Thomas closes his eyes. “Now.”
He thrusts in again, and I am a supernova. I am made of light and heat and pleasure and I feel him come with me, both of our voices combining. I’m blind, all senses rendered obsolete in the face of this complete pleasure. The universe shrinks to just this—one eternal moment.
When I become aware again I’m gasping, heaving in breaths, and Thomas is doing the same. He’s on top of me still, resting close, elbow propped beside me so I’m not entirely crushed by his weight. But I like the heaviness of him. It makes me feel grounded. Safe. With everything that’s going on, that’s a hard feeling to find.
My exhaustion from the day is catching up with me. “I’m going to fall asleep,” I say. “I’m sorry.”
Thomas’s weight lifts off me for a second, and then he’s back beside me, lifting me up and pulling us both under the covers of the bed. “I don’t mind.”
The last thing I feel are his lips on my forehead.
“Do you think I’m using you?” I ask sleepily.
I slept for a while and then I woke up again to Thomas’s arms around me. We’re lounging in his bed. I’m still utterly spent, but I’m enjoying relaxing with him.
“What?” his voice seems surprised, and I feel his body go tense beside me.
“I took my car to the shop today, and I ran into your brother. I kind of forgot about it, so I forgot to tell you. But he told me that I shouldn’t manipulate you to get what I want. I wanted to know if that’s what you thought I’ve been doing. With you.”
He turns a little more toward me. “That first night, it crossed my mind. But after that, no. I mean, there’s no doubt that being with you has changed my thinking about the bakery. But unlike Sam, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.”
“Okay,” I say. I feel exposed. Open. “I wouldn’t want you to think that. The past few days…they’ve meant more to me than I think you know.”
He leans down and presses a kiss to my lips. It’s soft and deep, and makes things flutter in my stomach and chest. “I know,” he whispers.
“What am I going to do if I can’t show improvement in the bakery?” I ask. “I hate to bring it up, but it’s all I can think about.”
“Really?” he smiles. “Clearly I have to work harder while fucking you.”
I laugh. “You know what I mean.”
“I do. It’s going to be okay,” he says. “I’ve been thinking, and the bakery isn’t going to be repossessed. I promise.”
A kiss on my cheek. “I swear.” A kiss on my forehead. “I vow.” A kiss on my mouth. “I pledge. It won’t be repossessed. I’m not going to ruin your father’s future.”
I sink into him, hiding my face so he doesn’t see the way my eyes are tearing up in relief. “Thank you.”
He pulls a condom from the drawer and slides it on. We don’t move, we stay as we are, on our sides, facing each other. This time it’s incredibly slow. It’s hard to tell where we separate, and we build together to the end. I don’t ask permission and he doesn’t give it. It just happens, together. Perfectly in sync. We fall asleep still tangled together.
Thomas was right, having my car back is so much easier. Even though I about killed him when I arrived to pick it up and found that he had already paid for the repairs. He claimed since they were his fault it was only fair, and then he kissed me until I didn’t have the energy to argue.
It’s been a few days since we spent the night together, but our texting hasn’t stopped. Sometimes sexy, sometimes sweet. I love it. I like knowing that whatever is happening, he’ll be there sooner or later in my back pocket, and he’ll always manage to make me smile. But this morning he hasn’t texted me yet. I shoot him a quick good morning text before I hop into my car. Today is a big day. It’s the day before the loan payment is due, and today is the day that we’re supposed to have news about the loan terms. I’m hoping that’s the reason why he hasn’t texted me. That he’s in meetings trying to get this fixed.
I turn on a cheery pop station on the way there and bop to the music. Today is the happiest I’ve been in a long time, because hopefully this will be over. I don’t really want to think about how going back to New York will affect Thomas and me. I’m going to cross that bridge when I come to it.
Turning the corner, my entire world is upside down. Giant machines surround the bakery, and I pull into the parking lot just in time to see a wrecking ball smash through the wall that was the office. No. No. This can’t be happening. I slam the car into park and jump out. The machines are so loud I can’t hear myself think, but I’m screaming. “Hey! Stop!” I sprint toward the building, hoping that I can get there in time to stop them from knocking the whole building down. “Stop!”