#29 Please don’t say it
“Oh,” I realize, still a little out of it. “That’s okay. I got tested last time that happened with Th- with someone else.” I almost said Thomas’ name right after sex. That was a close call. “I haven’t had sex without a condom since.”
“Yeah, I’m clean too,” James says, still looking like he’s on the verge of panicking. “Still, we need to get you a morning-after pill.”
“I’ve got an IUD.”
All the tension leaves his body and he lets out a relieved sigh. “Okay. Good. Sorry about that. It’s not that I don’t want kids, I do, I really do, but not right now, like this, without us even living together or anything.”
I laugh softly. “Honey, no need to explain. It’s not like I’m begging you to put a baby in me. I don’t want kids until I’m like, 30 or something.”
He nods and steps out of my embrace. “You’re still wearing your skirt and bra,” he says, shaking his head. “Those will need to go before we take that shower together.”
I originally wanted to shower together so we could have sex, but we already did that, so I guess that shower will just be… well, a shower, really. James unsnaps my bra and kisses my breasts while I step out of my skirt.
“You’re so beautiful,” he whispers against my skin before picking me up bridal style and carrying me into the bathroom. He puts me down and makes sure the water is the perfect temperature before pulling me under it with him, kissing me tenderly. This is normal James, sweet James, no longer the beast that fucked me on my kitchen table.
I’m still a little surprised that he did that, and even more at how much I enjoyed it. I like soft, gentle sex the most, looking into each other’s eyes and having this wonderful emotional connection while you reach your orgasm together, but variety is everything. It’s good to know that he’s got this wild side that takes over sometimes, making me feel sexy and wanted like never before.
“Are you sure you’re okay with me being a little rough with you sometimes?” James asks while he massages shampoo into my hair, his nails dragging over my scalp just the way I like it.
“Yes,” I moan, enjoying all the time and effort he spends on me, making sure every single part of my body is covered in foam. “I liked it.”
“Even when I smacked you?” he asks, sounding a little nervous. It’s so strange how he can go from being this powerful commanding sex maniac to being sweet and insecure.
“In the heat of the moment things like that can be fun,” I say softly, taking the soap from him to take care of him now. “But just so you know… I’m not really into pain or anything. The occasional smack is fine, but I don’t like excessive hair pulling, or biting, or hitting me anywhere but on my ass. Sex needs to feel good for me to enjoy it, and pain doesn’t feel good to me.”
“Understood.” He kisses me gently before turning around so I can rub soap all over his backside. “Maybe we should have talked about this before I just bent you over your kitchen table, huh?”
I giggle. “Well, I did sort of tell you to unleash the beast, I guess.”
He laughs along and then moans when I start massaging shampoo into his hair, giving him as much attention as he did me.
“Franny?” he says softly when he turns around, his eyes burning into mine.
“I think I’m falling for you,” he whispers, touching my face so tenderly that it makes my heart melt.
“Me too,” I say, earning me a dazzling smile from him. For a moment I’m scared that he’ll go on to tell me that he loves me already, but he doesn’t, luckily. Saying that you’re falling isn’t the same as saying you’re in love. At least not to me. I can feel the pull, I know that I can get there with him, and I’ve got feelings for him for sure, but it’s not love quite yet. I need to be with him longer, need to get to know him better.
“I’m so glad you went and got yourself arrested seven weeks ago,” he murmurs before pressing his lips to mine.
We kiss for a long time, standing there with the water cascading down on us. I’ve never had this with someone before. Feeling so safe, so secure, so utterly sure that he is all in. For the first time ever, I have someone who truly likes me, who wants me, who isn’t fucking other chicks on the side, or using me to cheat on someone else, or already looking for his next victim.
“I want to introduce you to my friends soon,” James says when we break apart and I rinse the last remnants of soap off me. “And… if you’re up for it, I’d like you to meet my family when they come up here for my birthday.”
“When’s your birthday?” I ask, already getting nervous.
“Two months from now.”
“Oh,” I breathe, my heart soaring. He’s so sure of us that he feels perfectly at ease making plans for something that won’t happen for another two months. Wow. That’s a first for me.
“If I’m being too eager and intense again, just say the word and I will drop it,” James says, mistaking my silence for doubt. “Sorry, I just-”
“James, I’d love to meet your parents in two months,” I interrupt him. “And I’d be happy to meet your friends way sooner than that. You already met most of mine, after all.”
“I can promise you mine won’t ask you inappropriate questions about your intimate parts,” he teases, referring to Aston, of course.
“Too bad,” I say with a mock sigh. “I was so looking forward to talking to a bunch of 30-year-old cops about my sparkling green clit piercing.”
He laughs and kisses me softly. “Please hint at that. I promise me their mouths will drop open if you do.”
We step out of the shower and I grab us some towels, both of us drying off quickly and slipping into some comfortable clothes. He smacks my ass with a wink and moves to the kitchen to get started on dinner.
“Play me something while I cook,” he says, pulling some vegetables from the cabinet. “You promised me a song, didn’t you?”
Him being busy chopping carrots while I sing makes me feel a tad less anxious, and I decide to not go the easy way and play just any random song. I’m going to play a song that means something to me. A song that I’ve never played for anyone before. I have played guitar with guys in the room before – Aston, Leonard, Mustafa, Thomas – but I’ve never sung to any of them. I’ve sung with Joshua, of course, but that’s different. I wasn’t singing to him, I was making music with him. James is getting a first, and I should make it count for both of us.
I grab my guitar and sit on a kitchen chair, angling it toward James. I make sure my guitar perfectly tuned and play a few chords before mentally preparing to show him what music does to me. I already know I’m going to cry, but that’s okay.
“I found myself dreaming in silver and gold, like a scene from a movie that every broken heart knows,” I start the song, my eyes on James. He just smiles while he keeps preparing dinner, apparently not recognizing the song or understanding that this is something special. He’ll realize it soon enough.
I close my eyes when I come to the part that might start making my cry, wanting to focus on the emotions this song make me feel without letting them overwhelm me. “No, we’re not promised tomorrow… So I’m gonna love you like I’m gonna lose you. I’m gonna hold you like I’m saying goodbye. Wherever we’re standing, I won’t take you for granted. ’Cause we’ll never know when, when we’ll run out of time.” I’m thinking of my father when I sing that last line. His death taught me very hard lesson for a 15-year-old girl.
It’s why I am the way I am. It’s why I’m so fiercely loyal, why I feel everything so intensely, why I want to experience love so badly. Nothing lasts, so you should hold onto what you have and enjoy every minute with the people you care about.
“So I’m gonna love you like I’m gonna lose you. I’m gonna love you like I’m gonna lose you. In the blink of an eye, just a whisper of smoke, you could lose everything. The truth is you never know.”
A single tear makes its way down my face and I smile through it, determined to finish the song. I’ve been working so hard with Joshua to put my emotions into the music without bawling my eyes out every single time memories come bubbling up in me.
I open my eyes when I’m close to the end of the song, and I see that James is standing in the kitchen, completely frozen, his eyes wide and one hand clutched to his chest. I sing the last few lines to him, trying not to feel self-conscious with those intense blue eyes on me.
When the song is over and I’ve put my guitar down, James takes a step in my direction, opens his mouth, and then closes it again. He shakes his head and makes a motion like he doesn’t know what to say.
“I’ve never sang to a guy before,” I tell him softly. “You’re the first guy I’ve ever… well, serenaded, basically.”
He closes the distance between us and drops to his knees in front of me, grabbing my hands. “That was… that was…” He shakes his head. “That was absolutely beautiful, Franny. I mean, I’ve heard you sing along to the radio and in the shower, so I knew you have a beautiful voice, but this… this was… Wow.”
“Thanks.” I move in to kiss him, and he moves one hand into my hair, kissing me so tenderly that my heart is soaring.
“I didn’t think you were ready to say it,” James rushes out when he pulls back. “I wanted to say it in the shower, but I thought you weren’t ready. God, you have no idea how hard I’ve been trying not to say those three little words too early.”
Wait – what? What is happening?
“I think it’s so sweet you said it first,” James whispers, touching my face with his fingertips in a gentle caress. “And in a song, no less. I know how much your music means to you. I’ve never had a girl be the first to say it ever before.”
Say what? Oh no, oh no, oh no, please tell me he’s not going to say-
“I love you too, baby,” he says, never looking away from my face. “So much.”