The bailiff appeared in the waiting room. “Litwin versus Litwin.”
Tracey nervously stood, shouldered her purse, and followed her attorney into the judge’s chambers.
Neither Pat, nor his attorney, had appeared.
Not that she’d expected either one of them to be there. Still, that little fear had picked at her brain, especially last night when she was futilely trying to sleep.
Here it was, middle of November, and her divorce was about to be finalized.
The first time around, she’d hoped by some miracle she’d be able to convince Brandon to change his mind and stay with her.
It was a fucking relief.
Eight years ago, when she went through this with Brandon, she’d prayed it was a bad dream. Right up until the final orders had arrived in the mail with the judge’s signature on them, even after Brandon had moved out, even after he’d gently and patiently tried to talk to her.
This time around, it couldn’t be over soon enough for her.
They sat at the long conference table, at the head of which was the judge’s desk. The bailiff called the session to order and swore Tracey in.
Her attorney explained the situation about Pat to the judge, outlined everything they’d done, and that Pat was no longer responding to the procedures due to his current legal troubles. Tracey knew from the chatter she’d heard through friends that his parents had cut the pursestrings once he was arrested, refusing to finance his legal bills, so he wouldn’t get any more help from them.
The judge rifled through the paperwork. “Did you wish to change your last name, Mrs. Litwin?”
“Yes, your Honor. I’d like to be Tracey Ann Demmer Ziegler.” She hadn’t asked Brandon if he minded if she went back to using his last name, but Demmer was her maiden name, and Emma had Brandon’s last name.
Tracey doubted she’d ever get married again. At least her last name would be the same as Emma’s.
And Brandon, Jeff, and Stuart. Jeff had changed his when he and Brandon got married, and Stuart had added it, hyphenated, to his.
She’d wanted to keep Ziegler and add Litwin when she’d married Pat, but he’d insisted she’d drop Ziegler completely and take his last name.
At the time, she hadn’t felt strong enough to protest or stand her ground.
Ten minutes later, it was over.
She walked out with her attorney, who gave her copies of everything. She’d receive the signed order by next week, then she could get her driver’s license and other ID changed.
Alone, she sat in her car and stared at the papers in her lap.
I never should have married that asshole.
* * * *
Ruth was working until close tonight, and Emma and Grace weren’t scheduled to come over. Tracey stopped on the way home and grabbed a fancy burger, cheese fries, and a shake, settling in on Ruth’s sofa alone in front of the TV to eat. When Tracey had left Pat, she’d moved in with Ruth, both a friend and coworker, whose daughter was now attending college out of state.
It helped Ruth’s budget and was allowing Tracey the breathing room to build her savings and try to figure out her next step.
She’d finally swallowed her nerves and applied for the program through work to take college courses and train for a promotion to assistant manager or store manager. She had no idea if she really would be accepted or not, but she knew she could no longer spend the rest of her life in stasis, not bothering to try to advance. She’d hit a glass ceiling that she could absolutely break through if she tried hard enough.
It’d be easy to keep blaming her family and their insistence on college as the only way to advance in life, and how they’d treated her, but she could have worked harder.
Bless Brandon’s heart, he’d tried to talk her into working toward a degree.
Her regional manager had been very encouraging, though, and he’d never struck Tracey as a jerk who’d fuck with people and give them false hope only to yank the football away from them.
Even if she didn’t become a store manager, the bump in pay of working an assistant manager position would mean she’d be able to afford to live on her own again. Right now, even a small studio apartment would strain her income in a dangerous way once she ate through the meager savings she’d accumulated. Ruth renting a room to her was a lifesaver that allowed her to actually have a decent life for now.
Hell, a better life than she’d had with Pat, that was for sure. Far more peaceful. Predictable. No unpleasant surprises or rants or fights.
Much lower stress.
It was like she had, for the first time in her life, finally had a chance to get comfortable in her own skin.
When they reached his room, he honestly had meant to talk to her. To sit down and have an adult discussion.
That’s not what happened.
He no sooner got the door locked behind them than she was on him, kissing him. Somewhere between the door and the bed their clothes fell off, and he found himself lying naked on top of her, with her reaching between his legs to find his hard cock and guide him inside her.
“Wait,” he gasped. “I don’t have any condoms.”
“I’m on the pill.” She grabbed him and pulled him back down, and his balls kicked common sense out of the room.
He hadn’t been with anyone since Paige, and precious few people before her, after Tracey.
He’d take the risk.
When he slid deep inside her pussy, they both moaned and he held still, afraid he was going to explode. Hot and slick and sweetly tight, just like he remembered her.
He slanted his lips over hers and savored this feeling, now awash in old memories he’d long struggled to forget.
This was them, one of the many perfections they’d shared. It’d never felt awkward or fumbling between them, even though they’d lost their virginity together. It’d always felt perfect, and he knew he was liar if he tried to deny how much his heart had ached after losing her, and still did to this day.
Her fingers raked down his back, hands cupping his ass and digging in, trying to urge him to start moving.
He wouldn’t be rushed. Instead, he sat up, smiling down at her as he did, and grabbed her hands so he could pin them over her head. Now he knew there was a name for everything they’d done as kids, the fantasies they’d had, the kind of sex that had turned them both on. Back then, he hadn’t even known it was a thing, much less a thing other people did and enjoyed, too.
Wasn’t like either of them could go to their parents and ask them about it. Her parents would have freaked out that she was allowing herself to fall into patriarchal stereotypes that fostered sexist blah, blah, blah.
His parents would have freaked out over the fact that they didn’t want him getting Tracey pregnant when he going off to college and “ruining his life.”
With his left hand, he held her wrists pinned against the mattress while leaning in so he could lick and suck her left nipple.
The soft gasp escaping her made his cock twitch. “Yes!”
He wondered if either of her exes knew this about her, what he knew.
What he wished they’d been able to explore and grow into together.
The thing he really didn’t dare risk talking about, in case that freaked her out and ruined whatever this was between them now.
He wished they were both stone-cold sober and having this conversation, but he’d take the win.
He wished this weekend could last forever, and that wasn’t even the beer talking.
“Tell me what you want, baby,” he whispered around her flesh, his tongue flicking at her nipple until it was a taut peak. Meanwhile, she squirmed and tried to rock her hips against him to coax him into moving.
“Please fuck me!”
He nearly came right there. How long since he’d heard her beg like that?
Too fucking long.
He started teasing her right nipple into the same peaked state and loved the sweetly desperate sounds she made under him.
I could spend the rest of my life with her like this.
* * * *
Part of Tracey’s brain, which wasn’t totally marinated in rum, told her that maybe this wasn’t the world’s smartest idea. That it’d been a lot of years since they’d seen each other.
That they weren’t those two kids any longer.
For the first time since she’d said good-bye to him, she felt like the world had truly righted itself again.
Like she was exactly where she was supposed to be.
Hot, wet heat engulfed her left nipple again, every pull of his mouth sending jolts of need straight to her clit and making her squirm against him.
His cock filled her the way it always had—perfectly.
All those games they’d played—fairly prescient, actually—they could now engage in however they wanted.
And damn, she wanted.
His green gaze met hers from where his lips were latched around her nipple again, and she didn’t understand how he couldn’t be fucking her when her body felt like she’d explode if she didn’t come soon.
He relinquished her nipple. Releasing her wrists, he whispered, “Stay.”
He pushed up onto his arms, which he braced on either side of her head, and stared down at her as he took a long, slow stroke out and in again.
She didn’t even think about moving her hands.
The first time they’d ever made love flashed into her mind, how he’d startled her, at first, by going down on her…quickly making her explode in a harder orgasm than any she’d ever given herself with her fingers or a shower massager.
Only later, as an adult, did she realize how lucky she’d been to have a boyfriend who’d been determined to make sure she felt good.
And he had.
He always had.
“Are you my good girl?”
Her heart rolled and tilted in good ways, desperately trying to slide back into that perfectly shaped niche where it used to reside when life had been sweet and good and she’d wanted to spend the rest of her life with him.
“Yes, Sir,” she whispered. The way she’d used to call Brandon that in bed together without him even asking her to, even from the start.
The way she’d always felt right calling Eric that together.
Something she’d never said to Pat.
He withdrew, pausing before slamming his cock home, hard and deep, again and again and driving her up the cliff at an incredibly fast pace. The perfect angle, the perfect thrust—and she gasped as her orgasm swelled and burst.
A thousand memories swept through her at once, at how good, how right they’d always felt together, memories she’d tried not to think about because it’d hurt too damn much.
His lips crushed hers as he hurried to catch up with her, join her, his moans muffled by her mouth while he finally fell still inside her. Kisses that turned gentle and tender, and he shifted his weight to his elbows so he could clasp her hands.
The way he used to.
“Please stay tonight,” he softly said, his tone nearly breaking her heart.
She tightly squeezed his hands. “Absolutely.”