we have dessert now? I have an appointment.”
“On a Sunday?” she asked putting down the needles.
“He has a date, Mom. A hot one I’d say for him to be rushing out of here on a Sunday.” Izzy smiled at my mom before looking at me with a shitty smirk.
I grabbed the pillow from the side of the couch and threw it at her. “I have a date, Ma. I have to leave in thirty minutes. Forgive me?”
One thing you didn’t mess with is the Sunday Gallo dinner. Days like today, they seemed like torture.
“Anything for love, Michael.” She smiled.
She didn’t have to say it, but I knew my mother well enough that she’d do anything for love, even hand out dessert a little early. The visions of babies danced around in her head too much for her to deny any of us a pass on family time for the chance of love and that elusive grandchild.
My palms felt slick and my heart felt like it would burst as I put on the harness. “I can’t believe you talked me into this shit,” I said, my hands shaking so badly I couldn’t snap the latch between my legs.
“I thought you liked an adrenaline rush and I know you love the ocean. Couldn’t think of a better thing to do. Two for one deal,” he smiled at me, fastening his harness without a problem.
“Just my fucking luck. Yay,” I said sarcastically and clapped. “But you forgot one thing.” I held up my finger and waved it in the air.
“What?” he asked as he stepped closer, grabbing my finger.
“I’m afraid of heights.”
“Shit, I didn’t know. Probably the one thing we didn’t talk about this week. It’s safe and I’ll be with you. It’s the most amazing view from up there. We have to do it, I promise you’ll love it.”
“And if I don’t?” I asked as I titled my head and smirked.
“Then I’ll do anything you want, but I know you will. Plus, you can just hold on to me and scream. I won’t think any less of you, well, not much at least.”
I can’t believe I was going to follow through and let myself be pulled over the ocean by a thin rope. “Fine, but I can’t get this damn thing on,” I said frustrated and scared as I threw up my hands in defeat.
“Let me. It would be my pleasure.” He kneeled before me, brushing his hand against my inner thigh as he grabbed one end of the strap.
I sucked in a breath, shuttering, as I grabbed his shoulder to steady myself. If it wasn’t bad enough that I was petrified to the point of almost hyperventilating, the feel of his skin against mine took my breath away.
He looked up at me, smirking as he brought the latch forward rubbing his hand against my other inner thigh. I closed my eyes and ignored how close he was to me, how near his hands were to the ache between my legs.
No matter what I did all week, I couldn’t get the throbbing I felt from being on top of him at the beach to go away.
The latch snapped. I could do this. The nearness of him dulled my fear.
His fingers brushed against my mound, sending an electric current through my body, as he grabbed the latched. “Safe and secure,” he said, pulling on the latch with a chuckle.
I opened my eyes and looked down at him. “I wouldn’t use either of those words right now,” I said as I smacked his shoulder.
I wasn’t talking about parasailing either.
“Come on, beautiful. There’s no turning back now. Up ya go,” he said, grabbing my legs and throwing me my over his shoulder.
I squealed as I flopped against his body, my chest colliding with his shoulder. I smacked his back; bouncing as I kicked trying to break free. “Put me down!” I yelled and laughed.
“My view is too damn good to do that, Doc,” he said and swatted my ass.
“Pig.” I reached down and tried pinched his ass.
Fucker was rock solid and I could barely get enough between my fingers.
“Nice try,” he said, unaffected by my effort and swatting me on the ass again.
I yelped, the sting from palm making me wish I could reach back and rub the tender spot. “Ugh,” I said as I bounced and grew slack in his arms, finally defeated.
The beach disappeared as he stepped on the boat. “Will you put me down now, please?” I asked, trying to sound sweet as sugar.
“If I must,” he said before placing a light kiss against my hip.
I closed my eyes and tried not to think about it, about him. The feel of his mouth against skin that hadn’t been touched in so long had me at my breaking point.
He wrapped his arms around my legs, pushing the harness into me, before pulling my body down against him. He controlled the speed, making the journey to my feet as drawn out as possible.
By the time my feet touched the boat I forgot how scared I had been. The sexual frustration I felt trumped everything. “You’re not safe,” I whispered as I looked up at him with one eye, the sun behind his head almost blinding me.
He laughed, pulling me against his shaking body. “Doc, I’ll make sure you survive the trip up there.” He bent down rubbing his nose against mine.
“It’s not the ride I’m talking about, Michael.”
“I know.” He smiled and kissed me, his lips shaking under mine from the laughter still rumbling through his chest.
“You two ready?” the guy asked as he approached with the hook, ready to attach us to the boat. My whole life rested in the hands of a guy in flip-flops and a baseball hat with a pair of Tom Cruise Raybans. Fucking marvelous.
I shook my head against Michael’s forehead before he pulled away.
“Yeah we’re ready,” he said to the man with a nod. “You’ll thank me, Mia. It’s spectacular.”
I smiled and kept my mouth shut. Right now being in the air felt a whole lot safer than standing here touching and kissing Michael. My resolve was wearing thin.
The man attached us to the parasail and the boat. There were so many cords and ropes it made my head spin.
Butterflies filled my stomach as the boat started to skip across the water and I reached for Michael’s hand and squeezed. I could already feel the scream inside me building in my belly.
He turned and smiled, returning my squeeze, before leaning over and kissing my temple.
The whoosh of the air in my ears, the sunshine on my face, and with Michael by my side I felt a combination of excitement and fear. The driver motioned thumbs up to us. Michael nodded before the man released the lever.
We glided backward and anxiety gripped me as the boat disappeared, turning to a sea of blue. “Fuck,” I said, clinging to Michael’s arm as I stared at the water passing below my feet.
“Nails,” he said, as his arm grew tense under my grip.
I looked at him and yelled, “What?”
His eyes shot to my hand currently in a death grip as he yelled, “Your nails, Mia.”
“Whoopsie,” I said with a smile and removed my fingernails from his skin. Blood dotted the surface where my fingers had been. “I’m sorry,” I mouthed, the wind making it impossible to hear.
“Oh shit,” I screamed as my stomach plummeted and the parasail rose in the air. The rope was rigid and we were the highest we could go. I sealed my eyes shut, scared to look. Gripping Michael with one hand and the other holding the rope next to my head, I concentrated on my breathing and repeated ‘I will survive’ over and over again in my head.
Michael patted my hand and I peeked at him through one eye. “Look, Mia, there are dolphins,” he yelled, pointing to the water.
I tried to swallow but my mouth felt like sand paper. I followed his finger with my eyes. Below us were three dolphins jumping in and out of the wake as they kept up with the boat.
Even though I spent a lot of time at the beach in college, I rarely saw much of anything in the water besides the tiny fish near the shore.
I became lost in their play, taking in the moment and forgetting my fear. Michael stroked my fingers as I watched with a giant smile on my face. It was breathtaking and reminded me that we were j
ust a small part of this planet.
The parasail jolted and I almost lost the contents in my stomach out of hear as he started to reel us in. Michael squeezed my hand and laughed from the obvious look of fright on my face.
A small pang of sadness hit me as we descended toward the water. The dolphins disappeared below the surface as we hovered over the boat.
“It’s all over, Mia. You did it,” he said as our feet touched the boat deck.
“I did,” I muttered as I grabbed his arms and tried to gain my balance. My legs felt shaky as I wobbled from the sway of the waves against the small boat. “I never want to do that again.”
“Don’t you feel alive though?” He looked pretty damned pleased with himself.
I couldn’t be shitty with him. He looked too sexy with his brown hair tousled and windblown, his cheeks sun kissed, and his body glistening from the heat.
I smiled but couldn’t lie about the sheer panic I experienced. “I always knew I was alive, Michael. You almost killed me with fear alone.”
“Mia, I thought you’d love it. You said you loved the beach and I thought I’d give you a whole new view.” His thumbs rubbed my arms, calming me. “I won’t make you go again. I’m sorry.”
I shook my head and smiled. “I’m just being an asshole. It’s okay, really. It’s something I would’ve never done and I liked it once I saw the dolphins but I don’t think I could do it again.”
“It’s off limits.” He grabbed my face, kissing me passionately, making my tension melt away. “It won’t happen again,” he murmured against my lips.