“We’re going to grab a quick drink in the bar.” Dad nods toward the hotel bar as Bethanne stands behind him, rocking back and forth on her heels.
I have a feeling Bodhi and I are not invited. Part of me wants to pull a Juni and hand my dad a box of condoms with my blessing to hook up with his old friend tonight. But … I don’t go quite that far.
“We’re taking off early in the morning, so if I don’t see you again, it was nice meeting you.” I smile at Bethanne.
“Why are we taking off so early?” Dad squints at me.
Bodhi squeezes my hand.
“Oh … did I forget to mention that I’m riding back to Colorado with Bodhi?”
“You did.” Dad’s eyes narrow a fraction more.
This is ridiculous. He knows where I was last night and what or who I was doing. I’m twenty-one. His infatuation with playing protective dad needs to come with a large side of reality.
“We’ll drive the speed limit, sir.” Bodhi assures him.
I manage to hold out for a full two seconds before bursting into laughter. Bethanne joins me.
“Come on, Mitch. I’m sure they’ll be just fine.” She pulls at his arm as he maintains a scowl.
Bodhi keeps his composure. Smart guy. I release his hand and lift onto my toes to give my dad a kiss on his cheek.
“I’ll see you after a bit.”
“Don’t wait up for me since you’re leaving so early. We’ll say goodbye in the morning. Early.” He frowns again.
Bethanne’s cheeks turn rosy.
“Yeah …” I nod slowly. “I won’t.”
My dad’s face turns pink as well. Oh my gosh … this is too much.
“Night.” I twist my lips to keep from letting the gotcha grin slip.
The elevator door dings. Bodhi tugs on the back belt loop to my shorts as I watch my dad and Bethanne walk toward the bar. She slips her arm around his waist.
Yeah, he’s getting laid tonight.
I turn toward my guy when the door closes. “I guess this is goodnight.” My shoulder lifts into a half shrug.
Bodhi inspects me with a restrained smirk. “Guess so.”
We lean against opposite walls of the elevator with the sexual tension so thick it’s hard to breathe. I’m on the fifth floor. He’s on the third, so it stops on his floor first. The door opens.
“Nighty night.” I grin.
His eyebrows lift into a slight challenge. “Night.” He steps out of the elevator.
I let it go up to my floor then I push the button to the third floor again. Why? Why doesn’t he insist we have a goodnight kiss or something like … sex!? He plays me better than I play him. I suck at cool. I just want him. Period.
When the door opens, he’s standing right there, waiting for me. “Jerk.” I grin.
Bodhi pulls me out of the elevator and tosses me over his shoulder. “Tease.” He smacks my ass and carries me to room 312.
This moment. This is life.
We make it back to Colorado by Wednesday. And because life is meant to be lived and not chased, raced, or saved for another day … Bodhi lets me drive Alice without a driver’s license. He may have agreed to it while buried inside of me in the back of Alice—sandwiched between my luggage—but he kept his promise. That’s all that matters.
“You don’t have to carry them upstairs. I don’t remember how I left my room two years ago.”
Bodhi ignores me, carrying my two large suitcases up the stairs while I follow him with a smaller suitcase and my backpack.
He stops at the doorway to my room. “Fuck me …” he whispers.
“That bad?” I cringe.
“Henna …” He sets down my suitcases in slow motion.
Jeez, how bad can it be? I look around him as he blocks most of my view.
“Oh …” My teeth dig into my lower lip.
“You…” he takes a step into my bedroom “…sketched me. And painted me. A lot.” With wide eyes, Bodhi inspects the easels with paintings, the sketches pinned to my walls, and a few on my bed. Most are him or us. Some are my memories of our first Coachella. There are two of his dad, a handful of Alice, and one of Angelina—my favorite horse.
“You think I’m obsessed. I’m not. Well … I am, but not like you think. I just had a lot of time on my hands after I dropped out of school. If it helps my case, I was a little high when I did most of these.”
“I think …” He picks one up. It’s us reclined back in Alice, staring at the ceiling and holding hands.
“What? You think what? If you want to run, then run. But I’m not crazy, or a stalker, or—”
Bodhi turns. “Jesus, Henna.” He shakes his head. “You’re talented as fuck. You were always sketching in my office, but you kept your book tipped away from me. I just had no idea. And then you told Rayne about your job offer to sell exclusively to certain stores, but even then I just didn’t grasp exactly …” He trails off, taking another slow glance around my room.
I hug his back, and he interlaces our fingers over his abs. “You’re my favorite muse.”
“I’m flattered. God, that’s not the right word. I’m something beyond flattered. There’s probably not even a word for what I feel right now.”
“I told you I sketched and painted you. In the hotel when we were eating cold fries.”
He turns in my arms, coughing out a laugh. “Yeah. I vaguely remember something, but it didn’t really register with me because, as I recall, you were sitting on me naked.”
“Oh! Speaking of that. If you really don’t think I’m a freak, then I’ll show you my private collection.”
“Private collection? You mean these are not yours? Have you sold them or something?”
“No.” I retrieve several sketches from the top of my closet. “When I say private, I mean private.”
Henna shows me a sketch book with a dozen or so sketches of me and us … naked. But not just naked, in sexual positions. I don’t know how I feel about seeing myself sketched this way. She’s fucking gorgeous and I’d easily get off after staring at these for a while, but I’m just a little unsure how I feel about my dick sketched in full detail. You can see a large vein.
“These are …” I flip through them. She has one of me going down on her at my house on the stairs. It’s from her perspective, so I don’t see her head, just her breasts and my face between her legs, eyes heavy with lust. “I don’t know what to say. I feel like Rose, only I didn’t ask you to sketch me.”
“Titanic?” She chuckles.
I nod, unable to peel my gaze from these sketches. I’m in shock and awe. And horny. I want her on the steps again, tasting her for the first time. “Have you shown these to anyone?” With hard effort and some pain, I make myself look away.
“They’re part of my portfolio on my website, and I have a Tumblr page with them on there.”
“Jesus, Henna!” I jerk my head back. Students. Faculty. Principal Rafferty could find these.
She snorts. “You’re so gullible.”
Narrowing my eyes, I toss the sketchbook on the bed and step toward her.
“I don’t like that look.” She steps back.
“What look is that?” I say with the most eerie voice I can make.
I step forward. She steps back. Then I lunge at her, but I miss. Henna runs out of the bedroom, squealing all the way down the stairs. I chase her through the main room, into the kitchen, and back up the steps, hooking her waist before she can shut the door on me.
“No!” She giggles as I tickle her.
I love her giggles, her smile, the shimmer of life in her blue eyes. I love that she kisses me to stop me from tickling her. I love that the kiss turns into clothes being discarded onto her bedroom floor. I love it when she says my name as I sink into her beautiful body.
And I love that when I’m inside her I feel worthy of something so much better than the life I’ve given myself.
“I love us, baby …” I kiss her neck, interlacing our hands above her head.
She draws her knees back more as I thrust deep into her, her breath catching for a few seconds before releasing with a small moan.
This woman … I love her in a way I still can’t comprehend.
“I have to go.” I try to untangle our naked bodies, but I swear she’s an octopus with more than four limbs.
“Let’s spend the summer in this bed. Juni and Zach will be gone for months. I’ll get you access to the gate, and we can basically chill and watch Netflix all summer.”
“Chill and watch Netflix?”
“Sex. That’s code for sex, Mr. Malone.”
Biting her nose until she loosens her hold on me, I wriggle out of the bed. “Speaking of Mr. Malone, I have school tomorrow.”
“Boo.” She sticks out her bottom lip as I step into my shorts and tug on my shirt.
“And I have a horse ranch to help run and a sick father … and I’m guessing a healthy dose of shit from my sister because I said I’d be home hours ago.”