I immediately recognize the marina when we walk up to it. Remembering how Seth and I were pretending that one of the oversized yachts were our own. Ronin strolls up to the metal gate that blocks the way down to the docks, and pushes in a sequence of numbers on the digital pad to unlock the gate. I can’t fight back the smile, recollecting the conversation between Seth and me about Ronin owning a boat, and now here it is. Before walking through the gate, I watch as a few passersby—probably tourists like myself—look at me with envy. I smirk, because I know they are wondering which boat is ours, and in my mind I’m wondering the same thing.
“What are you smiling about peanut?”
“Oh—nothing.” I answer, following Ronin down the wood path to the docks where the massive boats float lazily tethered in place.
Ronin stops abruptly and turns to look at me giving me a toothy grin. Before turning back around, he presses his lips firmly to the top of my head. “Come on, this way.” He continues to walk down the floating path and turns left and when we are almost to the end, he stops in front of a mid-sized white sailboat.
I’m shocked seeing the small craft, “It’s a sailboat?” I say more as a question not as a statement.
“Umm, yeah … did you expect a dingy?”
I flush two shades of crimson with embarrassment, “Well … no, I guess I didn’t know what to expect.”
Ronin grabs me by my hand and helps me onboard while the boat sways gently to and fro. “I’ll take you on my dingy another day, but for now I guess you’ll have to settle for sailing.” He lifts his brows, cocking his head to the side trying to conceal a laugh. I give him a playful punch on the shoulder. “Ouch,” he rubs his arm dramatically, “But really, I love sailing. There is nothing like it. The exhilaration I get with the wind blowing in my hair takes me to a different level.”
His gusto is riveting, and to be honest, I find his exhilaration … exhilarating. Ronin rumbles off the name of the boat—something like Urchant Rose, but I’m more captivated watching him—prancing around like a kid on Christmas morning. “Is your dingy as pretty as this?” I ask teasingly.
He gives me a subtle nod and that beautiful perfect smile that lights up his whole face, “how about we focus on one boat at a time darling, unless you’re talking about a different dingy?” … he tops it off with a quick eyebrow lift.
One thing is for sure, I am enjoying this. I love watching him filled with such passion for life, his carefree sexual banter and his charismatic style. This man that looks like a god is actually human; a fun, quirky human. I could easily fall in love with him I realize, and just as fast as that thought enters my head, I shove it back into a dark corner.
“You know anything about sailing?” Thank god he interrupts my silent reverie.
“Me? No! I do have some friends in Montana with boats, but that usually consists of motorized power, tubing and beer. Nothing extravagant like this or …” I look around at the beautiful sailboat, “complicated.”
Ronin rephrases his question and asks me again, “Have you ever been on a sailboat?”
I shrug, “Nope, this is a first for me.”
“Me too,” he quietly responds.
“What? We’re going sailing and you’ve never sailed before.” I blurt out contemptuously.
“No, no, no, crazy woman,” he winks, “and I thought you were some kind of genius going to med-school and such, but anyway it’s my first as in … I’ve never brought a woman onto my sailboat.”
“To be perfectly blunt and honest, I have never really cared to keep a woman’s company outside of …” he trails off, not finishing what he was about to say.
“Sex,” I finish it for him. Ronin nods looking down somberly.
“So, are you going to teach me how to do this?” I say as I pat the boat. Ronin’s face jolts back to that carefree and spirited sexy guy and he jumps to.
I cringe watching him shimmy the boat through the marina, expecting to scrape something along the way. Amazingly, he manages his way through the tight marina unscathed … like driving a car. It seemed impossible to me to get through, but we make it past the marina and out around the bay. “Wow this is amazing.” It’s breathtaking to see how vast the water is in front of us. WOW, even on the largest lake in Montana, you can still see the shore line on the other side. It’s all a bit intimidating … being so vulnerable to the elements. The waves had been sloshing us around a bit, but now the boat seems to just roll over them gently. It’s a much different feeling, something I have never experienced before. I have a firm grip on the side, in fear of falling overboard.
It’s such a beautiful December day, slightly brisk, the water spraying gently on us. I’m so thankful that I have my sweatshirt with. I pull it out from underneath my purse and slide it on over my head. The phone in my purse buzzes after I pop my head through the collar. I chance a quick glance at it and notice it’s a message from Becca:
Holy shit … yeah you’ve been too busy
To call me! You’re all over the internet.
Chick, you better call me and fill me in!!!!
A little confused, I decide to type a quick message:
Huh? Internet? What are you
Like you don’t know …
In the top five for most eligible (RICH)
Bachelors in the world
Now, I’m even more confused. I try typing in Ronin Hollister into my web search, but a no signal symbol comes up.
“Hey, are you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Ronin asks.
I drop the phone back on top of my purse, and walk over to the hottest guy on earth—the man that I’m with. I stand on my toes and lean against him … kissing his cheek. “I’m great! This is amazing.” The wind whips at my face and blows my hair around. “I’m wondering … this sailboat seems kind of small.”
Ronin laughs, “Do you think that I just like big and expensive things?” He lifts his eyebrows … testing or teasing me I suppose.
“Well no, I guess not.” Now I feel stupid for asking.
“I enjoy sailing. It’s a stress reliever for me, and having a smaller sailboat like this allows me to go out whenever I want without having to have a big crew doing all of the work. I admit that it’s very peaceful coming out here all alone. I can forget about some of the chaos that I deal with ever day.”
I know what that’s like and I give him a knowing smile. I too enjoy the freedom to get out and enjoy personal passions. “It’s priceless.” I agree.
“Look.” I follow his finger to try to see what he is pointing at. It takes me a minute to see a massive tail fly out of the water and slam back down. Suddenly my excitement soars, realizing that I had just seen a whale. Quickly, I find myself at the side rail of the boat … hoping to see another.
“Those are Gray whales. They migrate from the Bering Sea down to Baja California and then back again.” He explains.
Giant spouts of water fly into the air just twenty feet or so away from the boat. “Ronin, this is amazing. They are absolutely magnificent. I think I could do this everyday.”
“I was thinking the same thing, but I’m not quite sure if our ideas are exactly the same.”
I turn to look at him quizzically, not understanding his comment, but he doesn’t fill in the blanks for me.
I carefully walk back to where he is keeping a tight grip on the wheel. Standing near his side, I touch his arm, “Thank you. Oh, you have goose bumps are you chilled?” I ask with concern.
“Nope, I’m good.”
I don’t believe him, but I don’t argue about it. I turn back to watch the whales … still filled with awe. “I love the ocean.” I inhale deeply taking in the brisk salty water.
“I’m happy that you’re excited to be out here.”
“Of course I’m excited to be out here.”
“Treva, I love that there is no fakeness about you, and that you’re not worried about what you’re doing to get my attention.”
I laugh, but it’s not that it’s funny… I’m just not sure what to say.
“I’m sure that you have no idea about my financial status, but for some reason I’m pretty sure it’s not money that drives you anyway. No… it has to be something other than that. It’s a delight from the usual entourage of women I normally have groveling at my feet, and at this moment Treva my eyes are glued to you like an awestruck spectator.”
I glance up at him completely taken aback by everything he said. Some of it is true; money doesn’t lead me, I have no clue how much he is worth and I don’t care. I have never and will never act like a fool trying too hard to get some man’s attention.
“So I’m just another part of your entourage?” I nudge him with my shoulder.
“No, no that’s not what I mean.” He back pedals stammering.
He looks down at me and I happen to see a devious smile twist his lips. “Mr. Hollister, I think you might not want to look at me like that. I’m afraid I might have to strip you to your bare beautiful skin and take advantage of you on the open sea.” I look around exaggerated, “and I don’t think we have another captain to steer while I devour you.”
“Well, I guess maybe we should head to shore. I think I would like to know what it’s like to be devoured.”
We arrive back at the marina too soon. I could have stayed on the water for days. Ever since I could walk, I was drawn to the water, but I also wanted to follow through with my dares. The idea of Ronin above me, under me, or in me would outweigh the pull I have to be on the water. Actually, I’m pretty sure that there isn’t much that could match the power that this man has over me.
We walk from the dock hand in hand to a private parking lot. I search for the limo or the SUV, when I see Ronin pull out a set of keys. He presses a button causing a car to beep. “Oh, we’re not being picked up?”
“Nah, I want to drive.” He leads the way to a small, two door, black, sporty looking car. He goes to the passenger side and opens the door for me. “Here you go babe.” I’m taken away by my new title that easily slides off his tongue. He must have noticed it just as quickly as he said it, “Oops … I mean …” He stutters trying to recover.
…”It’s ok babe,” I tease. I slide into the car as Ronin shuts the door. The car is immaculate. The leather is so soft against my skin, and without thinking, I close my eyes and rub my hands against the seat and purr. Ronin is in the driver’s seat pushing a button to start the engine. The car vibrates beneath me, but we aren’t moving. I open my eyes and look to my left … Ronin just sits there staring at me.
“I think I have just found my Achilles heel,” he says.
I am now pulled away from my daydreaming; the only thing that I can do is sit here staring at him.
“I am a very sure footed, hard, arrogant man, Treva. Nothing intimidates me, and if I have a weakness, I don’t know what it is.” He takes in a deep breath, “… until now.”
Ronin’s phone rings and interrupts his thoughts. Damn phone is always interrupting us, I think. He looks at the screen and I can see him become irritated. “Ronin,” he answers … lifeless as if having no emotions.
“Yes, I’ll be there in a minute.” He throws his phone down on the seat, and spins out of the parking lot without another word.