“My mom is looking into this. And she’s flying back this weekend to see you.” I shut off the stove and take a seat next to Barrett. “Can you tell me why you want to see my mom?”

“I could.” He reaches for his tea again, and I hand it to him. “But I’m not going to.”

I roll my eyes. After a few minutes of tea sipping in silence, I glance up at him. “Are you scared?”

He chuckles a little. “No. Pain robs you of that kind of fear.”

I’m familiar with that.

“Eventually the only thing you fear is—”

“The never-ending pain.” I finish for him because I know, at least in part, what he’s feeling. “It’s weird, planning your death. Don’t you think?”

“It’s not as much fun as planning a party or a vacation.” He smiles. It’s more relaxed.

“Have you thought about how you’re going to do it? Like … are you going to take it as soon as you have the prescription? I’d say you should plan a special last meal, but you can’t keep much down, so that sucks.”

“Haven’t given it much thought. I suppose I’ll just know when the time is right.”

“Are you going to tell me?” My knee starts to bounce. The timing of Barrett’s death is giving me some serious anxiety. Maybe I need a cup of cannabis tea too.

“Do you want me to tell you?”

“Yes. No.” I cringe. “I don’t know.”

He nods thoughtfully as if my indecisiveness makes sense. “Well, you have a little time to figure that out. I think it’s best if nobody knows, if you just trust me to do it when I feel it’s time.”

“Probably a good idea. But … like will you give me a little heads-up?” My bouncing knee speeds up.

Another soft chuckle escapes his chest.

“It freaks me out to think about walking into a room with a dead body. No offense.”

“None taken.” He has a little sparkle in his eyes.

I’m glad I amuse him.

“My boy—he loves you.”

His words catch me off guard. A warmth spreads across my skin.

“He can’t keep his eyes off you. While he’s watching you, I’m watching him. I’d say that’s how I used to look at my wife, but I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone look at someone like Bodhi looks at you. He was a miserable pain in my ass those years you were gone. It didn’t make sense until you came back. With you, he’s living his best life. Without you, I’m not sure he’s living at all.”

He won’t always look at me like that, but I don’t say that to Barrett. I think he has enough emotional shit going on planning his death. “There’s been so many times that I’ve thought this … this is the moment I’ve officially fallen in love with Bodhi Malone. But every time I think it, I realize that it’s not true because I feel certain I loved him before now. How can I feel like I’ve loved him forever when I haven’t known him forever?”

“It’s how love should be—no beginning and no end.”

I return an easy nod. “If only life could extend the same courtesy.”

“Nah … the earth would be overpopulated. If you believe in the circle of life, then it, too, really has no beginning and no end.”

Leaning forward, I rest my hand on Barrett’s hand. “I’m going to miss you. Our conversations. Getting high just to give the middle finger to our lows.”

“Thank you. I’ve enjoyed our time together as well. So very much.” He rests his other hand on mine. “I won’t ask you to bury my body in the back of the house, but in the end table drawer I have my stash. While others are grieving, I want you to smoke, laugh, kick back on the porch, and know that I’m one of the brightest stars in the sky winking at you each night.”

“A star winking at me.” I grin. “I like that.”

The timer on the stove beeps.

“Dinnertime. You need to try to keep some broth down.”

He scratches his chin. “So I can live long enough to die on my own terms.”

Grunting a laugh, I nod. “Yes. That.”

CHAPTER FORTY-TWO

By the end of the week, thanks to my mom, Barrett has two physicians willing to honor his oral request for physician-assisted death. There’s a waiting period, and he’ll need to submit a written request as well.

My mom’s plane should be landing soon, and she’s supposed to come straight here to meet with Barrett privately per his request—something Bodhi knows nothing about.

“Juni is coming by in a bit. Is that okay?” I ask as he buttons his jeans while I lie on his bed with one arm propped behind my head, enjoying the view.

“Of course it’s okay. Is there a special reason for her visit?”

Damn! Will looking at his sexy body with my name on it ever get old?

“If you’re going to stare at me this much, I might have to charge admission into my bedroom.”

I grin, lifting my gaze to meet his smirk. “I’d pay full price.”

“Okay, big spender. Now…” he slips on a blue Henley tee “…what’s the reason for your mom’s visit?”

“She’s going to hang out with your dad while I show you something.”

His eyebrows lift a fraction. “Show me something, huh?”

I nod, trapping my lower lip to hide my grin from his suggestive look.

Bodhi kneels at the end of his bed and grabs my ankles, tugging me until my butt is at the end of the bed.

“That’s not what I’m planning on showing you.” I giggle.

He hooks my legs over his shoulders so I’m spread open for him. When he looks at my exposed flesh like it’s something he craves, I start to tingle and feel a heaviness work its way down my body. My lips part as my breaths quicken.

“Bodhi …” I whisper.

“I know, I know. This isn’t what you want to show me. Fine.” He grins, standing while my legs flop off the end of the bed.

“Oh my god! You’re evil. Pure evil.” I smack him with the pillow, but he turns to the side to avoid the direct hit.

“What do you want to show me?” He continues to chuckle as I swat him several more times.

“Nothing but my knee in your nuts for teasing me.”

Bodhi snatches the pillow from me and tosses it on the floor before pinning me to the bed. “Good morning, beautiful.” He rubs his nose against mine as his pelvis rocks into me.

He’s going to have evidence of me on his jeans. How much evidence depends on how much longer he continues to dry hump me. I’m still pissed off at him for teasing me, but I’m also feeling desperate for a release.

“Good morning.” I lift my head to capture his lips before he attempts to get away. My legs wrap around his backside just for good measure.

Our tongues do their favorite dance while fully clothed Bodhi grinds against completely naked me. I moan into our kiss as my orgasm builds again. He releases my wrists and slides one hand under me to grab my ass, guiding me exactly how he wants me to move against him, angling my hips so that the swollen head of his erection rubs my entrance.

We continue this erotic dance against his denim shield until he throws out a frustrated fuck and tries to hold his weight over me with one hand while his other hand fumbles with his jeans.

I put him out of his misery by unfastening them and pushing them down just far enough to release his hard cock. Before I can tease it, or even get a quick glance at it, he plunges into me with a more satisfied fuck and a slack jaw.

And fuck we do—hard and fast while sharing intimate smiles between kisses. I love these smiles. They’re the subtle strokes of our love amidst a very bold painting of a crazy life together. These smiles say I love you beyond reason.

It’s a good morning. A really, really good morning.

*

“Hey, sweetie.” Juni kisses my cheek when I open the door.

“Thank you for everything,” I whisper next to her ear when we embrace.

She nods without saying a word as Bodhi walks up behind me.

“Juni, thanks for coming by to stay with my dad.”

She glances at me.

I wrap my arm around Bodhi’s waist. “Yes. It’s so kind of you to stay with Barrett while I show Bodhi the surprise.”

“Surprise,” she says slowly as I pin a tight-lipped smile to my face. “It’s no problem.”

“Come in. He’s just had a little breakfast. Hopefully he keeps it down.” Bodhi winks at his dad as we enter the living room.

It’s such an everything-is-going-to-be-okay wink. Who knew a wink could feel like a jab to my heart?

“Hello, again. I’m going to do my best not to embarrass myself this time.” Barrett turns on the charm even under such grave circumstances.

“Hi.” Juni smiles. “There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. You look a little better today?”

“It’s a new aftershave.” He rubs his chin and neck.

Juni laughs.

“Is John still outside?” I ask.

“Yes, dear.”

“Great. I’ll have him drive us to see Bodhi’s surprise. Be back in an hour … or two,” I declare as I wait for Barrett to give me a sign as to if he needs an hour or two.

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