My eyes adjust to the bright lights of the room. Pastel green walls, medical equipment, hushed voices.
Panic, overwhelming panic sets in. The ride back from the airport, the SUV slamming into the car. I struggle to move but pain cascades through my chest.
"Just stay still butterfly." Josh.
I force my eyes to open and search from the man attached to the voice.
Calm settles once I finally find what I am searching for. His face is scruffy, his hair out of place, he has a small cut above his right eye but he's still breath taking.
"Hi." It comes out raspy and shallow. I reach up to touch the scruff on his cheeks.
"Hi." He whispers back, holding my hand to his face.
We sit like this for a few moments longer. The peaceful silence where so many unsaid words are exchanged.
"Do you remember what happened?" He asks.
I nod in reply which causes a shooting pain to radiate from my shoulders down my arm and I wince.
"I'm okay." I trace my fingers over the cut above his eye.
Before he can reply, a man in a white coat, whom I assume is my doctor walks in.
"Ms. Collins. Welcome back." He says as he walks to the opposite side of the bed.
The nurse takes my vitals, and the doctor asks me what I remember and what I am feeling.
"The pain is good. It's a sign your body is healing." He says. "We'd like to keep you for observation tonight and if everything goes well, you'll be home by tomorrow."
Home. In the craziness of the accident I completely forgot I wasn't at home. Panic rises again as I search for my phone.
Always observant, Josh hands me a new iPhone 12, in yellow.
"Your phone was shattered in the accident." He says answering my unsaid question. "I had this one ordered and delivered here for you."
I unlocked the phone to find everything as my old phone was. All my contacts, messages, and photos safely saved.
34 new messages.
Jaxson, Lauren, and an unknown number that called 5 times. No voicemail though.
I quickly send a text to Jax letting him know everything is fine and I will call him later to explain.
Lauren's messages however are because of the accident. How did she know?
"You told Lauren?" I say to Josh as he pours me a glass of water.
"Of course." he says. "I figured she was watching your apartment while you were hear and would need to know what was going on in case you had to stay here longer or if something happened at home."
Josh didn't know that Lauren was in London for another six weeks. Which explains why he assumed she was watching my place and River.
He waited before he continued.
"But come to find out Lauren is in London...."
"She is." I reply. "Jaxson is watching River and my place."
"I see." He says but his eyes grow distant.
"You should get some rest." He says kissing my forehead. "I'll go find us something to eat."
Before I can object he is out of sight. Was he angry Jaxson is watching my apartment? Why would that even matter?
Before I can ponder for too long, my eyes grow heavy and I drift off to sleep...
The sun takes the chill out of the breeze as we sit on the beach.
I lay on my stomach, toes in the sand, book in my hands.
Josh is sitting, drinking a beer, and reaching as well.
The harmony of the moment is indescribable. I want to pause and keep us here forever.
I feel the cool sensation of sunblock being applied to my back.
"Starting to turn a little lobstery there sweetheart." Josh says as he rubs the lotion into my skin.
His fingers massage my shoulders and I moan at the feel of his hands on my skin.
I turn to face him and find dark eyes filled with desire.
I bite my lower lip and watch them go ablaze. He is the sight of perfection. Tanned skin, toned body, board shorts, and hair that's just the right amount of messy to seem styled but not wild and unruly.
"I think I've had enough sun for today." I say rolling over and sitting up. "Would you mind retying me?" I say as innocently as I can muster.
"Of course." He replies.
He begins to retie my straps. He leans so close that I can smell the salt water and suntan lotion mixed with the citrus of his whiskey sour. "Keep looking at my like that princess and we won't make it back to the house." He finishes tying the bow and nips my ear. My body shivers from the contact.
I turn. Feeling defiant I flutter my eyes before collecting my things from the blanket.
The beach is almost empty except for the few people swimming in the ocean.
"Yes sir." I reply.
Josh quickly folds the blanket, and we begin the 2 minute walk back to the beach house. The sidewalks are quiet and it's almost as if the whole town is empty except for the two of us.
The house is just a few feet away when Josh stops. I pause and turn back to him.
"Take off your swimsuit." He says.
Shock and worry plaster my face. While no one is around someone could be and what if they saw me.
"Don't make me ask again Princess." He said impatiently.
I slowly untie the strap at the top of my suit, then the one at my back. The top floats to the ground.
"Bottoms too." He prompts as I pick up the piece from the sidewalk.
I untie one side and then the other and remove the piece of fabric. The cool air brings goose bumps to my skin.
He collects the items from my hands and caresses my body.
"Who owns every inch of you princess." He says drawing his finger in circles over my nipples, pinching and coaxing them to harden for him.
"You do." I whisper. Trying as hard as I can not to moan.
He pinches hard and a yelp escapes me.
"Mmm. I love when you make that sound."
He turns and leads us forward, his hand caressing the small of my back as we walk the few feet to our home for the weekend.
By the time we enter the front door my entire body feels electric, every nerve ending is raw with need to be touched by him.
"On your knees princess." He says as he locks the door behind him.
I kneel in the center of the small living room. Staring at the gorgeous human before me.
He stalks towards me like a panther stalking it's next meal. His eyes match my own burning with desire, aching to be touched.
He removes his board shorts and my mouth waters. Even after so much time together I never get tired of seeing this. Josh completely naked, hard, and ready to claim every inch of me....
The feeling of hands on my thighs wakes me from my nap. Slowly fingers cascade across my belly and down between my legs.
My body tenses at the contact, already horny from my dream and then I shift. The fingers make their way to my panties and gently stroke, as if asking permission. I grind my hips into the hand desperate for the contact.
Then, pain, searing pain pushes down my shoulder. I yelp.
"Shhh. Princess you can't move. Just feel my love." Josh's voice soothes the pain I feel.
I open my eyes to find him, sitting next to me on the bed his one hand under the blankets, rubbing my inner thigh.
"What were you dreaming of?" He asks, curiosity etches across his face. "It looked like you were enjoying it." The double meaning of his statement did not escape me.
My cheeks feel molten hot and I'm sure he can tell I'm blushing.
"I was dreaming of you..." I say. "It was more a memory than a dream. Remember our weekend at the beach house?"
"Which one?" He says, he tries to keep his expression neutral, but I can see pain in his eyes. The beach house is home to some of the best and worst memories with Josh. We made love their and we also lost love there.
"The happier ones." I place my hand on top of his. "Always the happy ones." I squeeze his hand and smile.
We spent the rest of the evening eating cafeteria food, watching movies, and cuddling on my tiny hospital bed. Eventually, we both drift off to sleep, Josh protectively covering my broken arm to ensure I didn't bump it in my sleep.
I feel finger tips brushing my face as he whispers "sweet dreams my love." I snuggle closer, enjoying the warmth of his body as the peaceful darkness consumes me.