Suki and I were lying on the floor in front of the electric fireplace on a pile of blankets and pillows when JJ let himself in. His hair was more rumpled than usual, his eyes bloodshot, and his clothes wrinkled.
“You look like shit,” I said.
“Good, because I feel like shit.”
He disappeared into the bedroom and I heard the closet door open, then close, heard him go into the bathroom and the water turned on in the sink. A few minutes later, he returned, wrapped in his bathrobe, his hair newly brushed. The curls shone in the lamplight and I ached to run my hands through them.
“Better?” He opened his arms wide, inviting me to look.
I reached a hand up, and after a moment, he let me draw him down on the floor beside me. “I’m gonna say this now and get it out of the way, okay?”
His mouth tightened. “Okay.”
“I went over to AJ’s today. We talked.” His eyes hardened and he tried to pull away, but I wouldn’t let go of his hand. “Babe, listen to me. There’s an attraction between me and AJ. It’s always been there, but we’ve never acted on it and we’re not planning to do it now.”
“And how does he feel about that? The “not acting on” part?”
“He respects our relationship. He said clearly he has no plans to come between us.” I squeezed my fingers around his. “Trust him. Trust me. I love you. You’re here because I want you here, and because…I hope…you want to be here, too.”
“But you love him, too.” On JJ, a pout looked good. Made me want to kiss it away.
“Yup, I do. I always will. He’s my friend and has been for a long time.” I sat up to get closer to him. “Sweetie…I love you. I choose you.”
He looked at me then, and his eyes softened. The next moment, we were kissing. He’d brushed his teeth and I tasted mint, and under that, liquor.
“I’m tired, Fen. It was a long day.” He leaned against me, suddenly boneless.
I wrapped my arms around him, supporting him. “Bed then.”
I locked up, turned out the lights, and we went into the bedroom. JJ was naked under the robe; he tossed it into the chair and slid into bed, yawning.
I shucked my clothes quickly and joined him. We moved together without thought, seeking accustomed positions. Suki curled up at the foot of the bed.
“You can keep writing your blog,” he said, his voice barely above a whisper. “I overreacted. I was pissed about AJ and…you know. I’ve read it. There’s nothing objectionable there.”
I melted against him. “Thanks. That means a lot to me.”
He yawned again, and I pulled the covers up over us, tucking them around his shoulder. “You mean so much to me, JJ. Don’t ever forget that.”
He moved his lips against my cheek as he inched closer. “Don’t leave me, Fen.”
I knew he meant my move to Minnesota, and as I couldn’t reassure him, I stayed silent. He knew it, too, knew that his request was unreasonable. His sigh blew across my ear, tickling me.
In a few minutes, he was asleep.