“Yeah. I figured that.” I pull back, looking away from him and out into the deserted sand. “Does a walk on the beach sound like a good idea?”
Elliot laces his finger through mine. “It sounds like a great idea.”
We start walking and I stop mid-step and Elliot jolts backward slightly. “Why’d you stop? I thought you wanted to go for a walk.”
“I do, but I thought we should agree to something first.”
Elliot quirks an eyebrow. “Oh yeah? And what’s that?”
“Well, more like you should agree to something first.” Elliot urges me to go on with his pale blue eyes. “No throwing me in the water tonight.”
Elliot’s deep musical laugh echoes in the air and he brings my hand to his lips, kissing it. “I promise.”
The heavens are aglow. The stars are like little flecks of silver glitter on a black piece of construction paper. I glimpse over at Elliot out of the corner of my eye. A soft smile tugs on his lips and the light of the moon highlights his face in various places and makes him look haunting yet beautiful at the same time.
“You know,” he says as we lock eyes. “I didn’t think you’d want to talk to me after tonight.”
“To be honest, Elliot, I didn’t want to.” Right after we left the party I’d made my mind up that I didn’t want to talk to him or Drake anymore. I told myself that everything would be easier if I forgot about my feelings, forgot about both Robertson brothers, and just tried to make the best of what I had left of my vacation. But the second I saw Elliot chucking rocks at my window those thoughts changed.
“I’m not usually like that. It’s very rare that I let my temper get the best of me,” he tells me.
“That’s good to know,” I say. “I’m not a fan of brawls.” Especially brawls that might have to do with me.
“I don’t know what came over me.” Elliot shakes his head and clears his throat. “And to be honest, Drake and I don’t have the best relationship, but we’ve never actually got into a physical fight.”
“Really? I didn’t get that impression.” At that moment I think of the looks on both of their faces during that fight earlier, so fierce, so deadly. They reminded me of enemies who had been at war for decades and finally had a chance to end their feud with an epic battle. “Is it true what you said about Sydney?”
Elliot is silent for a moment, stops walking, and then takes both of my hands in his. He stares deep into my eyes and releases my left hand, gliding his thumb over my cheek. “Yes.” I close my eyes and sigh. His touch makes my whole face tingle and it burns through my skin, traveling through my veins before adding a skip in my heartbeat.
My eyelids flutter and I open my eyes and Elliot’s face is inches away from my mine. His blue eyes sear into mine and I notice a flicker of pain in them. Elliot’s scent lingers in the air, a mixture of fresh air, Burberry cologne, and the ocean. I inhale deep, wanting to breathe him in forever. “You make me feel things I can’t explain, Robin. Which is why I said that. I mean, even though Drake and I have alway
s had a rocky relationship, I’d never rat out my brother. I didn’t care that he hurt Sydney. That’s their business.”
His lips are so close to my ear that I can feel the heat from his breath as it dances over my earlobe. “Then why did you mention it?” I whisper, hoping I can hide the quiver in my voice. Elliot is making me feel so many things right now. Nervous and scared. Excited and anxious. I want him to kiss me now more than I’ve ever wanted Drake to. This is torture. Inside I’m screaming please. Please crush your mouth to mine and make my fantasy a reality.
“Because I couldn’t stand to see him hurt you the way her hurt Sydney.”
I’m speechless and I think it’s odd that he could care about me this much in seven days. “Why? You barely know me.”
“I know this is going to sound strange and I know everything seems like it’s moving fast, but that first time I saw you after I hit you with the door at CNU, it’s like something inside of me clicked. It’s like I had this urge inside of me. A deep, plunging urge that sat in the pit of my stomach. I wanted you. I wanted you bad. And more than anything I wanted you in a way that I’ve never wanted anyone else.” Elliot smiles and the sight of his perfect wide-toothed grin takes my breath away. “Believe me,” he goes on. “It terrified me at first. I’ve dated around, slept around, and I even had some serious relationships. But none of the girls I’ve dated or been with have made me feel the way you have, Robin. None of the girls have ever made me feel so whole, so complete. And what terrified me more than anything was that I knew I felt something that deep with one look.”
I turn away from him trying to breathe normally, but it’s just not possible. He strangles me, squeezing my lungs with his smile, his words, and his beautiful face. He make me shiver with delight, feel safe, and sets my heart ablaze with a passionate fire that I can’t put out.
And I don’t want to.
Elliot places his hand on my chin and gently guides my gaze back toward his. Then he slides his hand down my body and rests it on the small of my back. “You know Drake isn’t my only brother. There are four of us all-together. And when I was a kid I can remember all of us kids sitting around the table in the kitchen on Sunday mornings and my Dad would sit at the head of the table and my Mom would be at the stove flipping pancakes. And I’d always notice the way my Dad looked at my Mom. The flicker of emotion in his eyes, so full of love, respect, and devotion. Almost like the way they felt about each other was so powerful that nothing could make it fade. But what I remember more vividly than anything is what he’d said to me on several occasions.”
He’d give me a gentle slap on the shoulder and say, “You know son,” and then he’d look at all of us, “I knew I loved your Mom the first time I laid eyes on her. And I said to myself. I’m gonna marry that girl.”
“I know that sounds ridiculous and cliché as hell, right? At the time, I’d rolled my eyes and thought to myself what a freaking crock of shit. How can you possibly take one look at a person and see your whole life? How could any man look at a woman and know that he doesn’t need anyone else without ever engaging in conversation? And I stood true to that belief. Until I saw you for the first time.”
I don’t even know what to say or how to react. I just know that I still can’t breathe and that about a second ago my heart began palpitating. “Elliot—I!”
He silences me with his lips. Not a full on kiss, but a soft, sensual brush of his lips against mine that leaves me dangling on the edge of fantasy and reality and all I can think about is how I want more. Just give me another, please. I’m begging for it.
“Robin,” Elliot whispers. My eyes are closed and I inhale the smell of his sweet breath as I suck it into my lungs. “Open your eyes. Look at me.”
I do as he tells me. I open my eyes wide and gaze into a sea of gray-blue waves, feeling like with every flutter of his eyelids, that somehow his wave-like irises are caressing my skin. Like I’m floating on top of water and I love the gentle slap of wetness against my skin. “Yes, Elliot,” I murmur.