I sigh. “No idea. The mystery around my father deepens even more.”
“We’ll figure it out, Angel.”
As much as I want to believe those words, I’m beginning to have my doubts. Maybe I’m not meant to know, and I should just let it go. But I know myself better than that. There’s no way I’m going to be able to let it go.
Deciding to try to convince Duke to get in the tub with me, I bring my top half out so that my boobs poke out of the water. My soapy hands run all over them, and Duke’s eyes are locked on to everything that I’m doing.
“Avery,” he begins.
But I don’t let him finish. “This bathtub is so big. Don’t you want to come in here and join me?”
“The bathtub isn’tthatbig, Angel. Do you really think we will both fit?”
“Oh, I’ll make sure of it—even if I have to sit on top of you.”
Reluctantly, he stands up and starts to take off his boxers that he put on after our sexy time earlier. I knew my plan would work.
I turn my body so that my back is on the edge by the faucet. Duke slowly climbs in, careful not to slosh any water out on the floor. When he gets comfortable, I put my legs over his and lean back.
Duke’s eyes slowly move up and down my body as a small smile spreads across his lips.
“What are you smiling at?” I ask.
He rubs his hand over his beard. “Just thinking that I have the best view in the world.”
“You’re just smooth as butter, aren’t you?” I can’t help but smile.
He picks up one of my feet and kneads it with his fingers. My head falls back on the side of the tub as I just relax and enjoy.
This moment seems so perfect, so I don’t know why I decide to bring up my next question.
“Hey, Duke, where do you see this going when the house is done? I know that I have a life back in Boston, and you have your life here. How do you see this whole thing playing out?”
I brace myself for some half-ass answer about us figuring it out when the time comes or some other bullshit like that.
But that’s not what I get at all.
Instead, he says, “Avery, you know how I call you Angel?”
“I don’t say that just because I think it sounds cute. Before you walked into my life, I was in an extremely dark place. I was having nightmares every single night. I woke up every day with no real purpose. And then, you came along. This shining light. I’ve done a whole lot of awful things in my life, sweetheart, but I consider you to be one of the few good ones. If you think for one second, I’m going to give that up just because this house is finished, you’re nuts.”
“But—” I try to interrupt, but Duke doesn’t let me.
“No, Avery. No buts. I’m not giving you up without one hell of a fight. You want to move back to Boston? Okay, I’m there. I’d follow you anywhere you wanted to go, Angel.”
I pick at my nail beds nervously because I’ve never had anyone say such sweet things to me before.
“What’s wrong?” He asks. “Did I freak you out?”
Not wanting him to think that I didn’t absolutely love everything he just said, I lunge forward, practically jumping on top of him and wrapping my arms around his neck. Water splashes out of the tub all over the floor, but right now, I don’t care.
Straddling Duke, with my arms still locked around his neck, I say, “No, you didn’t freak me out. I’m just still in constant shock that this whole thing is really happening to me. Epic love stories like this don’t tend to happen to girls like me.”
“Girls like you?”
“Girls who guys don’t tend to fawn over. Girls who live their own lives and are happy with those lives, but they’re not really anything special either. I guess I’m still just surprised that this whole thing is really happening. I’m scared that you are going to suddenly realize that this whole thing has been some huge mistake, and you’re going to just leave.