Mine

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I flopped on my back in the park, the cool grass tickling my arms as I stretched

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I flopped on my back in the park, the cool grass tickling my arms as I stretched. It was a lazy late afternoon in Miami. Rafael and I were on a blanket in the shade, and the tang of salt was in the warm breeze coming off Biscayne Bay. Everything seemed in vivid Technicolor, from the green of the tall palm trees to the blue of the sky.

My internship at the Herald was amazing and mentally stimulating, and while I suspected Rafa still wasn't thrilled about my assignments covering crime, he'd stopped worrying aloud.

Plus, he was busy with his job at a real estate agency and, with some money he'd saved, bought his first, pre-sale condo to flip.

I stretched out, smiling. It was the best summer ever—working as a reporter during the days and spending every night with Rafa. Since I was getting paid at The Herald, I'd told my father that I'd support myself.

I didn't tell him that Rafael had moved in and was splitting expenses.

What my dad didn't know wouldn't hurt him. If he surprised us in-person again, Rafa and I would tell him the truth. Until that day, we were going to do what we wanted. Like adults.

I was twenty-one, after all.

"By the time school starts for you in September, I should be making enough money to pay all the rent anyway," Rafa told me.

It had been my idea to live together. There was no way I'd let Rafa live in that hovel in Wynwood, although our place wasn't much better.

I felt Rafa slide next to me on the blanket. Even after years of dating, I still got a charge every time he was near. He kissed my shoulder and placed a perspiring bottle of water next to me on the grass. I thanked him and snuggled next to him, his body giving off the heat of a thousand Miami suns.

"Justi, I put money in our bank account today. Buy groceries with it, okay? Don't use your dad's money for household stuff anymore. I don't want him supporting us at all. And I'm paying for tonight, when we go out to that art show you wanted to see."

I nodded. He was so weird about my father's money.

He picked up his book and began to read. I shifted a few inches so I was closer to him. Sleepy from the heat, I put my book down and sat up, taking a long sip of the water. I lay back down on my side, my face toward Rafa. He sighed and did the same.

"When am I going to stop wanting you so much?" he whispered. "What have you done to me? It's like you put a spell on me, Justine."

"Maybe I did," I giggled.

"Well, I hope you never break that spell. Okay, Justine?"

I shook my head and kissed him, tracing his sharp cheekbone. "Never."

A few hours later, Rafa and I stared at the people around us, all black-clad artsy types and people who were into BDSM. At least that's what I'd read in the show brochure. The words "bondage furniture art show" made Rafael laugh.

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