Twice in a Blue Moon

Page 24

He shook his head, and then kissed my breast, gently biting. “This is a big deal,” he said once he released me. “Having sex. I know why I did it—I’m crazy about you—but why did you?”

“Can’t my reason be the same?”

He laughed against my skin. “It can.”

We didn’t see each other after he kissed me before leaving my room at three thirty. I remade the bed and turned on the shower with a numb hand, climbing in and staring at the tiles for twenty minutes, alternating between thrill and panic.

Will he think less of me now?

Has he slept with a hundred other girls?

We used a condom but how would I know if it broke?

Will Nana be able to tell what we did? Will she see it on my face?

In the end, Nana seemed pretty oblivious. She happily caught me up on all of Libby’s gossip during dinner at Da Mario, and then we saw Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre. At eleven, we fell like rocks into bed. I would have texted Sam to tell him that I couldn’t come to the garden, that Nana insisted I get to bed early . . . but he didn’t have a cell phone.

I barely slept that night. Every time I rolled over, my aching body remembered, and then I opened my eyes, stared up at the dark ceiling, and wondered whether Sam was awake down the hall, whether he was happy or regretting this, or feeling something else—some other emotion that usually follows sex and which I didn’t even have a name for.

At breakfast, my stomach felt like it was full of squawking birds, but when I came back from the buffet with just a piece of toast, Nana sent me away for protein, fruit, something substantial, Tate, we have a big day today.

I immediately felt Sam step up behind me when I was deciding which of the cold cut selections I could stomach, and my skin broke out in a warm shiver.

“Hey you,” he said quietly, reaching forward to run two fingers down my arm.

I chanced a look at him over my shoulder, and my pulse became a stampede. He was sleep rumpled, hair mussed, and eyes still tired. “Hey.”

“Are you okay?”

I frowned, turning back to the trays of meat. Was my mental clutter visible all over my face? “Yeah, I’m great. Why?”

“You didn’t come to the garden.”

Oh. I nodded, stepping down the line. Sam grabbed a plate and followed me. “We got back late from the play,” I explained, “and Nana wouldn’t let me head out.” I smiled up at him, face heated. We had sex. Is he remembering it too? “You’d know this if you had a phone.”

Sam laughed. “What do I need a phone for?”

“So you’re not sitting out in the garden waiting for me.”

He scooped two fried eggs onto his plate. “It was worth it.”

“Why?” I asked, laughing. “Did someone else show up?”

He bumped my shoulder gently. “Seriously, you’re okay?”

“I’m good.”

“Not . . . hurt?”

Oh. If I thought my face felt hot before, when his meaning hit me, I grew feverish. “A little, but . . .” I looked over at him. His mossy eyes were studying me so intently, his lips parted. Truth magnet. I mirrored his words: “It was worth it.”

His gaze dropped to my mouth. “That’s a pretty good answer.”

“I think I’d worried you’d be weird today.”

Putting down the bacon tongs, he looked at me, confused. “Weird how?”


“This is what I meant,” he interrupted with quiet urgency, looking over my shoulder to make sure we weren’t being watched, “how it happened fast, and I didn’t want you to regret it afterward.”

“I don’t.”

“I’m not being weird,” he insisted, holding a very solemn hand to his chest.

I bit back a laugh at the earnest gesture. “Well I’m not being weird either.”

With a flirty grin, Sam reached up, tugging on a long strand of my hair. “Good.”

I reached up, too, pressing my thumb to his comma scar. “Good.”


NANA AND LUTHER ATE like sloths. At every meal, each bite was carefully cut, poked, chewed, swallowed. Pauses were taken for sips of water or wine, and there was far too much conversation. In contrast, Sam and I shoveled our food in our faces, and then sat, waiting—staring while Luther and Nana nattered on, oblivious to our brain-melting boredom. Meals—particularly lunch—were becoming a drag, and neither Sam nor I had any patience for sitting for two hours in the middle of the day.

Plus, afterward, Nana always ordered coffee, but then had to sit and wait for it to cool to room temperature before she could drink it. At lunch, just twenty-four hours after we had sex—it was all I could think about—I looked at Sam, who, as soon as Nana lifted her hand to get the waiter’s attention to order coffee, was already looking at me with Get me the hell out of here written all over his face.

Finally, I broke: “Nana, can we go outside and walk around?”

She gave her order, and then looked over at me, concerned. “ ‘Walk around’?”

“I mean,” I amended, “just sit outside and people-watch?” I winced apologetically. “It’s hot in here, and I am super bored.”

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