Authors: Jennifer Haymore
“I…have a condom,” he said into her hair, his voice gruff.
“Use it,” she breathed.
She let him pull away to reach for his jeans. He found his wallet, then slipped the condom out of it. They’d never used one in college. They’d both been so new to sex. At first they’d used the withdrawal method—stupid but thankfully effective for them—but as soon as things had begun to get serious, she’d started taking the pill.
But she wasn’t on the pill now. She watched, fascinated and aroused, as he slipped the condom over himself.
Nathan. In the flesh—the very bare, very
flesh. After they’d broken up, after all the other women. He was here, with her, and it was clear he wanted her. His body wanted her, anyway, as proved by the hard length of him jutting out from between his legs.
God, he was beautiful. Tall and masculine. Strong. Big in all the places that mattered.
She reached out for him, and he came over her, using his knees to nudge her legs apart. Their lips met in a hot kiss as he pressed against her entrance, and she moaned into his mouth. He paused there, and she pressed her body up against him, wanting to feel him against her everywhere, to feel the heat and strength of him.
They’d been together for two years. The sex had been amazing. Being with him had been amazing. She’d thought they’d had forever. But they didn’t. They only had right now.
“God, Zoey,” he whispered against her cheek. His voice was ragged. Broken. He was still hovering there, on the verge of pressing into her, and it was driving her crazy. “I want you so bad.”
“I’m yours,” she responded.
And she was. For tonight, she was all his.
Finally, he moved. He pushed inside her in one smooth motion, and she arched up to meet him as he filled her. Completion. Ecstasy. Perfection.
He held still, wedged deep inside her for several moments, their breaths sawing through the silence.
Then he started to move.
The feel of him, gliding into her, grazing over her most sensitive parts. It tightened her and freed her at the same time. It was the most exquisite, painful feeling she’d ever experienced.
“Nathan,” she groaned over and over again. “Nathan.”
This feeling…the pleasure this man wrought in her body. There’d been others, but they were inconsequential. She couldn’t even remember their names. There was only Nathan. Nathan was the one who completed her, who made her feel like as long as he loved her like this, everything would be okay. That she would be okay. That she would be powerful and strong, and she could conquer anything. She knew she always had that strength within her, but somehow Nathan brought it out.
The feeling coiled within her, tightening, condensing in her core.
She opened her eyes to see him gazing down at her, his eyes narrow and intent. And she lost it. Gave in to the pleasure. She groaned, arching up to meet him with every thrust. The pleasure tightened within her until it was a sizzling ball of heat.
And then it exploded. She cried out, her body undulating beyond her ability to control it. Pleasure flooded every part of her, flowed through her blood, simmered in her core, ran over her skin. She sobbed with it, the emotion bursting through her as if it were part and parcel of her physical release.
She gripped him tight, her fingers curling, her hands clawing his skin as she tried to find something to hold on to, to keep her attached to the earth.
He pushed her through it, his lips clashing with hers, even though her mouth was open in an O of ecstasy. His body moved against hers, touching her at all the points that made her feel most secure, most protected and safe. She grabbed him harder as the last spasms of the orgasm flowed through her, her body curving and bowing with them as pleasure swallowed her in its jaws.
She held on even as her body relaxed, even as she returned to awareness. Her body felt heavy and sated. But he hadn’t finished. He was solid within her, stroking through her, every muscle in his spectacular body tense and hard. His expression twisted as if he held back.
“No,” she murmured, pulling him deep into her. “Come. I want you to come.”
“I don’t…want…to.” His voice was fractured, broken.
“Why?” she managed.
“I love this feeling. Being inside you. It’s so perfect. I don’t want it to end.”
She moaned softly. She didn’t want it to end either. He was right—it was perfect.
“Come when you need to, then,” she whispered. “But until then…”
Keep giving her pleasure. Keep feeling the pleasure she knew he was feeling, could see on his face, read in his expression.
He moved in a rhythm that sparked every nerve ending in her body until her toes curled. It rose within her again, that tight ball of exquisite sweetness. She contained it for as long as she could. But then…it was too much. It exploded a second time, flowing through her in a seemingly unending tidal wave of pleasure, reaching every bit of her, from her fingertips to her scalp to the tips of her toes.
She lost herself in it, drowned in it, but a part of her registered his body tightening, his fingers closing around her shoulder, his sex growing larger and tighter and pushing deeper into her. She cried out—the feeling of fullness, of completion, something she’d missed for so long.
He pushed into her hard. She loved it. She dragged him closer, deeper, digging her nails into the flesh of his back, pressing him even deeper into her.
His body shook in her arms. His cry was shuddering and vulnerable as he pulled her close and came deep, deep inside her.
They stayed that way—minutes? hours?—locked together tightly, neither one wanting to relinquish the position.
Zoey felt sated and calm. And then…reality began to edge in. She tried to push it back, because she wanted to hold on to this feeling of contentment for as long as possible.
But she had to. This was a dream, like so many others she’d had since she’d broken up with Nathan.
Just a dream.
Slowly, her muscles relaxed. Her arms slipped away. Her head turned to the side. He responded in kind, his body growing heavy atop hers. Finally, he collapsed to the side with a deep sigh. But then he gathered her body against his. She curled into him. They fit together as seamlessly as they always had.
“Zoey,” he murmured. His voice was a broken thing, like so much jagged glass. “I’ve missed you for so long.”
She squeezed her eyes shut. She’d missed him too. But how could she say it? How could she admit those truths that put her in such a vulnerable position? Not when whatever this was would be over in a week.
She couldn’t tell him how much she’d missed him. She couldn’t do it. Because when he walked away from her, when he went back to California, it would be too painful to endure. She’d already borne it once. She wasn’t sure she could do it again.
So she just snuggled up against him, feeling like she was surrounded by the warmest, coziest cocoon. Soon enough, she fell asleep.
* * * *
Nate woke up slowly, feeling languid and relaxed, as if he’d had the best dream of his life.
It didn’t take him long to realize it wasn’t a dream; it was reality. His lips curled into a contented smile as he pulled Zoey’s warm, naked body closer to his.
Being with Zoey again… It had been everything he’d dreamed. For him, the sex had been intense, all-consuming. He’d tried to communicate to her in actions what was far too difficult to share in words.
He was older now, and wiser. He’d sown his wild oats and realized he’d already had the prize and had been stupid to let her go. He knew what he wanted, and he’d showed her that all he’d ever wanted, really, was her.
She stirred, and he pressed a kiss to the top of her head.
“Mmmm,” she murmured.
“I was.” Her voice was low and smooth, and she snuggled closer to him. In the pitch-dark, only the whisper of rainfall outside broke the quiet.
They lay in silence for several minutes, Nate giving her the opportunity to fall back asleep if that was what she wanted. But he could feel her wakefulness in the line of her body against him—just the slightest increase in the tension in her muscles.
“Zo?” he murmured.
“I’m sorry I pissed you off about Columbia Heights.” He held her a little tighter. “I just…” His throat felt dry. “I just…worry about you. I want you to be safe.”
“You sure about that?” She sighed, her rib cage expanding and contracting under his arms. “Because you haven’t paid much attention to my safety for a while now.”
“That’s not true.”
She released a sarcastic puff of laughter. “It doesn’t matter, Nathan. I’ve been learning that I can do a damn fine job of taking care of myself.”
“I know you can. You’ve always been good at that.”
“Then why question my choice of a place to live? It doesn’t come off as caring. It comes off as judgmental.”
He didn’t answer her, because the only thing he could do was repeat what he’d already told her. He knew she was independent and street smart. But he hadn’t been able to help it—once she’d mentioned buying a condo in an area of DC he knew wasn’t the safest, all his protective instincts had come bristling to the forefront.
And then he’d thought of a solution, but he’d been an ass, suggesting she buy a place she couldn’t afford on a teacher’s salary.
She was right—where had he been these past three years? At Stanford, working his ass off, then at work working his ass off, searching for some kind of happiness and fulfillment that had always been just beyond his reach.
He wasn’t a generous person, a giver, like Zoey was. He was a materialistic bastard who craved money just like his dad had.
She’d always been too good for him.
“I didn’t mean to be judgmental,” he finally said, his voice rough.
She hesitated, then said quietly, “Okay.” She pulled back a bit, and he sensed her tilting her head up as if to look at him. “It’s so dark tonight.”
“Do you want me to turn on a light?”
“No. It’s all right.”
She moved her head, fitting herself against him once more. She slipped her arm around him and pulled him even closer. Then she gave a low groan. “What are we doing here, Nathan?”
He gave a low, gruff laugh. “Looks like we’re getting back together.”
She was silent for a minute. Then, “Do you want that?”
“Yeah. Do you?”
“I…” She shook her head. “I don’t know. We live on different coasts. We have lives on opposite ends of the country. I don’t see how this can work. Do you?”
“Yeah, right. What are we going to do, see each other once a year here in Sugar Cay? Live like monks for the rest of the year? Somehow I can’t see you doing that.”
“Hey now,” he said softly.
“Well, it’s true.”
“Why do we have to worry about how it’s going to work? It’s working right now, isn’t it?”
“Because we’re both
“We can make it happen, Zo. Somehow. You have the summer off, don’t you? You could come stay with me in California. You never know, you might love it there. You might decide to stay.”
“Whoa, there, cowboy.” She pulled back fully from him. “I have never been that woman, Nathan. The one who gives up her life to follow her man wherever he goes.”
“And why won’t you be the man who follows his woman wherever she decides to go?” she countered.
“Because I have a great career in San Francisco.”
“I have a great career in DC.”
They were both silent. This had always been their stopping point. Their impasse. They both wanted certain things from their lives. He’d always wanted to go to grad school at Stanford; she’d always wanted to teach inner-city kids in the country’s capital. They hadn’t been able to bend, either of them.
And maybe they still weren’t flexible. Despite the years that had gone by, the itching discontent with his life, Nathan didn’t want to go live in DC. He loved living in San Francisco. Year-round great weather, the people were laidback, and there were never-ending things to do and see in the Bay Area.
If she’d only try it out… But there he was again, thinking she’d bend.
She wouldn’t. He should have learned that truth years ago. Stupid hope. He let his eyes sink shut for a moment.
“Let’s just enjoy our time here, okay?”
“Nathan…” The word came out as a half sigh, half moan. “I don’t know if I can…because…because it’s not…”
Hell. He didn’t want to think of what would have to happen a week from now. Not now, with her soft, warm, naked body pressed up against him for the first time in three years.
He just wanted to
with her. Was that too much to ask?
He needed to end this talking, this discussion that would only bring both of them down.
“Shh,” he commanded. He moved his hand up her spine, then cupped the back of her head in his palm and tilted her head up. “Just be with me, Zo. That’s all I ask. Just be with me.”
And he pressed his lips to hers.
Zoey awoke with a jolt. Coming into awareness, she realized Nathan was asleep, his arms wrapped tightly around her. She froze, not wanting to wake him.
The gray light of dawn had just begun to seep through the gauzy curtains.
Emotion rose from her core to her chest until her throat tightened with it and her eyes stung. Here she was, in the most beautiful place in the word, in the arms of the only man she’d ever really wanted, and she felt like she was going to weep.
Because in the end, none of this was real. This wasn’t her life. Her life was with her fifth graders. She loved them so much. Much more than she loved Crappy Apartment and the lonely nights on her lumpy mattress. But those were part of her life too, and she was working her way up, saving money, planning to buy herself a little condo in Columbia Heights.
That was her life. And she loved her life, damn it.
But this…what Nathan had made her feel last night…physically, and deeper too. He’d made love to her all over, not only to her body. She’d felt adored, cherished.