I’ve pasted it in here, but you can always find the scene under the Bound by Duty tab on my website. I redesigned it in the last few weeks, so things are looking a little different, but everything you need is still there.
I’d love to hear what you think, so leave me a comment!
From Aidan —
What in the hell am I doing here? The thought raced through my head for the hundredth time. I scrubbed both hands over my face and back through my hair, yanking on it a little and trying to reason with myself.
You’re going to freak her out.
She doesn’t even know you.
‘Oh, hi, Amelia. I know you don’t know me but I’ve been watching you the last few weeks and I think we’d get along great. No, I’m not a creeper. Trust me.’
I groaned and dropped my head down. I was sitting under some kind of beach pergola on a picnic table that had seen better days. If I even took a deep breath it might crumple under me. I was hiding and I knew it. It’s bad enough I heard Amelia and her friend talking about this party and then psyched myself into showing up, but now I have totally chickened out. I wasn’t interested in the party or the drunk chicks upstairs. Just her.
I don’t normally get worked up like this but she has me all turned around. I’d been watching Amelia Bradbury since the first day of class. I was the charmer. I knew from years of experience with foster families how to make sure people liked me, but she never even gave me a chance. She wanted to hide and never once even looked my way. I could see it in the way her eyes darted all over the room without making eye contact with anyone. And in the way she wore her hair down, trying to hide behind the long, dark strands. She sat in the back, forcing me to the outer edges of the room so that I could keep watching without making it obvious. When she got up she would often run into things, but never people, clutching her backpack before hustling to the next place.
The first time I saw her relax was by accident. I was in the commons eating and suddenly, there she was. Her eyes lit up and her posture straightened. She yanked the band from her wrist and flipped her head down, coming back up with it in a ponytail. It was the first time I’d been able to truly see her and I was captivated. Her eyes couldn’t decide what color they wanted to be and floated between brown and green. Some people would call it hazel but they didn’t mix so much as shift as the light hit them. She was thin but curved. I wanted to run my hands from her shoulders to her hips just to feel the dip and flare. I turned, anxiety flooding my system, and found the source of her joy…another girl. I let go of a breath I hadn’t known I was holding and couldn’t stop the laugh the erupted from my chest. Amelia strode up, gave the blond a hug, and they immediately started talking. Then the blond spoke and Amelia laughed. It was music to my deaf ears and something inside me came alive. I wanted to be the one to do that. I wanted to make her laugh. For the first time in my life I was jealous of a girl.
I was ready to call it. Being here on this picnic bench was ridiculous and there was no way I was going to have the balls to walk up to her now. I had completely psyched myself out of having any kind of shot at this. I was ready to get up and head for my car when I heard someone bouncing down the stairs. I worried first that something was wrong. Their feet pattered down so quickly I thought they might be running. I stayed in my spot in the shadows, but tensed my body in case I had to move quickly. Lately I had had way too much excess energy and I’d been spending a lot of time in the gym. I could do some damage if it came down to it. The last thing I expected was to see shoes flipping off and long legs soaring through the air as Amelia leapt from the last step and landed softly out into the sand. For just a moment she was suspended mid-air and I could have sworn she was flying. When she hit the beach she didn’t miss a beat, her feet moving her swiftly toward the water.
Her body was long and lean. A ballerina but with curves. She was so focused on the water that it wasn’t until she was ankle deep and had dropped her head back, a small satisfied smile pulling at her lips, that she realized she wasn’t alone. I had barely moved, a low groan coming from the bench underneath me. Her whole body stiffened in what I assumed was fear. I felt like an intruder. This was going to be a great way for us to meet, surely. But, you shouldn’t blow opportunities when they come. Or so said my last caseworker before I turned eighteen and had been accepted into Brighton’s community college. No sense in turning back now.
“So, you’re hiding from them, too, huh?” I was going for charming. Like I had some kind of game. But the words felt like peanut butter in my mouth and I was glad she couldn’t see my reddened face from where she was standing. Amelia slowly turned toward me, her voice small as she squinted and tried to see me better. “Do I know you?”
I felt like even more of a tool. She had no idea who I was. She stared my way for a few more seconds and then whipped around, facing back out into the water. I watched her chest moving quickly, her breaths coming too fast. I slowly started to move toward her, worried she might be getting a little too freaked out and wanting to reassure her that I wasn’t actually a sociopath.
“You don’t have anything to worry about,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady but soft. She turned to face me slowly and the full moon sliced its light just perfectly to illuminate me but keep her face mostly shadowed. She was close enough that I could see her eyes widen and roam from my nose to my knees, without ever meeting my own. I stood up a little taller and couldn’t stop the smirk as I realized I might have some of the same effect on her that she had on me. She raked her gaze up and down and it wasn’t until I tried to get her attention that her eyes finally snapped back to mine.
I couldn’t help but laugh as I waved a hand in front of her face and said, “Hello?” Then the Amelia I knew came back in a mad rush. She fumbled over her words, looking anywhere but at me. She tugged at the ends of her hair and a tried to walk away, but I couldn’t let her. I wasn’t ready to let her go yet and I needed to know her. I couldn’t stop myself from reaching out and taking her arm. It was our first contact and I don’t know what I had expected, but it wasn’t heat blooming under my fingertips or her heartbeat inside my head. In milliseconds of my skin on hers she was inside me, and I knew I’d never get her out.
“Wait. Just wait.” More quiet, controlled words. I couldn’t let her leave. I had to keep her there. I had to keep touching her. “I’ve seen you before. You’re Amelia, right?” Normal, Aidan. Act normal.
“Yeah,” she whispered. I had forced her to look at me and I would swear to any judge that we wore the same expression. She felt something. I knew she did.
“We have a couple classes together, but you always sit in the back and never say anything.” Dammit. So suave. So charming. You’re an idiot, Montgomery.
I was instantly ashamed. I watched her reaction and I knew it too well. She squeezed her eyes shut and her lips smashed together, holding in the pain of not fitting in. I might be a charmer now, but I’d been sent away by enough families to know what I had just done.
“Oh, that was dumb. I’m sorry. Anyway, I’m Aidan. Aidan Montgomery.” I took advantage of the opportunity to trail my fingertips from her bicep down to her wrist and then folded her hand into mine, shaking it softly. I felt fire the whole way and judging by the widening of her eyes and the swift intake of breath, so did she. For a second, she gripped my hand, but as our eyes connected again and I couldn’t stop my grin, she dropped it and without a word took off running. I couldn’t move, my hand still in front of me and my jaw hanging open, as I watched her bound up the stairs and disappear. I dropped onto the hard-packed sand and didn’t bother to move as the tide rose and the salty water surrounded me.
Well, that couldn’t have gone better.