Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chapter 89: Soul Searching

  Warning: Language

  Julia threw her books in her locker and slammed it shut.  She was so done with school, there was no way in h*ll she was bringing it home with her.  She heard her name called, and turned around. 

   She blinked in surprise when she saw who it was.  "Hey, what's up?"

  "I'm glad I caught you."  He said breathlessly.  "If you have a moment, I wanted to ask you something."

  Julia shrugged.  "Sure, go ahead."

  "Rumor has it..."

  Julia chuckled.  "Better be careful about listening to those rumors."

  He smiled.  "I hope this one is correct.  I heard that you and Brennan are no longer dating."

  "Brennan was an a*s, thanks a lot for reminding me about him."


  He winced.  "That wasn't my intention," He stammered, "I was only..."

  Julia started laughing.  "Gunny, I was just messing with you.  Well," she reconsidered, "Brennan was and is an a*s, and I don't have time for his sh*t."

  "So, the rumor is true?"

  She looked at him.  "Yeah, it's true.  I dumped his a*s, and told him to crawl back into the hole he belonged in.  Why?"  Privately, Julia thought about what she had really wanted to do to the slimeball, she could have turned him into a toad or something, and he would have been the better for it.

  He nervously scuffed his shoe on the floor.  "Well, I knew that with Brennan in the picture, a guy like me wouldn't have a chance..."


  Julia interrupted him.  "What do you mean a guy like you?"

  "Well, uh, Brennan is a star athlete, and I am not.  Brennan is the most popular guy in school, and I am not.  Brennan..."

  "Stop selling yourself short."  Julia ordered.  "Brennan is a first class jacka*s, and you are not.  Are you?"

  "No."  He stuttered.  Julia looked at him, impatient, and waved her hand in a 'go on' motion, so he did.  "With him out of the picture, I was...I was...I was hoping you would go out with me."



  He stared at her in shock.  "Just like that?"

  "What, you wanted me to say no?  If so, then why the h*ll did you ask me?"

  "No, no!  I wanted you to say yes, I just didn't think you would.  I mean, you're you, the most popular, prettiest girl in school and..."

  Julia grinned at him.  "Ha!  I can tell you've been drinking the kool-aid.  I'm just me, and you're just you, let's just leave it at that, okay?"



  "So, when are you available, you know, so we could go out together?"  Gunther asked.

  "I'm not doing anything right now, if you just want to hang out for a while."

  He nodded his head.  "Great!"  He was trying to keep his excitement down, and not seem too eager, but he had a feeling that he was failing on that.  He'd had a crush on Julia ever since he first moved to Sunlit Tides, she was the one that had helped him get his bearings, and made him feel welcome.  Moving to a new town and going to a new school midway through high school really sucked.

  "Come on."  She tugged on him.  "I'll show you one of my favorite hangouts."

  "The graveyard?"  He asked, confused.  "I thought you loved the beaches."

  "I do."  She agreed.  "This is Friday though, the beaches get all clogged up with families and sh*t.  Nobody bugs me here."

  "Oh.  That makes sense."

  She rolled her eyes.  "Of course it does.  Come on, follow me."

  Gunther wasn't exactly sure where she was going, but he didn't care.  He was with Julia, and that was all that mattered.

  She stopped in a secluded spot, in the far corner of the Graveyard by some trees.  She pulled out a cigarette, lit it, and took a drag off of it.

  She closed her eyes.  "Oh yeah."  She opened them again, and looked straight at him.  "You wanna smoke?"

  Gunther eyed the cigarette uncertainly.  "Uh, sure."

  She snickered.  "You don't have to."

  "No, I want to."

  She shrugged, and took another drag off her cigarette.  "Suit yourself."  She tossed a cigarette and a lighter to him, and then watched in amusement as he tried to light it.  She shook her head.  "Wrong end.  Here, let me help you."  She helped him out, and then chuckled as he took his first puff, and he began to choke and cough.  "You sure you smoke?"

  He took another drag, and coughed.  "Yeah." He wheezed.  "All the time."

    "Whatever you say Gunny, but you don't have to smoke just to try and impress me.  It's one of my bad habits, it doesn't have to become one of yours."

  "I'm fine."  He said stubbornly, as he smoked some more of the cigarette.  There was no way he was going to look like a wuss in front of her.

  "Hmm."  She said, as she stubbed the cigarette out on the ground with her shoe.  "If you say so."  Gunther copied her actions, and followed her over to a cold stone bench.  She plopped down on it with a sigh, and he sat beside her.  "It's so peaceful here."  She said happily.  "I love it."

  "Do you come here often?"

  She nudged his shoulder.  "Just every Friday."

  "Oh yeah."  He pulled at his shirt.

  "Don't be so nervous Gunny, I won't bite you, not unless you want me too?"  He blushed, and Julia took pity on him, and changed the subject.  "So, do you know what you're going to do when you graduate?"

  He nodded.  "I'm going to be a business consultant, and..."

  Julia smiled as Gunther talked, he was kind of cute as he waved his arms about, enthusiastically prattling on about something called time efficiency, and a lot of other blah, blah, blah.  She could tell he was really into it though.


    Gunther was so self-conscious, she wondered if he'd ever had a girlfriend before, or even been on a date.  So she asked him.

  Gunther immediately stopped talking and froze.  "No."  He said sheepishly.  "You might have noticed I'm a bit of a nerd, and a little shy.  No, a lot shy.  Girls scare me.  Well, except for you.  For some reason, you never scared me."

  "Interesting."  Julia contemplated him.  "Usually I scare everyone."  She was silent for a moment.  "Gunny, have you ever kissed a girl?"  He stammered, and blushed, and pulled at his shirt some more.  "Careful, you're going to ruin your shirt if you keep that up."  Julia chuckled.  She closed the distance between them, and his eyes widened.  "Do you want to kiss me?"

  "Now?" He squeaked.

  "Of course now, silly."  She regarded him thoughtfully.  "I've never been with a boy who has never kissed someone before.  This could be fun."  And with those words, she leaned in all the way, and kissed him.



   "I don't know why you have to collect misfits like some people collect stamps."

  "I don't know why you have to be such a b*tch either."  Julia retorted.  "I guess you were born that way."  Julia knew Nelia was referring not only to Julia's boyfriend, Gunny, but to Julia's newest project, Rian, as well.

  Nelia went on as if she hadn't heard Julia.  "I don't understand what you see in that ugly, retarded oaf anyway.  He is quite hideous to look at, and he can't even speak properly.  Go ahead Oaf, say something, show everyone with your words what a retard you are."


  "Crumplebutt, stop speaking out of your a*s, or I swear, I'm going to make your outside as ugly as you are inside."  Julia said angrily, and she struggled to get out of Gunther's embrace, but he held onto her.

  "No scenes, remember?  You promised.  Just ignore her."

  "I concur."  Rian said quietly.  "She is full of, what my people call, 'atol anda', therefore, there cannot be any reasoning with one such as her."

  "See!"  Nelia crowed.  "What did I tell you!"

  "Nelia, would you shut the f*ck up."  Brennan said irritably.

  Nelia crossed her arms.  "Whatever.  You all know I'm right though."

  Julia gritted her teeth, and did her best to ignore Nelia, only because Gunther and Rian had asked her to.  She leaned back against Gunther, and grumbled under her breath.

  Nelia enjoyed picking on the loners, the shy ones, anyone that was a little bit different.  She would call them names and use any opportunity available to embarrass them in front of others, and it p*ssed Julia off.  So she befriended what Nelia called "the misfits", and then told Nelia to kiss her a*s.  She knew Nelia couldn't do a thing to her, Julia's grandfather was too well known, too well connected, and too intimidating.

  Rian had just been Nelia's latest target, being a newbie who had only been in town for a couple of months.  He was a strange one all right, but Julia didn't judge people by how they looked, or dressed, or even acted.  She judged them by the way they treated others, and Rian had a kind heart under all that gruff.  She had seen him in action, despite what Rian said otherwise.   He was a humble person, and Julia found that attractive.  Very attractive.

  Like all her projects though, he was still a work in progress.

  She didn't know where exactly he came from, and he never answered her directly whenever she asked him.  He would only say it was far away.  Wherever it was though, it must have been out in the boonies or the backwoods somewhere.  He knew very little about popular tv shows or music, the speech he used was odd, and the clothes he usually wore looked like they could have been worn in the stone ages or something.  So he was into cosplay, what nerd wasn't?

  "Hey Jules, you going to the prom with me?" Brennan asked.


  Julia felt Gunther stiffen behind her. No matter how many times she had told him over the past year that she had no interest in being with Brennan again, he still didn't fully believe her, maybe because Gunther could sense the distance that had been growing between him and Julia.  That wasn't because of Brennan though, but whatever, that was Gunther's issue, not hers.  "You've been hanging out with Nelia too much Brennan, taking those stupid pills."

  Nelia gasped, but Brennan chuckled.  "Harsh Jules, harsh.  You know you miss me."

  "In your dreams a*shole.  You cheated on me with Nelia, remember?  I think you two suit each other well.  And the name is Julia, use it."

  "Yes dear."  He laughed, he could almost see the steam rise from Gunther's head.  He really enjoyed jerking his chain, it was way too easy to get under the dude's skin, it almost wasn't even a challenge.

  Rian shook his head, as he stared out at the horizon.  "There is much I don't understand about you bearns, your relations make little sense."

  Nelia giggled.

  "Miss Julia, why do you continue with these dysig bearns?"

   "Rian, we talked about your use of words that I don't understand, remember?  I hang around them, cause they're my friends."  She shrugged.  "Why else?"

  His ice blue eyes briefly met hers, and once again she felt the deep impact of his gaze before he turned away, and it puzzled her.  Why did he affect her so much?  Lately she had even found herself making up reasons to spend more time with him, and then she would argue with herself that they were perfectly legit reasons, not manufactured ones.  Really.

 The more time she spent with him though, and got to know his quiet gentleness, the more she wanted.  She even found herself obsessing over something as silly as his lips.  Just how would it feel to kiss him?  To have his lips pressed against hers, his body... She shut the thought off.  She had never betrayed her mixed feelings about Rian to anyone, but if she couldn't get a handle on her emotions, then she would have no choice but to break up with Gunther.

  It simply wasn't fair to Gunther for her to be with him, if she felt this way about someone else, even if that someone else didn't return those feelings, for Rian was never anything more than a friend.  He never hinted at more.  It was her craziness, not his.  Her issue, not his.

  Gunther would be hurt at first, she knew, but in the end, it would be better for him to be with someone that returned his feelings.  Julia feared she did not.  She liked him, liked him a lot.  They had fun together, she enjoyed kissing Gunther, holding hands, attending parties together, but...she glanced at Rian.


  Gunther didn't have eyes the color of the Sea, or the body of a greek god.

  Perhaps she was more shallow than she wanted to believe?

  Still, Julia really hoped that her feelings would fade.  That tomorrow morning she would wake up, and she would feel only friendship for Rian.  Then she wouldn't have to break Gunther's heart.  She peeked up at Gunther, who was busy watching Brennan.  He really was a sweetheart, she really didn't want to break his heart.

  She knew Gunther had strong feelings for her.  He had even been hinting lately that he wanted to marry her after they graduated from highschool.  Before Rian came, she had even had similar thoughts.  She liked Gunther well enough, they got along well, he was getting pretty good at kissing, he adored her, what else did she need?

  No, she was definitely, mostly, pretty sure that her feelings for Rian would fade.  It was just a phase, she just had to soldier on, and ignore any not-so-friendly-mostly-romantic feelings that she had for Rian.  Her problem, she reminded herself.  She could fix it.


    Julia kicked at the sand as she walked along the beach, her mind in turmoil.  What was wrong with her anyway?  She loved parties; she loved hanging out with her friends, making out with her boyfriend, and dancing the night away.  She always made sure she had a good time.  Except...tonight something was just different about it all.  It had seemed hollow and unsatisfactory. And dare she even think it?  Boring.

  She had been bored with it all.  Bored, bored, bored.  She had tried her best to get into the party spirit.  She'd had a couple beers, danced with a few boys, caused another fight between them and her boyfriend...

  She sighed. Boring.  Even tweaking Miss Priss hadn't made things better, and usually annoying Cornelia Crumplebottom was one of her favorite pastimes.  Cornelia was such a b*tch, and always looked down her nose at everyone.  Julia snorted, an island full of rich kids, and there was still a pecking order. 

    Her feet suddenly skidded to a stop.  He had waited for her.  She had told him not to, but she couldn't deny the simple rush of joy she felt to see him there anyway.

  "Hey," she said softly.  "You came."

  With one graceful move, he stood up, turned around, and faced her.  "You're here earlier than I expected."

  "But you expected me?"

  "Of course."  He said it like it was a foregone conclusion, but how had he known what she had not?  She'd had every intention of staying all night at the Rave beach party, drinking cheap beer and smoking weed with her friends; and in a last ditch effort to make the party, well, not so boring, she had even decided to finally go all the way with her boyfriend, Gunther.

  It was while they had lain on the sand, Gunther's hand on her breast, his tongue down her throat that she had suddenly changed her mind.  While it had felt good, and part of her was enjoying it, it just hadn't felt right.  She wasn't ready.  So she had pushed a confused Gunther off of her, tied her swimsuit top back up, and had left.  Just like that, without a word.  Gunther had called after her, but she hadn't bothered answering him, had just waved him away like a pesky fly.

  She had needed some time to think, and figure some things out. 


  She tilted her head slightly.  "How did you know?"

  He hesitated briefly, and then said, "I knew you would get bored with the party scene eventually, so I took a chance that this would be the day."

  "Really?" She asked skeptically. 

  "Really." He smiled at her. 

 She pursed her lips.  She was still a bit puzzled, how in the world had he really known?  She certainly had never thought she'd ever see the day when partying every weekend would get old and tiresome. He said the strangest of things at time, like the time he let slip that he thought he was her Guardian. 

  Her Guardian?  Ha!  The thought still amused her, she was the one always stepping in and defending him when he wouldn't defend himself.  Yet he thought he was her Guardian.  The irony.  Then she had remembered, oh yeah.  Her family had had bodyguards off and on throughout the years, before either she or her mother had even been born, whenever they felt the family was in danger--especially after that whole kidnapping episode with her grandmother and her Uncle Brae.

  So she had figured out that he must be from that place, the one that started with a C and was horrendously long and hard to pronounce.  It explained quite a bit about him as well, like his choice of clothes, and his odd speech. At first she had even been a little miffed that his reasons for hanging around her weren't what she wanted them to be; but eventually she got over that, and started to look on the positive side of things.

  Since she had a bodyguard now, she could go swimming or diving whenever she wanted.  Her grandpa always told her never go alone, that it wasn't safe, but now she always had someone nearby; unless, of course, she told him in no uncertain words to go away.  He was never happy when she did so, but he always complied.  It was a major drag to have him at a party, his very presence was too much of a distraction for her.  She was still trying to ignore certain unwanted feelings.

  His peculiar words were eating at her though, and she didn't know why, there was just something about the way he had said, "You're earlier than I was expecting."  His tone of voice, his body language, it was all hard to pinpoint but she could swear it was like he had some sort of foreknowledge. That he had somehow known for certain that she would be there tonight, and so he had come.

   Aggravated with her crazy thoughts, she shrugged them off and sighed.  She was being fanciful again, and letting her imagination run away with her.  What was she expecting him to say?  That he could read her mind?  That he somehow knew the future?  She was being freaking ridiculous.

  "So...did you have fun?"

   "Did I have..."  Was he being serious?  Sometimes it was so hard to tell with him, he had such a good poker face.  "Let's just say I was ready to go, and leave it at that."

  "He loves you, you know." 

  She frowned.  "What have you been smoking?  And what the h*ll are you talking about?"  He could be so cryptic, it drove her crazy.  He drove her crazy, and yet, somehow, despite that, not only were they  still good friends, but she still wished he would think of her as more than just a friend.  She needed her head examined.

  "What have I been smoking?"  His facial expression showed his confusion.  "Nothing Julia.  That is a harmful habit, as I have told you many times."

  She sighed.  He still never seemed to understand common expressions.  "It's just an expression.  It means, you're acting weird again."

  "Oh."  He studied her for a moment.  "I was referring to your mate, Gunther."


   "My mate?"  She rolled her eyes.  "I told you Rian, Gunther is just my boyfriend, not my mate.  We're not even that serious."

  He shrugged, and let the subject drop.

  She heard herself saying,  "I'm going to break up with him."; and felt as if a huge weight had fallen off her shoulders.  That decision was finally made, and she knew it was the right one, now she just had to break the news to Gunther.  She hated the thought of hurting Gunther, she really did care about him, just not enough.

  "Why?" Rian asked.

  She met his eyes; they were as blue and calm as the ocean deep, and she felt stripped bare beneath his gaze, like he could see all of her faults and failures, her hopes and dreams, everything that she was, all in one glance.  She couldn't bear it, to feel that vulnerable, and she quickly looked away.  "I love another."   She held her breath, and waited to see how he would react.

  His brow furrowed.  "You love another?"  He parroted back to her.  "But...who?" he asked in surprise.

  So went her theory that he could foretell the future, she had known it was a stupid idea anyway.  He was just strange and clueless, and she felt unreasonably angry at him.  Why didn't he show any romantic interest in her?  All the other guys did, but did she want them?  No, of course not.

  "I have displeased you in some manner?"

  She gave a tiny shake of her head.  "I'm fine, just tired of this day.  I think I'm going to go home."  She turned and started to walk away.

  "Julia!  Wait!"  He sounded confused.  "What..."

  She didn't turn back around to face him, she was afraid she just might say something that she might regret, her tongue did tend to run away from her when she was upset.  Her mother was forever telling her, "Julia, act in haste, repent in leisure.", like it was some sort of mantra.

  And really, what could she say?  They were friends, and if that was all he felt, then she would have to deal with it.  Somehow.  It was far better than losing him completely over some stupid declaration of love, wasn't it?  And what did she know about love anyway?  She said over her shoulder, "It's not you, it's just me."

  "Please do not leave in this manner, if I have somehow offended you with my words, then..."

  Julia bit her lip, tempted to stay, but she knew better.  She had to do some serious soul searching, and figure out just what she wanted, and what she was willing to risk to get what she wanted.  In short, she needed a plan of action. 


  "What's wrong Sweetie?"

  "Nothing."  Julia mumbled as she took another forkful of pancake.

  "Really?"  Skye watched her daughter eat for a few minutes.  "Did you have a fight with one of your friends?"

  Julia sighed.  "No, Mom, I didn't have a fight with one of my friends."

  "Not that I don't enjoy seeing you Julia, but you've been home all week.  Are you sick?"  She asked worriedly.  "Maybe you need to see the doctor."

  "Have I been that bad Mom?  That I spend a few nights at home and you think I'm sick, or sad, or something."

  "Well," her mom said thoughtfully, "I know you're a busy girl, with your own life and everything, and...all."  She finished lamely.  "I'm just usually lucky to briefly see you before I go to work, and then you have all your afternoon activities and your friends after school and on weekends, so I...worry, when you haven't gone anywhere or done anything this whole past week, it's...unlike you.  Is everything okay with you and Gunther?"

  Julia paused for a moment, and then turned towards her mother.  "How did you know you loved Daddy?"

  "Oh, well."  Skye said faintly.  Julia wondered at the blush that stole across her mother's cheeks, she was sure there was a good story involved in that blush.  "I met your father when I was about your age, your Aunt Luna had brought him home with her, she needed a model for her art project, and he was the model."

  Julia laughed.  "Daddy?  A model?"  She tried to picture him as one, her straitlaced, uptight dad, and she couldn't do it.  She giggled instead.

  Her mom smiled fondly.  "Yeah, he was.  Finest model I have ever seen."  She cleared her throat.  "Ahem.  I was pretty shy though, and certain he was way out of my league, but he wasn't anything like how I had imagined him to be.  Instead he was like my very own Prince Charming.  He was so kind, and thoughtful, he listened, really listened, to what I had to say, he treated me like a lady, opening doors for me, pulling out my chair, and...he made me smile, it just gave me such joy to be with him, even if all we did was sit around and hold hands."

  Skye was quiet for several minutes, until Julia prompted her, "Mom?"

  "Sorry!  Got lost in thought.  There's more, " Skye said with a smile, "but I wouldn't want to embarrass you, or overwhelm you."


  After a few more minutes of silence, Skye tried a question.  "So, why do you ask?  Is it Gunther?"

  "Gunther?"  Julia shook her head  "No, not Gunther.  We broke up last week."  She sighed heavily.  "It's someone else."  She hesitated.  "He's a friend, a good friend, and he's really never shown any interest in me that way, but I...I really, really like him.  I just don't know what to do." 

  "Really?  My Julia not know what to do?  Hmm.  What's holding you back?"

  "I don't want to lose him.  I mean sure, I'd like to be more than friends, but if he doesn't feel the same way, I just..."

  "Ah, fear.  Julia, what we fear of doing most, is usually what we most need to do."

  "Another quote Mom?"  Julia asked affectionately.  "But thanks for the advice, you're right.  Now don't keel over just because I said that!  I think I know what to do now, I just have to figure out the how."  Julia went back to eating her pancakes, her mind spinning a mile a second.

  "Julia, we may have our differences, but I do love you, and I only want what's best for you.  I'm not so sure this boy you like is what's best for you, but regrets are a hard thing to live with."

  Julia picked up her plate, and headed for the sink; she kissed her mom's cheek as she passed by her.  "I love you too Mom."


  Julia plopped down on the warm sand next to Rian.  "I am so tired of school." she groaned.  "I just want it to be over with already."

  Rian smiled.  "Just a few more months until graduation, Julia."

  "Eternity."  She said crankily.


  "Rian, can I ask you something?"

  "Yea, you may ask me anything you wish."

  "Will you answer truthfully?"

  "A guardian does not lie."

  He sounded affronted,but Julia wanted to be sure that he would answer her next question with complete honesty.  She had spent nearly a month trying to find a nice, casual way to ask him if he could ever see her as more than a friend, only to realize she didn't really do subtlety.  So why was she, once again, acting against her own nature?

  She didn't like to dwell on the answer to that question though.

  She laid her hand on his arm.  "Do you think I'm pretty?"


  "Do I...?"  He sputtered.

  "You promised to tell me the truth."

  "Why would you ask such a thing?"  He hedged.

  "Well, you've never once tried to kiss me.  All the other boys have."

  "Julia, I think this conversation is quite improper and..."

  "Just answer the question, Rian."  She snapped.  "Truthfully, do you find me attractive at all?"


   "It is not a hardship for me to look upon your form or your face."

  She stared at him, nonplussed.  "What the h*ll does that mean?"

  He blushed.  "Really Julia, this conversation is..."

  "Just getting started."  She finished for him.  She cocked her head slightly and watched him quietly for a few minutes as he fidgeted about.  He absent mindedly scratched at his chest and cleared his throat several times. Suddenly she smiled.  "You do like me."

  "Well, of course I like you."


  "That's why you're prevaricating, because you do find me attractive.  Have you ever thought about kissing me?"

  Rian choked.  "It would be inappropriate for me to have such thoughts.  Now, I think..."

  "So you have thought about kissing me."

  "That is not what I said."  He said grumpily.

  She smiled at him.  "You didn't say no, instead you talked some nonsense about it being inappropriate."

  "It is inappropriate.  I am a guardian, and as such..."

 "Oh, is that what has your panties in a twist?  Well, that's easy enough to fix.  You're fired, you are no longer my bodyguard.  There, see?  All fixed."

  "Panties in a twist?" He echoed, confused.  "What does that mea..."  Then his eyes widened.  "Oh no, that won't do at all Julia, it is my solemn and sworn duty to watch after you and..."

  "Is it the money?  Are you broke?"

  "Money?"  He blinked.  "What?  No, I have sufficient funds in which to live comfortably, I..."

  Julia interrupted him again.  "Cool, then there's no problem."


  He sighed.  "You have a bad habit of not listening very well."

  "So I've been told."  She began to lightly caress his arm, and he froze, but he didn't stop her.  "You have such an amazing body."  She sighed.

  "Julia, listen..."

  "I thought we both just agreed I am terrible with the listening part.  I'm more into action."

   She leaned in closer to him, and let her hand follow the contours of his chest.

  He sucked in a breath.  "This is ill advised and..." his voice trailed off as Julia suddenly moved, and straddled him.

  "...inappropriate?"  She added helpfully.

  He swallowed hard.  "Yes!  Inappropriate. Very inappropriate.  Very, very, inappropriate.  I am much older than you are and..."

  She laughed.  "Ha!  Unless you had to repeat several years of school, you have to be about the same age I am, right?  I'll be eighteen in four months, so that makes you, what?  Seventeen?  Eighteen?  Maybe nineteen at the oldest.  I'm right, am I not?"  She took his silence as a yes.  "I knew it."

  "Julia," he said desperately, "this is not a good idea."

  "I disagree, I think I should have taken action a long time ago."  Her hands roamed over his broad shoulders, and she looked up to find him watching her with heat in his eyes.  His hands came up, and grabbed her hips, and lighting thrummed through her veins.  

   He was so much more...powerful...than Gunther had been.  She had enjoyed being with Gunther, but he had never inspired such volcanic feelings within her as Rian inspired.  Just the touch of Rian's hands on her hips made her body burn.   She craved more, and she began to wiggle her hips, experimentally at first, and then more deliberately as she figured out what she liked, and what he liked.  He hissed, almost as if he was in pain; and she could feel the hardness of him beneath her.  She moaned his name.  "Touch me Rian.  I need..."

  He groaned.  "Most inadvisable."  He ignored his own words though and reached up with one hand to cup her breast.  "You are so beautiful." he whispered.  The fire was spreading through her, and she was impatient with the barrier of clothes that separated his hand from her flesh.  She reached up behind her to untie her swimsuit top, but before she could, Rian flipped her over onto her back, and pinned her down.

  "Julia."  He was breathing heavily.  "We cannot do this."

  She ignored his words.  "Kiss me."   She squirmed beneath him, and used her legs to hold him to her.

  "Julia."  He nuzzled her neck.  "We must stop." 


   "Mmm."  She murmured.  "Not yet, you still haven't kissed me."

  "Julia, there are things you don't know about me, important things."

  She frowned.  "Do you have a girlfriend?  Are you engaged or married?"

  "No, no and no, but..."

  "That is all I need to know."  She kissed his cheek and then his jaw.


  "You talk too much."  She tightened her thighs around him.  "I want..."

  He pulled his head up, and looked at her.  "Not this way Julia."  He said, seriously.  "Maybe after graduation, we can resume our," he coughed, "discussion about this."  Rian wanted nothing more than to meet the demands of both her body and his, but he couldn't let go of his conscience, no matter how much he wanted to.  He was supposed to be keeping her safe, not rolling around in the sand with her, mere moments away from stripping her swimsuit off and...he cut the thought off.  Thoughts like that were not helpful.

  He had not anticipated this particular problem.  He had known his mission would be difficult, but out of all the scenarios he had imagined, not one of them was anything like the situation he currently found himself in.  All it had taken was one touch of her hand, and he had been lost.  He still didn't understand it, none of it computed.  It wasn't supposed to happen this way.

  He was painfully aware that his body didn't need it to make sense, that his body didn't even care; and Julia was lying underneath him, moving her hips in a way that was slowly driving him mad; her legs still wrapped tightly around him.  He closed his eyes against the temptation.  It would be so easy to follow through with the promise in her eyes, but it wouldn't be right. He gently untangled himself from her, and stood up, dusting the sand off of him.  Julia silently followed suit.  "Julia, you just need more time to think about..."

  "I don't need the time Rian, you do."

  He looked down, and slowly nodded his head.  "Perhaps you are right."


  There was no perhaps about it, he knew she was right.  He needed more time, more time to make sure that his actions didn't have disastrous repercussions.  She wasn't supposed to be with him, he had to have made an error or a miscalculation somewhere.  If he had, he needed to rectify it immediately, or his mission would fail, and that was unacceptable.  "It is still the wisest course of action, and it's only a few months."  Why did he find this slip of a girl so alluring?  It defied all logic.

  "Only a few months?" she huffed.  "Easy for you to say."

  "Not so easy." he muttered under his breath, but she heard him anyway.

  "So, graduation is the magical day?"

  He nodded his head yes, he would agree to anything to gain more time.  Surely in four months time he would have it all figured out?


   "You probably expect me to change my mind, but I won't."  She warned him.  "I've already done my soul searching, I know what I want, now it's your turn to do yours, and figure out what you want."  She smiled mischievously at him.  "Which is me.  I promise to make it easier on you."

  He sighed.  "That's what I'm afraid of."

  Her eyes danced.  "There is something between us Rian, I have felt it for a long time, and now I know it wasn't all one sided.  You felt it too. You won't be able to resist for long, and I promise you on the night we graduate, I'll be there, on your doorstep, and we can finish this, then."  She walked up closer to him.  "Until then, I'll be sure to give you a little taste every so often as a reminder of what's to come."  She pressed a soft kiss onto his abdomen, and she felt his whole body shudder.  "I'll see you later."  She blew him a kiss and walked off.

  Rian couldn't tear his eyes off of her as she waltzed away from him.  Had he actually made things better for himself, or worse?  He feared the latter.


 Notes: So. many. poses. *grumbles*  I really wanted to be lazy, but I just couldn't make it work, lol

  Please ignore all the clipping and other stuff, like grammar, I did!  Haha! :P  

  Julia is fun, she is strong willed, a little on the blunt side, and a lot impatient. haha!  I don't remember if I ever wrote down her traits, so far they are: Rebellious, Daredevil, Excitable and Hopeless Romantic.  She is definitely a handful.

  I think Gunther is pretty cute as a teen, a change of hairstyle, skin, and clothes sure did wonders for him! 

  I haven't forgotten about the rest of the family, there's plenty of drama coming up next chapter.  I do believe Hawk has run out of time...

  Questions/Comments are always welcomed!  Thanks for reading! =)


  1. Oh ho-ho... man, Julia is going to be one awesome heir. I had the biggest grin on my face for this whole chapter!

  2. Ugh. School. I feel her pain. It sucks, like, seriously sucks.

    Gunther seems sweet. He's all shy and nervous. I like him, why can't Julia be happy with him? *sigh* Rian seems interesting though... I'm not so sure if I trust him however. I think Julia's grandpa would probably have his head on a stick if he ever hurt her though. Haha!

    Her friends seem horrible. She should get new friends. Her friends seem like they would be tiring to hang out with. Then again, Julia seems like a wee bit of a handful too.

    Your AN has me worried :(

  3. I wonder whoever had the brilliant idea of getting a hottie like Rian as a guardian for someone. Not just Julia, but anything remotely female, and expect them to keep their hands off! No, no really, it was a great idea. Go Julia ;) For real, who sent him? Hot guys seems to be a gift from Raven.

    Julia's turning out interesting, but atleast she listens more to others than Colin ever did. Which might be a good thing or bad I supposed. And Skye is still so happy and in love with Hawk, and then you write that about him in the AN? Aw, I hope it is that he'll tell, and not that he ends up dead. Actually, Colin might kill him for that anyway....

  4. Epic. Chapter. Seriously, I enjoyed this a lot. Julia is awesome. I love how she's so comfortable with herself. <3

    I feel sorry for Gunther, but he's not a good fit for someone like Julia. I'm not so sure how I feel about Rian though. :/ Who decided to make him her guardian? I can see this ending either really well or really bad.

    *snort* Crumplebutt. Best name ever. XD

  5. I love Julia's -almost-not-quite-Colin-esque language. Smoking? Colin's hand is strong in this one all around. Perhaps there's no "Almost, not quite" to it, eh? ;)

    Aw! Gunther's cute! And while gushing about his future might be cute, I cannot picture Julia settling for someone so *tame.* She might not be wild, but he doesn't seem to have a spirit that could match hers, much less challenge it or keep it up.

    "Crumplebutt." *sniggers. Wait wait wait... "The Body of a Greek God." Ah! There we go. That's a better fit already. >;D And he's from 'home.' Hmmmmm...Hmmhmmhmm. I guess judgement needs to be reserved for the moment, though I can hope.

    Julia's moment with her mom was sweet too. Poor Skye, so hoping for a girl only to have one nearly as opposite from her temperament as could be.

    With this day of reckoning coming up, where is Colin and BirdBoy this time around? And Jack! Jack didn't even get to make his one shot appearance with Bob! lol

  6. I've been slowly catching up, and here I am. I love Julia, she's a great heir!

  7. You know, based on the last chapter, I wasn't sure if I was going to like Julia or not, but now I definitely do. I love that you can see Colin's touch in her personality, and she's rebellious but has a big heart, and is honest to a fault. She's going to be an interesting heiress!

    I am confused as to why she would continue to hang around Brennan and Delia, though, if Brenna cheated on her with Delia and neither seems to be very interesting or nice individuals.

    How does this whole guardian thing work again? I recall allusions to it. But like, why was Rian waiting for her? Does he literally accompany her everywhere and check up on her, or was this just a case of them being drawn together whereas he normally is just supposed to keep an eye on her?

    LOL tho...poor Rian. Poor, poor Rian. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Can't wait to see what happens in four months after graduation.

  8. Wow, Julia is so gorgeous! And she is making for an interesting story so far. I really enjoyed this chapter!

    I had the same question as above ^ Why does Julia still hang out with Brennan and Delia? Is she just used to them?

    I loved those pictures at the last beach scene. The lighting is beautiful, and the close ups in the last pictures made everything seem very intimate, yet still closed-off as Rian doesn't fully commit.