We can ask any question? Jimmy asked. Well, guess what it was?

If I’d done what my heart said and said yes to you, you wouldn’t have left for London. Luca and Steve would be alive and your daughter wouldn’t be in the hospital in a medical-induced coma.

I always insisted that Finn was conceived the night in the park. When I arrived at her house around midnight, she was bouncing off the walls. She’d taken an entire practice test and only missed three questions, and this was the closest she’d gotten to perfection.Instead of crawling into her bed, we left, running down the street in the cool autumn moonlight like two kids finally escaping their parents. The little neighborhood park was silent and mostly dark. I pushed her on the swings and chased her through the monkey bars. Everything seemed possible, our future so close we could almost reach it, and Corabelle believed she could achieve this goal of the perfect score and a scholarship that would pay her way completely.

Eventually we tumbled in the cool carpet of grass. The night had chilled down, and she snuggled into me, her black hair a curtain across my chest. We had looked at the stars, I remembered suddenly, lying like we had on the roof. I’d have to remind her of that. I didn’t know any constellations other than the Big Dipper, and we didn’t really talk about that then. I just know she turned into me and slid her hand under my shirt and across my belly, and we were lost.Too much. I set down a barbell and wiped my face with a towel. I hadn’t known how good I had it with Corabelle then, so willing, always matching me. That night had been beyond amazing, stripping down in the grass, the moonlight on her body, highlighting the curves of her breasts and waist and hips, brightening her hair as she crawled up to sit on top of me, straddling my waist.Her face and the stars were all one picture as I touched every part of her. My thumb went between us and found that sweet spot. Her eyes closed and she leaned back. I could see all of her skin, smooth and beautiful. She gripped my free hand, squeezing, and by paying attention to her sounds and movements, I knew when I had her close to peaking.

I slid her body down, then up, until we were almost joined. Her eyes opened wide, and she smiled, adjusting so I slipped inside. I worked her faster and now she was frantic, leaning forward, her breasts near my mouth, bracing herself on the ground as she moved in a rhythm so hard, so perfect, that I could scarcely hang on myself.I knew when it all burst in her. She forgot where she was, crying out loud enough to set a few dogs to barking beyond the trees, grinding herself down on me with such force that I had no choice but to let go, filling her up, hanging on, breaking free of the need to hold back right as she dropped flat against me.

We shuddered against each other, the quiet settling into the low hum of crickets and a faraway highway. I held her close and this time something came over her and she started sobbing. I thought maybe I’d hurt her, but she whispered I love you in my ear and the emotion was so intense that it flowed into me.

I swear I felt that night as though some light began to glow, like something changed inside us both. Later, when we learned about Finn, and after the shock had worn off and we were settled into the revised version of our future, I brought that night up. Corabelle insisted it was impossible, that it happened later, but always, I felt that I knew, and for a long time I hoped it meant that I had a connection with the baby that meant I’d be a decent dad.Work had been pure misery all day Thursday, but the rest of the crew gave me space. No one teased me about dropping wrenches or tossing boxes around. Bud hadn’t even moved me to throwing tires despite the very real risk that I’d break something rather than fix it.

I checked on Corabelle’s apartment every time I was out. There were never any lights on. The butterflies were thinning out, but I didn’t think she was taking them down. A few had fallen, and others were probably pilfered by neighbors.Everyone at Cool Beans had to be protecting her. Twice I’d gone up there, but nobody would admit that they had seen her. No sign of her car either, but Jenny could be dropping her off. I couldn’t imagine Corabelle skipping work too. I wanted to crash into the dish room to see if she were hiding, but I hadn’t done it. If I didn’t see her tonight, that was my plan, though. To go in that back room and refuse to leave until I saw her.

As much as I wanted to storm the steps to the star party on the roof, I decided a kinder, gentler approach would serve me better. A few students milled around the base of the dorm where we held the labs. I took the elevator to the top floor, then crossed the hall to the stairs that led to the roof exit. A few other students were heading up, and I mixed in with them, hoping to stall the moment when Robert spotted me. I wanted to get Corabelle alone. To explain.I knew I was done for when Amy stood at the doorway, checking everyone off as they passed through. They had never done that before. Still, I was committed, so I headed up behind the others, thinking maybe I could somehow push by while Amy searched for names.

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