The Moon Also Rises - Bonus Scenes
The following is a three-chapter bonus scene from The Moon Also Rises, my spicy MM romcom that is available here. It's highly recommended you read the book first before diving into these as not a lot will make sense. Please also note that these scenes contain graphic sexual content and are intended for an 18+ audience.
If you have read the book, these scenes begin just as Rami and Jake walk back into the courtyard at Jake's 40th birthday party...
Chapter One - Jake
As we walk back into the courtyard, it feels like Rami is holding not only my hand, but also my heart.
I've heard a few of my friends talk about when they have children, it's like your heart moves out of your body and exists outside of yourself for the rest of your days and although this dynamic is very, very different, I can relate. I know I have given this man my heart, and I know I will continue to do so until he no longer wants it. But knowing he wants it right now, knowing he has promised to take care of it, that is the sweetest, most soothing reward for any fear or discomfort I feel at the risk, at carving my heart out and giving it to him. I still feel the fear - we have so much to talk about, so much to think about and work hard on in order to make this last - but I know I can feel the fear and still love Rami. Fear is no longer a stumbling block for me. It's just a fact of life.
Blinking at the fairy lights that seem to shine a little brighter above us now, the courtyard comes into focus as I take a few steps, holding Rami's hand behind my back as he follows. It's difficult to lock eyes with any one person - I'm surrounded by a sea of people I care about - but when my gaze lands on Jenna who is standing with Marty, his arm over her shoulders, it stays there. My sister blinks and nods at me slowly and I feel exactly what she's trying to portray; pride, love, joy. I then know exactly who I want to speak to first and I search the crowd for him.
I find my father not too far from where I left him near the bar. He's been reunited with Carol and they both stand to the side, sipping their drinks and looking a little uncertain and sheepish but strangely enough, not completely out of place. Gently tugging on Rami's hand I tilt my head towards where I want to go and without words, he seems to understand. He gives me a quick nod and we start to walk again.
"Dad, I'd like you to meet Rami, my boyfriend," I say with a voice that rises high out of my puffed-out chest. "Rami, this is Malcolm, my father."
My father blinks once then holds out his hand. "Pleasure to meet you, Rami. That was quite an entrance," he says.
Rami laughs shyly as he shakes Dad's hand. "You have to make a lot of noise to get Jake's attention sometimes," he says but quickly adds. "But he's totally worth it."
My father's smile is awkward but polite. "I didn't know you were seeing anyone," he says to me.
Biting back the urge to tell him that that's because he never called to ask, I just stretch my face into a smile. "It's a long story, but maybe we'll come up at Christmas and tell you all about it?"
"Christmas?" My father's eyes search my face for a moment. "You'd both like to come up for Christmas?"
"Well, I haven't asked Rami yet but considering it's my birthday today I think he has to say yes so let's ask him now." I turn to Rami who has the same silly smile on his face I imagine I do. "Rami, would you like to spend Christmas in Edinburgh with my father and Carol?"
"I'd love to," Rami confirms and whatever it was inside me that was already fizzing, now bubbles up a little more ferociously. I know we have a long, long way to go before we get to December, but I sure as hell want to break my back trying to make it work, and I'm not just thinking about all the fucking we'll do as part of the process.
Okay, maybe I am thinking about that part quite a bit.
"That's a date then," Carol says with more delight than I expect. "I'm Carol, Malcom's wife," she extends her palm to Rami who takes it. They begin making small talk and I turn back to my father.
"I'm happy you found someone," Dad says and I bristle a little at the words and his tone - it's so clearly hard for him to express any sort of emotion - but I push it to one side.
"I'm happy I found Rami," I say because that is the accurate truth. "Have you spoken to Jenna yet?"
I am hesitant to say more because I don't even know if my father is aware she is pregnant. It wouldn't surprise me if he didn't know. As if she senses we are talking about her, Jenna appears out of the corner of my eye, with Marty and Maeve trailing behind her.
"Hey, Dad," she says.
"Jenna," my father says and it could be my imagination but he straightens up a little. "Hello, Marty."
Marty steps forward to shake my father's hand. "Good to see you, Malcolm. Can I introduce my sister to you? This is Maeve," he makes space for Maeve to also shake Dad's hand.
"Maeve," Dad nods. "Nice to meet you."
As Carol then leans in to greet Marty and Maeve, I catch Jenna's eye. There passes a number of ridiculous looks between us in which my eyes bob up and down from her face to her stomach, and then towards our father, all while my eyebrows dance as I try to determine if Dad knows about her pregnancy. Thankfully, Jenna is quick on the uptake and shakes her head, with a secretive smile.
"Dad, Carol," Jenna says a little louder to get their attention. "Marty and I have some news."
"Oh?" Dad adjusts the collar of his shirt as if he's suddenly even more uncomfortable than he already was a moment ago.
"I'm pregnant. We're expecting a baby in March next year," Jenna says as her eyes travel up to Marty's whose smile is positively obscene.
For a few seconds nobody speaks and the sounds of the party fill the air. I'm about to open my mouth, compelled to ease the awkward silence with a witty retort, as I often am, but my father speaks first.
"But you're too old!" He booms.
Everybody shifts as they react to his distaste and I swear I hear Maeve mutter "Jesus fucken Christ" next to me. I'm reminded how Rami and I are still holding hands when I feel him squeeze my knuckles.
"Malcolm," Carol says and her hand lands on her husband's arm. "Congratulations Jenna, Marty." She adds tersely. "That's lovely news."
Jenna's smile definitely has cracks in it as she and Marty stand a little closer together. "Well, despite my ancient ovaries, it's happened, Dad."
"Yes, I'm sorry, I'm just... surprised."
"Well, if you'd stayed in touch a bit more you'd know we've been trying for over a year now." Jenna says and I'm peculiarly a little envious of how bitter she sounds. That's usually my job.
Marty bends to kiss the top of Jenna's head and Maeve moves to stand next to Jenna on her other side, lacing her fingers with my sister's.
Everybody is surprised when Rami speaks next. "Congratulations on your first grandchild, Malcolm," he says smoothly and I have to bite back the grin it prompts.
Malcolm looks at Rami, a little stunned. "Er, yes, thank you."
"Do you know what your name will be yet?" I ask off the back of Rami's comment. "Granddad? Grandpa? Pops?"
"I quite like Pops," Carol says with possibly forced joviality.
"I haven't really ever thought about it," Dad splutters.
"Well you've got another six months to think about it," Jenna adds levelly.
Dad closes his eyes as he swallows. "Congratulations, Jenna, I'm sorry I said that. I just didn't know... I've read things about older mothers and I just... I worry about you."
Jenna and I share a look when he says that and I see the moment where doubt creeps into her eyes but when I smile at her reassuringly, she shakes it off and plasters a grin on her face.
"I understand, Dad, but we will do everything we can to make sure the baby is healthy and happy," she says.
"And Jenna too," Marty adds and his tone is sincere if also sharp-edged. "We'll not be doing anything that could put Jenna in danger."
"My mother was in her forties when she had my youngest sister," Rami speaks up and I could shove my tongue down his throat in that very moment to thank him. In fact, I certainly will at the soonest possible opportunity. "It all went completely fine. And my sister couldn't be more perfect."
"Thank you, Rami," Jenna says in little more than a whisper and I think Marty possibly just fluttered his eyelashes at my boyfriend.
"Okay, that's enough," I hold up my free hand. "I am not having an unborn fetus steal anymore of my thunder at my own birthday party. God knows they are going to get all the attention when they're born too. Greedy thing."
"Watch it, Sweet Cheeks. That's my kid, you're bitching about," Marty playfully thumps my shoulder.
"He's got a point," Maeve says looking at Jenna's stomach with a small smile. "This child is going to get spoiled rotten."
"By you," Marty points his finger at his sister.
"Maybe," Maeve shrugs.
"By all of us," my father's voice rises awkwardly. Both my head and Jenna's turn to him in the same moment.
"Well, I'd like to have a hug and say congratulations before the spotlight goes back on you, Birthday Boy," Rami says and he releases my hand so Jenna can step into his embrace.
As they hug, Marty steps up to me. "Are you okay, Sweet Cheeks? That was quite a performance your man put on for you."
I know it's Irish slang, "your man", but God, it sends all manner of thrills up and down my body thinking about exactly that. Rami really is my man.
"I'm good," I say. "It was a little overwhelming but if anyone knows how to manage unexpected drama, it's me."
"I thought it was so fucking romantic," Maeve adds and she has a funny look on her face, like she's thinking about something else a long way from where we stand.
"Yes, how did he even organise that?" I wonder out loud.
"He managed to get my number from his manager in LA," Maeve explains. "And then it was up to Jenna to contact everyone else. Rami recorded a video of the dance moves and sent it to us all. We had a week to practise."
"And practise, we did," Marty nods. "I swear our neighours think we've been trying to summon MJ's spirit from the dead the number of times we've played P.Y.T. this last week."
"It's better than the usual noises they hear coming from our place," Jenna mumbles into her drink possibly louder than she intends.
"I appreciate all your effort," Rami says but his eyes are on me.
"And it seems like it paid off," Marty comments with a note of hesitation.
I purse my lips to one side. "Well, I do need someone to hold my drink tonight."
Rami's elbow nudges into my side. "I'll hold more than that given half a chance," he says leaning in my ear so only I can hear.
"Ugh, not another loved-up couple to curdle my stomach," Maeve tuts as she pulls out her phone.
Jenna pulls away from Marty and loops her arm in Maeve's. "Come on you. Let's go eat more of those teeny tiny baby quiches."
"They're called canapés!" I call out to their backs.
"Seriously, Sweet Cheeks," Marty moves to stand directly in front of me and he places both his hands on the sides of my face and squeezes hard enough to squash my cheeks. If I didn't love the Irish rascal as much as I did I'd bat his hands away but I can see his love for me swimming in his dark eyes. "You fucken deserve this. This party, with everyone celebrating you. The dancing and the singing. The extremely good looking man with truly magical eyes. The way I practically dislocated a hip trying to moonwalk and still failed. The way everybody is here because they love you."
"Marty, I really don't want to cry. I used a little mascara tonight," I pull my lips into my mouth.
"And it's not waterproof? Rookie mistake, my friend," Marty's smile beams at me before kissing my forehead in a way that should irritate me but it doesn't. I love it. I lean into it. And when he lets me go I smile at Ram whose eyes I know haven't left me in the longest time.
"Malcolm, let me buy you a drink," Marty says as he moves away from me.
"I believe it's a free bar," my father replies.
"Even better!" Marty declares as he claps Dad on the back and places his other hand behind Carol to guide them to the bar.
And then it's just Rami and me.
"You are so loved, Jake," Rami moves to face me and his other hand reaches for me.
"You heard him, it's a free bar," I shrug, but a coy smile pulls at my lips regardless.
Rami's eyes level on me and he looks unexpectedly serious for a moment. "I know we're not going to get much time alone tonight but I really wanted to-"
"Well, if it isn't Michael Jackson and... what was the name of his monkey?" Luigi's voice fills our ears and he and Lionel step up into our peripheral vision.
"Bubbles, and it was a chimpanzee," Lionel says carefully. "Although I really don't think it's fair to call Jake that on his birthday."
"Sorry, old boy," Luigi nudges me and I notice the same sheen in his eyes he had when he hit the wine a little hard at dinner that time. "My point was it's good to see you both, together."
Lionel leans in a little closer. "Assuming you are... together."
Suddenly empty of any kind of sarcasm or admonishment, I look at Rami as I speak. "We are together."
"Yippee do dah ding dong day!" Lionel claps his hands together once.
"Good for you both," Luigi puts his arm around his husband's shoulders and I could be wrong but it looks like he leans a decent chunk of his body weight on Lionel.
"I knew it wasn't the end," Lionel says with a knowing smile.
"No, it's just the beginning," Rami says and he brings my hands up to his lips and kisses my knuckles again and again.
"Jesus," I whisper as my insides melt.
"So in conclusion," Luigi leans towards us both, definitely applying more weight to Lionel who stumbles a little under the pressure. "That was the best worst fake dating in the history of fake dating?"
"Oh, don't give me a complex about not being good at something else," I wave my hand at them and am about to launch into a story about how I nearly blew the whole thing by blurting out the truth to Lionel's mother at the wedding, but Luigi lunges forward and it takes both Lionel and Rami to stop him falling.
"He seems a bit drunk... again," Rami says.
"Oh crab apples, I swear he doesn't have a drinking problem," Lionel explains as he and Rami straighten Luigi up. "He just finished this new juice diet and I told him to have a piece of toast before coming out but he wouldn't listen to me and instead insisted I took countless photos of the extra definition in his V-cut..."
"I'm fine!" Luigi declares although his eyes don't quite fully open. "And you really should see my V..."
Luigi's hands come to his trousers, but my attention is somewhat miraculously pulled away from him and towards Dove and Dana who are on the approach both boasting almost rabid-looking grins.
"Go," Rami says to me noticing where I'm looking. "I'll help Lionel find a place for Luigi to sit down and then I'll come and find you. And maybe we can go somewhere quiet because I really do want to tell you something."
I nod at him, curiosity sharpening inside me, and then turn to my oldest friends.
"My Double Ds!"
"Jakey!" They chorus and pounce on me.
"I can't believe he pulled that off!" Dana declares as she pulls away. "He fucking organised a flashmob dance for you and it worked. We rocked it! Do you know how insane that is?"
"You can pipe down," I tell her. "Javier bought you a yacht for your five-year wedding anniversary."
Dana shrugs it off. "Ugh, I hate sailing. Get very seasick. But public displays of dancing? Now that's my love language!"
"To be honest, it would terrify me. Any kind of big declaration of love like that," Dove shudders.
I level my gaze on her. "Doesn't your wife have a tattoo of your namesake bird over the top of her heart?"
Dove's smile is dreamy as she nods. "Oh, yeah. She does."
"Well, would you just look at us all finding ourselves true fucking love!" Dana shouts which makes me realise the music has also been turned up, meaning it's gone nine o'clock. She pulls Dove and I back into another embrace and over Dana's shoulder I look for Rami. I only have a few seconds to be disappointed that I can't see him because I spot Rami's sisters sitting alone on the opposite side of the courtyard and I instantly want to go speak to them.
After excusing myself from Dana and Dove, I manage to dodge the other party-goers who try to get my attention and walk up to Radia and Roxie.
"Hello you two," I say as I grab a chair and sit next to them.
"Happy birthday, Jake!" Roxie says excitedly and I thank her.
"I hope you don't mind us being here," Radia leans in, her elbows on her knees.
"I'm delighted you're here. You've made my night by being here," I say.
"Don't let our brother hear you say that. I suspect he thinks he's made your night by showing up, dancing like an idiot and I hope, grovelling a lot," Radia says.
"He did indeed grovel quite proficiently," I confirm.
"As he should."
"Are you boyfriends now?" Roxie asks like she's been sitting on that question all night.
"We are boyfriends now."
Roxana claps her hands together and I almost do the same. It is exactly how I feel about the turn of events.
"I'm going to text Mama and tell her," Radia pulls her phone out of her pocket.
"Wait?" I hold my hand out. "Your mother... knows?"
Radia nods. "He came out just before he went back to LA. Told her everything and how he was going to try and get you back."
Just when I thought my heart couldn't stretch and swell anymore, it expands a little bit more.
"Well, he's got me. Could you also tell your mother we'll see her next Sunday," I say to Radia who is typing on her phone.
Both of Rami's sisters eyes dart up to me. "You'll come up with him?" Roxie asks.
"Try and stop me." I nod and then I feel a warm presence surround me, coming from behind me. I turn and see Rami step up to stand next to me and a second later I feel his hands on my shoulders.
"Whatever they're saying, it's not true," he teases.
"It was me talking, actually," I turn to look up at him, enjoying this perspective far too much. Oh, why can't we just go upstairs right now?
"You know that doesn't really surprise me," Rami squeezes my shoulders so I know he's joking.
"I told Radia and Roxie that we'll both be at your mum's next Sunday, for the usual visit."
"We will?" Rami questions and then after he sees my expression he speaks again with affirmation. "We will. Now, Roxie, Radia, if you'll excuse us, I would like to have a quick word with Jake before he gets swallowed back up into the party."
"That's fine," Radia says standing up. "Roxie has been begging me to dance for the last three songs and I finally approve of this song."
I know I'm flying so ridiculously high in a love bubble that her clear disdain for my carefully crafted selection of songs doesn't bother me in the slightest.
I stand as Radia and Roxana leave and then turn to Rami, unable to choose what I want more; to listen to what he wants to say or to lock his mouth against mine.
"So, Jake, we have a lot to talk about and I don't want to get into too heavy things right now but..."
"I knew it! I fucking knew it!" A voice booms and I am nearly knocked over by a strong arm hitting my back. Rami jolts forward at the same time and we both turn to look at the culprit attacking us. It's Sharon.
"Didn't I tell you, Kate!" She continues as her wife comes to stand on the opposite side of us.
Ignoring Sharon I bend to kiss Kate on both cheeks. She's looking as elegant as ever in a full-length sleeveless black dress that clings to her slim body and her black hair is piled up on top of her head adding a little extra height to her petite frame.
"Happy birthday, you," she says fondly. "I've lost fifty quid thanks to you but luckily you know how to throw a decent party so I'll forgive you."
"We had a bet about how fake your fake relationship really was."
"And you lost!" Sharon points a finger at her wife. I smile noticing how her nails are painted red, and then I also observe she's wearing a matching red lipstick. In fact, she's swapped her plaid shirts and trouser suits for a slinky black satin palazzo pant and cropped jacket and she looks...
"Sharon, you look stunning," I say sincerely enough to wipe the triumphant grin right off her face.
Sharon looks down at herself and runs a hand through her short hair. "Oh. Thank you, Jake."
"Of course, it begs the question why you don't make the same sort of effort for work," I add with a snarl.
A returning smile creases Sharon's eyes and her firm elbow digs into my side. She turns to look at Rami. "Have you had your head checked recently? I don't know what you see in this one."
"Ironically enough, I have had my head checked recently and I was given a full bill of health. Although I will never understand your relationship," Rami's eyes ping-pong between Sharon and myself.
"That makes two of us," Kate mumbles.
"It's good to see you again, Rami. I have missed your smile and the coffees you would bring me. Any chance now you're back you'll also be returning to Status?"
"I'm afraid not."
"Oh, so what will you be doing?"
"It's a little up in the air and I need to talk about it with Jake before I make any concrete plans but-"
"It's a little up in the air and I need to talk about it with Jake before I make any concrete plans but-"
I wave my hand around to halt the conversation because I don't like how tense Rami looks nor how he is possibly going to dive into sharing something he should perhaps tell me when we're on our own. "I need to know when you both made this bet. Was it before or after Rami left for LA? Because I will admit I was a little sulky after he left the office."
"Oh, it was long before that," Kate explains. "Wasn't it before they went to the wedding together?"
Sharon nods and a devilish grin lands on her mouth. "I knew it would happen the very first day Rami walked in the room. There was just something about the way he looked at you..."
"Horrified? Petrified? Terrified?" Rami says but his eyes have never looked softer.
"No, mesmerised," Sharon says with emphasis. "All I had to do then was make up that bollocks about the asbestos in the dungeon and-"
Both mine and Rami's head whip around to stare at Sharon.
"What?" He says.
"Excuse me?" I demand.
Kate puts her hands on her hips. "That's meddling! You interfered with our bet! I am absolutely not paying up now!"
"Oh, I don't care about the money," Sharon says. "I care about these two foolish buffoons falling in love."
Rami brings a hand to his chest. "Oh, Sharon, that's really sweet."
I shake my head at him but I'm not done with Sharon yet. "I can't believe you lied about the asbestos! Do you mean to say we didn't need to share an office that whole time?"
Sharon knocks back the last mouthful of champagne in her glass. "Oh, look. I need another drink. Katie, darling, shall we go to the bar?"
Kate gives her wife a warning look but there's a smile with it and she holds out her hand for Sharon to take.
"Sharon Jane Burrows! I am not finished with you!" I call out but all I get in return is her middle finger and an over-the-top air kiss as she walks away.
But there's no time for Sharon or lies about asbestos or chasing after her to give her the finger in return, because Rami has closed the distance between us and is sliding his hands up my arms.
"No," Rami says as he links his fingers into mine on both hands. "You're not going anywhere."
"Well, it is my party."
"It is, and as much as I don't want to share you, I also want to see you be the centre of attention for a few more hours."
I look around us and quickly, almost unbelievably see that we are uninterrupted and possibly can stay that way.
"You've been trying to tell me something," I say to him.
His moonlight eyes sparkle a little as a soft smile pulls at his lips. "I have, and it's kind of important. I should have said something ages ago but..."
A penny drops. "Oh, your sisters told me," I explain.
"Pardon?" Rami looks very confused.
I squeeze his hands. "You came out to your mum. I'm so proud of you."
"Oh, yes, I did but that's not what I-"
"And now it's the first of several special requests for the birthday boy," over the speakers the DJ's smooth but loud voice eclipses whatever Rami is saying. "It's Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham!."
The 'Jitterbugs' start and I literally feel my feet twitch in my shoes. But there's time. Rami's been trying to tell me something for the last half an hour and I can wait one more minute...
"Go dance!" He releases my hands.
"No. Tell me what you wanted to say."
"It can wait."
"So can me dancing!"
"No, it can't. Look everyone's waiting for you!" He nods behind my head and I turn to see a crowd of people dancing and waving at me.
"But I want to be with you," I say and I hope it doesn't sound as pathetic as it feels, but then I stop caring. I've waited my whole life for a moment like this, a man like this, a love like this, I'm not going to dismiss or belittle it now it's happening.
Rami's hands cup my face. "I'm not going anywhere. I'll be right by your side. Let's go dance, Forester. Let's show them how it's done when you're in your forties!"
"Ugh," I groan. "Don't say tha-"
But he takes away the rest of my words when he brings his mouth down on mine, and seconds later, he pulls me to the dance floor.
Chapter Two - Rami
Finally, finally, I have him all to myself. The last guests - unsurprisingly Jenna, Marty, Maeve - have just left in a taxi and we're standing at the foot of the steps outside Clapham Manor House, waving at the red lights as they drive away. We are almost in exactly the same position we were in hours earlier when Jake and I reunited and I started to feel like the world was spinning at the right angle again.
It certainly looks like the world is spinning for Jake as he stumbles back and his heels hit the edge of the bottom step. Reaching for him, he leans back against my body. I don't think he's drunk - we've done more talking and dancing than anything in the last few hours - but it's possible because nearly every one we conversed with handed him a drink or insisted on dragging us both to the bar.
"How you doing, birthday boy?" I ask as he continues to rest his weight on me, his back to my front.
He spins to face me. "Like I need to sleep for a week, but also like I never want to sleep again if it means time away from you."
My mouth goes dry. "Jake, that's-"
His face pulls into a grimace. "And now I feel nauseated from what I just said. God, that was revoltingly soppy."
"Shut up and kiss me, Forester," I tell him in a low voice that has his eyes widening and his lips falling open before they lean forward and find mine in a seamless movement. His warm mouth feels like the sweetest reward for sharing him with everyone else on the dance floor all night. The almost languid, lazy strokes of his tongues as our kiss deepens, they are worth the wait I endured not only tonight but over the last two months.
The way his arms slide under my tux and clutch my buttocks, pulling me flush against him, that is why I showed up tonight, and will continue to show up for Jake Forester. Because when he holds me against him, then I am home.
Home, and also ridiculously horny.
I pull my mouth back.
"I need you. Right now," I practically growl at him and I don't wait to see his reaction when I turn around and lean forward a little, bending my knees and sticking my arse out.
"Rami, what are you doing? I can hardly fuck you on the steps outside the 5-star Clapham Manor House, our flagship London property." Jake succeeds in sounding horrified.
I give him a look over my shoulder. "Hop on," I tell him. "I'm taking you upstairs."
"Oh," he says and it's a loaded noise even for such a short, breathy exhale. I wonder if he's remembering how I did this that first night we spent together. That first night that feels like a lifetime ago but was really just at the beginning of the summer that has now all but gone. Whatever he's doing or thinking, he snaps out of it a few seconds later and I feel his weight land on my back in a lurching movement that nearly has me losing my balance. We fidget together until I can get a firm grip on his legs and his hands come around my front, and then I start to climb the steps back into the hotel.
"Fucking hell," I can't help but say. It really does warrant it. "Probably should have asked you to climb on at the top of the stairs."
Jake's laughter is worth the pain in my feet, legs and back as I enter the hotel and walk through the lobby, earning a few looks from the nighttime staff. Jake offers to come off me a few times as we travel up in the elevator and then down the corridor to the suite I booked, but I refuse. I am delighting in every laboured moment carrying him to our suite together. This is a moment I dreamed of for the last two months. I'm going to savour every second.
Yes, it was presumptuous to imagine Jake and I spending the night together in this room that I had to pull a lot of strings with Bill and Simeon to get, but when I woke this morning full of nervous energy and heart-racing fear, I was fully prepared to go to bed in this suite alone tonight, if that was what Jake wanted. In fact, that is what I had told myself would almost certainly happen and I didn't let myself entertain the alternative, a fact I am almost glad about now I get to feel the full magnitude of my delight that Jake and I are together. Jake and I are something. Jake and I, we are a we, an us, a couple. And it's all the reason I need to keep going with his increasingly heavy weight on my back.
"Jesus fucking Christ in a Goddamn Mini Cooper!" Jake says when I stop outside our suite and he gets off my back. "You got the Superior Suite!"
"Yeah," I say, now feeling a little sheepish. "Is it too much?"
I lift the key card to the panel and open the door. Jake waltzes in ahead of me.
"Did you forget who I am while you were giving your mental health a colonic in rehab?" Jake does a pirouette as he walks into a living room which is admittedly very large and spacious. "I am too much! So it's absolutely perfect for me!"
I catch up with Jake and pull him to my body again. I can't bear to have him any further away from me. "You are not too much. But even if you were, that works for me because I feel like I can never get enough of you."
"Now who's gone all soppy," Jake's arms slide over my shoulders.
"But the difference between me and you is that it doesn't make me feel sick. It makes me feel fucking good."
"More swearing. You must mean what you say."
"I do, and I mean exactly what I say when I tell you I'm going to devour you tonight, Forester." I dive my head down to leave a row of kisses along his jaw line.
"Hmm. Sounds heavenly," he says but he's pulling away. "But could you do it after I have a shower. I cannot imagine the smells that are festering in my armpits and other crevices of my body."
"I have a better idea," I smile at him.
"If you say you want to lick my armpits clean, I will have to check you back into rehab immediately and ask-" I shut Jake up with a kiss.
"Shut up and sit down," I nod at the bed but he doesn't move. I lower my voice even more. "Do as your told, Forester."
"Yes, Daddy," he says and then he slides out of arms and sits down like the good boy he is.
Less than twenty minutes later and we are both lying in a ginormous bath tub that is spacious enough for us both that only our legs touch. My phone is lying on the sink nearby playing a playlist made up of songs I think are sexy or sensual. Jake is leaning back at one end with one of the sheet face masks I packed on and while a ridiculous amount of bubbles hide most of his body from me, I can still feel his feet on my hips, and his legs resting against mine.
"So, we're finally alone," he says.
"Yes, we are," I say as I move to find one of his feet and start to massage it.
"What did you want to tell me?"
I look at his eyes poking through the holes in the mask and the way his lips don't move properly with it on and yet he can still hold onto one of his beautiful resting pouts as he reclines against the tub's elongated side. He looks like a camp Freddy Kruger and it should worry me how even that seems to stir up some arousal in me.
"It can wait," I say as I slide my foot across his thigh and place it lengthwise on his cock. "But apparently something else can't."
"I just like face masks. Hydrated pores really do it for me," he pouts through the mouth hole.
"That's a shame, because I've been thinking about taking you since the last time I did. It wasn't easy being on the other side of the world from your body."
Jake shifts a little as I move my foot up and down his hardening length.
"Taking me, huh? That's very presumptuous of you, Mr DJ."
I smile at his sarcastic tone but I know exactly how to shut him up. "I'll gladly give you my hole, Forester and you know it," I say, my voice low and heavy.
I'm a little surprised when this seems to have the opposite effect on Jake who lunges forward and swipes the mask off his face. As he comes to rest his hands on my thighs, his face just inches from mine, I want to look at every single freckle that is painted across his nose and the tops of his cheeks - I feel like I've missed every single one in a way that hurt me - but I can't stop my gaze falling to his lips. Because I want him more. His taste, his touch, his body. I want it more than I've ever wanted anything.
"That's what I want. I want to know if your dick is as perfect-looking as I remember it," he says and while his voice is also low and edgy, there's also playfulness in it, mischief. He's testing me. "And I want to know if you can ride me as well as you used to."
I bring my hand up to cup his face. I have no idea where my surge of confidence comes from - a rise that feels almost audacious - but I suspect it has a lot to do with the way his liquid gold eyes linger on mine. "I think you've forgotten how this works, my beautiful boy. I am the one who decides how things are going to be. I'm the one who decides how you are going to come undone, how you're going to break into a million little pieces. And I'm the one who is going to put you back together too. Now what do you say to that?"
Jake closes his eyes slowly. His smile deepens as he opens them. "Yes, Daddy," he says and then I use my hand to bring his mouth to mine.
Our kiss is everything I am right now. Impatient. Desperate. Needy. Our lips fuse. Our tongue clash. And I can't tell where his mouth begins and mine ends. I want to swallow this man up and keep him inside me forever.
Jake will be inside me soon. This realisation only adds more fuel to the fire of desire I feel for Jake as he crashes down on top of me, water splashing out of the bath and our bodies contorting to get as close to each other as we can. But no matter how we arrange our limbs, we can't get as close as I want. I can't consume him how I crave.
"Sit up on the side," I say as I pull my mouth back.
After giving me a quick startled look, he moves and does exactly that. I watch for a brief moment as bubbles and drops of water slide down his body but then I spring up, push his knees apart and position myself between his legs. I want to kiss his nipples, lick my way down the side of his abs, inhale a lungful of the scent of the soft skin of his groin, but it's late and I've waited too long for this. Instead, I just dive straight in, open my mouth wide and suck as much of his dick in my mouth as I can.
"Fuck, Rami," Jake grits out.
There's no way I'm taking my mouth off him to reply. Tasting soap suds and something that is blissfully only Jake, my tongue plays with the underside of him as I start to bob up and down. There's no doubt in my mind I'm not as proficient at this as Jake is, but I hope I can make up for the skills I lack with enthusiasm. And that is what urges me to suck harder, go deeper, and stay as low as I can, which I do, until I have to pull off as I gag and a coughing fit follows.
"Shit, don't kill yourself. No dick is worth that."
I don't say anything as I stand up so my crotch is a little above Jake's eye level. He does exactly what I want and eyes open wide, he stares at my half-hard penis.
"Scrap that. I would gladly die for your perfect cock," he says, grabbing it and pulling it into his mouth. Jake proves my point about his superior oral skills in seconds and it doesn't take long before I'm holding him by his chin to take him off me.
"Keep doing that and I'm going to come a long time before I want to."
His proud little smile is interrupted only by his tongue jutting out to lick the underside of my dick that is now rock-hard and weeping.
"I tried to stop myself so many times, but I couldn't help but think about doing this to you while you were gone."
I slide my hand around his jawline to bury it in his hair. "I didn't stop myself," I tell him holding his eye contact. "I thought about you constantly. And not just your mouth on me."
"You thought about my dick in you too?" Jake winks.
"I thought about it all. I thought about all of you. But do you know what I thought about most of all?"
Jake shudders as he nods. I know he's bracing himself for some filthy, filthy words so maybe he's going to be disappointed in what I say next.
"Most of all I thought about waking up with you. Watching your eyes open on a new day. Getting to be the one who combs out your bed hair with my fingers. You being the first thing I touched on a day that would hopefully end with you also being the person I fall asleep holding."
I see him try to give me a pout and a reprehending look, but he can't. His smile is too deep and his eyes are too flooded with love. "I should bloody hope I'm the only one you fall asleep holding."
Gripping him around his arms I pull him up to stand in front of me. "The only one. The. Only. One." I say and then I wrap my arms around him and attack him with my mouth again.
We kiss hungrily, manically, carelessly... so carelessly that when Jake pushes some of his weight against me, I'm unprepared and step back too late and when I do, my foot slips on the bath's enamel floor and I lose my balance. With my arms still clinging to Jake, I take him with me as we fall against the opposite side of the tub and then ricochet to the side, splashing down into the water, our limbs crashing down against the bathtub's sides.
"Ow!" Jake howls as I swear loudly. But then I laugh. And Jake laughs. And we disentangle our legs and find comfier positions; me on my knees and Jake sitting opposite me.
"That's going to bruise," I say, still chuckling as I rub my elbow.
Jake stretches his hand back to touch his lower back. "Yet another sex-related injury. Maybe the universe is trying to tell us something?"
"Oh, it is. It's telling us to get dry and get into bed."
So we do. We towel each other down as we kiss and play and fondle various parts of one another's bodies, making our erections and desire return in abundance. I reach for the two robes hanging in the bathroom but Jake grabs my hand and instead leads me naked into the bedroom.
We stand opposite each other at the foot of the bed, and there's something about us in this position that puts the break on my rush. I want to enjoy every single moment of what happens next. I also want to make this different from the last times Jake and I were intimate. I wait until we have kissed for many long, delicious minutes before I say what I want to say. Our hands glide over each other's skin. Our cocks press together. And our noises blend into the sweetest, breathiest moans.
"Jake," I begin eventually. "I got tested in LA. Just before I came back. Not that there was anyone out there, by the way. There's been nobody since you. I just... I just wanted to..."
"You wanted this," Jake finishes for me. "With me. You wanted to be as close to me as you could be."
Jake looks down at the ground. "Well, I also got tested after... after you left. I'll be honest. I did it to try and prompt me to get back on the dating scene but it didn't work. I didn't even download an app. But at least I got a free prostate tickle and a day later, a full bill of health. And, I'm on PrEP. Have been for years."
"I should be too, I suppose."
"That's for another day's to do list," Jake says.
I grin at him. "And today's to do list?"
"You are my to do list," Jake says and in a single movement he turns me and pushes me down against the bed.
Lying down I watch him as he puts one knee up next to my body but then he freezes.
"Shit, I don't have any lube," he says, sounding almost distraught.
I nod at where my suitcase is open on the fold-out stand. "I do. Inside pocket."
Relief washes over Jake's face as he goes to my case. He returns with the bottle and a big smile, but when he goes to squeeze some lube out onto his fingers, I notice his hands are shaking.
"Jake," I say and reach for his arm.
He doesn't look up at me. "I've never done this before," he says in a quiet voice.
"You know, I actually know that to be factually incorrect," I say with a joking lilt.
His eyes shoot up to me. "No, I really haven't, Rami."
"What do you mean?"
"I've never made love to anyone before," he says and my heart swells inside my chest and it feels like all my other organs just melt away. Apart from my dick. That is still throbbing with need.
I take the lube out of Jake's hands, toss it to the side and place my palms in his. I pull him down on top of me. He comes easily but his skittish eye contact and the worried look on his face doesn't shift. I hope I can do something about that.
"Look at me, Forester," I demand and he does. "You need me to tell you what to do?"
His nod is eager and his wide eyes are fixed on me. I run my hand up his naked back and dig my fingers into his scalp, pulling at his hair a little so his chin tilts slightly.
"First, you're going to let me kiss you breathless. Second, you're going to get me ready for you. And third, you're going to fuck me so good, I hate myself all over again for leaving you two months ago."
Jake smiles but shakes his head quickly. "You had your reasons."
"I did, and later, or maybe tomorrow, I'll share all of them with you, but for now I need you Jake. I need you inside me. I need you fucking me. I need you making love to me."
To my great relief, Jake's eyes stay on mine and he nods, once, twice, and then he dives down to tick off the first item on that list. He swoops his tongue inside my mouth, moans into me when I push my lips against his, and his hands come up to grip my face, pinning me in place.
"Yes, Jake," I gasp as I suck in some air. "Such a good boy."
Jake's groan is loud and vibrates through his chest into mine. "Pass me the lube," he says and he rocks his cock against mine slowly and deliberately before he rolls his body away.
After reaching for the bottle and passing it to him, I watch as Jake sits up beside me and squeezes out a generous amount onto his palm. When he looks back up at me, our eyes meet and we smile together.
"I still can't believe this is happening," he says, his voice breathless but not empty because there's an undeniable depth in it. "Part of me still can't believe you came back for me."
I reach my hands up to cup his face. "I made you a promise," I say. "And I keep my promises. Remember that always, Jake."
"Then promise me one thing," he says and there is a new fragility in his tone.
"What?" I hold my breath, waiting for him to tell me whatever it is he so clearly needs.
"That one day I can your ass until you come," he says as his right eyebrow arches.
"Forester," I sit up. "You are in trouble for that." I reach for him and he jumps back, holding up the hand with the lube.
"But do you promise me? I need to hear you say it!"
"Fucking do it now," I say and I grab his other hand and bring it exactly where I want him.
Jake looks shocked momentarily but then he snaps out of it and looks at where his fingers touch me.
"Well, don't you want to?"
"Yes, I want to,"
"Then get to it, Forester," I practically growl.
Jake moves to position himself between my legs. "Yes, okay."
'Yes, what?" I say as I spread my thighs open for him.
'Yes, Daddy," he replies and I lean my head back and close my eyes as his tongue comes down to lick me.
Chapter Three - Jake
After Rami got himself ready for me the last time I topped him, I didn't expect him to let me work him open for me this time, so when he pulls his legs up and holds them back for me as my mouth is on him, I am almost too stunned to do more than what I already am, which is lapping at his hole slowly with my tongue.
But then he makes this short, sharp guttural noise, a half-formed grunt, a sound doused in contrasting feelings - frustration and satisfaction, pain and pleasure - and it snaps me back to the moment. I speed up a little, and apply more pressure. I alternate licks with kisses, and after he's so wet and slippery I can see the sheen of my saliva, I bring my hand with the lube up to meet my mouth and I start to probe inside him. While he was making low, gentle humming noises as my mouth attacked him, now two of my fingers are inside his warm heat, he starts to groan and the gravel in his voice hardens my dick.
"Jake, I need you," Rami pants out. "Now!"
If I didn't have the same alarming urgency pumping through my veins, I would have dared to refuse him, to tease this out longer, to be even brattier than my last comment was, but I am awash with my own need. I am unhinged with desire. I want to be inside Rami. I want to be inside my man. Taking my lips off Rami, I set about spreading more lube where we need it. I push back and apply what's left to my cock.
"Look at me," Rami demands and I look up instantly. "Are you going to fuck me good, Jake?"
I shake my head and fight the smile that wants to curl my lips. "No," I say.
"Jake," Rami growls.
"I'm going to make love to you," I add, hearing so much confidence in my words that it stuns me a little, but my attention is quickly pulled away from myself and to Rami who reacts to my reply, and maybe the confidence he also hears. His eyes darken, his lips part, and he has never looked more stunning, more majestic.
"Yes, my beautiful boy," Rami says and he shifts up on the bed, resting his head on a pillow and making space for me to kneel between his legs. "Make love to me."
And I do, which is strange because for many long minutes I'm hardly moving. I take my time entering Rami, giving him as long as he needs to adjust. This patience, this waiting, this needing him to be comfortable, happy, I know instinctively that that's as much making love as anything else that will follow. I watch his eyes intently, pulling away from his gaze only when I notice his mouth twitch with what could be pain or discomfort.
"Are you okay?" I ask him.
"More than okay," he says and he reaches down to grab the back of my thighs and push me deeper inside him.
And then finally I am as seated inside him and I can lie almost flat on top of him. Doing so, I still don't move. Instead I bend down and I kiss him. Tender kisses that are as light as a feather, my tongue only grazing his lips occasionally, my exhales floating out of my mouth and into his.
"I love you," I tell him, because I need him to know it. I will never be like my father, afraid to say those words. I will never hold back my love.
"I love you," he replies and I ready myself for more of those feather light kisses that will be a prelude to some lazy, gentle love-making. But Rami has other ideas. His hands grab hold of my butt cheeks and he squeezes them, hard. "But I swear if you don't start fucking me soon, I am going to flip you over and take what's mine myself."
"Oh, really?" I say, stalling because his words are sparking a brand new fire inside me.
"That's you, Forester. You are mine." His fingers slide to my crack.
"Jesus," I say.
"No, not Jesus-" He begins.
"Daddy," I correct myself and his smile is my reward.
And like the good boy I so desperately want to be, I do as I'm told. I push up on my elbows and I start to move. I thrust inside Rami, gently and slowly at first, because he still needs to warm up. After doing so for a minute or two, watching Rami's smile fade into a pleasure-filled frown, I reach for more lube and squeeze it on my dick. Then I finally feel ready to fuck him.
Coming up on my knees, I hold Rami's legs apart and my gaze falls to his perfect, perfect dick that stands erect against his stomach. I watch it bob as my thrusts move Rami's whole body. I can't quite explain what is so perfect about his penis, whether it's the way it blends from dark brown at the base to a rosy pink at the head, whether it's because it has the subtlest but most most promising upward curve, or whether it's because it has these three adorable dark freckles on the underside, which are only visible when I'm taking him like this. A second later, I don't think it's any of these things. I think his penis is perfect because it's him. It's Rami.
We get lost in our love-making. My pace changes now and then, Rami's moans vary from gruff growls to panting murmurs, and sweat starts to dribble down the sides of my face and my back. I get close several times but I stop myself again and again.
"Want you to come first," I say to Rami.
"I want to come together," he grunts as his hand finds his dick and starts stroking lightly.
I roll my eyes. "Jesus, you don't want much."
"Jake," he says, with warning.
"Fine, we can try."
And try we do, however, there's something not quite right about how we are both hesitant to come. Maybe the day has caught up with me, maybe I'm tired, maybe I'm feeling too much pressure but I soon find it impossible to get close and while I am still burning with desire for Rami, whose moonlight eyes stay steady on mine, I can't get to where I want to be. Because I know if I got there, Rami would join me. His cock is leaking furiously, his hand is frequently slowing down at certain moments, and his breathing is shaking his stomach. But I can't get there.
"I can't..." I try to explain but realise I can't. It's not that simple. I close my eyes. "I can't do it."
"You can, and you will," Rami says and his hand is on the back of my head and he pulls at my hair, forcing my head up and my eyes open with the sting.
"I just want it to be perfect," I explain and hear the truth in it.
"This is perfect." Rami tells me. "This is us."
"Jesus, saying things like that doesn't help," I mumble, my head falling again.
"Then tell me what would help."
"I don't know."
"Do you need me to ride you?"
"Maybe," I say, thinking it over. It only takes a few more seconds to realise what I really need.
"No, I need you to fuck me."
Rami blinks as searches my face, as if checking what I'm saying is really true.
"Please," I say, then add. "Daddy."
This nudges him into action and he pushes up, finding my mouth and kissing me with all the hunger that was missing from our last kisses. Just as my heart rate is speeding up again and breathing becomes laboured because Rami is not letting me pull away to inhale like I need to, he pushes against me so hard that I come out of him and almost fall back. He grips hold of my arms to steady me and then twists us around so I am face down on the bed and he is on top of me. He pulls off me and I wait for the click of the lube bottle but instead I feel the last thing I expect; Rami's hands spreading my cheeks apart and his warm, wet tongue lapping at my hole.
"Oh, fuck," I say.
"You didn't think you were going to be the only one who got to ate tonight?" He tells me and then his open mouth groans into me. "I dreamed about doing this for weeks on end in California. I kicked myself a thousand times I didn't do it before I left."
"Well, you were kind of busy covering up a good chunk of your past from me," I say snidely.
A crack of Rami's hand on my backside is both a surprise and a welcome flash of heat. "Tomorrow I will tell you all about that. Tomorrow I will bore you with my whole sorry life story. But tonight, tonight I want your orgasm. I want you coming undone in my arms. That's when you are your most beautiful, Jake."
His words go a long way to melt away the resistance that was there earlier, and the rest of it is promptly demolished as his mouth gets busy on me again. I can't help but push my hips up and give him more access. When I then start rocking into the air, as if that will give me the friction my dick needs, I start gasping. Granted it's been months, possibly a year or two, since I have had a man's mouth on me like this and I had totally forgotten the tingles, the shivers and the whimpers it prompts from me.
"Please, Rami, fuck me already."
"Yes, Jake," he says and I feel his weight shift as he moves around the bed. Finally, finally, there's the click of the lube bottle. "I'm going to make love to you. And you're going to make love to me and it doesn't matter when we come, it doesn't matter if we come, it just matters that we're together."
It's a testament to how horny I am that his words don't make me cry although the urge to do so is strong. I'm also happily distracted by the way Rami pulls up on my hips and gets me on my hands and knees. I arch my back as he prepares me and I am so very relieved when he is quick and thorough about it. But still it feels like too long that I have to wait to feel him slide inside me.
"Yes, Daddy," I exhale slowly once he's exactly where I need him.
"Such a good boy," his hand strokes up my back. "Taking me the way you are. All of me."
I start to move when Rami doesn't, rocking back and forth on his dick.
Another thwack to my other arse cheek is less of a surprise but still just as welcome, especially when he then grips the side of my hips and starts charging inside me, again and again, hitting my prostate almost immediately and with every single hard stroke. Now it's not a question of if I'll come, it's going to be a battle to stop myself too soon. A second later, I realise I don't want to stop myself. I want to charge headfirst into the chaos that is my oncoming orgasm, and I know, just know, that it's all metaphorical. I want to thunder down this track that now is my life with Rami. I want to run, eyes open wide, into the fear that is now loving Rami and being loved by him.
"I'm so close," I tell him as I start fisting my dick
"Come for me, beautiful boy," he gasps out as he fucks me harder, quicker. "Do it. Give me your orgasm, and I'll give you mine."
As it has many times before, having Rami's permission, his encouragement, his vows and his promises makes me come undone. Hot cum darts out of me and lands ridiculously high on my chest and stomach, something that stuns me just as much as the way I feel, the love I feel as I moan my way through the bliss and open my eyes only to find Rami watching me intently. True to his word, it takes only a few more strokes before he is crashing down on top of me and groaning in my ear.
"Fuck, Jake, fuck..." He growls. "I fucking love you. I just... I love you."
"I love you too," I tell him as my arms wrap around him. "I love you so much, little moon."
"I literally got cum on my nipple! You didn't even give me a chance to show it off to you." I tell him as I climb back into bed while rubbing moisturiser into my hands.
"I believe you, Jake," Rami says as he watches my every move from his position sitting up in bed with the sheets at his waist.
"I haven't come like that in years! Is it, like, some new superpower you get when you turn forty?"
"Not that I've noticed," he chuckles lightly.
"And to think that I was so worried about getting older," I muse as I settle in the bed, rolling on to my side so I can take more of Rami in; his bronze skin, his moonlight eyes, his salt and pepper stubble and that poker straight nose. I can't stop the hand that reaches up to play with the hairs on his chest.
"Now it doesn't seem so bad. I mean, I'll always be younger than my boyfriend," I say and I am not all surprised when Rami sticks his tongue out at me.
"So, I suppose it's time we talked," Rami says as he also slides down and shifts onto his side, facing me.
I glance quickly at the clock behind his head. "Rami, it's nearly two-thirty in the morning. I have a million and one questions I want answers to, but more than that I want to sleep." Right on cue, I yawn.
Rami's hand finds my waist under the covers. "Are you sure? Because I feel like you've already waited far too long."
"Yes, I have, but that means I can wait one more night. We can talk tomorrow, right? I mean, I'm assuming you don't have any plans."
"You are my plans. My next steps. You are my future, Jake," Rami says and his words combined with his shimmering silver eyes and his deep voice halts my next breath.
"Good, then we talk tomorrow," I say decisively, after a second or two. I roll onto my back and switch off the bedside light, and a second later Rami does the same.
Once plunged in darkness, it takes no time for Rami to move towards me and pull my body against as he becomes my big spoon. I smile with far too much enthusiasm when I feel the silk of his boxers gently brush against my naked backside. I am still smiling when Rami's arm comes under my head and I find his fingers with mine, locking them together.
"Goodnight, Forester," he says into the back of my neck.
I open my mouth to wish him goodnight too but a thought pops into my mind and changes the words on my tongue. "Wait, what was it you were trying to tell me earlier? All night long, but we kept getting interrupted and then we were horny so that took precedence, obviously."
"Obviously," Rami copies my tone.
"But you can tell me now," I prompt and wriggle my backside against Rami.
"I did want to tell you on your actual birthday. That seemed more important, but I suppose even that's over now."
"Well, I still have birthday cake in my stomach, so I think we can say it's still the same day."
"I like that rule," Rami says and he kisses the back of my neck again. In fact, he does it so many times, I wonder if he's doing it to delay telling me. Suddenly, I feel an icy wave of panic wash over me. Oh, God, is it bad. Does Rami have more secrets? Secrets that I won't like to hear.
As my thoughts threaten to hurricane into a dangerous spiral of fear and self-loathing, I pull in a lungful of air and elongate my exhale. However, even before that ends, Rami is saying the most unexpected words of all.
"It's about your mum, Jake," he says slowly, his voice low like he has measured every single word before it leaves his mouth. "When we had dinner at your place, with Jenna and Marty, she told me all about how your mum died. By suicide. I am so sorry that happened."
I stay silent because I am lost for words. I often am when it comes to my mother's death.
"I just wanted to tell you that she..." Rami pauses and a small part of me is berating his terrible timing with a scorn, but a much bigger, now almost familiar part of me is patiently waiting for him to finish. "That she would have been so proud of you. That she is so proud of you, wherever she is, whatever form she takes, she's watching you with great, great pride."
And now I'm speechless because instead of words, my mouth is full with a ball of tears, ready to explode at the slightest inclination.
"And I also wanted to tell you that you can talk about her with me, if you want, when you want. I want to know about her. I don't know much. Only that she was Spanish, that she called you John Travolta and that you were young when she died. I would love to know more."
Stupidly, or maybe bravely, who can say, I open my mouth to finally speak, but the noise I make is little more than a breathless squeak, a hopeless gasp against the flood of emotion that is ready to spill out of me. Rami pauses for a few more seconds, perhaps waiting to see if words will follow the strange noise, and as he does, he squeezes my fingers in his and with his other hand strokes my stomach reassuringly. I am more relieved than I can say when he speaks again and fills the heavy silence.
"If it would help, I promise to talk about my dad too. I also find it hard to talk about him, and about his death, possibly for very different reasons to you. But rehab helped me see that talking about him, remembering him, may help me more than I realised."
"I would like that," I say in a rush, pushed to do so because it's suddenly very important, urgent, in fact, that Rami knows I want him to do this.
Much to my surprise, Rami huffs out a short laugh. "My dad would have been proud of me dancing to P.Y.T. for you, you know," his voice is soft and warm. "That album always was one of his favourites. He loved Quincy Jones."
I see through Rami's comment and I'm not even mad. Not in the least.
"And my mum would be over the moon that I found someone silly enough to do something like that for me." I tell him.
"Yes, because she would know how happy it would make me. She did always want me to be happy, I do believe that."
"Of course she did," Rami's fingers keep stroking me and squeezing me, his hold encompassing me.
"I'm sorry you'll never meet her." I confess.
"And I'm sorry you'll never meet my dad," Rami says and I hear how tough those words are for him. Silence falls and my need to cry abates. I start to wonder if Rami is asleep but he eventually speaks again.
"What was her name?" He asks me.
"Catalina but everyone called her Cathy. Like I said before, she was Spanish but moved over here as a girl." I tell him.
"Catalina a beautiful name."
"And your father? Your baba? What was his name?"
"Raza," Rami replies and the smile is back in his voice. "It's a Persian name and it means a few different things, but one of them is hope. That suited my father perfectly."
"And you, you're hopeful too." I tell him quickly.
Rami's hold on me tightens once more. "I am now."
"Wow, so all five of you have names that start with the letter R. That's... organised."
There's a another short laugh. "Yeah, I asked Baba about that once. He told me that having an R name had worked out well for him and Mama so he wanted to see if it had the same luck for us kids."
"That's... adorable," I say feeling more bittersweet things than I can name.
"And I think it has," Rami says after another long pause.
"Sorry?" I ask, sleepy and confused.
"I think it has worked out for me," Rami punctuates the sentence with a long kiss on my shoulder.
The only response I have for Rami is a long yawn. My eyelids are heavy and my body is slack and motionless, even as Rami continues to stroke my ribs.
"Time for sleep," Rami says and he releases his hold on my hand a little, as if giving me permission to roll out of his embrace, but I'm not going anywhere. Not now. Not ever.
"Yes," I agree sleepily. "But Rami?"
"Remind me one day soon to tell you all the songs that remind me of my mother. I think you'd like some of them. Maybe we can listen to some of them together," I say as my eyes close and I lean a little bit more of my weight against my boyfriend.
"That sounds fun," Rami replies and I don't have the energy to argue with him. Because it won't be fun, it will break my heart. But maybe it will also help heal me. Hard things can be healing too.
"Good night, my beautiful boy," Rami says with one final kiss to the nape of my neck.
"Good night, little moon," I say and then I fall into the deepest, happiest sleep of my life.
Thank you so much for reading The Moon Also Rises and these bonus scenes. If you haven't already a review on Goodreads or Amazon would be AWESOME, and I will be in your inbox again soon with news about the next spicy romance I'm working on. (And don't forget, if you want more Jake and haven't read them yet he features in three of my other books - Five Sunsets, Christmas Sunrise and Hummingbird!).