“Don’t worry, Susan,” I assured her as she turned again at the bottom of the steps. “I’ve done this before, remember?”
She smiled uncertainly. “I am so grateful, Tim. This means so much to me. I know…” she trailed off but I knew what she was going to say and gave her a warm smile back.
It had been six years since Catherine died. My wife, Catherine, who had been best friends with Susan since they’d met in grade school. Susan had been there our whole marriage, in and out of her own the first few years, she’d had her daughter Jessica three months after we’d had Mary.
Over the years Mary and Jessica had, not surprisingly, also become best friends. They’d remained so even after Susan moved deeper into the city for a job, though they couldn’t see each other as often. Likewise, deprived of their near-daily contact, Catherine and Susan had become more and more attached to their annual trip to a Women’s Bible Camp upstate. It became a tradition for me to take a week off, watch Mary and Jessica, and let them go together to the camp.
Susan was right. “Yes,” I finished for her smoothly. “This is what Catherine would have wanted.” It was always easier on her if I said it. We got along very well, and maintained an acquaintance through our daughters, but were both mindful of the loss we shared. She’d known her much longer, and I had married her.
“Believe me, I’m good,” I said. “I’ve got some movies, a bunch of fun meals planned, I’ll take them to the mall, we’ll go ice skating, the time will fly.”
“Thanks, Tim,” she smiled as though she didn’t fully believe me but was glad for me to give her the easy out.
“Have a good time, get refreshed,” I waved. She climbed into her car and backed out of the driveway. The truth was somewhere in the middle. I always seemed to have a good time bonding with the girls, but the time still managed to drag by, and sometimes I felt a little grumpy that I burned a whole week of vacation so someone else could go on vacation.
I turned and entered the already-boisterous house. “Kids just get louder each year,” I murmured. I imagined that I needed to lean into the blare of noise coming from my daughter’s room just to pass her half-open door. Jessica and Mary were sitting cross-legged on the bed, booting up Mary’s laptop, adjusting the volume (upward) on her stereo, and jabbering at the top of their voices. Jess’s duffel lay at the foot of the bed, already open as if the clothing and trinkets inside had burst out the moment she’d set it down.
“And it does seem the years come quickly,” I thought aloud, pausing at the door to let them see me. I waved from the hallway, somewhat unwilling to enter in case all the color, music, and cartoons of the room might alter my personality too much. They waved back absently and kept talking as Mary fiddled with the touchpad on her computer, loading something.
“Funny to see them going on like they’re still ten,” I smiled. “They look like young women now.”
I guess it struck me like any regular, annual event, how much had changed over the last years. How much of it was the past twelve months I couldn’t say, because sometimes it all seemed to blend together, but there was none of the tubular pre-teen look about them now. “They really are young women,” I sighed. “I don’t feel old enough to have a nineteen-year-old daughter.”
They were both graceful, had both filled out nicely with long, smooth legs, silky hair, and breasts that could no longer be called budding. Their clothing now snugged their hips, rather than being belted on in a utility fashion. They wore trendy shorts, attractive skirts, unusual tops, and the effect was no longer “adorable” but “alluring”. Their bare feet had lost that cute-as-a-button look and were now as beautiful as the rest of them. I shook my head at the flashy belts, fuzzy tops, and barely functional sleepwear that spilled onto the floor. — A few hours later, as I toweled my hands dry after washing up after dinner, I heard the patting of bare feet on the hardwood floor and some light giggling as they crossed the livingroom to the kitchen. “Daddy,” Mary called as they entered, just loud enough that it sounded as though she felt she still needed to compete with the noise of her room. “What’s on for tonight?”
I turned around nearly and dropped my towel. Mary and Jess stood in the archway to the livingroom in what I suppose they would call nightgowns but I would categorize firmly in the lingerie department. Light fabric, through which I could just see the girls’ nubile outlines, poked forward and clung in all the right places. Most of their supple legs were exposed. Their nipples stood out sharply.
“I…” I stammered a moment. Some of my surprise must have shown on my face, for they both giggled, but stood their ground.
“We always start the week with a movie together,” Jess pouted prettily. She could have no idea what that kind of pout did to a man, or could she? I thought I saw a mischievous glint in her eyes, but I was all too apt to be imagining it. I was a man of forty, almost forty-five. She was a girl of nineteen, about three months younger than my own daughter. I suppressed an angry thought about how teenage girls acted and projected themselves.
“Well, that’s true,” I gathered my wits as quickly as possible. “But we usually watched a kids movie and I wasn’t sure if you were still into the idea.”
“Very much!” Mary assured me with a grin.
“Only if it’s a hot-chocolate, pajama-party,” Jess said quickly. “I look forward to this for months!”
“It’s a little cold, don’t you think?” I suggested delicately.
“Oh, that’s okay,” Mary spun on the spot, her flimsy ‘nightgown’ flaring out. “I’ll go get the giant blanket while Jess picks out a movie.” She looked over her shoulder with a coyness that was supposed to remind me of when she was younger, with the imperiousness of a ten-year-old. “You make the hot chocolate daddy, then get into your pajama’s too. That’s the tradition.”
“Right,” I watched her go, suddenly worried how she could ever get through college without being trashed by some unwelcome sports squad. But I dutifully turned back around and got out a pot for my home-made hot chocolate.
I had just pulled out the milk, some breaker chocolate, and turned on the heat when I felt arms around me from behind. “Thanks, Mr. Schmidt,” Jessica said warmly, giving me a hug. “It’s so nice to come here every year. It’s…” but just what she was thinking I could only guess – if the faculty of thought had been left to me. Her voice trailed off, and she squeezed me affectionately.
I knew it was hard for her. Jessica’s parents had undergone an ugly divorce and still fought furiously, and Jess was frequently in the middle. Neither parent was particularly wealthy – Jess’s father drove trucks and was often on the road, and Susan was always searching for a job that would pay well – but usually ended up waiting tables or trying to keep up as an office assistant in a world of increasingly complex technology. I knew that my household was for Jess the same blissful, harmonious break from her tumultuous world that the bible camp – which we had covered for Susan while Catherine was alive, and I still gave to her as a gift – was for Susan.
All these thoughts were there, somewhere in the fuzzy cloud of my head, as Jessica’s hug lingered. She’d always been a hugger, at least in our household. I got the impression she hugged whoever she could because she got less affection than she should at home, and almost none from a disappointed father always on the long road. Try as I might, however, the sensation of her recently-filled-out breasts with their cold-hardened nipples dominated me. From the little girl I was used to had come this full-grown woman whose breasts pressed against me, further apart than I would have guessed, and far larger than I would have thought possible.
“You’re welcome, Jess,” I managed, and patted her arm. “It’s fun to have you over every year.”
Mercifully, she let go and walked slowly back into the living room. I stole a very long glance at her, unable to keep my thoughts in check. Her bottom looked perfect under her narrow waist, almost completely visible through the lingerie. I could see the outline of her panties, though clearly no bra. Rounded at the hips, with her tapering legs, I nearly gasped, but managed to turn back around and force my mind back onto hot chocolate. — Ninty minutes later I found myself huddled on the couch. Mugs emptied on the coffee table, long blanket bunched and swirled, I sat almost rigid, self-conscious in my pajamas – I rarely wore them. Mary had snuggled up under my left arm, curled against my body. Jess had snuggled up under my right arm, likewise curled, her breasts pressing heavily against my side, her right hand on my chest as she watched the movie.
So many quality kids-oriented movies had come out lately, with just enough grown-up humor and appeal, that there had been a wide selection of innocent entertainment to watch. I was glad they hadn’t chosen a “chick-flick” with lots of suggestive adult situations. I’m not sure I would have allowed us all to snuggle through it, and I admit I was enjoying the snuggle.
Over the next few minutes, the computer animated characters moved towards a sappy, happy conclusion after their adventures. I felt Mary nestle in closely, contact we were familiar with. Without Catherine, we’d had to get our hugs from each other, and we were modestly affectionate as a close father and daughter should be.
Jessica, however, seemed about ready to cry with the characters, and squeezed me as if for strength, her fingers caressing my chest as if she were the cute heroine character in the movie consoling with her fellow adventurers.
I was immensely thankful that our positions kept my raging, throbbing hard-on hidden beneath the blankets and just far enough away from arms, legs, elbows, and hands that direct contact was avoided. I certainly didn’t want to ruin the mood having an embarrassing moment, and as worked up as I was after an hour and a half snuggle with two achingly beautiful young girls, I was sure even the lightest touch would have had me ejaculating all over the inside of my pajamas.
The last frames faded out and the bouncy-happy end credit music began to play. Mary and Jess snuffled happily and nestled in even harder for a moment.
“Thanks dad,” Mary kissed me on the cheek. “That’s a great way to end a day. I think I want to watch a movie every night this week.”
“There is a good selection,” Jess took the liberty of mimicking Mary and kissed me on the other cheek. “It’s funny because really we just sit here for a couple hours, but this is some of my favorite time all year. I’d love to watch a movie every night too, Mr. Schmidt.”
I hugged them back, trying to maintain that it was fatherly. “Well, we’ll see,” I said, avoiding commitment. I wasn’t sure I could stand the torture. If I could go upstairs and vent some sexual tension with my wife, that might have been different, but I’m not sure what state I’d be in if I had to sit between two young goddesses for two hours every night. I thought my dick might actually explode out of revenge. It had been years since my last regular lover. “Off to bed with you, and we’ll hit up the mall tomorrow, like I promised.”
“How about you,” Mary asked, extricating herself from the blanket. She took her body heat with her and I nearly shivered. Her ‘nightgown’ was askew, accenting her figure even more. “Are you going to sleep now too?”
“No,” I said, unwinding from an almost-purring Jess. “I have a few things to work on in the den. I rarely get to bed before midnight.”
“Okay,” Mary yawned, stretching in an unconsciously unfair way. “Goodnight dad.” She kissed me again and started for the stairs.
“Goodnight, Mr. Schmidt,” Jess kissed me again too, and turned to follow Mary. Her lingerie had caught in her panties as she sat curled on the couch, leaving most of her beautiful butt exposed. I didn’t bother embarrassing her by pointing it out, I simply stared, helpless, and pretended to go about shutting down the movie. Without even trying, the way she climbed the stairs in her semi-sleepy, barefoot way was as seductive as if she were a professional runway model or glamour star. — At eleven-thirty, unable to concentrate, I’d abandoned my den and computer and made my way upstairs. I passed Mary’s room quietly, pajama collar awry, slippers whispering against the carpet. The dim light from the hallway showed the door to be ajar, and quiet blackness within. “That’s a mercy,” I grumbled. In past years it might be two or three in the morning before they wore each other out talking.
I made my way into my room, got ready for bed, clicked out the lights, and stripped down. The bed was cold, but smooth, and I could feel my own body heat, egged on by my fast-beating heart, already warming the covers.
It took what seemed a long time to finally fall asleep. Images and impressions of my past sexual relationship with Cathrine flooded my mind, and my blood refused to cool. There was no doubt I missed her in many ways. I’d learned to live with the gigantic hole over the last six years, but it didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would ever actually fill.
Tossing and twisting with restless mind and unnerved body, I kept replaying the full, satisfying sex life I’d had, and how empty it was now. It wasn’t like that’s all our relationship had been, but when my heat was up, it was only natural that I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Eventually, inactivity and the inability to maintain an erection for eternity conspired to dim my consciousness and I drifted off. — “Mr. Schmidt?” I awoke not quite with a startle, nor with the slow climb upward from deep sleep, but with a regular awareness blooming in the darkness. I shifted. The clock read one-thirty in the morning. I looked towards the door.
“Mr. Schmidt?” Jess whispered again. Her outline was silhouetted in the dim light from the hallway. From this perspective her nightgown seemed much more appropriate – a more blocky shape that still showed she was a pretty girl, but not so seductive.
‘Now where did that thought come from?’ I asked myself, still groggy but with some realization that I’d been very horny lately.
“Yes? Jess?” I said fuzzily, almost fully awake.
“Can I come in?” she whispered back. There was a catch in her voice as though her heart beat too fast for her to speak normally. There was a pause while the idea stole through me with some sort of icy nervousness.
“Are you okay?” I asked, shifting again to sit up on one elbow. I realized I was completely naked under the covers, but in the darkness and with all this bedding around me, she shouldn’t be able to tell.
“I think so,” she whispered, taking a tentative step into the room. “I had a bad dream, and I’m a little shaky. I…” she faltered.
“Come in,” I said as gently as I could. I clicked on my bedside light, the first setting dim enough to allow reading without glaring off the walls.
The illusion of the appropriate nightgown disappeared, dispelled by the light. Crumpled a little by sleep, it clung to her body, and perhaps without so much light to reflect off the material, her breasts were clearly visible beneath. She flitted the few steps from the door to the bed and sat down on the edge. Whether from her sudden movement or urged by her arm I couldn’t tell, but the bedroom door swung so that the latch clicked gently against the stop – though it didn’t close.
I was too aware of her proximity to pay enough attention to, or react to, the door. She’d sat down so that one leg curled up on the bed, the other hung over the side, her right hip almost touching my thigh. The covers rippled against me and in an absurd panic I thought they might slide off – despite the several feet of fabric spread out in every direction. I covered the motion by trying to sit up a little more, pluffing my pillows against the headboard, and leaning against them.
“What’s up, Jess?” I asked, trying to mask the thudding of my own heart.
“I just…” she began, but trailed off and looked down at her hands in her lap. “I just need to talk to you a little, is that okay?”
“You’re always welcome to talk to me, Jess,” I assured her.
I couldn’t help myself. I could tell anyone she was my daughter’s friend and it was a fatherly gesture, but I reached out and brushed her hair off her shoulder, then gave it an affectionate squeeze.
She looked up at me with enormously wide eyes, as though afraid, but didn’t say anything, and seemed to have frozen herself in place so as not to disturb her shoulder.
“It does seem unusual to speak to me at one in the morning,” I tried to sound casual about it.
“It’s the only time,” she looked over her shoulder suddenly, at the door, and the movement pulled her body just far enough that my hand fell away. “That I thought we could talk alone.”
“Oh,” I said, trying to sound like the family doctor. “You wanted to talk about Mary?”
“No,” she sounded breathless. “More – without her.”
“Very well,” I said, trying to figure out if I could rest my hand on her leg without giving myself away. I decided against it, but kept the thought clearly in mind as my penis stirred, thickening.
“It’s so nice,” she started, stammering down into her lap again, the words starting to come out in a whispered rush. “I mean, my dad isn’t around a lot. Well, okay, he’s not around at all, and I don’t really like how grumpy he is whenever I do see him, and it was so nice to just sit with you on the couch, snuggled under a blanket. It’s like what I guess I dream it should be like to have a real family. I’ve obviously heard all about the father-figure concept, and I don’t want to put any extra pressure on you and all, but … it’s just so nice to have a man to cling to once in a while.”
She took a quick breath, and plowed on, her eyes now on her bare knee. “I mean, I’ve obviously been around boys at school, and it’s exciting and fun to be near them and touching too – you know like holding hands or holding on to their arm when they’re talking and laughing with each other – but it’s so different with a… I don’t know, a real man?”
Jess looked up a little more, her eyes on my exposed nipples. “I mean, they’re real, but they’re so unstable, so unsure themselves – I can feel how insecure they are and how volatile, how likely they are to do something stupid just as easily, or more easily, than something good. They’re all trying to be cool because they don’t know their place yet, and they just make all these blunders. Boys try to touch me back, of course, and it’s very exciting, but it’s also alarming and they don’t always seem to know what they’re doing. It often hurts or doesn’t feel good other than the fact that it’s just fun to be touched – like someone thinks I’m beautiful, or even can’t help themselves.”
Now her eyes came up to my face, but she seemed unable to look directly into my eyes. Her own eyes were dilated, and I could see her trembling. “But when you hug me, or hold me, or just let me sit against you, it feels so comfortable, so warm, so soothing…” she broke off, licked her quivering lips, and looked into my eyes. I was incapable of looking away, saying anything, even moving.
“I’m so confused,” she said quickly. “I don’t have a dad to talk to about all this. I’ve tried to talk to mom about it, but she gets all flustered and goes off on all the wrong tangents. Things were so bad between her and dad, and I never really saw them comfort each other, but I have these powerful urges…”
She took a shallow breath as if it were a long one, and when she spoke again it sounded as if she were already out of breath again. “Half of it is the fantasy – sometimes overpowering – of being held, just held by big, strong arms. Knowing they’re there for me, to protect me, to keep me warm, and… and…” She seemed unable to continue, and tears filled her eyes.
Out of instinct I leaned forward with my arms out and pulled her towards me. She rested her flowing, dark-blond hair against my chest and shook with a couple sobs, leaning into me gratefully. “There, there” I said softly, unsure what else to say and speaking on instinct. My heart hammered, but more gently now. The stirring in my loins subsided somewhat. This explained things and gave me a way out. An enormous part of me didn’t want that way out, but another part of me beat down resentment and felt relieved. “I’ll be glad to talk to you. I know things are hard for you, Jess. It may be awkward, but of course I’ll help you.”
She snuffled twice, rubbed her head against me, and sat up as I released her. “Do you have a tissue?” she asked, smiling weakly. Her eyes were still wide, and her hair more tousled now.
“Yes,” I gestured to the dresser.
She got up, and for a few glorious moments stood at the dresser with her nightgown caught atop her hips, her entire bottom and long, luscious legs completely exposed. She blew her nose and brought an extra tissue back. She settled into almost exactly the same position she’d just left. The cold night air nipped at my exposed skin and a part of me wondered how she couldn’t be covered in goose bumps.
“I’m sorry,” she said, leaning forward to lay the tissues next to my clock.
“Don’t worry,” I assured her.
“No,” she said, almost cutting me off. “It’s more than that. There’s the other half. The half that… that…”
I thought crying might release some of her tension, but she looked every bit as nervous. She fidgeted jerkily, twisting her fingers together, working her lips, looking back down into her lap.
“What is it, Jess?” I asked. I did everything I could to sound patient and warm, though I was in truth feeling hot and impatient. I had to get her out of my room, and soon.
“I am sometimes filled with the urge…” she began, half-turning and almost un-knotting her fingers, but she stopped, dropped her hands onto her thigh, and slumped again.
I shifted and opened my mouth, but she shook her head, her long hair cascading around her shoulders, so I said nothing and waited in agony. Surely hell was no worse than this. At this point I’d take a lake of fire over sitting in my bed with a building erection, the very vision of young beauty inches away but needing my help – not even able to explain what she wanted. I really didn’t want to snap at her, it might hurt her in emotional ways beyond an interrupted talk, but my physical frustration was mounting.
“I…” she began again, though she didn’t move this time. She just looked miserably at her hands and the foot she’d nearly tucked up against her crotch. “… the urge to keep – or to do …”
Unwilling to think too much about what might be bothering her, sure that I would only tighten the straps of my own internal torture, I hesitated a little longer, unsure what to do. The long moments crawled by. I could see the heavy, thunderous beating of her heart in her beautiful neck, could feel it in my own. At last she shivered slightly. It really was cold and she wasn’t wearing enough to stay warm even on a summer’s night.
“To do something,” she wasn’t panting, wasn’t gasping, but her breath came in short gulps anyway. It sounded as though some of her words were missing, carved out when the lines on her throat stood out when she tried to breathe in. “Something to keep… something to attract… maybe to earn? … those arms…”
I almost said something when she started to move.
Jessica slid smoothly off the bed onto her feet, a very slow, determined motion as though she moved through thick sludge rather than crisp air. With the same, excruciating slowness she turned towards me, and bent towards the edge of the bed. “I’m so afraid,” she whispered, and her eyes showed it. Not so much a terror, but a pervading fear. I felt rooted to the spot. What was she going to admit? Was someone assaulting her? I’d just spent a whole evening in close proximity to her near naked body and felt sure she had no bruises. Her arms worked at the edge of the bed but I was incapable of paying attention to anything besides her wide eyes, locked onto mine.
“I’m so afraid,” she murmured again, but continued. “That you’ll reject me.” Her eyes went from fear to pleading, and I realized what she’d done was to lift the covers. She climbed gracefully into the bed. “Please,” she whispered huskily, urgently. “Please don’t reject me.”
She was under the sheets and blanket now, sliding closer, her face so close to mine that her breath tickled against my chin. “Please don’t reject me,” she begged. “I need this. I need this so badly,” and she’d moved so close that her lips brushed against mine in a questing, desperately light kiss.
Correctly interpreting my complete inability to stop her, her eyes fluttered closed and she pressed her lips more insistently against mine. Her arm stole over my side, and she moved one leg forward, over my own, so that the cold, cold skin of her thigh and calf, her beautiful foot, caressed me.
She sobbed again, a sob of aching desire and flooding relief. “Ohhhh,” she whispered throatily, her lips still grazing mine. “Ohhhh,” unable to articulate further. I caressed her hip, running my hand over the back of her chilly, perfectly rounded buttocks, up the narrow small of her back, under her nightgown. She writhed slowly, sinuously, as my fingers traced a path, each motion gently easing the nightgown out of the way, exposing more of her delicious, cool skin.
“So warm,” she murmured, still kissing me. “So warm.” Her slow, wriggling motion continued as my fingertips reached her ass again, and I hooked them into her panties. She arched her back, the motion itself helping to pull the underwear down, and with practiced movements I helped them over her seductive roundness.
A tumbled, jumbled mixture fogged my brain. The fresh, real presence of this beautiful girl I’d never held before juxtaposed over the time-altered memories of my own lost lover. Part of me felt this was exactly how Catherine had felt, even though she’d been well past nineteen the last time I’d been able to hold her like this. The heady impossibility of where I was, the time of night, the considerable passion stirred in my own blood, all colluded to cloud my perceptions, to obfuscate my reactions. I was so hungry for the contact myself, I’d not realized how long the need had been building up.
“So warm,” she whispered again, this time on her back as she bent her legs to get the panties off her beautiful feet, her eyes closed in ecstasy. “Feed me your warmth.”
She turned right back to me, her gown and underwear lost in the tangle of sheets, and melded her lithe body against mine, determined to press as much skin together as possible, her arms tight around my chest. I reciprocated, holding her as tight and close as I dared. I could feel how it squeezed her breathless, but she clutched even tighter instead of trying to loosen her grip.
My penis pressed hard against her pelvis, tingling in anticipation. I could feel her pubic hair tickling the bottom of my shaft, and her unnatural, moist heat against my balls. “Oh,” she gasped, almost quaking, “my god…” and was unable to articulate further.
Jessica clung to me for several moments, then without relaxing her grip kissed my chin, my jaw, my neck. “This is…” she breathed, licking my neck and kissing it again. “So much better…” she strained as if to reach and kiss my ear. “Than I dreamed…”
I couldn’t hold back any longer and rolled her onto her back. Instinctively she spread her legs, pulling her knees up gently. “Oh my god,” she repeated in a hoarse whisper. “Oh my god…”
Jessica released her frantic hug as I pushed myself up on my hands, and I saw her open her eyes and look down. Her hands ran down my sides, sending shivers back up, and rested at my hips. The shaft of my penis rested between her slick pussy lips. She shuddered. I moved gently up and down, rubbing the length of my cock against her clitoris. Beyond speech, her fingers gripped me like urgent claws, and she arched her back as I rubbed back down, lining everything up for penetration.
Again I hesitated, concerned that she was probably a virgin and unprepared for the pain that would follow, but she whimpered and pressed herself upward as if to eat my penis with her vagina. The soft, wet heat drove everything else from my mind and I entered her as gently as I could. “Ohhhhhhh,” she moaned throatily, slowly rolling her head back, her eyes wide open though unfocused.
I met none of the resistance I expected, nor did she flinch in pain. I pushed deeper, my own lust to bury myself within her barely kept in check. She felt tight, eager, fresh, and spread her legs wider as I went. When at last I was completely inside, I felt her wrap her hands across the bottom of my back to hold me in place. I stayed still, feeling her entire body tremble, watched her eyes dilate wide, her nipples hard and dark, and felt her vagina pulse powerfully – once, twice, three times – then with a few shuddering aftershocks. Each grip sent waves of ecstasy through me, and I was dimly aware of being surprised I could keep from my own orgasm.
A few seconds later, as Jessica stopped pulsing, I began to move, gently but firmly, in and out. I lowered my body enough to feel her breasts against me, see the trance-like set of her eyes, feel her gasping breath. Transported, unable to believe my situation, I thrust just a little deeper, just a little faster, and felt the hot flood build through me. In a tremendous rush, I stopped as deep as I could get and came spectacularly, shuddering with my own orgasm. Jess let out tiny, whispered yelps of pleasure.
Slowly, panting, Jessica’s eyes returned into focus and she relaxed beneath me. Her beautiful face looked at mine, only inches apart. I leaned down and kissed her – long, slow, but with pressure. I could feel the stiffness easing out of my penis.
“Thank you, Mr. Schmidt,” she breathed, her eyes closed to savor the moment. “I think, if I may, I want to sleep here for an hour or so, in your warmth, then I’ll sneak back to Mary’s room.”
I could not have denied her.