Glancing at my reflection, my blond hair’s a tangled, wild mess. My blue eyes look so big. Absently I think I look like a Disney princess. You know, the ones whose eyes take up too much of their face.
“Talk to me. What’s going on in that stunning head of yours?”
Sighing I straighten my shoulders, causing his eyes to drop to my chest.
“I… I never thought it would be like this.”
His hand cups my cheek as steam starts to fill up the large bathroom.
“I mean, I have always loved you, but now… it’s… there’s this closeness that I never knew existed.” I cover my face with my hands. “I’m being silly. It’s hard to explain.”
He gently removes my hands and tilts my head up. “It’s not silly. I feel it too.” His thumb traces my lips.
“Yes, but you’ve had sex, so you’re used to this sensation.” His hand tightens on my chin.
“What does sex have to do with the way we feel?” He says, his voice low and gravelly.
“I… I don’t know. I only assumed…”
“Don’t assume. It has nothing to do with it! I could have fucked a thousand women and never felt the way I do when I’m inside you.”
My heart thuds, and I look away. His words are too powerful, giving me hope when I still need to be cautious.
“Look at me.” He grabs my chin. “Those women meant nothing.” He laughs bitterly. “I don’t think I even kissed them. I used to have to fantasize it was you. I tried so hard not to, but you always haunted me.” He drops his hands. We stare at each other until he finally shakes his head and enters the shower, leaving me to digest his confession.
What the hell? Pulling open the shower door, I find his magnificent body so distracting, I almost forget how to talk.
“Are you trying to tell me that you thought about me when you fucked other women?” I’m whispering, which is stupid—it’s only us and the shower.
He opens his eyes, and I watch transfixed as he washes himself. Feeling myself get wet and that pulse between my legs, my core starts to throb.
“Yes. Does that make you happy? I couldn’t come without calling your name.” He reaches for me, dragging me into the hot shower.
“I’m done, Tess. I don’t want to fight. You’re feeling vulnerable. Fine, that’s expected. It’s hard to trust me after what we’ve been through. But come on, you have to know that what we have is powerful.” I blink back the water drops.
“We need to be careful, Kitten. Otherwise these emotions could hurt us. Do you understand?” He brings his wet lips close to mine. “I love you and you love me. Always have. Call it destiny, soul mates, whatever you want. It controls us both.” I stare at him, his face serious, the shower pitter-pattering around us.
Then he turns and steps out of the shower. “Do you want me to order room service before we start roughing it?”
Slightly dazed, I shake my head.
“Just let us be us, and I swear you will be happy.” Wrapping the towel around his waist, he leaves me. I let the hot water beat down on me for a moment, trying to get a handle on my spinning emotions. Reaching for the shower gel, I squeeze some on my palm, watching as the gel bubbles and foams to life. As I wash myself, the sweet lavender smell calms me, and I suddenly get it. Or maybe I accept it. Reed is right. We are destined to love each other, and it’s okay to feel vulnerable. I mean what I feel for him is not rational or even controllable. It’s pure and right and I want him more than I have wanted anything. When did he get so wise? Or maybe he truly is done playing games. If that’s the case, I need to do the same.
Turning off the shower, I reach for a towel. As I stare down at my feet, I inhale deeply and take one step forward.
We spend the rest of the day walking the streets. The crowded sidewalks seem unnecessary as we hold hands talking, laughing, being together. It’s as though I’m almost high or reborn. As though I’ve shed my old skin—the anxiety that’s been my life—in the shower and watched it flow down the drain.
“Do you want anything else on this?” the guy holding up my hot dog asks.
“Nope, I think that will do it.” I laugh as Reed rolls his eyes, trying to hand me the oozing chili cheese dog.
“Sixteen dollars.” He pulls a twenty out of his pocket, paying the guy.
“Keep the change.” Reed wraps his arm around my shoulders as we walk and eat our hot dogs. It’s slightly raining again, but I don’t even feel it. Seriously, someone could shoot me, and I wouldn’t know it. I’m walking on a cloud.