Something in what I said triggered him and he pulled back. “No, I’m sorry.” Zach gripped my hips, lifted me as if I weighed nothing and placed me gently on the bed.“I can’t.” He sat up and kissed my cheek, so soft it almost hurt. “I’d feel like a tool for doing it. We’ll have other days.”I crossed my arms over my body, suddenly very self-conscious.“Hey.” Zach cupped my cheeks, encouraging me not to hide but look at him. His lips curved up in a kind smile. “You felt me just now, so you know how bad I have it for you. But if we fucked, you’d always have that doubt. You’d always question my honesty, and I won’t ever make you feel used like this.”His earnestness made my heart expand and strain against my chest. Zach acted like a real friend and it meant something to me. It meant a lot.Zach’s warm words and reassurance allowed me to relax. I became limp, sagging into the mattress as he covered my naked body, pulling the blanket up to my shoulders.“What’s funny?” he asked when I chuckled.“You, protecting my modesty.”His smile widened, and he kissed my cheek ever so softly that I barely registered it. A second later, he was next to the door.“You’re not staying?”“If I did, I can’t promise you there’d be no sleeping. I’ll see you, Tulip.”As soon as I heard him closing the door behind him and turning the lock, my eyelids draped over my eyes like a silk veil, smooth and soft. It didn’t take long for the peaceful sleep to arrive, when I was surrounded by the comfort of having another person in the world who cared about me.
Shani Haim has been a romantic at heart for as long as she can remember.One of her greatest passions has always been reading, and she devoured anything that swept her away to faraway places.From reading she made the transition to writing, falling in love with her flawed, broken and full of soul characters one happily-ever-after at a time.When she’s not swooning over book boyfriends, she’s practicing yoga, drinking unhealthy amount of coffee, or watching Netflix with her husband in their Tel Aviv home.