“Every. Day. It’s hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember.” She burrows deeper, clinging to me. “What about you?”
“There were days,” I begin softly and rub my nose against her soft hair, “that I would have exchanged a year of my life just to touch you one more time. You are my biggest what if, M.”
We sit in silence, clinging to each other for a long time, breathing each other in and enjoying the night around us.
“How is it possible that you still smell the same?” she finally asks brokenly. I smile against her temple and then kiss her there.
“I thought the same exact thing when you hugged me at Addie’s funeral.”
“Mark, where do we go from here?”
I tip her chin back to look in her eyes. They’re full of unshed tears and confusion. Fuck, I’m confused too.
“Do you want to start over? Get to know each other again?” I swallow hard and watch her bite that gorgeous lower lip. “We’re not the same people we were then, M.”
“The chemistry is still here,” she replies dryly.
I nod, but I can’t help but wonder, is it chemistry? Or is this just simply meant to be?
“I would like that,” she replies. “I’d like that very much.”
Her eyes fall to my lips, and I can’t stand it any more. Those lips would tempt a saint. I lower my head and brush my lips over hers softly. Once, twice, then nibble the corner of her mouth. She sighs and moans softly, cups my face in her small hands and kisses me back. God, she feels so fucking good pressed up against me, her nipples puckered and rubbing against my chest as she pushes against me, trying to get closer.
She opens her mouth for me, and my tongue tangles with hers and suddenly we’re kissing as if no time has passed at all. My hands remember where to hold her and her hands plunge into my hair and hold on tight, the way they always did. She sighs as my hands glide down her back to her hips and back up to her face as I pull back reluctantly.
“God, I missed kissing you,” I murmur.
She kisses my nose and then tips her forehead against mine. “It’s late enough that no one is out here to see us,” she says with a naughty smile.
“Jesus, you’d tempt an angel into hell.” I growl and push my hands under her sweater, gliding them up and down her bare back, over the thin strap of her bra. “But I’ll be damned if the first time I make love with you again is on this fucking pier.”
“When did you get such a potty mouth?” she asks with a laugh and kisses my cheek, still pushing her fingers through my hair.
“Many years on a fishing boat with a bunch of men,” I reply with a chuckle. “Plus, now I spend a lot of time with the Montgomerys and they’re nothing but potty mouths.”
“They seem like a great family.” I pull back to look into her eyes at the wistful tone of her voice.
“We’re all getting together on Sunday. Come with me.”
It’s not a fucking request.
She blinks rapidly and shakes her head. “Um, we just—”
“I want you there,” I whisper and drag my fingertips gently down her cheek. “Please.”
“This is moving fast.”
“We’re just making up for lost time, baby.”
She wraps her arms around my neck and hugs me tight, buries her face in my neck and squeezes. “I’ll go.”
I grin and hug her back. “Look.” She pulls back and follows my outstretched arm. “The sun’s coming up.”
“Holy shit, we were out here that long?”
“We had a lot of catching up to do,” I reply and lie back on the dock, cradling Mer on my chest. I wrap the blanket tightly around us and kiss her head as we watch the sky begin to wake up.
“I should get home. Jax probably tried to call. I left my phone in the Jeep.”
“You’re a grown woman and Jax can stay out of it,” I reply. “But you’ll need your sleep.”
“Come home with me,” she says spontaneously. “No sex, I swear.”
“Well, that’s no fun.”
She laughs and pinches my arm. “Let’s take a nap and then I’ll cook you breakfast and we can go to a movie or something. Unless you had something else planned for your day off?”
I think of all the things I need to get done today, including the touch up work on my bathroom, and then shove it all aside.
“I don’t have anything more important planned than that nap and catching a movie with you.”
“Let’s go.” She stands and helps me fold the blankets.
“How firm are you on the no sex part of this plan?” I ask her with hope in my eyes.
“Meh.” She shrugs and tilts her hand back and forth, as if to say so-so.
“So you’re saying there’s a chance,” I reply with the most charming smile I can muster.
“I always loved that naughty smile of yours.”
“Oh, baby, just wait until you see all the other naughty things I can do.”
I wake slowly and blink at the sunlight falling over my face. I’m warm. Too warm, but I realize it’s not just from the sunshine.
There’s a very big, very warm man pressed up against my back, his arm wrapped around my waist, holding me tightly to him even in sleep. As warm as I am, there’s no way in hell I’m moving out of his arms.
Last night rushes back to me, and all I can do is sigh. It’s as though a heavy burden has been lifted. We’ve put the past behind us and can look forward. He’s a rocket scientist. He’s lived in Alaska and had so many amazing experiences since I last saw him.
He’s grown up. But so have I, and I can’t wait to start getting to know each other all over again.
There were days I would have traded a year of my life to touch you again. My eyes fill with tears again, and I can’t help but turn to face him, waking him up. He inhales deeply, his eyes still closed, and kisses my forehead.
Is he really here?
His chin is covered in stubble, begging for my hands to rub over it. His lips are full and soft, and his blond hair is a riot of mess, even messier than normal.
We’re both still fully dressed. Even as exhausted as we were, I didn’t trust myself to sleep in my skivvies with him. I’m finding it impossible to keep my hands off him. I’ve always been attracted to Mark, from the moment our eyes met across that science classroom all those years ago. But Mark as a grown man is a sight to fucking behold.