She turned toward me shrieking.
“You cheat, you didn’t count to t—”
I shot her in the face before she could finish the sentence, then started toward her through the water. Walking across the smooth, round rocks was awkward, but I have long legs, so it didn’t take long.
“I counted fast,” I told her smugly. “And you owe me two kisses.”
She glared at me, but when I caught the back of her neck and pulled her in to claim my prize, she didn’t protest. After long seconds we broke apart, gasping for air. Her wet shirt clung tightly to her tits.
Then she leaned forward to kiss me this time. I closed my eyes, savoring the delicate touch of her lips and—
Bitch shot me in the cock with her gun, point blank.
London started laughing and took off up the river, shouting back at me.
“You count for real this time, asshole! Otherwise I’m taking your gun away from you.”
By the time we reached the little pool, both of us were soaking wet, so no real point in keeping our clothes on. It was only about three feet deep and maybe ten feet across, so we couldn’t really swim, either—fine with me. Instead we sort of splashed each other, then wrestled, and then the next thing I knew I was sitting under a waterfall while London rode my cock.
Best. Game. Ever.
Later that night I lay on my back, looking up at the stars, London tucked into my arm, one hand across my chest.
“I wish we could just stay out here forever,” she murmured softly. “Where nobody can find us and we don’t have to do anything. God, the girls are driving me crazy.”
“Mellie will be gone soon,” I reminded her. Above us a star shot by, then then another. “Heather and I used to come up here every year at this time for the Perseids shower. You see that? They’ll be falling all night.”
“Yup, I saw it,” she whispered. “Do you think about her a lot?”
I considered the question, trying to find the right words.
“Sometimes. But I think about you a lot more. After she died I swore I’d never take another old lady. Just couldn’t wrap my head around it, not until now. But it’s right with us, isn’t it? You feel it, too.”
She didn’t answer for a second.
“I feel it, too,” she agreed.
“You ready to make it official?” I asked. She shook her head, rubbing her hair against me. Smelled good.
“Not yet. I know this sounds silly, but let’s keep this ours for a bit longer. Just a little secret we don’t have to share with anyone else. Everyone counts on us all the time and that’s not going to go away … but for now, let’s not give them this.”
I hesitated. I wanted things out in the open, wanted everyone to know London was my woman for real. Fuckin’ proud of her. But I understood, too.
“End of the summer, then? Only about two weeks left, sweetheart.”
“That sounds perfect.”
“How much longer you gonna stay in that tiny little cabin when I got a whole house just waitin’ for you?”
She gave a snort of frustration.
“The day Mellie moves out, I’m packin’ my shit. I’m losing my mind there.”
“What about Jessica?”
“She actually has plans, believe it not. I’m sort of torn about them. I want her with me … but I also know she won’t be happy out at your place. She isn’t ready to get back into life like that just yet. But I’m really proud of her for realizing she has to move forward, make her own decisions.”
“Really? What’s she gonna do with herself?”
“She’s moving in with Maggs Dwyer.”
“Bolt’s old lady?”
“No, Bolt’s ex,” she said firmly. “She’s pretty emphatic about that detail. She runs a program at the community center for special-needs children. Jess has been volunteering there for a couple of years, and she’s decided to enroll in the early-childhood education program down at the college. Maggs is giving her a part-time job and a room to rent. It’s perfect in a lot of ways.”
“Bolt won’t like that,” I mused. “He’s tryin’ to get back with her. Havin’ Jess around won’t make things easier.”
“Not Bolt’s decision.”
“So two weeks and you’re all mine.”
She nodded, giving a yawn. “Assuming you still want me.”
“Fuck yeah, I want you.”
She made a happy little snuffling noise and we fell silent again. Another meteor streaked overhead. London’s breathing slowed as she drifted off.
Hey, babe, Heather whispered. Remember coming here together? Two little girls snuggled up between us, watching the stars shooting all night? You told them they were people riding up to heaven on rockets.
Yeah, I remember.
I remembered everything, although sometimes I wished I could erase those memories because they hurt so bad. Tonight, though? Tonight they were beautiful.
She’s good for you—this is what I wanted. Someday when Em and Kit have kids, you bring them up here for me, will you? Tell them Grandma Heather’s watching over them … Then tell them Grandma London’s gonna give ’em extra loves, because they’re such special kids they deserve double.
I swallowed. London stirred next to me, and I took in her scent. Clean and fresh, her hair still just a little damp from the river.
I’ll always miss you, I told Heather. But it’s time to let you go.
She didn’t answer.
Another star shot by in the darkness, and London raised her head.
“You okay, Reese?”
“I love you.”
“You’ve never said that to me before.”
“Wasn’t ready. I’m ready now.”
“I love you, too.”
She settled back into my body, and I felt right in a way I’d almost forgotten existed. Darkness surrounded us, broken only by the meteor shower. I waited for Heather to say something. Nothing.
Now it was just London and me.
THIRTEEN MONTHS LATER
“Can’t decide—should I get drunk first and then get laid, or the other way around?”
“Shut the fuck up,” Puck muttered, staring at the ceiling. He lay back on the top bunk, trying to ignore the annoying mouth breather he and Painter shared a cell with. At least they had a cell. Given how crowded the prison was, half the guys didn’t have any space of their own at all.