“Aw Princess,” He teased, motioning to my shirt, “You’re no fun.”
“Not a chance.” I shook my head at him, covering my chest with my arms defiantly.
“It’s only fair.” He sulked, his lower body sinking further into the water.
“In. Your. Dreams.” I leaned forward, letting the words slowly roll off my tongue.
He dove into the water, giving me a playful look before he submerged.
I took a step back, unsure of what he was planning.
His arms swept my legs from under me and I found myself wrapped up against his chest.
“Pretty sure this isn’t what people mean when they talk about sweeping a girl off her feet.” I said sarcastically as I watched the droplets of water fall off his eyelashes.
The water rushed down around him as he stood up with a vaguely amused smile and began carrying me out in deeper.
“What do you think you are doing?” I demanded as he abruptly stopped, jolting me as he readjusted his grip on me.
“Eh, I figured I’d settle for a wet t-shirt on you instead.” His voice held an uncontainable playfulness as he grinned and dropped me into the water.
“James!” I screamed and flailed in shock as I went under.
The world around me became dark as the rushing water surrounded me.
I forced myself to open my eyes. The water was murky, but I could see the colorful pebbles at the bottom and the sunshine coming from above the surface. Bubbles escaped from the corners of my mouth as I swam up towards the light.
The water parted around me as I broke through the surface gasping and sputtering. Holding my breath had never been my strong suit.
“You are a jerk.” I told him as I pulled my soaking hair out of my face.
“I regret nothing.” He said while trying to keep a straight face as he stood with his hands on his hips, surveying his handiwork.
“I’m sure.” I glared at him as I rolled my eyes and folded my arms, self-consciously covering my midriff as my shirt clung to it.
“We should get going.” He winked, passing me on his way to the grassy terrain.
I pulled myself out of the water, refusing James’ extended hand of help out of sheer stubbornness.
He stepped out of my way, grinning and I held my shirt away from my body.
“So worth it.” He whispered, winking at me.
“You’re such a perv, you know that?” I spat at him.
“I might be,” He lowered his voice as he drew out his words, “But you like it.”
He pulled the backpack over his shoulder and tossed his shirt at me as I glared at him.
I flinched as I caught it, inhaling the scent of his cologne that clung to the fabric.
‘You can change if you want.” He said with a flicker of remorse.
“Why,” I asked with sarcasm, “You wanna watch?”
“If you are offering.” He burst into laughter.
My face turned red as I turned away.
“I’d never offer that – you know that!” I said with irritation.
“Whatever you say, Princess.” He smiled as he turned away with a bow, giving me privacy to change.
I turned my back to him as I pulled the wet shirt off.
“No peeking.” I yelled at him.
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” Amusement filled his reply.
His shirt fell onto body effortlessly, slightly hanging off of one shoulder as it settled.
“Can we go now?” I said quietly as I adjusted it the best I could.
He spun around, his face changing as he looked at me.
“What?” I asked him self-consciously.
“Um…” He stammered, nervously bending his knees, “Nothing.”
He started towards the path in silence, chewing on his lip as we went.
“Everything alright?” I asked him, slightly concerned.
“Mmmhmm.” He hummed, moving branches from in front of us.
I looked at him, studying his features as he protected me from the unruly timber.
His hands were large and rough, worn out from years of us sneaking out of the compound to hang out in the woods. We would whittle sticks together, climb trees, race through the timber, and explore until we knew we had to go back inside before anyone realized we were gone. I was always in charge of making sure we didn’t bring any evidence that we’d been outside into the compound and he was in charge of scouting out and making sure the coast was clear to come and go. We never really talked much during that time, just ran side by side, soaking in the outside.
As we got older, it became harder to get time away. We were given more work to do, and the security was tightened for people coming and going. The only reason we were able to get out recently was for running and training, and we had a curfew now.
“You remember that one time,” He whispered, “That we stayed out all night by accident?”
“Yeah,” I giggled, “We got in so much trouble.”
“I thought that supervisor was going to kill me.” He pretended to slit his throat with his hand in a dramatic gesture.
We locked eyes and smiled.
“I kind of miss those days.” I admitted with a bit of melancholy.
“Me too.” He sighed, running his fingers through his hair.
“Wanna race?” I asked, “For old time’s sake?”
His eyes lit up, but quickly dimmed.
“What’s the matter?” I asked him.
“Nothing.” He said, immediately perking up with a grin, though it seemed forced, “You’d better get a head start.”
“Whatever!” I rolled my eyes as I walked backwards in front of him.
He reached out to catch me and I bolted away, swerving around trees and rocks in front of him.
“Sometimes…” He spoke quietly as he watched me disappear, “I think your favorite thing is running away from me.”
Part 1: The Words Unspoken, Part 2: Secrets, Part 3: Embers, Part 4: Titanium, Part 5: Scar, Part 6: Capture, Part 7: In Your Eyes, Part 8: Reflection, Part 10: The Cabin, Part 11: Macaroni and Cheese, Part 12: An Open Door and A Squeaky Floor, Part 13: Interruptions, Part 14: Origin
Love what you see? Join the community!
Sign up for the Rebecca Lemke Newsletter to be in the loop about important announcements and community updates!
Thank you for subscribing!
Something went wrong.