The only way I could think to deal with the situation was to get drunk. Was it sensible? No, but right now it was all I could come up with.
"Mind if I join you for one? I'm not meant to drink on the job, but it's a crime that a beautiful woman is drinking alone."
I laughed as the guy behind the bar winked at me.
"What's your name?" I asked.
"Brian, what about you?" He asked, swiftly pouring out two shots.
"Sophie. Is that an Australian accent I hear?"
He was kind of cute, but he couldn't have been much older than twenty-three.
"It is." He replied.
My fingers brushed against his as he passed me the shot. My drunken brain was coming up with a plan, one that would stop James having feelings for me…
"Cheers!" I said, as we chinked glasses.
The tequila burnt my throat, but it had the desired effect.
I turned and looked behind me. I could make out James and the others outside. Georgia was standing in front of them and talking animatedly. I saw James look in my direction, and I knew this was the moment.
"Kiss me." I demanded, hating myself for what I was about to do.
Brian laughed nervously. I stood up and leaned over the bar, catching the neck of his t-shirt.
"I want you to kiss me."
My head was spinning from all the alcohol I'd consumed. He stared into my eyes for a moment and then he was moving forward. His lips were inches from mine when I felt arms grab my waist, yanking me backwards.
"What the fuck are you doing?" James demanded, his eyes blazing with anger.
"What do you think?" I replied, looking at him defiantly.
James turned his attention to Brian, his fists clenched at his side.
"Do you take advantage of all the drunk girls at the bar?"
Brian shrank back and held up his hands.
"Hey, she leaned over the bar and grabbed me."
I didn't blame him for telling the truth. James looked like he wanted to rip his head off.
"In the future, I suggest you move back and get them a glass of water." He growled, turning his attention to me.
I looked at the ground, wishing it would swallow me up. He took hold of my arm and dragged me outside, away from the club and onto the beach.
"Let go of me!" I yelled, trying to twist out of his grasp.
He released me straight away, his face furious.
"What the fuck are you doing? Why would you kiss another guy in front of me?"
I bit my lip, tears filling my eyes. My behaviour was embarrassing, I couldn't have felt more ashamed.
He stared out at the ocean, his jaw clenched.
"I won't put up with that kind of shit. I told you that was how my ex used to behave."
I closed my eyes, feeling guilty that I hadn't even thought about that.
I turned away, and he grabbed my arm.
"Where are you going? We're talking."
"James, just let me go. There's nothing to talk about. It's over."I replied, pulling out of his grasp.
"Really? Is that what you want?"
I could hear the confusion in his voice. I didn't want it to be over, but what choice did I have? Georgia had been right, if I didn't put a stop to things I would end up hurting him.
"It's for the best."
He grabbed my waist and spun me round, this time he didn't let go when I tried to break free.
"Why are you doing this? I don't understand, we're good together." He exclaimed, gripping my hips.
His touch made my heart thunder in my chest, it was so hard to tell him no when my body responded the way it did to him.
James sensed my hesitation and within seconds he was kissing me. His hands moved to my hair, fisting it roughly so I couldn't move. I tried to push away, but he wouldn't stop. Instead, he kissed me with a raw passion that made my resistance melt away.
"You want this as much as I do." He breathed when we finally came apart.
"I can't. I'm sorry, but I can't be with you." I stuttered, trying to fight back my tears.
"Tell me why. I don't understand. Is there someone else back in New York?"
I shook my head, and he grabbed my hand.
"I know you've been hurt, but I care about you. Give me a chance to prove it."
Guilt gnawed away in my stomach.
"I kissed another man, and you're begging me to give you a chance?"
He tightened his grip on my hand as his eyes darkened.
"I know why you did it. You thought I'd get mad and end it with you."
My cheeks felt like they were on fire. It was a dumb idea, and it had completely backfired on me.
"You think you fool me? I see right through all of it, Soph." He whispered."You want me as much as I want you. Stop fighting it."
I kicked the sand, looking up at him defiantly.
"Why is it that hard to believe I don't want to be with you?"
He scowled, and then he was kissing me again. So hard and urgent, I could hear my blood roaring in my ears. His mouth didn't leave mine as he sucked on my lips and tongue. I moaned, my body arching into his as I gripped his hair. When he pulled back I had to clutch his shirt to steady myself.
"Why are you trying to deny our connection? I'm not willing to walk away from it. Help me understand why you are."
He rested his forehead against mine, and I tightened my grip on his shirt.
I wanted nothing more than to fall in love with him, but it was scary at the same time. What if Tommy found out? James was kind of famous, and he lived in the UK. I could never be in a relationship with someone like him.
Reason after reason ran through my head, and I knew I couldn't risk it. My parents were dead because of me. I wouldn't risk James as well.
"I have two weeks left here, and I really want to spend them with you." I said softly. "Is that not enough for now?"
He closed his eyes for a few seconds, and then he kissed me on the tip of my nose, sighing loudly.
"If that's all you can give me, then I'll take it."