Mia's Heart


Page 15



“And?”

“It’s really too difficult to say from just one kiss,” he says, his dark eyes twinkling. “We should try it again so that I have more to go on.”

He cups my face in his hands and dips his head, his lips meeting mine.

He tastes of butterscotch and man.

Twenty-five beats of my heart later, he pulls away.

“And?” I breathe.

“You’ll do,” he grins.

I swat at him and he pulls me into his arms, folding me against his chest. It is warm here, where his skin is bathed by the sun. I feel so safe, like he would protect me from anything. But even better, it’s like he knows exactly what to protect me from.

“The old you would never have done that,” he tells me quietly a few minutes later. I sigh.

“Gavin, you’ll never know how tired I am of hearing that,” I tell him. I feel him smile against my shoulder.

“I’m just saying it because it is true. As much as I enjoyed that kiss, I’m thinking that maybe we should hold off on doing it again until you remember a little bit more. Just to be on the safe side. I don’t want you slicing off any of my important body parts later because you’re mad at me for taking advantage of the situation.”

I snuggle closer. “Maybe I’m the one who is taking advantage of you,” I suggest.

“Oh? How so?” Gavin asks. He shifts my weight so that I am lying more comfortably in his lap. I feel evidence of his ‘important body part’ jabbing into me, but I pretend not to notice.

“Maybe I’m using you to jog my memory,” I answer. I don’t open my eyes. It feels too good to keep them closed in the sun.

He laughs. “Well, in that case, feel free to use me in any way that you want. And if you require any of my important body parts for that, say the word. Just remember, I’m always ready.”

I smile.

But then, for a second, one second, Quinn’s lop-sided grin pops into my head and my heart pounds. Why am I in Gavin’s lap and kissing Gavin’s lips when Quinn has the ability to give me heart palpations?

The answer is pretty clear though.

Because I like Gavin’s lips.

And he has the ability to make my heart pound, too.

In a world that is confusing and scary, Gavin is one of the only things that is real and true. He’s steady, like a rock, and I so need that right now.

But is that really a good enough reason to be lying in his lap right now? Maybe he was right and we should wait. I sit up.

“Don’t do that,” Gavin mumbles. “I was just ready to fall asleep again.”

I roll my eyes.

“Maybe you’re right,” I tell him. This pops his eyes wide open.

“What? Say that again. Because you never, ever say that I’m right.”

I roll my eyes again.

“You might be right about this. I don’t even know who I am. So how in the world could I know what I want? I don’t want to screw you over while I’m trying to figure it out. And I definitely, definitely don’t want to ruin our friendship. It’s the best thing in my life right now.”

He arches a dark eyebrow.

“Mi, I’ve always been the best thing in your life.”

He laughs and I laugh with him.

“Seriously, though. You’re not going to ruin our friendship. You’re not going to screw me over, although I think it’s cute that you’re worried about it. How about this—we’ll just play it by ear. We’ll do our thing like we always do. And if things develop like they did this afternoon, we’ll pursue them. Don’t stress about it. You’re not supposed to be stressing. Just relax.”

I twist around and stare at him.

“Just relax and go with the flow?”

He nods. “Exactly.”

I nestle into his chest once again and he tightens his arms around me. The sun beats down on our shoulders, drying my hair and warming my chilled bones. It feels really, really good here with Gavin.

But just as I’m ready to fall asleep in the sun, I see Quinn’s face again. I remember what it felt like when he pressed against me as I was riding Titan. And I hear his charming drawl in my head. My heart quickens in response, like it always does.

I have no idea what I’m doing.

That much is clear.

But as Gavin and I nap in the bottom of The Shining, curled up in the sun and miles away from our nearest problem, it is easy to put it out of my mind. I’m going to try and do what Gavin suggested.

I’m going to go with the flow.

I only hope I’m flowing in the right direction.

Chapter Thirteen


I text Dante from the pier and let him know that Gavin will be dropping me off in town. But then Gavin decides to join us. So I spend the remainder of the drive wondering how weird it will be to have Quinn and Gavin in one place.

But it turns out to not be weird at all.

They joke back and forth like old friends and I realize that somewhere along the line, they’ve become friends since Quinn arrived in Caberra. Gavin treats me like he normally would and no one seems to notice that anything is amiss. No one would ever know that I kissed him on his boat and then took a nap in his arms.

No one except for Reece.

At one point, when Gavin hands me a fresh trash sack, his fingers linger over mine just a little too long. I glance up and smile at him at the same exact time that Reece looks my way. I catch her surprised expression and then her knowing grin. But she doesn’t say anything.

Yet.

I have a feeling that it will come later.

For now, I enjoy watching my friends. They joke and laugh and rough-house. We’re like a little club, tightly-knit and close. I like it. And even though I don’t remember, they don’t treat me like I’m different. I like that, too.

I look around the little park that we are cleaning and can see vast improvement over what it looked like a scant two hours ago when we arrived. The broken wood and trash has all been picked up and bagged and it once again looks like a place where children would play. It’s a good feeling to know that we did this.

We all stand and stare at it for a minute and our five shadows stretch onto the playground, side by side. Quinn’s shadow is the tallest and mine is the smallest. The fact that he is standing next to me at the moment accentuates that fact.

“You really are a tiny tot,” he says, only to me. His voice is low and quiet and instant warmth floods my nether regions. OhGoodLord. I’m a wanton, wanton girl. Because two hours ago, I was lying in Gavin’s lap.

I gulp.

“I can’t help my height,” I tell him indignantly.

“Nope,” he drawls. “No, you can’t. I was just wondering, though, how do you fit that much temper into one tiny body, anyway?”

I glare at him. “I don’t have a temper.”

Everyone cracks up at this, but I don’t see the humor.

“I don’t,” I insist. But no one listens as they gather up all of our things. My look of indignation is lost because no one is looking. I sigh.

“We should go grab some dinner someplace,” Dante suggests. “By the time we get anywhere, it will be dinner time. Anyone up for it?”

“I am,” Reece says, leaning up to kiss Dante’s cheek. He has a dirt smudge there and she wipes it off before she turns to me. “Mia?”

I nod. “Sure. Just let me text my mom and let her know.”

Everyone stares.

“What?” I ask as I pull out my phone. “It would be rude not to let her know.”

They stare more.

“I must have been a horrible monster,” I mutter as I punch the text into my phone and then put it away.

“Not a monster,” Reece tells me. “Just….different.”

“Hmmph,” I grunt as I swing into Gavin’s Land Rover. “Where are we going to meet?” I ask.

Dante rattles off a restaurant in town and Gavin nods. And then Quinn appears in my open door, filling it up with his large frame.

“Do you mind if I catch a ride with you guys?” he asks. I stare at him in surprise. I had just assumed that he would ride with Dante. He grins in their direction.

“They seem like they’d like a little alone time,” he says wryly. Reece is holding Dante’s hand, laughing up at him and my heart constricts a little bit. I have to admit…I’m a little jealous. They’re so together. They fit just right. I wonder if I was ever jealous of them before?

But I’m saved from thinking about it because I have to move to let Quinn in. I climb in the backseat.

“You’re way too big to fit back here,” I tell him. And it’s true. He could fit, but he wouldn’t be comfortable.

“Thanks, tiny tot,” he tells me as he settles into the front. “But we’ve already had the conversation about how big I am. You just don’t remember it.” He grins impishly and his eyes meet mine in the mirror of his visor. I have the sudden feeling it wasn’t the size of his body that we had talked about. My heart flutters.

“Everyone set?” Gavin asks. And his eyes meet mine in the rearview mirror. His are warm and twinkly because he knows a secret. He knows how we spent the afternoon.

OhGoodLord. How do I get myself into these situations?

I have two gorgeous guys staring at me covertly from the front seat, both with hidden meanings and expressions in their eyes.

So I do what any normal girl would do.

I stare at my hands.

The entire way to the restaurant.

It seems to take forever, but we’re actually there in twenty minutes. Trust me, though, twenty minutes is a long time to stare at your hands. By the time we get there, I am painfully aware that I need a manicure.

We pile out and I walk between Quinn and Gavin as we meet Dante and Reece at the door.

Because Dante is the Prime Minister’s son, we don’t have to wait for a table. We are immediately shown to the best table in the house, actually. It’s situated in front of huge windows overlooking the sea. It’s a beautiful view.

Or it would be if it didn’t offer such a clear view of the city, showcasing the damage from the earthquake. Staring at it is unsettling. Surrounded by the serenity of Giliberti House, it is easy to be removed from the devastation that the quake caused. Not so here. It is readily apparent.

There is rubble everywhere, although streets have been cleared. Trees are down and some power lines too, which means that some people are still without power. It’s the worst earthquake this country has seen in years and years.

“Wow,” Reece breathes as she takes it in. “We don’t have earthquakes where I’m from. Kansas has tornadoes, but not hurricanes or earthquakes. I didn’t know what to expect when we arrived here. But it’s even worse than I thought it would be.”

Dante nods solemnly. “We’re just happy that power has been restored to almost everyone. It’s amazing how we take things like water or power for granted and we can be reminded so quickly of how lucky we are.”

He’s right and everyone at the table is quiet for a minute, probably reflecting on that very thing. No one at the table, other than me, was really affected by the quake. Their homes are intact, they didn’t even lose power and certainly no one else lost their memories. But I’m really happy about that. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

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