After getting the grand tour and I do mean grand, Nick brought me back to his bedroom. A beautiful set of glass doors led to a balcony that overlooked the ocean. I stood there, my hands curled around the white wind worn railing. I closed my eyes. I could almost taste the ocean; the sound of seagulls was everywhere. I wanted to put on a sailor’s hat and take off.
“So,” Nick said. His arms snaked around my waist. “What do you think?”
“What do I think?” I laughed. “It’s beautiful. I’d never want to leave if I lived here.”
He rested his head on top of mine. Together we looked out at the ocean.
“It’s nicer when you have someone to share it with.”
We stayed like that for several moments. The stretch of beach was private for only those in the condo community, the beach wasn’t crowded and not a piece of litter was in sight.
“I thought I would make us dinner, we can eat here on the balcony, and then we can go out to the beach and watch the sunset,” Nick said quietly. “Sound like a plan?”
“I’m just going to get changed,” I said. The approaching evening seemed to be sending the temperature higher, rather than lower.
As Nick headed down to the kitchen, I changed into shorts and a flowing blouse. I piled my hair on top of my head; the cool air tickling the back of my neck felt good. After a quick confirmation that everything was covered and zipped, I went down to the kitchen. As I walked into the bright sunny space, I sat on a bar stool at the high counter. Nick was throwing open cupboards.
It didn’t take him long to realize that being on the road for months had left his grocery supply slightly low. When he had looked in the last nook and cranny, the results were a can of chicken noodle soup, a box of rice, and some frozen French bread.
“Huh,” Nick said. “I guess the grocery store fairy didn’t stop by my house.”
I laughed. Taking the French bread in my hands I gave him a slight tap on the side of the head with the frozen block.
“So I think that means we have to go grocery shopping.”
Nick wrinkled his nose. “Not tonight,” he said. “There’s always plan B.”
He opened another kitchen drawer and pulled out a huge folder that said “Take Out.” Twenty minutes later a delivery boy was dropping off the most amazing grilled chicken salads I had ever smelled in my life.
“See, take out can be healthy,” Nick explained, putting the large white bag on the bar. I filled two wine glasses with water; we took the entire meal up to the balcony. Bitsy, who had spent her day tackling the staircase, was clonked out on the bottom step making the most wonderful puppy snores.
“That’s why I like squishy face dogs,” Nick said. “They’re great snorers. And farters.”
I laughed. It was the perfect introduction to a lovely meal.
Nick spread out a blanket on the balcony and we set out the food.
“To alone time,” Nick said, raising his glass. I copied his movement.
“To alone time,” I said. I smiled at him over the brim. He grinned.
“So tell me about home. What do you do at the library?” Nick asked, taking a big bite of leafy greens. I chewed thoughtfully.
“Pretty much anything that needs to be done,” I admitted. “I decorate, I order books, I do story times.”
Nick popped a cherry tomato in his mouth. “Isn’t that hard?” he asked.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean,” he paused. “You work around children and yet…”
I shook my head. “Just because I can’t have children doesn’t mean I don’t love them,” I said. “And it’s kind of nice; I can get them all excited and full on sugar and then send them home to their parents.”
Nick laughed. “I do that to Baylee all the time. Brian and Leighanne hate me.”
We shared a laugh and then finished dinner in comfortable silence. Nick grabbed our containers; I folded up the blanket. With mutual understanding, we headed downstairs and out to the beach.
I fanned the blanket out, letting it sink slowly onto the sand. Nick took my hand, pulling me down on the blanket with him. As I sat on his lap, the sky began its nightly show.
One would think that when you see one sunset, you’ve seen them all. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Streaks of pinks, reds, purples, and gold lit up the sky as the sun set on the horizon.
As I watched memorized, Nick’s hand was doing his own imitation of a sunset. The hand that had started in my hair travelled to my shoulder and down my spine, soliciting a shiver from me. As his fingers found the bottom of my shirt, I felt his fingertips brush bare skin.
“It’s a beautiful sunset,” I said softly.
“Yes you are,” he answered back. I laughed. “No I mean—“
I made the mistake of turning my head and looking at him. The sunset was reflecting in his beautiful blue eyes; when he kissed me everything from the sound of the seagulls to the last rays of light flew out of my mind.
His kiss was sweet and tender, yet there was also a subtle feeling of determination. He rested his casted hand on my back, his other hand leaving the hem of my shirt and sliding up and down my legs. I felt a rush of heat; flames of desire licked through my extremities.
Without conscious thought, I scooted off his lap and lay back on the blanket. Nick hovered over me, resuming our kiss. His hand returned to the hem of my shirt, slipping underneath and caressing my breasts. My hands slid down his back. Pulling back for just a moment, I released his lips just long enough to pull his shirt over his head.
“Let’s take this inside,” Nick said. We stood up; with blanket and shirt in hand, we headed back through the French doors. I dropped the pile on the kitchen counter. The moment I did so, I was scooped up by a strong arm. One second I had been looking at the kitchen, the next I was looking at Nick’s backside; he was carrying me barbarian style.
“Nick,” I said, laughing. He grunted.
With my head bouncing like a bobble head, he carried me into his bedroom. With a gentle roll I landed on the bed. His hands pinned me down by my ankles. He was grinning like a lion tamer; I was his prey.
I wiggled off my shoes as his hands began to slide up from my ankles. I was hypnotized by his every movement. I lifted my hips as my shorts disappeared with his sure hand. My heart began to pound as one by one pieces of my clothing disappeared until I was naked. Everywhere that bare skin met the warm night air was soon covered by Nick’s touches and caresses.
“Livvy,” he murmured.
Using his moment of distraction to my favor, I quickly rolled over, pinning him down. My hands worked at his jeans; the realization that this time we were actually going to be able to make love made my head spin. I worked slowly; his eyes watched my every move. Finally, with a smile I tossed his boxers over my head.
“So far so good,” he said huskily. His hand pressed gently into my hip bone.
We paused for a moment. It seemed amazing that we didn’t have someone knocking on the door or some other drama going on. But all was quiet; it was just Nick and me.
I let him roll me back into the soft mattress. My back
arched to him in need. With the slowing breath of one in the depths of desire, he pinned me down. With one shared look, one silent exchange, I wrapped my legs around him and succumbed to him heart and soul.
At that moment every single nerve ending and sensory function was alive. I could hear the gentle lap of waves, I saw the moonlight reflected in a thousand different angles on his bare chest, I smelled the sweet masculine scent of wanton need, and my skin tingled as flesh met flesh time and time again.
Later, as I lay in Nick’s arms, I couldn’t help but let one single tear fall from my eye. The teardrop hung to my eyelash before making its descent, dripping gently onto Nick’s wrist.
“Are you okay?” he whispered. His face was buried in my hair.
I didn’t know how to put into words just how okay I was. I had never experienced anything quite like our love before. I could feel Nick’s heart thudding against my back.
“I didn’t know it could be like this,” I finally whispered. His warm breath fell on my shoulder like a silky caress. His legs entwined with mine.
“I love you, Livvy,” he said in return, pulling me even closer. I turned and looked at him in surprise. He was deadly serious.
“I love you too, Nick,” I whispered.
One long, slow kiss later we lay there, breathing in rhythm. I don’t know who fell asleep first, Nick or I. All I knew was that we were together.
Our string of bad luck was broken; fate had not triumphed again.
This time it was love that was victor.