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“C’mere.” Morgan patted his knee. “Sit on your captain’s lap and tell him what’s wrong.”

His serious expression made me hesitate at first, but I had resolved to talk about this, and if I couldn’t even sit on his lap, why would he take what I had to say seriously? Gingerly, I lowered myself onto his knee. Already my face was flushed.

Morgan ran a large hand through my hair, as if soothing some frightened, wild thing. “Well?”

“I—” My voice dried up, my throat constricted. His gray eyes were so close to me, and somehow the subtle changes of his expression—light puzzlement in the crease of his brow, concern in the tilt of his lip—made my face heat further. I tried to look away, but he caught my chin and forced me to look at him. His thumb massaged my jaw in slow circles.

“Tell me,” he said.

Isn’t this what I had wanted? My stomach felt light as air. “I—” I started again, then took a deep breath and found my voice. “I feel like… I feel like most of the time you just treat me like a—a kid.”

Slowly, he raised one brow.

“I mean, just—” How come it sounded better in my head? “—We kiss and stuff, and—and that’s great, but sometimes I wish that we could do… you know… adult. Things.”

The brow was still raised, but now it was accompanied by a rather suspicious grin. “Adult things, huh?”

“You’re not taking me seriously!”

“Of course I’m taking you seriously!” He let go of my chin and patted my knee, his other arm encircling my waist. “I’m just imagining you sitting on my lap like a real woman!”


“You’re right, I guess it would be more like straddling, really—Hey, I tease! I tease.” I had tried to get up, but he pulled me tight against him. “I tease,” he said again, this time into my hair. I let myself relax into his embrace.

We sat just like that for a bit, listening to nothing but each other’s breathing, close and still.

“I love you,” I said at last, plucking at the white sleeve of the arm around my waist.

“Even when I tease?”

“Especially when you tease.”

He kissed me just beneath my ear, near the line of my jaw where my pulse could be felt. “It’s how you know I love you.”