Nolan Parker and Clara Lawrence never saw eye to eye. In fact, if you asked Clara she would tell you that Nolan hated everything about her. They never shared any form of connection beside Alex Lawrence.
She was Alex’s bratty sister and he was Alex’s best friend, they never stood a chance.
That was until the very moment Clara opens her front door to find Noel at her doorstep.
Falling in love with each other was the last thing either of them expected.
But then it happened.
And sometimes, you just have to love for all your days and all your reasons.
Clara’s squinted her eyes at Noel, and he stopped his laugh immediately.
“What?” he asked.
“If we are going to enjoy the sun and this day then you need to take that shirt off... now!” Clara ordered before she stood up and looked down at him with a raised eyebrow.
“What have you done with my Clara?” Noel sarcastically asked as he, too, stood.
“Yours, you say?” Clara tilted her head and a smile spread across his face. He wrapped his arms around Clara’s waist, bringing her closer as she circled her arms around his neck.
“Yes, but you should know that it’s you who completely owns me. Clara Lawrence, you own the one thing no woman has ever come close to holding and that’s my heart. I may have been with other women before you, but they don’t matter. You should know that if you take off, I won’t make any promises about watching you walk away. I plan on running after you and making you change your mind. I plan on begging you until my very last breath to stop running from me.
“I don’t want you to feel another inch of sadness again. Not when I’m around, because I intend on making you happy for the rest of your days. I promise, Clara, I’ll count every grain of sand on this beach if it makes you happy. I’ll do what it takes, because it was always you, and it took me a stupid amount of time to realise it.” Not a single lie came from his mouth. She looked stunned at his words. Her eyes filled with unshed tears. Clara removed her arms from his neck and placed both hands on his cheeks, running her thumbs along his cheekbones. “What happened to the jerk?” she asked. Clara’s unshed tears glistened her big brown eyes. She blinked, and they fell freely. “The jerk?” “Yeah, the jerk that stood at my front door and called me a brat. Said he’d rather swim with sharks than be around me, who teased me and pranced around my apartment naked. I kinda miss him. What happened to him?” Her teasing smile had Noel smirking.
That stupid jerk fell in love.
“Is that so? You miss me being a jerk?”
“Correction, you’re still a jerk, but you’re a sweet jerk,” Clara teased, and he let go of her waist.
“That’s it!” Noel yelled as he grabbed the hem of his shirt and lifted it over his head, dropping it on the sand. Clara’s eyes made their way down his solid chest before returning to meet his; he could see the anticipation shining through, but then Clara frowned.
“You wouldn’t.” She cocked an eyebrow.
“You better run.” He watched her contemplate if he’d deliver on his unspoken warning of throwing her in the water, like when they were kids. When Clara looked at Noel’s smirk, she bolted towards the lifeguard house and away from the water.
He counted to three before he ran after her. It didn’t matter how many seconds he’d give her. He’d always catch her; he’d never stop until he did. Noel reached out and grabbed her by the waist to stop her running. He pulled her in close, bent his knees, and swept her in his arms.
“No! Please, Noel! Don’t!” She fought in his arms and started to squirm. When she realised that he was going to dump her in the water, she wrapped her arms tight around his neck. He carried Clara closer to the shore; she breathed in and out as her arms tightened around him. When his feet touched the water, Clara’s eyes widened. Noel let out a chuckle.
He concentrated on making sure he didn’t lose his balance with each step he took. Clara squeezed her arms around him and her lips touched the spot on his neck just below his earlobe. He tried to ignore the feel of her ghosting kisses up and down his skin, but they were hard to ignore. Each small kiss igniting the fire inside of him, and each one felt like little shots of electricity that raced through his veins.
It didn’t take long until the water reached just under his ribcage. The water had darkened, and he couldn’t see the sand below. Trying to concentrate while having Clara kiss his neck was extremely hard, considering all he wanted were those soft lips on his. It seemed like Clara knew what he wanted as she maneuvered herself in his arms and placed a lingering kiss on his lips that sent his balance flying out the window.
“Noel!” Clara squealed before the both fell into the water. The coolness of the water washed over Noel’s body and provided him with the relief he desperately needed. Even when they fell in the water, he didn’t let go of her; in fact, he held her tighter and emerged from the water still holding her.
“You okay?” he laughed. Noel set Clara on her feet and watched droplets of water shimmer against her hair and skin.
“You didn’t lie when you said you’d chase me,” she replied, trying to dry her face with her hands.
“Not a promise I’m willing to break.” Noel winked and slowly swam around to Clara’s back. He stood up in the water, wrapped his arms around her waist, and placed a kiss on her cheek before resting his chin on her shoulder.
“I believe you,” Clara replied as she tilted her head slightly and snuggled into his embrace. The sound of children laughing and the busy beach slowly started to fade away as he held Clara in his arms, lost in their own world.
Author Info Len Webster is a romance-loving Melburnian with dreams of finding her version of ‘The One.’ But until that moment happens, she writes. Having just graduated with her BBusCom from Monash University, Len is now busy writing her next romance about how a boy met a girl, and how they fell completely and hopelessly in love.