Maybe she can.
“Thank you. It was a long time ago. I miss her, but we’ve had to learn to heal. She would have wanted that.”
“And you still go see your father every week?” She smiles now, remembering the stories I’ve told her about Pop.
“Every week. The man loves his scratch-off tickets.” I place her hand in mine and bring it to my mouth, kissing the palm. “Come visit him with me on Sunday.”
Her eyes widen in surprise, but then she nods excitedly. “Yeah, that sounds like fun.”
“I’ll just have to warn him to keep his hands to himself.” I trace my finger along her jaw, and she leans into my touch. “I have a hard enough time as it is.”
Unable to stand it any longer, I take her face in both my hands and press my lips to hers. Almost immediately, she’s opening for me, allowing me to take control and taste all of her sweetness. I moan around her lips when I feel her tongue touch mine.
Before I know what’s happening, I’ve pulled her onto my lap, cradling her, her legs to one side. I’ve got both arms wrapped around her back as I hold her close to me, and she dips her hands in my hair.
I run my fingers down her side and to her hip, squeezing her there. Then I move them lower, brushing against the warm, exposed skin just below the hem of her dress. I ache to move my hand under it, to touch between her legs and see how wet she is. Wet for me.
She moans my name as my mouth moves to her neck, and I kiss her soft skin there.
“You drive me crazy, little bird,” I growl, sucking the skin under her ear, praying I leave a mark.
“Are people going to see us?” she whispers, but she doesn’t stop. She’s holding on to me just as fiercely as I’m holding on to her.
“Would it bother you if they did?” I bite her earlobe and feel her shiver. “If someone saw you being kissed like they could only dream of? If someone watched me hold the most beautiful woman in the world and make love to her with my lips?”
I kiss a trail down her neck to the center of her chest.
“When you put it like that…” she says, but she doesn’t finish her sentence.
Kissing my way back up, I take her lips again, and this time it’s even more intense. We are becoming crazed for one another, and now it might not be such a good idea to be in public.
“Take me home,” she moans, echoing my own thoughts.
I stand up, holding her in my arms, and she laughs. The sound is music to my ears, and it’s all I ever want to hear.
Just as I take a step, the edge of the blanket catches on my shoes. Jay thinks I’m going to drop her, so she tries to put her feet down at the same time I try to turn with her. The entire thing happens so fast I don’t have time to tell her no before she’s out of my arms and kneeing me in the balls as I fall backwards.
I hear a scream before I stumble back and hit the water, and as I’m submerged in the lake, I don’t know if the sound came from her or from me.
* * *
“Are you sure you won’t come up?” Jay asks with a disappointed look on her face.
“I honestly wish I could, but I’m afraid I might give your apartment E. coli. That lake isn’t exactly sanitary.”
A smile tugs at her lips, and she leans up to kiss me. As much as I hate it, I have to take a step back. I can smell the fishy stench on me, and I couldn’t allow myself to do that to her.
The climb out of the lake was a mess, and even more so because my balls ached so bad. I think she apologized a hundred times, but no matter what I said, she still felt bad.
“This only half counts as a date. Tomorrow, we get a do-over.”
That seems to brighten her up a little, and she nods. “Why don’t you come over and let me cook for you?” I like the idea. We could end up spending the whole weekend together if I’m lucky.
“Do you own a fire extinguisher and have the fire department number handy? I’m not saying you’re a bad cook, I just want to cover my bases.”
“We could always order in, if it makes you feel better. But I’m pretty good in the kitchen.” She winks at me and then turns, walking up the steps and into her building.
“Goddamn, woman, you are something special.”
Just then I hear the horses behind me and roll my eyes. The carriage driver gives me a thumbs-up, and I bury my head in my hands. After a second, I climb into the Cinderella carriage and lean back in the seat.