"I do.” She couldn’t hold it in any longer. “I love you so much. But I— Oh!”
She was on her back on the mattress, his athletic frame caging her beneath him.
“I love you, too,” he ground out, expression fierce with triumph, yet so tender, he brought tears to her eyes. “Don’t cry.” It was command and plea. “Enough with hurting each other.”
“I never meant to.” She cupped his jaw in her palm. “I’m not used to relying on anyone. On having someone I can rely on. I didn’t think we had enough to build on or trust in. I’m not anything, Ben. Even the degree I worked so hard for is useless now.”
“It’s not. We’ll come back to your opportunities when you’re not cooking a baby. I promise you there will be plenty because you are amazing, Henriqua. Smart and brave and so independent it’s a tiny bit annoying for a man who was raised to hold doors and carry a woman’s bags for her.”
She pursed her mouth around a smile that was trying to take hold, afraid to believe he was really saying these wonderful things.
“This baby is accelerating what would have happened naturally if things hadn’t gone off the rails. When you asked me if I hated you, I thought I should, but that’s the moment I knew I loved you. Genuinely loved you. Because I couldn’t bring myself to call the police or anyone else. I just wanted you back in my life.”
“That’s how I felt when I realized I was pregnant. I wanted to forget everything that had happened and just tell you.” Her mouth wobbled. “I was sure you’d be happy.”
“I am. I’m astounded and excited and so smug. Like we did it on purpose after trying our hardest.”
She chuckled and touched her mouth to his. “We can still, you know, go through the motions of trying.”
His expression sobered and he drew back slightly. “I’m sorry I didn’t realize immediately that you were innocent.”
“Vincent went to great lengths to make me look guilty. I don’t blame you, Ben.”
“Thank you. I love you.” He came back to their kiss with proper intention.
The spark was still alive between them, flaring quickly out of control the way it always did. They kissed passionately, moaned freely. He swept his tongue into her mouth and she dragged his towel away, filling her hands with every inch of his naked butt while he growled in frustration at all the clothes she was still wearing.
They laughed and tussled and caressed and got down to the serious business of pleasuring each other, wringing moments of near-shattering pleasure from each other. When the anticipation became too much to bear, he tenderly slid into her, both of them releasing a long groan of joyous reunion.
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