Chapter 22 - Swimming With the Shark
“Excuse me, Caspian...” says Miss Preppy in pastel pink. Her hot pink fingernails are tapping on Caspian’s arm. “We really don’t have time for silly interruptions.” She stares pointedly at me. “We need to finish this project on time.”
I try to slip out of Caspian’s hold but he wraps an arm around my shoulders and brings me closer to him. I can feel his warm chest rising and falling against my back.
“Look, Sienna,” he says to the girl. His voice is cold like icy shards of ice. The way his arm tightens around me serves as a warning not to try to slip away again. “I’ve done the research and everything else. All you have to do is tie everything together and write the conclusion. I told you we don’t need to meet up again.”
“But I think it would turn out better if we---”
“I’ve done my part,” he says, looking at her in disdain and annoyance like she’s a lowly subject who dares overstep her boundary. “Just make sure to send it in on time,” he adds, coldly dismissing her. The look he’s giving her just reminds me more that he’s a crown prince on the path of becoming a powerful king someday.
“Now all I want to do is spend my time with my woman,” he murmurs, kissing the shell of my ear as he pulls me away.
His fingers digging into my side tickles and I can’t hold in the giggles. “Stop,” I tell him.
“Hmmm...somebody’s ticklish. Interesting.” Oh, no...he’s going to use that information against me. His fingers skim my middle, prodding to find the most sensitive part of me...which is almost everywhere.
“Oh, no, no, no...” I can’t stop giggling while squirming, trying to wiggle out of his hold. “Don’t you think you should work on your project with her?” I squeak, sneaking a glance at Miss Preppy, or rather Sienna, who is still standing in the front steps of the library, staring after us...or glaring, really, I can’t tell.
He glances over his shoulder, his expression turns haughty again. “No, I’m done. She’s been acting more like my prison guard rather than a project partner. Hounding and cornering me any chance she gets. I don’t get how she could complicate a simple project, needing to talk and meet up all the time.” He shakes his head before he turns back to face me. His hands snake down to wrap around my waist. “Now, let’s talk about you and me.” His voice turns several degrees warmer. “You never gave me an answer. Now that you own me, what are you going to do with me?”
That makes me realize how he aloof, imperious, and cold he looks most of the time. He only reserves the warmer side of him to very few people. So far I’ve seen his genuine smile only when he’s around Genesis, Serena, Penny...and now, me. Open, playful, and...adorably annoying.
It’s the end of fall and the days are getting cooler but today is perfect. The sand is warm and the sky is clear blue with very few clouds. The Pacific Ocean is glistening under the sun. The wind is carrying the smell of the ocean and blowing my hair out of my face.
Perfect. I raise my arms up above my head with a sigh. I know a big smile is playing on my lips. I let the sun kiss my skin. My Nana would have loved it here.
We’re on a deserted stretch of a beach. We have taken off our shoes, we have our jeans rolled up, and we’re standing with the waves lapping at our feet.
He wants us to spend the rest of today together before he has to fly back to Russia tomorrow.
He asked me what I wanted to do, and I told him that I wanted to spend today just getting to know each other, no kissing or making out since we both know what would happen once we start. I asked him to take me to the beach.
“You’re easy to please.” He takes my hand and laces his fingers through mine like we’ve done this a thousand times already. I feel the electric current traveling from the tips of my fingers down to my toes. I feel our connection right to the bones. I wonder if he feels it too.
“I am,” I tell him. “Especially since this is my first time by the ocean.”
He steps right in front of me, blocking my view of the sea. His eyes penetrating and his expression so serious when he asks me, “This is your first time in the ocean and you’re only ankle deep in the water?”
“Wait, Caspian! What are you doing?” I shriek when he lifts me up by my waist. I grab hold onto his shoulders and wrap my legs around his hips.
“We’re getting rid of your virginity the proper way.” His eyes are now burning with mischief. His hands settle firmly under my butt, holding me tightly against him.
“What?” I shriek louder.
“We’re getting rid of your ocean virginity the proper way. We’re going swimming.” He walks deeper into the water. The waves are now lapping against my thighs and my butt.
“What? With our clothes on?”
“Do you want to take your clothes off now, Princess?” He leans in. I feel the muscles of his shoulders flex underneath my hands.
“No. It’s too late now. We’re already wet.”
“You’re right,” he says as he dips us both underwater.
“Caspian!” I come out gasping for breath, pushing away from him. I take it back. He’s not adorably annoying. He’s annoying. Period.
His smile is wolfish as he swims closer. Droplets of water running down his face. His golden hair seems darker all wet with strands plastered to his face. His eyelashes wet and stick together with a few tiny droplets at the end. His unusual green eyes bright and mischievous. He’s so gorgeous even all wet like now, it’s so annoying. I must have looked like a drowned rat. I push backward, away from him.
“You’re in the ocean, sweetheart,” he states casually as he moves closer again.
“I know, you made sure of that,” I give him the stinkeye. I can touch the ocean floor with my tippy toes now as I keep moving backward, away from him.
He chuckles. “You know, there are sharks around here, don’t you?”
I jump on him. I wrap my arms and legs around him like a monkey and look at the murky water around us in alarm, searching for the dreaded fins.
He has brought out a small blanket, a pair of jeans and a white button-down shirt from the trunk of his car.
We are both dripping wet from our swim and the wind has turned somewhat chilly for me. It doesn’t seem to bother him, though.
“Do you always carry around extra clothing in your car?” I ask him as he tosses the shirt to me.
“Yes,” he simply replies as he tugs the back of his wet shirt and peels it off his magnificent body.
His body really is the work of art. The sight of his broad shoulders, muscled chest, and the eight packs which lead down to the deep v that disappears underneath his jeans is already making me blush. Why did I ask him to promise me that there will be no kissing and making out today? I try to avert my gaze just as his hands move to undo his jeans.
“What are you doing?” I ask him as he unzips his jeans.
“Taking my wet pants off,” he says, watching me with that devious smirk on his face. Then he tugs the wet material off his hips and pulls it all the way down, never taking his eyes off me.
Oh, my god! He’s not even wearing underwear and he’s...big. Oh, my god! Oh, my god!
I try to look away and he laughs as he casually uses the blanket to dry himself off, not even bothering to cover himself up. “You can look all you want, princess. I don’t mind.”
I get an eyeful of his tight sexy butt as he bends down to wipe dry his legs. Oh, god!
“Really...” I huff as I turn around and he laughs harder. Okay, so he’s beautiful...everywhere but..ugghhh, he’s so full of himself.
“Some of you humans,” he emphasizes the word humans as if he’s making fun of me. “Are such prudes.”
I know he’s needling me but I can’t help snapping back, “Better than you..you..you have no sense of decency!” What the hell! Now I sound like a prudish grandmama. Not my Nana obviously. In fact, growing up among werewolves who change their forms regularly doesn’t make me shy of naked human bodies, exactly. Only with him. Because his body makes me feel something I’ve never felt before just by looking.
“What? There’s no one else around but you, princess...and you can look all you want since you own me.”
I roll my eyes. Why oh why did I use that marker on him? Quincy’s property indeed. The writing is still visible even after our swim in the ocean.
Swimming with him was fun too once I got over my fear of the great white sharks.
“You don’t need to be shy. I know you want to look. I don’t blame you, I know I’m gorgeous.” There’s laughter in his voice.
Oh my god, grant me patience! He’s so big headed, big...Ughh, my cheeks become bright red. Oh, things you can’t unsee once you see them. Not that I want to unsee...things.
“Aren’t you going to change, Princess?” he whispers in my ear from behind and I yelp, jumping back. I turn around to see that he’s already wearing a dry pair of jeans. “Or are you too...uh, decent to get out of your wet clothing?” He chuckles mockingly.
His smug, taunting, handsome face is annoying me. I feel like bashing his head with something to wipe that smirk off his lips. Decent? I’ll show him decent.
I undo the buttons of my denim top and mentally pat myself on the back as the smile drops from his lips.
I silently congratulate myself when his mouth falls open when I shirk my wet top off.
I start to have doubts about the brilliance of my plan when fierce lust and hunger enter his eyes as he stares at me unblinkingly after I peel my pants off.
I’m wearing simple white cotton panties and a purple bra but I might as well be naked by the way his intense eyes are raking my whole body.
My body starts to burn with delicious heat and my heart starts to drum faster when his eyes smolder and his nostrils flare. I grab the blanket that he dropped on the sand and furiously wipe myself dry with it, sand and all.
I can hear him breathing deep and fast as he slowly stalks towards me like he’s stalking a prey. Okay, now I’m freaking out, a bit...and thrilled.
I quickly pull the white shirt on and button it up with shaky hands. I look up to find him still staring at me with that hunger on his face. I give him a wide grin and say, “I know, I know...I’m gorgeous.”
That seems to bring him out of his daze. He shakes his head and closes his eyes for a second before he looks away. Then he bends down to pick up our wet shirts and jeans. I hear him muttering and grumbling about stupid promises to wait, about no making out, and about taking another swim with the sharks in the ocean.
After he puts away our wet clothes in a bag and stows it away in the small trunk of his car, he comes back and spreads the blanket on the sand. I sit on it next to him and when I glance up, he’s already watching me. His eyes, warm and vivid. Mesmerizing green. Electric almost. His silky golden hair, now dry, glitters in the bright sunlight.
My heart aches at how beautiful he is. I could just watch him all day and be happy.
“You could’ve asked anything of me. I could’ve taken you anywhere but you asked to be taken to the beach.” He gazes at me in wonder. “And you look so happy like I’ve just given you the sun.”
“I’m just a simple girl. I am very easy to please.” Nana said the same thing about me. She said I was easy to please when I almost peed in my pants when she gave me a 25 dollar gift card to a bookstore on my birthday one time or when I inhale her fresh out of the oven gâteau au yaourt and patted my belly happily after I ate it.
“There’s nothing simple about you, Quincy St. Martin. You look so sweet and soft, sometimes even child-like and innocent yet you’re intelligent, all steel and strength inside.” He pushes a few strands of my hair behind my ear. It’s such a simple gesture but warmth spreads in my chest. “I see you, princess.”
“I see you too, Prince Caspian. There are layers and layers of you. You act like nothing bothers but you think deep. You may act childish sometimes.” I can’t help but lean in his warm hand. “A lot of times, actually,” I amend. “...but every action is done with forethought. I feel sorry for whoever stupid enough to underestimate you.”
A strange watchful, almost wary look enters his eyes as he studies my face. A tiny smile is playing on his lips. His hand slides across my cheek to grip the back of my neck. “You could be a very dangerous woman, my princess.”
“Not to you, your highness,” I whisper as he holds me immobile and leans down to bring his face closer to mine. His eyes focus on my lips.
“Oh, yes, especially to me,” he says quietly. I feel his warm breath on my face. Our lips are just inches apart. The yearning to lean in and brush my lips to his is overwhelming. I know he feels it too when his grip tightens around the back of my neck. His thumb presses gently but firmly at the base of my throat. But he only presses our foreheads together. The only thing that’s stopping him now is probably that stupid promise I asked him to make earlier before we came here. “Do you know how beautiful you are?” His voice is husky and every word is drawled out lazily. “You have the most amazing eye color.”
I gulp and take a deep breath before I ask him, “Do you realize that our eyes are almost the same color?”
“Exactly what I meant to say,” is his serious response. That seems to ease my lust or whatever magical hold he has on me and I laugh. This man.
We spend hours talking. I tell him about my Nana and he tells me about his traveling and his life at the palace. I gloss over my life at the pack house. I skip over the really bad stuff but he’s clenching his jaw and fists tight by the time I finish telling him about how I took off from the pack’s territory. He’s too intelligent to miss things that I avoid telling.
He’s very quiet and looks pissed off for a while after that. I manage to make him smile and laugh again with the story of how my Nana scared off one of her suitors with her scones. Nana was very good at baking things but for some reason, scones were not one of those things. She made batches and batches of scones and forced them down our throats because she was convinced that they’re really amazing and that they’re an acquired taste. My Nana’s scones were really bad. There’s nothing to acquire but a stiff jaw because they’re hard as rocks.
“I had fun. I’m glad to have lost my ocean virginity with you. Thank you for today,” I thank him when we’re sitting in his car in front of Jonah’s house.
He’s holding my hand tight and I’m unwilling to let go. Despite no kissing and no making out agreement, he hasn’t stopped touching me. We’re both reluctant to end our day together.
Today is one of the happiest days of my life despite him being annoying. Everything else disappears when he’s with me. No troubles and no worries. Just him and me.
“I wish I don’t have to go home yet but I have a meeting with my pack mates in half an hour,” he tells me. “Remember today. That’s just a little glimpse of what our lives could be together if you let me in. Let me in, princess.”
“I’ll see you when you get back,” I reply instead. “Promise me you’ll stay safe?”
“Would it matter whether or not I make it back to you, princess?”
“Yes. Yes, it matters.”