Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Isilys-Will POV From Chapter 7

This started out as a writing exercise to get to know my hero's POV better and I ended up writing an entire chapter. I'm not going to post the whole chapter and some of the references might not make sense, but I thought I would post it just for fun. It's been a while after all.

Will’s POV on Chapter 7
A sort of nervous excitement coursed through me as I walked to Victoria’s room to get her for our little family outing today. I was right about my parents insisting she come with us, just as I was right about her needing to get out of her hotel room. Seriously, the girl could use a little fun. And I was nothing if not fun.
Except things never seemed to go right with her. She thwarted every attempt I made at flirting, called me out on my crap, and would never, under normal circumstances, go out with me. I could admit I was intrigued. Okay, fine, I was a little more than intrigued.
I knocked loudly on her door and listened as she scrambled to answer it. Already amused, I leaned as casually as I could against the doorframe, willing my face to a neutral expression. Several moments passed and I found it harder and harder to wait to see her.
Trying not to examine why that was, I finally heard her footsteps coming toward the door. I pushed off the frame and stood up straight just as she opened it. There was no way to prepare myself for seeing her again.
Her long, brown hair was loose around her shoulders and I knew from experience it was soft and silky. She didn’t wear a lot of makeup, but her beautiful, big brown eyes were as striking as ever and her full lips had a hint of red.
She had on a simple t-shirt with skinny jeans, but somehow she managed not to look casual. She looked radiant and alive.
“Hey,” she said breathlessly, almost knocking me to the floor.
“Hey,” I replied a bit more steadily, despite my pounding heart. She seemed flustered by her reaction to me and I found myself trying not to smile at the thought. I like her flustered, and I liked it even more when I was the one that caused it.
She quickly spun around and ran to her room, but not before I caught the attractive blush creeping onto her face. I followed her inside and closed the door behind me, already completely comfortable in her space.
I watched her as inconspicuously as I could as she rushed to gather her things. Disappearing into her room again, I heard her call out, “I’m sorry, I’m almost ready.” I smiled to myself already knowing she would be late and not caring a bit.
I sat down on the couch, but was back on my feet in seconds when I spotted a box with a card next to it. Luke.
Jealousy, strong and irrational, spread through my body and I had to swallow down the bitter accusations I wanted to throw out. It wasn’t Victoria’s fault Luke was a pushy, arrogant rat, and getting mad at her didn’t work.
I carefully opened the box of chocolates and pulled one out. I could hear her behind me now and decided I was okay with being obnoxious this morning.
“Where did you get these?” I asked. She stopped moving around and looked at me.
“Lucas sent them yesterday afternoon,” she said with as much attitude and sass as I expected. I couldn’t help but smirk at her predicted reaction to my question.
I took a bite and mumbled, “Pretty good.” She continued to watch me so I decided to give in to my curiosity. “What?”
“That’s it? No, ‘Luke is a bad person who runs over squirrels on purpose’ talk?” she demanded. I half choked, half laughed. She never failed to surprise me.
I couldn’t contain the laughter bubbling out of me. Part of it was her ridiculous comment, but an even bigger part of it was just being around her. I felt lighter, happier. It was addicting.
The next thing I knew, she had grabbed my hand and was pulling me out of the room. I didn’t even try to stop my laughter as we rode down the elevator and my good mood stayed with me as we crossed the lobby.
Seeing my family was a relief because it meant I got to pretend to be infatuated with this girl. Not that I wasn’t interested in her, I could admit that. But she was a mystery and as soon as I solved it, I would get bored and move on. For now though, the chase was thrilling.
I slung my arm over her shoulders and felt her relax as we approached my parents.  Last night’s conversation, first with Victoria, and then with my parents, played through my mind and I was curious to see how they would reassure her, as promised, of their good opinion.
“Victoria!” Sam shouted and ran over to meet us. As he usually did when he was around us, he went for Victoria’s unoccupied hand. I possessively kept my arm around her shoulders and felt her grip tighten around my waist as we arrived in front of my mom and dad. I don’t think she even noticed she was doing it.
“Hello, Victoria,” my dad said to her in a friendly tone. My mom was less inconspicuous and went right in for a hug, which seemed to startle the ever living daylights out of Victoria.
Her earlier words rang through my mind. People won’t remember me, why should I remember them? It had been obvious from the start that Victoria didn’t see herself very clearly, but hearing her words sent a sharp pang through my chest.
I decided I would just have to hold her more often if I could get away with it. She needed to learn that she was wanted, loved, even if this was just pretend. She should know how it could be with someone if she ever opened up.
I knew I was playing a dangerous game with this whole charade, and while I didn’t want to hurt her, I needed to prove her own worth to her. Then she could find someone who actually deserved her. I didn’t want to dwell on that thought, we’d cross that bridge when it came. As long as it wasn’t Luke Thompson…
“I’m so glad you’re coming with us today,” mom said to Victoria, snapping me out of my thoughts. The talk with my parents had gone rather well and I couldn’t help but be a little smug about the fact. Unsurprisingly, Victoria noticed.
 Ducking out from under my arm, she pulled on my hand until I obliged and leaned down. Her warm breath tickled my ear and I had to stop myself from turning my head and stealing a kiss right then and there.
“What did you do?” she hissed at me. I smiled.
“What makes you think I did something?” I whispered back, enjoying the feel of her silky hair against my cheek. Seriously, hair shouldn’t be that sexy.
“Because you’re you. What did you say to them?” I was enjoying her fret over this too much to give up my secret just yet. Instead, I opened the door of the hotel for everyone, using it as an excuse to avoid her question for a moment.
            Our car was pulled around and I made sure she was sitting in the middle so both Sam and I would be satisfied. We started on our journey in comfortable silence, but I found myself unsettled by her nearness.
            Not that we hadn’t been this near before, but there was something boiling under the surface of my skin and it came to life every time her body brushed up against mine. It was maddening and the long ride I had so looked forward to, now seemed like endless torture.
            Oblivious to my struggle, Victoria leaned toward me and I caught a whiff of her perfume. Having her this close to me and smelling like the most tempting of forbidden fruits was a dangerous combination. I reminded myself of her rule over and over again.
            “Tell me,” she said in a quiet voice that dissolved any reason why I should follow that stupid rule. I mean, we were supposed to be in love right? People in love always kissed. And this girl needed to be kissed. Desperately. And I was only too happy to oblige.
            Unable to help it any longer, I reached over and tucked her into the side of me. Immediately the volcano under my skin came to life, but it was easier somehow than the teasing brush of her arm or leg against mine.
“I just told them you were upset about the way I made you seem at dinner and you were reluctant to come because of what they might think of you.”
            “Oh,” she said sounding surprised. I let the moment drag on as long as I dared and then raised my arm to give her the choice of staying where she was or leaving. She quickly scooted back to her seat and I let the disappointment sober me.
            We were both pretending, not just me, and it wouldn’t do any good to forget that now. I needed to focus on playing the part without confusing any of the emotions that normally accompany such a relationship.
I heard her talking with Sam, but I was too distracted to really hear their conversation until Victoria asked where we were going. Needing a reason to get out of my thoughts, I volunteered the answer before Sam could reply.
"Aquarium of the Bay. It's like this huge underwater exhibit where you can watch animals swim around."
"And there's lots of sharks!" Sam piped up excitedly. I was about to remind him that he couldn’t swim with them when Victoria spoke up.
“What?” she squeaked out. Thoroughly intrigued at her tone I couldn’t resist the temptation to goad her.
"Not afraid of sharks, are you, Victoria?" I asked.
"They're my favorite animals,” Sam inserted cheerily. As if we were talking about flavors of soda instead of the powerful, deadly creatures that ruled the ocean.
"Too bad you can't go swimming with them today," I told Sam, remembering my earlier thought. I leaned over to playfully mess up his hair, something that drove him crazy, but that was a mistake. I caught the scent of Victoria again and was immediately pulled into her force field like a magnet.
"Why not?" Sam sulked and swatted my hand away. I barely registered his words or his actions. Victoria was still looking at Sam with a horrified expression or she would have caught me staring at her.
I heard soft voices from the front of the car and the spell was momentarily broken. I looked over to see my parents talking too quietly for us to hear.
I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but then my father glanced at me in the rear view mirror. My curiosity was peaked, but I decided to let it drop for now and answer Sam’s question.
"For starters, I'm pretty sure you have to be at least eighteen. Sam's big dream in life is to go swimming with sharks," I told Victoria who had her mouth hanging open as she continued to stare at Sam.
"What? They're cool!" he protested under her incredulous look, which made me laugh out loud. As if I couldn’t stop myself from touching her, I reached over and lightly raised her jaw until her mouth was once again closed.
Drop your hand, I commanded my body. But it wouldn’t listen to me. Instead I found myself turning her head to face me. Her scared expression at the mention of sharks had me rushing to reassure her, like a good pretend boyfriend would.
"Don't worry, I won't let you fall in the shark tank.” It was meant to lighten the mood, but instead I found myself lost in her beauty. Not just her outward appearance, she was absolutely gorgeous after all, but her inside beauty as well.
She was witty, funny, kind, forgiving, and as much as she tried to hide it, she was hurting for some reason. I wanted to make her pain go away, I wanted to ease all her worries, but most of all I wanted to make her happy.
That last thought hit me hard. How could I make her happy? Having apparently reached our destination I felt the rumble of the car come to a stop. She was still looking up into my eyes, as confused and conflicted about our pretend relationship as I was.
The realization that I was making this harder on her than it needed to be was enough to make me drop my hand and hop out of the car as quickly as possible. Distance, space. That was what I needed right now.
I’d never been so grateful for Sam’s insistence that she hold his hand than I was in that moment. I needed to think outside of her bewitching presence, so when mom groaned that she had forgotten the sunscreen, I immediately volunteered to buy some while they went to get the tickets.
I shopped in a daze and grabbed the first bottle of sunscreen from the way too expensive gift shop outside the park entrance. I approached the counter and set the bottle down in a hurry, knocking over a little stand of chapstick.
Sighing, I started picking up the tubes and hopelessly stacking them on the counter again. I heard a small giggle and looked up to see a beautiful blonde girl, the cashier, watching me.
“In a hurry?” she asked with a wide smile on her face. I knew that kind of smile and told myself to smile back. I think it came out more of a grimace.
“Sort of. Sorry about the mess,” I said still trying, and failing, to stack the annoying things the way they were before. Another throaty laugh and a small hand shot out to stop me from doing any more damage. I froze at her touch.
“It’s fine, I’ll stack them later. I think you’re making it worse by trying to fix them,” she giggled again. This time I did smile, but it wasn’t the normal, inviting smile I usually pulled with a girl like her. It was tight and polite and instead of flirting back, I gently slipped my hand from under hers wondering if I was broken. This wasn’t like me. I loved to flirt and I was good at it.
She batted her eyelashes at me before picking up the sunscreen and turning to the register. I looked at her closer as she worked, trying to figure out why I didn’t seem to be in the mood to receive her flirtations or return any of my own.
She was pretty. But her short blonde hair was too short for my taste and her eyes a little too dull to hold me captive. She was tall and lean, but I wanted someone I could tuck under my arm.
            That was it, I decided. She was too tall for me, despite the obvious several inches I still had on her. She handed me the now bagged sunscreen and smiled hugely once more.
“Got fun plans today?” she asked, still trying to get a reaction from me. Dozens of comments streamed through my head, all leading to her giving me her phone number. And from the smile still plastered on her face, it would be all too easy.
            But the only smile I wanted to see was waiting with my family.
            “I do, yes. My girlfriend and I are walking around the Aquarium. She just loves watching the sharks,” I laughed at my own private joke.
            The girl smiled indulgently, effectively taking the hint and my dismissal. I grabbed the bag and rushed out of there, more confused than before.

                                                   *Copyright Jayne L. Bowden*