Love, Unwanted (Discovering Love #3)By: Ra Chael Ohara
“I’m glad you had fun, Caroline,” he says. “I know I did.” The piercing look he gives me makes me wonder if he’s talking about more than just the ride. I shut my thoughts down and tell myself this is just an arrangement.
“Thank you for today.”
“You’re welcome, but the night isn’t over yet.”
Laughter bubbles out of me when he reaches in his back pocket and pulls out a pack of cigarettes.
“Ready for number two?”
“Hit me with your best shot.”
He chuckles at my enthusiasm before lighting a cigarette and handing it to me.
As soon as I inhale the smoke, I choke. My eyes widen and I grab my neck while coughing uncontrollably. Later, I’d be embarrassed about Phoenix slapping my back.
“Those are bloody awful! Who would ever want to smoke?” I say, my voice closely resembling the sound a frog makes.
“I have no clue, sweetheart. Not a fan of them myself.”
Once I can breathe again, I look up and see his face so close to mine. On their own accord, my eyes drop to his lips. I want so badly to kiss them just to see if they are as delicious as they look.
“I have to feed my fish,” I blurt. He drops his head and his shoulders shake with soundless laughter. He takes a step back.
“Go feed your fish, birdie,” he orders.
“I’ll see you soon,” he says. He turns and walks to his car. His words sound like a promise. My only thought is I sure hope so.
Living Life Recklessly
“I’m not getting on that,” I say stubbornly for the hundredth time since I walked out of my library and saw Phoenix straddling his bike on the curb.
“Come on, Caroline, it’s just a motorcycle. I’ll even drive slowly,” he says through his smooth smile, the smile I’ve come to love over the past three weeks I’ve spent with him.
It doesn’t feel like it’s been three weeks since I met Phoenix Castle, but, without a doubt, it’s been the best three weeks of my life. We have spent almost every day crossing things off my list and even doing things not on my list that he thought needed to be done anyway.
I didn’t know life could be this way. I didn’t know it could be so much fun, that a person could feel so free. It has only been a short time, but when I’m with him, I feel like a different person. I feel like I could conquer everything on my list. I feel like I could live the life I’ve always dreamed of.
It’s freeing to feel this way, but it’s petrifying at the same time. I love having these feelings, but what if Phoenix is the only reason I feel this way? What’s going to happen when he leaves?
I hate the sick feeling I get in my stomach when I even think about a time when Phoenix won’t be a part of my life, but these past few weeks I’ve constantly reminded myself that time is coming and I shouldn’t get attached.
I’ve also tried so hard during our time together to not develop any kind of feelings for him. That hasn’t gone so well. Despite how hard I’ve tried, I know somewhere inside me I have buried feelings for him.
I keep telling myself despite the way he looks at me, or the sweet things he says to me, it wouldn’t matter. Phoenix’s life is so different from mine. He lives life recklessly, and it’s just a matter of time before he’s on the road again.
Falling in love with him would be pointless and painful. Phoenix isn’t my prince. So, while I still have him in my life, while I’m still on this spontaneous adventure, I’m going to do what Caroline Taylor has never done. I’m going to go with the flow, live life recklessly, and not worry about the future.
“Come on, birdie. Hop on.”
“How am I supposed to climb on the back of that thing wearing this?” I screech while waving my hand down my body. I watch as his eyes scan my yellow silk blouse, gray pencil skirt, and yellow heels before his eyes make their way back to me with a smile in them.
“You look fine to me,” he says suggestively with a little eyebrow wiggle.
I find his smirk both annoying and comforting. Before I can think twice, I give in. I mean, really, who am I kidding? Phoenix and I both knew I was getting on that bike regardless of what I was wearing.
“Where are we going?” I sigh as I grab the extra helmet he hands me.
“You know the rules, babe,” he reminds me while helping me on the back of the bike. He’s right. I know the rules, yet I still ask every time, even though I know he’s not going to tell me what item we’re crossing off the list.
“Hold on tight,” he screams over the roar of the motorcycle. He doesn’t have to tell me twice. My arms immediately lock around him. He laughs. “Not that tight, love. I still gotta breathe.”
I can’t help the red tint that covers my face. I’m thankful he can’t see it. I loosen my grip…well, until he takes off away from the curb. Then my grip tightens right back up. I silently pray he didn’t notice, but judging by his loud laughter, I know he did.
I have no clue where Phoenix is taking us or how long we’ve been riding, but after a while my grip loosens and I relax. Just like with the roller coaster, before I know what is happening, my head tilts to the sky, I feel the warm sun beat on my face, and I begin to enjoy myself.