And so I ride.
I spin her toward the couch and remove her panties. My fingers stroke inside her cunt. Christ, she’s wet. She’s always so f**king ready for me. I have my pants down and my c**k out before I have a chance to second-guess myself. With my fingers gripped around her hips, I thrust in. Hard.
I drive into her, over and over, chasing not only my orgasm but the answers to our shitty situation. Her back is to me, her face hidden. I can’t watch her like this. I close my eyes. It’s reminiscent of so many other f**ks with so many random women. This used to be my favorite position. It’s so wrong to be with her this way. But I’m too vulnerable right now. I can’t be with her in any other way without losing every semblance of control.
Except Alayna won’t let me simply use her. She knows what we need better than I do. At least, she does in this moment. Or maybe she’s just stronger than I am, more willing to be that vulnerable, that exposed.
She twists toward me, clutching onto my shirt. At her touch, my eyes pop open. She locks her gaze on mine, and that’s all it takes to bring me back. Back to her. I steady my drive, and her pu**y clenches around me. Then I’m coming with her, crying her name like it’s an S.O.S. Hoping beyond hope that she can save me. Save us.
I collapse on top of her, holding her, breathing with her in unison. They’re short minutes that pass, every second of them precious. I don’t think I can ever let her go.
Eventually, I try. I step back, pulling out of her. But immediately, she’s in my arms, and my lips are pressed against hers. I hold her in place, our mouths sealed in an immobile kiss. This is it, I know. My decision is about to be made, and even though my stubborn walls won’t let it be made solid with words and declarations, it’s forming in the center of my mind, sitting on the edge of my tongue.
I can’t lose her.
When we break apart, Alayna wraps her hands around my neck, seemingly as desperate to hold onto me as I am to her. “Oh god, I miss you. I miss you so much.”
“Précieux…mon amour…ma chérie…” I run my hands down her face, memorizing the touch of her skin, the curve of her jaw. Will this be the last time?
It can’t be the last time.
“When are you coming home?” she asks, bringing us back to reality, back to the things we have to deal with.
I lean my forehead against hers. I’m exhausted. So tired of this game. “I have to go to L.A. for the weekend.” I check my watch. “I’m set to leave in about twenty minutes, in fact.”
“Part of your big business thing? With Norma?” There’s no hint of jealousy in her question. Just a need to know.
I slide my nose along hers. “Yes, with Norma. And after this, if all goes well, we’ll be done.” I want to invite her to come with me, but it’s too risky. If Celia were to follow us across the country…
No, I have to keep her here. Safe from ruining this deal that’s almost done. Then, after this, after I know I’ve gotten Celia off Alayna’s back. Then…
I can’t even say it in my mind. Because once I voice the decision, I know there’ll be no going back. This first, this deal. And then…that.
With strength I didn’t know I had, I push her away. I dress and face her, my fist on my hip. Already the distance is beginning to span between us, and I think of Mirabelle’s words. The lie that grows and separates and builds walls. I see it. It’s here now between us, forming before my eyes.
And I know I can’t let it grow any wider. I can’t wait any longer to begin. I can’t lose her, and I only have one shot at keeping her. The choice forms into words in my head. I’ll tell her. I have to tell her. Everything. All of it. Starting with this.
I reach for her, pulling her back to me with all that I am. “God, Alayna, I can’t do this anymore.” It’s a relief saying this. A burden unleashed. “I can’t bear to be apart from you. I miss you so terribly.”
“You do?” She leans back to look into my eyes.
The light. Her brilliant light overtakes me. And now that the decision’s been made, the confessions spill easily. “Of course, I do, precious. You’re my everything. I love you. I love you so much.”
Finally, I’m free.
I didn’t think it was possible, but her light, it grows brighter.
“W-w-what?” She’s unbelieving.
I’m ridiculously in love. “You heard me.”
“I want to hear it again.”
“I love you.” It’s easy now. Like I always knew it would be. It’s only the beginning of my confessions, and the rest will be so much harder. But I won’t think about that now. I’ll let this declaration have its own moment in the sun.
“You love me?”
I brush my lips over hers. “I love you, precious. I’ve always loved you. From the moment I first saw you. I knew before you did, I think.” I tilt her chin to meet my eyes. “But there are things—things in my past—that have kept me from being able to tell you. And now…I have to do this…this thing. Finish this deal. Then, when I get back, we’ll talk.”
“We’ll talk?” She’s glowing. God, how I wish I didn’t have to steal her happiness.
But I’m committed now. “I’ll tell you anything you want to know. And if you still want me, I’ll come home.”
“Yes, I want you home. Of course I do. We belong there together. There’s nothing you could say that would make me stop loving you. Nothing. I stick, remember?”
I cling to her words, holding them like a lifeline. “Oh, precious. I hope that’s true.”
But I know she can’t make that promise. I won’t hold her to it.
“Say it again.”
“You’re such a spoiled girl.” I circle my nose around hers. “And I love…spoiling you.”
She smacks me playfully.
“And I love you.” I’ll tell her as many times as she wants to hear it. As many times as she lets me say it. And though this may be the last time I hold her like this, the last time I get to bask in her sun, I know I’ll never stop saying the words that have rested so deeply in me for so long. “I love you, I love you. I love you.”
Therapy, it turned out, was quite helpful. My life didn’t change in the course of a session or two or even five, but little by little I began to understand things about myself that I’d thought could never be understood. And though I still felt primarily numb, I also felt something else. A lightening of sorts. Like the weight on my shoulders had somehow been decreased. I was still skeptical about progress, but I was willing to give it a try.