When we told Jake we called an ambulance he started saying he was fine and had no health insurance and to go away and leave him alone. He lay there with his hair in the sand looking up at the sky, coughing like he was still trying to get air. But when I grasped his shoulders in despair and suggested that Evan take him to the house and put him in my bed, he simply, nodded.
Evan wasn’t happy about it and as he walked, supporting Jake’s weight he grumbled about blood on Luna’s sheets and that he wasn’t going to be responsible for anything “this guy might do”.
Evan dropped Jake on my bed and we watched him roll over and groan, and put his arm over his head. At least he wasn’t coughing now.
“I don’t like this” Evan said.
“Thanks so much for helping, Evan! I really can take it from here though. And…please don’t tell anyone about this,” I gasped, utterly forgetting a thank you.
He stood there for a couple of minutes while I went into the bathroom to get some washcloths and bandages. Then when I came back out Evan just turned and left, pretty much slamming the door behind him. The house was quiet with Luna and Zoe away for the evening. I was a little nervous now as I dipped a washcloth in the bowl of warm water. I had watched Jake from the porch when he disappeared beneath the waves and didn’t come up. Thank God Evan just went in and just dragged Jake out of the ocean. Now I was sick with worry about what he would tell Chris if he ever met him… “Oh, yeah, actually I know your wife…and the guy she was making out with on the beach. In fact, I saved his life then put him in her bed. It’s nice to meet you.”
This was so messed up. I tried to wipe the bits of shells and sand out of the cuts on Jake’s legs then realized it would be a lot easier if I put him in the bathtub. So I hurried to run the bath and came back to him sitting up and coughing and coughing. “Are you sure you don’t want to go to the emergency room?”
He held his hand up while he finished his cough. “No!” He sputtered.
“Well then come and get in this bath,” I said. He just sat there so I went to help him up and I guided him over to the tub. He started to take off his swim-shorts. “Keep those on,” I snapped.
When he got in and gingerly sat down in the warm water, he looked up at me as I held the wash-cloth. My heart started thumping as I dipped the cloth in the water and took in a breath. I was shaking. I gently washed his scrapes that weren’t really deep but seemed to cover almost his whole arm. I used my fingers to brush some of the sand out. I knew every part of his body already. It was strange to be so close to him after I had sworn that off, practically willed it out of my memory. But here were his shoulders again. I remembered his skin, how it felt on mine, and my fingers kept brushing against him as I wiped softly with the washcloth. He watched me silently then closed his eyes as I filled a cup with water and tilted his head back gently so I could pour carefully. I washed the blood and the sand out of his hair with Zoe’s organic baby body-wash so it wouldn’t sting. He Just lay back in the tub, relaxing. It was oddly intimate and my heart was pounding so hard I was worried he could hear. I struggled to keep my breath at a normal-sounding pace too. Whenever I needed to take a sharp breath I swished the cloth loudly in the water to try and cover it up. I knew that if Chris saw this this little scene, he would freak out.
Once Jake’s hair was free of sand and blood, I got a clean but old towel to carefully dab and dry off his cuts that had now mostly stopped bleeding. I told him to stand up and I gave him a big fluffy white towel and helped him out. He wrapped it around his wet shorts then he looked at me and said, “I need to brush my teeth.”
“What? Why?” I went and got him my toothbrush and watched him walk to the sink and brush his teeth in the mirror, as though this was the perfectly normal thing to do after almost drowning then bathing in a strange house. Perhaps it was. He stuck my toothbrush in a cup with little ducks on it on the bathroom counter, opened up the medicine cabinet and found some ibuprofin. He popped a couple in his mouth, ran the water in his cupped hand to swallow them down, then walked right past me without looking at me, towards the bedroom. I followed him over to my bed where he lay down on his back looking at the ceiling with his arms behind his head. He looked quite comfortable there. I couldn’t help but smile. I wondered if he was mad at me.
I dragged a chair up next to the bed, and he turned to face me. “Let’s get bandaged up,“ I said, sitting down. I grabbed a box of gauze pads.
He was looking at me really intensely, with those eyes. I knew that look in him, it meant one thing. So I put the gauze down, went over to my closet and took a dingy old white t-shirt out and pulled it on over my bikini top. I went back and sat down next to him on the bed with my leg curled under me.
“You still look amazing” he said.
“You look terrible,” I said. “Now let me cover some of these cuts so you don’t mess up my sheets. You already got sand all over them.” I leaned over to put a bandage on his shoulder but he slipped his arms around me and swiftly, effortlessly, pulled me down next to him, nose to nose.
“What are you doing?” I whispered.
He simply leaned forward and kissed me gently on the lips. I closed my eyes and waited for the next one. It seemed like at this point there was no reason not to. He whispered, “Twenty-four hours, Odette, and then I promise I will leave you alone, forever.”
It was so tempting I almost cried. “I’m not doing this anymore,” I said, like a broken record.
“Are you not doing this?” he moved my shirt off my shoulder and kissed it. “Or this?” He whisked my shirt off over my head and I could feel him already tugging at one of the strings of my bathing suit. I tangled my fingers in the back of his hair and moved my knee up over his hip. He smiled, victoriously, then he muttered, “What about this…or this?” as he traced his hands across my belly then moved down to follow with his lips. My heart was pounding and I could barely breathe. He was so intoxicating it was impossible to keep away from him. There was nothing I wanted more, than to see this through…screw responsibility.
He pulled my comforter up and hid us secretly underneath, pressing himself into me so that I could think only of being even closer. But then Chris flashed into my mind and I was shocked at what I was doing. I was about to sit up…perhaps change my mind, but Jake tugged my lower back into him with his lips on my neck. And when the second half of my bathing suit somehow came undone in Jake’s hands, Chris simply left my mind and didn’t come back.
Jake was in his element. He smoothed my hair out of my face and kissed it while his body moved against mine. He was so confident and calm, it was so easy to trust him and I let him do everything that he wanted. There was something different about his touch this time. He was deliciously-urgent, yet caring. It seemed a little like he was really interested what I was feeling, and what I wanted, and he was enjoying that. It was strange that it wasn’t all about him. I thought with slight alarm, that his attention and pleasure was almost…loving.
Then as I lay there, my body tingling with overwhelming joy, I gasped with the shock of my actions and listened to the ocean roar. How amazing to just take and take. Jake drifted off to sleep next to me, coughing sometimes but then settling back down. My heart pounded for what seemed like forever. I sat up and pulled my hair into a high ponytail, slapped an elastic around it and wondered if he really would leave me alone after 24 hours. Probably not. His arm looked terrible. I knew it was my fault that he was so distracted he almost got killed. But now he had gotten what he wanted, what he came here for. I didn’t need to feel sorry for this boy.
I remembered with wonder, how the last time I was with Jake. I didn’t really care if Chris found out. But things were different now. Now Chris must not find out or I would definitely loose him forever, and I didn’t want to.