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There’s no warning. One moment Noah was out and then he’s in. I suck in a breath and Noah stills. The burning from the first time...it’s there, then it fades.
Noah skims his nose along my cheek, feathering kisses along my skin. My hands roam along his back, and after another second of readjustment, I inch my hips down, and it doesn’t take long for Noah to nudge his body up.
Unable to keep silent anymore, I breathe out his name. One time. Another. And each time I say it, Noah holds on to me tighter. His hands slip lower and right as the entire world grows dizzyingly out of control, Noah rocks forward hard.
My eyes shut tight, warmth explodes through me, colors appear behind my closed lids, and as my entire body tenses with pleasure, Noah takes his turn saying my name.
We hug each other as we catch our breath, then we lazily kiss as our muscles slowly lose the ability to function. He shifts off me, rolling away to take care of things, and when he turns back, Noah pulls me into his chest.
We lie there. My fingertips trace the muscles of his chest. His fingers play with my hair. The blanket keeps us from being fully exposed. The sound of his heart against my ear joins the sound of the frogs and crickets in the still night.
“Promise me we’ll come back here,” I say to him. “Promise me that someday we’ll make love here again.”
“I swear it.” Noah bunches my hair into his hand, and when I look up at him he kisses my lips. “I’ll bring you back here every damn year.”
My mouth tilts up. “I like the sound of that.”
This has been the craziest damn summer of my life, and it sucks it’s coming to an end. Isaiah pats my back and tosses Beth’s bag over his shoulder. “First call, man.”
I nod and watch as Echo waves an awkward goodbye to Beth and hugs my best friend.
Echo drove the three of us to the bus station this morning. As part of their agreement for Echo to study long-distance with Hunter for a year, Echo’s going to stay for an additional week as Hunter crams as much art shit as he can down her throat before she returns home. Then she’ll have to visit Colorado four more times throughout the year. One week each time.
I still don’t trust Hunter when it comes to his attraction to Echo, but I trust my girl. I believe him when he says he can open doors for her and teach her about the world she loves, and I want her happy. He can daydream about her all he wants, but at the end of the day, she loves me.
I hate being away from her, but I’ll take it. Five weeks away beats the hell out of being separated for a year. Which is what we’ll face next September, but the two of us will be ready.
Beth and Isaiah board the bus, and Echo turns to me. Her lower lip trembles, and she glances away. She promised me no tears, but how can she promise something like that?
“Come here,” I say, and Echo falls into my arms.
I enfold her into me and nuzzle her hair, enjoying the feeling of peace that floods my body whenever she’s this close. Echo squeezes her arms around me, and I wish she’d never let go.
“I love you,” she whispers.
“It’s only a week,” I tell her, but I loathe this separation as much as she does.
Echo looks at me with those pleading green eyes. I twine my fingers into her curls. The first taste of her lips is sweet. The second makes me forget there’s a bus terminal full of people. The third causes me to lift her feet off the ground and deepen our kiss.
“Noah,” she whispers in reprimand as she breaks away. “We’re causing a scene.”
“Not my problem.” But I lower her to the ground anyhow. “Besides, it wasn’t my fault. You’re the one looking at me with take-me-to-bed eyes, and I felt you kissing me back. Once again, you’re the one getting us into trouble.”
Echo grins. “You are so impossible.”
“Damn straight, baby.” I could stay with her in Colorado, but if I go home today, I can watch my brothers play their last baseball game of the year. I’ve never been so happy to hear the word rainout. Plus, if I head back now, Isaiah and I can settle into our new apartment. I’ll also be able to get together what Echo and I need to start school as she’ll miss orientation.
I’m not thrilled with the idea of her driving from Colorado to Louisville on her own, but she’s determined she can do this, and I need to trust her judgment. We weighed the pros and cons over and over again and this...this is what we need to do. I have no doubt it’s the best decision because Echo and me, we’re for keeps.
“Last call,” says the driver.
I cup Echo’s face in my hand. “You keep your cell charged.”
“I will, and you tell Jacob and Tyler I said hi.”
“I love you, Echo.”
A soft smile spreads across her lips, and my damn heart nearly explodes when we kiss one last time.
“I love you,” she whispers.
“One week,” I say.
“One week,” she says back.
As I sling my bag over my shoulder and board the bus, I walk on with a confidence I’ve never had before when it comes to me and Echo.
In my seat, I press my hand to the window, and Echo stretches out her arm to me. Someday me and her, we’ll come back here. Maybe she’ll be an artist. Maybe she won’t. Maybe I’ll be an architect. Maybe I won’t. What I know for sure is that Echo will be by my side, and that our love is forever.