All of the love we left behind
Watching the flash backs intertwine
Memories I will never find
So I’ll love whatever you become
And forget the reckless things we’ve done
I think our lives have just begun I think our lives have just begun
And I’ll feel my world crumbling
And I’ll feel my life crumbling
And feel my soul crumbling away
And falling away, falling away with you
Morning brings an amazing sense of peace with my man wrapped around me and the memory of having finally admitted to Elliot how I feel. I have no idea what time he came up to our room last night and I am both touched and disturbed by the idea that he chose not to wake me up to continue our ‘discussion’ about discipline. God, I was so hot for him last night when he spanked me and the thought of it now has me squirming. That and the raging hard on pressing into my back. Lifting the sheet I take a quick peak and then groan as I slip out of the bed to go to the bathroom.
When I return disappointment descends. Elliot hasn’t woken up, which is so not like him. Perhaps he was up really late with Dad. Meanwhile I am here with all of this pent up sexual energy and nowhere to go. What would Elliot do? Exercise! Instead of going down to the pool I head out to the beach to run, something I haven’t done since…well I don’t really remember.
The air is so fresh, the sea sparkling, reflecting how light I feel in my heart and I want to laugh as I sprint along the shoreline. I keep the pace gentle, sucking the fresh air into my lungs and wondering why I don’t do this more often. Oh yeah, cos I became jock averse when I reached college. Some kids are playing on the sand near the villa pathway when I return half an hour later, challenging each other to perform hand stands and cartwheels. I slow down to watch them as they laugh and tease each other. Without much thought I break into a sprint, going into a full tumble combination that I haven’t performed in four years. Cartwheel, round off, hand spring, hand spring, aerial, backflip, backflip. As I complete the kids offer a around of applause and I give them a laughing curtsy saluting them as I turn to run up the jungle track, straight into that hard muscular chest I love so well.
Elliot steps back from me to start a slow clap. Blushing, I give him a flirty giggling smile. Just like every bimbo you have ever hated in your life, Kate. My how the tables have turned. He wraps me in his arms his expression moving from admiration to concern in a heartbeat.
“Babe, are you alright? Where were you?” Sweet, he was worried about me.
“Good morning.” Smiling I pull him down for a kiss. “You are looking very sexy this morning Mr Grey. What brings you to my beach this early?”
“Your beach? I see…one run and you are suddenly in the real estate game.”
“Mmmm, necessary really. Now I can build sand castles with my handsome prince.”
” You know I will build a kingdom for you princess, all you have to do is ask.” I laugh at how completely corny he is and pull him in for another passionate kiss which he shifts into one of his trademark dips while the kids cheer and applaud. We both turn to them and bow before he takes my hand and leads me back to the villa for breakfast.
A sunglass-wearing Ethan slumps at the table, coffee in one hand and head in the other.
“Oh, bro, someone had a big night last night, huh?” Running my hand along his shoulder I vindictively scrape the chair along the ground as I thump myself down.
“Ohh…Do you have to sit so loud?” The huskiness in his voice is a dead giveaway that there was a lot of loud drunken singing in his recent past. The temptation is too much so I reach over to ruffle his hair bringing on more groans and Elliot chuckles watching our exchange.
“You shouldn’t run with the crowd if you can’t keep up, man.” Elliot’s tease earns a scowl.
“Fuck off, Elliot. You were out as late as I was, I saw you across the road at Zanzibar’s.” Ethan grumbles and I turn a questioning look on Elliot. What does he mean by that? Elliot just shrugs and then helps himself to a stack of pancakes.
“Not me man..” Shoving a mouthful of pancake and syrup Elliot looks across at Ethan. A frown settles on to Ethan’s face although I can’t really read his expression through the sunglasses.
“You must have an ugly double.”
“Nah, they made me and they broke the mold.” I roll my eyes. Now that I know Elliot, I know that the ego is a defense mechanism. I giggle and Elliot grins causing Ethan to frown even more.
Shopping in the local markets of Bridgetown is a real treat. We run into Mom who is picking up local crafts and cloth, her way of collecting inspiration for a future design collection. My Dad is with her carrying her purchases and holding her hand like a besotted teenager. The four of us spend the morning meandering through the streets, stopping for fresh juices and finally grabbing a light lunch before heading back to the villa for a swim.
The beach is relatively quiet when we arrive there in that afternoon. Most people have sought cooler venues to cope with the afternoon heat. The sand is pristine white and the water clear and sparkling. We locate a couple of sun loungers and settle under an expansive umbrella to sunbake.
“Are you going to tell me about your conversation with my Dad.” Elliot is rubbing a cooling lotion into my back in a sensual circular motion. Not too sure if he is protecting my skin from the sun as much as feeling me up. I need to keep talking to stop thinking lewd thoughts about my boyfriend.
“I am sure you already know most of what he had to say.” He looks exhausted as he puts the top on the bottle and lies back on the chair pulling his sunglasses down over his eyes. The epitome of Barbados chic lying there in his board shorts with a light shirt open revealing his bare muscled chest underneath. “I would tell you but I would have to kill you.”
I laugh a little too bitterly, “Making jokes to put me off, Mr Grey” Oh, so we are back to keeping secrets. I try not to let the frustration show on my face.
“Yeah, something like that. Have you seen the photographs?.” I shake my head and he reaches over to take my hand lifting it up to his mouth. “Well, I would just as soon keep it like that for a little while longer, if you don’t mind. There are a lot of things we need to talk about, and I want to be completely honest with you about it but trust me right now, on a public beach, is not the time. The good news is that it took me about ten minutes to work out where the threat is coming from and I think we can nail this bastard. So I don’t want you to worry.”
His smile lights up his face and I wonder why I keep assuming the worst. He wants to tell me and he will in time. He loves me. Now I want to, no I need to trust him and he deserves my trust.
Suddenly a shout goes up from the water. A group of kids are struggling against a rip about 50 yards out from the beach,their bodies flailing in the water and the sound of desperation from the small group of watchers down by the waterline. We are both up and out of our seat,running hard down to the waters edge along with the half dozen or so people around us. From here we can see four bodies in the water, three teens and a child who looks to be about ten years old. Two on-duty lifeguards run down with flotation devices charging straight past us into the water.
Without thinking Elliot and I pick up the extra flotation devices they have dropped and follow them in until we are waist deep. From here we wait and watch ready to assist as the life guards come in.
The guards reach them quickly and we see there is a tussle as the older youths scramble to the security of the older, stronger swimmers. There is panic in their body language and we see one of the guards going under. The younger child, a boy and one of the older kids, a girl are becoming weaker and for a moment the boy disappears under the water line. Elliot is quickly on the move heading out to the tiring body. I follow in his wake but I am a stronger swimmer and overtake him quickly.
Once we reach them we see that the boy has disappeared completely. The life guards are already managing two of the older children and are heading back into the beach.
“Kate, take her in.”
I grab the older girl who is still above the water line but flagging in energy. She is unconscious and I turn her on her back and begin swimming as fast as I can for the shore. Glancing back I can see Elliot diving to find the other child. He comes up empty handed and goes down again. By the time I get to the shore he has gone down four times looking for the small body. Eventually he surfaces about 20 yards from where I left him, having been carried by the rip. Relief floods through me when I see he has a small body in his arms.
The teens are weak but breathing and sitting up on the beach so one of the lifeguards heads back into the water to assist Elliot who is exhausted. The other comes to me and we begin administering CPR on the girl I have brought in who is now not breathing on her own. My body is trembling and weak but we continue our efforts finally eliciting a cough and expulsion of water as she begins breathing again unassisted. I cradle her in my arms as the lifeguard moves off to assist with the little boy that Elliot and the other guard have just carried on to the beach.
Elliot is breathing hard, looking across at me with a worried glance and shakes his head as the guards try to bring the boy back to life. As we all watch on they are starting to flag and I pass the girl over to another bystander who has brought towels and blankets down to the shoreline. Fifteen minutes pass with no result and I move in to take over the breathing. After a few more minutes Elliot takes over the compressions to give the other guard a break. In the distance we can hear an ambulance wail but neither of us stop working and I am willing this little boy to come back to life. Beside us the small group of saved children are being wrapped up by the bystanders in towels and my mind registers that there is soft sobbing. Finally, with my mouth over the young boy I feel a convulsive cough and I pull away as Elliot quickly rolls his frail body into the recovery position and we help him to expel the excess fluid.
The two sets of ambulance paramedics have arrived on the beach with stretchers and oxygen. The crowd parts to allow them through and they take over doing obs on the victims eventually getting them into stretchers on the back of the surf rescue quad bikes that have arrived from somewhere further up the beach. Everyone is driven off the beach with the newly arrived lifeguard contingent shepherding the crowds back. Elliot and I are checked out and given the all clear before being escorted back to our villa.
News has filtered back to the villa and we say very little to each other as my parents fold us both into hugs and guide us up to our room. With the door closed I finally step into his arms. We are both shaking with excess adrenalin and the cold of the sea still taking hold of our core temperatures. The tears come in a steady stream as relief kicks in and takes over from the shock. Our bodies are very still, no desperate attempt at relief through life affirming sex, just stillness and safety in our closeness. When I look up at him I notice that he is crying too and I feel so incredibly humbled to be loved by this strong sensitive man.
“Are you okay?” Such a benignly stupid question but his tears are beautiful and worrying.
“I thought I had lost him.” His voice is a hoarse whisper filled with loss. My hands go to his face.
“Its okay, baby. He is okay and it is all due to you. You saved him.” My teary eyes are trying desperately to make him focus on me. Come back, from wherever you are sweetheart, come back to me. But his eyes are distant and longing. Lost. Then he looks at me, registers my presence and his large body starts to crumble.
“Elliot, shit.” I am taken to the floor with the weight of him and he is clinging to me sobbing uncontrollably. “Baby, please. We did it, we saved them, you saved that little boy. It is all going to be fine.”
“I didn’t save him, I couldn’t save him.” My strong beautiful man is falling apart in my arms and I don’t understand. He is lost inside some other memory and I can’t reach him. “I tried, I tried to get to him but I couldn’t, I couldn’t save him.”
Elliot’s arms are wrapped around my waist and his head is buried against my chest. His body is shuddering with wracking sobs and all I can do is hold him and kiss his blonde hair as he cries.
“Tell me, sweetheart, who couldn’t you save.” Whatever this is it has very little to do with today any more. His mind has traveled far away in time and distance and I am trying desperately to pull him back to me.
“Chris, I couldn’t save my brother.”
“Baby, Christian is fine.” I don’t understand any of this and he is starting to scare me.
Another wave of heart wrenching sobs overtakes him and I hold him firm. Finally he manages to choke out, “No, Christopher, my birth brother.” Shit, you had a brother? My mind is going a million miles an hour now as I process this. I know that all the Grey children were adopted. Christian and Elliot at the same time, Elliot was 6 years old, Christian was 4. That was Detroit. Then a year later baby Mia was adopted in Seattle. I know this from my research for the interview with Christian. It is all public record but not their respective backgrounds. Something happened to Elliot’s birth brother and he feels responsible but how could he have been. He was just a little boy. Oh baby, what haunts you?
We stay like this until his crying stops and for once in my life I am silent. Taking it all in, wanting him to talk but willing his soul back together before he does. There will be time enough to talk but not now. Just hold him, just love him. Just be. Finally I feel the shuddering sobs become a tremor against the cold and I know I can now safely get him to move. I need to get him warm again.
Standing up I go to the bathroom to run the tub but it is already full. Either the housekeeper or my mother must have prepared this for us and I am grateful. The tub is a large outdoor bowl with spa jets that I turn on to get the water warming up again. I go back into the room and pull Elliot to his feet. Thankfully he is able to assist me and he comes along willingly. In the bathroom I strip him gently and lead him over to the tub. I can’t help but admire his firm strong body as he steps into the water and sinks down. I quickly strip and step in then pull him towards me so that he is sitting between my legs. I hold him firmly willing him warm with the water and my body and eventually his tremors stop. He relaxes back against me allowing me to wash him in gentle strokes.
Soon his face tilts up towards mine and I lean in to kiss him. A chaste kiss that is hesitant to shatter his calm but then it builds as it always does until our tongues are thrashing wildly for supremacy. He turns our bodies in a swift movement so that now I am straddling his body and his erection is pressed firmly against me. Strong arms envelope me and his hands massage my skin and muscles which are aching from cold and exertion. He feels so good and my hands begin to reciprocate, kneading his firm arms and shoulders bringing his strength back.
Lifting me he slips a hand between my legs and finds my cleft massaging it firmly as he slides his fingers inside me. We both groan with the sheer pleasure of it and I can feel him getting harder. His mouth trails down my torso to find my breasts and he sucks hard on my nipples until I give a little scream with the pleasure and pain of his bite. I rise and impale myself on his penis thrusting down hard and sharp. I capture his mouth with mine again and thrust my tongue with equal force tasting the residual salt from the sea. We begin to move and it is strong and firm, pleasure building fast as I clench my pelvic muscles firmly around his long hard shaft. The water is sloshing over the sides of the bath but we are in a frenzy not noticing the noise of our lovemaking as it echoes out across the valley.
With a scream I release around him, his fingers massaging my clit as he thrusts into me again gaining his own release. We grasp each other breathing hard both with tears of joy and sadness mingled on our cheeks. It has all been too much this last few hours of combat and fury, as we desperately try to hold ourselves together. Looking into his eyes I see his pain, his loss, but I also see the sheer joy of living and the intensity of his love writ large. This man loves me. I am his heart and soul and I know beyond all doubt that he is mine.
He holds me in this position, firmly inside me as we lounge in the water. I move and he is instantly hard inside me again. Our lovemaking is slower and quieter this time, our kisses more circumspect and gentle. This love is with reverence and awe and we come together in the same way.
Our recovery this time is quicker our bodies pull apart and he turns me so that I am leaning back against his strong form. He is back, my beautiful strong man, and he has control and comfort in our love once more. I relax my breathing against his chest as he lathers soap across my body. Taking my long tresses in his hand he begins to wash my hair with the sweet scented shampoo. He rinses carefully and then conditions it leaving it in while I turn and wash his hair. His locks are long and straight around his face, the eternal beach boy look. His blue eyes blaze with intensity as he looks into mine. So much love.
Eventually we rinse and rise from the warm water, drying each other then wrapping ourselves in robes. We emerge into our room to find that a meal has been set on the balcony. I must remember to thank my mother for this. Somehow she knows what we both need in the aftermath of this crisis and a quiet private dinner is exactly right. There is a cool crisp white wine, some baked whole fish with vegetables smothered in a coconut cream sauce. Some freshly baked bread. So simple and delicious. We eat quietly, holding hands.
“Christopher was two years younger than me.” Elliot begins without any prompting from me and I pause my fork a fraction. His eyes are gazing out to sea and he starts to talk. “We lived in Ann Arbor, my mom was a cultural anthropologist, a professor from Melbourne, Australia. She had moved us to the US when I was three years old, after our Dad died in a mining accident in Western Australia. We had no other family, nothing that tied her to home so she went where she could get work. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. That day we were staying at a cabin at Ford Lake. It was out of season but warm enough during the day for us to swim. Christopher and I got on most of the time since it was just the three of us but like all brothers we liked to challenge each other. So I was daring him to jump off the dock. He was scared but he didn’t want to admit it. It took a while and a lot of shit from me but eventually he did it. Took a big run up and then tried to pull up too late. Instead of going in feet first he flipped in head first. He must have knocked himself out cause he just sunk like a stone. I thought he was kidding around at first but then he didn’t come up. I started diving down to try and find him but it was so dark in the water and I couldn’t find him. Then my mom came running over from the beach, she had been cooking on the barbeque but watching us like she always did. Only now she was panicking and yelling at me. I went down again and I found him but his foot was caught and I couldn’t get him loose. I came up to the surface for breath and then tried again. I could see his face under the water and it was so calm, you know. Just still and staring at me. I see that face in my dreams. And I just couldn’t get his foot free.”
Tears are coursing down my cheeks as he talks. It is eerie how calm he is now.
“Next thing I know my mom was in the water pushing me away. She shouted at me to get out, to go back to the cabin and get a blanket. So I did as she asked. I was so scared and I ran as hard as I could to get there and then back out to the dock. It must have taken me fifteen minutes, no more than that. When I came back out there were people at the end of the dock but I pushed my way through with the blanket like my mom had asked me to do. Only when I got there she was face down in the water, with Chris’ hand in hers. They were just floating there all peaceful and I yelled at them to get out of the water but they weren’t listening to me. Some men hauled their bodies out of the water but they couldn’t save them. My brother had drowned, my mother had a heart attack trying to save him. And I killed them both.”
Quickly he pulls his hand out of mine as if it hurts to touch me. No, Elliot, you didn’t kill them. It was a tragic accident, nothing more. But I can see the pain and I know that there is nothing I can say to take away that guilt.
“I was five years old, I had killed my brother and my mother. I had no family back in Australia, certainly nobody who wanted me. I spent a year in the system in Detroit. Grace had done some itinerant lecturing at the university and she was my mom’s best friend so she took me in as a foster child. It took a year of fighting but eventually she and Carrick had been allowed to legally adopt me. They saved me.”
My heart is breaking for the small boy who lost his family. For the man who is pulling away from my touch. I can tell that I am going to have to fight for him now. Something in this admission has taken him from me and taken a little of himself too.
“Elliot, I am so sorry.”
“Don’t. Don’t be sorry for me, don’t be sorry for my loss. It has been too many years of sorry.” I can feel the bitterness in his words.
“No. I am sorry that today has brought it all back to you. I am sorry that the memories are still so very raw. But I will not be sorry that you are here. That you were here for that little boy today. You saved him and I can’t be sorry for that.”
Turning he looks at me and I can see a glimmer of something like hope. Then the shutters go down. He walks past me and starts to get dressed. It is after 9pm and his actions startle me but then I guess he just needs to get out and blow off some steam. I start to dress as well. He says nothing for a moment as he finishes dressing then he walks over to the door.
“I think you better stay here.” He says quietly.
“What? No, I will come with you, I am happy to.” I say as I throw a tank top over my head.
“No, Kate. I don’t want you to. Stay here. Go to sleep.” His voice is too calm and controlled.
“I’m not going to sleep without you. Wait a moment while I throw a face on.” I walk into the bathroom to put on some makeup but when I come out he is gone. Picking up my wallet and a pair of heels I race downstairs to catch him but he is not there.