Posts tagged “Beach walk

Chasing Truth: Chapter 50

Posted on 10/07/2020

“What are you working on?”

Mari glanced up from the notebook where she was planning out the tour schedule at her dining room table. Reese stood with his hands in his pockets a few feet away, just outside of the hall. “Schedule for next week,” she murmured as she looked back down.

“Schedule yourself off.”

“And why would I be doing that?”

“I talked to Blake.”

Mari lost all interest in the schedule then.

“We had to adjust the timeline to account for some other things,” Reese continued. “He’ll be able to get out here in another two to three days.”

“Really?” she asked, unable to hide her excitement and not trying to. “How long is he going to be able to stay?”

“We don’t know that yet. A couple of days maybe.”

“Oh. Well, I don’t need to be off the whole week then.”

“You want to be on the schedule if it happens he can stay longer?”

“Okay, maybe you have a point. The whole week it is.”

She balled up the paper she’d been working on and tossed it to the side. She drew lines on a new sheet and started reworking her plans. A few moments later she registered Reese hadn’t moved from his spot and was still watching her.

“Did you still want to walk the beach today?” he asked

“Yes,” she returned immediately without looking up.

“You need to come now then. I don’t want you out once it starts to get darker.”

“Seriously? First, you completely wreck my scheduling and now you’re rushing me?”

“So you don’t want to walk?”

She glared at him. 

“I’ll meet you at the door,” he said simply and turned away.

Muttering to herself, Mari pushed back from the table to go in search of her shoes. He was at the door as promised when she walked into the living room with her sandals. As usual, he walked out first. She waited obediently for his all-clear before she joined him outside. Only once the door was locked did they start walking. Neither of them spoke until they started down the path to the beach. 

“Do you think he bought it?” she finally asked.

She’d wanted Reese to remove the bugs immediately once he told her about them, but he warned it would tip their hand and he could use them to his advantage if he left them in place. Given their plan now, she could admit he was right.

“He wants Blake and he asked you more than once about his plans to come back,” Reese answered.
“He’ll bite.”

She blew out a hard breath. “I still haven’t worked out whether that’s good or bad.”

“It’s not for you to worry about.”

She snorted at the easily delivered words but didn’t waste her time arguing with him about it. They continued on in silence as sand slowly replaced gravel and the sea breeze danced over their skin. 

For once Mari’s focus wasn’t on the water or how good it felt to be walking on the shore. She kicked at the sand. 

“Are you going to be mad at me forever?” she asked her feet.

Silence. It stretched out for a moment. Two. Hesitantly she peeked at him from the corner of her eye.

“I’m not mad at you,” he said what felt like an hour later.

“If this is you not mad, I’d hate to piss you off,” she mumbled.

His soft huff of amusement sent hope flooding through her.  “I have a job to do. Two jobs. Protect you and protect Blake. I’m trying to protect Blake from a distance and I’m behind the curve on a threat. I have to focus right now.”

She thought that over and admitted to herself he wasn’t wrong. 

“I’m not happy you kept that from me, but Blake and I were strangers to you. I understand why you did it.”

Mari’s feet brought her closer to him even as she bowed her head in relief. Her arm brushed against his as they kept walking. Nibbling at her bottom lip, she forced herself to look up at him. 

“Thank you. Your friendship means something to me,” she confessed quietly. “And maybe that’s me assuming we’re friends, but I feel like we are after spending all this time together and I don’t want to lose that.”

“It’s not you assuming. I-“

The sound of her ringtone cut through his words. She clenched her teeth to bite back the groan wanting to rip free. What had he been about to say?

He was looking at her expectantly now though so she pulled the phone from her pocket. They both looked down at the screen. 

Tyler calling.

Reese nodded in encouragement and she swiped her thumb over the screen to answer.

“Hey, Tyler.”

“Hey, sweetheart. How are things going?”

“They’re good. Reese and I are just walking the beach.”

“I should’ve known,” he teased. “I was just calling to let you know I’m wrapping things up here. I’ll be home in a couple of days.”

“That’s great! I can’t wait to see you.”

“I can’t wait to see you either. I miss you. I’ll let you know as soon as I have my ticket.” He paused for a moment. “Dad’s calling so I gotta run. Just wanted to let you know. See you soon.”

“See you soon,” she echoed before ending the call.

“When’s he coming?”

“Two days.”

Reese nodded. It was what they wanted. Almost more than that, she wanted to know what he would have said if Tyler hadn’t chosen that moment to call. The moment was lost now though. Reese was already pulling out his own phone to confirm the rest of their plans. He was focused. She needed to be too.


<< Chapter 49 Chapter 51 >>

Chasing Truth: Chapter 46

Posted on 29/05/2020

Valentine's Day Sunset Beach Dates in Tampa Bay Clearwater St Pete

Dragging her feet through the sand, Mari avoided looking at Reese. For once, the sound of the waves didn’t relax her. Was she really going to tell him the truth about Tyler? The truth she hadn’t told anyone and barely acknowledged herself? Was it even the right thing to do? Was she judging Tyler too harshly? Was she about to give criminals the advantage and potentially the help they needed to get away with crimes?

She wished she could talk to Julia and Leilani first, but even that had grown complicated because they didn’t know the entire truth. Reese knew something was on her mind and yet he hadn’t pressed once since they started their walk along the beach. He just walked alongside her. Steady. Present.

Unable to stall any longer, she broke the silence. “I need to tell you something. You’re going to be mad. I’m sorry, so please try to remember that after I tell you.”

A smooth mask slid into place, removing all traces of the friendly Reese she’d come to know. Mari mourned the loss even as she told herself she needed to get used to it. Things would never be the same after this.

“I’m listening,” he said.

She inhaled deeply and blurted out the words, “Tyler knows who Blake is.”

Reese straightened as his eyes narrowed. “What do you mean?”

“He was only on the island to find a way to get closer to Blake to investigate him.”

Blank Reese was gone. In his place was a hard man she never wanted to cross.

“Start from the beginning. How did you meet Tyler?”

“He was at my welcome home party and showed up at the shop the next day asking to go hiking with me sometime. Things just developed from there. I caught him on my laptop one night. It wasn’t a big deal except he was clearly trying to hide he’d been on it and my phone. I confronted him and that’s when he told me about Blake.”

“That’s when you asked Raoul about him?”

“A couple of days later, yes.”

“What is he investigating?”

“He told me that he suspected Blake was involved with trafficking and it’s his job to find out.”

“Did he say who he works for?”

“No, he wouldn’t tell me that.”

“What have you told him? And now is not the time to hold anything back, Marielle. I need to know everything you’ve told him, everything he knows.”

Mari scrubbed a hand over her face as she tried to recall all of the conversations she’d had with Tyler. Being on the other end of Reese’s cold demeanor was harder than she thought it would be.

“He knows Gage is Blake’s brother. He knew that before you guys ever came. He said that was his confirmation that Blake was my dad, because Gage came around after we started dating.”

“What else?”

“He knew when Blake was coming. He wasn’t expecting you. He asked questions. I figured you were his bodyguard the first day, but I just told Tyler you two had been friends for a long time. He probably guessed it was more than that, but I never confirmed.”

“Keep going. I need you to think. Anything you might have told him, no matter how small it seems.”

She scratched the back of her head. There were so many conversations, so many questions Tyler asked.

“I told him when Blake was leaving. That Gage was leaving with him. He knew that you were staying to keep an eye on me. I told him a few days, didn’t say exactly how long. He wanted to know when Blake was coming back or when I might be going to visit him, but I just told him we hadn’t talked about that. He told me they were just monitoring Blake and he would let me know if anything major changed.”

“Anything else that stands out?”

“No…well…there was a group with a particular guy Tyler was pretty tense about. His name was Damon. He made me nervous when he showed up so I had Keon do the tour with me, but Tyler had stopped by. He was adamant Keon go with me, even before he knew I had already asked him to. It wasn’t really anything either of them said, but their interaction felt tense. Tyler said it was jealousy but…” She trailed off with a shrug.

“Give me a description.”

“Tall, broad shoulders, solid and kind of bulky build. His hair was a light brown, his skin a darker brown. It was a while ago, so it’s not exactly fresh. Brown eyes too, I think.”

“How did he pay?”

“In cash.”

“Any chance he’s on tape from the shop?”

She shook her head. “It was too long ago now.”

“Nothing else?” he pushed.

“No. I didn’t really have much to tell and what I did have, I…I didn’t tell him a lot…It didn’t feel right, but it didn’t feel wrong. Until it did.”

“You didn’t know who to trust,” Reese finished for her. “So what changed? Why tell me this now?”

The sand became fascinating. “I started getting to know Blake…and you…Tyler’s lied before. He said he was going home to spend time with the man who raised him, but when he called today he asked about Blake and said he couldn’t just put work on hold. It made me…nervous.”

“We’re going back to the house,” he said simply and turned in that direction. “You need to act like everything is normal when we get there. Don’t talk about this conversation.”

Her brow wrinkled as her shoulders slumped, but she didn’t argue. She was busy wondering how much the truth was going to cost her.

<< Chapter 45                              Chapter 47 >>

  

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: