This story contains sexual content, violence, coarse language and consumption of alcohol it is rated R and 18+
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Some Alone Time (Beth & Sean)
I turned and regretted physically lashing out at Sean. Gemma jogged toward me, stopped and knelt at my side.
“What on Earth is going on Beth? Why did you shove Sean in the water?”
“He made me angry.”
“Still that’s extreme.”
“It’s better than what I wanted to actually do.” I muttered.
“Beth…” Gemma sighed before continuing. “Never mind, I think I can take a wild guess. You slept with him last night didn’t you?”
I didn’t answer because I didn’t have to.
“And did you think that would change who he is? That he would magically stop hating Clara and what she did? That he would stop punishing himself and just start trusting blindly?”
“Of course not.”
“What happened?” Gemma asked rubbing my back.
I glared at her. She would know that I’m not about to give her details.
“Is this why Louie’s rounding everyone up for a hike up to the east bay?”
“He knows?” Gemma took my hand. “Oh, that’s why you’re so embarrassed.”
“That and I slept with the most inappropriate person I can come up with.”
Gemma sighed and put her hands on my shoulders. “Again, he’s not, but to you he is. So I get it.” She hugged me firmly. “It’s not the worst thing that could have happened.”
I pursed my lips.
“Beth, I’ll go organize and make sure everyone goes so you can sort this out in your head. Do not wander off without a pack and radio.”
“Lesson learned on that. I’ll probably mope around here.”
Gemma hugged me again. “We all make mistakes Beth.” She stood and I rubbed my face with both hands. “But sometimes we have trouble seeing which actions are the actual mistake.”
I nodded and she walked away. I felt like I was being reprimanded constantly by my friends. I know they all love Sean and they also love me. I wonder if they tell him I’m not so bad or as bad as he says as they tell me he’s not. I’d be pissed if they didn’t so I was going to assume that they do.
I trusted Louie, Gemma, and Ryan not to spill the proverbial beans. Gemma would tell Ryan since they kept nothing secret between them. That was fine I trusted Ryan not to be a jerk about it.
And he wasn’t. Ryan came up half an hour later with some iced tea, a bag of chips, one of my new books and a warm friendly hug.
“I’m not going to belittle your feelings by telling you it’s not a big deal.” Ryan smoothed my hair back from my face. “Because for you, it is. Do you remember Luella?”
I nodded. How could I forget? She and Ryan had a one-night stand just as he and Gemma were starting to date seriously, but before they’d had sex. He had been beside himself with guilt and self-degradation. Gemma hadn’t even been that mad at him about it since they were just dating. Hurt yes, but not mad. They worked it out and despite nobody thinking it was that big of a deal, Ryan had dragged that humiliating guilt around for weeks.
“Sometimes the worst judge and jury is ourselves. I’m only sad that I got my hopes up.”
I scrunched my face in confusion. “Hopes up?”
“Sure, that Sean would stop being the everlasting bachelor of misery and that I thought you two would be good together.”
“Pfft. We barely get along. I think I may have confused kindness with affection and let my brain play tricks on my heart.”
“Or you finally let your heart have a say. We’ll be back by dinner time, if not, we’ll radio.”
“Okay. Have fun.”
“You look exhausted, take a nap and find some peace with it, Beth.”
“Thanks for making me feel better.”
Ryan hugged me. “No problem babe.”
I waited for the group to clear out and read my book for a few hours before going to find the bathroom and lunch. I was enjoying my alone time. After a simple fire cooked hotdog, I contemplated a nap. I glanced at Sean’s tent and shook my head. My first inclination was to take my nap there. My cheeks flushed remembering how much sex I’ve had in that tent and how much I loved it.
My body heated up with the memories and despite how miserable I felt I became aroused quickly.
“Son of a bitch.” I frowned and crutched my way into the cabin and up to the room Annie and I planned to share originally.
I climbed onto the bed that was now unused and fell asleep quickly.
I woke to a loud crash in the kitchen. Instantly awake with my heart thumping and fear coursing through my veins I listened. The sun was still too high for the group to be back yet.
I didn’t hear crashing again but the distinct sound of someone in a cupboard and the fridge. Not an animal, they were too agile. An intruder? Maybe it was a thief. Genuinely afraid, I scooted down the stairs on my bum so not to make any noise. I needed to get out of the house. There were things I could use as a weapon and I could radio for help. Not that they could get here, fast enough. No, I would need a weapon and a good hiding place.
I thought about heating up the iron fire poker. Burns hurt. I went to the door and made it to the porch. The door opened behind me, I panicked and forgot my cast existed. I stepped to run down the stairs, my cast slid on the edge and I went down. I managed to twist my body so I landed on my hip and shoulder and not my face.
My name, not a stranger. “Owww.” I tried to get up and Sean lifted me up to sit.
“Hell Beth are you alright?”
“What do you care?”
“Don’t be petty. I’m serious. That was a bad fall.”
“I don’t know.” I winced and moved to sit and assess. “Nothing’s broken.” I chuckled. “Except my foot that is.”
Sean smiled and shook his head. “Why were you running?”
“Correction, it was a poor attempt at running I didn’t even make it one lousy step.”
“Yes your lack of grace aside, why did you throw yourself down the stairs?”
“I was afraid. I thought everyone was gone and there was a crash in the kitchen.” I moved to get up and Sean simply hoisted me to my feet.
“That was me. I stormed off on the west trail by myself after I got out of my wet clothes.”
I winced at that. I did feel guilty for shoving him. “I’m sorry about that.”
“I’m not mad.” Sean helped me up to my feet. “Before I left, Gemma gave me an earful. Did you go telling everyone?”
“No. She’s not stupid and like everyone keeps telling me, I don’t hide my emotions well.”
“No, you don’t.”
“Wait,” I said as he turned to go back into the house. “Did you know?”
“Know what?” He crossed his arms and I hated that I just wanted him to hold me with them instead.
“That I’d crossed the line. That I confused your unusual kindness as affection and…” I shrugged.
“Yes, I knew.”
“So yesterday, not last night?”
“Then why?” I breathed the last word as my emotions built up again. “Why did you still…”
He shook his head and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I don’t know. I wish I did, but I don’t have an excuse. I knew it was over…”
“One last lay,” I said sadly.
Sean sighed heavily.
“Well, at least it wasn’t devastatingly amazing or anything.” Sarcasm and I are not very good friends. When I take it out the receiver knows that I am purely angry.
“Beth I don’t blame you for being angry. I should have known better.” He held his hand up to silence me and that raised my ire. “Be angry at me, I can handle that. I just don’t want a rift in the group because of this.”
“I don’t plan on dredging it up or using it against you. I just have one question.”
“What did you mean earlier when you said someone like me?”
He froze or appeared to freeze. For the first time since I’ve known him, Sean was speechless.
“That bad huh. I rescind my question. Do you want help prepping dinner?”
He shook his head, turned and went into the cabin. I went to find a beer.
To be continued…
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Next Chapter: Take A Deep Breath