First I need to do something.’ He pulled me closer towards him until our lips were almost touching.
‘What might that be?’ I managed to stutter, closing my eyes, anticipating the warmth of his lips against mine. But the kiss didn’t come. I opened my eyes. Alex had jumped to his feet.
‘Swim,’ he said, grinning at me. ‘Come on.’
‘Swim?’ I pouted, unable to hide my disappointment that he wanted to swim rather than make out with me.
Alex pulled his T-shirt off in one swift move. My eyes fell straightaway to his chest – which was tanned, smooth and ripped with muscle, and which, when you studied it as I had done, in detail, you discovered wasn’t a six-pack but actually a twelve-pack.
My eyes flitted to the shadowed hollows where his hips disappeared into his shorts, causing a flutter in parts of my body that up until three weeks ago had been flutter-dormant. Alex’s hands dropped to his shorts and he started undoing his belt.
I reassessed the swimming option. I could definitely do swimming.
He shrugged off his shorts, but before I could catch an eyeful of anything, he was off, jogging towards the water. I paused for a nanosecond, weighing up my embarrassment at stripping naked over my desire to follow him. With a deep breath, I tore off my dress then kicked off my underwear and started running towards the sea, praying Nate wasn’t doing a fly-by.
The water was warm and flat as a bath. I could see Alex in the distance, his skin gleaming in the now inky moonlight. When I got close to him, his hand snaked under the water, wrapped round my waist and pulled me towards him. I didn’t resist because I’d forgotten in that instant how to swim. And then he kissed me and I prayed silently and fervently that he took my shudder to be the effect of the water.
I tried sticking myself onto him like a barnacle, but eventually Alex managed to pull himself free, holding my wrists in his hand so I couldn’t reattach. His resolve was as solid as a nuclear bunker’s walls. Alex had said there were always chinks. But I couldn’t seem to find the one in his armour. He swam two long strokes away from me. I trod water and stayed where I was, feeling confused, glad that the night was dark enough to hide my expression.
‘I’m just trying to protect your honour,’ he said, guessing it anyway.
I groaned and rolled my eyes. When was he going to understand that I was happy for him to protect every other part of me, just not my honour?