I remember the lights.
I remember I wanted to photograph them, the way the red and blue splashed across his cold, emotionless face. But I knew even if my feet could move from the place where they had cemented themselves to the ground and I could run for my camera, I wouldnÔÇÖt be able to capture that moment.
I had trusted him, I had loved him, and even though my body had changed that summer, heÔÇÖd made sure to help me hold onto who I was inside, regardless of how the exterior altered.
But then everything changed.
He stole my innocence. He scarred my heart. He took everything I thought I knew about my life and fast-pitched it out the window, shattering the glass that held my world together in the process.
I remember the lights.
The passionate, desperate, hot strikes of red. The harsh, cruel, icy bolts of blue.
They symbolized everything I endured that summer.
And everything I would never face again.
Rhodes ran a hand through his still-damp hair as he watched me look around. ÔÇ£You want something to drink?ÔÇØ
My eyes found his but dropped a little to note the way his shirt was still sticking to his abdomen. ÔÇ£Just water is fine.ÔÇØ
He nodded, stepping into the kitchen long enough to grab a glass and fill it with ice and water from the fridge. Setting it down on the counter in front of me, he lifted a thumb and pointed to the room down the hall behind him. ÔÇ£I just need to shower real quick. You can too, if you want.ÔÇØ
I swallowed hard, my eyes practically bulging from my head. And for the first time ÔÇö Rhodes laughed.
Well, he chuckled.
ÔÇ£I meant when IÔÇÖm done, Natalie.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£I know,ÔÇØ I said quickly. I totally didnÔÇÖt know. ÔÇ£I will. When youÔÇÖre done. I have extra clothes.ÔÇØ Why did I say that?
He quirked a brow. ÔÇ£Guess I wonÔÇÖt be seeing you naked tonight, then.ÔÇØ I thought he was joking, but couldnÔÇÖt be sure because he left it at that without so much as another smile before turning and disappearing down the hall.
I quickly guzzled down the glass of water heÔÇÖd given me and refilled it. I needed to cool down. Way down.
Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.┬á
Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).
When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.┬á