Somewhere Above the Clouds

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Chapter 25 - A good lay

River

I shuffled through my top drawer until I found what I had been searching for.

A bikini that I bought without trying on, which was a mistake but I was too lazy to be bothered with a dressing room. I've never worn it because it showed too much. By most girls' standards, it was just a normal bikini but it made me feel too exposed and I knew it would without a doubt attract the wrong attention.

Which ironically, was exactly what I was looking for today.

It was juvenile and petty but it was the best I could come up with. Beau couldn't even sit still when someone mentioned Taylor's name and he was just my best friend, our relationship was completely platonic. So I was positive that my choice in swimwear and the eyes it would draw would drive him insane and hopefully cause him to slip up.

I wanted Beau to lose control and finally let his thoughts out and not by accident.

I shimmied into the bikini and looked at myself in the mirror, it was skimpy and I would have to wear something over top of it, or I'd freeze. The bottoms were the skimpier of the two, so I figured I'd wear a hoodie over the top and call it a day. I'd probably still be cold but I didn't care.

By the time Jackson woke up, I was already in the kitchen halfway through preparing the food.

"Sorry, I was more tired than I thought."
He ran his hand through his messy hair.

"That's okay, you need to rest. You know we don't have to do anything tonight."

"Nope, we're going. Let me change and I'll help you finish."

A little over an hour later we were parked and getting the food out of the car. Jackson walked toward the nearest grill and I pulled my leggings off just as the wind picked up.

This might've been a bad idea.

Taylor pulled into the parking spot right next to us and kissed my cheek before taking the food from my hands.

"You plan on swimming tonight?"
He joked, eyeing my bare legs.

"Nope."

He raised his eyebrow but didn't say anything else.

I helped Jackson set up everything he needed before he started the grill. I looked up just in time to see Beau parking his Bronco. He walked toward us and I was suddenly burning up, I tugged at the neck of my sweatshirt because I felt like it was choking me. He was wearing black joggers and a black zip-up, he had a camel-colored hat on with an American flag across the front. The epitome of an all-American-looking boy yet he didn't look like anyone else I'd ever seen before.

Meanwhile, I quite literally looked like I'd just forgot to put on pants today. I sat down at the picnic table and watched Taylor and a couple of boys from our school throw a football while I tried to ignore the tether between Beau and me.

A handful of other people from my brother's unit showed up along with a few girls that I knew were locals. After Taylor and I were through eating he drug me out further into the sand to play volleyball.

I happened to be good and I could feel Beau's eyes watching every few minutes. It felt like the perfect time to execute my plan. Braden and Taylor were on my team and Taylor wasn't an option to flirt with. It started small, high fives, and fist bumps with Braden when we scored a point and it ended with him wrapping his arms around my waist and spinning me around while I squealed after we'd won. I tried not to go overboard.

Taylor kept his eyes on Braden but I think he was more confused about me. He knew being flirtatious wasn't exactly my thing and I could tell he was trying to figure out why. I hoped he wouldn't put it together, I wasn't ready to have that conversation yet.

We all sat down by the fire and Braden snagged Taylor's seat when he left.

He kept the conversion light and didn't force anything. He quickly figured out other than being decent at volleyball, he and I had nothing in common. After he left I heard the two local girls suggest that everyone should go back to our house, I tried to ignore them until I heard them ask Beau if they could ride with him.

"Sure."
He answered, never even pausing to think about his answer.

So much for my plan. I'd been stupid enough to think I could make him jealous with a teenaged boy. Now he's literally taking two grown women home with him.

Great.

I climbed into Jackson's car and waiting for him to get inside. All I wanted to do was go home and crawl under my covers and wallow.

"Wanna play some cornhole when we get back?"
My brother asked as he backed the car out and drove onto the main road.

"Sounds good."

After two games of cornhole and watching the two locals flirt endlessly with Beau, I was over the day.

"I'm gonna go to bed, Jack."

"What? No. It's not even ten o'clock yet."
He whined.

"I know, I'm just tired."
I shrugged.

Beau had disappeared by the time I walked past the girls.

"God, Beau is so hot. And such a good lay."
The blonde one said and the other giggled.

I wasn't stupid, I knew Beau had slept with plenty of girls, but hearing them say it only served as a reminder that I couldn't even so much as touch him.

I stomped off to my room like the brat I had become and I saw him out of the corner of my eye when I walked past the kitchen. I wasn't alone for a solid minute before my door flung open.

"Why are you acting like this? And why are you dressed like that?"

I could feel the tears coming but this time it wasn't from sadness.

I was mad.

I was so mad that this had to be so difficult.

I loved him, and I was pretty sure he felt the same way. So why was it so hard?

Why did I think trying to make him jealous would get me anywhere?

I stood up and let the tears fall as I walked toward my bathroom.

"No, you're going to answer me. What is wrong with you?"
Beau reached out and grabbed my arm.

I felt it all slipping away, the dam broke and it all came pouring out.

"What's wrong with me? I am in love with you. I'm in love with you while you're out there giving someone else the attention that I wish you could give me and I want to know why. Except I'm not allowed to know why. And it's driving me crazy."

Beau didn't move, he didn't speak, I wondered if he was even breathing.

I stood in front of him and let the tears fall freely.

"You know, I thought I was going to get you to say something similar to me just by wearing a stupid bikini? By flirting with another guy and ignoring you, I thought it would make you jealous, " I laughed dryly before continuing, "and now look, it totally backfired."

"Who said I wasn't jealous?"
He asked, stepping closer to me. I backed up until my back was flush with the wall.

"What?"
I whispered.

"I was insanely jealous. Other guys can look at you, they can make you smile and no one ever thinks anything of it. And all I can do is steal a glance every once in a while."

More tears fell and I shook my head.

What did he just say?

Beau took another step, which closed the gap between us and I closed my eyes.

"I need you to stop crying. . . please."
I felt his hands graze my temples before he pushed my hair out of my face then, to my shock, he kissed a tear from my cheek. I opened my eyes and instantly felt like I was watching us from somewhere else, somewhere high above. When he kissed the corner of my mouth I inhaled sharply and he moved his hands to the back of my neck like he was prepared to hold me there if I tried to move.

"I'm going to kiss you now but once I do I need you to know that I can never go back."

I didn't want to go back either. And once his lips touched mine, back was no longer an option.
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