“I think we’re far enough away.” I panted. We had run the entire length of the ship and up two flights of stairs, to the tenth deck. Collapsing on a pool chair, I sucked in deep breaths of ocean air.
“Thanks for coming to get me out of that one Cole,” I said, staring up at the starry night sky as I laid back. My chest was still rising up and down rapidly, and I didn’t know if it was from the adrenaline or from running so fast.
“I’m not Cole,” he said stepping out of the shadows. I shot up in my chair at the sound of his voice. The underwater lights that lit the water and made it a brilliant aqua color, gave his face an eerie glow.
“Alex?” I saw him standing in front of me, but my brain was having a hard time processing the information.
“Why do you sound so shocked? Cole isn’t the only one who can save the day.” His voice sounded tough, but uneven, as if he was trying to hide something.
“I just, I…” My voice cracked as I tried to stutter out a sentence. “You punched somebody!” The words tumbled out of my mouth in disbelief.
“And?” he asked. Alex was still standing by the pool edge, keeping his distance from me.
“You punched him,” I repeated, still not believing what had happened. Alex hit someone? The whole reason why I guessed it was Cole was because I thought he was the only Walter that would let his temper get that far.
“Is it really that surprising?” he wondered.
“Um, yeah,” I said with a nervous laugh. Who was this guy standing in front of me?
“Oh God, I know,” Alex said dropping the tough guy voice. His shoulders slumped and he stumbled over and fell onto the chair next to me. “That punch hurt like a bitch. I don’t know what made me do it,” he winced cradling his hand close to him.
“Holy crap!” My eyes got big at the sight of blood dripping down from his knuckles. “I thought you punched him in the stomach?”
Untangling the shoulder strap of my purse from my hair, I began digging through the bag for something to warp around the bleeding cut.
“I kind of did, but I nicked his belt buckle,” Alex told me looking down at the wound.
“Here, let me see,” I asked, reaching over gently and grabbing his wrist.
Taking the black shrug that I had pulled out of my purse, I began to dab away the blood.
“Jackie, I don’t want you to ruin your shirt thing,” Alex said sounding concerned for my clothing item. It didn’t really bother me. I had just wanted something to cover my shoulders in case the air was brisk when we went out tonight, but the club had been way too stuffy to keep it on.
A small smile played at my lips. “Don’t worry Alex, I can get a new one, and this doesn’t look too bad.” The cut wasn’t deep, and it would heal quickly.
“Are you sure? I can pay for a new one if you want,” he said pulling his hand back when I let go.
“Alex, it’s fine. I never wear this old thing. Besides, I’m pretty sure I owe you for before.”
He frowned and turned away, looking out over the dark ocean waves. “You don’t owe me anything,” he replied quietly.
“Are you kidding me? You just save my butt back there.” I told him in disbelief as I jabbed my finger behind me, in the general direction we had come from.
“Yeah, but I have a lot of making up to do for everything that I have put you through. Maybe if I hadn’t been so horrible to you, than you wouldn’t have been in the situation you were tonight.”
I watched Alex’s fist clenched and he tried to stay calm.
“I heard what you said to Cole on the first night of the cruise. You were right,” he told me.
“You heard us?” I asked, turning to him. I hadn’t meant for anyone to hear, but maybe it had given Alex something to think about. My cheeks flushed red. Hopefully he wasn’t mad at anything I said about him.
“Yeah, sorry. I wasn’t trying to spy on you or anything. It’s just that I was wide awake when you got back, and the vent in the bathroom carried into my room.”
“Oh,” I sighed and ran my fingers through my tangled sweaty hair, trying to get out some of the knots.
“Please don’t be upset,” Alex begged me, reaching over to grab my hand with his uninjured one. “Everything you said was completely truthful. I was a total dick to you.” He looked at me with his puppy dog eyes, making it hard for me to believe that he had just saved me, by punching Kevin.