“We won’t be like that, will we, Tank?” I ask, even though I already know the answer. I still want to hear him say it. Tank would do anything for me. He’s made that crystal clear. There’s nothing he won’t go up against for me. He made my parents, who I once thought were the scariest people, easy to take on because I knew he was by my side. It’s crazy how much easier life can feel when you know you have someone who will be by your side. It’s scary to think about someone knowing all of your imperfections, but it’s also like coming home when you find that person.
Although I think Tank would disagree that I’m not perfect. Still, I don’t want to be perfect for the first time in a very long time. He’s freed me in a way I’m not sure he’ll ever understand.
“I’ve been telling you I love you from the first day I laid eyes on you.” I shift in his arms. “Nothing anyone tells me about you could convince me otherwise. Let’s be clear, though, if they did, I would just have to pound them until they changed their minds.” He winks at me.
“Speaking of pounding things.” I try to wiggle my eyebrows at him. Tank lets out a deep roar of laughter like I’ve never heard before. I smack his chest.
“Are you laughing at me trying to be sexy?” I tease him.
“Let’s get one thing straight: you don’t need to try, Treasure. I have to control myself every second that I’m around you.” He leans down, still laughing, and kisses me. I melt into him like usual. I really can’t help myself.
“Feed me and take me home.” I press my chest into him.
He starts moving again. “Home?” he asks, smiling.
“Yeah. Home,” I say again. We both know what I mean by that.
I wake to a soft tap on my face. It’s light at first, like a feather is being brushed across it. I can feel the heat of Tank’s massive body behind me. I smile when I think about how tired he must be after last night…or should I say early this morning when sleep finally claimed us. He loved me until the sun came up, not only with his body but with his words, too. I’m not ready to open my eyes yet. I just want to live in this moment. I don’t have to, though. This is going to be our life together now.
Again, I feel a nudge to my cheek, causing me to crack one eye open. That’s when I see Tuesday sitting with her paw midair ready to strike again. Tank must have forgotten to close the bedroom door. I reach out and give her little head a rub and close my eyes again. Tuesday begins to purr while snuggling up beside me.
Tank places soft kisses behind my ear, making me aware that he’s awake. He pulls me back to press against his very naked body. I smile, turning my face to meet his mouth with mine. He pecks my lips softly before he pulls away to stare into my eyes. Both of us silently communicate our emotions through our stare. We’ll get to spend the rest of our lives waking like this. Without breaking eye contact, I slowly drag my hand away from Tuesday so I can reach to touch Tank’s face. Tuesday lets out a meow of disapproval. Tank shakes his head as if he doesn’t blame the cat.
“I stole your cat,” I say, giggling. I’m enjoying the attention of both.
“Treasure.” Tank grabs my hand and guides it to his chest, placing it where I can feel the beat of his heart. He leaves his hand over mine as if holding it there. “You’ve stolen more than that.”
My eyes fill at his sweetness. “No.” A look of panic crosses Tank’s face at the first sign of unshed tears.
“I’m not going to. They’re happy tears anyway,” I rush to add. I might have gotten a little teary eyed when we got back to his place last night also, but Tank quickly nipped that in the bud.
Our place, I mentally correct myself, which makes me smile. I dry up any tears that are trying to escape. Today is the first day of our new beginning. I couldn’t have asked for more. Okay, maybe I’m going to suggest that I want some breakfast, but that’s it.
“Let me feed you.” He reads my mind and pulls me from the bed. Tuesday jumps down, taking off ahead of us.
“Clothes.” I look around for something to wear. I’m not sure when or where my clothes were ripped from my body as we were all hands and mouths last night getting into the door. We couldn’t get close enough.
Last night felt like a new start. I’m not closing the door on my parents, but I am starting a new chapter, one that doesn’t require their approval. It’s a life where everything doesn’t have to be perfect, even if right now it kind of feels like it is.