I cleared my throat. “And?”

“And she made it very clear what she wanted.”

“Did you flirt with her?”

He hesitated and I saw the truth in the pause, even before he said it. “Yes.”

Emotion flooded through me, a complicated mix of jealousy and arousal. It had been too long since I’d been on the receiving end of that flirtation. I could still remember the high it brought, the drag of his eyes across my skin, the look he gave that had burned right through my clothes. I bet she did make her needs clear. I bet she whispered everything she wanted in his ear. Did she run her hand over his crotch? Did her eyes widen as she realized what he was packing in his pants?

I opened my knees wider and used my foot to hook the edge of his stool, tugging it toward me. It didn’t budge, but he saw the action and moved it forward.

“What did you say to her?” I pulled at his shirt until he was standing before me.

“Nothing much. I told her she was beautiful.”

That hurt, and I yanked at his belt with unnecessary aggression. “Was she?”

“Yes.” He watched me get the leather loose from the clasp. “I told her that I was married.”

“And?” I flipped the button fly open and tugged on the zipper.

“And she said she didn’t care.”

He was in my hand then, his breath hissing through his teeth as I wrapped my fist around him.

“I told her I couldn’t do anything to her.”

“But you wanted to.”

“Yes.”

“What did you want to do to her?”

His hands settled on my thighs and slid up to my hips, finding the drawstring waist. “I wanted to make her come.”

“And?”

He swallowed. “And I wanted her to see my dick.”

“You wanted her to see how big it was?” He was growing stiff in my hands. I squeezed it, feeling the rigidity, and watched as his eyes shuttered closed.

“Yes,” he gritted out.

“I’m glad you didn’t show it to her.” I kissed his neck and worked my hand along his shaft.

“I never would.”

I fully believed that, fully trusted him. But I didn’t blame him for having the desires. He’d had three years at Florida State of showing his cock to dozens of women. He’d heard the gossip that had spread, had been puffed like a peacock by the time he started dating me. But then we’d become exclusive. Gotten married. His dick had become the sole property of me, and I had grown accustomed to the girth and size of it. It wasn’t crazy to think that, like me, he craved the unique attention and idolization of a complete stranger.

I couldn’t give him that, but I could do the next best thing. I moved down his body and dropped to my knees in the middle of our kitchen. Pulling him toward me, I gave his dick the worship it properly deserved, and pictured Jonah watching us the entire time, his face dark with jealousy, his eyes on Easton’s huge cock.

7

At some point, my reluctant ovaries would combust, and I would blame that moment entirely on the woman who created them. Switching my call to Bluetooth, I set the cell phone in the cupholder and stared at the gridlock of traffic before me.

“I’m telling you, you’ve got to watch your age. Once you hit 31, you might as well pack up the baby strollers and forget it. Your twenties are the golden time! A few more years, honey. That’s all you have left.” My mother’s voice pitched in height, the way it did when she was nagging my father about his driving, and I suddenly understood why he stopped wearing his hearing aids.

“It’s not like it used to be, Mom. We don’t have to have a baby to be happy.” If I didn’t think Easton would see it, I’d put a post-it with that phrase on my bathroom mirror, just to constantly remind myself of the fact. We don’t have to have a baby to be happy. We don’t have to have a baby to be happy. We don’t have to have a baby to be happy.

Here was another one. I don’t have to have a baby to be valuable. That pearl of wisdom came, surprisingly enough, from Ling, who was already two babies in, despite all of her wide-eyed innocence in college. I’d written down her advice and hidden it in my desk drawer, right next to my ovulation calendar.

“I know you’re having sex, with that orangutan of a husband. And one in four women will get pregnant in any single menstrual cycle, Elle. Just time your sex accordingly. I had sex with your father once in 1991, once. That was all it took!”

No wonder Easton felt insecure around my mother. I took a deep breath and tried not to scream when the car ahead of me turned on its flashers. “I wish you wouldn’t say things like that.”

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