Levi had a good part in that. He accepted me at face value, maws and all, and that helped me. The doctor also helped, as did the sweet closure I’d gotten after that final confrontation with Carl. Not everything was tied up neatly in a bow. I still had nightmares, strong aversions to video cameras, and there were some days when seeing something on television of the internet would remind me too much of what had happened, setting me back, making me creep upstairs to lie down in bed for a while with a good book to try to forget about it. But I also knew there were people who never got to confront their tormenters, who never got the same chance at closure as I did, and that was what my organization was going to be for — to help them cope with what had happened or was happening to them as effectively as possible.
I wanted to give back, to help make it better for other people, because I knew just how lucky I was now. I hadn’t always been lucky. But with Levi by my side, I could take on anything. There wasn’t a grain of uncertainty in my mind about that.
“I love you, do you know that?” I asked him, both of us naked, sated, still panting, collapsed in a heap on the kitchen floor. I hoped the maids had the sense to take the night off tonight, too, along with the chef. I didn’t think I had the energy to even cover myself up if someone were to walk in.
“I know that,” he said, kissing the palm of my hand.
“I love you because you make me strong,” I said, turning my head, looking into those blue eyes I’d grown to know so well.
He smiled and shook his head. “No, you’re strong all by yourself. I’m not the reason.”
“Then what good are you?” I joked, making him tickle me. Our laughter echoed through the townhouse.
“I’m a hell of a cook, if I do say so myself,” he said, kissing me.
“I can attest to that.”
“And I know of certain places that cause you to make certain sounds …”
“What are you talking about — oh!”
He’d buried his finger inside of my still thrumming body, working it in and out, slowly, teasing out some sounds that I could admit were quite embarrassing.
I loved to make love with this man. That was one thing that would never change, but something that had transformed since we first met. I’d had sex with him compulsively, to banish the bad feelings inside of me, to forget. Now, though, I opened myself to him because we both loved it, both loved to make each other feel good, both loved to celebrate our love together in perhaps the single most beautiful act people could perform for each other.
Maybe my past should’ve made sex ugly for me, but sex with Levi would never be ugly.
“I want you,” I told him.
“I know,” he said, and our two bodies becoming one was the greatest affirmation of love that either of us would ever be able to make.
~ End ~