I dropped down onto the couch next to Josh. His arm immediately lifted up onto the back of the couch, letting me ease into his firm body. He had always been fit but had bulked up considerably since starting to play ball professionally. I couldn’t say I had any complains on that front.
And other fronts?
I shushed the niggling voice at the back of my mind. It had been a month since the fight outside of the movie theater. I’d forgiven him for it, but it was still a sore spot, primarily because he still didn’t regret doing it. I’d eventually just had to stop talking to him about it; he was so stubborn and wouldn’t relent at all. And his father – the freaking chief of police – had been no help at all. He’d come over and given him a little “oh, you shouldn’t have done that” before asking him how good it had felt to deck Kurt.
You put it behind you, I reminded myself. It happened and it’s over. To reinforce the point, I turned my face into Josh’s neck, kissing his pulse. I inhaled his scent, partially English Leather cologne, partially just Josh. This was the man that I loved.
I felt him smile against my hair. “Hey, Allie, I’ve been thinking.”
I smiled up at him. “You know that’s bad for your health.”
“Ha ha. Aren’t you hilarious.” He rolled his eyes before sobering. “Really, though. We’ve been together almost a year now, and I was thinking, why don’t we move in together?”
I pulled back, looking at him in surprise. “What?”
He smiled broadly, flashing the easy smile I’d come to know so well. “Think about it. You spend almost every night here anyway. Most of my closet has been overrun with your stuff. We should make it official.”
“I don’t know…” What he was saying did make sense; I sometimes went entire weeks without staying a night at “home.” I was, truthfully, essentially living here already; all that needed changing was my mailing address.
I felt a modicum of reservation. If I left, Mom would be all alone in that sizeable house. She already is alone; you’re never there. It still felt like I would be abandoning her, though. I still worried about her now, a year after Dad had died, as if she were still the shaky woman who had wailed with grief in the hospital waiting room. If I tried to look at the situation objectively, she actually seemed to be handling widowhood with grace. She was a member of several clubs; she’d made friends and spent time with them; she had hobbies that kept her occupied. She could handle living alone.
But could I?
Of course, I wouldn’t be alone alone. I’d be with Josh, but it felt different. Sleeping over and moving in had such very different connotations. But it was logical, wasn’t it, to move in together? That’s where all of this was heading; this was a serious, adult relationship. People in serious, adult relationships moved in together. Josh’s apartment even was closer to campus, so I could sleep a little later in the mornings if I wanted to. It all made perfect sense.
I looked up at Josh. The way he was looking at me, there was only one answer I could come up with. “Okay.” A smile broke over my face. “Let’s do it.”
I looked around the bedroom after putting the last of my things in the closet. I’d gotten very familiar with this room over the last year. I’d gotten familiar with the other rooms, too. I knew not to use the back left burner on the stove because, no matter what setting you turned the knob to, it still burned everything. I knew the sweet spot on the shower dial to get the water just hot enough but not too hot. I knew that Josh liked the right side of the bed, though he claimed he had no preference. Though I’d just officially moved in, I had to admit, this felt like home.
I left the bedroom. The short hall between the bedroom and the rest of the apartment was short and narrow; in just a couple of steps I was in the living room. The sound of Josh’s shower and his off-key singing faded as I went into the kitchen. I couldn’t hear him at all in the kitchen as I opened the refrigerator door and considered what to cook for dinner. This would hardly be the first time I’d made a meal for Josh, but it felt different now.
I couldn’t help the smile that came over my face the more I thought about it. I lived here now. This was my home. Josh and I were partners, living together. It felt good.