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“But I think that’s what scares me the most,” I tell him. “I’m terrified it will look the same in ten years—for me. But for Calvin? He will have moved on, or moved up, or moved away.”

“You don’t know that. You have no way of knowing. All you can do is forge your path.” Jeff stands up, taking his empty teacup to the kitchen. “Come on. Let’s order some food.”

I fall asleep like a rock in the guest room, sleeping so soundly that when Robert shakes me gently, I startle-snort awake, arms flailing wildly, and nearly knock the cordless phone out of his hand.

“Call for you,” he says. He puts the phone in my palm, adding in a growl, “Your guy played like shit last night.”

Standing, he leaves the room and closes the door behind him with a quiet click.

I stare at the phone, blinking into clarity. I don’t have to say anything to know it’s Calvin. And he played like shit last night?

Lifting the phone to my ear, I give a hoarse, “Hey.”

His voice sounds all sleepy and deep. “Hey.” I can feel the resonance of it as if he’d rolled over and spoken into my neck. “I hope it’s okay that I’m calling this number.”

Goose bumps break out along my arms. “Of course. My phone is at the apartment.”

His laugh is a hollow sound. “Yeah, I know.”

I stare up at the ceiling, waiting for the words to pop into my head. My anger feels like a next-day campfire—cooled off to only a dusty smolder.

“I was hoping you’d show up last night,” he says quietly. “At the theater.”

“I was upset.”

He inhales slowly, and lets the breath out in a groan. “Then I was hoping you might sneak in later, after I fell asleep.”

“I slept at Robert and Jeff’s.”

“I assumed that’s where you were when I came into the bedroom this morning to climb into bed an’ apologize,” he says, growly and soft, “but y’were still gone.”

He wants to apologize? I squeeze my eyes closed at the desire I feel to have his warm body next to me in bed.

“D’you think you might come home today?” He takes another deep inhale, and when he speaks, I can tell he’s stretching. “This isn’t right, mo stóirín. I don’t like this.”

“I don’t like it, either,” I say quietly, wondering whether Jeff and Robert can hear me out in the living room. “But you made me feel shitty, like I’d done something wrong. I don’t think I did.”

“I know. Shite”—he exhales through his nose—“I didn’t handle this right. Last night I was miserable over it. I played horribly.”

“Yeah, I can imagine how stressful it would be to think you might have to leave the country if things don’t work out with us.” I wince as soon as I’ve said it.

It’s a long few seconds before he speaks again, and his accent seems so strong across the line. “It isn’t like that. Do you really think I’d play you that way?”

I squeeze my eyes closed at the gentle lilt to his words.

T’isnt like dat. D’ye really tink I’d play ye dat way?

“I don’t know.”

“Would you prefer I come there? What do you want?”

In truth, I want to go home, climb in between the sheets with him, and feel that heavy warmth all around me as he pulls me close. I want the vibration of his voice on my neck, my shoulder, my breasts, and the way that every bit of light is blocked out for a moment when he climbs on top of me. But I also want this spark of strength I feel right now. I woke up in some ways yesterday, and it still doesn’t feel totally defined, but I don’t want it to evaporate before I can name it.

“I want to tell you I’m sorry,” he says, voice a low burr. “Come home and kick me in the teeth if you need to, but then kiss me.”

The living room is empty when I walk inside, dropping my keys on the counter and hanging my coat over the back of the chair. The bathroom door is open—he’s not in there, either. The apartment feels oddly still; there’s no rattle of the radiator or clinking of dishes being washed. It feels like I’ve been gone a week, instead of twenty-four hours.

I find Calvin in my bed, leaning against the headboard and staring at the doorway.

His expression relaxes immediately when he sees me. “Hey.”

Kicking off my shoes, I give him a little smile and sit on the edge of the bed, but he pulls back a corner of the covers, patting the mattress. “Come here. We can talk in here.”

It’s a hard offer to refuse. I tug down my running pants and pull off my sweatshirt before burrowing under the sheets. I’m immediately hit with the solid heat of his chest and crawl into his arms; he’s completely naked, and somehow feels warmer than the sun. Calvin slides a hand up my back, unfastening my bra and pulling it away to toss it somewhere over his shoulder. He lets out a quiet groan, and a tiny thrill winds through me that he needed to feel skin on skin as immediately as I did.

“I’m sorry.” He sucks his lower lip into his mouth and stares into my eyes. “It wasn’t fair, what I said. I think I was just embarrassed that I didn’t realize you’d been honest at the immigration office. Or, maybe frustrated that all that time I’d wanted you, and you were pretending not to want me. It seemed so easy. I think I felt confused.”

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