No one touches my wife but me.
No one gets near her.
She’s my treasure, my life, the reason I breathe in and out.
Not that I ever need an excuse to tell Maisy how much she means to me, but today is Valentine’s Day, so I get to indulge my never-ending need to spoil her.
Trying to be quiet, I lean a shoulder on the doorjamb of Gigi’s room, my heart sighing at the sight of my wife and daughter sprawled out on the floor, cutting out giant red hearts from construction paper.
“Mom, tell me the story about you and Dada again.”
Gigi sticks her tongue out, brows furrowed in concentration as she creates the top curves of the heart. “The one about him saving you from the dragons.”
“Oh that one.” Maisy sneaks a look back at me over her shoulder, love making her eyes sparkle. I should have known I wouldn’t be able to creep up on her. We have an uncanny knack for knowing when the other is nearby. “Well, I was captured inside a dusty old dungeon, surrounded by fire-breathing dragons. I was fighting them off with a glass sword, but there were just too many. Just as I thought they were going to catch me, your father came riding in on a black horse named Bugatti.”
With a lopsided smile, I shake my head at her even though she isn’t looking at me now, pressure building in my sternum. Love, relief, gratitude, more love. All of it. I feel everything, all the time. She’s given me the ability to feel so much. Both of them have.
“Your father swept me up into his arms and carried me out of there, taking me back to our castle, where we lived happily ever after.”
“But not before he kicked that mean old dragon in the face, right, Mom?”
Maisy’s shoulders shake with mirth. “Right.”
And now he’s in prison for the rest of his life. That’s my favorite part of the story, though we don’t include it in the kid’s version. Nor do we tell Gigi that her grandmother took off to Belize, only to return a year later asking for more money. This time, I wasn’t able to forgive and forget, no matter how much of Maisy’s compassion had rubbed off on me. The woman helped Winston Creed kidnap my wife—nothing excuses it.
Nonetheless, Maisy found her a job working in New Jersey and still calls her on holidays, truly believing in her heart that her mother is contrite. And once again, I’m left to marvel over my wife’s ability to forgive. I marvel over her constantly.
She’s my miracle. She even inspired me to help fund a startup for my old business partner. At first, I was skeptical that it would heal something inside me, but letting go of that resentment lightened an unseen load. Yet another reason to be grateful for my wife.
I clear my throat. “How are my girls?”
Gigi’s head whips around. “Dada!”
She bounds off the floor, hurtling herself at me and I catch her up, pretending to stumble under the impact. “Hey, kiddo. What are you making?”
“A valentine for you,” she says, patting my cheek.
“For me?” My jaw drops. “Can I hang it up in my office?”
I get down on the floor between Maisy and Gigi, leaning over to kiss my wife.
It’s really only meant to be a quick hello kiss—there is a child present—but she sighs and lets me sink in, her fingernails grazing the back of my scalp. And I move closer on autopilot, teasing her lips wider with mine. Christ, I’m insatiable. I’ll never be anything but insatiable for her. Most of my lunch breaks are spent fucking her on my desk at the office. Up against the padded wall of her recording booth. In the garage, beside the pool, in hotel rooms across the city with the curtains wide open, her naked ass squeaking up and down the glass. Wherever I can get her, however I can satisfy her, as often as possible. Every time is better than the last.
“Ew!” Gigi screeches now.
We break the kiss, laughing quietly against each other’s lips.
“Later,” she whispers, fingering the knot of my tie.
Concentrating on making valentines is pretty hard after that. But we eventually feed Gigi dinner and get her to sleep, after one more request to hear the dragon story. Plus about nine zillion kisses happily delivered by me and Maisy.
And then it’s time for us.
We meet on the terrace beside the pool where I’ve arranged a candlelight dinner. A violinist plays softly in the shadows, rose petals are strewn across the white tablecloth, the ground, the surface of the pool. A member of the staff fills flutes with champagne, another arranges appetizers between us.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” I say, picking up her hand, pressing my lips to the pulse on her wrist, satisfied when I feel it flicker. “How was your day?”