He slides his hand into the back of my hair. “You’ll stay over tonight?”

I should say no but it’s not like I’m going to get a lot of work done tonight anyway. Tonight, I need this. I need the Oliver Reboot. Tomorrow, the crackdown begins in earnest.

I nod and turn my face to him just as he leans close, putting his lips on mine. Slightly open. Just barely wet. The tip of his tongue touches the tip of mine and it’s a match struck against pavement.

I’m over him, pressing down, needing relief in that aching part of me. Aching parts: between my legs. Inside my ribs. I want to believe I can breathe without him but I’m not sure, and I don’t know what’s more terrifying: thinking I could never be alone again or trying it.

He kisses me again, whispering, “So did I. Come here, Lola Love.”

He draws his tongue across the seam of my mouth, encouraging me to open again. I feel his quiet groan, the urgency behind his touch when he cups my face and tilts his head, getting a better angle. Steam is rushing through my blood, too, urging my hips to fall into the instinctive easy rhythm. Desire flashes hot along my skin when my body remembers sex with him. I want every touch to turn into something deeper and wild. He growls and bites my lip when I grind my hips over him, needing to see if he’s hard already, as immediately desperate as I am.

But he shifts me back—reasonably—and I know the backyard of my dad’s house isn’t the right place for this. I can’t take him in small doses yet. I’m not used to kissing him enough to have just a taste.

Pulling away, I lean my forehead against his, catching my breath. It seems like instead of having five senses I now have twenty; everything inside me buzzes with sensory overload.

“I still don’t really believe you’re on my lap like this.” He runs his hands up my sides. “Do you know how many times I touched myself to the fantasy of you sitting on my lap, fucking me while I suck your perfect tits?”

I burst out laughing, slapping a hand over my mouth as I glance back at the screen door.

He kisses my chin, his calm smile slowly straightening into a sweetly curved line. He suddenly seems thirty years older than me. He handles this infatuation so well. “We’ll finish this later.”

When I nod again, he guides me off his lap and we lie down, shoulder to shoulder, staring up at the sky. It feels like an enormous ocean above us, swimming with stars. Oliver’s hand finds mine, his long fingers curling around and between.

“Tell me more about L.A.,” he says.

I groan, taking a few breaths to collect my thoughts. “I started Razor so long ago, I don’t think I remember the stumbling at first. But going up to L.A. was like ice water dumped over my head. I felt naïve and useless in these meetings—about my own story—and then when I would go home at night to work on Junebug, it was like I couldn’t even get started.”

He hums sympathetically beside me, lifting our joined hands to his mouth to kiss the back of mine.

“I missed you and was obsessing about us, and couldn’t stop worrying about how I was coming off in these meetings.” I look over at him. “There were three of them: Gregory—don’t call him Greg, by God—Austin, and Langdon.”

“Gregory Saint Jude?” he asks, “He did Metadata last year, right?” He’s obviously more familiar with these names than I am—I had to do some quick IMDb’ing on my phone in the hall the other day—and I have a pang of embarrassment all over again.

“Right. And he’s fine. He didn’t really engage me much, but Langdon is a total douche. Initially Austin said Langdon really connected to the story, but let me be clear. He doesn’t. Or, maybe he does, but as a forty-something dude who wants to bang Quinn.”

Oliver groans. “So did you finish the edits?” he asks, and I can feel his head turned, the weight of his eyes on me.

“No, we got through it but they’re letting me have two weeks with it to ‘put my polish on it,’ whatever that means,” I say. “There are so many things I’m not allowed to change, and the things I am aren’t really details I care about. I don’t care about Quinn’s clothes.”

He sighs, turning his face back up to the sky. “I’m sorry it was frustrating, pet. That sucks.”

I nod. “It’s okay. We’ll figure it out. I’m just glad to be back with you tonight.”

“Same.” He kisses my hand again, and after we have spent several minutes looking up at the stars in silence, the screen door squeaks open and I feel Dad up there, looking down at us. I know what he sees: his daughter lying on the grass, holding hands with a man for the first time in front of him. I can’t imagine what he feels, if it’s bittersweet or only sweet, or as terrifying for him as it is for me.

Inside, he’s set the table with placemats and napkins tucked into brass rings. A candle is lit in the middle and when I look up at him to scowl, his eyes are more anxious than teasing. I can tell he knows he’s gone a little overboard and I give him a reluctant smile instead.

Oliver sits beside me on the opposite side of the table from Dad and we serve ourselves in silence. Without me here they’d be laughing and eating unself-consciously. Without Oliver here, Dad and I would be laughing and eating unself-consciously. In this case, two is not better than one.