Defining Us (Book 2 of Discovering Me Series)

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Chapter 8: Drove Me Wild - Tegan and Sara

{Isabella}

“You’re even driving us to the beach yourself? We really are having a normal day. I love it.” I smiled as I sat down in the passenger seat.

“We could have done this while you were staying with your sister. It is your fault for not having a driver’s license.” He teased, buckling himself in.

“I can’t help that. I was supposed to take my test next week. Plans changed.” I shrugged.

“You are a speed demon.”

“I like to drive fast. That’s not a crime.” I smiled at him.

“But it is, actually. I can teach you to drive the speed limit.”

“Really?” I warded off a smile.

“No.” He busted out laughing. I hit him swiftly on the arm.

“Hey, you cannot hit the driver, Iz! That’s driving 101.” He cried jokingly.

I rolled my eyes with a smile. “I’m a good driver.”

“Then I will help you be a great one.” He replied as we left the palace gates.

I questioned as he started driving down the main road. “Really?”

“It is so easy to get a rise out of you.”

“Yes. I’m a human being with feelings.” I poked my tongue out at him.

I turned the radio on and looked around in awe as the gorgeous landscape whizzed by.

“Here, I’ll help.” He pressed a button. Within seconds, the top of the car retracted and went into a compartment on the back.

I put my hands in the air and allowed the wind to dance through my hair.

“What are you doing?” Milo chuckled.

“Enjoying the ride.” I smiled.

I readjusted my sunglasses and looked up at the sky by resting my head on the headrest. “I love it here.”

“Why?”

“It’s so beautiful. I should be stressed out and hurt, but I’m not. I don’t know why, but I feel good. I wouldn’t question it if I were you.” I giggled.

“Let me know if that changes.”

“I -- um, what did they say about me?” I asked, knowing that’s why he was so upset.

“Don’t worry about it.”

I pursed my lips together and looked over at him. “It’s enough to upset you.”

“Not now. I am tired of thinking about them.”

We rode the rest of the way to the beach in a comfortable silence. I couldn’t wait to get out of the car. I wanted to wiggle my toes in the sand, splash about in the water, and simply see where the day took us. Instead of driving into the beach’s parking lot, we passed it entirely. Milo kept driving until we reached a beachfront property.

“That is not a cottage. Cottages aren’t more than one story. That has at least three.”

“Technically, no, it’s not a cottage. That’s just what we call it.” He entered a sequence of numbers into the keypad.

“You got my hopes up. I was under the impression that singing and cleaning woodland creatures would reside indoors and be my faithful companions. You just crushed that dream.”

Milo laughed. “You have been watching too many movies with Soph.”

“Yes, I have. It’s my job as her big sister.”

He parked his car in the driveway. I climbed out of the car and waited for him to join me on my side. He took my hand and led me inside.

“Are you hungry?” Milo asked me as I looked around in awe.

“Not really, I ate your breakfast. Are you?”

“I can grab something on the way out.”

“Like a picnic?” I was excited about that idea.

“I was thinking more along the lines of having something portable made and taking it to the beach with us. Do you want a picnic?”

I smiled and nodded. “You crushed my woodland creatures dream. I have a new one: beach picnic. It would be cruel to deny me of both wishes.”

“I’m teaching you to drive in a sane manner.”

“No need. I am a great driver. You should just do something romantic.” I placed my bag on the floor and wrapped my arms around his neck.

“Hitting you with a skateboard was very romantic.”

“No, Honey, it really wasn’t.” I giggled.

He groaned over-dramatically. “I guess I can have food put into a basket and eat it with you on a blanket.”

“Yay.” I cheered.

He put in an order with the kitchen staff to prepare us a picnic. He showed me around as they did. There were so many open windows. There was a clear view of the sea from almost every room we entered. I loved the sound of the waves, all the natural light.

Armed with our picnic basket, we left the house through the back patio. I walked on the wooden planks that led to their private section to beach. I removed my sandals as soon as we descended the stairs. Milo waited patiently as I put them in my free hand and held his with the other.

“Really?” He looked at me incredulously.

“I like sand. I couldn’t wait.”

“Stubborn and impatient. It is oddly cute.”

“Thank you, Your Highness.” I curtsied jokingly.

“You are very mean.”

“I’ll take the basket. I want to be nice to you.” I removed my hand from his and held it out.

“It is heavy. I have got it.” He took my hand back into his.

He picked a spot and draped out our blanket. I took over setting up everything in the basket.

“What are you looking at?” I looked up at him with a smile as I placed a plate in front of him.

“Is that a bikini?” He nodded to the top of my dress.

“I have to swim in something.” I smiled.

“Did you know that this is a nude beach?” He leaned back on his elbows.

I laughed. “I’m not skinny dipping with you in broad daylight.”

“So at night is still in play?”

“Not this night.” I giggled.

“But some night?” He retrieved a grape from the bowl I just placed out.

“Is this going to be a legally binding contract?” I flirted.

“If you want it to be.” He played along.

“I’ve reach my quota of legal issues for the year. I’d hate to see what happens when I back out of an arrangement with a prince. I will say that it would be a fun memory.”

After neatly arranging everything, I stood up to strip out of my sundress. I sat down and removed my sunscreen from my bag. I rubbed lotion on my arms.

“I’ll get your back.” He offered.

I laughed. “You have a problem.”

“You have soft skin. I like touching it, but I check with you first. I want you to be comfortable.”

I leaned over and kissed him. “Consent is sexy.” I pecked him once more and settled back into my seat.

Colt filtered into my mind. I clenched my eyes shut and blocked him out.

He’s in prison. He won’t touch me or anyone else again. He’s being punished.

A few tears escaped. I wiped them away from beneath my sunglasses.

“Beautiful, what is -- ?”

I shook my head. “I’m happy.” I cleared my throat.

“Come here.” He gestured for me to come over.

Wanting to be held, I crawled over to where he was. He separated his legs and I sat in the space between them. He wrapped his arms around me and placed a kiss on my shoulder.

“It’s only been a few weeks. It’s okay to be human.” He breathed into my hair.

I rested my back on his chest. “I don’t want to worry anyone.”

“You’re moving forward. You’re still allowed to feel it. No one expects you not to, at least I do not. Maybe I am special.”

“You’d let me talk to you about him?”

“If it will help you, yes. I will always listen.”

I teared up and smiled. “Thank you for always being here.” I whispered.

“You do the same for me.” He kissed the side of my face.

I picked up the plate of food he compiled for himself. I started feeding him over my shoulder. His fingers roamed my bare sides.

“You can’t do that. I’m ticklish.” I giggled, feeding him a cracker with cheese spread.

“I know.” He chuckled.

“And you call me mean.” I looked back at him pointedly.

He chewed his food and licked his lips.

“Eat up. You’re taking me sailing.”

“After I put sunscreen on you.”

I giggled. “I get to do you too.”

He finished eating and I snacked a bit as well. We applied sunscreen to each other and tidied up our picnic. He walked me over to the dock. I followed him into a wooden boathouse. He grabbed a life-vest and eased it over my head.

“You’re not drowning on me today.” He pulled the belt around my torso and clipped it.

I lifted another vest from the wall and put it on him. “We’ve got to keep you safe too, Captain.” I saluted him.

He chuckled and shook his head at me. He retrieved a box from the corner and nodded for me to follow him.

He led me to a medium sized sailboat with a white sail. “Sit down. I’ll take care of the rest.” He ushered me to the seat in the middle of the boat.

“Are you going to explain everything you’re doing or are you just going to do it?” I asked, watching as he moved around the boat, tying knots and adjusting things.

“I’m better at hands on instruction.” He nodded me over.

I joined him where he was.

“This is a sheet--”

“It’s a rope.”

“Are you going to argue with me the entire time?” He looked over his shoulder.

“No. I’m done.”

“In sailing, a ‘sheet’ is the rope that brings the sail closer to the boat.”

“So, sheet.” I pointed to the rope he was holding.

“Correct. There is a jibsheet and a mainsail sheet. You can tackle most of basic sailing by tightening and loosening these ropes.”

“The sheets?”

“Correct. There is plenty more. Do you want to go through the rest of it?”

I nodded with an eager smile. “Keep teaching me things.”

He laughed. “You’ve got it.”

He talked me through all of what he was doing. I didn’t retain most of it, but I enjoyed watching him work. He was in his element sailing. Before that day, I didn’t even know that he had such an affinity for water.I was happy I was able to see it for myself.

We swam in the sea when we were a good distance away from the shore. We had fun splashing about and swimming around. We played for a few hours before sailing back. I sat down on the seat, tired from swimming. The wind suddenly shifted. He had to make a sharp turn, which made the boat tilt a bit. Fearing that I would fall out, I rose to my feet. The pole connected to the bottom of the sail swung out and hit my forehead.

“OW!” I whimpered, holding my head and sitting down.

Milo stopped what he was doing and rushed to my aid. “What happened?”

“The stupid gib -- jib -- whatever that pole thing is called hit me in the face!” I cried, keeping my hand in place.

He removed my hand from my head and tucked my hair behind my ear to examine the injury. He opened the box he brought and started fishing around. He retrieved a single-use ice pack, broke the seal, and placed it on my head. I took over holding it and he smoothed down my hair.

“Can you focus your eyes on mine?” He requested.

I focused on them. “They’re hazel.”

“What’s your birthday?”

“I was born on April 14th. We celebrate on the 15th because we’re cool like that.” I offered him a smile.

“The ice should be enough, but we will get you checked out by a doctor just in case.”

“Did you know you were going to injure me?” I narrowed my eyes at him.

“No. I bring a first aid kit every time I come out. You injured yourself by standing up.”

“I didn’t want to fall in.”

“The life-vest would have helped you swim.”

“I know that now.” I sighed. “Man the ship. I don’t want it to go under.” I shooed him away.

“No standing.” He got back to work.

He docked the boat. The two of us returned the supplies we took out to the boathouse. We collected our things from the beach and returned to the house. After changing out of my wet swimsuit, I put on my change of dry clothes and reapplied my ice pack.

“Are you taking me to the hospital?” I left the bathroom and joined him in the adjoining bedroom.

“No, a doctor will be here soon. We have one that makes house calls. Does your head hurt?”

“It’s tender where I got hit. I don’t have a headache or feel dizzy. I think that’s a good sign.” I sat down beside him on the bed. “Despite the injury, I had fun today.”

“I’m happy about that. After you get checked out, we can figure out what to do for dinner.”

“I’m worn out.” I rested my head on a pillow.

“You’re not allowed to go to sleep.”

“But this bed is so comfortable.”

“I’m serious. You may not wake up.” He stroked my hair. “If you were not tired, what would you want to do after this?”

“A sunset picnic. You promised me a beach day. We have to do it up to the fullest.”

“These small-scale requests are killing me, Iz.”

“I like simple. I know who you are. I know what you can do, but I still like what I like.” I touched my foot to his leg.

He smiled and pecked me on the lips.

“What did I say?”

“What I needed to hear.” He kissed me again.

We conversed casually until there was a knock at the door. He stood up and answered it as I iced my injury. When the doctor asked me to remove my ice pack, Milo audibly cringed.

“It’s not that bad! Stop looking at it like that!” I cried in exasperation.

“I am being supportive. I -- are you in a lot of pain? It looks like it hurts --” He took my hand.

“You’re not helping!” I interrupted.

“I love you. You are so beautiful.” Milo offered me an apologetic smile.

I narrowed my eyes at him. The doctor refrained from laughing by pursing his lips together.

He ran plenty of tests on me, like having me follow a light with my eyes, walking in a straight-line, and other cognitive things that would be impaired by a serious head injury. I passed all of them with flying colors. He said the small knot on my head would go away on its own. He prescribed rest, ice, and pain killers before leaving.

“Can we take a nap before our sunset picnic?”

“Are you still up for that?”

“Oh, yeah. You owe me for making fun of my bruise.” I rolled over on my side. He spooned me.

“It was not there when you first got hurt. I was surprised.”

“You still owe me.” I closed my eyes.

We slept for two hours. I walked over to the mirror after slowly rising from the bed. I sighed heavily when I saw my bruise for myself. It wasn’t bad, just a little raised and bruised. I shielded my injury with my hair by pulling it from the opposite side of my part and tucking it behind my ear to make it stay.

“You will get more than a picnic. I feel very guilty.”

“You were in your sailing zone, which I found attractive beyond words. I stood up because I didn’t want to fall into the water. We’ll share blame.”

“Sailing did it for you?”

“You took control. Gosh, your arms. You were so focused and informative. Mmm. I have thing for Sailing Milo.” I reminisced, nibbling on my bottom lip.

“You should have told me.”

“Too distracted.”

“But you are not now.”

“And you’re not sailing. I grew accustomed to that. Now it’s just, it’s gone. I need you to be in a boat to find you attractive.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. Either bring a boat back to school with us or this is over.” I continued with a smile.

“I will keep that in mind. We better go if we do not want to miss the sunset.” .

We laid on the beach with our meals, eating and talking happily. By the time the sun started to set, I was resting my head on his shoulder. His arm was around my waist. We watched the sky go from a warm orange to a deep purple and cascade to black. When the stars appeared, we laid on our backs and looked up at them.

“Are you going to introduce me to your home friends?” I asked lightly as I pulled my cardigan closer to myself as I remained in his arms.

“I don’t have any.”

“I didn’t mean to --”

“The ones I had here only pretended to care for me. The moment my place in line for the throne was called into question, they all jumped ship to Salvatore. He continues to parade around with them, not knowing or not caring that they only want to be close to power. I am okay with solitude. I have friends that mean the world to me elsewhere.”

“What did you family really say about me?” I switched to a more serious tone.

He sighed heavily. “They believe you are not a proper match for me.”

“Because of my past and what I do to cope with it.” Tears welled in my eyes.

“You are kind and passionate. You will have a truly remarkable life, one you can be proud of. They smile through their pain and never speak up for themselves in public. They rely on others to do their bidding.”

“I can do it all.”

“I don’t want you to change. I need you.” He pleaded.

“You will still have me. I just need them to understand that I am more than a gawky embarrassment. I can play their game while holding on to what makes me unique.“I brought my hand up and placed it on the side of his face. I moved in closer until our faces were millimeters apart. He closed the distance and kissed me.

“You do not need to do this.”

“I want to.” I pushed my lips back against his.

We remained on our blanket, beneath the stars, kissing for hours with no intentions of doing more. It was nice to take it slow and simply be close, savoring the fact that we were together in that moment.

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