But that doesn’t change the fact that we always come back to this.
Him and me.
Locklin and Jerri.
And that’s why when he slams my back against the door and crushes his lips to mine, I don’t tell him to stop. I don’t tell him to leave, get the hell out, stop breaking my heart—to never come back.
No. I don’t do any of that.
I let him wrap my waist-length hair around his large fist so he can devour me.
Mind and soul.
And when he guides my leg up around his waist, I enable him further by unzipping his jeans and releasing him from the confines of his boxers.
Because this is what we do, him and me.
And then we fuck.
And then he does the same thing he always does, the one thing that breaks my heart more and more each time.
But that doesn’t stop me from wrapping my other leg around his trim waist.
And it doesn’t stop him from pushing my skirt up and impaling me with the force only a man of his size can achieve.
Large, strong, sure.
It doesn’t stop any of it.
I moan. He’s so good, I couldn’t hold it in if I tried.
I shiver when he touches me because it’s him, the only man who has ever brought endless goosebumps to my skin and pleasure—real pleasure—to my body.
I kiss him back, tasting and devouring, consuming everything I can of this beautiful man before he goes.
Because this will be the last time.
This time, I tell myself, I need to be strong.
Not for me.
Not for him.
But for the child he doesn’t know that’s growing inside me.
So I push and I pull.
And when he groans into my neck, “Fuck me harder, Jerri girl,”
I do just that.
We fuck and we fight and we pull and we push.
And when his hand comes between us, his thumb making delicious circles on my little bundle of nerves, his mouth moving in rhythm with his cock, we explode.
Two souls forever, stuck together, and perhaps too afraid to break apart.
He settles me back on the ground, forehead to forehead, our heavy breath mixing together.
“I care for you deeply, Lass,” he whispers across my lips.
Never, “I love you.”
Because Lock does not give more.
“Stay,” I plead with him again. The stinging in my eyes lets me know tears are soon to fall. I won’t let them, I rarely do.
But they’re coming.
It’s been a month since I’ve seen him, and there will most likely be another before he comes back again.
So I give him one more chance, one more plea, one more shot at a forever.
Because as much as it hurts me to walk away, I know this is not just about me anymore.
It’s about him, or her.
It’s about something greater than the both of us.
Warm, full lips press against my forehead, then my nose, last my mouth.
“I can’t,” He whispers against my lips.
I turn my head, duck around his body, and head toward the bathroom to clean up. I don’t turn around; I just ask the other question I always want the answer to.
I wait for him to reply. His answer will be my timeline, my countdown to when I need to have my stuff gone and moved.
“A month, possibly two. I’ll text you.”
I nod and close the bathroom door, knowing I won’t get the text—because I don’t plan on keeping the phone.
And I have no plan to see him in a month, or possibly two, because I won’t be living here.
I’ll be gone by then.
We’ll be gone by then.
* * *
I finish in the shower. It was heavenly, with quality conditioner and soap that doesn’t smell as if it came from a dispenser at a department store bathroom. After a healthy dose of moisturizer, a thorough shave which would have impressed Chewbacca, and clean pair of lounge clothes, I feel more like myself.
Or the myself I assume I should feel like.
I take stock in my appearance, trying to recognize the woman in the mirror. She has dark, thick hair that doesn’t reach her shoulders. Gray eyes that look lost. Empty. Her skin is lightly tanned despite spending nearly a month indoors.