“You shouldn’t have been,” she says shakily.
“I shouldn’t be worried about my woman when she sneaks out of my bed and is gone until three in the morning?”
“Well…I—” She tries to look away, so I force her face back towards mine with my hand on her jaw.
“That was f**ked up,” I tell her, pronouncing the last two words clearly and slowly.
“I’m sorry. I just don’t think this is working out,” she tries again.
“You said that already, and it’s bullshit. You’re just afraid and using it as an excuse to push me away. I told you before. You run, I chase.”
“You’re insane,” she says, trying to wiggle free.
“Probably, but that doesn’t change the fact you’re mine. I’m done with the bullshit, Sophie,” I growl in her ear, my grip on her tightening.
“It’s not bullshit.”
“Baby, you’re not listening to me.”
“I am! You just said the way I feel is bullshit,” she argues.
“No, you pushing me and anyone else who tries to get close to you away is bullshit.”
“You can’t say that.”
“Fuck if I can’t. You have been doing it from the start, pushing me away while holding on tight. I told you yesterday. I’m done with it.”
“I’m not ready!” she yells in my face, catching me off guard.
“When, huh?” I ask, pressing her deeper into the wall. “What do you need? Ten more years? In ten years, will you be ready to try to live again? Or will you find some other excuse?” I roar my questions.
“Stop it,” she says softly, tears filling her eyes.
“No, Sophie, I’m not going to stop. I need you with me, but in order for that to happen, I need you to want us as much as I do. I need you to stop letting your fears run you.”
“I’m afraid!” she cries.
“You think I don’t know that? I won’t let anything happen to you,” I tell her gently, pulling her body against mine.
“What if I lose you too?” She whispers the words, and my heart cracks open. I knew that this was one of the things holding her back, and I am f**king happy that she is finally realizing it.
“You won’t.” I hold her tight as her body sags against mine, and I say a silent prayer that she is finally getting it. “No more running, Sophie,” I say, running my hand down her back. “From now on, we figure this out together.”
“I’m sorry I ran and that you were worried,” she apologizes quietly.
“It’s fine.” I hold her a little tighter, breathing in her smell. “You need to pack some shit so we can go home,” I tell her after a few minutes.
“We’re going to my house, where you will be staying more often than not from now on,” I state.
“You can’t just decide that,” she says, shaking her head.
“I didn’t just decide that. I decided it a long time ago.” I step away from her, turning her towards her room. “Now, go pack so we can go home. I’m f**king exhausted after searching for your ass all over the city today.”
“You’re very annoying,” she says, walking to her bedroom.
I follow behind her, watching as she dumps the stuff in her overnight bag onto the bed. “You stole my shirt.”
“What?” she asks, looking over her shoulder.
“You stole my shirt,” I repeat, picking up my shirt off the bed and showing it to her.
“I must have forgotten about it.” She looks away quickly, making me smile.
“Admit it, baby. You were taking a piece of me with you.”
“You are so full of yourself,” she says with fake exasperation.
“Whatever you say.” I laugh when her cheeks turn pink. I watch her put some stuff in the bag and notice how little she’s bringing. “That’s not enough,” I tell her when she starts to zip it up.
“No, pack more.”
I walk to her closet, grabbing another bag down from a high shelf. As I’m pulling it down, something hits me on top of my head before bouncing off and hitting the floor with a rubbery thud. Sophie squeaks before running towards me, grabbing whatever it is that hit me and putting it behind her back.
“What is that?”
“Nothing,” she answers, walking backwards.
“Really?” I place the bag on the bed before slowly following her.
“Nico, stop right there,” she says, her face becoming bright red.
“What’s behind your back, baby?”
“It’s nothing,” she says, her eyes growing bigger the closer I get to her. She starts to turn, and that’s when a big purple dildo fumbles out of her hands, bouncing once before rolling under the bed. “It’s not mine, I swear!” she says, looking distraught, holding up both her hands in front of her.
“It’s not your dildo?” I ask, trying not to laugh.
“No, it’s my friend’s.”
“You have your friend’s dildo?” I c**k my head to the side.
“Yes,” she says, her shoulders slumping.
“So you’re telling me you keep a dildo…for your friend…in your closet?” I start to laugh.
“Oh God, that sounds really stupid.” She covers her face. “I mean, my friend got it for me.”
I bend down, picking it up from underneath the bed. The thing is not only bright purple with sparkles, but it has to be at least a foot long and three inches across.
“I’m going to kill Maggie,” she whispers with her eyes closed.
“Babe, I seriously hope you never tried to use this,” I say, turning it over in my hand.
“Oh. My. God. Kill me now,” she groans, her eyes still closed.
“Baby.” I laugh so hard that tears start to fall from my eyes.
“No, I’m pretending that if I can’t see you, then this isn’t really happening,” she says, making me laugh harder than I have in my entire life.
“Look at me,” I finally wheeze out.
“Nuh-uh…” she mumbles, eyes still closed.
I drop the dildo to the bed before I put my hands in her hair and stop laughing. “Open your eyes, Sophie.”
“Baby, please open your eyes.” I push her hair away from her face. “Hey,” I say when she finally opens them. “You know, with me, you never have to be embarrassed, right?”