Twice in a Blue Moon

Page 75

He pulls my hips to him, bending to suck my neck. “How long do you have to be at the party?”

“Maybe another hour?”

Sam steps back reluctantly. The temperature has dropped and the air is a shock after the heat of the greenhouse. Sam closes the door behind us and we turn, stopping short when we see who’s standing there.


He’s not even coming to a stop; he’s completely still, as if waiting for us just on the other side of the hazy glass wall.

“Hey, honey,” he says calmly, looking between us.

I’m tempted to take a step away from Sam, but I don’t want to look guilty. My heart climbs up in my throat as I try to gauge where Dad could have been coming from and what he heard and why he would just be standing there.

If it ever gets out that you sold the story to the Guardian, I said, it will be all anyone talks about. Even years from now, every mention of our names will include a footnote about London and what you did. We’ll never be able to move past it.

Finally, Dad cuts the tension, blinking back up to my face. “Did you find Nick?”

Shrugging, I manage an even, “Someone said they saw him come around this way with Deb, but I didn’t see them.”

“I think they’re back at the party.” With a smooth tilt of his head, Dad turns his attention to Sam. “Sam, in case I don’t see you before we leave, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you for writing such a beautiful script.”

What a weird thing to say. Admittedly, I don’t know the nuances of his moods—and he’s a great actor—but I can’t read Dad’s tone at all. Even in the moonlight, Sam looks pale, sobered by the possibility that Dad knows he’s the one who sold us both out.

Even so, he manages to reach out and shake Dad’s offered hand. “It was a dream to have you play the part. Thanks for being so welcoming on set.”

Dad nods, and his smile goes from friendly to faint when he looks to me again. “Tate, I was looking for you because I spoke to Althea. Looks like Christmas is wide open.”

My eyes widen, pulse slowing to a steady beat. I realize a part of me never expected a real answer, assuming he’d conveniently forget or leave Althea to come up with some excuse. I certainly never expected one so quickly. “Wow. That’s great.”

“We can talk later, but think where you’d like to go, okay? The house in Telluride would be great, or we could go somewhere else. We could even do your place and you could spend time with your mom, too. I haven’t seen her in ages.”

I can only blink. Non-passive-aggressive compliments, and now this?

“I’ll see if she has plans. But we can do it wherever,” I add quickly. “I’m not really picky. It’d be enough to just see each other.”

The smile he gives me isn’t the one I’ve seen on the covers of magazines or at award shows. This one feels different, adoring, and just for me. He leans down and kisses my forehead.

“It’ll be fun,” he whispers, and then straightens. “Well, I’m headed to bed. Sam, again, it was nice to meet you. I hope we see more of each other.”

Sam tilts his head, smiling, and with a wave, Dad heads off.

The quiet seems to stretch around us as we watch Dad’s retreating form. Finally, I let out a long, quiet, “Fuuuuuuck.”

“Do you think he heard that?” Sam asks.

“I definitely got that impression.” Pressing the heels of my hands to my eyes, I tell him, “I’m going to have to figure out what he heard, but I can’t do it here on set.”

I feel Sam turn to look down at me. “You’re spending Christmas together?”

“Looks that way.”

“I don’t know how to read what just happened.” He gives the words a few seconds to dissolve in the space between us before admitting, “I don’t think I understand your relationship.”

I nod, blinking up to his face. “I don’t think I do, either.”


MY LAST FULL DAY at the farm begins with a blast of an alarm before the sun is even up.

The room is dark and cold; the fire inside the wood-burning stove has burned down to flickering embers. I pull the quilt up to my nose, and Sam mumbles sleepily at my side, looping a heavy arm across my waist and pulling me closer. I turn toward him, pressing my nose to the curve of his neck and melting into the heat of his skin.

It would be so easy to stay here. To take him in my hand and my mouth and my body, to make love again until I can’t remember why I ever thought I shouldn’t stay. But I can’t. Everyone on the farm will be up soon, and nobody can see me leaving, not yet anyway.

When I finally manage to drag myself from his bed, I feel a little like Baby kissing Johnny Castle goodbye on the porch of his tiny cabin. The sky is still inky purple, and he uses a single finger to tip my face up to his. He kisses my cheek, my temple. I rest my head on his shoulder and tighten my arms around his torso.

“I have to talk to my Dad today. I’m not sure he heard us talking, but I can’t shake this feeling that he did.”

He exhales against the crown of my head, pressing his hands to the small of my back. “Are you going to tell him? About the current us?”

“I don’t know. We’ve never had that sort of relationship, but him agreeing to Christmas? Complimenting me? It’s like we’re in the Upside Down. Plus, he saw us holding hands.”

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