The night of the tornado Amy puts Emma to bed, pours herself a glass of Cloud 9 pinot noir, then collapses onto the couch they inherited from her parents back in 2006 and turns on the tv. She can hear Adam playing Warcraft down in the basement, the muffled murmur as he trash talks into his headset. Next door, the neighbors are dragging their garbage cans down the driveway for collection. It feels like this keeps happening to her lately, where things she thinks are turning points end up going nowhere, the same old crappy cycle of her life starting over again. Like that shitty Bill Murray movie from the nineties, only way more depressing.
She watches two Friends reruns without following a single word. She pours herself another glass of wine. Finally she picks up her phone, opens her texts, and scrolls down to Jonah’s name. She stares at it for a minute, then clicks off the screen and drops the phone on the arm of the sofa.
Picks it up again.
How were drinks? she types, then hits send before she can talk herself out of it.
Jonah texts back ten seconds later. Life affirming. I’m a changed man, amy.
Amy starts to roll her eyes, but then the double meaning hits and she blushes. God, what is she doing? Jonah of all people should not be able to make her blush.
Because of the tornado, he adds after a full minute. obviously.
Obviously, Amy tells him.
She watches a commercial for Swiffer, then another one for fabric softener before her phone vibrates again. So what are you up to? Jonah wants to know.
Amy takes a deep breath, raking her fingers through her tangled hair. She thinks of chatting with Adam on AOL instant messenger back in high school, listening hard for the sound of her parents’ bedroom door creaking open. When she mutes the tv, she can still hear a steady stream of Warcraft noises.
Oh, you know, she types. New lease on life and all. Booking my hang gliding tickets. Yelping sherpas for my trip to Nepal. She rubs idly at her collarbone, glancing at the basement door. Her heart is beating weirdly fast. You?
Nepal is really nice actually. great people.
Oh, for the love of God. Amy flops back on the couch and starts scrolling through the Guide, sighing noisily.
Jonah isn’t finished: Anyway you’re behind, dubanowski, i’m already in a yurt.
Pretty good reception for a yurt, Amy types idly. There’s a Sandra Bullock marathon on, but Practical Magic doesn’t start until 11PM.
Come over and see for yourself.
O-kay. Amy sits up slowly. Come over and see your yurt? she starts to type, only that sounds too much like… something, so she erases it. She wonders if Jonah’s watching, if he saw her little typing bubble stop and start.
He did. Not actually, he adds a moment later. Then, after another second: Only if you want. Finally: I have beer.
Oh Jesus. Ok, Amy types, and throws the phone face-down on the couch before she can see his reply.
She walks to the top of the basement stairs. If Adam asks where she’s going, she decides, she won’t go.
He doesn’t ask. He doesn’t even get up off the couch. The Warcraft noises stop for a long moment, then start up again, though Amy can tell he’s turned his mic off. “Okay,” he calls up. He sounds resigned. “But be careful.”
Amy swallows hard. “I will,” she promises, and gently shuts the basement door.
When she picks up her phone, she has four missed texts from Jonah.
Are you joking?
Okay but the beer is PBR.
Are you really coming over right now?
Amy looks at the screen for a minute, car keys digging into the soft meat of her palm. Then she shoves her phone in her pocket and walks out of the house.
Jonah lives in an apartment complex on the other side of town, this group of bleak two-story buildings full of grad students and divorced dads. Amy picked him up for work a couple mornings this winter when his car was in the shop, though even if she hadn't she'd know his address from this morning, when Glen held his employee file up to her face and pronounced him a 132 on a scale of one to ten. His doormat is one of those sisal ones that’s suddenly all the rage with white people.
“Oh my—hi,” he says when he answers her knock, sounding frankly shocked to see her. He's wearing the same clothes from this afternoon, plaid sleeves rolled to his elbows, and he's barefoot. The expression on his face makes him look twelve years old. “Okay. You weren't kidding.”
“No,” Amy says, immediately horrified. She wishes she’d died with the diarrhea meds after all. “I mean, is that—”
“No no, that's great,” Jonah says, holding his hands out and waving them back and forth like he's worried she's going to turn around and leave again. “That's amazing. I mean. Um.” He shakes his head. “Come in.”
Amy does. The apartment is smaller than she thought it would be, and cleaner, although she guesses that checks out for a person who has three different hair care products in his locker at work. The foyer opens right into the living room, which is home to a futon and flimsy IKEA bookshelves, plus a bar cart she recognizes from Cloud 9’s ‘affordable luxury’ line of home goods. She wonders if she should just grab his bottle of Wild Turkey and start chugging.
Jonah is still watching her like he’s expecting her to disappear at any second. “So, uh. Welcome to my apartment,” he says, sweeping an arm around dorkily. Amy gives him a look. “Right. Okay. You want that beer?”
There's an honest-to-God record player in the corner, she notices, propped up on its own stand like an altar to hipster-dom. “Yep,” she says tightly. Maybe if she gets drunk this will suddenly feel like a better idea.
Jonah leads her through to the tiny kitchen and sticks his head inside his single-guy refrigerator, coming up with two cans of PBR. Their fingers brush when he hands one over. “It might be warm,” he tells her. “My power was out for a bit.”
“Thanks.” It’s barely chilled, but she gulps it anyway. She finds herself looking literally everywhere but Jonah, her gaze darting over the cheap-looking cabinets and the peeling linoleum and the loaf of seedy whole wheat bread on the counter, before finally settling on the French press next to the sink. “Of course you do,” she mutters, smirking in spite of herself.
Jonah’s eyebrows quirk, his beer can halfway to his mouth. “What?”
Amy shakes her head. “Nothing.” She can't wait to tell Garrett. Except she can't tell Garrett, she can literally never tell Garrett, because then she'd have to explain just what exactly she was doing in Jonah’s apartment at ten o’clock at night.
God, what is she doing in Jonah’s apartment at ten o’clock at night?
“So-o,” he says, crossing his arms and leaning back against the counter. He’s using his super cas voice. “Amy. Ames. What’s up?”
Amy bursts out laughing.
“Oh, come on, like you could do better,” Jonah says, waving his can around. She thinks he might be blushing. “You’ve said like three words since you got here.”
“I came over, you lunatic!” Amy tells him, gesturing between them.
“Sure, but for all I know you came over to talk about store reassignments.” He pauses, looking at her for a second. “Did you?”
Amy feels herself blanch. “Am I over here to talk about—are you kidding me, Jonah?”
“Hey, I take consent very seriously,” he says, in the same tone he uses for small liberal arts college or great selection of microbrews. Amy opens her mouth to argue, but then she realizes what he said. You don’t need consent to drink beer with your coworker.
“Oh,” she says faintly. Suddenly she's picturing it, actual sex, with actual Jonah, right here in his ugly kitchen next to a French press she can't afford. Her face feels hot. When she glances at Jonah, he’s still watching her intently. “I—God, are you really gonna make me spell this out for you?”
“I guess not,” Jonah says, setting his beer down on the counter. Amy has exactly one second to be shocked and vaguely impressed before he steps up close and cups her face. Her heart is beating just as hard as the last time, which is dumb because there's no tornado in here.
“Seriously though,” he adds, pausing with his lips inches from hers. “If you could—”
“Oh my God, just do it already,” Amy says, and he kisses her before she’s even finished talking, wet and messy. His mouth is open and so is hers and then suddenly there's tongue and it’s Jonah, it's Jonah, everything about this is so weird. Amy cups the back of his neck, breathing hard through her nose.
“Shit,” he says, panting. “Amy. Shit.”
There's an inch, maybe two, left between their bodies. Amy closes it without thinking, wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing her breasts against his chest hard enough to ache. Jonah makes a quiet, shocked sound into her mouth. He's a good kisser, she thinks vaguely, tilting her head back so he can nip at her lower lip, pulling on it with his straight white teeth. She doesn't know why she’s surprised by that.
His palms skate from her ribs down to her hipbones and around, fingertips sliding into her back jeans pockets. She’s about to make a joke about him trying to steal her wallet, only then he goes and squeezes and for half a second she can’t actually remember how to talk. Jonah keeps going, backing her up against the counter, his work schedule slipping off the fridge and fluttering down to the linoleum. When he slides a knee between her thighs, Amy gasps.
“Is that—” Jonah gulps, pulling away to look at her with wide dark eyes. “I mean, do you—”
“Yes,” Amy says immediately. God, she's so surprised. She didn't know she wanted him like this. She didn't know she could want anybody like this, not really, but especially not Jonah with his smug face and narrow body and tendency to begin sentences with the phrase I was reading this article in the New Yorker. It feels like she’s going to burst into flames. He’s eased some of his weight off her, so she slides a finger through his belt loop and pulls him right back where he was.
His eyes go so wide. “Amy.”
Amy may have had exactly one sexual partner in her life, but she knows what that expression means. She shifts her hips up to investigate, and oh, yep, he’s hard. He’s—wow—definitely hard. It’s almost surreal, honestly. Like oh yeah, that's my coworker Jonah, and there's his dick.
“You’re fine,” she says, because he's starting to get that panicked Jonah-look. “Don't stop.”
“Okay,” he says seriously, and kisses her again. His hands feel bigger than she’s ever noticed them being, one of them curled damply around her ribcage and the other one cupping the side of her neck, thumb pressing lightly against her pulse point. “Okay, I’m not stopping.”
It goes on for a long time like that, her lips stinging and the countertop digging into her back and Jonah shy and restless in the way that he's touching her, his fingertips barely grazing the underwire of her bra. Just feel me up already, she wants to tell him, but she definitely can’t make herself say that to Jonah of all people so instead she huffs a noisy breath and reaches for the buttons on his shirt, pushing it off his shoulders and yanking at the the white cotton tee he’s got on underneath. His chest is flat and pale, with small pink nipples and a dark line of hair that starts at his navel and disappears into the waistband of his jeans. That’s surprising too, she thinks, reaching out and running her thumbnail along it before she can stop herself. She’d have thought he’d be completely smooth, like a baby seal.
Jonah gasps at the contact. “Amy,” he says, muscles in his stomach jumping. “Amy. Come lay down with me, okay? I want—” he breaks off, looking at her a little helplessly. “Come lay down.”
Amy opens her mouth to make fun of him, but nothing comes out. “Okay.”
His bedroom is tiny and dark, stuffed full of a bed and a dresser and one of those big hulking Ikea units that's supposed to replace your closet. She swallows, stopping just inside the doorway. “Are you sure?” Jonah asks quietly. He looks weirdly vulnerable without his shirt.
She nods. “Yeah.” She takes his sweaty hand and pulls him over to the bed, toeing off her shoes along the way. It feels like she's underwater. She tries to remember the last time she shaved her legs, or even just which bra she put on this morning. When Jonah reaches down for the lamp, she grabs his wrist.
“I wanna see you,” he says. Amy shakes her head.
“Come on.” She shimmies out of her jeans and slips under the covers, holding out a hand for him. Jonah looks at her for a second, then reaches for his belt.
“I think you're beautiful,” he murmurs as he climbs on top of her, in the same tone he used to tell her they were going to be fine. Amy wraps all her limbs around him and closes her eyes. She didn't expect to be shy—she's never shy with Adam—but Naomi and Kristen were both a size two. At least she knows he hasn’t dated one long parade of white girls, she guesses.
“Take these off,” she says, snapping at the waist of his boxers. She can't stop touching him, running her palms over his warm, skinny rib cage and scritching her fingers through his thick dark hair. She wants to bite his collarbones hard enough to leave bruises. She wants to rake her nails down his back. She hasn't felt this way about Adam in years.
Jonah shakes his head. “Wait a second,” he says, boosting himself up on one elbow and trying to get her shirt unbuttoned, all long, clumsy fingers. This time Amy does laugh, batting him out of the way and doing it herself, his hair flopping in his face as he peers down to watch her. Her bra is plain and and blue and not too ratty, she notes with relief.
“Okay,” he says when she’s finished, working one hand underneath her and fumbling around for her bra clasp. He’s close enough that Amy can smell his deodorant, the all-natural peppermint kind. “This part I can do.”
“Can you, though?” she asks skeptically, arching her back to give him room. “Like, are you sure, or do you need more—”
“Fuck off,” Jonah says, twisting the clasp open with a satisfied hmph. Then, as he peels the thing off her: “Holy shit, Amy.”
Amy rolls her eyes. “Shut up,” she says, squirming a little, even though it’s not like he can see very much in the thin slice of hallway light or the yellowish glow of the safety lamps affixed to the outside of his building. Her skin feels a full size too small.
“You shut up,” Jonah says. He reaches out to run just the tip of his thumb over her nipple, so lightly he’s barely even touching her. Amy swallows a truly embarrassing sound.
“God, do something,” she hisses. “What is this, your first time?” Jonah laughs and cups her for real, his hand warm and huge and only a little damp. When he bends his head Amy can't stop herself from arching her back, shoving herself up into his touch. Jesus, she did not think she wanted it like this.
Jonah pauses. “Yeah?” he asks, raising his eyebrows. Amy covers her face with both hands. God, it's Jonah, there's no way she's looking him in the eye when he's about to— His lips close over her nipple and she gasps, craning her neck to see.
“Fuck,” Jonah gasps against her. He shifts further down the bed, his stomach pressing firmly between her legs. It takes everything Amy has not to grind against him helplessly. She sinks her fingers into his hair instead, watching with interest as he bites at the underside of her breast, then her ribcage, then her stomach. She doesn't even realize where he's headed until he slides off the mattress entirely to kneel beside the bed.
“Okay?” he asks, looking up at her eagerly. Amy nods. The blankets have slipped off her completely and she has to resist the urge to yank them back up, plucking at the fitted sheet with sweaty fingertips.
Jonah hooks a hand around the back of her knee, pressing her leg up and ducking his head to nip at the thin skin on the inside of her thigh. This time, Amy can't hold back a whimper. Still, when he smooths his palm over the soft curve of her stomach she grabs his wrist, redirecting him to the waistband of her underwear. “Bossy,” Jonah murmurs into the crease of her thigh, but when she glances down he's grinning.
Amy shrugs into the pillows. “I mean, I’m your actual boss, so.”
Jonah’s dark eyes widen for a fraction of a second, an expression that hooks itself deep inside her body and pulls. Then he tilts his head to the side like fair enough and tugs her underwear down her legs.
He swears again at the sight of her, this shocked, quiet tone he keeps using. Amy can't decide if it's embarrassing or not. He rubs along the seam of her, investigating. She's wet, although not actually as wet as she’d have guessed considering how wound up she is. When he pushes a finger inside she hisses, and not in a good way.
“Shit, sorry,” he murmurs, pulling it out again.
“It's okay.” She reaches down and pets through his hair. Literally no one has done this to her besides Adam. She feels weirdly embarrassed, like he’s doing her a favor.
Jonah hums. This time when he bends down he actually puts his mouth on her, spreading her open with his thumbs and licking a soft stripe from bottom to top. Amy whines, throwing an arm across her eyes.
Jonah lifts his head again. “God, Amy,” he starts. “You—”
She can tell from his tone that he's about to add something ridiculous about how good she tastes, so she reaches blindly for his hair and shoves his face back down. Jonah swears again then starts laughing, his breath warm and damp against her skin. Amy blushes.
“Well, talk less,” she tells him. Jonah glances up at her, amused.
“You know, this is exactly how I pictured this going,” he says, and her heart flip-flops alarmingly. She’s saved from answering when he starts in for real, sucking gently at her clit. His mouth feels so different from Adam’s, soft lips and the faint scrape of five o’clock shadow. Every thirty seconds he looks up and asks if it’s okay.
“Mm-hmm,” Amy promises, aware that her voice sounds shriller than normal. She presses her toes against the bed. “You’re good.” And it is good, he’s good, Jonah with his serious eyebrows and earnest expression. Jonah, who’s apparently pictured doing this to her in the past. Amy’s never thought about him like that, never let herself imagine—whatever complicated thing was going on between them has always lurked at the very edges of her peripheral vision, like if she never looked directly at it then that meant it wasn't actually happening.
Well, it's happening now, Amy thinks, staring up at the ceiling. She’s like sixty percent sure he’s writing the alphabet with his tongue.
She tries to help him along, cycling through all the mental tricks she uses to get there with Adam when she's especially tired or distracted. For a second she actually considers closing her eyes and pretending Jonah is Adam, just so she can relax for thirty seconds. Jesus, isn't the point of an affair that you don't have to fantasize? Why the hell is she even doing this?
“Hey.” Jonah crawls up the bed to hover over her, his face drawn and concerned. “Not working?”
Oh God. “You're fine,” Amy says, wondering if she should just shove him back down there again. Somehow it’s worse when she’s actually looking at his wet mouth.
Jonah laughs. “Yeah, because ‘fine’ is what I aim for in every sexual encounter.” Amy groans and covers her face with a pillow. He drags it away again, still laughing, and props himself up on an elbow beside her. “Come on, give me some tips here.”
She starts to tell him to figure it out himself, but then he slides his hand back between her legs and she gasps instead. Her cheeks are on fire.
“Yeah?” Jonah asks, his eyes suddenly wide and interested. He slides a gentle finger inside her and Amy tosses her head, hardly able to stand it. God, it's Jonah. His face is way too close to hers.
“Like that?” he asks. His palm bumps against her clit and she gasps again before she can stop herself, her back arching. Jonah’s eyes get as big as a cartoon character’s. “Fuck,” he says, leaning down even closer. “Amy, please tell me how to make this good.” He crooks his finger gently and she gasps, covering her mouth. Jonah swears again. “Amy, please, come on. I like you so fucking much.”
Oh Jesus. She squeezes her eyes shut. “How much?” she hears herself ask.
He laughs again, easy. Amy doesn’t know how it is that he’s chosen this particular moment to suddenly be laid back about everything. She’s never felt less chill in her life. “Jerk,” he says, not without fondness. Then, leaning down so she can feel his mouth against her ear, “You know how much.” He finds her clit again, stroking gently with two fingers. “Come on, Amy. You definitely know how much.”
She whimpers, her thighs falling open. She does know how much, of course—there’s a part of her that’s always known how much, deep at the very back of her brain’s secret stockroom—but suddenly that knowledge feels as physical as his hand between her legs, good and aching and not nearly enough. She sits up abruptly, tucking her hair behind her ears. “Lie back,” she says.
Jonah’s red mouth falls open. “You don’t have to—” he starts magnanimously, and Amy rolls her eyes.
“I’m not, dummy,” she tells him, shaking her head. “Condoms are where?”
“Oh.” He nods, his dark head thumping back against the pillows. “Right. Um, nightstand.”
Amy reaches over him to get to it, shoving aside a battered copy of Consider the Lobster and yanking the drawer open. She ignores the nearly-empty box and tucks the packet inside her warm palm, then sits back on her haunches and snaps the elastic on his dorky plaid boxers. “These are very snazzy, by the way.”
“Shut up,” Jonah says, flinching under her touch. Now that she’s got him on his back, it’s pretty obvious he’s having no trouble getting into the right headspace. Amy tries not to find that flattering, and fails.
“I would be nice to me right now, if I were you,” she says, snapping at his waistband again. “Lose these.”
Jonah obeys, yanking his boxers off ungracefully. In the split second before she schools her expression, Amy feels her eyes go comically wide.
“Happy?” Jonah asks, settling back against the pillows. He’s blushing.
Amy clears her throat. “Thrilled,” she says, only it comes out a bit too high-pitched to be deadpan. She holds out the condom. “Put this on.”
He doesn't take it. “Wait," he says, brow furrowed. "I can't tell if that's a good face or a bad face you're making." He sounds so dumb and panicked that Amy laughs.
“What do you think,” she says, leaning down until they're nose to nose and wrapping a hand around him. This close, his eyelashes are very long.
“I don't know, that's why I asked,” Jonah complains, but he relaxes into her touch anyway. “Fuck, Amy.”
“Fuck, Jonah,” she mimics, and it isn't entirely a joke. He’s way, way bigger than she expected. It’s so surprising, his skinny body and how much shorter he is than Adam, but there it is. “Put the condom on now,” she tells him, and for the first time she lets herself sound something besides bored.
“Okay,” he says immediately, ripping it open with his teeth and rolling it on with steady fingers. Watching him touch himself so casually makes her shiver. “Come here,” he tells her.
Amy comes, slinging one leg over his hips and reaching down between them to line him up, curling her free hand around his bony shoulder for balance. She's wetter now—God, okay, she is a lot wetter now—but it takes her a minute to get used to him anyway, the stretch unfamiliar and strangely sweet. Jonah watches silently, rubbing at her hips with both thumbs.
“Okay,” she says finally, lifting her face to look at him. For the first time since she arrived, Amy feels herself relax. “So, like.” She rocks a tiny bit, experimental. “Is this how you pictured this part too?”
“Oh my God.” Jonah groans, closing his eyes like she just said something truly filthy. “Pretty much,” he admits.
Amy grins. “Huh.” She rocks again before leaning down and planting her hands on either side of his shoulders, getting situated. “Well, let me know if I live up to your expectations.” Jonah swallows visibly, his grip on her tightening as she starts up a slow rhythm. Amy finds herself rolling her hips way more than she normally would, showing off even though it's almost pitch dark. When she looks down, his eyes are so wide she can see the whites all the way around. “You're allowed to move, you know,” she tells him, grinning.
Jonah swears and reaches for her ass, squeezing roughly. “Jesus, you’re sexy,” he says. “You get that, right? Because you are literally the sexiest woman—”
“God, use another word,” Amy groans, but her face is pleasantly warm. She pulls his hand between her legs. “Here, do this.”
Jonah nods furiously. “Fuck,” he mutters, opening her up with one clever thumb and drawing rough circles on her clit. “Fuck.”
“I mean, sure,” Amy deadpans, struggling to keep her head from dropping back in pleasure, “that word works fine. Really, anything’s better than—” She loses the end of her sentence in a gasp as he bumps against something bright and electric inside her, her whole body lighting up like the neon sign on the front of the store.
Jonah’s jaw drops open, delighted. God, he has no poker face at all. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he says, grinning up at her with satisfaction. “What was that you were saying?”
Amy rolls her eyes. “Yeah, you’re hilarious,” she tells him a little breathlessly, shifting her hips to try and get it to happen again. It feels so different than it does with Adam—Jonah doesn't know her body the same way, a dozen years of lazy practice—but the thrill is so sharp and immediate that it doesn’t matter. He thrusts once, the first time he’s really moved underneath her, and Amy can’t hold back a whine. “Oh my God, Jonah, please.”
Just like that, neither one of them is kidding around anymore. “Come here,” Jonah says, fisting his free hand in her hair and dragging her mouth down to his. He thrusts again, and she whimpers into his open mouth. “Yeah? Like that?”
Amy's too far gone to even pretend to play it cool. “Just like that,” she says, clutching at his shoulders. He does it again and she groans, head dropping back. “Oh my God, just like that, please.”
“You don't have to beg,” he says, and now he's fucking her for real, hard quick thrusts. “Amy, seriously, you don't even have to ask, I—”
Amy kisses him, sinking her teeth into his lower lip and tugging. “I know,” she says. He hits that spot again and she gasps, clenching on him. “Oh God, right there.” He manages to do it again, a clever twist of his hips, and this time Amy moans her Emma’s-at-a-sleepover moan, completely unable to help herself.
“Oh fuck,” Jonah says, driving up into her harder. “Are you close? Fuck Amy, please tell me you're close.”
“I’m close.” She’s never given Adam an actual play-by-play like this before, but something about Jonah’s focused eager face makes her want to tell him everything. Screw living up to his expectations, Amy thinks with embarrassing clarity. Suddenly she kind of wants to blow his mind. “Shit, Jonah,” she says, dragging his free hand to her breast and squeezing, her sweaty fingers on top of his. “So close, like—”
He cuts her off with a kiss, wet and sloppy. Amy tastes beer and his tongue and herself. “Jonah,” she says again and then just like that the orgasm breaks, bursting open inside her and spilling down through her limbs like an exploded can of soda. Holy God, holy hell, she cannot remember the last time she felt like this.
She’s not even done before Jonah is coming too, letting out a noisy groan as his spine snaps straight and his grip on her body tightens, his face faintly heartbreaking in its openness. Amy has never seen a person look less ironic in her life. She closes her eyes and fights off a surge of terrifying fondness, dropping her forehead onto his shoulder and tugging gently at his damp, messy hair.
For a moment they just lie there together, breathing. “Holy shit,” Jonah says finally. Amy laughs.
“Yeah.” Start to finish, they lasted a grand total of about three minutes. It would be disappointing if she were any less satisfied. “Here, help me with this,” she says, reaching down for the condom.
They get rid of it together, Amy lifting up carefully while Jonah holds onto the base. It feels strange to be coordinating this part with somebody besides Adam. “Sorry,” Jonah adds as he reaches for the box of Kleenex beside the bed. “I’m not normally so—”
“Yeah, you have nothing to apologize for,” Amy says without thinking. Jonah grins that shit-eating grin again, and she rolls her eyes. “Oh, whatever. You knew.”
He squeezes her thigh. “I knew,” he agrees, sliding out of bed to and walking over to the garbage. Amy shivers.
“Did you eat?” he asks as he lies back down. “I could make grilled cheese or something.”
She shakes her head. “I should probably go.” Emma doesn’t wake up with bad dreams very much anymore, but the night after a tornado feels like as good a candidate as any.
“Right. Yeah.” She can tell he’s trying to play it off, but his face gives him away completely. She feels herself smile.
“Next time,” she promises, reaching down and scooping her shirt up off the carpet. Then she blanches. “I mean,” she blurts, straightening up again, “not that there's necessarily going to be a next time, I just—” She waves the shirt at him vaguely. “You know what I mean.”
Jonah is still lying in bed watching her with interest, one arm tucked behind his head. “Not really,” he says with a smirk.
Amy makes a face at him as she rolls up her shirtsleeves, then combs her fingers through her hair. Still, it's not like she isn't imagining it now: leaning against the counter in his tiny kitchen while he grilled up some artisanal freaking muenster, that one dumb curl falling in his face. Putting her hands on his waist, turning him around, and—
“Okay,” she says, too loudly. “So. I’ll see you—” she breaks off. She has no idea when she'll see him next, actually. The store could be closed for months.
Jonah clears his throat. “You’ll see me when you see me,” he offers, in this voice like he's letting her off the hook. He scrubs a hand through his hair nervously. “Though, uh, for the record, I want there to be a next time.”
Amy smirks. “Yeah, thanks, I caught that.” She puts her hands on her hips for a moment, considering him. He’s still completely, unselfconsciously naked, sprawled out across the bed like an ad for manscaping. It's working for her kind of an annoying amount. “Okay.” She tosses his boxers at him. “Come walk me out.”
He pulls them on slowly, like he’s stalling. “Can I text you?” he asks. “Or is that not—”
“No, yeah, of course,” Amy says haltingly. After all, it's not like they've never texted before, although until tonight all their conversations were at least tangentially work-related. Emma likes to play Candy Crush on her phone. “I mean. Maybe not, like—” She breaks off, feeling herself flush.
Jonah raises his eyebrows, openly amused. “A picture of my penis?” he suggests easily. Amy bursts out laughing.
“Right,” she agrees, feeling something unclench in her chest as she follows him down the narrow hallway. She would have thought this would feel a lot more awkward. “Maybe not a picture of your penis.”
“Damn,” Jonah says, turning to face her in the tiny foyer. His fingers brush hers down at their sides, tentative. “That's like, my best move.”
“Well, shit.” Amy makes a face. “Guess you'll have to get creative, then.”
“Guess so.” For a second they just stare at each other. Jonah’s mouth has that smudged look from too much kissing.
“Okay, well,” Amy says, swallowing. His hair is messy too. I did that, she lets herself think, and feels a rush of possessiveness so strong it nearly takes her out at the knees. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” Jonah says quietly.
Amy’s eyes drop to his mouth. “God, come here,” she says exasperatedly, and pulls his face down to hers. She means it to be quick, but then Jonah slides his hands into her hair and it ends up going on a while, until Amy’s lips are burning and she has a crick in her neck from the angle. Their kisses are starting to get compatible now, wet and freeform. Jonah is touching her with a quiet confidence that’s making her stomach clench.
“Okay,” she says finally, pulling away. “I gotta go.”
Jonah nods without bothering to hide his smile. “So go,” he tells her, tilting his head at the door.
Amy scoffs. “I am,” she insists, trying and mostly failing not to smile back at him. Ugh, she likes his stupid face a lot.
Jonah nods again, all innocence. “Okay.”
“Okay!” Amy laughs. Then, because she is too old and too married to stand here in his dumb apartment playing you hang up first for one more second, she widens her eyes at him pointedly and walks out his door.
Outside the parking lot is quiet, not so much as a a gentle breeze rustling the scraggly trees that ring the complex. The sky is a deep, inky black. You'd never know a tornado just ripped through this place, Amy thinks, fishing through her purse for her keyring. She unlocks the car, heads for home.