“You know Meg doesn’t want that,” I tell him, shivers traveling down my spine.

“But you do.”

“Someday. Not now. I want to finish college first.”

“Well, I’ll be sure to start keeping condoms on my person.”

“That doesn’t help right now.”

He pulls me back by the hips, spreading my legs and pushing his cock inside me without waiting for my agreement. “Live dangerously.”

Since he’s already inside me, I don’t bother arguing. I love the feel of him, the friction. I love his hands on my hips, the force of him as I push against the wall to keep from slamming into it. It’s so hard to keep it to a quickie with him, but we manage it. As soon as he pulls out of my body, I want him again. He pulls me close, hugging me tightly, and I get the feeling he does, too.

“Maybe I could swap nights and go to Meg’s tomorrow,” he murmurs, as if reading my mind.

“I don’t want to hurt her feelings,” I murmur against his chest.

“Don’t worry about that, I can handle Meg.” He leans down, brushing his lips across mine. I close my eyes, pulling his body close.

“Whatever you want,” I murmur when he pulls back.

He smiles, kissing me one more time, then he bends over to retrieve my discarded shirt. “We should probably go get those gummy worms.”

“You get the gummy worms; I’m going to run to the bathroom real fast.”

We go our separate ways, but when I emerge from the restroom, he’s there waiting for me. He takes my hand and we head back to the media room together, slipping inside and closing the door behind us.

Meg’s playing with the girls when we get there. I drop Mateo’s hand and grab a container of popcorn while he goes over to our seats. His spot is in the middle of the couch, leaving a place for me and Meg on each side. I drop into the seat to his left, and he wraps an arm around me, tugging me in close to him.

“All right, gang’s all here; let’s get this thing started,” Meg says, dropping into her seat on Mateo’s other side.

Lily runs over and climbs up in Meg’s lap, wedging herself between them. Mateo ruffles Lily’s hair and she turns back with a cute little “who did that?” look on her face. He pulls a look of exaggerated innocence, looking around as if for the culprit.

Lily points her finger at him accusingly. “It was you!”

Meg laughs and tugs her close, giving her a kiss.

My heart aches with yearning, because God, I do want that with him. My stomach feels all funny, too, kind of hollow.

He did just fuck me without protection, though. Only once, we don’t make a habit of it, but the tempting idea skates across my mind. I don’t want to hurt Meg, though. She’s adapted to everything else. I wonder if she would be willing to adapt to that.

Isabella comes over and looks at Lily and Meg all snuggled up. She glances at Mateo’s lap, but then her gaze drifts to me.

“You wanna sit here?” I offer impulsively, patting my legs.

Brightening, she nods and hops up in my lap, mirroring the way Lily’s in Meg’s. My stomach feels sickish again, but a better kind of sick this time. Isabella doesn’t have a mom. I’m far too young to be her mom, but I’m with Mateo now, too, so I could probably try to bond with her a little more. Initially I didn’t want to step on Meg’s toes, but Isabella isn’t Meg’s daughter, she’s Mateo’s.

“Which song’s your favorite?” Isabella asks, looking back at me.

“Oh, from the movie? I don’t know. What’s yours?”

“The village Belle one. And I like the one where they dance, too.”

“Those are both great choices,” I tell her.

“I wanna get my doll a Belle dress. We should go back to the doll store like we did that one time. Remember?”

“I do remember. We should get your doll a Christmas present. We could wrap it up for her and everything.”

“Yeah!” Turning to Mateo, she tugs on his arm. “Mia said we can get Monica a Christmas present.”

Mateo smirks at me. “Did she now?”

Isabella nods, looking back at me. “Could we get the dolls a Christmas tree, too? And we could decorate it with little ornaments, just like our tree?”

“Oh.” I have no authority here whatsoever, so I look to Mateo. He gives a little nod, encouraging me, so I say, “Yeah, of course we can.”

She settles back into my lap and I lean into Mateo. He still has an arm around me, and this is the most like family I’ve felt with him. Normally he does the family stuff with Meg, but I really like this side of his life, too. Now he leans in to whisper in my ear, “I like you maternal.”

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