Silence, p.23

Silence, page 23

 part  #1 of  Silence Series



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  As the plane started to descend, I felt lighter; like my problems had been left behind in England. I smiled, looking out of the window at the Italian airport. Time to relax. Here I could just be me. There was no before in Italy.

  Once off, we retrieved our suitcases quickly and made our way to the hotel. The minicab drove up the mountain and stopped at our gorgeous little hotel. It was set into the mountain, only about a third of the way up. The infinity pool stretched to the very edge. It was breath taking, and I couldn’t wait to get in the pool and look out at the landscape.

  A tall, skinny, and very glamorous woman greeted us as we strode into the entrance. She wore high-heeled black sandals and shocking red lipstick: the type of woman that made guys fall at her feet and women sick with envy. Confidence oozed from her perfect, white smile. I felt like a troll next to her.

  “Hello and welcome,” she said in a thick Italian accent. “My name is Carmella, and I’m going to be showing you to your rooms.” Her English was almost as flawless as her looks.

  “Thank you,” Dad responded politely, giving her that warm smile that won over absolutely everyone he met.

  That’s why no one will ever believe you.

  I stepped closer to Cole.

  Carmella helped us to check in and gave us wristbands that showed we were all-inclusive in the resort. Mine and Cole’s were the only ones with holes punched into them – for people under eighteen.

  Cole scowled as Jasper pointed and laughed. There would be no free alcohol for him on this holiday. It didn’t bother me because I never drank the stuff. I had to keep a clear head. If you slip up the whole will find out. A drink wasn’t worth my family.

  “Let’s unpack and meet by the bar in half an hour?” Mum suggested once as Carmella wished us a lovely stay and sauntered off. Jasper’s eyes never left her arse.

  Jenna nodded. “Sounds great!”

  My room was small and connected to my parents’, but it also had its own entrance, so I could come and go whenever I wanted. It was light, bright, comfortable, had enough storage and air conditioning. Although it wasn’t a huge suite, it had everything I needed.

  I turned the locked on the adjoining door and was only satisfied when I heard the click.

  No one can get in.

  I dumped my suitcase on my bed and opened the tiny balcony door. Stepping out into the warm air, I sighed. The view was beautiful. To my right were the mountains. Right at the top they were covered with a dusting of thin, white cloud. To my left was the sea. The sea abroad was so different to the one in England.

  Someone knocked on the door. Reluctantly, I forced myself away from the amazing view and answered the door. “You’re not ready,” Cole stated, pointing to the warm England clothes that I was still wearing.

  I smiled and ripped the zip of my suitcase open and grabbed a pair of denim shorts and a blue tank top. Holding one finger up, I told him to wait and went into the en-suite bathroom to get changed.

  Checking my reflection in the mirror, I despaired. My hair was a mess from the sudden change in temperature.

  Please don’t let my hair be like this for the whole two weeks, I prayed.

  Pulling the hairband off my wrist, I tied my hair in a loose bun and got changed. There was just enough room to get dressed in here but when Cole wasn’t standing in my room I’d definitely change in there. Although it was very much a single room I loved it.

  I yanked the bathroom door open, eager to grab a quick drink with our parents and then get down to the beach. My jaw dropped when my eyes landed on Cole. He was lying on my bed, swinging my bikini top around his finger.

  Oh, no!

  Jumping forward, I swiped it out of his hand and shoved it back inside my suitcase. My face felt like it was on fire. I wanted to kill him! Don’t meet his eye.

  Cole burst out laughing. “You should have seen your face,” he choked, blocking my arm as I waved it beside me in an attempt to whack him. “Sorry. Couldn’t resist. You ready now?” His tone didn’t sound sorry at all, but then I didn’t expect him to be.

  With a deep sigh, I stalked out of my room, trying not to smile myself. Seconds later, he grabbed my hand. “Sorry, but that is one sexy little bikini!”

  I slapped his chest and closed my eyes, wishing the ground would open up and swallow me whole. As much as I liked when he said things like that, it did made me nervous. That side had to end sometime, right? I couldn’t be like this with him forever. If things progressed eventually the physical side of our relationship would be normal.

  It has to be.

  My chest ached where I willed it to be true. I couldn’t be this person for the rest of my life, hiding away, flinching inwardly at touch, wanting to cower and hide whenever someone looked at me in that way.

  He laughed again, and then I felt his lips press against the side of my head. Looking up, I smiled happily and nudged his shoulder. I wouldn’t shy away from Cole’s touch, no matter how many mixed feeling it gave me. When I stripped back every ugly, self-loathing layer there was something at the very core that enjoyed everything Cole did to me. I loved how being with him, having him want me, made me feel.

  I held my hand up in a ta-da manner when I was dressed. “Got your key?” he asked, and I nodded. It was Cole who forgot room keys, not me.

  We headed out towards the lift, full of plans for the day. Thankfully the plane journey wasn’t long and the time difference was small so we wouldn’t have to worry about losing any holiday time to jetlag.

  “Drink, then sea,” Cole said as he jammed his finger into the call button for the lift.

  That sounded good to me. The beach was a fifteen-minute walk but it was all downhill so we planned to walk there and get a taxi back. It was hot, and I wasn’t walking uphill under the boiling sun.

  When we got to the bar, Mum told us to skip the drinks and head straight out as long as we were back for dinner. Cole couldn’t get me out of the hotel quick enough.

  “We just walk straight down there and it’s literally at the bottom,” Cole said, pointing to the path at the side of the winding road. It couldn’t be too hard to find since we could see the sea. All we had to do was walk towards it.

  “Nicer than ours, huh,” he said, running his thumb over my knuckles.

  We’d just made it to the bottom of the mountain and the beach stretched out in front of us. It was beautiful. The water was a clear aqua blue, and soft golden sands stretched out as far as I could see. There were people dotted around the beach, lying on colourful towels, and children running around, building sand castles. A few people were swimming in the sea and playing with large beach balls.

  I looked up at Cole and smiled happily. This is where I belonged. And I wasn’t referring to our location.

  We sat on the beach and watched the tide gently ripple against the shore. Cole stared out at sea. He was so tranquil it made my heart ache.

  “I’d ask if you want ice cream, but that’s a pretty stupid question, right?” he said teasingly. It’d only been about fifteen minutes since we sat down, but I was always up for ice cream. Reading my overeager expression, Cole laughed, stood up and pulled me with him.

  Cole ordered us both Belgian chocolate ice cream and we walked back to our spot on the sand. Before sitting down, Cole peeled his t-shirt off and spooned ice cream into his mouth. I bit my lip, frowning at the squirming feeling in the pit of my stomach.

  This time I didn’t avert my eyes. His chest looked like it was carved from stone. He took care of himself and worked out, and I’d never appreciated that so much before. My heart was working overtime. The longer I looked at him the harder it beat.

  I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. Calm down.

  “You okay?” he said after a minute. I nodded and scooted closer to him so our arms pressed against each other’s. The feel of his skin against mine gave me goose bumps.

  I was falling again.

  After an hour of lying around the beach, we decided to
check out the hotel properly and grab some drinks. We walked back along the beach to find a taxi, and his hand brushed against mine. I stole a sideways glance at him. He was biting the inside of his mouth, deep in thought. Again, his hand brushed mine. He usually made the first move where handholding was concerned. And everything else, actually. Take his hand, Oakley. Stop being such a baby!

  A small smile pulled at the side of Cole’s mouth and he wound his hand around mine, intertwining our fingers. Could he hear my thoughts?

  “Oh, we’re going there,” he suddenly said and nodded his head towards a little wooden shack on the beach.

  The crafted wooden sign just above where a gorgeous, honey-tanned man stood read ‘Water Sports’. Something was also written above it, which I assumed was the same in Italian.

  I protested silently but followed him. Although I had absolutely no desire to get into the ocean I would do it for Cole. And it’d be good to actually do something. I shied away from anything scary, but I wouldn’t on this trip.

  Time to be brave…at least this once.

  “Hi, can we book diving lessons please?” Cole asked, without looking at the prices.

  Tall, dark, and gorgeous nodded his head and flashed us a perfect, pearly white smile. He looked like a very gorgeous advert for surfers.

  “Sure. I just need to see some ID,” he said in an Australian accent and pointed to me.

  Cole shook his head. “ID?”

  “Yeah, you need to be over sixteen or accompanied by an adult.” I looked at Cole and smiled victoriously.

  “Here’s my ID. I’m eighteen. That counts as adult, right?”

  I narrowed my eyes at him. The little bugger had a fake ID. Cole was still only seventeen. Gorgeous nodded again and checked the ID. Surely, he would know it was a fake?

  “Thanks. You wanna go tomorrow at ten?”

  My mouth dropped open. He’d bought it. This was really happening then.

  “Sounds good, thanks.” Cole gave our details and then paid. Diving did actually sound fun, especially in the Italian sea, but I was still worried about the equipment breaking and me drowning. Or getting eaten by a shark.

  “You’ll enjoy it,” he promised as he read my worried expression. I wanted to enjoy it. I gave him an ‘eek’ look, and he laughed. “You’ll be fine, Oakley. I’m not gonna let the sharks get you!” That really wasn’t helping, but I still grinned and shook my head. And how did he know about the sharks. “I’m kidding! Let’s get back now? I need a beer and some food.”

  Not with that wristband.

  We took a taxi back up and headed to our rooms to change. I was hot, sweaty and sandy. My hair was a fuzzy mess on top of my head and probably would be for the entire time.

  “Where are you going?” Cole asked as I turned the wrong way for our rooms. There was something I wanted to do…

  He followed behind me as I walked down the stone staircase to the lower floor. Pointing to the spa sign, I grinned. “No. Way, Oakley, not happening!”

  Yes, it was.

  I nodded and walked up to the treatment board beside the reception desk. Two ridiculously beautiful women were sitting behind the desk, looking at the computer screen. Was being stunning a requirement of working here?

  “You can’t be serious?” he asked, begging me with his eyes to leave. “Do you want my balls to drop off?”

  I grinned wide and cocked my head to the side.

  “Let’s just go, yeah?”

  Couples massage, I read in my head. Couples. I really wanted to relax together, but was a couples massage jumping the gun a little? Would he see it as a hint?

  Just get a grip and do it.

  Gathering the courage, I pointed to the massage and waited for his reaction.

  “Just that?” he asked with a small smile playing on his lips. Shaking my head, I also pointed to the facial. He snorted. “You can do that, too, but there is no way I’m putting any of that shit on my face!”

  I scowled at him.

  “No. Just, no,” he said defiantly.

  “Can I help you?” One of the women asked, grinning in amusement at our little exchange.

  “Can we book the couples massage and the rejuvenating face thing for her, please?” Cole asked, nodding in my direction. I slapped his arm and decided to go with a different approach. I pouted and fluttered my eyelashes. Cole wasn’t budging.

  “Not. Happening.”

  The woman, who looked like she should be a model and not a receptionist, laughed.

  “You want him to do both?” she asked. Her English was slightly better than Carmella’s, but her Italian accent was thicker. I nodded and hoped she wouldn’t ask me anything else. I didn’t want to seem rude. That was always a problem with strangers, not being able to answer them made me look like a bitch.

  He groaned and turned back to the supermodel. “Okay. Both please.”

  “Of course.”

  She booked us in for tomorrow afternoon and handed us our appointment card. At least after diving in the morning I’ll be able to relax and get pampered. With Cole.

  He tucked the appointment card in the pocket of his shorts and glared at me playfully. “You owe me big for this!” I raised my eyebrow. I owe him nothing. I’m getting in the sea tomorrow! He chuckled and casually threw his arm over my shoulder as we wandered back through the hotel.

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