my head. Lola slides from the desk, straightening her skirt, locating her bra and shirt.

At least four other voices join in for the rest of the chorus.

Lola hooks her bra behind her back, adjusts the straps, and then presses her hands to her face. “Oh, my God. Oh, my God.”

The music dies down and Joe proclaims, “Show thyself, mighty stallion!”

Laughing, I call out, “Shut the fuck up!” I help Lola get her shirt back on as laughter trails through the door.

Pulling her hair into a bun, she says, “I guess that answers that question.”

She nods, rubbing her face again, but behind it I can see her smile. “Is there a secret way out or are we doomed for a walk of shame?”

This makes me laugh. “Shame? I’ll be strutting. We nearly broke that fucking desk fucking.”

I cup her face, kissing her once. “Sorry, pet, we can only escape through that door, right there.”

“Was it good?” I ask quietly. “Did you like trying to be quiet?”

“So good,” she whispers, stretching to kiss me again. “I don’t want to go to L.A.”

My arms come around her, and I feel the warmth of her breath on my neck. “I’m not wild about this plan, either.”

She’s shaking, and I want to look at her face, but she has it determinedly pressed to my shoulder.

“Look at me,” I say. “Let me taste that pretty mouth.”

She tilts her face up to me, lazily sliding her lips with mine: warm, heavy, wet.

“I love you,” I tell her. Her eyes flutter closed, her kisses deepen. And I don’t need to hear the words from her in return because this—her body language, her response when I say it, even the fact that she’s confirmed to anyone in the store that she’s mine—tells me she feels it, too.

After another ten seconds where I’m debating having her again, but this time on the couch near the window, I pull back, kissing the top of her head and coaxing her arms from around my waist. It’s time to face the inevitable.

I cross the room and look over my shoulder at her; she swipes away the smudged eyeliner from beneath her eyes, and then gives me a tentative thumbs-up. The squeak of the doorknob seems to reverberate in the quiet and I pull the door open, letting in a gust of cool air.

My heart drops when I see Harlow first, Finn just behind her. I expected Joe. Not this.

“Well, well,” Harlow says as a smile spreads across her face. “If it isn’t my two favorite nerds.”

I step out, working to keep my expression neutral. “You know two other nerds?”