The Past Explains Everything

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I always waited up for him when he worked late

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I always waited up for him when he worked late.

Being a valet at that swanky South Beach hotel meant he was out until three, sometimes four, in the morning on Saturday nights.

"I can't wait till I'm done with this job. I hate that you're home alone this late at night," he told me when he called during a slow moment. "Please lock the door and try to sleep, okay?"

I reassured him that I was safe, that I was studying for exams, that I wasn't worried sick about him. But I was. Because of what happened to my mother and brother and because I read the newspaper every day, I knew everything that could go wrong for him in Miami.

Every night when he came home, I flung myself into his arms.

"I missed you," I whispered. "I made that frozen pizza you like."

We sat on the sofa, and I watched him eat. Laughed at his stories about the rich people's cars and his goofy coworkers. We put on a movie, and when I fell asleep next to him, he carried me into our futon bed and undressed me.

"Are you too tired to make love to me?" I murmured.

"Never," he said, devouring my soft and sleepy mouth. Our coupling was slow, safe, erotic. In the dark, he trailed his index finger around each taut nipple; down my stomach; and, bit by bit, entered into my wetness. His thumb grazed my clit, and an orgasm rolled through my body.

"Such a good girl, Justi," he whispered in my ear as I trembled in his arms.

The next morning—early afternoon, really—we were still in bed, sleeping. Naked and intertwined. Sundays were for us and bed, a bliss I never knew existed. I heard a knock and a man's voice and sat up.

"Oh shit, Rafa, it's my dad," I hissed, shaking his bare chest with my hand.

"Answer it, baby." He rolled over and pressed his face into the pillow.

My heart pounded. This could be a disaster. I forgot my father was coming for a visit. I hadn't told my father that Rafa and I were basically living together in my apartment. The apartment my dad paid for.

"Rafa. He doesn't know you stay here a lot."

He rolled over and opened his eyes. I was half-dressed and pulled a UM sweatshirt over my head.

"You mean, he doesn't know I live here? Are you ashamed of me, Justine?"

My father knocked on the door with more force, calling my name. I couldn't deal with this now.

"No. Of course not. I can't... We'll have this conversation later. For now, get dressed and we'll tell him we were studying. He just drove five hours to see me and I've forgotten. Shit."

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