I agreed that was a good idea. I was still feeling nervous about cobras. You’ve seen me smile.

The dream doesn’t leave me. I drift through the day awake but dreaming, trying not to think of Olly. I try not to think of seeing him for the first time. How he seemed like he was from another planet. I try not to think about Bundt cakes and headstands and kisses and velvet sand. How second and third and fourth kisses are just as amazing as first ones. I try not to think about him moving inside me and us moving together. I try not to think of him because if I do, I’ll have to think about how connected to him and the world I was just a few days go.

I show her around, giving her a brief tour of the first floor before leading her into the library. My drink is still on the side table, reminding me of my shitty afternoon. Would you like one? I ask.Sure, she says. But only if you have something a bit less manly than whatever that is. She waves her hand at the glass of amber-colored liquor.

I think I can make that happen. I head to the small bar in the corner of the room, and pour some vodka into a glass, then reach into the mini-fridge below and grab cans of lemon-lime soda and cranberry juice. Will this work? I ask, holding them up for her approval.She nods and smiles at me. It was always so easy to make her happy.I hand her the pink drink, and she joins me, sitting down in the leather armchair across from mine.

Seeing her here, watching her cross her ankles, and the delicate way she brings the glass to her lips…it evokes all kinds of memories.Our relationship had never been romantic—we were friends—best friends. But when I lost my mom tragically in an auto accident at age fourteen, it was Mia who was there for me. It was Mia who I wanted. For days I couldn’t eat, wouldn’t talk to anyone, not even my brothers. I remember Mia holding me with my head against her chest. I listened to her heartbeat while she stroked my hair and told me silly little stories to distract me. The pain was so all-encompassing, so deep, I didn't know how to put it into words. But Mia didn't need words. She knew.

It was after one of those sessions that we shared our first kiss. It felt natural with none of the fumbling, over-zealous tongue attacks that some of my previous partners had. I'd instantly grown hard for my friend, and that confused the shit out of me. I'd never seen her as more until that moment. But something changed that night, because from that day on, I began noticing her as a developing woman. I would catch her watching me too, her eyes following me around the room with a certain curiosity twinkling in their green depths.

It was about a year after my mom's passing when she told me she had something important to tell me, and we agreed to meet late one night out on my dad's boat.He crushed her to him, his mouth taking hers with no subtlety, no finesse, nothing but raw passion and need. One of his hands tangled itself in her hair, and the other roamed down her back, finding the lush curve of her bottom, pulling her close.

Sarah, he moaned, and some part of him realized that she was touching him, too. Her small hands were behind his head, holding him against her, and her lips had softened and opened, and she was making little sounds that shot through him like lightning.Never once breaking the kiss, he shrugged off his coat and let it fall to the ground. They sank to their knees, and then she was on her back, and he was over her, and he was still kissing her, hard and deep, as if he could remain in this moment forever, just so long as his lips never left hers. Her nightgown was white cotton, designed for sleep, not temptation, but it left the flat plane of her chest bare, and soon he was trailing his lips across her creamy skin, wondering how close he could get to those perfect breasts without taking the edge of her bodice in his teeth and tearing the bloody thing off her completely.

Her hips shifted, and he groaned her name again as he found himself settling between her legs. He was straining against his trousers, and he had no idea if she knew what that meant, but he was not capable of cautious questions. He arched himself against her, knowing full well that even through their clothes, she would feel him at her core.She let out a little gasp at the pressure, and her hands grew fierce against him, sinking into his hair before sliding down his back and under his untucked shirt.