Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.
Tyler chuckles and kisses the back of my neck and tells me to relax, no need for Catholic Schoolboy Jack tonight.
Tyler and I are melted together, big spoon and little spoon, in his room with the peeled wallpaper and mildewy mattress and candles and cigarettes, and the house below is empty, and I don't care, because all of this is nice.
It's autumn, and all the windows are open, and the old autumn leaves smell filters into the house, washes out the baked-soap smell and the bleached-rice smell and the one-bathroom-for-seventysome-people smell.
And then there's Tyler's smell, the cigarette and hair gel and human smell, and that's the best smell.
His breath is warm in my hair as he exhales slowly, and his flat rough palm is running along the ribs that he broke. His lips travel around my neck to my throat as I turn my head to look up at him, and he smiles down at me and says, "Sorry."
Tyler says, "I didn't mean it. Jealousy's a bitch, y'know?"
Tyler, I say, I was pretty damn jealous when you were with Angel Face, and uh, I didn't attack you.
And Tyler laughs and says "That's the difference between you and me, Jackie."
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you hush, I tell him, but I'm grinning as his lips make the journey to my ear and stay there, telling me how warm I am, how much he missed me, how he won't leave again.
I don't believe him, but this is enough for now.
This is all I can ask from Tyler, a warm autumn night from him, alone together, Mommy and Daddy back together again, all healed up. Fairy-tale ending. Glass slipper found, princess rescued, sins forgiven.
This is enough for me.