The room spiraled around us, out of control, swept away by his show of passion toward me. As far as I knew, the path for us cleared, the future bright. He was mine now. There was no turning back.
When he pulled away, I opened my eyes, only then realizing his confusion and overthinking.
“Bella, I need time, and to think about this.”
My shoulders drooped. He backtracked.
“Look, you’re sexy as hell, and being cooped up in this apartment with you for the better part of a month has me very confused. Remember the night we were together at Cass’s wedding? I replay that night repeatedly in my head. The memory messes with me daily. It’d be so easy to carry you to bed right now and finish what we started back then. But—”
Oh God. Yes, I consented. Carry me away. No buts.
“—I know you’d want more than one night of sex with me.”
Um, hello? “Of course I want more. I want us. Don’t you?” Now, the confused one was me. His kisses were all the way on the same page as me. Without a doubt, I felt it. “Why are you overthinking this?”
He dropped his hands and reached for his suitcase. “It’s what I do about everything. I’ve been trying to avoid thinking about any possibility of something between us this whole time. I need space to figure things out.” He moved to the door, but I grabbed his hand on the way.
“What’s to figure out? We both feel things for each other, I’m sure of it.”
“Yeah, but what about the future, for one thing? I plan to head back to Florida after the gala event. Where would that leave us, Bella?”
“I don’t have all the answers. But I know you well, Mr. Man-always-with-a-plan. Just this once, can’t you put aside planning and simply go with it? Let’s be together for the summer and see where this leads. Like a—a summer truce.” I scrambled to find something, anything, to make him stay. And I liked the idea of trying things out between us, giving in, letting this thing happen, seeing if it really had legs to go the distance. “Yes, a truce for the rest of the summer, where we’re together, exploring what could be between us. Then, at the end of the summer, we can revisit things, see where we stand.”
I could see the wheels turning in his head. “Like an experiment?”
“Yes. Exactly. Stay, Hank, please, let’s talk things through.”
“If I stay the night, we’ll be doing a helluva lot more than talking. That’s a promise.”
“Why would that be such a bad thing?” I batted my eyes at him.
He chuckled and drew me into his arms in a full embrace, as if together we escaped from the past. My arms squeezed around him, locking us in the present.
“A truce for the summer, huh?”
I kissed up his neck, not stopping until I reached his lips, speaking on them. “Yes. A truce will decide our fate. Stay with me, Hank.”
“Mm.” He groaned into my kisses. “You’re making this very hard for me to leave.”
I dipped my hand down his torso, daring further down, brushing fingertips over his bulge.
“Yes, I can tell. It’s very hard.”
He laughed, tightening his arms around me and lifting me until my feet were off the floor. Yes. This. I’d always wanted to know what one of his hugs felt like after seeing him lift Cassidy. My moment was here, my feet floated off the floor, and I needed this to last.
Now it was my turn at Hank, all to myself. Without a care for how the summer would end, I knew I’d fight to keep him, no matter what happened. And, taking Maddie’s advice, I wasn’t feeling second best. When he lifted me into his arms and carried me to the bedroom, I was the winning one this time.