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“You tried, though, didn’t you?”

“Perhaps,” I admit.

She shakes her head in disbelief and leans back against the headrest, staring off into space.

“You’re mad, huh?” I ask her.

She ignores me.

“Theresa . . .” My voice is too loud and has the effect on her that I intend it to have. Her eyes snap open, and she turns to me.

“I’m not mad,” she whispers. “I’m just surprised, and I’m trying to figure out how I feel about it, okay?”

“Okay.” Her reaction was much better than I had anticipated.

“I can’t stand when you keep things from me. You do it, my mother does it . . . I’m not a child. I am capable of handling things that are thrown at me, wouldn’t you say?”

I stop myself from uttering the first thought that comes to my mind. I’m getting better and better at this shit. “Yes,” I calmly reply, “but that doesn’t mean that I won’t try and filter out the bullshit for you.”

Her eyes soften, and she nods once. “I understand that, but I need you to stop keeping things from me. Anything that involves you, Landon, or my father, I need to know about. I always end up finding out anyway. Why prolong the inevitable?” she asks.

“Okay,” I agree without elaborating. “From now on I won’t keep shit from you.” What I don’t mention is that nothing from the past that I’ve kept from her counts; I’m only agreeing that from this moment on I will try not to keep her in the dark.

A flash of emotion moves over her face, but I can’t read it. I almost think it is guilt. “Unless it’s something that I’m better off not knowing,” she softly adds.

Okay . . .

“What kind of things are we talking about here?” I ask her.

“Something that you would be better off not being told also counts. For example, the fact that my gynecologist is a male,” she informs me.

“What?” Tessa’s doctor being a male never crossed my mind. I didn’t know that dude doctors did such things.

“See, you were better off not knowing that, weren’t you?” She isn’t even trying to hide her little smart-ass grin at my irritation and jealousy.

“You’ll get a new doctor.”

She slowly shakes her head at me, telling me she’ll do no such thing. I lean over and whisper into her ear, “You’re lucky the bathrooms on this thing are too small to fuck you in.” Her breathing hitches, and she immediately squeezes her thighs together. I love her reaction to my filthy mouth; it’s always instantaneous. Plus, I needed to distract her and change the subject for both of our sakes.

“I would press you against the door and fuck you against the wall.” I move my hand farther up her closed thighs. “I would cover your mouth to muffle your screams.”

She gulps.

“It would feel so fucking good, your legs wrapped around my waist, your fingers tugging at my hair.”

Her eyes are wide, pupils blown, and fuck, I wish the bathrooms weren’t so damn small. Literally, I can’t even stretch out my arms in the tiny space. Here I paid over a thousand dollars per round-trip ticket—you’d think I could at least fuck my girl in the damn bathroom during the long flight.

“Squeezing your legs together won’t make the ache disappear,” I continue whispering into her ear. I lower her tray table so I can bring my hand to the juncture of her thighs. “Only I can.” She looks like she’s about to come from my words alone. “The rest of the flight is going to be pretty uncomfortable for you, what with soaking panties and all.” I press a kiss beneath her ear, using my tongue to tease her further, and the man next to me coughs.

“Problem?” I ask him, not giving a fuck if he heard anything I said to her. He quickly shakes his head and returns his attention to the e-reader in his hand. I lean over, noting the first paragraph on the dimly lit page. I spot the name “Holden” and immediately chuckle. Only pretentious middle-aged men and bearded hipsters actually enjoy reading The Catcher in the Rye. What is so appealing about an overprivileged, teenage fucking stalker? Nothing.

“Shall I continue?” I lean back over to Tessa, who is now panting.

“No.” She lifts her tray table, clicking it closed and ending my fun.

“Only five more hours now.” I grin at her, ignoring how hard I am from the thought of how wet she must be right now.

“You’re an asshole,” she whispers. The smile that I love plays on her lips.

“And you love me,” I counter, making that smile grow.

NAVIGATING THROUGH HEATHROW wasn’t as bad as I remembered. We got our bags quickly. Tessa was quiet most of the time, and her hand in mine was the only assurance I needed that she wasn’t too upset about the rehab shit. The rental car was ready for us, and I watched in amusement as Tessa promptly walked to the wrong side of the vehicle.

By the time we make it to Hampstead, she’s asleep. She tried to stay awake and stare out the window, taking it all in, but she couldn’t keep her eyes open. The old town looks the same as it did the last time I was here—of course it does, why wouldn’t it? It’s only been a few months. For some reason I feel like the moment that I drove past the official Hampstead welcome sign with Tessa in the passenger seat, the village would have altered somehow.

As I pass the historic homes and tourist attractions, I finally arrive in the residential part of town. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in Hampstead lives in a historic mansion and is rolling in wealth. All that is clear as I pull into my mum’s gravel driveway. The old house looks like it could topple over any day now, and I’m glad to see the Sold sign on the lawn. Her future husband’s house, just next door, is in much better shape than this shithole and about twice the size.