Give me a few
minutes, and I’ll show you it can be even better.”
She slapped his bare shoulder.
“No, I was going to say...I’ve never had sex without using something before.”
Drake arms tightened around her.
He really liked hearing that. “Good.”
The arrogant satisfaction in his
voice had Tessa rolling her eyes. “You are so full of yourself.”
“I’d rather you be full of me.”
He grunted when she smacked him again, and he forced her head back down on his
shoulder. “Relax. You trust me, Tessa. You know I would never do anything to
put you in jeopardy.”
“That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t
be cautious.” When he remained silent, she snuggled into his side. He was
right, she did trust him. “Can I ask you a question? It’s about
He sighed. “Who told you? Was it
Gus or Turner?”
“Both, sort of, but they didn’t
tell me how.”
Drake’s first reaction was to say
it was none of her damn business, but that would have been a lie. He told her
she trusted him, so he had to show her that he trusted her as well. “I told you
I was in foster care when I was young. Some of the places...hell can’t begin to
describe them. I was placed with a couple that collected kids for the paycheck
the state gave them, but they didn’t really take care of us. It was where I met
Gus, Turner and Nico. Anyways, I got an ear infection, but they didn’t want to
spend money on a doctor, so it just got worse. It got so bad that the guys
snuck me to the hospital, but by that time, it was too late. The damage was
“That couple should be shot,” she
He made a noncommittal sound
before saying, “The good thing was the hospital reported the situation and all
the kids were pulled from their home. The guys and I were split up, but we
figured out ways to keep in touch over the years.”
Tessa began stroking the light
hair on his chest, soothing him with her touch. She felt his muscles that had
tensed during the telling relax, and she took that as a good sign. “Is that why
you went into biomedical engineering?”
“I guess. Even if I can’t fix
what’s wrong with me, I can help other people.”
She lifted up so she could look
down at him. His eyes were closed, but she waited until he opened them and he
was gazing up at her before she spoke. “There is nothing wrong with you.”
He snorted. “You’re biased
because you love me.”
Tessa shook her head. It was
clear he was uncomfortable with the discussion, but she needed to make her
point. To make him understand that she saw he was beautiful...inside and out.
“I see you, Drake,” she said,
her voice shaking with conviction. “I see the real you.”
Drake groaned as he took her
under him again, kissing her with all the emotions swirling inside of him. He
made love to her again, over and over, well into the early morning hours before
he finally let her rest. And when they both drifted off to sleep, their bodies
entwined together, he finally understood what love really was.
For the first time in Drake’s
life, he was at a total loss of words.
He sat at his desk in his office,
staring down at the sheet of paper in front of him—just as he’d been doing for
the last fifteen minutes. When he’d come up with the concept of writing Tessa a
special love note, the plan seemed like a good one.
Except now that it was time to
actually do it, he realized he had no clue what to say.
Since the first night they’d
spent together, he and Tessa had been inseparable. In the past, he’d ridiculed
people who were constantly contacting their loved ones whenever they were
apart, but he found himself unable to go the day without hearing Tessa’s voice
or sending her a message to see how she was.
It was almost sickening, he
admitted to himself.
As a man who’d never had a real
relationship, Drake found it surprising the way she slid into his life so
seamlessly. Tessa had accompanied him to
Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear
Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton