Fuck me—I took her virginity, knowing what it meant to her, and in return I promised her happiness, a home, a life, a future. How the hell could I swear promises to her when in the end, I’ve never understood what she craves out of life.
I made love to Noah Hutchins, and the entire world has continued on as normal. It seems like I should be granted the time to soak this in, to sort out the emotions and excitement and fears, but like always the world doesn’t spin in my favor.
The green trees of the forest merge into a collage as Noah flies past them in his hunt back to Vail. He works tonight and, in theory, I should be working, as well. That is, if I decide to paint the constellation Aires.
Noah’s quieter than normal. Not that he’s all conversational the majority of the time, but I catch him staring at me when he thinks I’m not paying attention. Like now, as I sit in the passenger side of my Honda Civic and scroll aimlessly through my phone, he keeps peeking at me. Real intense, as if he’s scared I’m going to go Alien and freak.
The night terror I had last night wasn’t my worst, but I’m devastated it happened. My mind has converted into an insecure seesaw, and I’m over being on the ride. But as much as I try to concentrate on a solid path, the questions continue to multiply.
For instance, now that he’s conquered me, like Beth’s continually suggesting, will Noah move on? And if that’s not the case, am I the same person to him as before we made love, and does he like what he now sees?
Because to be truthful, deep underneath my skin, in the light of morning, Noah appears different to me. Not in a bad way, but just…changed.
Experience has told me that change normally is the absence of good, and this causes the sensation of ants crawling around in my stomach. My foot drums against the floor, and Noah raises an eyebrow. “You okay?”
“Yes.” Absolutely not. My entire world is in flux again, and it’s like grasping on to a slippery rock next to a waterfall. I can’t get a good grip, but at the same time I wouldn’t mind the fall into the deep pool below. It’s all so beautiful yet terrifying.
“Yeah.” But this frantic panic gains traction…am I different to him and if so, what does that mean for us?
It’s funny how, until waking next to him this morning, I never noticed the small scar above his eyebrow, and how there’s this spicy sweetness to his dark scent. Over the past couple of months, I’ve memorized Noah’s smell, but now it seems to be everywhere, all the time, and I clutch it like it’s a blanket. It reminds me of him pulling me close and declaring his love.
I bite my tongue, wishing I could utter the words, I love you more now, and it scares me. Please, please, please never leave. That’s all Noah must dream about. Making love to a girl who goes pathetic in the morning.
“There’s something going on, Echo. So tell me what.”
I give an exaggerated sigh and dig out the least wretched of my worries. “Will people know?”
I glance him over and get a little thrill with how the muscles in his arms ripple as he readjusts his hold on the wheel.
“That we…you know…” Say it. “Made love?”
He rubs his mouth to hide the smirk forming there, but I smack his arm because I saw it.
“You’re not making me feel better,” I say as a tease, but I’m as serious as a death sentence.
Noah chuckles. “You’re way too uptight, baby. If you act like this, then yeah, Isaiah and Beth will spot it a mile away.”
My head hits the back of the seat. Freaking fantastic. I’m so utterly screwed.
“But it doesn’t matter how you act.”
His eyes devour me. “Because they’ll know it the moment they see me.”
A silly grin spreads across my face as I might like where this is heading. “Why’s that?”
“From the moment we finished last night, I wanted to do it again. My fingers hurt because I want to touch you so bad. I can’t stop the itch to explore your skin and to kiss you and…” His fingers actually flex on the wheel. “No one’s going to miss that I’m continually three seconds from yanking you behind a closed door and stripping you naked.”
That one declaration causes those mutant pterodactyls to raise their heads and grow restless, stretching their wings in preparation for flight. While the fantasy he wove is fantastically cool and amazing, it makes me hot and flustered to think he wants me bad enough to actually do something like that…in public…
“Will we do it all the time now?” And as soon as the question leaves my mouth, I’m swamped in the land of lame. “I mean, I know that wasn’t a one-time deal, but is that what we’ll do forever? Like now that we’ve accomplished actually doing it, is that what we’ll do night after night or will we do other things?”
And I’m rambling. Horribly so. Oh, God, kill me. Now. Send a bolt of lightning from the sky and strike me dead.
“Because it was special.” Because I have this horrid deficiency where I feel the need to explain why I’m a freak of nature. “And while it was special and awesome, I’m not sure how awesome it will be every single night. Because…well…” It hurt.
Noah laughs, but his laughter dies when he notices I’m not laughing with him.
“Hey,” he says. But I can’t look at him because of this sickening weight in my stomach. Noah laughed at me. I opened up, just a little, and he laughed.
“Echo.” Noah switches the hand he’s driving with then reaches over and grabs on to the fingers resting in my lap, but I jerk them away. “Look at me.”
But I can’t. “I wasn’t joking. This is still new and it still scares me and…forget it.”
“I’m the dick. I keep telling you to talk then I cut you off. I thought you were kidding.”
Anger courses through me like a rocket launch. “Do I look like I’m kidding?”
“No.” He alternates his focus between me and the road. “You look fucking pissed.”
I don’t know why, but I giggle. So much so, that I smack a hand over my mouth to stop it from coming, but the giggles continue. “Do I look that bad?”
Noah opens his mouth, closes it then smashes his lips together in a fine line as if examining his thoughts. “Not anymore. What’s going on in your head?”
I trace the outline of my phone as the whiplash emotions settle. “I don’t want us to change. What we did was huge, and I want us to be okay.”