a sound that is sweet and smooth, pleasing to hear.
“Alright, Elli,” Benjamin said as he folded his hands together and flashed me a cocky smile. “Truth or dare?”
“I still can’t believe we’re actually doing this,” I mumbled with a roll of my eyes. “It’s like we’re in high school all over again. Okay, truth.”
Benjamin looked disappointed at my answer as he put a hand to his chin, deep in thought. Suddenly, he dropped his hand and quickly glanced over to Cooper before settling his gaze back on me.
“How do you know Nick?”
I felt Kingsley tense up behind me, remembering what had transpired at the table when his name was mentioned earlier. However, I wasn’t ashamed of it because it was my body, my choice.
“We had slept together but he can’t seem to accept that it was just a one-time thing,” I answered nonchalantly with a shrug. I watched Cooper stiffen slightly and felt my stomach drop at his action. Shaking it off, I tilted my head back to look at Kingsley. “Alright King, truth or dare?”
“Dare,” Kingsley responded which caused me to raise a brow in surprise. She was definitely being bolder for Benjamin’s benefit but I didn’t want her to do something she wasn’t comfortable with just for his sake.
“Go ahead,” she whispered to me as I stayed quiet. Smiling softly, I nodded as I took a deep breath.
“I dare you to go skinny dipping,” I told her with a cocky grin. Kingsley instantly stood up from the log and turned her back on us. She quickly slipped off her bra and underwear and ran toward the water without hesitation. I started laughing as she dove in and glanced over at Benjamin to see a small smile on his face.
“Hey, El? Can you bring me my undergarments?” Kingsley asked shyly as she stood with the water just above her chest. Chuckling softly, I pushed myself off the sand and walked over, making sure I stood directly in front of her so the boys didn’t receive too much of a show.
Once her undergarments were back on, we walked back to the fire hand in hand and sat down next to one another on the log. Kingsley glanced between the two boys and settled in on Cooper with a mischievous smile which caused me to narrow my eyes at her slightly.
“Alright, Cooper, truth or dare?” She asked him as she rested her elbows on her knees.
“Truth,” Cooper answered quickly, clearly not the type of guy to enjoy the possibility of being in an awkward situation.
“How many women have you slept with?” Kingsley asked almost immediately. If I had been drinking something, I can almost guarantee I would have spit it out.
“Well,” Cooper started to say slowly, clearly trying to search his brain for the answer. “If we’re being honest, I don’t know for sure. I never kept count.”
His answer shocked me as I looked at him with raised brows. I know I barely knew him but I thought I was a good judge of character, and he didn’t peg me as the kind of guy to sleep around; he definitely seemed like the relationship type. I turned my head to Benjamin and narrowed my eyes slightly, wondering why he had gotten so worked up with me earlier.
“Alright, Benji,” Cooper said as he turned to his best friend. “Your turn.”
“Dare,” Benjamin said with ease as a cocky smile graced his face, his attention turning to Kingsley.
“We’re going to be basic as fuck,” Cooper informed us with a grin of his own covering his features. “I dare you to kiss Kingsley.”
“This is literally like middle school now,” I mumbled as a chuckle ripped through me.
Benjamin slowly stood and walked over to us, stopping in front of Kingsley. He held a hand out to her and she took it, using his hand to help guide her up to her feet.
“We don’t have to,” Benjamin whispered as he stared down at Kingsley. She smiled and tilted her head back in response and Benjamin’s smile grew wider. He bent down and captured her lips in his, embracing in a slow, sensual kiss.
Their kiss started to grow a little more passionate which resulted in me coughing loudly to try and break them up. Instead, Kingsley kicked my shin all the while never breaking away from Benjamin. Laughing, I got up and walked around the fire, sitting on the log that he was previously on next to Cooper.
“My bad,” Cooper said with a low chuckle. “I opened a can of worms.”
I shook my head and laughed along, trying not to watch as Benjamin and Kingsley continued to make out. Turning to the left, I focused on the moon bouncing off the water which sent a sense of calm over me.
“Want to go for a walk?” Cooper suddenly asked. I nodded and smiled, pushing myself up and walking over to where my clothes sat. Throwing my jeans back on now that I was dry, and trying to ignore the sand that was sticking to my body, Cooper did the same but didn’t bother buttoning up his shirt.
We walked down the beach along the water in silence, the light of the bonfire disappearing until we were just illuminated by the moon’s reflection. Squinting into the distance, I noticed a free standing hammock and a smile instantly came to my face as I ran over to it, leaving Cooper behind.
I quickly climbed in and released a content sigh as I sunk in, feeling extremely comfortable. I heard a laugh and looked up to see Cooper smiling down at me.
“I see how it is,” he teased as he made a move to sit on the sand. I quickly sat up and moved over, motioning to the empty spot next to me.
“You can lay here,” I said with a shy smile as I fell back. “I won’t bite.”
Cooper chuckled as he slipped in beside me and laid down, our shoulders touching. I hummed quietly as I stared up at the stars littering the sky when Cooper finally broke the silence.
“So Elliott, tell me something no one knows about you,” he began to say before he laughed softly. “Besides Kingsley of course, since I’m sure she knows everything.”
“Well,” I drawled out as I thought about it for a moment. “I have a secret obsession with 80′s movies.”
“Like, good 80′s movies?” Cooper asked as he turned his head to look at me with laughter lacing his voice.
“Play Wham outside my window and you got me, baby,” I laughed as a smile graced my face. “I also have a soft spot for movies with singing and dancing in them.”
“Like Grease?” He asked with a raised brow as he bit his lip to hold back his smile.
“Yes, and Footloose, Dirty Dancing, shit like that.”
Cooper chuckled as he turned his head to look up at the sky and I followed suit. I heard him sigh but I didn’t say anything when he suddenly spoke.
“You’re definitely amazing,” he whispered softly. I turned my head to look at him as my face fell slightly in shock. Sucking my lip between my teeth, I averted my gaze back to the sky, deciding to ignore his comment.
“What do you want to do after college?”
He sat quietly for a minute and I turned to see a large smile on his face which caused one to cover mine as well, as if on instinct.
“I want to start a nonprofit for kids in poor situations. Somewhere kids can go as a safe space and receive help to reach their dreams, even if it’s impossible for them to do so,” he trailed off as he rolled onto his side and rested his head in his hand to face me. “I just want to help kids who have all these dreams with no way to reach them. To have them feel comfortable in their own skin and embrace the possibility of a new life.”
I felt my eyes start to water slightly as I listened to him talk with so much passion as flashbacks of my childhood flashed through my mind. I saw Cooper grow slightly concerned as he brought a hand up and wiped away some of the tears that had escaped my eyes.
“Sorry,” I mumbled as I flushed in embarrassment. “I just know how it is to be left behind and I would’ve killed to have someone like you in my life when I was younger.”
Cooper smiled and surprised me by leaning forward and pressing a gentle kiss to my forehead. I glanced down at his lips, a feeling of desperation washing over me but he turned away and laid on his back, looking up at the sky.
“What’s your favorite color?” Cooper asked, not asking any questions about my past which I was grateful for.
“Blue, definitely blue. Kind of like your eyes,” he ended in a whisper. I felt my cheeks burn as I refused to turn and look at him.
For the next hour, we went back and forth talking about our likes and our dislikes. I had never felt so elated before and that concept was weird to me; to have someone actually want to get to know the smallest details which made up who I was as a person.
I wasn’t sure when it happened, but my head was resting on Cooper’s chest and his arm was around my shoulders. Before I knew it, I had fallen asleep to the soft sound of the waves breaching the sand and his heartbeat echoing in my ear.