As Anna and Trevor grows closer, her time in Australia is fading fast!
|~ Seventeen ~
Since the night I met Trevor, I knew I was getting in over my head, but no matter how I fought it I couldn’t resist his charming smile, twinkling, mysterious blue eyes, and the way his laughter rang in my ears long after we said good night. If I heading for a downfall, I was going to do it hanging onto Trevor’s every word.
I still think about Josh. I wonder what he was doing, and if he was watching me from up above. I would wonder what the two of us might be doing if he was still with me. I wanted him with me. However, those moments with Trevor made it easier to forget my pain if only for awhile.
Only a few days had past when I agreed to a night out, alone with Trevor Howard, without Izzy around, that is.
As we walked outside, not touching, but close enough just in case we decided to throw caution into the wind and give in the built-up passion rapidly mounting between us.
I wondered again if this was a good idea. I was flattered, okay I deeply and unbelievable flattered, that this guy wanted to take me out, but I was also afraid that somehow he would misunderstood my intentions for tonight. I hadn’t dated anyone but Josh, and that was quite a long time ago I wasn’t sure what the rules of engagements were. Why hadn’t I paid more attention to Izzy’s and Jeremy’s tales of woe and heartache?
This evening was starting to look a lot like a date, I thought worriedly, and okay maybe it is, so what if it is, after all Josh would want me to be happy.
It took me a few minutes to realize that Trevor was saying my name and it must not have been the first time.
"You’re a thousand miles away. Are you okay?"
"Yes, of course, I was just thinking…about…"
"Anything I should know?"
"No, not at the moment. C’mon let’s just have a good time tonight," I said, pushing open the car door and stepping out into the warm night air. I gulped when I spied the restaurant he had chosen. It was the most romantic and intimate restaurant in town, and definitely the nicest I’ve had ever been to. Josh had loved taken me out, but nothing like this.
"Antonio’s is the best restaurant within a fifty miles radius and I wanted to make tonight special, but that’s it. Honest, Anna, my family has been coming here for a long, long time."
"Alright," I said, drawing in a shaky breath. "Shall we then?" I asked, letting him slip his arm into mine. I was well aware of his eyes moving up and down my body, but I shook it off as I caught myself checking him out of the corner of my own eye. He wore a midnight blue T-shirt, a loose and open black jacket, with black pinstripes pants. He looked and acted every bit the gentleman, very handsome, and appearing almost God-sent. At my sister’s persistent urging, I had worn the pink sundress, which I brought along after all and was now thankful that I did, with sandals.
"It feel good to be out," I said. "Doesn’t it?"
"It sure does. It feel just like it should being out with a beautiful and talented woman…like a dream come true," he said, holding the door open as I slipped inside.
"Wow, thank you for the compliment. It been awhile since I’ve heard it from anyone who isn’t family."
I nodded, as my eyes widened as I took in the fancy décor. The restaurant was done in shades of rose with pale pink walls and a deep red carpet. A crystal chandelier hung above our heads, and Impressionist art adorned the walls. The only sounds that could be heard were the hushed voices and the quiet twinkling of wineglasses. I bit my lip, feeling completely out my element. I was used to burger joints and coffeehouses, casual dinners, and most of the time Josh and I had just cooked spaghetti at home. The maitre d’ stood behind a rich oak stand, a large reservation book in front of him.
"Good evening, Mr. Howard," he said.
"Dinner for two," Trevor said, quietly.
The maitre d’ smiled respectfully. "Right this way, please."
We followed him across the dimly lit room to a romantic, square table in the corner. An elegant white tablecloth was draped over the top, and two round pink candles was set out in small glass jars. A tiny rose stood in a crystal vase in the middle of the table, but most incredible of all was the look on Trevor’s face when I caught his eye a few minutes later. I still didn’t know what I was doing exactly, but I also knew I wanted to find out.
~ Eighteen ~
"Are you sure you want to do this?" Izzy asked the next morning.
"No, but I’m going to anyway."
"Is," I said. I was tired of explaining my actions, tired of defending myself, tired of living without Josh, and tired of being alone. I was at the point of moving on or being left behind and I did not want it to be the latter. "I’m doing this, Is, and I’ll do by myself if I have to, but I rather you go with me."
"Of course I will. You know I’ll go."
"I talked to Jeremy yesterday on my cell."
"He says he’s investigating a big story. Whatever that means, you know I don’t get his journalism lingo," Izzy said. "But why are you visiting the Howard’s estate so quickly. You’ve waited at least a couple of weeks before meeting Josh’s folks. You only knew Trevor, what? About three days?"
"Honestly, I don’t know," I admitted. "All I do know is that for the past three days I haven’t been this happy since before Josh died. I don’t want to lose this feeling again. Not now, I just can’t…" I knew I was on the verge of tears. I struggled to hold them back. I didn’t want Trevor’s family to see me as a completely unstable mess. "They sound like nice people. I mean, it’s only his parents, little sister, and another friend who have been with the family forever, but still…"
"His rich parents," Izzy corrected.
"That doesn’t matter and you know it, Izzy, besides it’s not as if we’re poverty stricken, you know. Mom’s a doctor and Dad’s a lawyer."
"I know, I know, I give up," Izzy said, throwing her hands up in mock surrender. I quickly reached over and grabbed the steering wheel.
"I’m driving back to the hotel, Is." Izzy stuck her tongue out at me.
My sister may be a bit of a flake sometimes, but she had a good heart with good intentions even if it didn’t always come off that way. I also knew that Izzy had nearly made up her mind, but I didn’t care. I was past the denying phase already. I liked Trevor and I was determined to impress his family.
~ Nineteen ~
After general introductions, Trevor suggested he’ll show us the stables and promised us a horseback riding lesson. As he patted the head of a tan mare I glanced over at my sister for her reaction to riding again. She as I knew she would be she appeared uncomfortable. She had only ridden once when she, Jeremy, and I had attended camp years ago. While Jeremy and I loved it and even got a thrill from, Izzy had one bad experience after another with the camp’s tamest horses, finally ending with her falling off, through unscathed, she never ridden since and I knew she didn’t intend to start again now.
“Uh, Trevor, maybe we could wait on the riding,” I said, seeing Izzy’s relieved expression at first and then a look that said she didn’t want to hold me back.
“You should go, Ann.”
“I don’t have to. This is our vacation and I’d rather be with you then some stinky horse.”
“I’m touched, sis, but really, you and Trevor go. I’ll be fine for an hour or two alone. You’ve been through so much this past year…I mean, you love riding and maybe it’ll would be good for you.”
Trevor, meanwhile, had been watching us earnestly. His head moving back and fourth between us and while the idea of being alone with him thrill me just a little, it scared me a whole lot more.
“I think Izzy’s right. I don’t know everything that you two are talking about and I have my own selfish reasons. But mostly I just want to show you our trails, Ann,” he said.
“Go,” Izzy said, motioning with her hands insistently and they finally wore me down.
“I can see I’m outnumbered and it does sound like a lot of fun, so okay…but I warn you no funny stuff, buster,” I said, gently pushing Trevor’s arm.
“I’ll be the perfect gentleman I promise.”
Trevor still doesn’t know how it happened. One minute Anna, Izzy, and I are in the barn and the next Anna and I are alone, surrounded by nothing but trees and our horses, Trevor mused. He had let her ride, Sienna, a gorgeous and gentle brown and white horse that he usually rode. However, today he was on Charlotte, his sister’s horse. He watched Anna ride. She rode with ease and confidence as if she been riding her whole life. Maybe she had been, he didn’t know, but he wanted to, he realized. He wanted to know everything about her, even what the sadness was that she held in her cloudy, but serene blue eyes.
“I love it here,” she said, breaking into his thoughts. “If I could, I think I would want to spend the rest of my life in someplace like this. It’s beautiful and peaceful.”
“It is,” Trevor agreed. “I come out here a lot, just to think, Sienna doesn’t seem to mind.”
“Sienna’s your horse?”
“I promise to be careful with her.”
“I knew you would, but mostly I thought you needed to ride her. She’s a great companion.”
“What do you think about out here?”
“Whatever I want…Sienna doesn’t judge and she’s an great listener.”
“I wished she lived closer to me.”
“While you’re here, you can talk to her whenever you want.”
“You wouldn’t mind?”
“Of course not, but you better ask her.”
She bent down so her cheek nuzzled against the horse’s soft mane on top her head. “I can talk to you, right Sienna, and you won’t tell me I’m crazy or that I should move on with my life…” she said, softly, with a hiccuped. Sienna neighed. Trevor resisted the urge to reach out and touch Anna. Through he was close enough to. Instead, he just watches her with Sienna. Anna was loving and kind, beautiful and sweet, and…troubled. What could a beautiful and loving young woman like Anna, who has her whole life ahead of her, have to be so sad about? He wondered.
“Can we rest for awhile?”
She was talking to him again and the sound of her voice lifted him up. He had a hard week and meeting Anna had been like meeting an angel in disguise, working over time to save him. She pulled on her ring finger on her left hand as if feeling for something and not finding it.
“Sure. I know the perfect spot and it isn’t far from here.” He trotted Charlotte slightly ahead, leading the way to a clearing with a small stream running through. Only the crickets and the birds in the trees kept them company. Trevor jumped off of Charlotte and Anna gracefully slid off Sienna. Her sneakers landed on the dirt ground with a soft thud, but quietly. He got the impression that almost everything Anna did, she did it quietly. She put her hand on his shoulder to keep herself steady as she slid her shoes off, surprising him with her gentle touch. He slid off his own shoes, watching her splashed in the water, jumping feet first in the stream. For a minute he let her alone with her thoughts, watching her enjoy the water as if she was a small child. Was this what she’d had been like growing up?
“Come join me, Trevor,” she said, laughing, pointing to tiny silver and orange fishes swimming around our feet. Trevor found his own laughter echoing hers. It felt good…it felt like something he hadn’t done in awhile. Couldn’t do in his world of monotonous business deals, but it definitely felt good. Something he needed and maybe so did Anna. He wondered about her again. Will she be okay when she left here? What would he do when that time came?
“Thank you,” she said. “That was like coming home. It was easy and fun and something I haven’t done in a really long time.”
“Life’s funny, isn’t it? When you’re young you say going to do this or that. You hold your dreams up and on a pedestal and darn it if anyone messes with them….”
Darn, Trevor wondered. Realizing he learned something else about her…she probably never curse a day in her life.
“Then you grow up, things happen, you set a new goal…not dreams, really. Just more realistic goals, that’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“So what was your dream?”
She smiled, and he saw a hint of playfulness in her twinkling and yet still sad eyes. “I was going to be an acrobat,” she said, giggling. “I used to practice on top of my swing set everyday, all set to join the circus, then one day I realize I didn’t want to leave home.”
“That sounds like fun. I bet you would have been a wonderful acrobat.”
“What was yours?” she asked.
“I only wanted to ride horses all day, every day.”
“So what happened?”
“Like you said, life happened. It took over. It changed me and I can’t say for the better. I went to college, majored in business, and began working my way up the corporate ladder. Now I’m C.E.O of Howard Enterprises,” he said. “But sometimes like when I’m out here with Sienna…I wonder what could have been. Sometimes I still feel like a little kid just wanting to ride his horse.” He admitted this with an impish grin.
“Were you a rogue? ”
“A little bit, and I’m probably still am.”
“I don’t see any roguish behavior in you,” she said, studying him. “I see a man. A lonely, but gentle and kind man.”
“That’s sweet of you to say, but we just met a few days ago…”
“I think am right. No, I know I am,” she said, pushing on his arm just a little bit and again surprising him at her touch. She was the first person he told any of this too. He didn’t know why he was talking so much, but he wanted her to know.
“What about you? You’re obviously not an acrobat.”
“Nope. My parents wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, like them, but I can’t the stand the sight of blood, nor am I aggressiveness to be a lawyer…. So, I became a journalist.” She smiled at him. It was true. Josh used to tease her about writing long medical and law essays to, at least, please her parents in some way.
“Making all of you unhappy?” Trevor’s question brought her back to the woods, his voice soothing and soft.
“Well, no, I’m happy with writing. I think I would like to write a novel someday.”
He grinned again. ”Maybe you could write a novel about an acrobat.” I laughed.
“Maybe,” I said.
“I like talking to you like this.”
“I like it too.”
Anna stared ahead, she glanced above at the setting sun, casting the sky is glorious orange hue. A seagull flocked above, the crickets chirped around us. It’ll soon he dark and we should probably be heading back, but he also didn’t want it to end just yet. He didn’t know when he’d see her again.
“Are you hungry? I know a great spot that has the best shrimp in town. I’ll love to take you and your sister.”
She nodded. “Izzy would like that,” she said, with a twinge of sadness in her voice. He wondered again if all she ever did was look out for the people she loved, instead of taking care of herself first. Then he realized he liked that about her…instead of being selfish, she was selfless. A quality that not too many people possess these days but could benefit from, including him. He couldn’t help but wonder what she was doing with him now. In the past, he would have made his move by now. He would have slid his arm around her and kissed her by now, not that he’d ever been in love. Usually he’ll go on a few dates and then want out of the relationship. There was only one woman that lasted more than a few months and that was a long time ago. He couldn’t do that with Anna. Nor did he really want to. She confused and overwhelmed him at the same time. She was different from that others. She was special and he knew that long after she had gone home he would remember their ride out to the clearing. He would remember what they talked about today with longing and once again be wondering what could have been.
~ Twenty ~
At Straight from the Sea, a seafood restaurant about thirty minutes from Trevor’s parents’ estate, Trevor sat across from the two sisters. He saw Anna pulled on her left finger again and again he was perplexed to why she kept doing it. He wanted to ask her about it, but he didn’t want to intrude on something that he probably shouldn’t if it was a private matter. He saw Izzy’s eyes follow his and saw the concern on her face.
“So what’s good here?” Anna asked him.
“Shrimp and they make every kind you could want…boiled, chilly, fried, coconut, Cajun, Po’ Boys, Stuffed, Shrimp Creole, Shrimp gumbo, sautéed shrimp…just like in that movie Forrest Gump.”
Izzy scanned the menu, but Anna shut hers and put it down in front of her.
“I’ll let you order for me. I trust you,” she said. The waiter came to take their orders for drinks.
“Sweet tea,” Anna said.
“Make that two,” Trevor amended.
“Three,” Izzy said.
“I like it here,” Anna said, looking around at the fish atmosphere. It was like eating at the bottom of the sea, an experience that she was looking forward to. Izzy, however, wrinkled her nose.
“I don’t. It smells a little fishy to me,” she said.
“She isn’t big on seafood,” Anna explained to Trevor. “Loves shrimp, but that’s about it for my sister and seafood.” Anna laughed, and Trevor chuckled, Izzy appeared indignant at first, but then her face broke into a grin.
“So Trevor, do you bring a lot of other girls here?” she asked. Anna was about to hiss at her sister, but she was curious as well, so she stopped.
“No,” Trevor said. “This is a special place that up until now I had only shared with my sister and her au pair.”
“I’m honored,” Anna said.
“I’m glad,” Trevor said.
A waitress brought a huge pail of shrimp and sat in down in the middle of the table along with extra plates, forks, and napkins. She topped off their sweet tea glasses and walked away without interrupting their conversation. They dug in, heartily, at the shrimp before them; the conversation flowing easily between them and they were more than a couple of times when Anna and Trevor’s fingers brushed, both reaching for the same piece of shrimp. He always let her have it. As he was silently enjoying watching her plucked it from the bucket, dip it in cocktail sauce and into her mouth. He never knew anyone else like her. He was falling hard for this American woman and he knew it.
“You find the most unique places, Trevor,” Anna said later that evening. She was stuffed from their dinner and Izzy had already gone inside their hotel. Anna lingered outside, maybe it was the nighttime air or Trevor’s good-natured chatter, but she wasn’t ready for the night to end yet.
“When you grow up here, you find all sort of interesting places,” Trevor explained.
“I want to let dinner settled before I turn in. Do you want to take a walk with me or do you have to get home right away?”
“I’ll walk with you,” he said, debating whether or not to hold his hand for her, but she solve that dilemma by slipping her arm through his as they walked down the street towards the beach. The tide had gone out and they headed for the hard, wet sand along the shore. For the second time that day, Anna steadied herself against him, slipping off her shoes in the process. He watched her, mesmerized. He, too, stepped out of his shoes. They walked in a comfortable silence at first, Anna lost with her thoughts, and Trevor lost in her beauty. Anna sighed, forlornly.
“Australia is the most stunning place I’ve ever been and I wish more than anything he was here with me,” she said.
“He?” Trevor asked, dejectedly, letting go of her hand. He saw a look of confusion and then regret flashed through her eyes and felt even worse.
“I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry, okay?”
He nodded, not trusting the sound of his own voice. What right did he have over her anyway? He knew that, but it still hurt.
“I guess I owe you an explanation now,” she said.
“You don’t have to…”
“He is Josh, my… husband.”
“You’re not wearing a ring,” he said, suddenly it all made sense. She kept pulling on her finger because she wasn’t used to not wearing it. She probably felt naked without it.
“Izzy thought it be good for me to take it off for awhile. I’m not so sure. I miss my little ring so much right now.”
“I get it.”
“But not fully, let me finish, okay?” she said, continuing at his nod. “This time last year everything was perfect in my life. Josh hadn’t had his car accident yet, we renovating our home and talking about starting a family. It was great and I was happy. You have to understand that he’s the only man I’ve ever dated, since eighth grade when he asked me to the Fall Ball…” she stopped, smiling at her memories. Trevor suddenly had a dry mouth, he swallowed, but it didn’t help. “We finished high school together, went on to the same college and then we got married almost right after graduation. I know, I know, most college kids upon graduating backpacked across Europe or head to the Bahamas, but I never wanted that and neither did Josh. He wanted a house and someday, a family. This trip was supposed to be for the two of us, our honeymoon, Josh planned the whole thing for me, but that stupid pick-up hit him on his way home from work one night…and…and…. and…” she said, through grasps and Trevor was worried she was hyperventilating.
“Are you okay?”
She nodded. “We should be here together. We should…I should still be happy…now I wonder how I can live without him. Most of the time I don’t want to and people don’t want to hear that, so I tell them fine, but even that doesn’t seem to placate them because they not it’s the truth. I feel like I just want to crawl into my bed and die, too.”
He let her cry into his arms for a long time and not knowing what to say, he just comforted her without words. He wanted to tell her so many heartfelt things, but none of them seemed good enough. He did something he hardly ever did, not since he was eight and he fell off hid horse and broke his wrist, he cried with her. He cried for her. He cried because he didn’t know what else to do. He didn’t even know Josh, but somehow he did know that her husband was a better man and yet he was the one to have died.
“Life isn’t fair,” she mumbled into his shirt.
“It sure isn’t,” he said, quietly. As if remembering that he was there, she backed away, wiping at her eyes.
“I don’t know why I told you all that, except that you’re easy to talk to Trevor and I like you. And that scares me because if I can like you then that means my feelings for my late husband aren’t anymore real…no,” she said, shaking her head. “That’s dumb I know it doesn’t.”
“Of course it doesn’t,” he said. She looked so vulnerable under the moonlight that for the second time he had to resist the urge to take her in his arms, embracing her, kissing her. That isn’t what she needs now and he knew it. If all she wanted was a good friend to talk to, then he can be that guy for her…
“I’m tired of being sad. I’m tired of being alone,” she said, interrupting his thoughts.
“Where do I fit in?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “I’m falling for you, Trevor, and that scares me because…because…I don’t want to hurt you and that’s what I’ll end up doing. We live in two different worlds, you’re here and I’m there, you have you’re whole life ahead of you and I feel as if I’m frozen in time waiting for my husband to come back to me. I mean, I know he won’t, but…” Trevor turned her face towards him, lifting her chin, and before he could stop himself their lips met in a deep and intense kiss. Neither one could stop, nor did they really want to, both hungry for passion that has been missing from their lives for a long time.
~ Twenty – One ~
If I was confused last night and all the nights since Josh’s accident, imagine my bewilderment waking up the morning after Trevor’s kiss. Don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing kiss and I could see feel my lips tingling, but then I would get this incredibly guilty feeling, as Josh’s face would once again pop into my head. I could see him so clearly and so brilliantly vivid that I visualized reaching out and touching him, his handsome face, and his sweet and adorable smile that I love so much.
If you’re thinking that it went further last night, Trevor was a perfect gentleman, as he said he would be. I liked that about him, not only was he easy to talk to, but he was honest with me. He didn’t put on airs or tell me I’m crazy or that I need to move on with my life as everyone else has at one point or another. Even Izzy. Trevor just listened. He didn’t push and he didn’t judge. He let me talk when I wanted and I didn’t, he would do the talking. Mostly, he told me what he had been like growing up in Australia.
So it didn’t go any further than that kiss on the beach under the constellations and a bright full moon. I wouldn’t have let it anyway, even if he or I wanted it to. I knew that much. After Josh died, I didn’t think I’d ever fall in love again, so how could I be falling in love with Trevor, if that was what it was, I still was certain. I also knew I had to sort out my feelings and my grief for my husband before I could make any sort of commitment towards Trevor. I know that Josh would want me to be happy, to love and to be loved, even if it meant moving on without him, if that was what I wanted. If I let myself I could definitely fall for Trevor, maybe I’m already am, I don’t know. I looked at the clock numbers glowing red on the bedside table beside me. Seven o’clock. Izzy would be asleep for at least another two or three hours and Trevor had said he’ll swing by on his way to work for breakfast.
He walked me back to my hotel and we reached the door he only lightly kissed me on the cheek before he said good night and we went separate ways. Me, to my room and Trevor, home.
I wanted to see him, but I have to be honest with him. I owe him that much.
“You look different in a suit and tie,” Anna said as Trevor slid into the chair across from her. They ordered iced coffees and a breakfast consisting of croissants, cheese and apple Danishes, and bagels with cream cheese. He caught a glint of the sparkle in her diamond ring. She had put it back on. Instead he went back to her earlier comment.
“Well the C.E.O of a major company has to look his best,” he said, with that impish smile of his as he stirred cream into his coffee. “Good different, I hope, through.”
She studied him. Despite the suit and tie, there was some roguish-ness left and his blonde hair was still damp from his morning shower, but it all worked on him. A look as far as Anna was concerned could only be pulled off on three guys…her husband, Keith Urban, and now Trevor Howard.
“Good, very good,” she said, fortunately she was smearing cream cheese on a bagel and was able to hide her reddening cheeks.
“Whew,” he said a note of relief in his tone. “So, what are you doing today?”
“Izzy wants to some of the more touristry things…”
“Hey, originally she kept talking about Ayers Rock until I explained what it was exactly. She changed her mind real fast,” she said, with a laugh that was contagious.
“So you’ll be shopping all morning…think you’ll be done by lunchtime?”
“I hope so…why?”
“I was thinking I’ll meet ya someplace. In fact, I was thinking I’ll take the afternoon off from work…I mean, if that’s okay?”
“I’d like that, but can you?”
He flashed he that playful smile again. “I’m C.E.O, remember? Let them try and stop me.”
“My, aren’t you a little rambunctious today?” she said, her own playful smile spreading across her face.
“Is it okay if I join ya today, Anna?”
He could follow her to the moon if he wanted and she wouldn’t care. She nodded, biting her lip, just a little apprehensive.
“Excellent. I want to take ya somewhere special today and I have a feeling that you’ll love it as much as I do.”
“Well, so far you’ve been showing me the most unique places I’ve ever seen,” she said, holding onto her nervous smile for a second longer before relaxing with her hand in his and he could feel her gold band against his skin.
“I’ll tell ya where at lunch if that’s okay?”
“It’s okay, but, um, well, I have to be honest with you, Trevor. I have to tell you something.”
“Can it wait? There’s nothing more in this entire world that I’ll love more than to stay and talk with ya all morning, but…I should get going. The office is waiting for me, as Izzy is probably waiting for you…”
She knew he was right. Izzy would most likely be awake by now and probably wondering where she gone off to. Her chance to tell him what she needed to had past and now she’ll have to wait for a second chance.
“Later, okay, I promise,” he said.
“Okay, it can wait,” she said, surprising herself at the relief that washed over her and realizing that she was happy to put it off for one more morning.
As he stood up from their table, she did too, a morning kiss felt too romantic, too much too soon. She stood on her tiptoes and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“Have a good morning. I mean it.”
“Thanks,” he said, beaming. Whenever she touched his skin with her gentle caresses, it left a tingling sensation that drove him wild. It was everything good and something that he had been looking for, but could never find, until now. She sat back down and he almost joined her, wishing he could spend the entire day with her. He was ready to spend the rest of his life with her. Maybe it sounded cliché, but he didn’t care. He was a man in love. He also knew that she didn’t need to hear all this right now. When he looked back at her, he was assured that he had made the right decision. She had enough to think about without adding me into the mix, he thought.
“Did something happen between you and Trevor last night?” Izzy asked, reading me like an open book. We were browsing through an very touristry gift shop, in a search for a souvenir for Jeremy. I pretended I didn’t hear her at first, making her repeat the question. I wasn’t ready to discuss it. My emotions are so mixed up right now and besides I liked knowing that Trevor and I were the only ones who knew about our night on the beach, of our kiss, under the Southern Hemisphere sky.
“You think Jeremy would like this?” I asked, picking up some sort of 3-D puzzle, but I shook my head. No, it would probably frustrate him more than anything else.
“I don’t know why we’re taking so long. Jeremy would love anything you choose, Ann.”
“Maybe we should get something for Devon and Riley. I know we said we wouldn’t…” she said, continuing before Izzy could object. “I know they’re jerks, but they’re still our brothers and we have the chance to be the bigger persons.”
“You are a far better person than them or me. After what they said to you before we left? I don’t think they deserve anything. Sorry.”
“I know you’re right, Is…”
“You know I’ll find out eventfully, so why won’t you tell me!”
“Tell you what?”
“What happened last night with Trevor?”
“Promise you won’t tell anyone?”
“I won’t,” Izzy said, then a smile spread across her face. “Cross my heart and cross my eyes, stick a needle in my bottom, if you got’em,” she said with a giggle.
“You remember that?”
“Trevor kissed me last night…I mean, we kissed, and um…it was natural and easy, I guess, but…now I feel incredibly guilty.”
Josh. Always Josh. Izzy didn’t know why he was taken from her sister and so cruelly, too, but she was almost positive that Trevor had entered Anna’s life to help her, to love her, to make her happy again.
“Josh would want to you to be happy,” she said, beginning tentatively, then gaining in confidence as she went on. “Even if it wasn’t with him. That the kind of guy he was…a wonderful and special man who loved you with all his heart and soul. He would have done anything for you…”
“He should have lived then,” I said, crying and hiccuping all at once. Izzy opened her arms and I collapsed into them, letting my sister hold and comfort me.
“I bet he’s up there in heaven, looking down at you and thinking ‘I made the woman I love so sad. I’m going to do something for her. I’m going to send her someone to help…”
“You think Josh sent Trevor to me?” I asked, incredulously.
“I don’t know. Maybe. I’ve seen the way Trevor looks at you and it’s the same way Josh used to…he’s falling in love with you, Ann, but if you don’t love him, or can’t love him, then be fair to him and let him go. He deserves that from you.”
“I never said I didn’t, I mean that I’m not…I don’t want to hurt him, sis.”
“I know you don’t and know you need some more time. Look, Trevor’s a great guy, as Josh was – you always get the good ones – so if you’re not ready than Trevor will understand. He will because he loves you.
“You’re a great sister, Is…”
“On the other hand, if you are, then I say ‘Go for it!’”
“There’s my sister that I knew I could count. You’ll me worried if you want all contemplative on me all the time.”
FINAL CHAPTERS COMING SOON!