Hearts are fragile, and mine's been shattered before...
I have always thought of love in the abstract, never something to come true. My past has shown me time after time that those who are supposed to love you will only lead you to disappointment. Destiny, fate, chance...those are things that I never believed in.
A chance encounter with a distinct pair of blue eyes and a heart-melting smile challenges my knowledge of life and love.
Because there's something about this stranger that has me believing in the possibility of more...
“This is what I want to do this afternoon. I want to have a lazy day in the park with you.”
My heart expands as he runs his hands down my arms, pulling me close to his chest.
“That sounds perfect.”
He leads us down a path lined with lush green trees overhead. He points out the many gardens that line the park until we come across the perfect spot.
“There,” Andrew says, referring to a large shady tree just in front of us. “That looks like a good place.”
We walk to the tree and he gently pulls me down between his legs as he props himself against the large trunk. My arm over my knees, pulling them to my chest. But then I’m pulled back as warm arms wrap around me, anchoring my body to his. He’s holding me like he never wants to let me go.
“So this is what you wanted to do the most with me today?” I ask, craning my neck to the side to get a good look at him. He leans into me, kissing my forehead with a slight smile. I relax into his body, letting my head fall onto his shoulder. Our fingers play with each other, gently twisting around and exploring the expense of skin on each other’s forearms.
“Yes, this is what I wanted to do with you today. I just want to lay here in the park with you, holding you in my arms.”
That has to be one of the most romantic things anyone has ever said to me. Okay, so no one has ever actually said anything romantic to me before Andrew but still. To him, it seems to be the most natural thing to do. It’s like second nature the way he fusses over me or makes sure that I never have to open my own door. That’s just a part of Andrew, it’s who he is and it’s a part of him I absolutely have come to love and adore.
“I love it. Sounds like the perfect way to spend the day.”
I lean over, placing a small row of kisses against his jaw before relaxing back into him. The slight chill of the autumn breeze hardly affects me, not with the heat of Andrew completely surrounding me, keeping me safe and warm. He’s like my own personal blanket, sheltering me from the outside elements.
The sway of the branches mesmerizes me, watching them blow softly with the wind. The excited giggles of nearby children float with the breeze, along with the exotic fragrance of wildflowers. It’s like sensory overload. I remove my sunglasses, casting them to the side, enjoying the sun’s rays at it hits my face through the leaves.
“You travel a lot for work, right?” I ask.
He nods his head. “Not terribly often but enough. It all depends on if there’s something that needs to be done at one of the centers or if I need to scout out new places to build one.”
“Do you find it difficult being away often?”
“Sometimes. There are days where I would much rather be relaxing at home or out with my mates instead of sitting in hotel rooms in other countries. But it comes with the job.”
“Okay, so where is the most exciting place that you’ve traveled to so far?”
Andrew pauses to think about his answer. “For work or for holiday?”
“Turks and Caicos. A bunch of my mates and I decided to go on a holiday there after graduation. We stayed on the Grand Turk Island at one of the all-inclusive resorts there. It was pure heaven. Lots of sun, turquoise blue water and white sand beaches everywhere. We even did some snorkeling at the coral reefs. It was a grand holiday before joining the Foundation on a permanent basis.”
I smile and close my eyes, picturing those white sand beaches as he describes them. “That sounds like heaven. I’d love to go somewhere like that.”
“What about you? Where’s the most exciting place that you’ve traveled before?”
I give a nervous laugh and fidget with my fingers. “You mean outside of London?”
“Yes, besides here,” he laughs into my hair.
“Well, I haven’t really been anywhere before. I didn’t travel much as a child. We didn’t exactly do family vacations or anything like that.”
I sit up slightly and take a deep breath, blowing it out slowly. Well, it’s now or never.
Jodie Larson is a wife and mother to four beautiful girls, making their home in northern Minnesota along the shore of Lake Superior. When she isn’t running around to various activities or working her regular job, you can find her sitting in her favorite spot reading her new favorite book or camped out somewhere quiet trying to write her next manuscript. She’s addicted to reading (just ask her kids or husband) and loves talking books even more with her friends. She’s also a lover of all things romance and happily ever afters, whether in movies or in books, as shown in her extensive collection of both.