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She looks around, and I notice Cohen and Enzo staring at us over their tacos, eyes narrowed. Her voice drops. "You know what, Adam? It is bold. So is your wife." She grabs a paintbrush from one of the million bags on the floor and presses it in my hand. "I guess next time you should come to the store if you're going to hate what I buy. Or, you know, name a color when I ask."
Cohen saunters over. I'm sure our conversation was quiet enough that he didn't hear, but the smirk on his face lets me know he probably got the gist based on the plummeting temperature in my corner. He thrusts a paper bag at me.
"Sorry man. Only vegetarian tacos left." He snickers as he walks away and I wonder if my night can get any s.h.i.+ttier.
Then I remember my wife and I will be sharing a bed. In our new place. Alone.
I glare at the paintbrush and vegetarian tacos, wondering what the h.e.l.l I got myself into.
I grit my teeth through the next few hours of painting, picture hanging, furniture setup, and general cleaning. I try not to show how p.i.s.sed I am when Genevieve's brothers push me to the side, over and over again, so they can take over jobs I'm perfectly capable of doing.
I can handle a d.a.m.n drill.
I use more complicated tools in the lab every single day. They're pretending they need to step in because they want me to feel like a useless a.s.shole. And it seems like Genevieve looks up and right at me every time I get condescended to by them.
I should point out that the new blinds didn't fit the window because Cohen didn't bother to top mount the brackets. I should mention that the dining room table legs were screwed on backwards by Enzo, who was too busy telling me how to use the stud finder I was already using with no problem to realize what he was doing wrong.
But I don't, because I'm desperate to keep the peace with Genevieve. The hours tick by so slowly, I'm positive time is actually moving backward. But, finally, the last tile is scrubbed, the last floorboard is wiped down, the last dish is put away, and our guests have all filed out.
Genevieve and I are left standing in our own place, which has been totally transformed.
And I'm happy about it. She deserves an amazing place to live in.
I just wanted to be the one who hung the blinds for her, who put the table together. I wanted to be one who made this place a home for her.
"It looks great in here," I say, shoving my hands in my pockets.
"Are you being sarcastic?" She drops onto the brown leather loveseat we could have never afforded on our own. She leans her head back and closes her eyes. "Because I'm too tired to figure out what you're pouting about now."
"I'm not being sarcastic at all." I'm trying hard as h.e.l.l to choose my words slowly, not say anything that will be an igniter to this whole crazy situation. "And I have no clue why you'd think I'm pouting."
"You've been in a s.h.i.+tty mood since everyone showed up to help. Look, I'm sorry about the red paint-"
"Stop," I say, sitting on the edge of the walnut coffee table that probably costs half my tuition for the year. "The red looks fine. I don't want to fight about paint. Or some look you think I have on my face. Because I'm nothing but grateful for your family's help tonight." I reach out and put one hand on her knee.
It's a little weird to see Genevieve in cut-off shorts and a tank top. She's usually very dressed up, but I love this low-key look on her. It's beyond s.e.xy, and I've had to resist the urge to drag her into our room and show her just how much I like it a couple dozen times tonight.
"You didn't seem like it," she says, still looking up at the ceiling.
I stand up and head to the bathroom, getting the Eros lotion Marigold gave me out of the cabinet. She's still staring at the ceiling when I come back to the living room.
I pull her foot onto my lap, and she jerks her head up, but I ignore the look of shock on her face and act like I'm doing the most natural thing in the world.
"I'm sorry. Maybe I'm just tired. It's been a long few days." Her foot is ridiculously small. I pour some lotion on my palms, and the heady, spicy aroma fills the apartment. I run my thumbs along her arches, and she bites her bottom lip and lets out a strangled moan. "Good?"
"So...d.a.m.n...Adam," she gasps as I rub harder, watching her face contort as she pushes her foot harder into my hands.
I rub until she's gone slack on the couch. Then I grab the other foot, and she squirms back on the cus.h.i.+ons and slowly slides back down until she's half hanging off the edge. I rub until she sits up, looking at me like she wants to say something.
I start to ask a question. But I don't remember what, because she's suddenly straddling my lap, her arms around my neck, her body pressed soft against me, her mouth fierce on mine.
"Genevieve," I groan, ripping my mouth away from hers. "I want you. I want you now. Come to bed."
She nods, and I stand, lifting under her a.s.s. She circles her legs around my waist, and I walk, blinded by her kisses and deaf from her moans, my free hand in front of me to take the impact of every wall I bang into on the way to our room. I've never been happier to have no idea what the h.e.l.l is going on beyond the moment I'm drowning in.
I stumble through the doorway and drop her on our huge bed, which takes up most of the tiny room. Our bedroom. Her hair spills deep midnight against the pure white bedspread. I kiss her neck, pressing her hair back so I don't miss a single inch of skin. She kneads her fingers into my shoulders, then pulls back with a start.
"I've never...I've never seen you naked," she says, her brow furrowed.
I can't help laughing. "It's not usually part of the tutoring experience, but for you, I'll make an exception." I strip off my t-s.h.i.+rt, undo my pants and let them drop, and stand in front of her in just my boxers.
"Oh." Her gray eyes are wide, darting up and down my body so quickly, they're like silver fish in a bowl. "You're...wow."
I hold my arms out and chuckle. "I know. Pretty d.a.m.n amazing, right?"
"Yeah. Yes. I think so." She sits up on her elbows and c.o.c.ks an eyebrow my way. "So, how does a scientist get such an awesome body?"
"Microscopes," I say, walking close to the bed. I like the way her mouth closes tight and her eyes pop wide. "They're heavy. Good for lifting."
"Really?" she whispers, her eyes on my abs.
"No." I kneel on either side of her hips and drop my hands next her shoulders, bridging my body over hers. I lean down to nuzzle her neck, kissing and sucking softly. "I lift weights. Boring, I know. Guys aren't the big mystery girls always a.s.sume we are."
"Weights? That's hard for me to picture. I guess I always think of you with...well, with microscopes or your binders. Or petri dishes..." Her voice trails off as she touches my face gently, then lets her fingers explore down my body.
I make sure I hold every muscle tight, glad I started lifting more regularly again when the stress of my impending deportation got real. It's an old trick leftover from my time in the military: lifting is the most mind-numbing thing I can do. It's what I did to help adjust to life in the barracks and to give myself a shot at catching up with the guys who'd been building muscles all the years I was buried in books.
Now I'm glad I needed to zone out so much recently, since my hot-as-h.e.l.l wife is obviously appreciating the efforts.
"That's very stereotypical," I say, letting my mouth roam as low as the scooped neckline of her s.h.i.+rt. I kiss where the little bit of lace meets her skin. "I was in the army, you know. I'm not just a science nerd."
"You were?" Her eyes widen, and I think about the day in the barracks when my best friend, Uziel, told me that agreeing to conscription was my only chance of ever getting laid.
He wound up being right.
I drag my thumbs over the straps of her tank and pull them down her shoulders, letting my mouth follow the trail my fingers take. "Three years. Very hard, very lonely labor."
"Was it awful?" she asks, her breath hitching as I kiss down past the curve of her shoulder, my stubble scratching at the delicate skin.
"Not so bad." It wasn't. I liked the discipline. I liked getting away from my father for a few years. I liked the respect in his eyes when I came home after my service was done.
I didn't like the surprise. He'd figured I was going to dodge my conscription because I'd been so immersed in studies. Or give military life a try, but then prove to myself and everyone else I wasn't tough enough, and ask for an exemption.
I actually contemplated doing exactly that, but proving my father wrong meant more to me than even my science studies or my reluctance to give three years of my life to the military. Shallow, but true.
"Girls serve too, right?" Genevieve asks, her fingers running up the back of my arms and drawing down over my back.
"Not as long as men, but, yes. A lot of them do." My first girlfriend was a girl I met in the army. She was as heartless as she was gorgeous, and her constant emotional torture and wild temper cooled me off dating for a long time after we broke up. "I don't really want to think about them, though."
"Why not?" She arches under me, her body bucked up off the mattress and pressed hard against mine. I suck air hard through my teeth and blow it back out.
"Because the most gorgeous girl I've ever seen is in my bed, and she just happens to be my wife. Being with you is the only thing I want to think about, Genevieve. Holy h.e.l.l, you're beautiful." I press up on my arms and look down her body. Her shorts are pushed low on her slim hips, and her tank is riding up under the swell of her t.i.ts. "If you're making me this crazy with your clothes on, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to control myself when I strip you naked."
She blushes at my words. "Adam..." She bites her bottom lip and looks away.
"What is it?" I struggle to keep my voice even.
"If we do this...it's real. Isn't it?" Her eyes have gone a dark gray, plagued with a thousand worries. About me, about us.
The words come out of my mouth, and they're not just to get a vehicle to get her out of her clothes. I mean what I say.
"This has always been real. Even if I'd never been lucky enough to marry you, what I feel for you would always have been real, Genevieve." I take her hand and rub over her rings, the ones I put on her finger when I asked her to marry me and when I vowed to take care of her. Forever.
"What if you hadn't needed to get married so quickly? Do you think there's any chance this all would have happened anyway? Later on?" Her hands glide up to my neck and hold tight at the base, pulling my mouth close.
We're inches apart, and I close my eyes and press my body down over hers to close the s.p.a.ce, collecting her in my arms and crus.h.i.+ng her against me. "I hate even thinking about that."
"Why?" Her voice is ribboned with panic. "Why do you hate it?"
"Because I'm afraid..." I kiss her mouth, release my hold on her and run my hands over her arms, tug up, and pin her wrists over her head. "I'm afraid that if I didn't have my deportation to push me, I would have always admired you. I would have wanted you so badly it was hard to be in the same room with you. But I probably never would have gotten up the courage asked you to be with me."
The truth squeezes the air out of my lungs, and I kiss her, hard and fast, to keep that alternate reality from playing through my head.
I don't want to picture a continuum where Genevieve and I flirt, and I help her pa.s.s calculus but never quite work up the nerve to tell her how I feel, then she pa.s.ses her cla.s.s, negating the need for a tutor, the need for me, and moves on. And me? I rot in some lonely lab while she ends up with an idiot who could never appreciate her.
"Why wouldn't you?" Her legs twine with mine, her teeth nip at my bottom lip. "Why wouldn't you have asked me?" Her question is nothing but a ragged pant.
I run my hands over her body, coasting over the flat, warm plane of her stomach, spreading my fingers along her underwire and up over the cups, desperate to rip her clothes off.
"Because I wanted you so much, it scared the c.r.a.p out of me. To be totally honest, it still does." I press her s.h.i.+rt up, and she nods to let me know-yes- she wants it off. She moans as I tug it up and over her head, letting her hair fall back in a wide circle on the mattress as I drop the sc.r.a.p of cloth onto the floor. I rub my hands over the lacy fabric of her bra, then reach a hand around her back and undo the snap. I pull it away, and her t.i.ts fall out, soft and tempting.
I drop my head and suck in a nipple, loving the way her entire body jerks. She curls up toward me, her fingers raking through my hair and pulling my head closer. I suck and kiss, burying my face in the impossibly sweet smell of her, holding her tight to me with one hand at her back. I use the other hand to undo the b.u.t.ton and tug down the fly of her tiny shorts. I push them off her hips and reach back up for the waistband of her panties.
There's nothing there.
I pull my mouth back from her nipple and look up at her, the need for her so extreme it's a physical ache. "You didn't-?"
She bites her bottom lip and shakes her head from side to side, her cheekbones a deep pink. "I'd packed them all. I kept out a set I got from Maren and Whit, but I didn't want to work in it. It's, um, really...it's s.e.xy. Do you want to see?"
I sit up on my knees and drag my hands down her body, just hard enough so the imprints of my fingers leave trails on her skin for a few seconds. "I want to. You have no idea how badly I want to. But I need you now. Right now. I can't even think about being any more turned on than I already am."
She leans up and tugs at the waistband of my boxers. The fabric is stretched out like a ridiculous tent, and I shake my head when she giggles.
"What's so funny, wife?" I ask.
She stops giggling at the possessive way the last words comes out, and her eyes meet mine, the pupils pitch black. She tugs hard, and my boxers are on the floor.
"Nothing's funny." She shakes her head. "I'm just happy."
I press her shoulders back so she falls onto the mattress.
I smile down at her, my fingers trailing down her stomach, stopping just inside of her thigh.
She nods. "Mmm. So happy. My husband is an incredibly kind, handsome genius. Like that's not enough, he has the biggest c.o.c.k I've ever seen."
The s.e.xy words slip out of her mouth so sweetly, it's jarring.
My hand presses her legs apart, and I'm ready to find her c.l.i.t and rub her until she's slick and ready for me. But there's no need.
"Your p.u.s.s.y is soaked," I say, my mouth close to her ear. I slide my fingers deep into her, s.c.r.e.w.i.n.g my eyes shut and swallowing hard when a long, hungry groan breaks out of her mouth.
"I want you, Adam. So bad. So d.a.m.n bad." Her whimpers shake her body, and I press my fingers deeper, my eyes on her face. I've wanted her for so long, and now I can have her.
She's spread in front of me, wet and ready, begging for me.
She's my wife. There's nothing wrong with what I'm about to do.
So why do I feel like I shouldn't be doing it?
"What's wrong?" Her hands grasp tightly on my jaw. She pulls up so I'm looking right at her, right at the lush mouth that I want on every part of my body. Everywhere. "Is something wrong?"
"I want you." Even as I'm debating in my head, my fingers are moving faster in her, sucked into the tight, wet core of her. She winds a hand down between our bodies and closes her fingers around my d.i.c.k, rubbing and pressing until my breath goes ragged.
"If you want me, take me," she murmurs, her tongue darting out to lick my ear. She blows softly and that one tiny action spirals everything out of control.
"d.a.m.nit, Genevieve. Are you sure?"
"Yes." She opens her legs wide, and pulls me to her, fitting the head of my d.i.c.k just where she's slickest. "Now, Adam. I don't want to wait anymore."
I kiss her and press long and slow. She's so tight, I'm afraid to go any faster, but so wet, I know she's ready for more. "Genevieve? Is this-?"
"No." She shakes her head and grabs at my hips.
For a second I think the 'no' means she doesn't want this after all, but then her hands grab around to the back of my a.s.s, and she slams me deep into her. My vision goes dark and only comes back in silver pinp.r.i.c.ks of bursting light.
"Like this?" I draw out of her and press back in, then do it again and again, faster.
"Like this." She locks her legs around my hips and rolls on top of me, then pulls me up by the shoulders so our bodies are locked close, She grabs my hands and puts them on her t.i.ts. I squeeze them, rolling her nipples under the pads of my thumbs. She says something rapid and s.e.xy in Spanish, and I don't know what it is, but I want to do whatever makes her keep speaking the language that spills out of her mouth like music.
"You like it like that?" I jerk my hips up hard and fill her completely. She spreads her legs wider and drives deeper on me.
"More," she begs, her silky black hair over her shoulders and my arms, her mouth twisted like she's almost where she needs to be.