“Utah is taking that room.” He turns around and walks backward, pointing at Honor’s old bedroom. “And if he can talk your mom into moving in over here, she’ll take Honor’s old room.” He faces forward again and stops at my old bedroom door. “And your old room . . . is now my room.” He opens the door and it’s a complete mess. All of his stuff is still in trash bags and his mattress doesn’t have sheets yet. Some of my old stuff is still in boxes on the floor.
I walk over to the bed and fall down on the mattress. “It’s terrible,” I say with a smile.
He laughs. “I know. But it’s free.” He sits down next to me on the bed and his phone rings. Now knowing what each phone call could mean to him, I’m almost as anxious as he is when he retrieves it from his pocket. I can see the disappointment set in when he sees Utah’s name. He answers it on speaker. “Yeah?”
“Did you take the roll of trash bags over there?”
“No, they’re on the dresser in the guest room.”
“’K, thanks,” Utah says before disconnecting the call. Sagan falls back onto the mattress and stares at his phone for a moment, then puts it back in his pocket.
I pull my legs up onto the bed and cross them, facing him. I want to ask him more about his family . . . what he thinks happened to them . . . if he thinks there’s still any hope of ever finding out what happened to them. He must see the torn look on my face, because he reaches for my hand and laces his fingers through mine.
“I’m sure with time I’ll get used to it never being them,” he says. “But I still have hope.”
I try to smile reassuringly, but I’m not sure it comes across that way. Because I can see in his eyes that he doesn’t really have hope left for their situation. It makes me sad for him. I look at the arm attached to the hand that’s holding mine. I touch the tattoo that says “Your turn, Doctor,” and trace the letters.
He reaches up and presses a thumb to my forehead, right between my eyes. “Stop worrying about me,” he whispers, smoothing out my furrowed brow. “I’ve had years to get used to it. I’m okay.”
I nod, and then he pulls me down to the bed next to him. I press my cheek against his chest and we just lie quietly for a while.
I want to ask him about what my father said this morning—about how he chose to move here so he could be involved with me. But I also don’t want him to know that I know.
Instead, I pull his arm closer and trace another one of his tattoos. I touch the numbered coordinates. “What’s the location of these coordinates?”
“It’s not that hard to figure out. All you have to do is type the coordinates into your phone.”
Why didn’t I think of that?
I reach for my phone and roll onto my back. I open Google Maps and type in the coordinates, 33°08'16.8"N, 95°36'04.4"W. When the location pops up on my phone, I stare at it. I zoom in. I stare at it some more. “But . . . I’m confused. The other day you said those coordinates are where you were born.”
Sagan lifts up onto his elbow and takes my phone out of my hands, setting it on the bed beside my head. He’s leaning over me when he says, “That’s not what I said. You asked me if it was where I was born and I said, ‘Close to it.’ ”
“You said you were born in Kansas. Those coordinates lead to our town square where you kissed me. In Texas. That’s nowhere close to where you were born.”
“Exactly,” he says, brushing the hair from my forehead. “It’s not where I was born. It’s where you buried me.”
I stare at him in quiet shock for a moment. I try to hide my smile, but it’s hard when he’s smiling right back at me. “That kiss was tattoo-worthy to you?”
He shakes his head. “I didn’t get the tattoo because it was where I kissed you for the first time. I got it because it’s where I met you.” He slips a hand behind my neck and then slowly lowers his mouth to mine. “But the kiss was nice, wasn’t it?” he whispers.
Our mouths connect, and it’s soft and delicate. It’s not accidental, like our first kiss, it’s not deceiving, like our second, and it’s not frantic, like our third. This kiss is the first genuine kiss we’ve shared, and I want to drag it out for as long as I can. His lips move over mine with patience, and I love the patience in this kiss more than anything else. It means we both know there will be many more that follow.
He rolls on top of me, and as soon as we get in the most perfect position I’ve ever been in while kissing him, my phone rings. Sagan laughs against my mouth and reluctantly pulls away. I pick up my phone and see that it’s Honor. I debate not answering it, but I’m actually a little excited she’s calling me. We never talk on the phone, so it’s just more proof that maybe things really have changed between us.
“Hey,” she says. “Dad just got home. Better get your ass back over here.”
I hang up and press a quick kiss to Sagan’s mouth. “Dad’s back, gotta go.”
He wraps a tight arm around me and pulls me to him, giving me another quick kiss before he shoves me away. “See you at dinner, Mer.”
I smile and run back home.
This is the first time I’ve ever referred to Dollar Voss as home.
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