Best and Honor

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Chapter 4


I sit on the small wall that lines the walkway to the beach waiting for Sophie. After golfing with the guys this morning I was trying to talk myself out of knocking on her door. It wasn’t that I had a grand plan about what I would do when she answered; I just had this tension in my gut that wouldn’t let me go into my room without seeing her again. Finding her when I stepped off the elevator had taken any indecision out of my hands.

When she’d left me this morning to go to the brunch, my plan was to hang out in my room and maybe make a few calls for work since being here is forcing me to juggle my usually busy work schedule. Going down to the lobby to ask about receiving a fax changed my day in a very good way. I watched from the lobby as Sophie sat in the restaurant with Rachel and the other women. She was pretending to be happy, but there were a few small tells that showed she wasn’t as comfortable as she was pretending to be.

I wasn’t sure she was going to go along with my plan to rescue her, but it was worth a shot if it meant I got to hear her voice again. Now that she is probably on her way down to meet me like she’d arranged, I feel both nervous and excited. If Evan knew where I was and whom I was meeting he would be livid. I think his plan for this week is just to be nice to her so Rachel didn’t have to work so hard to smooth things over with the friend she totally backstabbed. His plans for Sophie did not include me hanging out with her.

The hotel doors slide open and I see her thin figure as she steps out into the sunlight. Her long, tan legs seem to go on for miles under that silky blue cover-up. My eyes float up to the tie above her hips, currently cinching the fabric and showing off her perfectly tapered waist. I feel myself shaking my head a bit, wondering how Evan ever though Rachel was a better pick. The cover-up dips low on her breasts and I follow the thin straps of her string bikini up her chest to where it disappears to tie behind her neck.

She is every man’s wet dream. Stunning and seductive without even knowing how she affects the men around her. I notice a few of the male staff in the front of the hotel turn slightly in their positions to watch her as she steps off the curb and begins her walk in my direction. I stand from my position on the wall and give a small wave so she can see me. Her smile lets me know when she has.

She makes me feel like a teenager again. I find myself looking away from her and trying to focus on something else. It’s something I used to have to do every time she was around. She was my best friend’s girl, which means she was off limits to even look at for too long. What a shame. All those years I had wasted the beautiful vision that was often right in front of me out of respect for a guy that ultimately screwed her in the end.

“Do you mind if we walk away from the hotel a bit? I got a text letting me know a few of the women were going to come layout in front here and I don’t feel much like jumping back into that group.” Her words are coming out in a rush and my heart pumps more quickly now knowing that being around me makes her a little nervous. I like knowing I’m having a similar effect on her as she has always had on me.

“Lead the way. I’m free until the bar thing tonight.” I can tell my expression shows my distain for this whole week of kidnapping. Her small chuckle brings my eyes to hers again.

“I’m free until then too. Am I picking up on a little disapproval of the wedding events schedule?” She asks facetiously as she pulls her bag up slightly on her arm and we begin walking down the strand away from the hotel.

“I don’t understand why couples have to extend this out so long. I had to try to shuffle a bunch of my regular clients around to make sure I could attend all these little ‘moments’.”

She’s smiling and nodding along with my words and then adds, “What ever happened to a small bridal shower and then a night out with the girls before the big day? Why must we follow the bride around like some entourage as she eats each meal and gets her nails done? For fucks sake, I have a normal life to live while she floats along in this fairytale of a week.”

Hearing the cuss slip out of her perfect mouth makes me laugh. She’s summed it up perfectly and I couldn’t agree more. “It kind of takes the shine off the big day. I think by the time we are standing there with them in front of the guest we are going to want to strangle each other. No group of independent adults should be forced into nonstop activities with people we probably don’t hang out with on a regular basis for a reason. Having a mutual friend doesn’t make us besties.”

This time she laughed out loud, earning us a few looks from the other beachgoers on the strand.

“Do you think Rachel would buy the excuse that I have a hang nail or some type of contagious nail fungus? She scheduled a group manicure right in the middle of the day tomorrow and it’s really ruining my plans of getting a tan before I stand next to her magnificent dress in the horrible monstrosity she chose for us.”

I reach out and slip my hand around her waist quickly, pulling her against my side just in time for a kid to come flying by on a bike, narrowly missing her. Reluctantly I let her go and she nods in appreciation of the save. It takes me a minute to remember the conversation now that I have felt her so close. My brain is lit up with a million thoughts of what she might feel like under the silk of her cover-up. I clear my throat and look out at the beach to get my thoughts together. “I think you have a shot with the fungus. I’d totally buy it. And I’m sure you will look great in whatever she picked out.” I don’t chance a look back because I know how my compliments so far have seemed to embarrass her.

“Well, I’m not so sure about that. The dress looks like an upside down cupcake with all these layers of horrible ruffles.” She grabs her sunglasses out of her bag and slides them on. “She totally did it on purpose. If I wasn’t so sure about the design alone, the color sealed the deal. Burnt orange.” She says it like I have an idea of what that might be. I don’t have the slightest idea, but I know I’ve never seen her look ugly so it would really have to be something awful to make her fears even remotely valid.

We are now a good distance from the hotel and I know the girls Rachel hangs with wouldn’t walk down here so far away from the safety of the rooms just incase they needed to touch something up. I see a group of teenage boys check out Sophie as we walk by, but she is so stuck on trying to describe the color that she doesn’t notice. “Well, it’s a horrible color. It’s so terrible it actually has the word ‘burnt’ in the description.” When her hand falls to her side after tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, I tell myself to man up and grab it with my own.

It’s probably the only time holding her hand could be played of as something minor. I tug her hand in the direction of the opening to the beach. It’s just a few steps, and I release it as soon as our feet touch the hot sand. I try to hide my smile when her eyes look into mine, and I keep my pace towards the water so she doesn’t have time to over-think it.

I unfold the towel from under my arm and lay it in the sand at my feet. Her towel is spread out right beside mine. I pull my shirt off over my head and roll it in a ball to use as my pillow. I can see from the corner of my eye that she’s watching me and it makes every flex of my muscles feel forbidden. It also gives me an open invitation to watch her slip out of that cover-up.

Her long fingers reach for the tie and I watch as she pulls it away from her. I also look around a second so I don’t seem like her every movement is drawing me in, but in reality it is. The tie starts to flutter in the small breeze as she reaches for the hem that drops just below her ass and rides along her tan thighs as she moves. She slips it up to her hips, allowing the dark blue bottoms to peak out from under the material before she quickly readjust her arms and shimmies the silk up over her perfect breasts. This time I don’t’ look away. No one can blame me; it just isn’t possible.

She tucks the cover-up into her bag and pulls out a bottle of sunscreen. I immediately send up a prayer of thanks to whatever god is making this moment happen. She sits on the towel and begins to smooth the lotion over her skin. I sit down beside her and watch as she enticingly rubs her hands over every inch of skin that she can reach. Then of course comes the good part. With a shy look, she hands me the bottle. “Would you mind getting my back?”

She has to be able to see the answer written all over my face. I know she couldn’t have missed the way I followed her every movement with my eyes. We both chuckle at the obvious answer as I squirt some of the liquid on my hand. I rub them together while she turns her body so her back is facing me. I press my hands to her back and run them along her shoulders. Something like this shouldn’t feel so taboo, but I think our history makes this a sketchy area.

When I slide my hands under the strings of her top, I see the expansion of her chest with a large breath. The heat of touching her is racing through me, causing a pounding in my chest and a rerouting of my previous blood flow. I finish up and smooth the remaining lotion on my hands across my chest. She turns back towards me and we seem to stare at each other for a minute before she reaches for the lotion at my side. With a spin of her finger she motions for me to turn around so she can return the favor.

I wonder if she’s using her hands to talk to me because she’s as worked up as I am. I wouldn’t trust my voice right now to not give away how badly I want to put my hands back on her. I watch her throat as she slowly swallows and then I turn so that she can touch my back. Her hands on my body are like a bolt of electricity and I love the way it seems to travel down my spine. Her soft breath lands on my neck as she works to spread the lotion on my shoulders and I know instantly this is the most innocent and yet erotic moment of my life.

When her hands finally leave my back, I stay turned away from her long enough to not make it very obvious how her touch had affected me. I look out across the beach for a minute and try to push all of the thoughts of her skin under my hands and her touch on my back from my mind. I turn back around when I have things under control and know immediately it won’t be that way for long. She’s lying back on her towel with her eyes shut behind her glasses and I follow the sun’s path down her body, over the curves of her breasts and lower to her flat stomach. Maybe spending a few hours at the beach with her was not the best idea.

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