Why hadn't I thought about this? I scolded myself in my head, continuing to tug at the edges of my dress knowing very well that my purple and rather large bruise was still quite visible. Closing my eyes, I breathed in and out, trying to cool myself down but my mind drifted to what had happened only a few minutes ago. This time, it was questioning Ash's actions and not mine.
There was a sudden change in his bluish-gray eyes when he said he'd go to get us some drinks. It wasn't fear but recognition. A recognition that didn't exist between us...shouldn't exist. Yet, when I saw Ash walking back to me with a new smile on his face, the old shadow gone, I shook the thoughts out of my head and smiled at him.
Setting down our two glasses on the counter, he sat back down next to me. The familiar scent of vodka drifted back to me and I frowned but quickly wiped the expression off my face. Ash had seen it though.
"What is it?" He asked, looking at me confused.
"I don't...I would've preferred something stronger," I said with an easy grin, passing off as believable. He smiled back, and I noticed he'd fallen for the lie.
"Ah, well there's always round two." He winked at me and I forced a smile, taking a light sip out of my glass. Swallowing, I waited for the burning sensation to pass, surpressing the many expressions that the old Natalie would have let come on her face. But not now, I'm different.
The next few minutes passed, with both of us quiet. The music filled in the emptiness between us and it was rather a comfortable silence as I slowly swayed to the music. Ash taking note of this and of my empty glass, took the opportunity to ask, "Would you like to dance?" He tilted his head towards the area close to the pool where a few other couples were slow dancing. I winced at the thought of being that close to him but covered it up with an enthusiastic grin.
Slipping my hand into his, I followed him as we walked towards an empty space. His arms wrapped around my waist lightly, and I hesitated, biting down on my lower lip as I wrapped my own around his neck. There was practically no space between our bodies, and I looked down at our feet while we danced, not wanting to make eye contact.
It was when he shifted his position that things got uncomfortable. Ash's hand accidentally rubbed against a tender spot on the right side of my waist, and I gasped, a sharp pain shooting through.
"What's wrong?" He asked immediately, looking down at me and I tried composing my face but couldn't. He was no longer touching me there, but the pain took a while to go. It wasn't easy for me to hide it but I tried, forcing a lop-sided smile.
"Nothing, I just umm...can we go?"
My abrupt question took him by surprise, especially since we'd only been dancing for a minute or so. I didn't wait for his response, dropping my arms back to my side.
"Sure," he said, taking a light hold of my hand as we walked back towards the hotel. I could feel his eyes on me the whole while through but I refused to meet them, knowing that if I did, I'd probably give something away.