“I haven’t been good for anyone else,” he says.
“That makes two of us.”
“Tate, come on, talk to me about this. Is there even a chance here? If there isn’t, I need to know. This isn’t just fucking for me.”
“It isn’t for me, either,” I tell him.
He cups my face, turning me to him and kissing me, and it gives me an excuse to close my eyes. I am both relieved almost to the point of debilitation, and mildly nauseous—I was going to get up and leave in a perfect display of love-him-and-leave him, and here I am, melting under his touch. I push the thought away, unwilling to trip down the road of self-flagellation. I wanted this, wanted him, and here I am.
I can deal with the fallout.
“We’re in the backseat of a truck,” he laughs into a kiss, “but I don’t want to leave. Not for anything.”
And with this, Sam’s just reminded me that he’s still inside me, still half-hard. The single kiss melts into another, and I’m lost again, dizzy from the taste of him. His hands slide down over my shoulders, around my back to the zipper of my dress, and it’s like we’re doing everything backward—undressing after the sex—and soon he’s exposed my back and then is sliding the fabric down my arms and pressing his mouth to my collarbone.
The words spill out of me: “I am okay. There’s your answer. I’m better than okay.” I push my fingers into his hair. “I missed you.”
At this, his hands go from gentle to hungry, to desperate. I hold his head to me as he pulls my breast into his mouth, gripping the other in his palm, and we go from still to moving again.
IT’S UNREAL TO ME that, only a day later, we’re already having the wrap party. It’s been a surreal time warp from the moment Marco and I drove down the gravelly path to meet Devon, to now, and I’ve been so preoccupied with what happened between Sam and me last night that I’m disoriented when I see a few crew members walking past my cabin, dressed up instead of in sweaters and jeans.
The party is so loud I can hear it before the Community House comes into view. It’s the golden hour, that elusive period of perfection where the sun is still above the horizon, but just barely. Scenes shot in this light always take my breath away, but the moment is so fleeting, the sky shifting from blue to sherbet colored too quickly for anything requiring multiple takes.
In fact, it seems to get darker with each step; the shadows growing longer all but disappear by the time the Community House comes into view.
Inside, the main room is packed, drinks passed around and plates piled high. Someone’s been brought in to cater the wrap party and even the craft services folks get to enjoy themselves.
My eyes scan the crowd. I’d like to play coy and pretend I’m not looking for him, but even I know it’d be a lie. I haven’t seen Sam since we climbed out of this truck and he left me at my cabin at the crack of dawn, early enough to avoid an awkward encounter when Devon came knocking for my call time. Sam should be easy to spot—standing at least a head above everyone else—but I don’t see him anywhere.
“I can only assume you’re looking for me.” It’s Charlie, dressed in leggings and a long sweater, makeup as camera ready as always. She loops an arm around my shoulders and I lean into her.
“I mean, obviously,” I lie, and we probably both know it.
A server passes with a tray loaded with sparkling pink cocktails, and Charlie snags two, passing one to me and looking out over the crowd as she takes a small sip. “I can’t believe we go home soon.”
I take the glass and try not to let on how my eyes keep finding their way back to the door, hoping to catch Sam walking in. “I know. It feels like we just got here.”
“This gorgeous place. That lake. The endless possibilities for skinny-dipping and rolling around in the literal hay, and neither of us got any.” She raises an eyebrow at me.
I down my drink a little too fast. “Yeah. About that.”
She slowly turns.
“I sort of,” I say, hesitating while I try to come up with the best way to say this. There isn’t one. “I had sex with Sam. Last night.”
Charlie’s brows disappear beneath the sharp edge of her bangs. “I know I heard that wrong because there is no way you, of all people”—she leans in to whisper-hiss—“would sleep with a married man.”
“Apparently he’s not. I mean, he was but they’ve been divorced for about three years. The girls I heard him mention are hers, but with her new husband. Twins.”
Knocking back the rest of her drink, she eyes me shrewdly before reaching for my hand and pulling me toward the door. “Follow me, young lady.”
Outside, we head down one of the trails that lead away from the Community House. The sun is gone entirely now, and the light is soft and diffused, like the world is suddenly wrapped in a blue filter. Charlie pulls her sweater tight around her body against the chill.
“So,” she says. “You and Sam. Hot dates.” She narrows her eyes at me. “Lovers.”
Charlie holds up a hand. “Tate Jones, do not lie to me right now, or so help me I will throttle you. You told me you slept with him. With Satan.”
I take a deep breath, knowing that straightforward is best with Charlie. “He was weird yesterday during the love scene, so I confronted him and asked what his deal was.”