She asks the question so earnestly. There’s no way she can miss how much I want her or need her. I don’t know how she could even think for one moment I wouldn’t want tonight with her, but I definitely want to make sure she knows exactly what I’m feeling right now.
“You have me, Jessie. You’ve always had me,” I tell her and then I proceed to claim her mouth again, leaving no room for doubt that I belong to her.
“I hope I’m not dreaming,” I whisper, stretching against Allen’s warm body.
It has to be about three in the morning, and it’s easily one of the best nights of my life. Allen took me inside of the club and introduced me to a guy named Bruno. I recognized him as the same guy that was with Ana that day in my shop. Then he took me into his brother-in-law’s office and asked for the rest of the night off. Roman and Ana were in there and I might have felt a little guilt over Ana’s intense stare. I was afraid she’d lay into me over taking so long to make my mind up, but she didn’t. She hugged me and whispered in my ear where no one else could hear that she was glad I worked through everything. Then she said the nicest thing…
“Welcome to the family.”
I think she might be jumping the gun, but the way I feel about Allen means I’m in for the long haul and after the conversations we’ve had tonight, I’m sure he feels the same. It sounds crazy, but from the moment I first saw Allen I knew he was the one for me. There was just something about him that called to me in a way nothing and no one else ever has. I don’t care that it happened fast and I don’t even care about his past.
His past is horrible. I couldn’t imagine going through what he did as a child, and I have no idea how you can deal with something like that. Allen turned to drugs, and while I wish he hadn’t, while I wish I could go back in time and be there for him and try and help him, I can’t. When Ana first told me, I was so scared. I didn’t want someone in my life who was that destructive, who could take their life and throw it away for a high. But his past isn’t the Allen I met. His past isn’t the man he is today. I may not have known him long, but I know in my heart that his past and the man I fell in love with are completely different. Allen is not his past… He’s who he is because he overcame his past and talking to him, having him open up his soul and tell me everything that happened to him and about his drug use… That just made me love him more.
“I think that’s what I should be saying, Mouse,” he whispers.
His thumb brushes against my lip as our foreheads rest against each other and he stares into my eyes. My fingers flex against his sides, and my leg is draped over one of his, nothing but the sheet over our bodies. I thought making love with him before was good, but tonight was so much better—maybe because after our talk I feel closer to him, as if nothing is in our way now. There are no walls to hide behind and no future date where I won’t see Allen again.
This is it… we’re… real…
“Totally mine. I’ve missed you so much.”
“I can’t believe you’re still here, especially after I laid everything on you. I shouldn’t have, I guess. I just… I needed you to know about my past, Jessie. I needed you to know so you could leave if you wanted to.”
I swallow down the emotion I feel, because I hear the pain in his voice. I kiss his lips briefly. It’s not a kiss of passion, it’s one of emotion because I don’t want to cause him pain. I’m not going to tell him about Ana coming to see me. He doesn’t need to know I knew about his drug use before tonight. I don’t want him to feel like his sister betrayed him by sharing. Trust is a big thing for Allen and he gave that to me tonight.
“I’m not leaving, Allen.”
“We’ll make this work, Jessie. I swear. I’ll commute to St. Augustine for a bit and once things are settled here and Roman has someone he trusts to take my place, I can always mov—”
I put my fingers against his lips, stopping him from talking.
“You have family here. Family who care about you and a job you enjoy. If once we’ve dated for a bit, and you’re sure you want me with you, I can move here.”