A/N- Well then. Here's chapter 4, I apologize for the lateness and my crappy updating skills. Thanks to all of you are reading and favouriting.
Disclaimer- I do not own any recognizable characters or situations mentioned anywhere within this story.
Opening the door with knit eyebrows, he looked questioningly at her as her eyes darted to him.
"I would actually, um, really like to go to dinner," she says, smiling nervously.
He stood there unable to come up with anything to say, taking in her appearance, the sheer look of uncertainty and self deprecation covering her lightly made-up face.
"Are you-"she began, leaning to peek past him into his apartment, but instead caught his gaze. She couldn't quite pinpoint the type of look he was giving her, but he was undoubtedly staring at her for too long and that made her uneasy.
Huffing out a small breath she turned to leave, "I'm sorry."
She began to retreat from his doorstep, when finally he stopped her with his words, "No, wait."
She stopped immediately, her back still facing him, waiting for him to say something... anything to make her feel less selfish and idiotic for coming there in the first place.
"Uh, come in," he gestured, although she couldn't see him.
She slowly turned again to face him, but his eyes were cast downward in avoidance, his hand busy scratching the back of his neck.
She quickly shuffled into his apartment, stopping just right of the doorframe, allowing him to walk in after her.
He stiffly walked past her, straight to the table in the middle of the room, making sure to put some distance between them.
She looked nervously around the apartment, anywhere but the silent man in front of her.
Stretching his arms to lean back onto the table, he spoke finally, "What made you change your mind?"
She'd expected this question from him and had thought about it the entire way there. But suddenly, words failed her (as they seemed to do around him).
"I-just. My mind is crazy. I can't... think," she pauses looking at him directly, eyes pleading for him to understand.
When he didn't speak, she cast her eyes elsewhere, not ready to see the expression on his face at her next statement, "So, I'm going with what I feel".
His ears perked up noticeably, his eyes immediately coming to her face, which was looking elsewhere. He smirked slightly, "alright," he said moving toward the back of his apartment.
"Where are you going?"
"I can't go out to dinner looking like this, can I," he reasoned, continuing the course for his room.
"No," she whispered to herself, trying to hide the grin pushing its way across her mouth.
After changing into some appropriate (incredibly sexy) dinner attire, Eric had insisted on driving and had led them to an intimate little restaurant facing the beach.
Upon entering the doors, Eric's hand found her elbow, lightly guiding her between the bustles of filled tables to one tucked in the corner.
She looked around, the dim light from the lamps above warming the dark wood of the table, the colourful mosaics on the wall shining with the same dancing light, as if the bulbs above were candles.
"Wow," she breathed. "This place is beautiful".
"I'm glad you like it," he smiled. "My old diving partner's sister owns the place. I used to eat here almost every meal when I was in underwater recovery."
"Well, then it must be good."
"Eric!" came a squealing voice from across the room.
"Ah, Tia," he smiled standing up and accepting a hug from a tanned, curly haired younger woman.
"You haven't been down in so long," she said playfully punching his arm.
"I'm sorry," he said smiling sheepishly. "I know how much you love seeing me every day," he laughed, earning another playful shot to the bicep.
His gaze fell to Calleigh who was smiling, quietly watching the two interact. "Tia, this is Calleigh," he said introducing the two.
"Hello Tia," she uttered smoothly, extending her hand.
"Hi Calleigh," she said grinning. She stood back, nudging Eric in the ribs, the same grin stuck on her face, while she pretended to grab her notepad from in her apron. "Well, uh, what can I get for you two?"
Eric stood there, cheeks rosy, eyes wide staring at Calleigh. "Why don't you surprise us Tia," he laughed, patting her shoulder as she practically sashayed toward the waiter doors.
"I am so sorry," he blushed, laughing as he sat down across from her again.
All she could do was laugh with him as their eyes connected.
"As you probably noticed, she's become kind of like a sister. She teases me about everything."
Still giggling she replied, "Yeah, she got you a couple of times in the arm too."
"That's Tia for you," he smiled.
As soon as he spoke, Tia came back her arms full of large colourful dishes of steaming food.
"Wow, that was fast," Calleigh said, eyeing each plate keenly.
"Special order," she winked. "Enjoy".
"This looks delicious," Calleigh spoke, placing a napkin in her lap.
"Dig in," he said playfully, noticing her wide eyes.
Their dinner was filled with stories and many laughs. The atmosphere in the small eatery was light, and made them both feel at ease. Neither broached the topic they both knew had to be dealt with.
After paying a ridiculously low amount of money for the pile of food they were served, they made their way onto the street, the salty breeze a welcome change from the humid innards of the little restaurant.
"I love this time of day," she murmured, shifting her long hair over her shoulder, exposing her neck to him. "It's not too hot, and just... so relaxing."
"Yeah, it is," he agreed, watching as her eyes fluttered, shut allowing the breeze to cool her face.
"Did you like the food?" He gulped, averting his eyes as soon as she opened hers.
"Yeah, everything was amazing," she beamed.
"I've wanted to take you there for a while."
She turned to him, but his eyes were scanning the shoreline. "Really?" she asked.
"Yeah, I'd planned on taking you for a while now... I almost thought we wouldn't get here," he said, not liking the way his words just tumbled out of his mouth.
Calleigh noticed the slight wince in his features as he spoke, knowing he was trying to go about this delicately.
"I almost thought we wouldn't either. I am sorry about earlier," she said. He looked into her eyes. They were filled with honesty and guilt.
"It's okay, you know," he admitted, taken aback by the amount of raw emotion they presented.
"It isn't though. You don't deserve any of this. I'm just...-"
"-I know," he nodded, reaching through her fingers and giving them a light squeeze. "And I'll wait until you figure it out."
"Don't," she said immediately, slipping her fingers away from his, feeling slightly sickened for almost accepting his proposal. "I didn't mean that... I-"
She stopped in her tracks, Eric following suit immediately after and turning back to face her. She stood there looking completely torn, staring straight at him her mouth opening and closing as if to say something.
"Cal, it's okay to be unsure, I don't even really know what the hell I am doing either. I just know that I feel something for you, and I can't let that get away."
She nodded, her eyes searching for something to say that didn't make her sound like an emotional mess. He watched her struggle, still frozen in place and decided to urge her along a little, "What happened to going with what you feel?"
"I don't even think I know what I feel. I know that yes, I have feelings for you. Sometimes they feel like more than they should be... Sometimes-,"she stuttered, "Sometimes it feels right for you to just be my best friend. I can't sort out what's real and what's my mind going into protective mode," she spoke slowly, trying to shake off the vulnerability.
He respected why she felt that way. She'd been betrayed by many men in her life, and losing the only genuine one, never mind her good friend scared her into retreat. Despite that, he could sense under all the baggage and uncertainty she truly wanted to be with him, and he would make sure she wouldn't regret it.
"What can I do-" he asked, moving slowly towards her, "-to help you make up your mind".
He kept moving until he'd reached a point where their bodies weren't touching at all, but still close enough to hear each other's nervous breathes. His proximity suddenly cleared her mind of all she'd began to over think, her instincts sharp and ready to react.
She blinked hard, her body sparking with butterflies. "I... don't know," she breathed, turning her face up, mostly unaware of the perfect angle her lips were at to be captured by his.
"Well," he breathed back, liking the way her body was instinctually moving in sync with his own. "Just stop me if I am doing something that feels wrong."
With that he began the slow descend towards her lips, his eyes watching hers flutter close as his hands ghosted over her hips. He felt her hesitant hand come to rest on his collar bone, lightly pulling herself up to almost close the distance between them.
He felt the softness of her top lip barely graze his as he gave way to his eyelids and let them fall shut. His hips swayed towards hers while his hands gently guided hers until they collided. Her lips fell softly onto his, pressing firmer into his mouth as he cocked his head sideways.
He allowed himself to press his mouth against hers, suckling gently for a few long moments before retracting. His hands still in place, leaving his lips only inches away.
Her moist lips were parted, her breath caught somewhere between her throat and her tingling lips. Her whole body felt as if tiny fireworks were crackling beneath her skin while her heart throbbed incessantly inside her chest. Slowly, she took in a breath and released it.
"That-," she managed to say quietly, "-definitely didn't feel wrong."
"Well then," he replied breathily, leaning his lips in millimetres away from hers, "I guess you found your answer."
She could feel his warm breath dry what was left of him on her lips and suddenly, she didn't like being without it. So closing the distance, she reached another hand up to his chest, sliding it behind his neck and pulled herself up to join them once more.
A/N- Hmm.. Let me know your thoughts... constructive criticism, ideas, etc... all are welcome. Thanks for reading.