I ran straight west, to the beach at the end of the road, the sun baking me the whole way. As I ran onto the sand, I felt no better than when I’d left the gym, but now I was angry at myself for such stupid behavior.
“What was I thinking?” I growled aloud.
“I was wondering the same thing,” Jerrick said as he walked toward me.
“What are you doing here? Why are you always showing up everywhere?”
“I wanted to make sure you were okay.” He flashed my favorite smile. “And because I like being around you.”
“What? Why?!” I didn’t understand him. Why me?
“Do you want me to leave?” He hitched his thumb back toward the street.
“Yes!” I blurted and something flickered in his eyes. “I mean, no. I mean…I don’t know! Just give me a minute. I need to cool down.”
He gave me exactly a minute. “Are you cooled down?”
And the next thing I knew, I stared at the ground, hanging over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry. He gripped me tightly as he pulled off my shoes while striding toward the water. I squirmed and beat my fists against his back while he kicked his own shoes off, but I may as well have been fighting a robot. He plowed through the water, out to where the shelf dropped several feet. By then I shrieked and giggled like a schoolgirl.
“Don’t you dare!” I squealed and he let go of me.
I plunged under the cool water and realized when I touched the ground, the water was a couple inches over my head. I pushed up and tread water as Jerrick just stood there, the water chest-deep on him.
“Are you cooled off now?” He asked with a smirk.
“Yes.” I splashed him. He ducked under the water.
He smiled when he came up right in front of me. “You can’t stand, can you?”
He pulled me into one arm so our heads were level, pressing me against him, our faces only inches apart. His body felt warm, even in the cool water. His eyes locked onto mine and I wondered if he was about to kiss me. And this time, I wanted him to. In fact, as a water droplet slid over his nose, through the groove and onto his lips, I had to fight the urge to catch it with my tongue.
Then a breeze stirred against my wet skin, raising goose bumps and making me nipply against his chest. He groaned as he bent his head closer to mine. I closed my eyes and savored the moment – his smell, the warm breath on my cheek, the heat of his body against mine.
His lips lightly brushed across my cheek, then he whispered in my ear, “You are sometimes too much for me.”
He strode easily through the water and let me go as soon as it was shallow enough for me to stand. I just stood there, staring after him in shock, as the low waves whooshed against and around my calves.
“What does that mean?” I asked with bewilderment.