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Too Long to Wait

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Sansa agonized over when to call the smudged number she’d copied off her hand into her phone, as soon as she got back to The Bean and swatted away Mya’s barrage of questions about the mysterious boy. She wanted to call immediately—that night would have made her happy. But her failed relationships post-Jon taught her about the art of game playing. Mastery requires at least the appearance of some degree of indifference. It is the kiss of death to come off over eager and she didn’t want to risk scaring him away. To be safe, she waited a week. Then a week turned into two. Then three.

No big deal. It was a long game she was playing.

Jon was busy, she told herself, as she slid her phone across her bedside table every night before turning off the light. By the time they were three weeks into the semester, graduate students who wandered into The Bean looked like zombies. Jon was probably shuffling around looking bleary eyed. He told her his schedule was crazy. TAing and class work was probably a lot to juggle. He wouldn’t appreciate her bugging him to grab a drink to talk about old times, when he was staying up late every night reading or writing or stressing out over something. A month was the right time to break down and call. Let him get settled into his program and then float the idea of getting together. Casually.

A month, as it turned out, was probably about a week too late.

There was a girl. A fellow grad student in his department, who was a couple years ahead of him in the program. Jon told Sansa the topic of this girl’s dissertation, sounding eager and then immediately apologetic as it presumably sunk in how awkward this conversation must be for her. Sorry.You probably don’t want to hear about that.

No, Sansa didn’t want to hear how they weren’t a thing yet, but that Jon wanted to give it a chance. Or that he thought they had a lot in common and it could lead to something long term. When he said he was sorry, getting a drink wasn’t a good idea, it shattered Sansa’s fantasy. Not that she let him hear her disappointment. She chirped enthusiastically about how happy she was for him and asked for details she didn’t want to know. It didn’t matter than he couldn’t see her through the phone: she wore her best service smile until begging off.

Digital stalking filled in the rest of the details about Jon’s new love interest. With Mya’s encouragement, Sansa found Val on Facebook. Mya calls Val the Bitch, giving vent to the frustration Sansa won’t allow herself to indulge. From what Sansa can tell, Val is a good person. If Val got her way, Sansa could go to college for free, which sounds pretty nice. In addition to the social justice stuff, she posts a lot of nature photos from what looks like hardcore hikes. In every single picture, whether it’s on the side of a mountain or at the university, she looks effortlessly beautiful and boasts that granola, hippy aesthetic that reminds Sansa of Jon’s first girlfriend. Apparently he has a type, which is nothing like either Sansa’s old or new persona. Go figure.

All the girls at The Bean were disappointed that Sansa’s reunion didn’t pan out the way Hollywood taught them it should. Sansa should have known better, but she’s still a romantic at the core. She cries. Alone. Staring at her computer, flipping through photos online, wanting things to be different, powerless to make it so, and feeling sick to her stomach with regret. She is doomed to suffer from regret when it comes to Jon.

Her parents’ bankruptcy and a slew of shitty relationships didn’t cure her of her romanticism. The fault of one too many romantic comedies maybe, when she was in middle school and she spent every weekend sleeping over at Jeyne’s house, watching movies too late into the night. Waiting to make that call, she imagined Jon sweeping into her life and changing everything. That’s the way it would have worked out in the movies. In real life he swept into Val’s.

Sansa checks up on Val more than once. Often enough that she knows Val appeared with Jon untagged—he is completely absent from social media—in a bunch of photos posted in December. It looked like a department holiday party. A crowd of academics in a wood paneled room holding craft beers and long stemmed wine glasses. The only thing Sansa could focus on was Jon’s arm draped over Val’s tanned, bare shoulder.

Checking Val’s Facebook profile is also how Sansa knows, when her phone lights up with an unexpected text from Jon—“We’re adults, right?”—that despite visual evidence to the contrary, Val’s relationship status throughout the fall and spring semester remained ‘single.’

Watching the blinking ellipsis, Sansa regrets not saying something cleverer than “sure.” Without context and devoid of tone, her brevity could be mistaken as petulance. Not an outrageous conclusion. It isn’t fair for her to be angry with Jon, when she was the one who did the rejecting all those years ago, but that hasn’t stopped her from feeling a lot of inconvenient things about Jon, since he wandered into her coffee shop.

It’s super inconvenient that his offer—“We should get that drink. If you want.”—brings all those feelings to the surface, when she’s tried for months to stop looking at pictures of him online, so she can get down to the business of ignoring her feelings.

She’s just mad at herself, for waiting too damn long.

Despite not wanting to have to talk about Jon’s new girlfriend like an adult, she agrees to meet up. Five days fly by and for all her thinking about tonight, she still doesn’t know what she’s going to say or how to act, when she hops the curb and hurries towards the forest green entryway lit from above by an oil rubbed bronze lamp. It’s not the kind of place Sansa frequents with its heavy gilt mirrors and flickering candlelight—her budget doesn’t allow for this level of sophistication. Doesn’t look like a Jon kind of place either, but it’s stupid to think he’s the same unsophisticated nineteen years old guy she used to know.

The guy who suggested Fraticelli’s for drinks and orders wine with a fancy looking label is there in the back, hunched over reading. He stands like a gentleman, when she comes over. To prevent any deliberation over how they should greet each other, Sansa makes the first move. He doesn’t have time to put down whatever he was reading, so they end up sharing an awkward hug, a thick library book clutched between them.

“It’s good to see you.”

It’s only a one armed hug, but with his voice low and close to her ear, she considers throwing another arm around him and holding tight until he let’s go.

“You too,” she says, pulling back.

It’s not her place to do that.

He smells like he’s fresh from the shower. Damn it.

“You look nice,” he says, pushing his glasses up his nose with his knuckle.

His eyes skim over her. It’s almost as good as being touched, when his long, dark lashes shadow his cheeks, taking in her legs before looking her in the eye again.

It’s not a date, but she dressed like it was one. The cropped black linen top that knots at the shoulders was already in her closet, but the full white, eyelet skirt she paired it with is new. It’s an extravagance that she wouldn’t normally allow herself. It also happens to be more in keeping with Sansa’s old look to have a skirt swishing around her knees. She thought he might like it. Jon certainly never had any complaints about the convenience of her skirts.

Another thing she has no right to think about.

Teenaged Jon would have noticed the sliver of skin that shows at her waist, when she sits down in the wooden bistro chair opposite him. Graduate school Jon doesn’t seem to miss it either. That was her intension, when she picked it out, turning from side to side in the full length mirror in Myranda’s room, but him noticing her still tinges her cheeks pink with mixture of pleasure and guilt. He’s got a girlfriend, but Sansa wants him to admire her.

“Thank you.”

He thumps the cloth bound hardcover book set before him. “Sorry about this. Any spare moment I have, I read for class.”

“It’s okay. You must be really busy.”

“Uh, yeah. I’ve got a better handle on it this semester. It’s like hanging, I guess.”

He reaches for the wine bottle on the table and gestures at her empty wine glass. “Can I pour you a glass?”

The wine splashes into the glass, and Sansa’s eyes fix on Jon’s extended forearm, exposed by his rolled up white dress shirt. If she was in his class, she wouldn’t be able to pay attention to anything he said. She’d be too busy dreaming up scenarios where an office hour could turn into a tortured, romantic confession of his infatuation with her, his best student. Her notebook would be full of doodles of her name paired with his: Mrs. Sansa Snow.

College isn’t really free though, so there’s no need to worry about failing Jon’s Anthropology 101 class.

“What is it?” What vintage, she imagines herself asking. That’s what she would have said if she’d called him right away in the fall and he’d taken her to his department holiday cocktail party. She doesn’t have a string of degrees after her name, but she wouldn’t have embarrassed him among all his smart friends.

“Um, I don’t know actually,” he says, setting the bottle down to turn the label towards him. “I asked the waitress to bring something sweet. Thought you might like that.”

“I guess rum Kool-Aid isn’t on the menu.”

“We could ask,” he teases with an arch of his dark brows. “For old times’ sake.”

A few cups of cherry flavored Kool-Aid and rum led to her sitting in Jon’s lap at a party at Lyra Mormont’s house. He looked like a deer in the headlights, when she climbed over the arm of that armchair and plopped down in his lap, but she nudged his nose with hers until he gave up and kissed her. When Robb walked into the living room and found his best friend making out with his little sister, he didn’t speak to either of them for two weeks.

They were careful after that.

“You joke, but I still can’t drink a cup of coffee without making it with two shots of vanilla or chocolate and tons of cream. Mya constantly teases me about it.” She takes an exploratory sip. It is sweet. A subtle kind of sweet. Not the type that comes out of bottle with raspberries on the label and gives you a whopper of a headache the next day. “It’s good. Thank you.”

“Mya?”

Sansa takes a more substantial swallow before answering. “She’s my manager. At The Bean.”

“Right. Where I embarrassed myself.”

He hasn’t been back since, although Myranda, one of Sansa’s roommates and a fellow barista, swears Val came in one morning, wearing amazing boots.

“No, you didn’t.” She waves her hand, trying to convey something without completely exposing herself. “Everyone thought you were sweet.”

She can tell he doesn’t know what to do with that comment by the way he adjusts his seat and stares at his wine glass.

“You could come by. No one will spit in your drink.”

“Good to know,” he says, giving her one of those half smiles that narrow his grey eyes.

Jon was supposed to be a temporary fling, a cute boy to have fun with before she went off to college and met The One. Kissing was fun and he was really good at it. End of story. Except, he had this way of creeping into her thoughts at odd times. Like Mr. Qyburn’s biology class. It was his eyes she’d thought about, when they learned about genetics and dominant and recessive traits. If she and Jon had babies, she used to wonder, would they have her blue eyes or his grey ones? Her red hair or his dark brown? How perfectly adorable would they be?

It was because he was so damn nice. It always made her feel kind of bad how nice he was to her. She didn’t want a mean boyfriend. Joffrey was mean and breaking up with him was the best decision she ever made. There was nothing wrong with the nice things Jon said and did for her, but they still didn’t sit right. Sansa can put a name to the tummy unsettling feeling now: guilt. She treated Jon with less kindness than he deserved and she knew better.

Then again, whatever pain Sansa caused him, it wasn’t like she destroyed his hopes for the future, when her parents found out and she told him they couldn’t see each other anymore. Boys, even nice ones, don’t think about forever, don’t fantasize about wives and babies and a two-story house on Manderly Avenue. Jon couldn’t even afford to go to the movies, let alone pay to send their babies to the cute cedar shingled preschool where they taught the kids French. Her high school self thought the husband of her dreams was going to be handsome like Jon, but also be able to pay the bills and not be quite so awkward at making small talk at the parties their fancy friends would throw.

The guy Sansa was looking for probably wouldn’t have thought to order the sweetest wine on a bar menu to appease her crazy sweet tooth. He would have picked whatever sounded best to him and Sansa would have drank it, pretending to go along with all his preferences.

“This place is really nice. You come here a lot?”

“No. Never been inside the place. Just picked it out for tonight.”

“Oh.” There are plenty of bars. College dives that are more casual. Places where the floor is sticky and jerseys hang on the walls.

Jon picks up the square glass votive at the middle of their table and rocks it between his fingers, letting the hot wax of the candle inside spill over its ridge. “I’m sorry I said we couldn’t meet up, when you called last semester. That was…”

“It’s okay,” she says, wrinkling up her nose. “You were trying to be respectful of your new relationship.”

His self-doubt telegraphs across the table, as he continues to fiddle with the candle in silence. His vulnerability used to annoy her. She’d accuse him of being jealous or stubborn or proud without thinking how he must have felt surrounded by her clique of friends or lying to her parents’ faces, when he was so eager to be accepted by them.

If it were her place to reassure him, she would do it, happily. But it isn’t. He’s Val’s, and Sansa came here hoping to turn his head with her cute outfit. Totally pointless, of course: he’d never do something shitty like cheat on a girlfriend.

“How is she, your girlfriend?” she asks, pretending not to remember her name. Her hand slips beneath the table to pleat her skirt, so Jon won’t see the shimmer of nervous energy that runs through her. “Just as busy as you?” Her smile is too wide as she babbles, all toothy falsehood, but he doesn’t look up to catch the sad fakery.

“Uh, sure. I guess.”

He sets the candle down and his fingers flex around the glass. “I was afraid to see you. I never could trust myself around you.”

She balls her skirt in her hand.

It’s only his silent offer to top off her glass, bottle raised in question, that forces her to breathe again. “Yes, please.”

“I’m a mess when it comes to you.”

“Hardly.”

She can tell she cut him off and responded too quickly by the frustrated look that creases his face. Shut up, she wants to shout at herself.

“Pretty sure I proved that back in August.”

If anyone should be embarrassed, it should be her. That she grabbed him and kissed him on the sidewalk for all to see is on her. In all the years Sansa has known Jon, he’s never been one to take liberties. After all, he was the one with all the experience when they dated and he never took advantage. Never even suggested they try something she didn’t venture to do first.

“I don’t know. You always seemed pretty well controlled back when we were…” She pauses, bumping his foot with the toe of her flat and shrugging one shoulder to wordlessly fill the blank. While she considers him her first real boyfriend, it feels strange to say it, when they’re trying to be adults or friends and he’s attached. Of course, footsies probably isn’t the best idea either. “You know what I mean. You were always a gentleman.”

He’s got that three day beard thing going, same as the last time she saw him, and he rubs at it, when he straightens up in his chair. “God, Sansa. Really?”

“Okay. As much of a gentleman as a teenager can be.”

It’s not like he was an angel. She wouldn’t have wanted him to be. Not when he was so good with his hands. It’s too bad his hands are all she ever let him use.

“I had you fooled then. All I did was obsess about the next time I could get you alone.”

The warm flood of wine induced nostalgia or his eyes flicking from her eyes to her lips, as she licks away a drip of wine, makes her reach across the table and cover his hand with hers. “You were the best, Jon.”

Telling Jon she was saving herself was the end of the discussion, not the beginning of a negotiation. Unlike with Harry, where she was constantly losing ground, until there was nothing left to lose.

But they’ve let the conversation wander into territory they shouldn’t tread. Sansa forces herself to sever what probably counts as an inappropriate sort of physical connection, but he catches her fingers as she moves to pull away, knitting them together atop the table. She swallows, looking from their clasped hands to Jon’s serious face. “It’s good of Val not to mind us getting together like this.”

Val probably has as much cool self-confidence as she does unfussy style, but even she might not like what she sees here.

“That’s over with. Since Christmas break.”

A shock of tantalizing potential suddenly opens before her. Her whole body tingles with it. It’s the best news she’s heard in months. It’s also completely terrifying.

“Oh. I’m sorry.” Fighting a smile that wants to betray her real feelings on the subject, she probably doesn’t sound remotely sincere.

“Don’t be.”

This isn’t a date. But he’s single and holding her hand and staring in that way that makes her feel like the center of the universe, and she’s not sure she can pretend what she wants from him is strictly friendship.

She sucks the corner of her lip between her teeth, biting down before she remembers the red lip she tried tonight instead of her usual drugstore lip gloss. “That’s got to be awkward. At school.”

“Yeah. Bad idea to get involved with someone in my program.” His mouth quirks. “Don’t feel sorry for me. We’ve both survived the embarrassment.”

“What happened?”

“Didn’t work out.” Jon trails his index finger over the underside of her wrist. Her body reacts, a distracting pulse in places Jon rarely touched. “We weren’t as compatible as I thought we’d be. Didn’t want the same things.”

She swallows, her mouth suddenly gone dry. “Sounds familiar.”

“Us? We were kids, Sansa.”

They’re adults now. Whatever was is in the past. He might be single, but this isn’t the surprise revelation at the end of the movie that’s followed by a montage of her and Jon curled up on the sofa, out at a candlelit dinner, and picnicking on the university lawn. It doesn’t end with the flash forward to a big white wedding.

“We’re both probably different now, huh?”

“Some things don’t change,” he says.

It’s so easy to slip into talking to him, touching him, kissing him. That hasn’t changed. Being with Jon is comfortingly familiar—like coming home—and she thought that feeling was lost to her forever after her parents’ house in Winterfell sold on the courthouse steps. It would be so easy to latch onto him, to depend on him, and so devastating to have it all ripped away.

He doesn’t stop her, when she takes back her hand with a sharp twitch.

Sansa wants the fairy tale, as ridiculous as that might be. So, she doesn’t want to believe there’s some unalterable fact, something about her or the two of them together that would eventually destroy whatever it is she and Jon could attempt to build together. She wants his sweet promises—the kind he used to make. His too sweet words. She wants his kisses and unwavering devotion. Not the break up or the realization that they’re wrong for each other with too little in common and on two separate paths.

“Jon, I’m not drunk enough for this.”

“What?”

She shakes her head. Her breath is coming too fast and she must look like she’s coming apart. It’s too much to find out he’s single and that he invited her to this fancy place and they could start something and still have it end in heartbreak. “Could you excuse me?”

“You all right?” he asks, coming half out of his seat with a look of concern that makes her want to cry.

“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine.” Whatever tears she needs to shed, she’ll save them for the pillow. She presses him back into his chair with a hand to his shoulder. “I’ll be right back.”

By the time she finishes washing her hands and checking her lipstick in the bathroom mirror, it’s not quite a lie that she’s okay. Stepping away has done the trick: her heart isn’t racing, her hands are steady, and she’s ready to go back to Jon and be pleasantly flirty. They can agree to meet up again in a few weeks or months. Whatever he prefers. It can be casual and nice.

Easier said than done, when she opens the restroom door and Jon’s leaning against the wall of the darkened hallway, looking as worried as when she left him at the table.

He rocks forward, pushing off the wall. “You sure you’re all right?”

“Of course,” she insists too brightly. “This has been fun.”

His glasses have slipped again and he slides them up with his curled finger. “I wanted to tell you something I get the feeling you don’t want to hear, seeing as you ran away from me.”

“You must think I’m crazy.”

“No, it’s okay. I just wanted to tell you that you don’t have to dash off. I won’t push.”

Against her better judgment, she places her hand on his chest. He shouldn’t feel this solid if he spends all that time studying. She traces the small round of the pearl button, the first one he has buttoned.

Good or bad, she wants to hear it, wants to give him the space to speak for once. “Tell me.”

There’s what feels like an endless stretch of silence before he confesses it: “I want you.”

Her eyes slip closed, savoring the sound. “That’s not a bad thing.”

“No?” he asks, his hand curling over her waist, half under her top. The tension in his fingers makes her suck in her breath. “Even if I’m going to be a stuffy professor and live in a tiny college town?”

He wants her now and in his future. “That sounds really nice, Jon.”

“Good, because I can’t stop thinking about us.”

His thumb ghosts over her bare skin and she closes the distance, rising up on the balls of her toes. Sansa used to think about Jon sometimes in a wistful would-a, could-a, should-a way, but now she’s had months to imagine this moment. There’s no slow start and unhurried exploration. She knows what she wants. His mouth on hers. At her neck, her ear, kissing down her breasts, along the inside of her thighs, between her legs. Everywhere. Immediately.

He opens his mouth to her, chasing her urgent kiss. It deepens with each needy sweep of her tongue. If she was wearing heels, she wouldn’t need to stretch to press her lips to his, but she likes the way he flattens his hand against her back, holding her tight to his chest, so she doesn’t bobble. She likes clutching at his shoulders, feeling the firm muscles beneath his nice white shirt and the line of his bones. Closer is better. More is better. His warm lips moving over hers. The drag of his teeth and rub of his beard. The solidness of him against her and the sound he makes into her mouth, when her fingers tangle in curls at the back of his head.

She pants into his mouth, her head tilting and his following. She can taste the wine they shared on his tongue. Sweet and acidic all at once. It’s good and it’s still not enough. She wants to know if his skin tastes as good as it smells. Whether there’s the tang of salt at the pulse of his neck. Whether she could make him groan if she kissed a path down his body and wrapped a hand around him. She does things she didn’t before. Things he would like.

Their hips bump, rubbing, and she wants him inside her. The way they never allowed themselves. She’s losing her mind, forgetting everything but his hand working its way higher up her back and the lift of her knee to bring them closer together. She wouldn’t stop him if he hauled her up and pushed her into the wall, right here in the hallway of this way too fancy a place to be carrying on like drunken college students.

“Jon,” she murmurs against his mouth, as they lose their footing and stumble backward half a step. She doesn’t want to stop, but she can’t—or shouldn’t—fuck him in this hallway. She is not that girl. He is not that guy. At least that’s what she thought, but they keep putting themselves in this position. “We’re in a wine bar.”

His face is flushed, his hand still firmly against her back, hiking up her top. It makes her heart stutter to stare up at him.

“Is the bill paid?” When he only stares at her lips, she repeats herself, “Did you pay the bill?”

“Yeah. They uh, ran my card.”

“Then let’s get out of here,” she suggests. “Go someplace quiet.”

With parted lips, his eyes dart over her. “Yeah?”

“Grab your book.”

She wasn’t this bold, when they were teenagers. It works wonders. Jon follows just behind her. She can hear his footfalls on the wooden floor and then his hand finds the small of her back, as she wanders through the bar, her skirt swinging like a bell with each sway of her hips.

There are bound to be at least two roommates back at her place on a Thursday night, and she doesn’t want to spend even five minutes introducing Jon to them, so when they step out into the clear night, she asks him whether he has a roommate.

“I live alone. The Bear Creek development,” he says, gesturing north. Sansa’s familiar with it. They’re small apartments. Lots of undergrads rent there. “I don’t have a car though. Do you mind walking?”

“I walk everywhere.” Three blocks is nothing. She routinely works eight hours in her black ballet flats.

“Don’t have the BMW anymore?”

“Sold along with everything else.”

The spring night air is cool compared with the cozy feel of the wine bar. She wishes she’d thought to bring a cardigan. Sansa wraps her arms around her middle and raises her shoulders up towards her ears.

“I have fond memories of that car.” He reaches over, slips an arm over her shoulder, and drags her in close to his side.

“Really?”

His dress shoes tap against the sidewalk. They’re nice shoes. Date shoes. It looks like he also put some real thought into how he should dress tonight. He only used to wear sneakers.

“Well. Fond memories of you in that car.”

She couldn’t properly straddle him in her sports car. There was a lot of reaching across the stick shift and craning her neck at odd angles. “It could have been bigger for our purposes as I remember it.”

He laughs.

It’s a triumph to make Jon laugh. He can be sarcastic when provoked, but he doesn’t laugh easily. She wants a relationship where they laugh as much as they make love. Where they can do both together. She wants Jon.

She picks up the pace, stretching her stride to match his own, leggy one.

His apartment is about what she expected with what looks like an old borrowed sofa that’s seen better days, walls lined with bookcases, a folding table covered in books with two mismatched chairs in the kitchen, a bed without a headboard, and a plastic carton serving as a bedside table.

That’s where the short tour ends—the bedroom—and when it does, Jon shifts on his feet with his hands shoved in his pockets. He’s either embarrassed that the bed isn’t made or how presumptuous it looks to bring her in here, but she didn’t suggest they leave Fratecelli’s in order to watch movies on his boxy TV.

“This is the teenage dream,” she says, sitting on the edge of his bed. She pats the spot next to her. “A bed. You.”

The bed sags under his weight. Her mother would have flipped out to find Jon Snow sitting on Sansa’s bed. It used to be that they couldn’t risk being in her bedroom together. He was supposed to be Robb’s friend. He was older. He was a boy. Boys stayed in the basement den. They were not invited upstairs to lounge on beds.

There are real perks to adulthood, even if she has to scrimp to afford to share her cute apartment with three other girls and Jon’s looks like a lonely bachelor pad. She could fix it up. She’s learned to do wonders on a budget.

“Whose dream? Yours or mine?”

“Mine. I used to want to sleep next to you. It sounded nice. Grown up.”

He brushes her hair to the side, exposing her neck. She expects he’ll kiss her, but his hand continues to brush through her hair, tugging and catching at strands and raising goose bumps along her arms. “We could do that. Whatever you want.”

Although the idea of seeing what Jon looks like while he sleeps or having his body stretched alongside hers throughout the night still makes her heart beat fast, she wants to do more than sleep over. She wants to go to sleep next to him and have him wake her before it’s time for him to get to class, early enough that they can have fuzzy morning sex. In the romance novels Mya lets her borrow, the women use toe curling language to describe what they want. It’s sexy like she felt with Jon in the bar with his thigh working its way between her legs.

Showing him, sliding her hand up his thigh, higher, to where she can make out the ridge of him and then feel him under the heel of her palm, hard and hot, comes more naturally. She’ll work on putting into words what she wants, so he gives those shuddering sighs, as he rests his brow against hers, in response to whispered filthy words as often as from her touch.

His hand trails down her back and settles on her hip. “We don’t have to rush this.”

“After seven years, I wouldn’t call it rushing.”

His mouth pulls up on the one side, close enough to kiss. “Fresh start, sweetheart.”

“Well, regardless, the old rules don’t apply,” she says, running a finger along his belt, tracing the cool, silver buckle. The wanting isn’t new. She wanted to have sex with him in high school. She would have if he’d pressed. That he never did makes her want him even more. “We can have sex.”

God, that sounds childish.

“Oh.” His breath puffs against her lips. “And if I’m celibate?”

“Oh my God, Jon,” she says, pushing on his chest.

He kisses her. Cups her cheek and kisses her. The first time in a long time that he’s kissed her first, and she has a feeling it won’t be the last time.