She threw the door open, and he dragged her into his arms. The past few nights had been lonely. When he was scheduled for those long shifts, days passed before she could see him again. He kissed her until they both gasped for air.
"Are you about ready, babe? Our reservation is for nine, but I thought you'd like to work up an appetite first."
"I need help with my suitcase, and then we're good to go."
He turned her around and slapped her ass. "You just want to get me into your bedroom."
Normally she would agree. But tonight was their first romantic weekend together since their Oasis vacation, and she wanted to get him alone in the hotel room. They had been methodically testing out his sex-toy theory, refining the parameters of the study the fun way. However, he lived with four other guys, and she had a roommate. Privacy was sometimes hard to come by.
He eyed the bulging suitcase on her bed thoughtfully. The lid curved over the contents, and the edges of some of her clothes stuck out. "It's just for one night. What do you have in there?"
She smiled. "All our favorite toys."
He flipped open the lid, lifted her clothes, and peered inside. She'd put them into plastic baggies and lined them up in neat rows inside her suitcase. The little dimple near the corner of his mouth deepened. "Yep, most of them are there."
Since she'd packed everything she owned, she didn't know what he meant. Had she overlooked something? "What's missing?"
"How about this?" He reached into his flannel shirt and pulled out a pink leather paddle with a heart shape cut out of the center. A white ribbon wrapped around the handle, and a matching bow was perched at the top of the heart.
Moisture gathered between her legs, wetting her panties. She could already feel the sting against her backside. "Oh, Kaelen."
She thought he would claim a kiss or ask to try it out, but he sat on the corner of her bed and studied her somberly.
"I gave my notice at work. My last day is in two weeks."
A pang struck her heart. He still needed two classes for this degree, but she graduated next weekend. The doctoral program at the University of Michigan to which she'd been accepted wouldn't begin until the fall term. "Why? You still have a semester left."
He nodded. "I know. I'm going to take my last two classes this summer. With the compressed schedule, I won't be able to make my shifts at the fire department. I saved up enough to cover rent and expenses." He ran his hand through his hair. "I heard back from the grad programs at U of M and Eastern. I've been accepted to both on the condition that I finish my undergrad degree first."
She squealed with glee and launched herself at him, tackling him with more force than she'd anticipated. Luckily he could handle it. He rolled them both until he was on top.
"You don't mind me following you?" His teasing grin returned.
She had hinted and prayed, but she had thought she would have to suffer through an entire semester living on the other side of the state. "I can't tell you how happy I am. Congratulations, Kaelen. You worked hard for this."
He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and nibbled on her neck. "I'm going to need your help looking for an apartment." He nipped across her collarbone, leaving behind gooseflesh.
She fanned her fingers through his hair to keep his attention there. "Or you could just move in with me." She hoped he was as ready for the next step as she was.
Her strength was no match for his. He easily broke her hold and lifted his head to study her with those gray eyes that turned her knees weak. "Go to sleep next to you every night. Wake up next to you every morning. I'd like that, Mia."
Emotion welled in her chest, and words failed. He grinned and feathered a kiss across her lips that showed he understood exactly what she meant to say.