Chapter 27 - Good enough
Beau said as he walked out of my room after Jackson.
The last thing I wanted to do was stay behind, but I didn't see how being in the room with them right now would help anything.
I put my hand on my chest and took a few deep breaths. I wished I could say my heart was beating so furiously because my brother just walked in on Beau and I so close to one another, but that wasn't it.
That wasn't it at all.
If I thought Beau kissing my cheek had ruined me, I didn't know anything.
Nothing came close to how I felt when his lips were on mine.
I'd only ever kissed one other person and it wasn't that Taylor was a bad kisser, it was just that Beau was an exceptional one.
He made me want more.
The sound of my brother yelling pulled me right out of my daydream.
Jackson didn't yell. He was like a teddy bear, massive but was more likely to hug you too hard than to actually hurt you.
I got up from my bed and eased my door open.
"My sister? My baby sister, Beau? I trusted you. You lived here with her for God's sake!"
"And you’re leaving! Does she even know?"
Beau never responded and I'm sure that was enough to answer my brother's question, he knew then that I had no idea.
There was a long pause until I heard Beau's voice.
"Nothing happened until today, I swear."
"She's my baby sister."
My brother was no longer yelling but I could hear the agony in every word that he spoke.
"I love her."
Beau's voice was soft but sure and even though that was the first time I'd ever heard him say it, it felt familiar. Because I'd seen it every time he looked at me.
I heard the front door shut and I stood in the hallway waiting for Jackson because I knew he was going to want to talk. Seconds later he was in front of me and I looked anywhere except for his eyes.
"What am I supposed to do River?"
He sighed pushing his fingertips into his forehead.
"Do you hate me?"
He pulled his hand away from his face and looked over at me, raising his brows.
"Of course, I don't hate you."
He tugged me into a hug and I sighed into him.
"He on the other hand is on my shit list."
I tensed. The last thing I wanted was to come between them.
"I'm sorry, Jackson."
He eased back and stared down at me with a look I'd never seen from him before.
"I have no idea how I'm supposed to handle this. My natural instinct is to take you and run. But you're you. You're so damn smart I can imagine that you've thought every last detail through."
I hadn't thought about anything past how Beau made me feel and I wanted that to be enough. Thoughts brought along doubts and I didn't want to doubt anything about Beau.
"Are you in love with him River?"
I nodded and he leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms.
"I think I always have been."
I wanted to be honest with him. Even if it was about things he probably didn't want to hear.
"You're barely eighteen, how could you possibly know something like that?"
"Didn't you just finish saying how smart I was?"
I teased, nothing about the situation was funny, but lightening the mood seemed appropriate.
His words were muffled, he spoke through his fingers as he rested his head into his palm.
"Did you kick him out?"
I hadn't heard Beau's engine so I doubted that he had left.
My brother grunted.
"No, he stepped outside."
I nodded and looked down at my toes. I didn't know what else I could say.
"Beau is the best man that I know,"
He cleared his throat before continuing his sentence and I saw a glimmer of hope, "but he still isn't nearly good enough for you."
The little glimmer I thought was coming my way floated in the opposite direction while my brother walked to his room and shut the door behind him.
There was no way I could go back to bed. I walked to the kitchen and chugged a glass of water. I still hadn't heard Beau leave and I realized that he was probably waiting for me.
I put the empty glass in the sink and made my way outside.
He hadn't gone far, he wasn't even off of the porch. I found him sitting on the swing with his elbows resting on his knees. His head shot up when he heard the door.
"Are you okay?"
"I am. Are you?"
I asked as I sat down next to him.
He grabbed my hand and flipped it over, tracing the lines in my palm.
"So, you're leaving?"
It was the last thing I wanted to talk about yet it was the only thing I could think of. It clouded my mind and there was no way I could go another second without knowing the details.
He nodded, still running his fingertip over my skin.
He said flatly.
I tried to stand up, but he held onto my hand pulling me back down onto the swing.
Why was everyone always leaving?
"It's my job, I have to."
Since learning about what Beau did in the military, I started to realize how much he loved his job. He told me stories from his past deployments and there was this twinkle in his eyes the entire time. He loved it.
"Do you know how long you'll be gone?"
I sighed and he shook his head.
Sometimes Beau went to this silent place. He curled into himself and I hated it. I wanted every thought that crossed his mind but especially the ones he tried to keep from me.
"What is going on in your head Beau Holmes?"
"So many things."
"You can tell me."
I scooted closer to him and he laid his arm behind me against the top of the swing.
"You shouldn't be worried with the things I'm thinking about."
He rubbed my cheek with his free hand.
That didn't seem fair.
"Don't you worry about me?"
"All the time. But that's different."
I drew my brows together and was just about to open my mouth when his index finger slid across my bottom lip.
I closed my eyes and felt his hand snake around to the back of my neck and he leaned his head down closer to mine.
"What are we supposed to do now?"
I asked against his lips.
He didn't answer me and I knew it wasn't just because he was dying to kiss me again.
It was because he had no idea.
He didn't know what came next.
He brought his hand across the side of my hip and erased any space that was left between us.
I took a deep breath and he cupped my cheek with his free hand.
"Have I ever told you how beautiful you are?"
"Not while you were sober."
I tried to fight a smile.
"You're beautiful, River."
It felt weird to say thank you, but I wasn't sure how to fill the silence.
I took his hand off of my cheek and intertwined our fingers. His hand swallowed mine and I loved the way it felt.
It felt like he was wrapped around me.
Beau was somehow everywhere all at once. Not only was he at my house and in my thoughts.
But he had managed to invade every inch of my heart.
And he would no doubt take it with him when he left.