I felt a warm body next to me, and I knew it was the most incredible dream in the world. It wasn’t the first one I’d ever had about Thornton Marsh, but I welcomed all of them. I burrowed into the warmth and took a deep breath, smelling heaven on my sheets.

“Love, I’m home. I want to be here with you and Jude. This is where I belong.” No more beautiful words were ever spoken.

Once I figured out I was awake, I wanted to shoot off the bed in happiness, but I didn’t dare move. I had everything I’d ever fantasized about having snuggled up behind me, and there was no way I was going to fuck it up. I felt a warm, muscular arm snake over my body, and I didn’t move. I didn’t know what brought him back to us so quickly, but I wasn’t about to question it. He’s homeThat’s all that matters.

A few hours later, I woke up with Jude standing next to the bed holding my phone out for me after poking me relentlessly until I opened my eyes. “What?” I asked, sleep still evident in my voice.

“It’s Grandma Betsey. Your phone was on the counter in the kitchen, and it kept ringin’. She needs to talk to you.” With that, he shoved the phone at me and went back to his room, closing his door. I turned to see Thorn still sleeping, so I got up from the bed and went into the bathroom.

“Betsey, what’s wrong? It’s awful early,” I complained, having noticed it was just after six in the morning. I hoped to hell nothing had happened to Fred.

“I’m sorry, Kennedy, but you know I can’t keep track of the time difference. I got a letter in the mail from Lark. It was in the stack of mail the post office held for us while we were gone. I picked it up yesterday and just got around to sorting it last night. I’m extremely confused by what it says,” she explained.

I was bracing myself. “What does it say, Betsey?” She began reading while I held my breath. If Lark told her mother Jude wasn’t my son, I had no idea what I’d do.

“’Dear Mom and Dad. By the time you get this, I’ll be overseas with Jude. I won’t tell you where we’re going so you don’t have to lie to Kennedy. He’s got someone in his life more important to him than us, so I’m going to pursue my own happiness for once in my damn life. I’ll be in touch when things calm down but know we’re safe. I love you and Daddy, but it’s time for me to live my own life and have what everyone else seems to have. Don’t worry about Jude, after he gets used to his dad, he’ll be thrilled. Take care of each other. Your Meadowlark.’ Kennedy, what the hell is she talkin’ about, son?” Betsey asked.

Hearing those words, the urge to vomit shot through my stomach which was thankfully empty. “Betsey, I have no idea what she was thinking those last few days of her life. I’m almost wondering if she went off her meds or doubled the dosage or something. Nothing makes sense, and there’s really no way to find out the truth. She took it with her,” I told her, not precisely truthful.

“Hell, I just don’t know what to make of any of this, Kennedy. I’ve become used to her erratic behavior over the years, but this all has me… sniff… I just don’t…” I could tell she was crying, and I wondered if she’d had her breakdown yet. I hadn’t seen any sign of it while she was in Spokane, but I was sure it was the shock of everything happening at the time and her inherent need to try to organize things to make it easier for Jude and me after she left town.

It was definitely her way to be the mother hen. Since she was home and reality was settling in for her, I was sure she was much more emotional. The letter from Lark wouldn’t do anything to help her grieve productively, I was convinced.

“Betsey, where’s Freddie?”

“Hang on, son.” I heard her blow her nose, but she was back a minute later. “I’m sorry ’bout that. Freddie’s at the store already. I’m takin’ a few days off. Sort of a mental health break, ya know. Look, when I cleaned up Lark’s place, I didn’t really do much more than get rid of her clothes, clean out the fridge, empty the dishes in the dishwasher—stuff like that. I didn’t go rummagin’ through her things because I felt if she wanted me to know about her personal life, she’d have told me herself,” Betsey explained. I understood her decision, but I was still grateful that Thorn and I had gone through the place and removed certain things before Betsey and Nora went through it.

Betsey sighed one of those world-weary sighs I was all too familiar with. “All her life, Lark has kept a diary. I found a box in the back of her closet after I emptied out the clothes, and I opened it, finding probably all her journals and notebooks. I didn’t read them, but maybe you can get some answers in them. Also, she used to keep a book between the mattress and box springs of her bed. I used to just ignore it when I’d change her sheets, and I didn’t look there when Nora and I were cleaning out her place. If Lark were still keeping a journal, her most recent one would be there.”

It was news to me, but then again, Lark and I didn’t live together, and there really wasn’t a reason for me to know she wrote in a diary. I was, however, going to find the fucker and pray it offered any insight into the clusterfuck I was attempting to manage.

“Have you decided on a date for the memorial? I’ll make sure Jude can come, Betsey. I’ve placed the urn for him in my closet because I think it might be a while before he’s mature enough to understand it, but I want him to be there to support you and Freddie. I know it’s going to be tough, and I know Judah would want to be there to hold your hand,” I explained.

Betsey took a deep breath. “Well, after I saw the lovely gathering you had for Lark at your place, I decided to I’m going to wait a little while. I’m seriously not ready to let go of my little girl. I’m not planning anything until next year, if ever. I do hope you, Jude, and Thornton will visit sometime soon. I just fell in love with that man. He’s so… Well, he just is,” Betsey gushed. I could only smile because she was damn right… he just was.

We chatted for a few more minutes, and after we both shed a few tears, we hung up, promising to stay in touch and firm up a time for a visit soon. I opened the bathroom door to see Thornton leaning against the headboard with a look of concern on his face. When he saw my appearance, he held out his hand to me as an invitation. I didn’t waste time, hurrying to the bed to climb in and let him hold me.

“Who was on the phone, love?” His voice was quiet as he pulled me closer.

“Betsey. She had a letter in her mailbox. It was from Lark,” I confessed just as quietly.

“God. What did it say?”

“It said she planned to take Jude overseas, and she’d be out of touch for a while. I believe she was planning to go to Germany with Melendez. Something obviously happened to change those plans. When we get this New York bullshit over with, I need to go to her place and search through her stuff. Betsey said she used to keep a diary. I’m hoping she still did up until she died,” I explained.

He kissed the top of my head. “You have the only key to the house, so I don’t think you need to rush anything. Let’s table all talk of this until we get back. Monday is the holiday. Did you remember? Maybe after we get back from New York, we can pick up Jude and drive out to Aunt Nora and Uncle Rob’s? I’ll drive us back home on Monday night, and you can catch a six-hour nap.”

That reminded me… “Sounds fun. So, uh, what brought ya back? Is that your big ass suitcase?” I asked as I looked into the corner of the room and saw what appeared to be a steamer trunk that wasn’t there when I went to bed the previous night.

He cracked up. “Yes, my southern boy, that’s my big ass suitcase. I was home for exactly an hour when I realized what you said about my place is a there for sleep, but this is my home. You were right. Once it settled in my heart and mind, I couldn’t be there another minute. I packed up my clothes and here I am. I hope you didn’t change your mind.”

I sat up and looked at him, my face split into a huge grin. “You’re a pretty smart guy if it only took you an hour. We’ll make room for your stuff. Welcome home, baby,” I told him as I kissed him gently, deepening it to the point I pulled him down on the bed under me.

My hand moved down his body, settling on his hard cock through his pajama pants. I felt the outline of it, and suddenly, I wanted—needed—to feel him inside me. I pulled back as he began thrusting against my hand slightly. “I want you to make love to me before I go to work. I just need to feel you inside of me, Thorn. Will you?”

He rose from the bed and hurried to the door, closing and locking it. He crossed the room to a small duffel in the corner and opened it, fumbling around for a minute before he turned and walked back to the bed with a new box of condoms in his hand and a fresh bottle of lube.

He opened it, pulling out a condom and depositing the rest in the nightstand drawer on his side of the bed. He slipped off his pajama pants, showing me that beautiful, thick, uncut cock. I hurriedly slid off my boxers and tossed them on the floor, settling on the bed as he climbed back in.

“Baby, I love you. You know I’ll give you anything you want or need.” He opened the lube and put some on his fingers before he tossed the bottle next to me. He kissed me again as he moved between my spread legs. He grabbed his pillow and held it up, tapping his index finger against my entrance. “Lift up.”

I did, allowing him to settle the pillow under my lower back and the top of my hips, opening me more to him. He leaned forward and kissed the head of my cock, sending my heart rate and my level of lust through the roof. “Fuck, Thorn,” I moaned.

He licked down my shaft to my balls, sucking first one and then the other into his hot mouth, bringing a shudder of pleasure down my spine. When his tongue slipped behind my sack, I felt the pressure on my perineum before there was a swirl of his tongue around my entrance that nearly caused me to shoot off in a second.

“Relax, baby. I’ve got you. I’ll make you feel good, I swear,” he whispered against my flushed skin. I felt his index finger slip inside me gently as he moved to lick his way up my body, causing jolts of electricity to skitter across my skin. By the time he’d worked his way back to my mouth, he had me ready.

I reached for the condom and ripped it open, handing it to him. I opened the lube and poured some in my hand so that when he had the condom in place, I pumped him twice, hearing his sexy groan. I took my own cock in my slick hand and looked into those gorgeous green eyes. “Give it a go, darlin’.” He laughed softly at my choice of phrasing, but he didn’t hesitate to work his way inside me, slowly continuing the forward drive until his balls were tickling my ass cheeks. The man had a cock worth paying homage to when it filled me up. Nothing else had ever come close.

He stalled and looked into my eyes. “I fucking love you, Kennedy,” he whispered. As he pulled back equally as slowly, he braced his hands on my knees to push my legs up toward my chest, allowing him access to my aching hole.

When he thrust into me with force, he hit my magic spot, and I gasped, closing my eyes. “Fucking incredible.” It truly was.

He began ramming harder into me, but he didn’t pick up the pace. I’d been holding onto my cock just enjoying the feel of him moving inside me. He stopped, and my eyes opened again. “There you are. Keep your eyes on mine, love. Wrap your legs around me and get ready to feel me. You’ll be feeling me all day, and I want you to text me when you think about what we’re doing here,” he ordered.

Fuck, the controller is in the house. Bring it, baby. I did as he said and wrapped my legs around his ass, digging my heels in to urge him to take me to heaven. He began thrusting harder and faster as he settled on his elbows beside my shoulders, looking into my eyes with all the love I felt him pouring into my body.

He didn’t look away, and it was the most intense experience I’d had to date. God, the man could fuck. The friction of his abs against my cock was becoming too much, coupled with his heated gaze. Far too soon, I climaxed between us, his mouth covering mine to stifle my shout of ecstasy.

“Fuck, your ass is…” he moaned as I felt him pulse inside me shortly after. He bent down to kiss me, and when he pulled away to look into my eyes, he smiled. “Magic. Your ass is magic, love.”

I moved his hair out of his eyes, feeling the dampness on his skin due to our workout. We were both sweaty, and the bed was going to need to be changed, but I didn’t give a flying monkey’s ass. It was wonderful.

“So, you wanna take a shower with me?” I asked as he moved off of me and disposed of the condom in the trashcan on my side of the bed.

He looked at the clock and smiled. “I’d love to. Go shave and start the water, and I’ll start the coffee. Meet ‘cha there in a minute.” He kissed the tip of my nose and climbed off me. He pulled on my boxers and walked to the door.

Before he opened it, he turned around and looked at me. “That smile is one I want to see every day for the rest of my fucking life.” Without waiting for a response from me, he opened the door and strolled down the hallway in that sexy, confident way he had about him now. Gone was my shy, awkward boy from college. The man who’d taken his place… Lord help me, he was fucking amazing.


I settled into my seat in business class for the redeye to New York. Thornton had asked for the window seat, and when I asked him why, his answer of “I’m right-handed,” didn’t make sense, but I had too much on my mind to question him.

When the flight attendant came by, he eyed both of us and smiled. “Gentlemen, I’m Gerard, and I’ll be taking care of you this evening. What can I bring you?”

“Two blankets and two bottles of water,” Thorn requested with a smirk. The guy walked away and came back with two fluffy blankets and two cold bottles of water. Thornton took them and tossed out ‘thanks,’ dismissing the guy. We were in the last row of seats because he’d requested a change when we’d checked in. The front of the plane was mostly empty, so I wasn’t sure why he wanted to sit in the last row, but I didn’t ask.

“So, what did Taylor Crosby say this morning?” he asked as the coach passengers filed past us, giving us dirty looks because we had paid extra to sit in business class. It could have been because he was holding my hand and looking into my eyes, but I didn’t pay them any attention. Fuck the haters.

“After I gave him the details, he actually laughed and thanked me for giving him the opportunity to go against Preston Randolph. Apparently, Mom and Dad went with a big gun. He’s looking forward to humiliating the guy in court. I’m hoping to hell it doesn’t get that far,” I answered.

“Did you tell him everything?”

I sighed at his question because I’d been stewing on it all week. When push came to shove, and with Lark’s history of mental illness, I’d decided to tell Taylor the truth, even down to showing him the letters she’d sent to her mother and Thornton, which were a surprise when he finally showed them to me. I could make no more sense of them than anyone else.

“I did. Taylor’s going to try to keep Melendez’s name out of all court records so it won’t give the guy any introduction into the fight, but he seems to believe once I give them my response, they’ll see they have no case. I truly hope we can explain it to them and maybe get a late flight back tomorrow night instead of staying another day. God knows I don’t want to see them more than I have to,” I complained.

“What did Rory say?” Thorn asked.

I laughed. “My sister is totally pissed because I didn’t tell her we were going until this morning. She told me to call her after we see them, and she bitched because I let Franklin and Brenda take Jude for the weekend. It just seemed like the best idea to me, ya know?” I asked.

“I know, babe. They were very excited when they picked him up, and Brenda had a lot of plans. I think it’s a good idea they took him.” He was about to say something else when the flight attendant began giving the safety instructions. We fastened our seatbelts and gave the guy our attention.

Gerard, however, was openly eye-fucking my boyfriend, and I was just about to get up and slap the piss out of him when Thorn spread the blanket over us with a sexy smile on his face for me.

The plane began taxiing toward the runway, and I felt Thornton grab my hand under the blanket, holding it with his hand rubbing his thumb over my knuckles. When we were next in line for takeoff, the cabin lights dimmed, and Gerard took a seat. Thornton reached into the front pocket of his carry-on and sat back, clutching something in his fist.

He let go of my hand for a moment, and as we sped down the runway, I felt Thorn dip into the waist of the tracks pants he insisted I wear for the flight. I’d walked out of the bedroom in jeans, and he sent me back with a bag to change. It was a pair of navy track pants with an elastic waist.

It’s a long flight. We aren’t seeing your parents until tomorrow morning. We should be comfortable, don’t you think?” he reasoned. I had no argument against it, so I did as he said.

I couldn’t dispute his logic at the time, and when his slick hand met my semi-hard cock, I decided my boyfriend was the smartest mother fucker on the planet. He stroked me twice and stopped, so I opened my eyes to look at him. He leaned over to whisper, “I’ve got another packet of lube, love.” With that, he opened it with his teeth and his left hand, holding it out to me. He squeezed the contents into my left palm and shoved the trash into the seat pocket.

I slipped my hand into his matching track pants and proceeded to give the handsome, always-thinking, man a hand job, wishing the armrest wasn’t between us so I could lean forward and suck that incredible cock down my throat instead.

As the plane climbed into the clouds, our level of desire rose as well. Thorn’s hand moving on me with his thumb sliding over the head would finish me off far too quickly, but I was enjoying it like I’d never experienced a hand job in my life. Maybe it was because we were in public, but I didn’t give a shit. It was fucking incredible.

I manipulated the foreskin down so I could brush over the head of his cock as he was stroking mine. I could hear the gentle moans coming from him, and they were nearly as astonishing as the feeling of his touch on me.

A twist of his wrist was my undoing. I shot off in his hand with a small gasp, my right hand reaching up to cover my mouth. I saw the flight attendant glance up to look at me, and I pretended I was stifling a yawn. I sped up my ministrations on Thornton, and a minute later, I felt him erupt in my hand as he closed his eyes and bit the heel of his left hand to keep from making a sound.

After we caught our breath, I looked at him with a smile. “That was incredible, but we’ve each got a hand full of jizz and wet boxers.”

He slowly withdrew his hand from my pants, as did I from his. He reached into his carry-on and came out with a travel pack of baby wipes. I laughed as he handed me two, taking two for himself. After we cleaned up as well as we could, he leaned over to kiss me. “I have two pairs of clean boxers in my carryon. When the seatbelt light goes off, go change, and then we can catch a nap.”

He reached into the bag and pulled out two pairs of boxers, handing one to me. He took the other under the blanket on his side, and after some very covert moves, he gave me the damp pair he’d been wearing. A minute later, he settled into his seat, taking his dirty boxers from me and shoving them into the bag.

“You’ve clearly done this before,” I whispered to him.

He laughed. “Not at all, but I definitely put some thought into it. You can’t change like I did because you’re on the aisle, but the lavatory is just a few feet away. Get some sleep, love.” With that, he pulled on the complimentary sleep mask and kicked back his seat.

When the fasten seatbelt sign went off, I tucked the boxers into my track pants and made my way to the lavatory. As I passed Gerard in the crew galley, he smiled at me. “Well done, you lucky devil. Well, you’re both lucky. Anything before you venture off to dreamland?”

I laughed. “No, thank you.” I quickly changed and made my way back to my seat, seeing the love of my life was gone to the world, his mouth wearing a sweet, innocent smile, the dirty devil. I placed my and on his thigh over the blanket and soon I was in a blissful, post-orgasmic sleep. Thornton Marsh had almost all of my firsts, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

To be continued…

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