My heart jumped a thousand feet in the dark. I went all the way down to get a glass of orange juice when I should have been trying to sleep, and when I walked into the kitchen there was a man standing in the light of the patio door, looking out.
Poem, said Duncan and my heart slowed briefly. Come see this rain.
I dutifully abandoned my juice plan and went to the big glass doors to see. He was right. It was a wall of steady water, as if we suddenly were in a secret lair underneath a waterfall, like spies. It wasn't the usual rain, instead a windless deluge. Had we been outside we would have been soaked to the skin in seconds.
Wow, I tell him. Cozy though.
He nods. Depends.
Whether or not you're alone.
You can come upstairs, you know.
Or you can come down with me. You know I like to be alone. He laughs so gently I don't know if he's teasing me or embarrassed.
If you want to be alone I can't come with you. I lob his joke back equally gently, underhand.
He catches it. I don't want to be alone, Bridge.
I follow him through the house in the dim grey light, the nighttime sounds of the house dwarfed by the rain pounding down. It gets quieter as we go downstairs and then loud again once we're behind closed doors because his windows are open slightly. He turns around to face me, pulls his shirt off and then pulls mine off too. His hands come up around my head as he kisses me hard, walking me backwards until the backs of my legs touch the bed. He pushes me straight down and then pulls off my pajama pants and steps out of his own. His room is warm and cozy but I'm a map of goosebumps.
He wastes no time at all getting down to his knees and I twist my fingers in his hair, trying to hold him in one place and pull him up to me at the same time. My back arches off the bed and he reaches up to cover my mouth as I cry out but then his weight is on me. He turns over onto his back, leaning back against the pillows, pulling me in tight against his chest, almost sitting up but far more leisurely and hot as fuck. It feels incredible, unfamiliar and really really good but it hurts too and I have to ask him twice to let up a little. I know they can't help it. He finally ignores me and goes over the edge, drowning in the sound of rain. His hands remain tightened around my hips. His arms stay locked. But his face is a wash of relief.
So sweet, he says.
I nod. You are.
Stay and sleep? (One thing almost every man has in common, they want to nap afterward forever. It's maddening.)
I shake my head. I need to go get my juice.
I thought you weren't going to come to me ever again.
I thought about that.
What changed your mind?
You didn't ask. You waited for an offer.
Lochlan's going to be pissed.
He'll be fine.
He's pissed at August.
I go there too much.
Way too much.
How much is way too much?
More than Lochlan likes.
I get it. You keep your cards close enough to keep us guessing so what's one more mystery? Okay, get out then. He smiles but my whole face falls. Those words are starting to make me feel so sad.
What'd I say?
Nothing. Get some sleep. I'm going back up.
Need me to walk you back?
I think I'm safe in my own house.
You think you are. You probably aren't though.
I didn't ask what he meant, because by the time I thought through his reply his eyes were closed. I closed the doors quietly as I left, making my way back upstairs to the kitchen, where I opened the fridge and drank directly from the orange juice carton. When I closed the fridge door Caleb was standing behind it.
Have a midnight stroll, Neamhchiontach?
Just thirsty. Lochlan's waiting for me. I turn to go back upstairs.
Does he know about all of the different places you go when you're thirsty?
Go home. It's late.
Contrary to that view, it's early! Early bird gets the worm, or I guess in this case she gets her Poet.
Jealousy is a horrible colour on you.
Then stop making us work so hard for your affection while those of no consequence step in and get it for free.
Maybe this is none of your business.
What if it is?
Then I guess you'll have to deal with it because I'm going to bed. Also I'd like my key back. You don't need to be lurking around the house this time of night.
Then tell your friends to lock the door.
Great. I'll do that.
Think the monsters live outside of this house, Bridget? Think again. He opens the door, blows me a kiss and steps out into the downpour. I lock the door behind him.
Second warning, same night. Guess who's not sleeping now?