I grab Kai’s hand tighter as the shark swims around the cage a couple of times. The moment seems almost suspended in time, but before I have even really had a second to appreciate the beauty of the magnificent creature in front of me, he’s gone. We float around the cage for a few more minutes, but when Kai taps his wrist, I know that it’s time to head up.
Once we reach the surface, Kai’s friend helps me onto the boat and begins getting my gear off me. When my mask is off, I take a deep breath of the salty ocean air and look around for Kai. When our gazes connect, I try to convey with my eyes how much this moment means to me. It’s not every day you get to live out one of your childhood dreams, and I couldn’t be more thankful that he is the one who gave this to me.
I finish getting everything off and put away while trying to understand the feeling I have in my chest. It’s not until Kai comes over and drags me from where I was sitting to a large couch at the back of the boat when I realize what it is: Happiness.
I have always considered myself a happy person, but I didn’t know that, deep down, I really wasn’t, and since the moment I arrived in Hawaii, I have been truly happy. I miss my shop and my girls, but to me, I was just getting by before. And now that my life has evolved, I’ve been forced to do something I never would have done before, and I’ve left what I’d thought of as the security of my home, I’m finally, really, and truly happy. With that thought, I curl into Kai’s side, lay my head on his chest, and drift off to sleep with the smell of the ocean and the rocking of the boat lulling me into dreamland.
I wake up and attempt to roll over, only to find myself tethered to the bed by an arm over my waist and muscular, hairy legs tangled with mine. And then I remember that my parents are in Hawaii, sleeping a few doors down from our room.
“Go back to sleep,” Kai rumbles against my neck, causing goose bumps to break out all over my body.
“I thought you were going to stay on your side of the bed?” I whisper, rubbing my legs together, which have suddenly become restless.
“It got cold. I needed your body heat to stay warm.”
I smile at his reply and turn in his arms to face him, noticing that it is much colder in the room than it normally is. As soon as I’m facing him, he wraps an arm back around my waist, places his hip over mine, and begins to play with my hair. It has gotten easier over the last couple days to be this close to him, and if I’m honest with myself, I have come to crave his touch and presence. He’s like a drug I know is bad for me but can’t help wanting more of.
After a moment of enjoying the ease of the moment, I tilt my head back and ask, “Do you think it will be weird today, having my mom and dad and your parents here?”
His gaze travels from the piece of hair he’s playing with to mine, and then he looks over my head before replying, “No. My mom and I talked. She won’t even be bringing up the fact she knew your mother.” He tucks my face under his chin, forcing me to inhale a lungful of his scent.
“I still think it’s going to be awkward.”
“I’ll be with you for most of the day. I have to leave for a couple of hours around noon, but after that, I’m all yours,” he tells me, and I ignore the feeling I get from him telling me that he’s mine and pull my face out of his chest so I can look up at him.
“You know, if your mom brings up planning a wedding while my mom is here, we’re completely screwed,” I sigh.
“If that happens, we will deal with it when the time comes.”
“You act like it’s not a big deal, Kai. It was bad enough that I got married once and it wasn’t real. I don’t want to do it again, only this time wearing a white dress and doing it in front of my parents.”
“Don’t worry about that right now. Just enjoy the time you have with your parents while they are here,” he encourages.
I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from saying more. It seems like, no matter what I say, he’s not understanding that that, for me, is way more than I can handle right now. I have never been a good liar, and it’s not something I want to become good at.
“We should probably get up.” I pull away, take the blanket off, and shiver when the cold air hits my skin. “Did you turn on an air conditioner?”
I look over my shoulder, and though his back is to me, I hear him mutter, “No,” under his breath as he stands. I try to pull my eyes away from him, but seeing the muscles of his back flex when he raises his arms above his head keeps my eyes in place.
“Do you need to shower?” he asks, smiling when he catches me staring at him.
“I do.” A cold one, I think but don’t add as I stand and go to the bathroom.
I shut the door, go to the sink, get my toothbrush, and see that Kai’s toothbrush is next to mine in the holder. I ignore the feeling that gives me, squeeze some toothpaste onto the toothbrush, and brush my teeth before going over to the shower.
“What are you doing?” I ask him as he walks into the bathroom just as I’m turning the water for the shower on.
He ignores my question, walks over to the sink, and begins to load his toothbrush up with toothpaste.
“I’m going to shower,” I say, looking at him through the mirror and frowning when he begins to brush his teeth. “Do you need to do that right this moment?”
Our eyes connect and he pulls the toothbrush from his mouth. “Feel free to get in,” he tells me, and I can hear the challenge in his voice.
Something in me snaps, and I pull off the pair of panties I have on then rip my nightshirt over my head and get into the shower, keeping my back to him.
The glass doors are mostly fogged, but I know he can still see me. I honestly can’t believe I did something so ballsy, but I feel like he is constantly pushing me, maybe even testing me. I peek over my shoulder and find his gaze locked on me through the mirror.
My nipples harden and I feel my pussy contract from the look in his eyes. I start to think I’m an idiot when all he does is stare, but when his body turns to face me, he starts to take a step in my direction. Instead, he stops and shakes his head, adjusting the bulge in his pants and then leaving the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. I let out the breath that was locked in my chest and turn the water temperature to cold for a moment, needing to cool down before switching it back to warm, quickly washing up, and getting out.
By the time I make it into the bedroom, Kai is gone, but the scent of his cologne is still lingering in the air. I put on a pair of navy-blue shorts that fold at the hem and a white, linen button-down shirt over my navy-blue bikini before toeing on a pair of white flip-flops that have rhinestone studs across the straps and putting my hair into a quick braid. Then I leave the room.