For Christ’s sake, shut up, Holland.
Calvin slowly turns to me.
“My goodness, that is a crush.” Dougherty makes a few notes in his file, and I swear I am sweating through my chair. “And Calvin, what did you first notice about Holland?”
“Her eyes,” he says without hesitation, even though our story has dramatically changed. “The first time she talked to me we didn’t say much, but I remember her eyes. They’re hypnotizing.”
He noticed my eyes? They’re hypnotizing? Does he actually remember that I spoke to him that night before the zombie attack, or is he playing along? I don’t even get time to savor this moment because the officer looks up at me as if to verify this. “And Holland, do you remember what you said?”
I feel the embarrassment all over again. “I think I blurted out something about his music.”
Calvin nods. “She said, ‘I love your music’ and then sort of . . . shuffled away.”
I look over at him and laugh. I feel jubilant: he remembers. “I’d been drinking in Brooklyn with Lulu,” I tell him.
“I’ve figured that out in the time since, mo stóirín.”
Officer Dougherty chuckles down at his papers. “A love story as old as time.”
We walk to the elevator in silence, and our steps reverberate down the hall.
I think we did it.
I think we did it.
I am mortified that I admitted to essentially stalking him, but it doesn’t seem to have fazed him at all.
And who cares? Because we did it.
The elevator doors open and we step inside; thank God it’s empty. I fall back against the back wall, stunned.
“Holy shit.” He pushes a hand into his hair. “Holy shit. That was amazing.”
I open my mouth. My body hasn’t caught up with my brain yet; I still feel like I’m on high alert. “Oh my God.”
“I almost lost it for a second when you blanked on how we met,” he says, “but then you came up with that brilliant story about watching me for months.”
Oh, shit. “I . . .”
“The idea of you coming to the station every day just to hear me play,” he says, shaking his head. “It’s insane. He ate it up like cake.”
“Total cake,” I mumble.
Would he like me less if he knew that it was the truth? That I watched him for six months? That I wanted him, in painful silence, for too many subway rides to remember?
He moves a step closer, crowding me against the elevator wall. “Do you know what happens now?”
With him so close, I want to tell him every embarrassing time I wondered what color his eyes were, what he’d sound like when he opened his mouth, what he looked like when he smiled. With him this close, my brain becomes a film reel of every second Calvin was naked in my bed. The smell of him and the sight of his face at this distance triggers the memory of how his skin felt sliding over mine, of him above me, moving.
“What?” I say, eyes glazed over.
His teeth press down on his bottom lip before his mouth curves into a beaming smile. “Now, we celebrate.”
The plan is to go out for a celebratory lunch, but Calvin wants to stop at the apartment first. This morning I was too nervous to contemplate eating; now I’m too excited. We are both behaving like goofballs—racing from the subway station to the corner, play-wrestling outside the building, running up the stairs with enormous grins. I am aware, in this sharp sweep of clarity, how much fun I have with him.
In the time since we got married, I’ve discovered that I don’t only appreciate his awesome face and hot body, but I genuinely adore being around him. We have fun because he is fun, and there’s a little ache that chases that realization because I wonder where this can actually go.
Yes, he seems to enjoy being around me, but it’s not like he has a choice—and Calvin seems like the kind of guy who can make the best out of any circumstance.
I fumble with my keys outside the door, and he leans into me, breathless from the race upstairs, resting his chin near my temple.
“Are you starving?” he asks.
I shake my head, shoving the key into the lock. “I’m still too excited to be hungry.”
The feel of him against me—his chest against my arm, his breath on my neck—would completely annihilate my appetite anyway.
“You were so good,” he says, and kisses my hair. There’s a little growl at the end of the word good that feels like fingers running up and down my spine, and I hear the echo of his words from two nights ago:
I can feel the heat of you. Is it the drink, or is it me?
I don’t want to misread this situation because it could be devastating to think he’s into me when he’s really just being sweet and grateful, still high on adrenaline. But my pulse is rioting; the low ache in my belly is intensifying with every second. “You needed to grab something?”
He follows me in and closes the door behind us, saying, “I don’t need to get anything.”
Did I misunderstand him? “But I thought—” I move to put down my keys, but he reaches for my arm, turning me, gently guiding until I’m pressed with my back against the door.