A Dash Of Him

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DUKE Chapter 11

He stood in front of me while I sat on the wooden stool. His eyes shined like the blue ocean and his lip lifted on the corner of his mouth. I got a whiff of coconut and pineapple coming from him, it must be a suntan lotion he was wearing.

My eyes admired his physique and how tall he was, he hovered over me. I could see the indents of his abs through his muscle shirt and his legs filled his red shorts in all the right places. He wore sandals which showed off his nice pedicure. His hair was a mess but it suited him.

I finally was able to speak. "How in the world are you here?" I never told him where I was going to be.

"Well a little birdie told me you'll be here," he sat next to me as he called over the waitress. He chuckled when my eyes widened. "I'm kidding, my agent gave me his reservations. He told me to have a last-minute vacation before I start playing hockey again," his eyes lit up when he spoke of hockey.

My heart was beating faster and faster while my hands got more clammy from the humidity. It's like destiny wants us to come together. "That's great, are you excited?"

I tiny tug pulled on the corner of his lip revealing his adorable dimple.

"What can I get you, guapo (handsome)?" She asked him then she gave me a smirk. Did she feel our tension? I fanned myself because my skin was feeling warmer and it was only midday.

"I'll take a beer," he ordered and she left to the other side of the bar.

His eyes studied me but I immediately averted my gaze to the pool. I could still feel his gaze burning into me like the sun's rays. "So you write?" I quickly pivoted my neck back to him. Crap, he went through my Instagram.

"I use to but I haven't in a while. I lost inspiration when...," I couldn't finish that sentence. Emilio was the reason I publish. He inspired my best-selling book and I just don't have the motivation to begin again.

"I get it. He was your inspiration correct?"

I nodded.

"Yeah, just like my mom was with me. She always pushed me to do better and would never miss a game. If she had to, she would watch it wherever she was. She was my number one fan and after she passed I was a disaster. I made my last team get disqualified from the league, some of the players hate my guts, others had sympathy but I let down so many fans," the sadness in his words pierced me like needles. It was seeing a mirror image of me but he was way stronger than I am. He still smiles and enjoys life.

The waitress brought his beer and he immediately lifted it to his lips. The veins in his arms protruded impressively while his eyes smiled. He put down the bottle as I admired his handsome face. I loved the scruff that was growing around his jawline.

"I ordered your books. They shall arrive next week or sooner," his smirk grew higher and my heart jumped with excitement.

"Thanks. I hope you enjoy them."

"I'm sure I will. Your husband seemed like a great guy. Your eyes light up when you talk about him," my heart stopped at what he just said. Emilio was my inspiration for many things especially my writing but I miss him because he was just perfect, we never fought and he would always make me feel better every single day. How could I replace him?

He grabbed my hand and pulled it closer to him. "Is this your wedding ring?" He studied the silver diamond band. His fingers were soft but rough on the edges. Tiny electric sparks swirled around my hands.

"Yes," my tears threatened to come out but I swallowed hard.

"Have you eaten?" He asked while his thumb circled my hand.

I shook my head. I didn't want to say anything because my voice would crack.

"Let's eat a quick snack and then walk by the ocean, yeah?" he was saying all the right words but I was deflecting them. I don't know how to do all this. Emilio was my first true love. I gave him everything, my love, and my virginity. How do I open myself up to love again?

I agreed. We ate some fish tacos and had another drink. My mood was relaxed and my thoughts were clear. The pain in my heart settled but deep inside there was still a prick of sorrow that doesn't leave.

We walked towards the beach and finally, the sun came out again. The sun's ray burned against my skin, luckily I bathed myself in suntan lotion but I knew I would still be roasted by the end of the day. I glanced over at Dash and his skin glowed like a god. He wore dark sunglasses as he stared at the smashing waves of the ocean.

"This is the life," he said.

My feet were buried in the hot sand as people were starting to settle themselves in different areas of the beach.

Then I heard a cheerful laugh and pivoted myself to see all the commotion. "Ok, hold her by the waist," I saw a photographer taking pictures of a bride and a groom. My lips trembled and the pain in my heart started growing again.

I felt strong fingers interlock with mine as he stood next to me. "Let's walk this way," he gestured the opposite way. I took one last glimpse at the bride and the groom. He kissed her neck while her smile radiated like the sun.

Dash pulled me and I finally detached my eyes from the beautiful wedding photos. I couldn't help it anymore, tears poured down my cheeks. I wiped them quickly as I sniffled.

"You ok?" we stopped as I dropped to my knees. I put my hand over my eyes.

"No, I'm not ok," I sat on the warm sand and settled my eyes to the vast ocean. The waves smashed on the sand and the sun shined brightly in the sky. Dash sat next to me as his legs gently grazed with mine.

"Our wedding wasn't big but it was like a Disney fairytale," I started. I knew his eyes were on me but I never turned to face him. "He wore a cape just like Prince Charming from Snow White...,"

********

*4 YEARS AGO*

The round tables were decorated with the finest china and expensive silverware. Each table had a bouquet of white roses and the table cloth was white as snow. The chair had a white bow tied behind it and the napkins had our name engraved in gold, Duke and Emilio Michelson.

Our table was rectangular and was placed so we could see everyone in front of us. We sat in two throne-like chairs as we admired all of our guests laughing and enjoying themselves. Emilio squeezed my hand. I glanced over at him as his emerald eyes glowed with happiness. His dimple appeared and that melted me. He looked like Prince Charming from Snow White. He wore a blue cape with a gold crown. His navy tuxedo filled his body in all the right places.

"Babe, my lucky number 7, I'm so glad I'm married to you," his words filled me with warmth. He's always been so loving and caring since high school. I wouldn't trade Emilio for anything in this world. "Te amo, hermoso (I love you, beautiful)."

"Te amo, también (I love you, too)," my Spanish was rusty but I learned a couple of phrases and words from him.

"And let's get the two love birds to the center of the stage," the DJ announced.

Emilio stood up and stretched his hand towards me. He kept his other hand behind him. "My prince, would you dance with me?" I grasped his hand and stood up with him.

"Of course my King," my heart swelled with so much happiness that I wanted to let the whole world how much I love this man. He filled every part of me with love and warmth. I couldn't have asked for a better husband.

Everyone clapped as we got to the middle of the dance floor. Ellie Goulding, "Love Me Like You Do," started to play. All the lights turned off as the spotlight illuminated us. He wrapped his hand around my waist and put my hand over his shoulder. We began to waltz around the dance floor and that's when I got lost in his gaze. Time stood still as we got lost in a trance. His emerald eyes gleamed with tiny orbs while we waltz through the dance floor. It was a fairytale come true. He was my king and I was his prince.

He leaned forward and pecked me with his soft lips. "My prince, always and forever."

"My king and my life partner. I love you until the end of time. I don't ever want to lose you," when suddenly there was an unsettling tug in the pit of my stomach. I glanced at his eyes and his brows dropped.

"Everything ok, babe?"

But then it disappeared and happiness filled me again. I pulled him towards me and pecked him on the lips. "Sorry, I'm overwhelmed with joy and excitement that sometimes I feel like I'm dreaming."

"Baby, you're not dreaming, this is me and you. This is as reals as it's going to get. I love you with all my heart and I'll keep loving you even when I'm gone," that last part didn't settle well with me.

"What?" I said.

"Life isn't always perfect. You never know if one of us passes away. I'm just telling you that if I'm not here that I will always love you."

I forced a smile as he pecked me once more on my bottom lip. I didn't want to dwell on what he told me so I enjoyed the rest of the song and we continued the magical night.

But deep inside I had a nagging tug that I was going to lose him. I didn't know when but I never knew it was going to be sooner rather than later.

********

*PRESENT DAY*

The sand was wet from the droplets of tears that had fallen from my eyes. "I never thought what he told me was going to be a reality. It's like he knew he was going pass away but you know what kills me," I stopped as I felt another pool of tears coming.

"Yeah," he said softly as his arm went around my shoulder.

"I never got to say goodbye to him. When I got to the hospital he was already dead. They wouldn't let me see him until a couple of days. I told him I loved him while we buried him. I never got to see his beautiful eyes again," it was an open casket but his eyes were closed. His face was filled with scratches as he lay lifeless. I dipped my head down and cried loudly.

"I'm so sorry, man. Tell me how can I take away this pain from you," his words sent chills down my spine. Why did he want to comfort someone that can't get over his dead husband?

"Why are you doing all this?" I asked.

His eyes gazed into mine, there were tiny lights that danced inside his eyes. He lifted the corner of his lips in which his dimple appeared. "Maybe you should see it as destiny putting us in each other's path."

I didn't say anything. He immediately got up. "Why don't we forget about everything and start of new. Let's enjoy each other's company while we are here. How long are you here for?"

I glanced up at him while he hovered like a giant over me. "A couple of days."

He stretched his arm and helped me up. "Hi, nice to meet you. I'm Dashiell Mitchell," I stood up as my stomach twirled with warmth.

"Hi, my name is Duke Michelson. Nice to meet you."

His eyes were a blue flame with intense desire. "Now Duke, how would you like to parasail with me?" He glanced at the sky as two people glided in the air. My stomach clenched with fear but he looked back down at me and all my fear washed away.

"I would love to."
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