I was awake and up before anyone else, so I took this time to go for a nice walk through the woods. I noticed a nice gravel path going into the woods last night and wondered where it went.
So I ventured out bright and early and found that it led far back into the woods to the base of the mountain where a bridge met my path. I went over the bridge and hiked a bit further and that’s when I stopped dead in my tracks and stared at the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
There was a little water fall coming out of the rock face and into a small pool of crystal clear water and when I stepped closer, that’s when I saw the water was steaming.
So of course I stick my hand in it and smile when I feel that the water is warm. Must be one of the hot springs the brochure in our bedroom wrote about.
And then an idea came to me.
I pulled my phone out and saw that it was still really early and that there was no way anyone was up yet. So I did the unthinkable and got undressed behind a large pine tree, and when I say I got undressed, I got naked.
I slipped into the hot pool, letting the hot water consume me as I heard birds chirping their early morning tunes and let my eyes drift closed. It was at this moment that I felt a complete calmness sweep over me.
I stayed like this for what seemed like an eternity when I figured I should get dressed and start heading back. I didn’t want people panicking when they saw that I was gone.
I jumped out and started getting dressed and that’s when I heard footsteps on the gravel and I froze.
Nobody could see me where I was so I held my breath and just waited.
“What if someone comes out here?” I heard a man whisper.
“Nobody’s coming out here this early in the morning. It’s fine. Now come here...”
I heard kissing noises then and my mouth fell wide open.
The second man I heard was Mark. But, wait! He’s gay?! When? And now I’m stuck here until they’re done doing whatever it is they plan on doing? I was still half naked. Why?!
My phone chirped and I covered my mouth with my hand and prayed they didn’t walk over here.
“What was that?!” The other guy exclaimed.
“Just a bird, it’s fine,” Mark replied. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
I pushed a small branch down so I could peek at the scene in front of me, and that’s when I saw that it was the guy Mark was in deep conversation with last night. Tate’s colleague.
“I can’t right now. Maybe tonight.”
Then I watched him walk back toward the cabin and a moment later Mark followed after him.
I let out my breath and quickly finished getting dressed before I headed back toward the cabin myself.
Everyone was up and about, looking hungover and sipping on coffee, when I made my way up onto the deck. A few of them nodded at me or mumbled their “good mornings” as I passed by, in which I greeted them equally. Then I went inside and followed the smell of coffee.
Before I could make it into the kitchen I heard a girl’s giggle and I stopped dead in my tracks to eavesdrop.
“What’s that tattoo mean?” She purred and I knew exactly who she was talking to.
Asher is the only guy here with showing tattoos. Mark had some too, but they were usually always hidden.
“That’s a personal one,” Asher’s voice replied dryly.
I took a deep breath and walked into the kitchen, keeping my eyes adverted away from them and went straight up to the coffee pot.
“Is it a brand? L.S... I’ve never heard of it.”
“No. It’s not a brand. Like I said... it’s personal.”
That’s when I felt my heart speed up as I whipped my head in his direction and found Asher staring at me. Then I looked at the girl in front of him who was tracing the initials LS on his left bicep. She was one of Harper’s bridesmaids. I had met her once before and never really cared for her, but she was Harper’s friend. Not mine, and it was obvious how much this girl wanted Asher. She wasn’t exactly being subtle about it.
But I couldn’t help but to continue to stare into Asher’s eyes. LS. Were they my initials? But why would he have that tattooed on him? It didn’t make sense.
Asher pushed off from the counter and away from Harper’s friend as he came toward me and refilled his coffee mug.
“Good morning,” he rasped out, looking at me out the corner of his eyes.
And because he was standing so close to me, I was now able to see the LS tattoo on his left bicep and my hands went sweaty.
The girl was still standing just behind us, watching us. I could feel her glare on the back of my head and I’m sure if I turned and looked at her I’d be dead if looks could kill. That’s when a smile curved on my lips as I reached out and traced the LS tattoo on his arm too.
Asher turned his head to look into my eyes, a small grin spreading across his face as he replied, “Sometimes you just have to wear your heart on your sleeve, ya know?”
I felt all the blood drain from my face as I stared back into his eyes. I didn’t know the exact meaning behind the tattoo but to me it sounded as if whoever these initials belonged to, had his heart. The little voice in my head begged for those letters to belong to me.
My mouth was dry, but I had to ask, “Who is LS?”
His smile faded and he looked away from me. “Someone I used to know a long time ago.”
Oh. So, then it wasn’t me. How can I be so dense? Not everything revolved around you, Layla!
I turned and headed toward the table but Asher grabbed my arm and spun me back toward him. My chest was now tightly against his, his face inches from mine, and his arm around my waist.
He didn’t say a word as he stared down at me, licking his lips.
Gah! What I wouldn’t give to nibble that bottom lip right now. I wanted to taste him again. Hell, I dreamed of that kiss last night.
“Breakfast is outside,” he rasped out, “thought you should know.”
He let go of me and left the kitchen, the annoying girl right behind him, and I stood there in complete shock.
How does he still affect me so much after so many years?! I have worked diligently to get Asher Creed out of my head and I was doing a really good job at it! And then he comes back into my life like a freight train and I can’t even keep my shit together.
This is going to be the longest weekend in history.
After breakfast a few of us stayed sitting outside near the outdoor fireplace sipping on our coffees. The morning was beautiful and the air was crisp.
I looked around at everyone who was sitting around and smiled. Harper’s cousin and her date from the night before were being all cute with each other and in their own world again. Asher was looking at his phone, his feet up on the coffee table. Harper and the annoying girl, I can never remember her name, were chatting about something, clearly about Asher, because she kept looking in his direction and grinning. And then there was me, holding my coffee mug in my cold hands, feet curled up next to me, and watching everyone around me.
I looked up to find Mark joining us as he took the spot next to me and kissed my forehead. It was weird to think he was just making out with a man not even an hour ago. I’ll have to ask him about that later when we’re in private.
Then I looked at Asher and he was watching us with a small grin before he noticed I was looking at him. He quickly looked back down at his phone.
I totally saw you, Asher...
“Asher!” Harper called, pulling his attention away from his phone as he looked over at her, my gaze following too. “You’re single, right?”
My heart dropped into my stomach and I couldn’t help but glare at the annoying friend sitting next to Harper who was trying to hide a shy smile.
“Yeah?” Asher asked, not sounding too sure about it. “Why?”
“Well, everyone seems to have some sort of a date this weekend, and Abby here doesn’t. The lodge down the hill is full. Can she crash with you?” Harper asked nonchalantly, like it was the most normal question in the world.
And I was throwing daggers at her. What. In. The. Actual. Fuck?
Asher sighed and sat forward, his feet on the ground, and his phone between his hands before he looked at Abby. “Listen... you’re a very beautiful girl and in my glory days, I would have no problem with that.” He sat back, his glare still on his sister and Abby.
“But my room is full.” He looked back down at his phone like the conversation never even transpired.
I nearly had a heart attack. Did that just happen? Did Asher turn down a girl? Who the fuck is this guy? I’m so confused right now and by the look on Harper’s face, she was just as confused as I was.
“Sorry, Abb, we’ll find you a place to crash.” Harper turned back to Abby as they went back into their private conversation and I couldn’t help but stare completely dazed at Asher.
Then I shook my head. “Anyone need a refill?” I stood up from my spot next to Mark, who had fallen asleep, and looked around but there were no takers.
“I’ll take some,” Asher replied, standing up with me and followed me inside.
Once we were in the kitchen, it was clear that we were alone, so I blurted out, “Are you ill?”
In which he replied with a chuckle and asked, “Ill?”
“Yeah...” I stopped to study his face. “You realize you just turned down a weekend of no-commitment sex from a bridesmaid, right?”
He refilled his mug, took a sip, and turned to stare at me with a blank expression on his face. “Like I said last night... a lot has changed in seven years.”
And I had nothing to say to that. My mouth opened and closed several times, but I was flabbergasted.
He stepped closer to me, only his body heat “touching” me, as he licked his lips and looked down at me. “Besides... she isn’t the bridesmaid that I want to share my bed with.” He sipped from his mug again and completely stepped away from me and out of the kitchen.
Holy bat shit, Robin.
I just shoved my laptop back in its case when the door opened to my room and Mark entered.
“Don’t tell me you’re working...” He glared at me.
I giggled. “Just a little. I forgot to finish something last night and was just emailing it out,” I paused and studied him as he walked over to his suitcase and started rummaging around and then my stupid mouth took over. “I saw you this morning...”
He laughed. “Okay? I saw you this morning too?” He turned and gave me a confused expression.
“In the woods.”
Now he looked taken aback as his smile faded. “Yeah... about that...” He scratched the back of his head.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were gay?” I asked, feeling a bit hurt that he couldn’t be honest with me.
“Oh, I’m not gay.” He laughed and I cocked an eyebrow at him. “I swing for both teams, babe.”
“Oh.” I sat and thought about it before replying, “So, you’re bi?”
He nodded and then turned back to his bag.
And then I added, “Ya know... it sounded like you two couldn’t find privacy... so umm,” I bit my bottom lip, “I can bounce out for awhile tonight if you need the room.”
He laughed and spun back to face me. “I can’t ask you to do that.”
I shrugged. “I don’t mind. Besides...it’s so beautiful here that I actually enjoy going for hikes and star gazing. I’ll bounce out back when everyone goes to sleep and then you can text me when he’s gone.”
He studied my face. “You’re okay with that?”
“I’m the one offering, aren’t I?”
“You’re pretty amazing.” He walked over and kissed my forehead. “I think the bride’s brother would enjoy a walk in the woods with you...if you know what I mean.” He wiggled his eyebrows at me and I scoffed with a giant grin.
“You shut your dirty mouth!” I laughed harder.
And he laughed right along with me. “Seriously. Everyone can see it. Well, maybe not everyone because you clearly don’t see how he watches you like a hawk and when he’s looking at you I swear the kid has to walk around with a perma-boner.”
My mouth fell open and my cheeks turned beet red. “Shut your mouth!”
He grinned. “You should go talk to him. I bet he’s alone right now...and feeling pretty lonely.”
“I’m going to kill you.” I glared evily at him but secretly wanted to kiss him for his suggestion. Obviously I wanted to go to Asher right now but I didn’t want to seem obvious about it. I wasn’t that desperate, was I?
“Go get him, tiger.” Mark slapped my ass as I headed toward the door and he went into the bathroom with an arm load of fresh clothes.
I had a huge smile on my face as I closed our door behind us and turned down the hallway.
But then I jumped back and gawked with my mouth wide open as Abby came out of Asher’s room only wearing a towel and giggling her head off.
When she saw me her cheeks turned red and she scurried down the hall.
I just stood there and stared at his door. Did I just see what I think I just saw? Did Abby just leave Asher’s room naked?
All the hurt feelings I had felt in the past crept over me like a snake and I felt hot tears fill my eyes.
Here I thought Asher had changed for the better and my stupid heart was still in love with him and then I witness this.
He tricked me again.