Megan dropped her daughter off with her grandfather that morning. Morris lived in the same tenement he always had and the elevator was both ancient and broken, so he came down to help her carry the baby carriage and the supplies for the day. Paulette was wearing Megan’s favorite dress on her — yellow with white sleeves with ribbons on them — and he stopped to coo over how adorable she was in it, stooping over the stroller for at least five minutes while sidewalk traffic parted around them.
She’d worried a little about Paulette being away from home for the first time, and had wondered if they were imposing on him. But as soon as he scooped her up in his big gentle hands she knew that they would do fine together. The trick would be getting him to give her back.
“And where is my do-nothing of a son,” he asked, cradling Paulette against his chest, “letting you bring all this down here by yourself?”
“He’s asleep,” Megan said. “And given how much work has been running him off his feet lately I wasn’t going to wake him up.”
Morris clicked his tongue. “Don’t they know you two have a baby,” he said, like that was ever going to matter to anyone in advertising.
Back down in front of the building, Megan looked up at the window and waved goodbye. It was going to be a beautiful day. She got back in her car, squared her shoulders, and went home to seduce her husband.
Michael was in fact still asleep when she arrived. Which showed how tired he was; usually he got up at the slightest noise. He regularly woke in the middle of the night to go check on Paulette even when she was settled and still. Megan kept discovering him standing above the crib, watching their daughter dream. She climbed in bed with him and tapped her finger against the end of his nose until he stirred, swatting at it like a fly had landed.
“What?” he muttered.
“Operation Zeyda is a go,” she said.
He propped himself on his elbows, still disoriented with sleep. “Already? Why didn’t you wake me up, I was gonna say goodbye.”
“You needed the sleep,” Megan said. “And you can call them at lunch to see how things are going.”
“Is she okay?” he asked. “Did she cry?”
“She’s fine,” Megan said. “She loves your Dad, you know that.” She patted him on the arm. “Take your shower,” she said. “I’ll make breakfast.”
“So,” he said. “Spaghetti?”
“Very funny, Michael.”
But while he was in the shower Megan didn’t get the food ready, as she had promised. She dashed to her vanity and started getting herself ready instead: taking her hair down from its ponytail and combing it out, applying perfume at her pulse points and slipping into her favorite nightie. It didn’t fit the way it used to, being tight across her hips and lower belly, but she couldn’t expect that yet. Not so soon, and not while she was still breastfeeding. Her chest was popping out of everything, sexy nightwear included.
Still. She examined herself in the mirror and thought she looked pretty good. And when Michael was finished in the bathroom, she thought that he would agree.
He came out with a towel around his waist and rubbing another against his hair. “Why’d you get undressed?” he asked. “Don’t you want to go somewhere on our day off?” And then he opened a drawer in the dresser and started digging through it.
Well. Not the reaction she had been looking for.
She didn’t allow herself to become discouraged. “I’m not undressed,” she said, stepping up behind him and winding her arms around his waist. His skin was warm and damp from the shower, his hair still trailing water. “Not yet.”
He straightened his spine, leaning back into her. “Ah,” he said. “So you want to stay in.”
Megan grinned in triumph. “Exactly.” She pressed her hips against him so there could be no confusion.
He put the pair of pants he had in his hand back in the drawer and closed it halfway. His hands closed over hers, thumbs stroking her knuckles. “Uh,” he said. “We don’t have to, you know. Don’t feel any pressure just because Paulie is out of the house today. We could go out still.”
Megan’s chest felt tight. “What do you mean?” she asked. “Why wouldn’t we take the time for ourselves?” It was surreal, Michael suggesting they go out and interact with other people on a day they were supposed to be spending together. Usually she was the one dragging him out to socialize.
“I’m only saying,” he said. “If you feel like it’s too soon.”
“Honey,” she said. “It’s been three months. Probably more like four, since I wasn’t feeling great before she was born.” It had been all backaches and swollen feet at that point.
“Three — three months,” he said, turning in her arms to look at her. “Seriously? How old is Paulette? How old are we? It seems like we took her home from the hospital yesterday.”
“Babies are time machines,” Megan said. “So? Do you still want to go someplace else?” She would try to make the best of it, either way. But she missed him, in the most pressing and physical way. Sex was important to her. It was a connection she needed to keep open.
“What do you want?” he asked.
“I want you to go lie down on the bed,” she said. “And I want to suck you off.”
“Jesus,” he said, breathlessly, and surged forward to kiss her. Megan relaxed. She also peeled the towel off his hips.
“Go,” she said, swatting at his ass.
He pulled her down into his lap when she followed him to the bed. They fell over in a tangle of limbs and she laughed against his lips and then pulled his thigh between both of hers, grinding down, shivering, her breath catching in her throat. Oh, it had really been too long.
“God,” he said, teasing. “Zero to sixty.” But he didn’t linger, either, working her skirt up over her hips and hooking his fingers in her underwear. He dropped them on the floor and spread her legs apart. “Good?” he asked, cupping her bare mound in his hand.
It was the slightest touch. She bit her lip and pushed her hips up. “More,” she demanded.
“Okay,” he said. “Tell me if I’m going too fast.”
He thumbed her open and pressed down with his fingertips, rubbing her clit with exactly the right amount of pressure. She was already aroused, already getting wet, had been since he kissed her. She needed this. She wanted his fingers and she wanted his mouth and she wanted his cock, everything —
Her breath whistled through her teeth and he slid one finger in her, so slowly, so carefully. Two made her clench down. He dropped a kiss on her mouth and she grabbed a fistful of hair. “Fuck me,” she said.
So he did. They fit together like two puzzle pieces, just the way they used to. He knew her body and it hadn’t changed, not in the ways that counted, and the relief from that was enough to make tears stand in her eyes. She screwed them shut so she wouldn’t scare him.
He curled his fingers inside her, pushing in deep and raw, and she arched her back. “Yes,” she said, scrabbling at his shoulders. The muscles in her thighs tensed. “Fuck. I knew we’d still be good at this, I knew —”
“Here,” he said, “here, sweetheart,” and he was panting, his cock hard against his belly, his hand getting slick with her as he fucked in and out. It felt new and familiar all at once. A reunion and their first time both.
And if Michael had been nervous before he was making up for it now. She reeled him in for a biting kiss, grinding down on his fingers. His open mouth pressed against the underside of her jaw, her collarbones, the side of her breast. She twitched — she was so sensitive, still, from breastfeeding — but he understood, he licked her tender nipple through the thin satin of her nightgown and she arched under the gorgeous heat of his mouth.
Her orgasm was messy and loud and fun, an overdose of the sweet white noise in her brain. She shrieked and twisted the sheets around her before she melted back into them, her chest rising and falling as her breathing slowed. “Oh,” she said, trembling when he removed his fingers, her toes curling in the aftermath.
She threw a leg over his hip and they rolled onto their sides, bumping knees and noses. He started to speak and she covered his mouth.
“Don’t you dare ask me if I’m okay again,” she said.
“I wasn’t,” he mumbled against her palm, though he obviously was absolutely going to. He pulled her hand back and kissed her knuckles and she felt an incredible swell of affection and gratitude. It was so big her skin might have burst. All those post pregnancy hormones, maybe, making her emotions expand like balloons. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t real.
“I love you,” she said.
“I love you too,” he told her. “It always feels so inadequate to say it like that. Secondary. I love you first, I love you only.”
“Get on your back,” she said, and he did. She curled her hand around him and stroked firmly, watching his hips rise to meet her. “Remember what I promised you?”
“Y-Yes,” he said, his eyes closing.
“Still want it?”
He breathed out slowly. “Please.”
“Tell me, Michael.”
He swallowed, flushing down his chest. “I want you to suck me,” he said. “I want your mouth.”
“Good boy,” she said, “I like hearing you say it.” and he groaned, his head falling back on the billow, the line of his throat tense and lovely. There were times when she wished she could take pictures of him like this but she knew he would never allow it, so she committed everything to memory. The taste of him, the weight of him against her tongue, the way he shook apart under her ministrations. Why did anyone think of this as a submissive act when he was so yielding for her, when she could make him beg just by pulling off and waiting?
She sucked until her cheeks were hollow and pumped the base of his cock with tight, slippery fingers. “Fuck,” he gasped, his hands sinking into her hair, dissolving into a series of small, broken sounds, borderline-hurt, and it made her wish she could see his face, could watch him as he came in her mouth with a whimpering sob.
She rinsed her mouth out in the bathroom and pulled the rumpled nightgown over her head. Her body was the same it had been that morning, but she was pink and mussed from sex and no amount of weight-gain or newly acquired stretch marks could change the way her nerves were singing. She felt great. When she got back to the bed Michael tugged her under the blankets and held her until she dozed off.
She woke up refreshed and ready to go again. “I want you inside me,” she said, and straddled him, and made a low sound of triumph as he pushed up and into her. There was no discomfort, only a satisfying stretch, the faint burn of it having been awhile. “See?” she said. “Like lock and key, baby. And you were so worried.”
“I didn’t want to hurt you,” he said.
“You won’t,” she said, leaning down so their foreheads touched. “You never have.”
Morris insisted on cooking dinner for them before they left, so by the time they got home with Paulette there were stars dotting the sky. Or as many as you ever saw in New York, anyway. She was unusually perky for the late hour — her grandfather said she’d had a nap — and Michael took her out on the balcony to look at the constellations. He pointed them out to her, one by one, as she waved her chubby fists and let out a full throated squeal.
“I think she’s probably a little young for astronomy,” Megan said, coming out and pulling up a chair next to them.
“It’s never too early to learn,” Michael said, tucking her fuzzy head under his chin.
Megan reached out to play with her hair, which was starting to curl up. “She’s definitely going to have your hair,” she said. “I’m so happy.”
“She won’t be,” he said. “Poor kid.”
“Lucky kid,” Megan corrected.
Michael smiled. She could remember the first time she had seen that smile from him, the one devoid of the shadows or the sarcasm that sometimes haunted his face. It had been their third date and he’d taken her to some French restaurant where he couldn’t read the menu. “I did not plan far enough ahead here,” he’d said. “You’re gonna have to rescue me.” And he’d grinned at her, awkward and sheepish and so completely himself, and she might have fallen in love with him right then.
“Lucky us,” he said, and reached out for her hand, and held on tight.