describing an experience that makes you fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted.
I awoke to the sun beating down on my face and the sound of the waves crashing against the sand. Rubbing my eyes with my right hand, I felt pressure on my chest and looked down to see Elliott fast asleep on me. Her head was resting on my pec with one arm around my waist and her left leg draped over mine.
I smiled as I watched her sleep; she looked so peaceful and even more beautiful than the night before with the early morning sun emphasizing the lighter brown streaks in her hair. I lightly began to trace the tattoos she had on her arm: a sleeve that contained flowers and some mandalas. I noticed a small gap near the elbow and chuckled at the thought of her not wanting to deal with the pain that came with getting that area done. Normally I wasn’t a fan of sleeves on women, but it fit her personality perfectly and made her even more attractive.
She stirred slightly and wrapped her arm tighter around my waist as she hummed softly. Elliott opened her eyes into a squint before a yawn ripped through her that caused me to chuckle. Abruptly sitting upright, she looked down at me in surprise.
I raised an eyebrow at her as my smile fell after taking in her expression before it disappeared completely as she scurried out of the hammock.
“What’s wrong?” I asked as I sat up and watched her grab her shoes. Elliott didn’t say anything as she practically ran off toward the parking lot and I noticed that Benjamin’s car was gone.
Approaching her, I put a hand on her shoulder which caused her to jump as she spun around and glared at me before she released a loud sigh.
“I’m sorry,” she breathed out as she put a hand to her forehead and adjusted her weight between the balls of her feet. “I’m just... never mind.”
“No, what?” However, instead of replying, she gave me a fake smile as she folded her arms over her chest, clearly uncomfortable with being vulnerable.
“I hate to ask this of you but would you mind giving me a ride home?” Elliott asked as she avoided eye contact. “My phone and wallet were in the car so I can’t order an Uber.”
Chuckling softly, I nodded as I walked past her toward the car. Opening the passenger door for her, she gave me a genuine smile as she slid in and I closed it shut behind her. Heading around the hood of the car, I looked at the beach one last time and couldn’t stop the Cheshire grin that came to my face knowing that it had been single handedly one of the best nights of my life.
Sliding into the car, I handed her my phone and she gave me a confused look as I turned on the car. Smiling, I told her, “You can pick the music after you put your number in.”
Elliott laughed and shook her head but my smile grew wider as I saw her actually adding her contact information. Pulling out of the parking lot, she switched on some rock music and I turned to look at her for a brief moment in shock.
“You like rock music?”
“You sure do have a lot to learn about me, Coop,” she said with a shrug as she turned her attention out the window, a small smirk playing on her lips.
“Want to go get some breakfast?” I asked her as I pulled onto the highway, assuming she lived near campus.
“I really should get back and get my homework done. I have some shit due tomorrow that I haven’t even started yet,” Elliott informed me. My smile fell slightly, sensing that something was off but I tried not to let my disappointment show.
“Well, as long as you let me take you out for dinner sometime this week then I think I’ll be okay,” I teased. I glanced over out of the corner of my eye and saw her roll hers but I noticed a small smile tugging at the corner of her lips.
“Is that you trying to ask me out?” She said lightly as she tilted her head to look at me. Smiling, I nodded which caused her to laugh. “Okay, sure. Why not.”
“Perfect,” I said, my cheeks beginning to hurt from how much she was making me smile. “By the way, I don’t know where I’m going.”
“My apartment is across from the Target on the lower east side of campus,” Elliott told me with a grateful smile. Nodding, I noticed she was on my Snapchat but she answered me before I even asked the question and said, “I’m adding myself. I hope that’s okay.”
“Of course,” I responded with a shake of my head. The rest of the ride was rather quiet except for when we’d randomly start singing along with whatever song played. Pulling up to her apartment building, she hesitated with her hand on the handle before she turned around to face me.
“I know I was weird this morning but I just wanted to say that I had a really great night,” Elliott said softly as her cheeks turned a soft shade of red. Smiling, I nodded in agreement.
“Me too,” I reassured her when I saw her looking slightly nervous. “I promise the next one will be even better.”
“I don’t know if it can get much better than waking up next to someone like you on the beach.” As soon as the words left her mouth, her eyes widened slightly and her cheeks flushed immediately. “I’ll text you. No wait, you text me then I’ll text you. Okay, I’ll see you later.”
Not giving me a chance to respond, she quickly opened the door and slid out, slamming it behind her as she ran up the steps to her apartment, still barefoot. Laughing, I grinned widely and pulled away, heading toward Benjamin’s place.
Knocking on the navy blue door, I waited about thirty seconds before knocking again, tapping my foot impatiently. Pulling out my phone, I glanced down and saw it was a little after eight in the morning and realized he may not be awake. Reaching for the knob, I found it unlocked and walked inside.
As soon as I stepped in, I couldn’t help but choke on a laugh. Benjamin’s clothes from the night before littered the floor, his and some female’s clothes leaving a trail toward his bedroom. I sat down on the couch and flipped on the television, not wanting to walk into his room and see something I shouldn’t.
Not long later, I heard his bedroom door open and looked over my shoulder to see him go walking into the kitchen in just his boxers. I coughed to announce my presence and he jumped, placing a hand on his chest and cussing wildly as he whipped his head around to glare at me.
“What the fuck, man,” he breathed out as he made his way over to me and took a seat in the leather chair. “You scared the shit out of me. Don’t do that.”
“Sorry,” I chuckled as I put my feet up on his coffee table. “I see you got a little something last night.”
“I didn’t, actually,” Benjamin grumbled as he rested his head against the back of the chair to look up at the ceiling, clearly sexually frustrated. “I almost did and then she stopped it. I respect her decision, but man did she get me worked up.”
I laughed, rolling my eyes as I pictured Kingsley from the night before. “I get it. You like her though?”
“I really do,” he replied with no hesitation. “I know what I said but she’s breathtaking and she’s so funny and man, I don’t care how early it is, I feel like I hit the jackpot.”
I smiled widely at my friend, glad that he finally found someone he felt happy about. Benjamin pulled the lever on the side of the chair and reclined back, mimicking my posture as he continued talking.
“How’d your night go?”
“Great,” I said softly as a small smile graced my face, thinking back to last night. “She’s so much more than I could’ve ever expected. She has so much depth to her man, it’s incredible and I know I barely even scratched the surface. It was almost sad though, it seemed as if no one has ever cared enough to get to know her before.”
Benjamin smiled sadly as he nodded and said, “Well, from what King mentioned, Elliott’s had a tough go of things and started sleeping around in high school and that was the only thing that made her feel wanted. But recently it seems she’s getting fed up with how men treat her.”
“I don’t blame her,” I said instantly. “From what I saw at the party they treat her like shit, like she’s a piece of meat and honestly it’s disgusting. Just because she likes sex doesn’t mean she’s not a person who likes decent human interaction.”
We sat in silence for a few seconds and I turned to see Benjamin smiling at me. I raised an eyebrow in question and he just laughed, shaking his head as he stood up from his chair.
“Sounds to me like she’s been waiting for someone like you,” he informed me as he patted me on the shoulder, making his way to the kitchen. Grinning, I pulled out my phone and sent Elliott a text and eagerly awaited her reply.