Posts tagged “Future

Chasing Truth: Chapter 21

Posted on 17/11/2014

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“I’m guessing my time is up.”

Mari didn’t try to hide the bite in her tone. Tyler had an agenda. She would be stupid to forget that. She watched his gaze dip to the stuffed animal. His lips curved at the corners and he took a small step forward. She stopped once more.

He slipped his other hand into the pocket of his jeans and his eyes lifted to rest on her face.

“You’re still mad. I get that. I left the other night when I didn’t want to, with a lot of things still between us. I gave you the time and the space you asked for, but now it’s time for us to talk.”

“You know, I’m noticing a theme here. You make a decision and I’m just supposed to fall in line with it.”

“Are you going to be difficult about this or do I just need to wait you out?”

“Wait me out. And hold your breath while you do it,” she added over her shoulder as she started around him.

He caught her arm, pulling her to him. “Don’t do this.”

Her brow furrowed with fury as she thought about just what he’d ruined. Their relationship had been so easy, so affectionate and amazing. That was now gone.

“I’m not the one doing anything. You did this.”

He hesitated. “Hear me out, Mari. That’s all I’m asking right now.”

She pulled her arm free, but nodded as she took the few stairs up to the door. She barely pushed the door open before he was behind her, following her inside. She could feel his warmth at her back. Then he leaned in, his words tickling her ear.

“Missed you, sweetheart. Spent a whole day at Rocanda thinking about you.”

She closed her eyes against the words as if it would shield her. It was these moments that heaped on the confusion. He wanted to get close to Blake. It was his entire reason for being on the island to begin with. She was a means to an end. Yet, when he said things like that, looked at her as if she mattered…well, she had a hard time remembering that.

She turned and set both the plate and stuffed animal on the table before she made herself face him again.

“You’re using me, Tyler. Don’t think for a moment I’ve forgotten that.”

“I found you that morning at the beach because I knew who you were. You’re one of the few consistent links to Blake and it wasn’t easy to find that out. I’m not going to lie about that and I’m not going to apologize for doing my job. But Mari, you took me out to Rocanda the next day and things started to change. The more I was with you, the more personal it got. I need access to Blake. That hasn’t changed. Neither has what I told you. What’s between us is between us and that’s real. Maybe we don’t like how we got here, but that doesn’t make it any less real. Don’t sit there and tell me it’s not.”

Arguing about it was getting her nowhere and she was afraid if she wasn’t careful Tyler would talk her into believing him. She tried another angle.

“So let me make sure I’ve got this right. You want to get close enough to Blake to…investigate? Figure out whether or not he’s really into trafficking…things?”

She’d done her best to shy away from the things Tyler hinted Blake might be involved with. There were years of abandonment and now animosity between them, but that didn’t mean she wanted him to be that kind of man.

Tyler’s eyes never softened, never left her, but he allowed the subject change.

“I need to get information.”

She chewed her bottom lip and then forced out a long hard breath. “Then right now we need the same thing.  As far as everyone else is concerned we’re still together and everything’s good. When he shows, you’re the boyfriend and you can do whatever it is you need to do.”

She thought he would smile and acknowledge her concession as his victory. Maybe he would even assume everything was good between them again. He did none of those things. His eyes seemed to darken as he crowded her.

“As far as everyone else is concerned?” he echoed quietly.

“That’s what I said.”

“And as far as we’re concerned?”

His voice was softer, but she wasn’t fooled. Still, she held her ground without breaking the stare.

“We’re two people helping each other reach a goal.”

He was shaking his head before she even finished. “Not good enough, Marielle.”

“Well it’s going to have to be because that’s all we’ve got.”

He continued crowding closer until she took a few involuntary steps back. Her back came up against the edge of the counter, halting her retreat. Tyler came closer still and cupped her face. His words were slow and pointed.

“You do not come into my life and make me feel things I swore I would never feel for a woman and then dismiss me. I lied to you. I owned up to that. I’m asking you to work through it with me. For me. If I could’ve met you another way, without all this between us, I would take it in a heartbeat. I can’t do that.  This is the hand we’ve got, baby. Play it out with me. Give me a chance to show you we can turn it into a winning hand.”

Her heart beat far too fast and his serious gaze held her frozen.

“I don’t know if I can trust you,” she finally whispered.

“Let me show you that you can,” he whispered back.

She closed her eyes against the force of his gaze. “If I decide it’s not working, we go back to my plan.”

He smiled and kissed her forehead. “We won’t need your plan.”

With those words he confirmed her fears. Tyler was talking her into believing him.

 

<< Chapter 20 || Chapter 22 >> 

Chasing Truth: Chapter 1

Posted on 21/06/2014

fishing

Water lapped gently at her chest as if embracing and welcoming her. She smiled, parting the waves with strong and sure strokes. Only an hour back on the island and she wasn’t able to resist the call of the ocean. Five years of college and a double major in recreation and finance later, she was here. Marielle Drake was finally home.

She changed course and struck out for the sandbar farther out, her mind on those years. Her uncle’s marriage was the spark she needed to get out of her comfort zone. Raoul was her guardian, the only father she knew and when he married Allison she realized just how much she structured her life around him. As much as he had raised her, she had taken care of her mother’s brother as well. Her life had been consumed with their tour guide business and looking after her uncle. The sudden desire for college, to get away was birthed.

She wasn’t even halfway finished when she realized school wasn’t a true desire for her. She yearned for the turbulent waves, wild jungles, and even the most obnoxious of clients. Still, she stuck to her commitments and returned to Sakina two degrees richer. Not that the degrees mattered. She’d been knee deep in tours and trips since she was old enough to walk. No professor could teach the art of guiding.

Her thoughts drifted from college as she flipped onto her back for a short rest, floating near the very spot she nearly drowned at ten years old. Her face burned at the memory. Carlos Paulson, island bully at the time, had teased all the girls about their inability to reach the sandbar and she’d been consumed with making him eat his words. Halfway to the bar her arms grew tired and breath burned in her chest. Keon Greco had seen her struggle and swam out to her rescue. The mortification was still as strong now as it was all those years ago even though most referred to her as a fish in the water these days.

She shaded her eyes from the sweltering sun when she heard a whistle and spotted a lone figuring coming down the beach. A slow smile curved her lips and she gave up on the sandbar, turning back toward the shore. In a few short minutes, she was nearing the sand again.

“I knew I’d find you here,” the tall brown skinned man greeted, holding a towel out as she rose from the water. His slenderness was deceptive, fine muscles hidden beneath the loose shirt. She could remember the weight of the packs they carried up through the trails for camping trips. The gray spotting his rich brown hair reminded her of just how much time had passed. The perpetual smile and wrinkles at corner of his eyes told her it had passed well for him.

“Everyone knows to find me here.” She laughed and let Raoul wrap her in the towel as he had when she was child. “The water feels great today. It’s been way too long.”

“There’s a party for you in less than an hour and you’re roaming the waters like a mermaid.”

“I haven’t forgotten the party. I’ll be ready in time. It is just a small casual thing, right?”

“The guest list may have grown since the last time you looked at it.”

She shook her head, but the smile never faded. “I’m sure it has.”

He dropped an arm around her as they started up the beach. “It is good to have you home, Mari. Very good.”

“It’s good to be home. I missed this. All of it.” Why she ever thought she would be happy away from the island was something she would never understand. Sometimes she thought she didn’t know who she was but she learned that whoever that person was, she was firmly tied to Sakina.

“Did you find what you were looking for? Away in town?” Raoul asked as if sensing her thoughts.

She sighed and rested her head against his shoulder. She’d imagined some grand experience away at school when she would realize exactly who she wanted to be and what she wanted to do in life. She’d had fun but ultimately the time away had only shown her just how much Sakina was home.

“No, but I remembered where home is.”

<<Cover Page || Chapter 2>>

 

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