I firmly closed my bedroom door and limped over to my bed. The hot bath had helped with the pain and stiffness in my shot leg but the coldness from the rain and the extra weight while carrying Seychelles seemed to have forced a throbbing pain in my leg that wouldn’t leave.
It was a very beautiful name, and suited her perfectly. I was surprised when I left the bathroom and saw her in the hallway. She looked so tiny, even while standing up, and when she looked at me with her deep emerald eyes I lost my breath a little. Despite my ‘beast-like’ exterior and commanding personality that came with being Lieutenant, I’d always been a romantic at heart and never understood the men who’d have a new woman between the sheets each night.
I groaned softly, wincing a little at the pain in my leg, as I stood from my bed to change into something warmer than a towel. I felt the slight warmth of a blush across my cheeks when I remembered the way Seychelle’s eyes roamed over my wide chest stopping to only briefly look over my numerous scars. I threw on the closest clothes and ended up in jeans and a long sleeve grey t-shirt. I pulled on another hoodie and limped over to my door remembering that my crutches were probably half hidden in the sand back at the beach.
I was faced with either having to wait until the rain passed or walk through the trees again to pick them up. “Screw it” I mumbled to myself, “I’ll just limp”
I entered the hallway and slowly made my way over to the lounge to see Seychelles dabbing the white rags on the sofa and my mom eyeing her with amusement. “You know sweetheart, you really don’t need to-“
“No, no Sandy I feel horrible at barging into your beautiful home unannounced and destroying your furniture. The least I can do is try to dry it out” Seychelles argued back with a flushed face.
I chuckled and limped into the room, “Last I checked I carried you in because you were unconscious... It wasn’t like you had a choice”
Seychelles gasped and fell backwards landing on her backside. My mom giggled behind her hand and I threw her an apologetic smile before holding my hand down to pull her up. She placed her dainty in mine and I noticed how my hand basically swallowed hers. I tugged my arm back and she flew up and crashed into my chest.
“Wow... you sure are strong Ray” she gushed the same time I apologised.
“Well aren’t you two just adorable! Stuttering together like a couple of high school kids” My mom laughed... easily breaking the awkwardness. “Would you like to stay for dinner Shell?”
“Oh no, I couldn’t Sandy. Besides, I needed to pop by somewhere to check on some things before going home”
My mom spent the next fifteen minutes trying to persuade Seychelles that it wouldn’t be a bother having her stay but it seemed as though my mom’s persuasive manner was finally matched by Seychelles’.
“Oh okay sweety, but you be sure to come back to visit alright! I’ll make you cookies!” Mom gave in while squeezing Seychelles in a fierce hug. My mom had always been this way. Open minded and completely welcoming to anyone she meets; this was why her front door was always open, much to my chagrin.
Seychelles chuckled and nodded, though she looked a little uncomfortable. “Sure Sandy”
“Finally ready to go Seychelles?” I grinned. She gazed at my face a little longer than normal and blushed when her eyes made contact with mine before nodding.
“Yep, all good to go now”
I grabbed the keys to the car I bought when I passed my driving test years ago and limped over to the door, opening it and motioned for her to go through first. Her eyebrows rose in surprise momentarily and she waited for me to lock the door. As soon as we stepped outside the howling wind hit us like a hard slap to the face and without thinking I wrapped an arm around her and steered her towards the car. She was so small and the wind was so strong that in the back of my mind I thought she’d fly away.
“Are you okay, Ray?” She asked me once we made it into the car, “Your leg looks like it’s really bothering you”
“It’ll be fine. It’s just the cold and rain making it a bit stiff and sore” I answered her as we pulled out of the driveway. “I have crutches, but I left them on the beach...”
She was silent for a little while and her eyes seemed to understand something “...because you were carrying me... Oh Ray I’m sorry! Just tell me where they are and I’ll go grab them-“
“No, no, no I’m fine Seychelles. I promise” I flashed her a smile and my eyes were distracted by her mouth. She offered me a little smile but was unknowingly biting her bottom lip, dragging her teeth across it.
I cleared my throat and bought my attention back to the road. The rain still pounded heavily and splashed harshly against the glass of the windscreen and I turned the heater on since I could feel the coldness seeping into the car. The gloomy grey clouds hung low in the sky it was almost as though anyone could scoop it up in a jar as a souvenir.
“So... where did you need to go before going home?”
I don’t think he realised it, but Ray easily took up three quarters of the front of the car. In the small space I had I couldn’t help the amount of pure masculine hormones invading my personal space. He seemed like such an enigma. I found myself becoming interested in wanting to know what his story was... where did he get those scars? Why was his personality the complete opposite from his looks? (though that could possibly be rude to ask) And what happened to make him limp?
“So... where did you need to go before going home?” he asked. His voice was deep enough that when he spoke I could feel the vibrations in my chest and I ignored the erratic beating my heart seemed to have taken up.
“Oh uh... my gym” I answered meekly.
He chuckled and looked at me with a confused face. Another look that seemed so adorable on him. “You want to go to the gym? Uh... I don’t know if you’ve forgotten Seychelles but you nearly drowned earlier” he looked at me with a deadpanned face, “I’m sure you can skip exercising for today”
I giggled and shook my head, “No! I’m not going to a gym to exercise. I own a gym Ray, Shell’s Gym. I just wanted to check on how they are... uh, if that’s okay?”
His eyebrows shot up, “Shell’s Gym? You own it? Wow... I was actually thinking of joining up once I get the green light from my doctor to do more physical activities”
I tried not to let my mind drift off to dirtier thoughts of what ‘physical activities’ could mean and instead concentrated on his reply. “Oh really! Well, how about this, you come down to the gym with me and I’ll sign you up for free for however long you want. You did save my life after all... it’s honestly the least that I could do, and it’s not really that much”
His face lit up when he smiled and I found myself looking at the deep dimples that framed his mouth. Dimples were adorable, and his were the deepest ones I’d seen. “Yeah? I’d love that, but I don’t mind paying, honestly”
“No Ray, let me sign you up for free. I really don’t know what else I could do to repay you and a free membership really isn’t that much” he chuckled and nodded his head and I felt relieved at being a least a little bit out of his debt.
He pulled into a parking space outside my gym and pulled off his hoodie before handing it to me. “Put it on, you’ll get soaked” I was about to argue but he shook his head, “Just humour me Seychelles. My mom always taught me to put women first and the goosebumps on your arms tell me a different story to what you’re about to say”
He gazed into my eyes and silently dared me to deny him but he was right. I was freezing, even with the heater on and I meekly pulled his hoodie on. “Thank you, again” I whispered. His hoodie practically swallowed me. It smelt like apples and pure male and was so warm I would be happy to roll myself into a ball and camp inside of it.
Huh... I thought. I’m starting to sound a little creepy.
We ran outside, well Ray limped, and only ended up half soaked by the time we barge through the doors. “Shell, hey!” Naomi greeted me in surprise, “I wasn’t expecting you to drop in...” her words slurred off when her eyes slide over to the beast of a man next to me and her eyes widened.
“Friend of yours?” she asked in awe.
“Saviour of mine, more like it” I corrected her, “He saved my life today”
“What-!” she shrieked.
“Don’t worry, I’m fine. He’s fine. It’s a long story and not something I want to get into now. You know, you should head home Mimi. It’s a twenty-four gym anyway and members can get in with their own cards anyway. I’ll pay you for our whole shift but you should get home before the rain gets worse” I interrupted her.
A few minutes later and she was gone, thanking me because today had been horribly slow. I told Ray to go ahead and take a look around while I checked up on some paperwork and I watched him as he walked around the gym. He looked at home among all the work out equipment.
His sheer size was either amazing genes or pure hard work, or both, and I couldn’t help but appreciate the hard contours of his body. It seemed as though every other member had decided to forego coming to the gym today leaving the whole place empty and just as cold as outside.
“This place is great” Ray commented as he sat down on the end of the bench press.
“Glad you think so. I poured my life into paying this place off, and now I finally own it” I smiled sitting on the bench press next to him holding his membership papers. I held them out to him, “Here, you just need to answer the questions and sign at the bottom and I’ll need some ID”
He passed me his driver’s license and I went to the front desk to photocopy them while he finished with papers. I sat on Naomi’s swivelling chair and let my mind drift off while I waited for Ray to finish up.
Ray had saved my life.
It was really starting to hit me that I could’ve died today. I had yet to ask him for more details but I was a little embarrassed by what he would’ve been thinking when I was surfing out in this horrible weather. I couldn’t help it though. Surfing was a part of my life, it made me feel more connected to my dead parents and I’d never missed a day.
Outside the wind blew hard, finding the small gaps between the doors and windows and making a howling sound like a lone wolf. I smiled at the comparison, I felt like a lone wolf ever since my dad died and I’d been just fine. A little low on funds at times... but I was fine. I couldn’t help wrap Ray’s hoodie tighter around me and I breathed in its scent liking how the smell of apples tickled my nose. It was nothing like the warmth of when Ray wrapped his arm around me outside his house but it was comforting, like snuggling in a thick blanket.
“All done” I jumped when Ray’s deep voice jerked me out of my reverie.
“Awesome” I grabbed his papers and filed them away and grinned, “Welcome to Shell’s Gym”
“I’m totally fine calling a cab Ray, you and your mom have done so much for me already I’m starting to feel like I’m taking advantage of your kindness” Seychelles argued.
I rolled my eyes and raised an eyebrow at her, “Don’t make me throw you over my shoulder and carry you to the car. It’s not like I’m doing anything else and my car is just outside anyway. Come on, I’ll drop you home”
I was starting to wonder why she seemed so unused to people helping her out. She almost always tried to refuse my help even it was plainly obvious to see she needed it. Surely she had friends, family and even a boyfriend who helped her out. I felt a pang of possessiveness course through me, I hadn’t thought that maybe she had a boyfriend. Not that it was my business anyway...
We made another wild dash to the car and were lucky when the rain had slowed down slightly. I drove slowly and we talked about platonic topics, like the weather and the gym, in between the directions she gave me to her house. I drove up a long driveway and found myself staring at a nearly run down house by the beach.
In the corner of my eye I could see Seychelles look proud of her home but embarrassed by the state of it. “It’s been in my family for generations... We all loved the beach” she explained as though reading my thoughts.
“It looks homey, like it’s been worn in with good use” I smiled, “Plus it has a great location and view” She smiled at so warmly that the car actually began to feel a bit too warm and I tore my eyes from her to clear my throat.
“Want a coffee?” she asked after I parked the car as close to the front of her house as I could.
I wasn’t really feeling for a coffee, but I was feeling for more of her company. There was just some sort of addictive pull towards her that had me nodding my head and running up to her door with her in no time. She pushed the door open and cursed.
“Damnit! I forgot about the buckets” she mumbled.
I followed her inside and even I cursed as well. Her house was indeed comfy and warn in with use. It was neat and lightly decorated with multicoloured hues of shells and starfishes. What I didn’t think was normal in her home was the several buckets overflowing with rainwater that dripped from the ceiling and was now flooding her floor.
“Sh*t!” She cursed again before running forward and grabbing the closest bucket to empty down the sink. I copied her and grabbed two buckets and emptied them out as well. We worked in silence and only when the eleventh bucket was emptied did she turn to me with a sheepish smile. “Sorry about that, you probably think I’m a mess with what’s happened today”
I looked her up and down. Her sandy blonde hair had a few strands scattered around her face and her face was flushed from running around the house and she wore the cutest sheepish face I’d ever seen. Her emerald eyes stared back at me and she was biting her bottom lip again. I couldn’t help the loud laugh that came bubbling out of my throat and it felt good to laugh so loudly.
“No Seychelles, I don’t think you’re a mess. I think I came at a time when you really needed some help. And I’m glad I could be the one to help you out, speaking of which... did you want some help mopping the rest of the water?” There was about an inch of water flooding the entire lounge, kitchen and dining rooms but Seychelles was already shaking her head.
“No thanks Ray... I’m used to this” She looked exhausted as she came back with a broom that had a rubber end instead of bristles. “I just sweep the water outside”
I couldn’t help feel a little protective over her. I don’t know what had gotten into me but I urged her towards the sofa “Go sit down, I got it” I told her before practically yanking the broom out of her hands and started sweeping the water out the sliding door that led outside.
She didn’t seem to have it in her to fight back and she collapsed on the sofa. It actually felt good to work my arms again. I did the occasional lifting of groceries for my mom and then there was carrying Seychelles back from the beach but I was beginning to feel a little more like myself now that I was doing more physical work.
I finished sweeping the water out and I chuckled lightly when I saw Seychelles snoring lightly on the sofa. I grabbed the blanket that was laid out across the back of the sofa and spread it across her. There was a notepad and pen by the phone so I scribbled her a note and placed it on the coffee table for her to see.
In a matter of a few hours I’d seen her sleeping twice in one day and was struck again at how beautiful she was both awake and while sleeping. I leaned down and hesitated before lightly kissing her forehead. “Sleep tight, beautiful” I whispered before walking out of her house and gently closing the door to face the rain.
Kind of a filler I suppose.
Okay! I had three suggestions for who could play Ray:
1. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
2. David Bautista
3. Jason Momoa
Please let me know who you think suits him best and if you were Seychelles who would make you swoon the most haha!
Happy Valentine’s Day for those who are a day behind Australia! I hope you all have a lovely day!
PS> Dedicated to @soe-music17... you finally got more! Lol