I brought us chest to chest again and kissed him softly. I breathed him in. His scent, his closeness, made me dizzy.
“I’m not going to lie to you, Blake. I’m a little shell-shocked. I hate that I am, and that I reacted the way I did before. And I can’t promise that I won’t again, in some small way. Physically, there’s no question about what I want, but I never know what will trigger my mind. You’re right that I need time. But I can’t spend that time away from you because you’re the one who makes me better. You’re the only one who can bring me through this, because I’ve never trusted someone the way I trust you. I love you so much it hurts sometimes. You have to believe me, that you’re the only one who can heal me, Blake.”
I held him tightly, letting a tear fall down my cheek. The emotions running wild inside me were creeping over, one way or the other.
“Baby,” he breathed against my lips, his shoulders softened under my hands.
“Please.” I kissed him again, more firmly, more demanding.
He pulled away again slightly, worry etched into the lines at his eyes. I reached to him, but before I could seal the plea with another kiss he had lifted me up by the waist. I wrapped my legs around him and let him carry us to the darkness of the bedroom. He lowered me at the foot of the bed, never breaking the contact.
I sifted my hand through his hair, deepening the kiss and melding our bodies together. My tongue found the ridge of his lips, flicking lightly for entrance. He sighed against me, opening. Our hands slid over each other. Even as the tension radiated between us, every move was measured and unrushed as it had never been before. I couldn’t remember when we’d taken this much time and care. And even though a part of me was screaming for him to hurry, to take me with all the passion he possessed, somehow this was more important. This slow dance of asking with each touch.
As our clothes fell to the floor and our hands found their way to each other again. I broke our kiss and sat on the edge of the bed. I inched back, unsure how he wanted me or what I could handle. Only the moon lit the room, casting a violet glow on the ruffled sheets beneath me. He stood for a moment, a dedicated love painting his shadowed features.
Catching my foot, he lifted it to his lips and pressed a kiss to the pad of my big toe. I lay back, letting my body relax into the soft comforter as he worked his way up my calf, tracing a decadent path to my knee and up my thigh. Stopping just short of my pussy, he traveled the other side.
The craving I’d been battling for days was now impossible to ignore, impossible to resist. My earlier orgasm had done little to quell it. I wanted to beg, but he’d take his time now regardless of what I said. Nothing would push him past the limits of his control. He followed his path with his hand, and my eyes flew open. I caught his hand mid-thigh, stilling his journey. Breathing through the rapid beating of my heart, I struggled as a different kind of rush worked its way through me.
His eyes widened, every muscle frozen in place. I searched for words as he waited for me to speak.
“Don’t use your hands, okay?” My voice was small. I hated what the words implied, but I couldn’t not tell him and risk this moment between us.
The line of his jaw hardened, the muscle below twitching. I gave his hand a reassuring squeeze.
“It’s okay,” I said, avoiding the real reasons, reasons he’d likely already deduced. One of the least pleasant memories I’d had lately was of Max’s hands on me that night. I wanted to squeeze my eyes shut until the image went away, but instead I focused on Blake.
He’d let my foot fall back to the bed. Now he stood, penetrating me with his stare. He wouldn’t miss a trick tonight. Most days, he was more tuned to my body than I was. Knowing what we were up against now, nothing would get past him.
“Erica, I’ve said this before, but we need a safe word. If you didn’t think we needed one before, I need you to have one now.”
I rolled my eyes.
“Think of it as giving me peace of mind too.”
“I’ll tell you when to stop. I always do,” I insisted.
“No. It’s harder to tell me to stop and explain why. All you need is one word, and that says it all. It tells me to stop. It tells me I’m pushing you too far, that your mind is screaming at you to tell me to stop enough to say it. We need one now, or we shouldn’t go any further tonight because I won’t risk pushing you. Not tonight.”
I sighed, unconvinced that we needed one, but if it meant that much to Blake, I’d relent. “What should it be? Just pick something.”
“You have to pick it. It’s your safe word. Pick a word that you won’t hesitate to say if I’m pushing you past your limits. I don’t intend to, but—”
He raised his eyebrows.
“That’s it. I’ll say limit if you’re doing anything that I can’t handle.”
“Okay, that works.”
He seemed convinced. He released a breath, and the worry in his eyes subsided. I had no idea that choosing the word would give him so much reassurance, because I’d always thought of it differently. As if saying it meant I couldn’t take all he could give me, or that I was fully subscribing to the submissive role that I had slipped further into than I’d ever imagined.
Silence settled over us, an empty expanse that threatened our moment. I hooked my heel behind his thigh and pulled on his hand to coax him over me. Instead of settling between my legs, he lay beside me. I turned into his body, bringing us flush. Both our heads on the pillows, we stared into each other.
“I want this,” I whispered. “Please don’t let me ruin this or scare you off.”
“Tell me exactly what you want.”
“I want you to make love to me, Blake, and never stop. For the rest of our lives, I want love in our bed. Nothing can come between us like this again, no matter what.”
Before he could respond, I kissed him. It was a kiss full of frustration and determination and more than anything, love. Our love was what could pull us through this. He met my passion, angling me how he wanted me. We breathed each other’s air and drank each other until the seconds turned into minutes. Until my lips were tender and swollen. The heat between us had made our skin sweat. My hesitations weren’t gone, but they were far in the background. I circled the hard thickness of his erection between us, stroking him to the tip.
He groaned, arching his hips upwards into my grasp. I slid to the base and back to the tip, pumping him gently.