“I got it the day you left.”
She nods, her brow furrowing. “Did you regret it after you dumped me?”
Coughing a laugh, I pinch her sides, making her jump. “I didn’t dump you. And I have not regretted marking myself with Henna for a single second.”
Leaning in again, she sucks in my bottom lip, and her nipples graze my chest. Little Miss Seductive Nudist is literally seconds from getting thoroughly fucked again.
“Your name has been all over my body. The summer after we met, I painted you everywhere. I may have been a little obsessed. And I’ve sketched you.” She teases her fingers down my abs, biting her lip. “And painted you … and fingered myself thinking of you.”
Aaannnd … french fry time is over. I snatch the plate from her and slide it onto the nightstand.
“I wasn’t done.”
I grab her face, bringing it a breath from mine. “You are now.”
“It’s midnight.” Dad flips off the TV, pinning me with an expectant look from the bed.
So much for sneaking in. “It is.” My nose wrinkles. I feel incredibly guilty for spending the day in bed with Bodhi. Okay not incredibly guilty, but moderately guilty and thoroughly satisfied. “I’m sorry.”
“Do I want to know where you were all day?”
“I messaged you.”
“I’m not saying you didn’t. But you never said what you were doing. Do I want to know?”
I set my bag on the desk and plop down on the bed. I’m twenty-one. He shouldn’t be able to make me feel like a child, but he does.
“Bodhi got an injury. He needed stitches.”
Dad squints. “Mr. Malone?”
I roll my eyes. “Duh.”
“So you spent the day doing what? Licking his wounds?”
No, his body. Giving extra attention to his cock.
“We talked. I haven’t seen him in over two years. There was a lot to be said.” And done. We had a lot to do, and we did it very, very well, in my honest opinion.
“Why is your hair wet?”
Because about thirty minutes ago I was having shower sex with Bodhi in his hotel room while he wore a shower cap to protect his stitches—which I must say, he still looked like sex on legs even in a shower cap.
“I went swimming.”
“Where’s your suit?”
“I went skinny dipping.” I toss him a toothy grin.
“Henna Eve Lane …”
“Here’s the thing, Daddy Dearest, you’re in denial that I’m all grown up. And you’re asking questions that you probably don’t want the answers to. So … would you really like me to elaborate on my day, or do you want to hear about my trip around the world since you fell asleep last night and we didn’t get to talk?”
He rubs the back of his neck, grimacing. “You’re going to be the death of me. And I’m still planning on killing that guidance counselor.”
“I love him.”
The grimace on his face intensifies. “Henna …”
“I do. So you’d better make nice with him because he’s going to be in my life for a very long time.”
Forever, just like the tattoo of my name.
He deflates. I move from my bed to his, nestling under his arm.
“Love, huh?” He kisses my head.
“Yes. The kind that makes the hair on my arms prickle when he’s near. The kind that flutters in my chest when he looks at me. The kind that brings me to tears when I go years without seeing him. You know how you used to hate the way Mom and Zach would buy me stuff on a whim? You thought I needed to want it for at least thirty days because young minds are fickle and they jump from one want to the next. Well …” I glance up at him. “I’ve wanted Bodhi since the day we met three years ago.”
“Henna …” His lips form a sad smile.
“Don’t.” I press two fingers to his mouth. “Shush. I don’t need the ‘he’s going to break your heart’ speech. He could easily break it.”
He already did.
“But he’s worth the risk. I’d rather have my heart broken than never risk giving it to someone. He’s the ultimate high. And …” I smirk. “I’m a bit of an expert on a good high.”
Dad rolls his eyes. “You’re going to be the death of me.”
Sliding my hands around his midsection, I hug him tightly.
“Let’s hear it. I want all the details of your trip.”
I grin and dive into the memories of the previous two years. After hours, I glance up, my voice a little hoarse, and he’s asleep.
“Night, Dad.” I lean over and flip off the light.
The elevators ding a million times as I wait next to them in the lobby. With every set of doors that opens, my heart rate doubles only to be shot down when Bodhi’s not on it. I should have just gone to his room, but I wanted to surprise him with coffee and … me.
And there he is. Bodhi looks up from his phone.
“There you are!”
I turn toward the female voice that stole my line.
Rayne charges toward the elevators, holding two coffees. “Oh, hey, Henna. Bodhi, I got you—”
Bodhi holds up his finger to stop her from speaking. I start to step back, not sure if he’s meaning for me to not talk either or if our relationship needs to remain secret.
“I need Henna for just a sec …” He grabs my hand and pulls me into the elevator. Before the doors completely shut, he takes my face and kisses me with the most demanding lips.
I can’t move because I have a cup of coffee in each hand, so I just let him keep me upright with hands that were made to hold me and his body pressing me to the wall of the elevator.
“Good morning,” he whispers over my lips with a generous smile capturing his mouth.
And there it is … the prickling along my skin and the butterflies going crazy in my tummy. He sucked all the words from my mouth. I start to speak, but my smile gets its way first.
“Is this for me?” He takes one of the coffees like he didn’t just violate my mouth, leaving me a goop of runny paint on the wall. “Mmm … it’s good. Thank you.” He pushes the button to the lobby.
“I-I wasn’t sure if you wanted anyone to know about us.”
The elevator dings, and the doors open to Rayne waiting with a long list of questions on her face.
“Yes. I think I want people to know.” He gives me the best pearly white grin and takes my hand, interlacing our fingers as we step into the lobby.
Rayne’s jaw slowly unhinges. “You … you’re …” Her eyebrows inch up her head.
I hide my happiness behind my coffee cup.
“I, uh … thought she was your student?”
Bodhi shrugs. “She was. But she’s not now.”
My heart does a pirouette. You don’t realize how much you miss someone until you’re with them after a long time apart and your heart can finally beat again.
“Well …” Rayne takes a slow inhale. “Okay then, looks like you have your coffee needs taken care of this morning.” She winks at me.
I wrinkle my nose in a tiny apology. But the thing is, I want to meet all of his needs. Always.
“She’s the best.” Bodhi presses his lips to the side of my head.
“You taking the shuttle? Or grabbing a car?” Rayne asks.
“Car. So we don’t spill our coffee.” I hold up my cup.
“I’ll order one. You can ride with us.” Bodhi takes my coffee so I can dig out my phone.
When we get to Coachella, Rayne gives me a hug and whispers, “Lucky girl,” before heading to the entrance.
Bodhi pulls me into his arms. “Where’s your dad?”
“He had a breakfast date with Bethanne.”
I nod before pressing my lips to his chest over his heart. “I love you. Will you wear a hard hat today?”
He chuckles. “Definitely.”
“I want us to have dinner with my dad tonight before he goes home tomorrow. I know it will be late, but if he stops wanting to kill you for two seconds, I think he’ll really like you.”
“Alrighty then … sounds promising and a little scary.”
“I’m an only child.” I glance up, squinting against the sun. “Lots of people feel very protective of me. You’d better be careful.”
Bending down, he brushes his lips along my cheek. “Bodhi and Henna are a lot of things, but careful is not one of them.”
Closing my eyes, my heart dances in this moment, not wishing for the next one. It’s not a destination, and it’s not even a journey. It’s a moment. Life is a moment. Who says we have to go anywhere in life to experience it?
I have never felt more alive than when I’m with Bodhi.
My dad and Bethanne meet up with me by lunch, and we spend the last day at Coachella together. I like her silent confidence and her sick knowledge of music. She reminds me a lot of my mom. Dad clearly has a particular taste in women.
After the last performance, all four of us have dinner together. Bethanne is the perfect buffer between my dad and Bodhi. It goes unexpectedly well. My dad even gives Bodhi a friendly squeeze on the shoulder when we say goodnight.