I drop the journal on my chest. I’m surprised to feel tears running down my cheeks. Every time I pick up this journal I think I’ll be ﬁne—that it all happened so long ago and I won’t still feel what I felt back then.
I’m such a sap. It gives me this longing to hug so many people from my past. Especially my mother because for the past year, I haven’t really thought about everything she had to go through before my father died. I know it probably still hurts her.
I grab my phone to call her and look at the screen. There are four missed texts from Ryle. My heart immediately skips. I can’t believe I had it on silent! Then I roll my eyes, annoyed with myself, because I should not be this excited.
Ryle: Are you asleep? Ryle: I guess so.
Ryle: Lily . . .
Ryle. : (
The sad face was sent ten minutes ago. I hit Reply and type, “Nope. Not asleep.” About ten seconds later, I get another text.
Ryle: Good. I’m walking up your stairs right now. Be there in twenty seconds.
I grin and jump out of bed. I go to the bathroom and check my
face. Good enough. I run to the front door and open it as soon as Ryle makes it up the stairwell. He practically drags himself up the top step, and then stops to rest when he ﬁnally reaches my door. He looks so tired. His eyes are red and there are dark circles under them. His arms slip around my waist and he pulls me to him, burying his face in my neck.
“You smell so good,” he says.
I pull him inside the apartment. “Are you hungry? I can make you something to eat.”
He shakes his head as he wrestles out of his jacket, so I skip the kitchen and head for the bedroom. He follows me, and then throws his jacket over the back of the chair. He kicks off his shoes and pushes them against the wall.
He’s wearing scrubs.
“You look exhausted,” I say.
He smiles and puts his hands on my hips. “I am. I just assisted in an eighteen-hour surgery.” He bends down and kisses the heart tattoo on my collarbone.
No wonder he’s exhausted. “How is that even possible?” I say. “Eighteen hours?”
He nods and then walks me to the side of the bed where he pulls me down next to him. We adjust ourselves until we’re facing each other, sharing a pillow. “Yeah, but it was amazing. Groundbreaking. They’ll write about it in medical journals, and I got to be there, so I’m not complaining. I’m just really tired.”
I lean in and give him a peck on the mouth. He brings his hand to the side of my head and pulls back. “I know you’re probably ready to have hot, sweaty sex, but I don’t have the energy tonight. I’m sorry. But I’ve missed you and for some reason I sleep better when I sleep next to you. Is it okay that I’m here?”
I smile. “It’s more than okay.”
He leans in and kisses my forehead. He grabs my hand and then holds it between us on the pillow. His eyes close, but I keep mine open and stare at him. He has the type of face that people shy away from, because you could get lost in it. And to think, I get to look at this face all the time. I don’t have to be modest and look away, because he’s mine.
This is a trial run. I have to remember that.
After a minute, he releases my hand and begins to ﬂex his ﬁngers. I look down at his hand and wonder what that must be like . . . to have to stand for so long and use your ﬁne motor skills for eighteen hours straight. I can’t think of much else that would match that level of exhaustion.
I slide out of the bed and retrieve some lotion out of my bathroom. I go back to the bed and sit cross-legged next to him. I
squirt some lotion on my hand and then pull his arm to my lap. He opens his eyes and looks up at me.
“What are you doing?” he mumbles.
“Shh. Go back to sleep,” I say. I press my thumbs into the palm of his hand and rotate them upward and then out. His eyes fall shut and he groans into the pillow. I continue massaging his hand for about ﬁve minutes before switching to his other hand. He keeps his eyes closed the whole time. When I’m ﬁnished with his hands, I roll him onto his stomach and straddle his back. He assists me in pulling off his shirt, but his arms are like noodles.
I massage his shoulders and his neck and his back and his arms.
When I’m ﬁnished, I roll off of him and lie down beside him.
I’m running my ﬁngers through his hair and massaging his scalp when he opens his eyes. “Lily?” he whispers, looking at me sincerely. “You just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Those words wrap around me like a warm blanket. I don’t know what to say in response. He lifts a hand and gently cups my cheek, and I feel his stare deep in my stomach. Slowly, he leans forward and presses his lips to mine. I expect a peck, but he doesn’t pull back. The tip of his tongue slides across my lips, parting them softly. His mouth is so warm, I moan as his kiss grows deeper.
He rolls me onto my back and then drags his hand down my body, straight to my hip. He moves closer, sliding his hand down my thigh. He pushes against me and a surge of heat shoots inside me. I grab a ﬁstful of his hair and whisper against his mouth. “I think we’ve waited long enough. I would very much like for you to fuck me now.”
He practically growls with a renewed sense of energy and begins to pull my shirt off. It becomes an interlude of hands and moans and tongues and sweat. I feel like this is the ﬁrst time I’ve ever been touched by a man. The few who came before him were all boys— nervous hands and timid mouths. But Ryle is all conﬁdence. He knows exactly where to touch me and exactly how to kiss me.
The only time he’s not giving my body his undivided attention is when he reaches to the ﬂoor and ﬁshes a condom out of his wallet. Once he’s back under the covers and the condom is in place, he
doesn’t even hesitate. He takes me brazenly in one swift thrust and I gasp into his mouth, every muscle in me tensing.
His mouth is ﬁerce and needy, kissing me everywhere he can reach. I grow so dizzy, I can do nothing but succumb to him. He’s unapologetic in the way he fucks me. His hand comes between my headboard and the top of my head as he pushes harder and harder, the bed crashing against the wall with every push.
My ﬁngernails dig into the skin of his back as he buries his face against my neck.
“Ryle,” I whisper. “Oh, God,” I say. “Ryle!” I scream.
And then I bite down on his shoulder to mufﬂe every sound that comes after it. My whole body feels it—from my head to my toes and back up again.
I’m afraid I might literally pass out for a moment, so I tighten my legs around him and he tenses. “Jesus, Lily.” His body ripples with tremors, and he shoves against me one last time. He groans, stilling himself on top of me. His body jerks with his release and my head falls back against the pillow.
It’s a full minute before either of us is able to move. And even then, we choose not to. He presses his face into the pillow and lets out a deep sigh. “I can’t . . .” He pulls back and looks down at me. His eyes are full of something . . . I don’t know what. He presses his lips to mine and then says, “You were so right.”
He slowly pulls out of me, coming down on his forearms. “You warned me. You said one time with you wouldn’t be enough. You said you were like a drug. But you failed to tell me you were the most addictive kind.”