Like Nick had said, we had each other.
And that was what we needed.
Nick wasn’t sure what he was going to do with his grandfather’s room, leave it as a guest bedroom or convert it into something else.
Standing in front of the newly remade twin bed, I looped my arm through his as I leaned into him. “You don’t have to make a decision right now about this room.”
“You’re right.” He turned his head and dipped his chin, brushing his lips across the top of my messy and probably dusty bun. “I think I’ll keep it like this for right now. I like it as a bedroom.”
My gaze traveled across the room. On the now empty dresser, framed photos of his grandfather over the years were lined up like little memory soldiers. Leaving this room as it was for now was a good idea. “Me, too.”
“Thank you for helping out. I really appreciate it.” Nick pulled his arm free and then reached down, taking hold of my hand. He lifted it. “But you’re filthy.”
I smiled up at him. “So are you, babe.”
“Then I think we need to rectify that.”
My body was immediately on board with that idea. Nick led me out of the room and downstairs, to the master bedroom off the kitchen. Nick made a show of stripping off our clothes, and it took longer than necessary, but there wasn’t a part of me that was disappointed in the pacing. I think, before the water was turned on and before the wispy steam filled the bathroom, he’d kissed every square inch of my body. And he wasn’t done yet.
“I love your lips.” He kissed me. “And those cheeks.” His lips found their way there. “I love your eyes.” He dropped a kiss against my brow and then started working his way down. “I love your throat.”
“My throat?” I laughed huskily.
“Uh-huh. And I love your shoulder blades.” He kissed my collarbone.
“You’re so fucking weird.”
“I’m so fucking in love with you.”
My heart squeezed. It did that every time I heard those words.
He worshipped every inch of my body, and when he took the tip of my breast into his mouth, sucking deep, he drew a ragged moan out of me, stirring up powerful desire. “And I really love these.”
I liquefied, ready for him to the point where it was almost painful. “Oh God.”
We took our time in the shower, and I was sure that no more than a handful of minutes was actually dedicated to the whole cleansing part. It wasn’t long before my back was pressed against the slippery tile and Nick was on his knees, drawing every soft cry out of me. My knees were weak and my body still trembling from a powerful release when he rose before me, the water sluicing off his bronze skin as he thrust into me, his green eyes latched onto mine in a possessive, consuming stare.
He stretched me in the most delicious way and he held me so gently, even as his body strained against mine. Our bodies were flush, hips-to-hips, chest-to-chest. “God, you feel too damn good for me to take my time.”
“Don’t take your time.” I skated my fingers over his skin, down his chest.
Nick groaned. His muscles trembled as he moved and my hands slipped over his skin. We quickly lost ourselves in each other, him pumping wildly, my hips meeting his, and it was no small miracle that we didn’t fall and break our necks in there.
Later, much later, we lay on his bed, face-to-face, our skin long since dried as he toyed with the damp strands of my hair. “I’ve been thinking,” he said.
I arched a sleepy eyebrow. “Congratulations.”
He chuckled. “Smartass.”
My smile stretched my lips. “What have you been thinking about?”
“It’s kind of random.” He tossed a strand of hair over my shoulder and then picked up another. “But I’ve been thinking of talking to Calla, telling her who my father is.”
My breath caught as some of the sleepiness faded. “For real?”
“Yeah.” One side of his lips kicked up. “What do you think about that?”
“What do I think?” I wiggled over to him, inching him onto his back. Straddling him, I placed my hands on either side of his face.
“I like where this is heading,” he murmured.
“Shush it,” I told him. “I think it’s a great idea.”
“You doing me on top?”
I cocked my head to the side, shooting him a bland look. “No. That’s not what I’m talking about.”
He laughed again, and those green eyes were lighter than I’d seen in days. “I know.”
Bending over, I kissed him lightly. “I’m proud of you.”
His hands settled on my hips. “Why?”
I raised a shoulder. “I just know it’s going to be a hard conversation to have, and I know how much you’ve really been thinking about this. Talking to Calla is a huge step to just letting all of that go.” I kissed him again and then sat up. “Whenever you’re ready to have that conversation, if you want me there, I’m there.”
“I want you there.”
“Then I’m there.”
One hand lifted, threading through my hair. He guided my mouth back to his, stopping just short of our lips meeting. “You know what?”
He tugged me down so that when he spoke again his lips brushed mine. “I love you.”
My heart swelled so fast it was no wonder I didn’t lift both of us up to the ceiling. Those three words were words I would never, ever get tired of hearing. I kissed him again, and this time there was nothing soft or chaste about it. I whispered those very same words back to him and then I showed him just how much.
In the middle of the following week, while I was at work organizing Marcus’s schedule through the upcoming summer months, Nick texted about dinner with Calla and Jax the following Sunday.
Going out with them or Reece and Roxy wasn’t something new. We double- and triple-dated often, but I knew Nick had an ulterior motive for this, and I was nervous for him, because I knew this wouldn’t be easy for him. And I really, really hoped that my impression of Calla was correct, that she wasn’t going to hold anything against him.
I took more time than I normally did getting ready Sunday afternoon. Sort of like hopeful primping. I got a mani and pedi with Roxy and Katie in the afternoon, then I tried out one of those green clay masks I’d bought online the previous week. Thankfully, it didn’t stain my skin or do something weird. Then after a long shower, I dried my hair and artfully applied makeup.
“Artfully apply makeup” was code for putting a crap ton of makeup on but somehow managing to look like you weren’t wearing a crap ton of makeup.
Moving on to what to wear, I mulled over the idea of donning a cute spring dress, but it still wasn’t particularly warm, especially in the evenings. So I settled on dark blue skinny jeans, a light sweater, and eyed strappy heels I hadn’t worn yet this year.
I reached up on the top shelf and pulled the shoe box down. A piece of paper drifted free, floating to the floor. Shoving the box under my arm, I bent and picked up the paper.
My breath caught.
I should’ve known what it was once I felt the shiny texture of the paper, but I didn’t remember putting this in the closet. I’d probably done it when I was trying to remove all traces of being pregnant.