The sun's glare made me regret my choice of wearing a one-piece swimsuit as sweat beaded my concealed skin, the fabric sticking to my body. But there was a reason I had no choice but to wear this out of the several bikinis I had packed. It would cover the bruises and the scars that never faded away on my skin. And this vacation was meant to be one of relaxation and forgetting what had happened in my life. To be someone I'm not.
So when I heard a deep masculine voice say, "May I join you," I couldn't help but feel shocked. I glanced from behind my dark-tinted sunglasses at the man in front of me. He had a confident smile on his face, but I could see a silent struggle in his eyes as he rubbed his hands against the surface of his jeans, waiting for a response.
He was bulk, muscular, much more than Adam. He has the power to hurt me. I winced internally at the thought as one of the bruises on my waist suddenly seemed to come alive, an aching pain shooting through my hip as I turned to face him a little more. Don't be scared Natalie...don't be yourself.
"Feel free to," I said, my voice loud and strong, very unlike my real self.
He smiled and sat down next to me, pulling up his jeans to dip his feet into the pool. I took off my sunglasses, setting them down on the side as I observed his features. The sunlight bounced off his soft blonde hair, as it shined, bringing out his bluish-grey orbs that were hard to see with his fringe slightly in the way. I looked away immediately when I saw him turn to face me. That was when a familiar smell hit me...vodka. I tried not to frown and instead flashed a grin.
"I'm Natalie," I said, reaching out my hand.
"Ash," he grinned back and took my small hand into his. I felt so small beside him and ignored the uncomfortable sensation that hit me. Instead, I casually slipped my hand out of his grip, leaning back.
"New to Madrid, are you?"