Chapter 15 - One day
I was sitting on the beach reading when Callum Casey plopped down beside me. We knew each other but let's just say we didn't run with the same crowd. Mainly because I didn't run with one at all but also because Callum was currently off with his on again off again girlfriend. Who also happened to be Edie, the girl who threw a book at my face.
I smiled. I had no reason to be rude to him.
He pointed at my book and I closed it.
"I am. Are you?"
"It's alright, a little awkward."
My eyes followed his stare to the water's edge where Edie was sitting.
"Yeah, I'd bet it is."
I honestly had no clue how to relate to his situation.
"Where’s your boyfriend?"
"He's not my boyfriend."
He cocked his head to the side.
"So you're available?"
I answered too quickly. I technically was very available. Then again, not at all.
"I kind of figured as much. You're way too pretty, River."
I watched as his eyes traveled from my face down to my swimsuit and I suddenly wished that I had another towel so I could cover myself.
Callum wasn't a creep, and he was attractive but I did not want him looking at me in that way.
I didn't want any of them looking at me in that way.
"What's up, Callum?"
Taylor's voice was coming from somewhere behind me and I've never been more thankful for my best friend.
"Not much, just talking."
Taylor sat down, as close to me as possible, and slung his arm around my shoulder.
I breathed a sigh of relief and Callum chuckled before grabbing a football and heading further down the beach.
"What did he say to you?"
Taylor asked as he propped his arms behind himself.
"He said that I was too pretty. How can someone be too pretty?"
"He's not wrong, you're very pretty."
I looked up into Taylor's eyes and wished I could like him in that way. It would make everything so much easier.
But there was no use.
I tilted my head up and kissed his cheek.
"Come on little book worm, were going swimming."
Before I could protest Taylor had me over his shoulder as he ran toward the water. We spent the rest of our last afternoon in the water.
It was dark by the time Taylor pulled his car into my driveway. It was pretty obvious by all the cars in the front yard that my brother was having a party. Tomorrow was a holiday, memorial day in fact and I had forgotten that my brother always had a party the night before.
"Do you want me to walk you in?"
Taylor asked me after he had pulled my suitcase up the stairs.
"No, it's okay. Go get some sleep."
He had a whole lot more fun on our trip than I did. I'm really not sure if he slept at all.
He leaned over and pressed his lips against my cheek.
I told him as I walked closer to the door. That's when I realized whose car was parked in front of the garage.
I grabbed my bag and pushed the front door open. I was going to give Beau Holmes a piece of my mind.
But what I found wasn't what I expected. Beau was normally reserved and never the life of the party so to speak. And I had never once seen him drunk.
And tonight he was toasted.
Even Jackson looked concerned for his best friend.
He said and walked toward me to get my bags.
"What's up with Beau?"
I whispered and Jackson shook his head, we both turned to look at him while he raised his arms in the air, high fiving people after apparently winning a game of beer pong.
"I'm not sure."
He wheeled my suitcase to my room and I walked toward Beau.
"Hey, you're back."
He grinned and I couldn't stop myself from doing the same. Drunk or not, anytime he looked at me like that it was a good moment for me.
"Are you hungry?"
I asked. I wasn't sure exactly how it worked but maybe if I filled him with food he wouldn't have room for any more beer.
He tilted his beer back and finished it off but when he brought his head back down he stumbled forward and I put my arms out to steady him.
"Are you tired?"
I could tell by the dark circles under his eyes that he was.
He shrugged lazily and I realized I had found my in.
"Come on, you can stay here. I'll help you to the guest bedroom."
He used to stay in it so often I'm not sure why we just didn't refer to it as his room.
I stepped closer to him, slid my arm around his waist, and tried to ignore how much I liked the feeling of his heavy arm draped on top of my shoulder. I smiled up at him and he stopped walking.
"You're so beautiful River."
He could barely stand so I knew he was talking nonsense but I was two for two today. Or I guess three for three if you counted Taylor. But still, I felt virtually nothing when two of them said the words to me. And now hearing Beau say them, it was all I could do not to melt into his arms but then I remembered that I was the one holding him up.
"Whatever you say drunky let's get you to bed."
"I'm serious... I've never seen any girl more beautiful than you."
He looked down again, right into my eyes, and for a second I thought he might be sober. He tucked my hair behind my ear and snapped me back into reality.
He had been avoiding me and for what reason I wasn't completely positive, but I obviously had a hunch.
Maybe I was right.
But what could I do with it?
I couldn't do anything with it.
Instead, I drug him down the hall and walked him right next to the guest bed and let him fall back. He let out a satisfied noise and I bent down to take his shoes off because my brother would have a fit if Beau's boots left marks on his white comforter.
"You're the best."
He closed his eyes when I pulled the cover over him. I fought the urge to lean down and kiss his perfect lips.
God help me.
I turned to leave but he grabbed my wrist, then with his other hand he pulled me down closer to him before he leaned up and pressed a kiss to my cheek, then another, this one lasting a little longer. I stopped breathing, too scared to even move the slightest bit.
"One day, River."
He released me and I was suddenly struggling to catch my breath as I ran out the door and to my room.
One day River. One day.
He was drunk, I knew that.
He had no idea what he was saying.
But the problem was, I did. I had wished for him to say something like that to me for so long it seemed. And now the words were tainted with alcohol.
I sat on the edge of my bed, tracing the spot on my cheek where his lips had landed and I repeated his words over and over in my head.
They didn't feel like just words, they felt like a promise.