One Year Later
“Oh my God. Oh, Knight. Oh, Knight. Oh, Knight. Oh…”
“Knight. Yup. I know.” I rotate between fingering Luna and pushing my tongue into her pussy. She is crazy horny these days, which makes me a horn dog of massive proportions.
Yeah. Okay. I’m always a horn dog.
Real talk, though—is there anything hotter than licking the cum from my fiancée’s pussy and smearing it on her clit, playing with it as I fuck her until next Wednesday?
Yeah, I don’t think so, either.
I eat her out until she clutches my hair and yanks my head up from her groin, her eyes a gray storm. I can feel the diamonds of her engagement ring digging into my skull, and it makes my dick twitch in excitement. Who knew that Luna Rexroth, the tomboy, the mute, the kid no one noticed, was a bit of a freak in bed?
Not me, that’s for sure. Life’s full of surprises like that.
“I want you inside me.” She sounds more angry than turned on now.
I can’t help it. I nearly topple over, laughing. But she doesn’t give me a chance to do that, either. She pulls my big-ass frame atop her, traps my waist with her slender legs, and waits for me to plunge in.
I do. I fill her to the brim, until her moans of pleasure have a dash of sweet ache in them. I move in and out of her slowly, bareback, making love to her, kissing her mouth.
The center of her chin.
Mine, mine, mine.
“Moonshine,” I croak, her nickname like a cliff I’m about to jump from.
I can see the beautiful horizon splashing in front of me in all its glory. It is full of memories we’re going to make, places we’re going to see, moments that will define us forever.
Memories with Levy, who I talk to every day on the phone, sticking to my promise to be there for him.
With Dad, who is slowly crawling back into life.
With Dixie, who is trying her very best not to piss me off, and so far, I have to admit, succeeding.
And with the girl who was born to pull me through an inevitable tragedy.
The moon peeks at us from the curtain of our beach house, smiling.
You made it, it says.
We have awesome windows where you can’t see anything from the outside, but we can see everything from inside of the house. We moved here six months ago, on the same day Vaughn packed his shit and moved to England.
People were surprised to find out we’d moved out of Todos Santos, but to me, it was the most natural thing in the world. I needed some time just with Luna before I tackled the real world—somewhere our parents and friends couldn’t drop by and interrupt us. We’re still only a short drive from Todos Santos—less than an hour when the traffic isn’t shitty.
“Knight,” Luna whimpers in my arms. “Faster.”
“But what if…”
Her nails sink into my lower back and O-fucking-kay….
It’s settled, then. Pregnant ladies are batshit crazy. I thought Dixie was exaggerating. She’s been coming here every weekend. We have dinners and trivia nights and the entire Brady Bunch bullshit together. She was the one who warned me that Luna was going to go over a lot of hormonal hurdles.
I thought she mostly meant the spurts of crying every time she sees a dirty puppy or a lone mitten on the street. But no. Luna is also hornier than a moose.
Not that I’m complaining.
“I don’t wanna hurt the baby,” I moan, trying to keep it PG-13 somehow.
I can eat my fiancée until my mouth goes numb, but I’m worried I’ll hurt the baby with my massive cock. I’m not being arrogant or anything—it’s a genuine concern. I don’t want Knight Senior to poke its head or anything.
“Mommy, how come I only have one eye?”
“Well, son, Daddy poked it out while dicking me when I was pregnant with you.”
Can’t blame me for not taking any chances—especially as Vaughn has been having a fucking field day since the news broke. He called my fiancée a Teen Mom in the making when we Skyped with him (false, she is twenty), and when Luna admitted craving Ramen noodles, he replied that judging by the rush with which she got knocked up, he thought she had a particular taste for my dick.
And I couldn’t maim him.
I couldn’t even punch his face, seeing as he’s so far away.
“Well, I’m about to hurt you if you don’t speed things up. I’ve been on the edge of an orgasm for ten minutes now,” Luna growls, pulling me back to reality.
“What if I hurt her?”
“You’re not going to hurt her.”
“How do you know?”
“You’re not that big!” she exclaims, exasperated.
I pause, mid-thrust, staring at her with horror.
I know I am. I have statistics to prove it. We even used a ruler in the locker room back when I was a junior in high school. What kind of bullshit is this? Knight Senior doesn’t need this negativity from the love of its life.
“Take that back right now,” I warn, plunging into her so hard and so deep, I’m probably tickling her throat right now.
She is laughing. And coming. On my cock. And laughing some more. I really am the best partner in the world, if I may say so myself. Which I may. I mean, I just literally did.
Finally, the word literally said in an appropriate context. And I didn’t even say it—I thought it.
“Isn’t the second trimester supposed to be the most dangerous of all?” I ask as I continue to chase my own climax, thrusting in and out of her.
Luna seems pretty adamant that we’re not hurting the baby, and she knows stuff about stuff. Also, she is a health freak and already loves this baby more than I love life itself, which means the nugget is in good hands. And belly, for that matter.
“This is not how pregnancy works, Knight. We can have sex. The baby is secure. You, on the other hand? Jury’s still out on that, depending on how much you’re going to play me like this in bed.”
By the time I’m done with her ass, she can barely wobble toward the bathroom. I stay sprawled in bed, watching her naked figure moving around in the lit bathroom. Three months ago, when we found out she was pregnant, we were elated. Despite what a lot of people thought, the pregnancy was one hundred percent planned.
Yeah, yeah, I know. We both attend UCLA. We’re both students. I have a job coaching a Little League football team, which pays shit and I do it mostly as chicken soup for the soul, but Luna just finished a project that actually made some decent money. We broke the news by accident a month ago, at Daria and Penn’s much-belated wedding in Palm Springs. Luna wasn’t drinking. Neither was Daria. Didn’t take long to put two and two together.
“Our babies are having babies!” Melody Followhill proclaimed.
For some reason, it sounded accurately gross coming out of her mouth.
Our decision to have a kid wasn’t made lightly. It was just that even as we ticked all the boxes a happy couple our age should aim for—engagement, a house, a big, black Lab called Johnny, and an ugly, rat-looking white Husky called Rotten—something was amiss. That something was Mom, of course, and not just the lack of her presence, but lack of the notion that there was someone to take care of. To fight for. To be there with.
The thing about Luna and me is we’re caregivers by nature. I’m so used to taking care of her and Mom, and she’s so used to trying to save the rest of the world, me included, that we needed someone to give all our extra love to.
Dad almost killed me when he found out I’d impregnated my fiancée on purpose at age nineteen. Luckily, Dixie calmed him down.
Luna is humming a song now. “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode. There’s a little smile on her face. I wonder if the nugget is a girl or a boy. We keep referring to it as a she, because a part of us knows this baby signifies Mom somehow.
I wonder if the baby is going to have my green eyes or her gray ones.
If it will have her dark, smooth skin and my narrow, full lips.
I hope the baby will know we wanted a child before we even knew he or she was in existence. And that unlike our biological mothers, we would never let him or her go. And I don’t mean after birth. I mean possibly ever. Maybe not even for college. Straight up, we’ll be locking them in their room forever.
Okay, that’s not good parenting. Never mind.
“I thought you hated that song,” I call out to Luna, patting the bed to inform her that her five minutes out of it are officially over and it’s time for round two.
“I do,” she chirps, coming back from the bathroom and diving into bed gracefully.
Our place on Venice Beach is pretty neat. You can actually hear the waves crashing on the shore at nighttime, usually as a backdrop to the sound of tourists laughing and screaming, young people getting shitfaced, and the terrible music street artists play across from our balcony. I love the hustle and bustle outside, though. It reminds me how lucky I am, and that I chose well—staying with the quietest person I know.
“Then why are you singing it?” I pull her close, nuzzling my nose to her neck.
Our hot chests bump into one another. Mine, hard and muscular. Hers, soft and round.
“Because.” She smiles. “Edie loves it, and I love Edie.”
“By the same token, you love anal,” I muse.
“I do?” She cuts a no-bullshit sideways glance my way.
“Yeah. Because I love anal, and you love me.”
“Only on your birthday.” She raises her finger in warning. “Apparently, I only love you then.”
“And on national holidays,” I negotiate.
“You’ve got yourself a deal.”
“Canada’s, too. It’s high time we show them some solidarity.”
She laughs. So do I. I can’t wait for the baby to start kicking and join the party.
That kid doesn’t know how long we’ve been waiting.
How I always wanted them around.
How that day, shortly before Mom died, when I apologized to Luna for going bareback, it was a ninety-nine percent apology. Because I wanted us to have a child.
I wanted us to atone for what our mothers did.
Only Dixie is not the same woman I resented. Maybe she never was. Maybe sometimes we make people monsters in our heads because we can’t understand them.
Maybe we don’t understand them because we don’t try to.
And maybe we don’t try to because we’re scared.
Either way, I’ve stopped being scared. Of love. Of feelings. Of forgiving.
Luna and I have carved each other’s personalities since the very beginning. Needs. Wants. Morals.
And most of all, our love.
I’m wearing a black dress that cannot hide the small bump in my lower stomach. I don’t want to hide it. I’m proud of that bump something fierce. I feel whole while pregnant. I think I’m going to be one of those women who has a lot of children, biological and not biological, but I don’t want to scare Knight by telling him this. He’s not officially twenty yet.
Also, we promised each other to take it one step at a time, and we still need to get married before I pop this nugget into the world or before our parents have heart attacks because our child will be born out of wedlock—whatever comes first.
I’m pacing back and forth behind the stage’s heavy black curtains, knowing they’re about to call my name. That I will get on this stage, and they will ask me questions. And I will answer them. At length. More importantly—with words.
That was part of the contract I signed when I wrote a book about my seventeen years of silence. Silent No More was dedicated to Rosie and to Val, two women who played very different roles in my life. One killed my voice. The other brought it back.
The book published last week and hit USA Today’s Best-Selling Books list. I am on the verge of signing my second contract with the same publishing house. I have no idea how I’m going to juggle school, a baby, a book, a husband, a life, and a trip to London to see Vaughn’s exhibition next year. But I’m about to find out.
“Moonshine.” My fiancé saunters backstage with a cup of tea and a small white box. He hands the tea to me. “How are we doing?” He drops a kiss to my forehead.
“Fine,” I say.
We look at each other and laugh, because we know what this word means. Nothing. It means nothing.
I take a sip of my tea. “Seriously, though? I’m excited more than scared.”
“Good. Have a donut.” He pops the box open, and I eye the carb-loaded treat inside.
“It has a green thing on it.” I scrunch my nose.
“I hate pistachios.”
“Nugget might like it, though.” Knight rubs his cheek. “Worth a try.”
“Why would Nugget like pistachios? That’s random.”
“Because I did.”
I humor him for sharing this intimate piece of information with me, taking a tentative bite. Despite my disliking pistachio, I feel my stomach flutter immediately. It’s like a little goldfish is swimming in my lower belly. My eyes widen on his.
“What? What?” Knight’s grin might split his face in two.
I’m about to answer him when the event coordinator takes my hand in hers and pulls me toward the stage.
“They’re calling your name. Good luck, Ms. Rexroth!” she says, just as I hear the claps and shouts.
I can also hear some whistling as I stumble to the stage and immediately detect their source. Hunter and Vaughn are sitting in the front row, slung low on their seats with Hunter pumping his fist in the air. Next to them, April, Ryan, and Josh are sitting and staring at me with smiles so big, I know my apology all those months ago was truly accepted.
I flew back to Boon to say goodbye, because I couldn’t fathom the idea of not explaining myself to the people who had changed me so profoundly. Even though April and I had our disagreements, and even though we both did less-than-perfect things, we bridged it out.
And Josh? He’s been dating one of the stable girls for a while now, and it’s getting serious between them.
My counselor Malory is here, too. I kept in contact with her after dropping out. Or, more accurately, she kept in contact with me. She didn’t want to see me crawl back to my old habits, and has been delighted to hear I’ve been doing better than ever.
The event coordinator leads me to a stool in the middle of the stage as the host explains my book. For a minute, I am completely numb. I scan the room, drinking everyone in.
Emilia is smiling at me, a copy of my book in her hand.
Next to her, Uncle Vicious salutes me with a cunning smile.
Dad’s eyes are shining with tears.
Edie is flat-out crying.
Racer, Lev, and Bailey exchange appalled glances. This public display of emotion is not exactly up their alley.
My eyes halt on Dean and Dixie. They sit next to each other, and both look at me intently, ignoring one another. But there’s something there I can’t seem to take my eyes off of: the fact that his pinky finger is almost entwined with hers on the armrest between their seats.
I know Dixie is still wounded and hurt from Knight’s father, although the details of whatever happened have yet to be disclosed.
I know Dean is nowhere near close to moving on from Rosie.
But I also know there’s hope for the both of them, and somehow, that makes me happier for them than I am for me about this book deal.
On her deathbed, Rosie asked me to bring them together, and for the past year, I’ve honored her request: hosting dinner parties, inviting them to restaurants, and making sure they’re around each other, even as the excuses for them to meet up have dwindled and become more and more forced.
Last week, Edie told me she saw them having an ice cream together. A quiet outing. They didn’t speak to each other. They did not hold hands. They simply marveled in the slow, creeping thing called love.
I caress my stomach, put the microphone to my lips, and open my mouth. Feeling the room take a collective breath, I try to hide my mouth with the mic, then start my story from the only beginning that truly mattered. Our beginning.
“It started with an abandoned toddler in a soiled diaper, but the plot twist was a boy with busted knuckles and a heart of gold…”