“You remember it quite differently then,” I manage. My throat feels tight as I watch her.
“I remember the weight of your body on mine and how you stole my breath when you first entered me, and then how we found our rhythm and moved together. And how it lasted longer than I thought it would.”
My chest swells with pride. That surprised me too. I remember thinking it’d be over in about a minute, but then I was so worried about her, and over thinking everything that it distracted me from the immense pleasure threatening to overwhelm me.
“Come here.” I pull her close and she curls her body into mine, letting me hold her. She looks beautiful, even with her tear-stained cheeks and pink nose. I hold her the way I should have done that night so long ago. The warm weight of her against my side eases some of my guilt.
I want to hold her in my lap and kiss her, but I don’t want to rush her. Something tells me neither of us would need much convincing to take this upstairs and tear each other’s clothes off. And considering the sheets I shared with another woman are still on my bed, it wouldn’t be right.
Unable to resist the temptation of her warm body pressing against mine, I tilt her chin, angling her mouth just right, then I lean down and kiss her. It’s an innocent kiss, my lips touching hers just lightly, tasting her sweetness. But it’s a kiss that holds the promise of more to come. And even though we kiss until we’re out of breath, it ends much too soon.
When we part, she stays glued to my side, one arm flung around my middle, like she’s unwilling to let me go.
“Did you say one hundred thousand dollars?” she asks, her mouth curling into a silly grin.
I chuckle, despite the intensity of the mood. “I did. And you deserve every cent for the way they dragged your name through the mud and booted you out without a proper investigation.”
“Thank you for always being my hero,” she says.
“Thank you for always being my gremlin.” I smile at her and she smacks me in the arm.
“Can’t believe you still call me that stupid nickname.”
“Speaking of the Gremlin, tomorrow is Sunday. I invited the whole crew to join us on the yacht if you’re up for it.”
“Of course,” she says. “I would love to.”
It felt good to clear the air last night between me and Mia. Better than I could have imagined, actually. So today, I’m relaxed and happy as we board the Gremlin. Pace carries Max around the boat, showing him every gadget and knob while Kylie watches them lovingly. Colton and Sophie arrive next and stroll over to where Mia and I are standing beside the railing, looking at the water.
“Mia! It’s so good to see you,” Sophie says, pulling her in for a hug.
Colton’s eyes meet mine, and he seems to understand that Tatianna is gone for good. “Good fucking call, bro,” he says, thumping me on the back. He and Sophie rarely joined us on the yacht when it was just Tatianna and I. He didn’t enjoy her company, and I can’t say I blamed him. Now that I’m free of her, I just feel better. More lighthearted than I have in years. It’s strange what being in Mia’s presence does for me.
“Pace and Kylie are here, I think just below deck showing everything to Max,” I say.
Colton nods. “Good. When they get back, we have an announcement to make.” He pulls Sophie close and they share a secret smile.
I have a feeling I know what the announcement is going to be. They were just married about six weeks ago, and I’m quite certain they fuck like rabbits.
When Pace emerges from downstairs, Colton waves them over. Then he takes Sophie’s hand, interlacing their fingers. “Do you want to tell them, or should I?” he asks, softly. I’ve never seen him quite so soft and tender. A feeling of warmth washes over me.
“We’re pregnant!” Sophie squeals, like she can’t contain the secret even a second longer.
“Ah!” Kylie cries out, lunging for Sophie as she hugs her tightly. Mia’s smile is wide and she bounces up and down, as if waiting for her turn to hug the mother-to-be.
“Nice job, dude,” Pace says, clapping Colton on the back.
“Congratulations,” I tell him, shaking his hand.
“Thanks guys. We’re pretty excited,” Colton says, pulling Sophie into his arms and kissing her. “She’s just six weeks along, so it’s still early, but we’re over the moon.”
Pace tosses Max up in the air and tells him he’s going to get a baby cousin.
The mood is happy and light, and I’m immensely pleased that my brothers have found so much happiness. The women take Max and retreat to the bow where there are scattered cushions for sunbathing. They talk excitedly, asking Sophie how she’s been feeling and when her due date is.
My brothers and I settle in the deck chairs overlooking the ocean. And even though it’s early, when James brings by a tray of frozen mojitos, we each accept one. There is a lot to celebrate today. Colton requests a virgin drink be sent over to his wife. I smile, knowing he uses any excuse he can to refer to her as his wife.
We sip our drinks as the yacht cuts effortlessly through the water.
“So, how are things going with Mia now that Tatianna’s out of the picture?” Colton asks.
I glance over at Mia who has stripped out of her clothes and is making a turquoise bikini her bitch. Goddamn. A warm shudder flutters through me. “Good,” I mumble.
Pace laughs. “You’ve got to give us more than that, old man. Are you guys together or what?”