“Okay,” I finally manage to say aloud as he climbs up my body, kissing across my skin. He’s breathless, and hard. “I admit: you won this round.”
He laughs into a kiss to my lips. “I’d say we both won that round.”
WE’RE STILL AWAKE when the sun rises on the other side of the sky, slowly brightening Oliver’s room. The sheets are mostly on the floor, pillows crushed between the mattress and headboard, but I am centered perfectly on the huge bed, carefully covered by Oliver’s endless, smooth naked skin.
“Are you going to be able to work?” I ask, trying to see past him to the clock.
He mumbles into my shoulder: “More importantly, are you going to be able to walk?”
Laughing, I ease out from under him and climb out of bed, walking unsteadily to the bathroom in the hall. I feel tender everywhere; I want to stay in bed all day and sleep curled around him. I don’t want to think about everything else. Anything else. I want it to evaporate.
For the first time in my life, I resent work.
He joins me in the shower. After no sleep and hours of sweaty, wild sex, I assume we’re both too tired for much more than kissing. But being drenched in steam and pounding water, the sudsy slide of his skin across mine and the suggestion his fingers make when they move over my ass and between, stroking, leaves me begging him for something I never thought I’d want before.
I look up at him. “I want to feel you there.”
Water drips down his forehead. Thick lashes, clumped and wet, frame his brilliant blue eyes as he studies me. “You’re sure?”
“I’m sure.” I push onto my toes to reach his jaw, to scratch it with my teeth.
Oliver turns me to the wall, kissing my neck as his fingers run down my back, over my backside, until he carefully eases one slick finger in and out, then two, slowly stretching me. While he whispers and groans, telling me he’ll be careful, telling me how much he loves me, he finally enters me there, inch by inch.
I nod. I am, and I’m not. I’m overwhelmed and split in two and wishing I could have more of him, and everywhere all at once.
He’s bare in me like this, fingers snaking around and touching me from the front but I can feel his fascinated thrill and once he starts moving he doesn’t last very long. The satisfaction I feel in his sounds, the way he shakes and moves so arrhythmically, the bouncing echo of his surprised shout when he comes loosens all of the fear I’ve held on to that I have him but could lose him.
That everything good in my life could vanish and he would leave me.
That we could build a life together and have it yanked out from beneath us.
That I would unravel, that nothing else would matter but this.
Right now, he is everything.
Oliver washes me, eyes heavy and sleepy, lips thanking me with every kiss. “How’s my girl?”
I answer the question he’s asking, and not the bigger one—the enormous one—because existentially, at this moment, I am not okay. I’m drowning in what I feel for him.
I realize it’s a cliché but everything changes for me after that shower. I don’t think I’ll ever love anyone the way I love this man.
While we get dressed in silence, he keeps looking at me with this strange mixture of awe and relief.
“You’re okay though?” he asks again from across the room, pulling clothes out of his dresser.
I love him. I love him more than anything and it’s obliterating everything else around me.
He comes over and studies me, cupping my face in his hands. “Lola Love, you’re not okay. Is it me? Is it what we just did?” His face grows tight.
Shaking my head, I stretch, sliding my arms around his neck and pressing my lips to the warm, clean skin there. He bends, holding me tight. I want him to hold me all day long. I want to keep the rest of the world at bay, and just be here, with Oliver, until it’s time to climb back into bed again.
I AM DAZED, drunk. I climb the steps to my apartment slowly, exhausted but in the best way.
The loft is quiet—London is most likely surfing—and I grab a cup of coffee before heading to my room to start working on the ever-expanding list of deadlines. I haven’t checked my email in over a day, and still don’t want to now. I like the bubble.
And I’ve barely slept. I glance at my computer, the stylus sitting so innocently on the digital sketchpad, and I know how much I need to get done today but I also know how much a tiny nap will help.
I fall into bed, closing my eyes and trying to focus on Junebug unfolding, her story and who she is. But instead my mind keeps bending back to all the points of tenderness on my body, just to remember. I hear Oliver’s voice in my ear, remember every one of his kisses.
I wake only when it’s dark out and my stomach gnaws with hunger.
I lift my phone, blinking in surprise at the number of notifications on the screen.
I’ve missed four calls from numbers I don’t recognize, and two more from one that I do: my publicist, Samantha. I swipe the screen and immediately call her.
I can hear the smile in her voice, the way she’s struggling to stay calm to keep me calm. She’s never shown me a second of stress until now. “Oh, okay, I’ll reschedule the calls. Don’t even worry.”