He'd stayed for only a second before telling my dad that he needed to go. Mom thanked him again for the millionth time before dad showed him the way out. I couldn't stop looking at him, silently hoping that he could see how thankful I was. Angela writhed in my grip and I let go as soon as I realized that I was hurting her.
Mom and dad were with Angela at the hospital to make sure that she was okay, and by nine o'clock at night they weren't home yet. I put my dinner plate in the sink before stepping out into the cool Summer night. I sat on the same spot that I'd occupied just a little over a week ago and stared at the dark waves crashing on the ocean. It amazed me how easily something so beautiful and peaceful could turn your life around.
Someone landed heavily on the sand a few feet to my right in front of the fence and my heart started racing when I saw that it was Alex. He smiled at me and I blushed and looked away.
"Hey," he said cautiously, "so saving your sister isn't enough to get in your good graces?"
I didn't say anything, I couldn't trust my mouth to speak.
He sat beside me and I could smell his cologne, soft and alluring. "Not even a hello?"
I heard him shift his weight and suddenly his face was in front of mine. His brown eyes were dark in the moonlight and his sunburned cheeks appeared softer. His smile was accepting, wanting to know me. "Hi," he said quietly before I smiled at him.
"I'm not a princess." I said quietly.
"Well, you live like one." The way he said it made it sound okay, like as if he understood that it wasn't my choice. That I was just born into this.
"You can blame that on my dad."
"So, it gets weird referring to you as princess to my friends." He casually stated.
"You talk about me?" I asked, forgetting my blush.
"Oh yeah, when I get mad I always refer to when I met you." I made a face and he laughed. "Come on, it was funny. There you were, a cute girl just sitting there staring at a ball, it was funny!"
I smiled, my stomach felt raw with nerves caused by his words, and looked back at the water. "I guess."
"So how about it," he poked my arm, "what can I call you?"
"I'm Avery Jones," I looked over at him once more, "and thank you for saving Angie."
"You should thank Aqua, he has ears of steal." He responded.
"Aqua?" I asked him, genuinely curious.
"My golden retriever, he's a good dog."
I nodded, I would keep the name in mind.
"But anyway," he continued, "Avery huh? Where'd your parents get a name like that?"
I shrugged. "Probably some baby book. What about you?"
He smiled and leaned back on his elbows. I let the dark of the night hide my stare as I examined his body beside mine. His lean body was outlined by shadows and his sleeveless shirt allowed his biceps to flex easily as his upper arms held up his weight.
"My name's Alex, though I'm sure you've all ready heard about me." When I didn't answer his smile became wider. "I was named after my grandfather, Alejandro Rodriguez Gomez. It's a mouthful I know, that's why everyone calls me Alex."
I took in his words, hoping that my memory was good enough to remember. "That's a cool name, I like it."
He looked up at me and I could have sworn that one of his eyes glittered with excitement. "My parents came here from Cuba before I was born. My mom was pregnant with my brother and they had no one else out here. My grandpa had died a year before and he'd left them with a tiny restaurant that they still run now." He playfully threw sand at my leg. "You should come by some time."
I couldn't believe the history of his family and all the troubles that they had been through. Though I knew that I would later kick myself for letting him into my life I enjoyed learning about him.
"I thought you didn't trust us outsiders." I said before shutting my mouth tightly, wishing that I hadn't said anything to ruin the mood. To my surprise he stopped smiling and looked directly at me.
"You're right, I don't trust them," his gaze cut into me, tattooing a message in my heart. "But you're not an outsider, you're Avery."
This simple moment moved my view of the world slightly, reminding me that though I had lost one love I was still allowed to love again and that perhaps Jacob would think so too.