Authors: Kimberly Fox
I smooth out my dress for the third time as I walk down the tiled hallway.
Don’t be nervous. This guy is not even supposed to be a prospect.
I take a deep breath as I stand outside of his door and try to gain the courage to knock. I finally do and it takes a while before he opens the door.
Chase is in his underwear and only his underwear. His hair is a mess and he’s rubbing his eyes, looking groggy like he just woke up.
“What time is it?” he asks in a throaty voice.
“Way past dinner,” I answer. “Have you been sleeping this entire time?”
“Past dinner? Is it time for dessert?” he asks, biting his lip as he looks me up and down in my tight black dress. “That dress looks better than chocolate.”
“Don’t start salivating yet,” I say. “It’s not on the menu.”
“Well, you look delicious,” he says.
I shove the Styrofoam container into his chest. “Here.”
“What’s this?” he asks, opening it. “I’m fucking starving.”
I feel awkward standing in the hallway. “Well, I just wanted to check on you since you didn’t show up at dinner. You look fine so…”
He steps out the door as I start to walk away. “Wait,” he says. “You’re not going to let me eat alone are you? Come on in.”
Chase walks back into the room with a slight limp, leaving the door wide open. I take a deep breath and follow him in, closing the door behind me.
His room is clean and immaculate just like I would expect from a military man. His clothes are neatly folded in the closet and even the counter in the bathroom is clean of products.
“Come outside,” he says, sliding the patio door open.
“Um,” I say, standing by the door and crossing my arms. “Are you forgetting something?” I ask, pointing at his underwear.
“My room, my rules.”
I give him a look and he sighs. “Fine,” he says, grabbing his shorts off the chair. “But I’m not wearing a shirt.”
Fine with me.
There’s a little patio table on the balcony with two chairs. I slide into one as Chase dives into the dinner I brought him.
“How’s the knee?”
“Tip, fucking, top,” he says, biting into a carrot with a crunch.
“Do you have an injury or something?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” he says in a way that means it’s not up for discussion.
I draw back and turn to the ocean, feeling uncomfortable.
“I’m sorry,” he says, exhaling. “I’m fine. Really, it’s nothing.”
I shift in my chair and twist the bottom of my dress with my fingers.
“Are you going on that hiking excursion tomorrow?” he asks.
“Yeah, Tanya signed me up without asking so I guess I don’t really have a choice,” I say with a laugh. “It should be fun. We hike through the rainforest to a lagoon and waterfall. I hear it’s really pretty.”
“Good,” Chase says, never taking his eyes off me. “I like pretty things.”
“You’re going?” I ask him, surprised. I didn’t think that he would be coming with his knee hurting so much.
He nods. “She signed me up too.”
I can’t hide the smile on my face. I make a note to give Tanya a big fat hug when I see her. But can he even do the hike with his knee? He seems sensitive about it though so I’m not about to ask.
I reach over, snatch a carrot off his Styrofoam plate and take a bite as I watch him eat. He eats like a man, tearing off large bites of his burger, which he chews roughly. My eyes zero in on his lips and the way he looks so cute with his jaw bouncing around. I’m intrigued by him and I want to know what he’s thinking.
He’s probably thinking about sex
I glance at the unmade bed in the room behind me.
Don’t even think about it
. I can’t date a Navy SEAL. He’ll be gone for months at a time and I’ll be tearing my hair out wondering if he’s okay. Plus, he doesn’t seem like the dating type.
“Everyone is at the bar tonight,” I say. “If you want to go.”
He laughs. “I have a beautiful sexy girl in my room in the world’s hottest dress and you think I want to leave?”
I lean back and grin at him. “You’re assuming I’m going to stay. Once you’re done your celery sticks, I’m out of here.”
I giggle as Chase starts chewing very slowly. He picks up a carrot and eats it in super slow motion. “Get comfortable,” he says. “You’re going to be here for a while.”
“Fine,” I say, getting up and walking into his room towards the mini fridge. If I’m going to be here for a while then I’m getting a drink.
I glance in the mirror at his reflection from the balcony. His eyes are on my ass. I bend over, arching my back and giving him a show as I grab two cans of beer from the mini fridge. “Goddamn,” he curses under his breath.
“What was that?” I ask as I walk back. He just stares at me with wide eyes as I open both beers and hand him one.
“You look like that, you bring me dinner and you hand me an open beer. I think I’m in love.”
I sit back down, eying him as I take a sip of the cold, bubbly beer. “I didn’t think that was possible with you.”
He sits up straight and looks at me curiously. “Why do you say that?”
“You don’t strike me as the type,” I say, tapping the can with my finger. “You seem to be all about getting off.”
“No,” he says, shaking his head. “I’m all about seizing the moment. You lose enough friends over the years and you see that life can end in an instant. If there’s something I want to do I go for it. And that works the same if there’s
I want to do.”
“I told you-”
“I know,” he says, interrupting me. “You don’t do casual.”
We both take a sip of our beers letting the awkward silence linger between us. He’s the first to break it.
“I can’t believe that Ethan is getting married,” he says, looking out at the dark ocean.
“Really?” I ask, studying his side profile. “They’re so in love.”
“I can see that,” he says nodding. “It’s just in his youth he would go through women like a shark plowing through a school of minnows.”
Yeah, I can see that. He was quite persistent in his quest of Tanya. I can’t see any woman being able to deny him for long.
“What about you?” I ask.
“I wasn’t so bad,” he says with a smirk that says otherwise.
“Oh really?” The thought of him with other women, even in the past, makes my pulse speed up.
“Well,” he says, taking a sip. “Maybe a little.”
“And where were your parents during all of this?”
“I have no idea. My mother left us when I was twelve. My dad was a truck driver and he was gone a lot. Then one day he was just gone.”
He says it like it’s nothing and not the traumatic event that it must have been for him as a kid.
He shrugs. “I don’t know and I don’t care. He just never came back.”
“How do you know that something didn’t happen to him?”
He looks at me with a grin. “Because we’re never that lucky.”
I give him a look that makes him drop the smile on his sexy lips.
He sighs. “He sent an envelope with eighty bucks in it. The full extent of our inheritance. Well, that and the rundown townhouse that we lived in.”
I can’t imagine what that must have been like. “How old were you?”
He looks up, thinking about it. “Fifteen. Maybe.”
“That’s horrible,” I say, my stomach tightening.
“It wasn’t too bad,” he said, shrugging it off. “Now you know why the Taylor brothers are so fucked up.”
“You guys aren’t as bad as you think you are.”
“Not now,” he says, staring out into the endless ocean, “but there were some rough years.”
That’s probably a huge understatement.
“When did you join the military?”
“On my eighteenth birthday,” he says with a chuckle. “Ethan dragged me down there after I got in a fight with a kid in the neighborhood and almost put him in a coma.”
He sees the way I’m staring at him and sighs. “Believe me, Cynthia. That kid really deserved it.”
I take a long sip of my beer wondering what else I don’t know about him. I want to know it all.
“The military was the best thing for me,” he says, flicking the tab on the top of the can. “They straightened me out, taught me how to be a man. It was something that I was never taught at home.”
“Did they forget to teach you not to flash your little soldier to innocent women on the beach?” I say with a smirk.
“Hey,” he says, sitting up. “First of all, I thought the beach was empty, second of all, you’re not so innocent, and third of all, my soldier is not little.”
No, it’s definitely not.
“What about you?” he asks, his eyes lingering on me. “What’s your story?”
I laugh, embarrassed to say my nice, cookie-cutter, suburban childhood after hearing about his messed up past. “My story is not nearly as interesting. I had a good childhood, good parents. I can’t complain.”
He opens his arms and tilts his head to the side. “That’s all you’re giving me?”
“I don’t have anything,” I say, laughing.
“You have to give me something.” He thinks. “What’s your most embarrassing moment?”
“Yeah,” he says with a laugh. “I want to know.”
I get red just thinking about it.
“Fine,” I mutter under my breath. “This one was last year. My boss’ mother died and I went to the funeral with some people from work. He hugged me when we were leaving and said, ‘thank you so much for coming.’ I was just nervous and uncomfortable and I blurted out, ‘I had a great time. Thanks for inviting me.’”
Chase’s shoulders shake with laughter. He’s looking at me as if he’s waiting for me to tell him that I’m kidding. I wish I could but unfortunately it did happen. And unfortunately, everyone at work heard and they still bring it up on what feels like a weekly basis.
“And yours?” I ask.
He shakes his head. “I don’t think so.”
“I do think so.” He’s not getting out of this. “I told you mine now you tell me yours.”
He leans back in his chair. “Alright.” His face breaks out into an embarrassed smile. “I’ve never told anyone this before.”
I smile wide. “Let’s hear it.”
“In my first year of basic training, I dropped my patrol cap in the port-o-john. I panicked and picked it out. It was covered in shit and that blue liquid they put in there. I ran out without the cap on to wash it off with a hose that was nearby. My drill Sargent saw me without a hat from across the field and started screaming at me to put it on.”
“No,” I say starting to giggle.
“I had no choice but to put it on. Shit covered and all.”
“Ew,” I say, covering my mouth with my hands.
“My drill Sargent ran over to discipline me when he saw the shit smearing down my face.” He shakes his head as he stares at his beer can.
“What did he do?”
“He laughed. A lot. And then he called the entire company over and they all laughed too. My Sargent called me shithead for the rest of my training.”
“Well the name fits you just great,” I say laughing.
He chuckles. “I guess it does.”
We sit on the balcony talking for hours. We talk as the moon dips down in the sky and the lights of the restaurant below us are shut off. We talk as the temperature dips to a chill and he wraps one of his sweaters that has his rugged smell on it around me. We talk until my butt is sore in the chair and my eyes are heavy and fighting to stay open.
“What time is it?” I ask, straightening up in my seat.
Chase cranes his head, looks up at the moon and raises a finger to it. “Three twenty-six,” he says.
“Shut up,” I say, turning to look at the clock on his nightstand. It says three twenty-nine. “You can tell the time by looking at the moon?”
He nods his head. “I’m a Navy SEAL. I can do anything.”
“Wow,” I say, nodding. “I’m impressed.”
He smiles. “I might have seen the time when I went in to get a beer.”
“Right,” I say, looking away in embarrassment. “You got me.”
“It’s not time to leave if that’s what you’re thinking,” he says. “I’m having fun talking to you.”
“It’s so late,” I say, getting up and stretching my arms. He sneaks a peek at my breasts as I stretch. I turn my head in the opposite direction so he can look.
“It’s such a long walk back,” he says, shaking his head. “I’m happy to share my bed if you want to have a sleepover.”
“I think I can handle the ninety-second walk to my room but thanks for the offer,” I say, wondering what would happen at a Chase sleep over.
He walks me to the door and takes my hand in the doorway. “I like you,” he whispers.
The same words are teetering on my lips but they don’t come out.
He cups my cheek and I don’t stop him when his thumb grazes over my bottom lip. “Chase,” I whisper, closing my eyes and grabbing his wrist.
He steps in to kiss me but I pull away.
“Why?” he whispers. “We’re both attracted to each other, that’s clear. Why are you stopping the inevitable?”
I step back and let his hand fall down into the empty space between us. “I am attracted to you,” I say. “And you’re attracted to me, obviously,” I say glancing down at the hard-on jutting out against his shorts. “You’re cocky and direct and normally so not my type. But I like you and I want to get to know you better. But I can’t be in a relationship that’s just about sex. I need it all.”
“Yeah, all. Someone that I can be with every day, talk to, confide in, love and be loved, date, monogamy, weekend trips to cute little bed and breakfasts, I need to have it all or nothing. I can’t just do the physical part. It’s not me.”
He’s watching me but not saying anything.
“I lost you at monogamy didn’t I?” I ask.
He takes a deep breath. “I’m a SEAL,” he says. “It’s hard to do all of those things when I’m on the other side of the planet.”
“I know,” I say, lowering my head. “That’s why I think we should just be friends.”
I wait for him to say no, to fight for me, to grab my arm, to pull me against his body and kiss me, but he just nods.
“Alright,” I say, opening the door and slipping out into the hallway. “I’ll see you at the hike tomorrow.”
“Yeah,” he says, following me out.