A cloud of smoke freezes in time, floating above my head. If I could move, I would. I roll onto my back and try to count the days.
Judah sits at the edge of the bed, smoking restlessly. His thumbs text rapidly on his phone. I want to ask the question, but my lips are sewn shut. He knows I’m awake, but he doesn’t pay me any attention. So, I jump off the bed and walk into the bathroom for a long shower.
I begin to think of how long I’ve been with him.
My reflection looks messy. Before I can pull the screen and turn on the hot water, Judah walks in.
My shoulders lock into place. He makes me feel so many ways—I can never get used to him.
“What?” I voice, faintly.
“How about Hawaii?” he asks.
I don’t understand. He walks in and steps in my bubble.
“Hawaii what?” I knit my brows together.
“You want to go, right?” he says, popping a toothbrush into his mouth.
“Why—are we going... What?” I stutter.
I stare at Judah brush his teeth and rinse his mouth. He runs his hand through his hair and looks at me with a growing smirk. My mouth hangs open, not knowing what to respond.
“Hurry up,” he throws, threatening to bite me with his pearl white teeth. “Flight’s in two hours.”
How are we walking in the airport—on our way to Hawaii? I’ll never know. Judah has my hand, pressing my knuckles like their buttons with different functions. I stare at the polished floors and polished people walking about it. The big TV screens with green writing of departure times strike my eyes.
We walk to the check in desk and in a quick move, the lady hands us tickets. There’s a tinge of excitement in my throat. With this guy, anything is possible. Anything.
Judah says we don’t need to bring anything. Yet, the clothes he got me are from high end brands. I still packed little things in a red Yves Saint Laurent shoulder bag. I wear Michael Kors flip-flops and grey jersey dress with pockets—I ignore the brand.
I like Judah in his baggy sweat pants and his black t-shirt. I watch him brush his hair back with his fingers. I notice a tattoo behind his ear for the first time, though I can’t read it. It reminds me how I still don’t know who he is. But, whatever I do know hypnotizes me completely.
He takes such long strides that I have to jog by his side.
People with eyes see a small girl with good intentions next to a tall unforgiving man with no cares for life and a rebellious shadow. They must think—how could this little angel child be with the devil’s spawn? Poor child, she doesn’t know what she’s gotten herself into? We should save her from this model monster!
Judah and I get to the waiting area fifteen minutes before boarding. As we sit, Judah leans his shoulder onto mine. I get the chance to take his passport from his hand. I quickly open it, expecting to find treasure in it.
I see his face from two years ago or so. His hair was much shorter. I giggle at his bland pale face staring back. Judah scowls, trying to snatch it back, but I prevail.
“Wait,” I tell him, reading his name over and over.
Judah Alexander McAuthor. Date of birth says January 21, 1992. He’s travelled to many countries, numerous times.
“Uh, today is your birthday?” I ask him.
Judah looks elsewhere quietly with indolent eyes and shrugs his shoulders.
“Well, happy birthday,” I say, stunned for the most part, “I don’t have a present to give you.”
Judah’s firm hand grabs my jaw and swoops a kiss on my lips, stunning me further.
“You’re my gift,” he says to me, making me feel his breath. “No refund.”
I want to kick him for saying things like that. But I’ve already melted around his arm.
“Are we really going to Hawaii?” I ask him, glancing at the workers preparing to open the gate.
“Yeah,” he nods in response.
I then look at him cautiously. I start to wonder what’s the real reason behind the trip. Is this another distraction from reality? Is this a job? Why have me tag along?
“Is it going to be just... you and me?” I ask slowly.
He cocks a brow up, “Yeah.”
“The whole time?”
“Yeah,” he answers.
“Nobody else? Just us?”
“Ye-es,” he groans, squeezing my waist, ready to eat me.
Feeling ticklish and embarrassed, I push his face and hand away.
I’m only saved when we hear the order to board.
I didn’t know what I was expecting. But I wasn’t expecting a 10-hour flight, 10 hours later. Judah slept the whole time. I had trouble waking him up once we landed. It makes me think of the little sleep he usually gets. Like the night he came into my dorm... how he could only shut his eyes after holding me in his arms.
The small crowd of travelers trot out the terminal. We’re greeted with flowery leis wrapped around our necks. It’s evening here. The sky is purple. Judah finds us a cab.
Outside is warm and the air smells like salty water. The radio plays upbeat music. I stick my head out the window, wowing at everything I see.
Judah presses his phone on his ear.
“Doe, I’m here,” he says to whoever is on the other line.
I let the wind dance in my hair. I breathe in the coast. The palm trees are never ending. We drive through the city for a good while until we hit a highway.
“Where are you?” Judah asks. There’s a pause. “Right, I’m on my way now.
I roll my eyes. I knew it. Why did I believe him? He’s here to meet people and do business. He shoves his phone back in his pocket. I secretly hate him now. He’s going to leave me stranded and go ‘places’, I’m sure.
The cab stops by a short port with a few seaplanes parked in the ocean. I follow Judah out the cab and onto the dock. A round man walks up to us with golden rings, watch, chain, and smile. He could pass for Elvis Presley’s reincarnation with the gelled black hair.
“Judah,” he sways a handshake, “It’s so good to see you.”
The two exchange a few words. I stare at the blue water, until my name is mentioned.
“This is Rose,” Judah introduces. “I’m taking her to see the sights.”
I look up and smile. Doe smiles back like an Italian uncle.
Judah reaches to smooth some hairs from blowing in the wind for me.
“It’s nice to meet you, Rose. I’ve heard a lot about you. Hopefully, I’ve prepared everything to your taste,” he nods.
“Uh,” I nod back, unsure of what he’s talking about.
Doe turns and jumps into the pristine white seaplane. I guess we’re getting a private flight. It rocks a bit in the water, after I take a seat with Judah.
His hands hold my waist, so that I don’t fall.
Doe pilots the plane in the air within minutes, and we’re between the clouds again. I watch the green mountains the whole time, trying to discount Judah’s firm hand on my lap. Islands sit in the horizon of the ocean.
Doe yells something over the motor noise, and Judah yells back something, then they chuckle.
Seeing Judah’s face just stretch into a smile makes me feel warm.
We land on water and inch over to the shore.
While riding up to the front of the luxurious residence, my jaw drops. It’s stunning and shining and beach front.
There’s a crystal pool with a small stone waterfall. Grand walls and open windows are lit up. It opens all around. There is a line of sofas on a marble patio. It’s a huge place for two. We descend the dock and I run up to our secluded villa.
Looking at its grandeur, I don’t think I’ll mind if Judah disappears all day—exploring every room will take up most of the time. The lush greenery, exotic to my eyes, sits in abundance around the house. I climb up the glass stairs, ditching the men in their chitchat.
Once I reach the bedroom, my heart stops.
The satin covered bed is colossal—I can barely see the end of it. The room opens towards the tropical plants and the ocean outside. Sheer bronze curtains drape down on each side, replacing conventional walls. The breeze moves them slowly. Everything shimmers and looks surreal under the gleam of the moonlight.
The closets are already filled with a whole new pricey wardrobe. I walk on shiny marble to cross the room.
My legs take me back down the stairs and return me to the two men.
Doe looks at me, expectantly. I think I know what he’s waiting for.
“This place is amazing!” I share.
He nods glancing here and there, “I’m glad you like it. Enjoy. And Judah, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Doe then leaves us by ourselves to relish the Hawaiian air. The seaplane sings loudly and flies away.
“This is where we’re staying?” I ask, in complete disbelief.
Judah glances at me, before walking to a giant bathroom. I follow behind him like a giddy puppy.
“I thought you liked it, sweet cheeks,” he says, turning on the shower head.
“I do. I do! It’s—it’s so big. I...” I ramble, “Thank you.”
He smirks quickly and starts stripping out of his shirt.
“Let’s bathe?” he asks, although it’s not a question.
At this point, I’ll do anything for this man. Anything. And he knows it well. It’s hard not to get weak when you’re buried in all this luxury and have a sex-god stripping in front of you.
I bite my lip and nod, trying to suppress my blush. I have no excuse. My face heats up when he pulls my dress off.
The oversized shower waits patiently for me, as I walk into it. I stare at the wave design along the foggy glass.
My hair gets wet under the pouring water.
Judah comes next. Water drips down his shoulders.
He takes up all the space and breathable air. My hand reaches for the round sponge and drenches it with the lavender scented soap. I watch his tatted arm lift to smooth his wet hair back. My eyes helplessly stare at every wet muscle flex. Judah steps closer.
“Stay still,” I murmur, scrubbing his skin.
The soapy water ripples down his chest, his abs. He stares down at me in the most unorthodox of ways.
“You make it hard to,” he replies, almost in a whisper.
He makes out with me, sending jolts down my body. My arms wrap behind his neck. We soak underneath the water.
My skin tingles, as his hands run up and down my sides.