“I didn’t. I signed you up.”
His eyes darken.
“The way I see it,” I say quickly, “is that if someone hates you, they’ll probably start slandering you on here.” I point to the screen. “It’s like a fly trap for suspects.”
Surprisingly, he risks his wrinkle-free, steam-pressed khakis to sit down on the bed beside me. Our canopy net tangles in his leg, and he curses under his breath, swatting the fabric away. “I swear I’m going to cut this stupid thing down.”
“I like it.” Even if I got caught in the net like a praying mantis last night. I roll sometimes when I sleep. It happens.
“We’re not in a jungle trying to ward away bugs.”
“Rose designed the room,” I remind him. She decorated it while Lo was away at rehab. “She’ll be hurt if I change it because of you.”
“Even better,” he says. I doubt he believes that.
“I’m going to forget what you just said,” I mutter and swivel the computer screen to him.
Lo gapes. “You had to use that photo as my profile picture?”
I break into a wide smile, and I can’t stop staring at the photo. He’s shirtless except for a pair of Spider-Man pajama pants. He looks sexy and cool.
The website consumes his attention, and he scrolls through the profiles of old students. “Married, married, pregnant, dead, engaged, pregnant, married,” he lists. “Did anyone stay in their twenties after high school or did everyone just pass GO to collect a 401k and diapers?”
“Maybe they’re in love,” I defend.
“We’re in love. You don’t see us getting married or having babies.”
I frown, not sure why this hurts me a little. Marriage isn’t really a plan of mine, at least not until I’m older and move past this awkward, confusing stage of life. But the way Lo said those words—well, they make marriage seem nonexistent. Like instead of a maybe, he’s saying never.
“You don’t want to get married?” I ask softly. I can barely meet his gaze. I’m twenty, just stepping out of my teens. I shouldn’t worry about marriage and babies, especially not when we’re struggling being healthy ourselves.
He hesitates. “I don’t know. I’m not closing that door. I just can’t think about it.” He pauses. “Do you…think about it?” He frowns deeply, worried that we’re not on the same track. We usually are, and it’s kind of terrifying to see him veer off without me.
“Not a lot,” I say. “Before I was with you, I never thought I’d be married.” I slept with random guys. I thought monogamy wasn’t a lifestyle I could ever conform to. Now that I’m starting to find a good groove, I’m beginning to fantasize about normality.
“But now you do?” he asks.
I shrug. “I guess but definitely not anytime soon. I want to get through the terrible twenties first.” I wave my hand. “Let’s not talk about marriage or having babies. It’s stupid anyway. We have more important things to deal with.”
I didn’t think it was possible, but his face contorts more, even graver than before. “You want kids?”
Oh…I can tell just by the way he says it that he doesn’t want them. A lump rises to my throat, and I feel like this is going to be a trick question. I look over my shoulder for the right answer but it’s not concealed there. “Umm…” I mumble. “I don’t know.”
He blinks, watching me as I watch him. The answers seem to spill out of our silence.
“Maybe,” I blurt out, not able to hold back any longer. “When I’m older but not too old, I guess. My eggs are on a clock.” I nod and then grimace. “I mean, you know…” I am two seconds from burrowing underneath the comforter and never coming out. Hide, Lily, hide! My face flames. I really wish my feelings weren’t so visible.
“Lil,” Lo breathes, his eyes softening considerably. I am one of those sea vessels wobbling in the ocean before they’re hit by a wave. “You…and me…” Here it is. “We probably shouldn’t have children.”
I stare blankly at the black and white comforter, gathering my thoughts. I never allowed myself to dream that far ahead, to construct a reality where Lo and I start a family together. Maybe because deep in my heart, I knew it doesn’t exist.
His words paint the blackness of my future into a clearer picture. And it’s an image I want to return to the store. A life where we don’t have kids. Where our family consists of me and him. And that’s it.
I understand where he’s coming from. We’re both addicts, and even if we could raise a kid, alcoholism is still hereditary. Lo wouldn’t wish his troubles on anyone, especially his own child.
“I know,” I say with a sadder nod. “I just don’t want to think about it.”
He distracts my sullen mood by pointing at a picture in the yearbook. “You gave Jacqueline Kinney a mustache. That’s just mean.”
My lips slowly rise, and I glance at his head. His hair sticks up in different directions. And I’m sure he thinks that’s what supermodel hair looks like, but Rose will not be pleased.
I scoot over, pushing the laptop away, and I run my fingers through his locks, combing his thick brown hair on top. He jerks back almost instantly.
“I spent valuable time on this.” He clutches my wrist.
“I think all that time was spent ogling yourself,” I refute. “Let me fix it.” But my gaze drifts from his hair, landing on his pink lips that hover so very close to mine. I imagine how they’ll feel on my soft ones. And I ache to press up against them.
His lips begin to move, but I don’t hear the words from them. I’m transfixed, and when they go still, a magnetic hold propels me to his mouth.
I touch his lips with mine, and he kisses back at first, soft and sweet. A raspy moan tickles my throat, and I crawl on his waist, straddling him, ready for something more. I just need him… I knead my fingers through his hair, and I squeeze my thighs.
He pulls back.
No. I breathe heavily like I’m currently running a half-marathon. I’m just starting to race up that steep incline, and he stopped me midway.
My hands dip below his shirt, and I trace the ridges in his abs, gliding each finger along his bare chest. I unconsciously dig my pelvis, rocking a little, needing him more and more.
A groan escapes his lips this time, and he has to grab my wrists.
I don’t want to stop. It feels like I haven’t touched him in so long. It feels so unbearable. I remember the exhilaration and burst of coming. I want that sensation to ripple through me. I want my body to vibrate until I can’t see straight. I miss that so very much.
But when I meet his hard eyes, I see the answer. No. No. No. But I want to hear yes just once. I want to sigh in relief with the word.
“I haven’t had sex in days,” I say like it’s an accomplishment. “I thought I get rewarded for good behavior.”
His mouth curves into a genuine smile. I’ve won, I think. This is it. I tighten my legs around his waist again, his hardness driving me to new levels of eagerness.
“Whoa,” he protests, lifting me up underneath my arms. He sets me on his knees. No fun. “How about I make a deal with you?”
“I like deals,” I say, my gaze drifting to his cock.
“Eyes on me, Lil.”
I try. I’m trying. I am. “But aren’t deals against the rules?”
“Not this one.”
Now I’m curious. He rubs my leg, semi-splayed on his lap. I guess this is better than being chucked off him entirely. The movement grabs my attention, and I desperately wish his fingers would rise higher, to the spot that throbs so desperately for his touch.
“You can choose one thing to do right now. I can kiss you until you’re breathless.” He leans forward and places a small, fleeting kiss on my lips before his breath tickles my ear. “Or I can put my fingers inside of you and make you feel full.” Yes. “Or…” There’s another option? Oh jeez. I scoot forward, even against his wishes, and I grip his T-shirt between my fingers. I can practically feel him pulsing beneath me. Or maybe that’s just my need growing out of control. “…I can run my hand over your pants and make you come.” Double yes. “But…”
My shoulders drop at the realization that there’s a stipulation. I guess that’s why it’s called a deal and not a free-for-all…or a free-for-Lily. “I don’t like buts…” I trail off because I realize I do like butts, only the round kind.
“You’re turning red,” Lo notes. “Are you thinking about my ass?”
I drink in his rich amber eyes. “More like my ass and your—”
He covers my mouth with his hand and whispers in my ear again, “My c*ck isn’t going anywhere near your ass, Lily Calloway, but I’m glad to put it somewhere else.” He whispers a couple places, and I realize that I’ve latched onto his lap like a monkey, clinging so hard that I’m already wet and ready.
“But?” I say, reminding him that there was a big fat roadblock that he constructed.
“You can only pick one option. Or you can forgo all of them and choose to wait until tonight, and we’ll have sex. It’s up to you.” All I hear is we’ll have sex. But I have to wait for it. And right now, waiting eight minutes is torture that I don’t want to endure. How can I wait eight hours?
“I don’t like this deal.”
“Neither do I, but we have to practice self-control. Both of us.” Oh.
I mull the options and realize that if I choose something right now, he won’t be receiving any sort of pleasure. “I choose head. To give you head, I mean,” I say one of the most unladylike phrases I’ve ever used, but the last thing I care about right now is sophistication. And for a brief moment, I wonder how Connor and Rose are in bed—do they spout off anatomical parts or speak in beautiful prose? I’d ask Rose, but she’s private about that stuff. And I’m pretty sure her sex life is nonexistent since she has intimacy issues. And I hope she would tell me if she lost her virginity.
“Leave my dick out of this,” Lo says, equally classy.
“Why?” I frown and then my eyes widen. “Are bl*w j*bs on the blacklist?” We still haven’t attended therapy together, but I imagine I’ll be begging my therapist for the details of that list next time I see her.
He covers my mouth again. “Stop…talking,” he says sternly. He shifts a little underneath me, and I’m about to glance down, but he lifts my chin before I catch a glimpse of his hardness.
Obviously I’m not the only one with raging hormones. I could smile, but I also feel guilty that he has to suffer because of my addiction.
My eyes flicker to his lips, and there’s a part of me that wants to give in and choose kissing. But kissing always leads to more with me, and being denied that will be harder than not having Lo at all.