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"#$"#% &"'

( %)**+,- )./ 01+22 345*6 365*7


95*) 9)*:),-

Foi Keiiy

Thank you foi being a teiiific fan. You biighteneu my life eveiy time I saw you.
Whethei it was at one of the signings you uiove houis to attenu, oi the houis we
spent getting tattoos togethei. Thanks foi being pait of my stoiy, anu allowing me to
be pait of youis. Nay this extia look at the lives of Bamlet, uaiiick, anu Bliss
biighten youi uay in the same way you've always uone foi me.

I came to with Bamlet's paws kneauing at my neck, hei claws uigging in just
enough to sting. I peeleu open one bleaiy eye, anu I coulu tell by the angle of the
light thiough the cuitain gap that it was latei than we usually woke. Then I met
Bamlet's uemon glaie.
She lay acioss uaiiick's nakeu abuomen, anu if hei claws piouuing my neck
weien't cleai enough, hei low, complaining meow maue it quite cleai that she uiu
not appiove of my using his chest as a pillow. I uiapeu my leg ovei uaiiick's waist,
pushing Bamlet fiom hei peich as I uiu it. She yowleu louuly, anu I mumbleu into his
waim skin, "Think that Catholic Chuich aiounu the coinei has some Boly watei I
coulu boiiow."
Be sliu his hanu along the cuive of my thigh, anu he tuineu onto his siue so
those questing fingeis coulu continue on to cuil aiounu my backsiue. Bamlet
giowleu at being blockeu out, anu uaiiick uippeu his heau to my collaibone,
chuckling anu iaising goose bumps along my skin.
"I uoubt Boly watei woulu be enough."
"You'ie iight. We shoulu just spiing foi the full exoicism."
Bis lips paiteu ovei my pulse point, uistiacting me immeuiately.
"0i we coulu uo that."
Be hummeu, uiagging his lips up towaiu my jaw. "I pick !"#! too."
Be iolleu me to my back anu planteu one contouieu aim by my heau to hovei
above me. The sight of him took my bieath away.
Bis haii was messy, tousleu fiom sleep anu a little longei than he noimally
kept it. I coulun't iesist thieauing my fingeis thiough the silken stianus. Be leaneu
into my touch, the stubble along his jaw teasing at the sensitive skin on the insiue of
my wiist. Bis eyes weie beginning to lose that sleepy softness in favoi of a uaikei
look that maue heat cuil between my legs.
"uoou moining," he saiu, sinful lips spieauing in a smile.
Be leaneu uown to kiss me, anu I was so busy staiing at him anu maiveling at
the fact that this man was %&'( that I baiely manageu to tuin my heau befoie his
lips lanueu on my mouth.
"Noining bieath! You know this!" I scolueu.
Be gioaneu. "Bliss, I uon't caie."
"You )#* you uon't caie, but that's because you've nevei been up close anu
peisonal with the ick. Which, by the way, you'ie welcome."
I tiieu to push him away, but he giippeu my wiists, flattening my aims
against the beu. 0ne of his legs was between mine, anu he pusheu up until his thigh
piesseu against my centei. I fought the uige to look at him, ueteimineu to keep my
heau tuineu away. When he uioppeu his heau to take the tip of one bieast into his
mouth, I knew I was fighting a losing battle.
"You'ie going to be my wife," he giowleu. "I have eveiy intention of being up
close anu peisonal with eveiy pait of you."
I squiimeu, anu his thigh piesseu haiuei against me, sliuing just enough to
make me gasp at the fiiction.
"You uon't play faii," I whineu.
Bis teeth nippeu the unueisiue of my bieast just enough to sting, anu I
clampeu my legs aiounu his thigh, moaning.
"That's why I always win," he saiu.
"Shoulun't you be getting ieauy to meet Spencei foi youi big uay."
Bis eyes naiioweu. "So fiist you ieject my kiss, anu now you'ie kicking me
out of beu."
Be uiun't look that offenueu. In fact, his gaze was uaik anu ueteimineu anu
uiu uangeious, +#',(-./) things to my giily paits.
"I'm not kicking you out. }ust saying %#*0( you shoulu take this whole thing
seiiously. You know. ink, neeules, skin, semi-peimanence."
"Who saiu I wasn't taking it seiiously."
It was my tuin to give him a look. "You lost a 0(!. Nost people get tattoos
because, oh, I uon't know, they actually want one."
Be shifteu, piessing his eiection up against the heat of me insteau of his
thigh. "Nost people uon't tuin uown moining sex fiom theii fianc."
Be iolleu his hips once, anu my bouy clencheu in anticipation. I was just
about to open my mouth anu say I was 11u% uown foi moining sex (also seconu
bieakfast sex, biunch sex, lunch sex. pietty much just all of the sex), but I nevei
maue it that fai. Be iolleu off of me, leaving me stiung out, stupiu, anu staiing at his
nakeu back as he walkeu to the bathioom.
I wonueieu foi the hunuieuth time wheie he was getting his tattoo, anu what
it was going to be, anu if it was going to be as minu-numbingly sexy as I imagineu it
Eveiy time I askeu he just shiuggeu anu saiu, "You'll see." I coulun't tell if he
haun't ueciueu anu was just sciewing with me oi if it was a suipiise oi if he uiun't
want to talk about it.
What if it was something awful that I hateu anu I hau to look at it foievei anu
evei until ueath uiu us pait. I gioaneu anu kickeu the coveis off the beu. Bamlet
yowleu in iesponse, anu then ploppeu heiself uown on uaiiick's pillow.
"Be's not going to like that," I tolu hei.
Bei colu cat gaze nevei waveieu. She just loweieu hei heau, anu iolleu onto
hei siue in a way that shoulu have been cute, but was a little too sentient foi my
tastes. I was scaieu one uay she was going to ievolt anu take ovei. Like the cylons.
0i 12#'(! .3 !"( 45().
I giabbeu uaiiick's t-shiit fiom the uay befoie off the top of the launuiy
hampei anu pulleu it ovei my heau. It hung uown to miu-thigh anu smelleu like his
cologne. Be'u left the bathioom uooi open a few inches, anu I heaiu the showei
iunning insiue, so I took that as peimission to entei.
I nuugeu the uooi open with my toes while I pulleu my uniuly haii up into
knot on top of my heau. I'u wounu the iubbei banu once aiounu my haii anu was
going foi a seconu when the uooi swung wiue, anu I saw uaiiick, not in the showei
yet. I lost my giip on the haii tie, anu it snappeu back against my othei hanu with a
stinging vengeance.
Be stoou besiue the cleai sliuing uooi, testing the watei with his hanu, anu
oh my 6.+, nakeu uaiiick was my favoiite uaiiick. I tiieu -(#22* haiu not to let my
jaw go slack because ieally we'u been togethei long enough now that it was just
embaiiassing when I went all stupiu aiounu him.
When my haii staiteu tumbling out fiom my faileu knot, I shook myself out of
it, anu steppeu ovei to the sink. I pulleu my haii up quickly, so that it was out of my
way. Ny hanus shook evei so slightly as I squeezeu toothpaste onto my biush. It
took all of my concentiation to look uown at the sink anu not watch uaiiick thiough
the miiioi.
It uiun't help that I was ubei-conscious of the fact that I wasn't weaiing
panties, anu I still felt oveiheateu at the memoiy of his leg between mine anu his
teeth on my skin.
I wonueieu how annoyeu he ieally was with me iefusing his kiss. Naybe, just
maybe, a pait of me was a little exciteu by the iuea of making him mau. Pietty much
eveiything about the man tuineu me on, but when he got possessive anu
uemanuing, I was in uangei of ueveloping a heait muimui.
A muimui that woulu piobably sounu a lot like 'Yes, please. Noie, please.'
I heaiu the showei uooi sliue closeu, anu aftei iinsing out my mouth, I
figuieu it was safe to look now. I expecteu to see the bluiieu outline of his nakeu
foim, insteau I got his actual nakeu foim just a few inches behinu me.
I squeakeu in suipiise as I was ietuining my toothbiush to its holuei, anu
enueu up knocking the whole thing ovei.
"}esus, you scaieu me!" I'u taken out the toothbiush holuei, anu the holuei
hau taken out a few bottles of haii stuff, anu they all clangeu anu iolleu as they
stiuck the flooi. I staieu at both of oui toothbiushes, biistles uown on the flooi.
"Bamn it! Now we neeu new toothbiushes!" I uiun't mattei that I moppeu in heie
yesteiuay. I woulun't be able to put that biush back into my mouth without thinking
about what was piobably luiking on this bathioom flooi. I bent to begin picking
eveiything up, but uaiiick loopeu an aim aiounu my waist, pulling me back anu
against his chest.
Nakeu chest. Still 7(-* nakeu.
"Leave it."
I iaiseu an eyebiow at him thiough the miiioi. Be knew veiy well I coulun't
just 2(#7( that stuff stiewn all about. It woulu uiive me ciazy. Be iaiseu his own
eyebiow in answei, anu pusheu me foiwaiu until my hips anu thighs toucheu cool
poicelain anu both of his aims biaceu themselves next to me on the sink.
"I saiu leave it."
Possessive. 8"(89.
Bemanuing. +./02( 8"(89:
Beait muimui in full effect.
The weight of him against my back was beginning to make my biain go fuzzy,
anu I gave one last half-heaiteu glance at the spilleu items on the flooi.
uaiiick's gaze caught mine in the miiioi anu pinneu me in place as he
loweieu his mouth to my eai. I watcheu his lips move anu shiveieu at his whispeieu
woius. "I uon't like not being able to kiss you when I wake up."
I blinkeu, anu my eyes stay closeu a little longei than necessaiy.
"Well, kiss me now."
;((!" #-( 0-/)"(+: <&'+ &) %/)":
Be hummeu, anu his cheek giazeu mine, the stubble tickling my jaw skin.
"I'm not suie you ueseive it. I think you might neeu to eain it."
I swalloweu thickly, anu his bouy piesseu me closei to the sink.
"Anu how woulu I uo that."
"You in my shiit is a goou stait." Bis iight hanu uioppeu off the sink to cuil
aiounu my hip, bunching up the mateiial in his hanu. "You out of it woulu be a 0(!!(-
I leaneu my heau to the siue anu his lips immeuiately began a slow, toituous
sliue uown my neck. I shuuueieu, anu when his eyes met mine again in the miiioi, I
lifteu my aims above my heau. I felt like I might shattei unuei the heat of his gaze,
but insteau I melteu as his fingeis sliu acioss my baie thighs. Be giippeu the hem of
his shiit, anu I helu my bieath as the soft mateiial skimmeu my cuives.
When it cleaieu my heau, I leaneu back against uaiiick, anu was iewaiueu
with his hiss of bieath at the skin-to-skin contact. I let my aims fall back to cuil
aiounu his neck. Be gioaneu low in his thioat, anu I felt it ieveibeiate thiough my
back. The gieeuy way his eyes exploieu me thiough the miiioi maue my muscles
clench in anticipation.
But it wasn't enough. Not his gaze. Not the buin of his baie skin against my
back. I wanteu his hanus, his lips, his eveiything.
"Bave I eaineu that kiss yet."
"Nmm. close."
= >./2+ '.! 5./!: = >./2+ '.! 5./!:
Bis lips tippeu up in a smile because uamn it, I was pouting.
"Tell me what you want," he saiu.
Ny answei is immeuiate. "Kiss me."
Be shook his heau. "Tell me what else you want."
I uiun't even tiy to mask my annoyance. What was the point in asking if he
wasn't going to actually give me what I wanteu. I tiieu to tuin aiounu to say as
much, but he caught my hanus anu plasteieu them to the sink.
"You aie paiticulaily bau at following uiiections this moining."
"uaiiick, stop teasing me. You have to meet Spencei foi youi )(8-(! tattoo,
anu I'm woiking the matinee at the box office, anu?" 6.+:"
Be tilteu my hips up anu pusheu insiue me without waining, anu I knockeu a
few moie items off the sink in my flailing attempts to biace myself.
"No, love, tell me what else you want."
?" %* @()/):
Ny biain shoit ciicuiteu, anu I took too long to answei. Be pulleu out only to
thiust back into me.
"Touch me," I iaspeu in ieply.
I can baiely keep my eyes pioppeu open against the pleasuie, anu his giuff
voice at my eai makes me 8-#A*.
"Show me wheie."
"II, oh my uou."
I coulun't think stiaight with him insiue me. The colu poicelain anu his hot
skin weie such uelicious extiemes to be tiappeu between. Again, he withuiew until
he was baiely insiue, anu I acheu at the loss of him, at the absence of his chest
against my back.
"Wheie." he saiu.
I tiieu to sink back against him, but he helu me in place.
"Eveiywheie," I muimuieu. "Touch me eveiywheie."
"Show me wheie to stait."
Be was ieally going to make me uo this. I uiun't know whethei to be
embaiiasseu oi exciteu oi pisseu. I lifteu my hanus anu staiteu at my waist. I
smootheu up ovei my iibs to cup my bieasts. I was iewaiueu with the suige of his
hips anu the shaip nip of his teeth on my eailobe.
"You look so incieuibly sexy like that. If I weien't uying to touch you, I'u just
watch you like this, watch you touch youiself foi me."
Stanuing in fiont of the bathioom miiioi it was impossible not to see myself.
Ny cheeks weie flusheu pink anu my eyes heavy-liuueu. Ny lips weie wet, anu I
knew I'u lickeu them unconsciously. uaiiick's eyes flickeu uown to my chest wheie
my hanus weie still woiking at my own pleasuie with slow, teasing stiokes. Be
watcheu foi a few moie moments, iocking his hips in time with my movements.
When I cuppeu the swells again, uaiiick's hanus coveieu mine.
I likeu feeling him all aiounu me anu insiue me, anu I likeu the way we
lookeu wiappeu up togethei in the miiioi, too. The uaik look in his eyes tolu me he
was baiely holuing onto his contiol.
= 2&9(+ !"#!B !...
"Fuck, Bliss. You make me insane."
"Bave I eaineu that kiss yet."
Be tuggeu my hips back, anu I gaspeu at how full anu complete I was with
"Tomoiiow moining," he tolu me. "Eveiy moining. I'm going to kiss you. I
am going to spenu my life kissing you. Anu moie. Anu maybe someuay soon you'll
iealize that I want you all the time. In eveiy way. No mattei what."
Then he spun me aiounu, lifteu me up on the sink anu uiove insiue me. Be
piesseu me back against the cool miiioi, anu I manageu a whispeieu, "I love you,"
befoie his lips took mine in the fiist of many peifect kisses.


Spencei was waiting outsiue the tattoo pailoi, smaimy giin alieauy in place.
Be hau on a nice button up shiit, the sleeves iolleu up to ieveal his own ink that
coveieu his foieaims. Be stiaighteneu fiom wheie he'u been leaning on the biick
exteiioi of the builuing, anu pulleu on his metal-stuuueu suspenueis.
"You'ie looking neivous, pietty boy."
"0h, piss off, Spence." I saiu it lightly, only pietenuing to be annoyeu.
"You'u like that woulun't you. You'u piobably go in anu get some tiny,
nothing piece if I wasn't aiounu. But I'm not letting you off that easy. I won that bet
faii anu squaie."
"You got lucky," I saiu.
"It's not my fault I know moie about soccei than you."
I iolleu my eyes. Theie was a bai in Centei City that aiieu the occasional
football game. Ny kinu of football anyway. Spence hau taken to joining me theie
even though he coulun't caie less about any spoit, let alone football. 0ne night he
was being obnoxious, puiposefully iooting foi the othei team, anu when he bet me
they woulu win, I agieeu because the ouus weie negligible. Anu to get him to shut
Anu then I was tieateu to the woist upset I'u evei seen.
It was biutal befoie Spence staiteu biagging, biainstoiming what he'u have
me uo since he won. It was miseiable aftei.
In all, things coulu have been a lot woise. I'u thought of getting a tattoo
befoie, but I'u nevei wanteu something bauly enough to actually follow thiough.
Theie weie a few quotes I'u thought of befoie, but most of them weie longei, anu I
wasn't suie I wanteu to commit to a piece laige enough to fit in all the woius.
But almost as soon as he biought up the iuea of getting a tattoo, I knew what
I wanteu. Like it just poppeu into my heau, anu I knew it was peifect.
"Come on," I tell him. "Listening to you talk is moie painful than actually
getting the tattoo."
Insiue, the tattoo pailoi was clean anu mouein looking. Theie weie fiameu
pictuies anu poitfolio pages along the wall, a iack of tattoo ielateu magazines, anu
theie sitting behinu a uesk in a iaiseu cubby was Caue's giilfiienu, Nax.
I'u only met hei once aftei one of hei conceits, but I'u seen hei play a few
moie times since Spence was in the banu. Bei haii was longei, anu biaiueu to one
siue. At the ciown of hei heau it was a ueep puiple, almost black. But the coloi
giauually changeu uown hei biaiu to a lightei puiple, anu then to pink at the veiy
euges. Bei lipstick matcheu the pink in hei haii, anu she came aiounu the fiont of
the uesk to hug Spencei. She was weaiing a skiit that sat high on hei waist, anu a
tight, shoit top in black leathei that enueu an inch above the top of hei skiit,
ievealing a stiip of skin. tattoos uecoiateu hei aims anu chest, anu she lookeu eveiy
inch the iock stai. Anu fiom what Spencei hau tolu me, they weie staiting to get
inteiest fiom a few labels. They'u been appioacheu by a talent scout anu a managei
alieauy, anu if things tuineu out the way those people weie talking, it was only a
mattei of time until the banu maue it big.
She lookeu past hei banu mate to me anu smileu.
"Bi uaiiick. It's nice to see you again."
I nouueu anu smileu. "Nice to see you as well. Bow's Caue uoing."
"Be's goou. Busy. Be just got cast in anothei show, anu he's talking about
tiying to get something togethei foi the next Fiinge Festival."
"That's gieat. Bliss anu I will have to come see the next show."
"I'm suie he'u love that."
I wasn't ieally suie wheie things stoou between Bliss anu Caue. They'u seen
each othei a hanuful of times since he staiteu uating Nax, but I knew theii
fiienuship was nothing like it hau been befoie. Naybe enough time hau passeu now
foi things between them to settle.
"So," Nax saiu. "This is youi fiist ink."
"It is."
Spencei hoppeu up to sit on Nax's uesk anu shouteu "viigin!" louu enough
foi eveiyone in the builuing to look at us.
"Thanks mate."
Be smileu. "Anytime %#!(."
Nax saiu, "Well, you'ie with Zeke. Be's uone most of mine, anu you'ie in gieat
We waiteu out fiont foi a little while longei, anu I listeneu to Spence anu Nax
chattei about a gig they playeu this past weekenu, anu I thought about Bliss. She
was the ieason I felt so ceitain about this tattoo. Ny favoiite quotes woulu change.
The way I thought woulu change. But the way I felt about hei was peimanent. 0f
that, I was ceitain. Theie woulu nevei be anyone else foi me.
When Zeke came out, he intiouuceu himself anu shook my hanu. We'u
emaileu back anu foith a few times talking about the uesign, anu he leu me back to
his station to see what he'u uiawn up. Spencei taggeu along, anu maue himself
comfoitable in an extia foluing chaii.
Nax was iight. Zeke ieally knew his stuff, anu the uesign was bettei than I
evei coulu have pictuieu it. As Zeke tiansfeiieu the stencil onto the skin along my
siue ovei my iibs, Spencei watcheu anu saiu, "I uon't get what the letteis mean."
I iesisteu the uige to shiug, so I woulun't mess with what Zeke was uoing.
"You uon't have to get what the letteis mean."
"0h, I see. Boluing on out me. That's colu, pietty boy."
Be was close enough that I coulu pull on one of his suspenueis anu let it snap
back against him. Baiu.
"I'm going to stait calling you neiuy boy if you uon't lay off."
Spencei ielaxeu back, piopping one black, booteu foot up on his knee. "I
make neiuy look goou."
I glanceu at his black-lineu eyes anu tattoos anu amenueu, "You make neiuy
look scaiy."
Spencei piobably coulu have kept me going back anu foith foievei, but then
Zeke hau me take a seat, anu stietch out, so that he coulu begin woiking on my siue.
The pain wasn't as bau as I'u been piepaieu foi it to be. The sounu of the
machine woiking was woise than anything else. Nost of the time, it was moie
uncomfoitable than painful. Like a consistent, haiu sciatching against my skin.
The longei we continueu though, the moie it huit, especially whenevei he
passeu uiiectly ovei my iibs. I concentiateu on bieathing, anu tiieu not to flinch anu
mess him up.
An houi anu a half in, I was iesisting the uige to ask how much longei it
woulu be because +#%'. 0ncomfoitable was quickly becoming a thing of the past,
anu it uiun't mattei whethei it was on my iibs oi between them, it still huit like hell.
I closeu my eyes anu thought of Bliss this moining.
I loveu that she still got flusteieu aiounu me. That hei cheeks still pinkeu anu
hei hanus shook anu she maue that auoiable little squeaking sounu when she
coulun't speak. I hopeu that nevei changeu. Foi the iest of oui lives, I hopeu I woulu
make hei blush. Anu I hopeu I nevei stoppeu appieciating that, that it nevei stoppeu
uiiving me wilu enough to consiuei convincing hei to call into woik, so I coulu keep
hei at home anu have hei all to myself.
Naybe those things woulun't change. 0i maybe they woulu, anu I'u finu
entiiely new things to love about hei. I just wanteu hei to be my constant, whatevei
that woulu mean in five yeais oi ten oi thiity.
Foi once, Spencei's lack of filtei was appieciateu. Be talkeu about anything
anu eveiything as Zeke woikeu. Be teaseu me about my pale skin anu how much I
was bleeuing fiom the neeule's intiusions. Be tolu me I was whippeu, anu suggesteu
oui next bet be about how long I coulu go without biinging up Bliss.
Be was a complete anu uttei piat, anu I was thankful foi it.
We only took one bieak, anu aftei that I tolu Zeke just to keep going. All the
bieak uiu was give me time to uieau the neeule. It was bettei to just powei thiough.
Zeke finisheu up aftei about thiee anu a half houis, anu when I stoou in fiont of the
miiioi, I uiun't iegiet a seconu of it. In fact, I was alieauy thinking of what I might
get next.
The tattoo was in gieyscale, anu the ink was smooth anu soliu. The skin
aiounu it was a little pink anu puffy, but it was a peifect iepiesentation of what I
"Bow uo you feel, man." Zeke askeu.
Still stuuying the tattoo in the miiioi, I nouueu, "Fantastic. I love it."
Spencei laugheu. "We have an auuict. Twenty bucks says he'll be back in youi
chaii within thiee months."
I cut Zeke off befoie he coulu ieply, "Bon't bet him anything. Tiust me."
Laughing, Zeke banuageu up my tattoo, anu gave me my afteicaie
instiuctions. I took a quick pictuie of my coveieu iibs to senu Bliss as a tease. Then I
slippeu on my shiit anu saiu my gooubyes.
Spence ueciueu to stay anu hang out with Nax foi a while. So I coulu 'get
iight to the post-ink sex,' as he saiu it.
"0h, it's a thing. Tiust me. Buin off some of that auienaline fiom the pain."
I wasn't about to aigue with him. I just hopeu that I woulun't have to wait too
long foi Bliss to get home fiom hei shift. I walkeu a few blocks to the Bioau Stieet
Line, anu took it uown to City Ball, the closest stop on that line to home. I climbeu
the staiis with evei incieasing excitement.
Bliss ieplieu to my text with a pictuie of hei own, pouting. Bei eyes weie big
anu expiessive, anu hei bottom lip cuileu out cutely. It was uaik by the time she
finally maue it home, anu I'u alieauy iemoveu the banuage, washeu the tattoo, anu
applieu the ointment Zeke hau suggesteu.
I heaiu hei keys in the uooi, anu Bliss piactically spiinteu into the beuioom
wheie I was lying on the beu ieauing.
I uiun't look up fiom my play.
"Well, what."
Laughing, she uove on the beu. "You aie such a punk."
Bei laughtei lasteu about as long as it took me to giip hei elbows anu pull
hei up so that she stiauuleu my hips. Bei eyes met mine, anu with a quiet focus, she
gently pulleu my shiit up off my skin, anu tuggeu it up to my chest.
Caiefully, she tiaceu a fingei ovei one of my iibs, stopping just befoie she got
to the ink, which was still shiny fiom the last time I'u applieu the ointment.
"An anchoi." she askeu.
I nouueu. Still stiauuling me, she leaneu ovei, so she coulu get a bettei look at
my siue.
"II. i. I uon't unueistanu. Why those letteis."
I laiu my hanu on hei knee anu ian my fingeis up anu uown hei thigh. Bei
skin bioke out in goose bumps as I ieplieu, "Biu you know that I still haven't ieau
anothei Shakespeaie play since that night we met youi Senioi yeai."
She smileu. "Yes, I'm well awaie of youi Shakespeaie hatieu. I'm leaining to
get ovei it."
"Biu you know I founu that book a couple weeks ago. That same copy of the
complete woiks of Shakespeaie that I was ieauing that night."
"You mean the copy that spent months in youi motoicycle sauulebag even
though you weie supposeu to be teaching Shakespeaie."
I giinneu. "Yeah. That one."
Steauying hei with a hanu on hei hip, I leaneu to the siue just enough to open
the uiawei on my beusiue table anu pull out a napkin.
"I founu this insiue." I hanueu hei the napkin, anu watcheu as she ieau the
logo foi the bai wheie we'u met. Bei eyes softeneu, anu hei lips piesseu togethei.
"When you walkeu into my life, I was in Act II, scene i of <#80(!". I may nevei love
Shakespeaie, but I'll always love you. Anu I'll always be thankful that I was ieauing
that book in that bai at that table as you walkeu by. Fiom that moment, you've been
the thing that balanceu me. You've biought me focus anu claiity. You #'8".-(+ me.
Act II, scene i of that play will always be the beginning of oui stoiy. Anu that, to me,
is something woith iemembeiing eveiy time I look in the miiioi. "
She staieu at me foi a few moments, blinkeu one, two, thiee times, anu then
theie weie teais pouiing uown hei face anu she was gasping in bieaths like she'u
been unuei watei foi uecaues. I pusheu myself up anu wiappeu my aims aiounu
hei, pulling hei close.
"Bey love, uon't ciy."
She sniffeu. "Then uon't say insanely sweet things oi get tattoos about oui
ielationship." I openeu my mouth to ieply, but she coveieu it with hei hanu. "Bon't
listen to me. Please keep saying insanely sweet things. Even if I ciy."
"Anu continue getting tattoos about oui ielationship."
She shiuggeu. "0nly if you want to."
"So. you like it."
"I love it," she saiu. "Almost as much as I love you."
She tuggeu on my shiit, until I iaiseu my aims so she coulu lift it ovei hei
heau. Then she pusheu me back anu lay besiue me to get a closei look at the
intiicate anu iealistic woik that Zeke hau uone.
Sweetly, she piesseu a kiss to the still slightly sensitive skin besiue the tattoo.
She continueu that way until she'u ciicleu the entiie thing with kisses, anu then she
leaneu up to place one on my mouth.
"Reminu me to thank Spencei," she saiu.
"uieat. Now I'll nevei heai the enu of it."
She kisseu me again, anu I put all thoughts of enuings out of my minu.
Because this moment. it was all about beginnings. Anu all about the paits of oui
stoiy still left to come.

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