I always tell myself I should wait and see if this makes sense before posting but I rush, rush, rush and post it as soon as it's done. You don't have to tell me that I suck at grammar, I know. But if you see anything else, just let me know.


Tori ran down the beach as if the hounds of hell were nipping at her heels. She'd been out running laps for the last hour but her emotions were still twisted and raw. But she couldn't seem to stop. Running was better than tracking Marah down and beating the hell out of her.

She wasn't sure how long he was there before she knew it. Gradually she realized someone was keeping up with her rapid pace. She glanced over, unsurprised to see Blake. He'd made it a habit of showing up whenever something was bothering her. Sometimes she wondered how he knew what she was feeling because she sure hadn't said anything about yesterday's events.

At the lifeguard stand where she usually turned around, she slowed to a jog, down to a walk before stopping abruptly.

"Walk, Tori. You've got to cool down," he ordered.

Her jaw clenched to hold back the words that wanted to spew out. She wasn't mad at him and losing her temper over something that was true wouldn't help anything.

She turned around and walked silently down the beach. The sun would rise soon, already showing hints of dawn with the pink and gold coloring the horizon. Blake handed her a water bottle and she took a healthy slug before wiggling it at him.

He shook his head so she took another drink. They turned again until they reached her stuff lying in the sand. Tori sat down on her towel, hugging her knees to her chest. Blake settled in the sand sideways, facing her rather than the ocean.

"How could she do that to him?" Calmer than she had been yesterday, even from just a few minutes before, her voice still cracked on the words.

"I don't know."

"Dustin is the most loving, trustful guy that I've ever known. To have Marah play with his emotions and his trust that way….He doesn't deserve it." To her horror, a tear slipped down her cheek. Tori closed her burning eyes and prayed that she wouldn't cry.

A second fell and Blake brushed it away. The feel of his calloused thumb on her cheek broke down her defenses and she let the tears flow with a quiet whimper, embarrassed by her weakness.

She wasn't sure how long she cried on him but the sun had completely risen by the time the flood of emotion eased and she composed herself.

She was wrapped in Blake's arms; her head on his shoulder, his t-shirt soaked and disgusting by her tears and her legs were draped over his thigh.

It was an intimate position and it served to distract her. She raised her head and met his eyes shyly. "I'm so sorry."

He watched her steadily. "Do you feel better?"

Tori nodded and wiped her face with the towel.

"Then you don't have anything to be sorry about."

His arms dropped and she untangled herself and slid away. She stood up and stuffed the towel in her bag. Blake stood in one graceful movement and she looked out over the water before looking at him again.

"Thanks for being my friend, Blake." He shot her a quick grin and she leaned forward and brushed a kiss on the corner of his mouth before walking away.

Huddled in Blake's arms hadn't been the distraction she'd been looking for when she hit the beach that morning. Her lips curved. But it beat running any day.