I can do this. Of course I can do this. It’s no big deal. It’s just a little revealing. Just a little. Little enough that even a gentle breeze might blow it off-
No. Don’t be dramatic. You’re almost there.
My inner debate was occuring in spurts. There were moments when I strutted onwards confidently, and moments where I was almost walking backwards. Someone might assume that I was suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The Wolf had two common pools -one outdoors and one indoors. I chose to go to the outdoor one because it was a bigger pool - back at the basement was a shallow and just ‘sit in the water and relax’ kind of a pool. This one was huge, and deep, and perfect for swimming.
Out of breath, blood pumping, swimming. Despite my lean frame, swimming was something I was very good at - and I loved it.
But at this moment - with bare bits of cloth on my body - the idea wasn’t as appealing as it should have been.
The water was tempting, and I hadn’t had a good swim in really long. My legs carried me forward, towards the edge of the pool and I found a chair to place all my things - my cell phone, a book, the room keys and soon the robe I was so dearly clutching at.
Once you’re neck deep in the water, it’s hardly going to matter. It’s just a matter of a few seconds. Just till you get in.
And the robe came off. I placed it gingerly on the chair, took off my slippers and then quickly turned around and jumped into the pool. It wasn’t very crowded, given the cold climate perhaps the water was too chilly for the general population. The indoor pool was heated, so more people were swimming there.
I, on the other hand, enjoyed the feel of the cold water on my body. I’d hopped into the deep end and so I immediately began to swim towards the edge. Nobody really paid any heed to me, and I was more than happy about that. This way I would get to swim without worrying about my blue and white striped bikini, and how it clung so desperately to my body.
The water and the climate was perfect, cool and inviting, and I found myself getting into a steady routine. My hands started moving automatically, and I was swimming the length of the pool in a beat.
It might have been an hour of swimming, but it felt like just minutes to me. I’d finished quite a few laps and was now playing around in the pool.
“That’s a fine sight.” Came a voice, and I faltered in my backstroke, my body sinking a little. My balance wavered and I knew I’d have to break the lap or else I’d sink.
Kicking my legs apart to stay afloat, I looked up at Sienna who was smiling at me, making me go red.
Sienna and I had hardly spoken when I was with Reece. We’d met on and off a couple of times but she’s spent most of her time here, studying at some boarding school away from her family. She was a decent girl though, with an amazing right hook - a story for another time.
I found myself unable to decide how to behave. Be friendly? She certainly was.
“My my Flo, you’ve got yourself a killer body.” She continued as if she couldn’t sense my discomfort.
“I - uh - this isn’t something I usually wear it’s uh-”
“Well I’m glad you did today.” She laughed, wagging her eyes at me, and I felt my embarrassment worsen.
Great, blushing due to a girl. Your shyness knows no limits.
“Well I’m going to enjoy this.” She said as she went and sat at a nearby chair, her eyes twinkling and I couldn’t understand what was going on.
The pool was crowded now - I had been swimming longer than I thought.
“Enjoy what?” I asked her curiously.
But she didn’t answer me, she just sat there grinning, and for a minute she leaned back like a villain in movies who’d set a plan in motion.
“Seriously, what?” I asked again as I paddled closer to her, nearing the edge of the pool.
“Give it a minute.” She said simply and continued smiling.
Weird people everywhere.
Then I saw what she meant.
From the reception came three figures, walking towards the pool.
Reece’s eyes were on me the second he came into proper view and I saw a ghost of an expression on his face before it quickly vanished.
Was that ... Lust?
Grey and Dani were second to follow, both eyeing me and then Reece. It was all very confusing.
I felt my cheeks - that were only just recovering from Sienna’s comments - burn again and I was suddenly self conscious.
“Hey Flo, how’s the day going?” Dani spoke softly, and I knew something was wrong.
“It’s uh going good...” I stuttered, my thoughts unfocused due to his heated gaze.
“Listen how are you feeling? We’re so sorry about yesterday night - ” Grey began but I interrupted him.
“It’s fine, it’s fine. No blood no foul right?” I quickly brushed his worry away.
“Flora,” Reece’s voice was deep and dark,“why are you in the pool?” He asked me, and I began to wonder if they’d all gone bonkers.
“Because I want to swim?” I could tell that my patronising tone was not welcome and I heard a small growl coming from Reece.
Yeesh what an animal.
“I thought you had a shoulder injury?” Sienna supplied from the side and my eyes went wide.
That cheeky little-
“How about you come out now?” He spoke a little softly this time, but I could tell that he was just calm on the surface. He was glaring at other people in the pool, especially the men.
Yikes! Come out wearing a bikini? Not happening! And what was the big deal anyway? I wanted to swim! Who is he to ask me to leave?
“Umm, yeah like I said it’s fine and everything. I hardly even swam I was only lazing-”
“Something that you can’t do in B3?” Dani ruined it this time.
“Now Flora.” Reece’s tone sliced my meek sentence clean in half.
I was slightly miffed, what was with the attitude?
“Why? I want to swim.”
Reece didn’t answer me, he only glared some more. I looked frantically at Grey, the only one who hadn’t sunk me deeper into the hole I’d dug myself but he innocently averted his gaze from me.
Why was he being so pushy anyways? It wasn’t like he was my brother, or my dad, or my boyfrien-
“Flora come out!” He said again, his voice completely strained.
“Okay you know what I will come out whenever I want.” I said defiantly, the rebellious part of me wanting to piss him off, and another part wanting to hide my barely covered body.
Sienna Dani and Grey were slipping away, I knew it, even though I didn’t take my eyes off of Reece. In a minute we were alone.
Why did they always ditch me? Leave me with him? Lately it felt like a ridiculous matchmaking attempt.
“Flora...” Reece’s tone held warning, and it served only to fuel the rebel in me further. I poked my tongue out at him.
What? He didn’t even have a reason!
A second later Reece was taking off his shirt and I began to panic.
Maybe I really ought to get out, his eyes seemed to have a scary look.
“Wha-what do you think you’re doing?” I asked alarmed as I began to paddle away from his end of the pool.
Reece didn’t reply to me, and jumped into the pool, his huge body creating a massive wave that hit me all over.
I came out of it, sputtering. A half naked Reece next to an almost naked Flora was a bad idea.
My common sense told me to get out of the water immediately, and I began to swim for the further end of the pool.
That was until I felt a large tentacle around my waist and a scream left my lips.
Reece’s arms around me sent sparks running through my body, and his warmth provided a temptation like no other.
What was he doing to me?
I could feel myself melting in his arms, mixing with the pool water - so sparked was the moment. My body betrayed me as it leaned into his touch, and I could hear him smile.
What the heck? This is totally inappropriate! What does he think he’s doing?
My legs didn’t reach the surface below, but for Reece who was the metaphorical example of a mountain, it was no problem - which turned out as a problem for me.
How was I to stand on my own? This gave him the perfect excuse to hold me and it gave my traitorous half the perfect excuse to let him.
I looked around frantically, hoping that nobody noticed our position, but to my surprise the pool was empty.
Where were all the people who were with me?
“Reece I can swim on my own.” I said, my voice quivering.
“I know.” He whispered.
It seems that he had forgotten why he was mad at me - which was a plus - but he was making me remember a lot of things I had promised to never recall. Reece pulled me in tighter and gave me an affectionate, dizzying squeeze and I let out a little sigh.
“Reece..” I tried again, a little less firmly.
“Hmmm?” He sounded dreamy, dazed, like I couldn’t reach him right now, and I? Well, I gave up..
We just stood there - well he stood there and I hung there would be a more apt description - for a minute and I let myself be. It was relaxing, his effect on me, it was familiar. His lips moved close to my ear, before he lowered them and kissed my neck gently. The lightning strike that followed was not something I’d ever expected. It was like a thousand electric bolts had run through me, by only the touch of his lips. He made my toes curl, and yet at the same time his presence made me so calm, so relaxed, so serene. How could one person do this to anyone? How much power did they have to have over you to make you feel this way? Feel so helpless, and powerful at the same time? Like with him I could do anything, be stronger than ever and without him I would struggle to exist.
I wonder if he ever felt the same way about me? I wonder if I made him feel alive the way he did - does.
All those ‘getting over night’ with Xena at the bar were so useless.
If only he could consider my emotional well being.
He steered me forward, with me not doing any of the work, until my legs could touch the bottom of the pool. I didn’t completely get out of his grasp, but he did loosen it a little- little enough to think clearly.
We continued walking till the stairs and I didn’t have the guts to face him. What would I say? What excuse could I give for the way I had behaved? And him? Did I even want to know what was going on in his mind?
Did I really want to open this door again?
I walked straight up the stairs, out of the pool with Reece behind me. He’d left me completely now, and I knew that the moment was over; he was thinking clearly too.
I didn’t dare turn. Walking straight up to the bench I took my phone, my slippers, wore my robe and grabbed my keys. He didn’t say anything.
Perhaps he felt guilty. Perhaps he felt regret. Perhaps he didn’t feel anything at all. My emotional sector shut down and my defences were up; I was NOT supposed to get into this again. And yet three minutes ago I’d admitted to still being hung up on him?
I felt ridiculous at how easily I’d given in to him. How could I not control myself with the guy who had not just broken my heart but stomped on it, put it through a grinder and left it out in the sun for good measure?
You are not falling for him again Flo. You understand? Friendship is fine, friendship is great but nothing more. He’s burned you once and that was enough to send you to the brink.
Maybe if he didn’t have so much power over me, I’d be less strict, but I knew that I’d give him anything he wanted if I gave into this, and I just couldn’t afford that again.
And then something went wrong. The moment my decision hardened...My body ached, I began to feel dizzy. My steps faltered and my sight got spotty.
An intense pain rushed through me, like my soul and my body were contesting my decision and I cried out softly.
His arms went around me almost instantly and I tried to move away.
“Flora...Stop fighting it. Please.” Reece begged me and I was surprised at how pained he sounded. Was he in pain? Could he feel mine? What was going on? His voice was calling me, like a drug induced sleep and I knew that if I let it- I would be helpless soon and I fought.
I fought to get out of his hold, but he wouldn’t budge.
“Let go!” My voice was shaking.
Was I crying?
“No. You have to calm down.” Reece said through gritted teeth, he sounded like a wounded animal. He was debating I knew - but about what exactly I had no idea.
“Reece.” I said again.
“No.” He spoke clearer this time - his decision had been made.
He bent slightly and put one arm below my knees. I realised a little too late what he was doing and really there wasn’t much I could do. I was trying to tolerate the pain, trying to resist his touch, trying to walk straight, and I just couldn’t actually physically fight him on this.
So I ended up in his arms. My breathing was heavy and my eyes were shut. I had no idea what was going on but that he knew.
He knew what was wrong with me.
He was walking, I could feel that with the rocking motion, until he came to a stop. Someone stood ahead of me, but I didn’t know who, my vision was compromised.
“Tell everyone to clear my room. And tell them to not disturb us.”
“Shall I call for the pack doctor?” Atticus spoke, his voice alarmed.
“Unfortunately, this is one of the few things that the doctor can’t fix” Reece said gravely.