Chapter 11

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 Chapter 11

While all of my days were spent with James, my free time in the evenings was spent with Paul.

That strange smirk I witnessed never made a reappearance and he was back to his usual self- for the most part. You see, most of our time together was at more public venues. We went to more parties similar to the black and white party he took me to and there were music awards shows and grand openings.

I had to admit that showing up publicly on the arm of a handsome man as his date felt really good. I wasn’t just some dirty secret or fling, but rather someone he felt confident enough to bring out and announce to the world- not literally, but by merely by having me by his side- that he was seeing me.

All of the insecurities that had been built up by my actions when seeing Jon dissipated with every flash of the camera.

When we were alone, he was his usual self- shy and sweet, asking me questions about my life and talking about his tours and songs he was working on, and often telling me how Olly was doing and what new thing the little guy had learned. Hearing him talk about his son showed me just how deeply he loved and cared for him; I could tell he was a great parent and would do anything for him, just the way a parent should.

Of course, when he talked about his son, his ex- Ashley Welty- tended to be dropped into the conversation as well. I wasn’t sure how to take it; did it mean he was still in love with her? Or was it just that she was the mother of his son so their lives were always crossing and I would need to get over it? I didn’t know how to broach the subject without sounding jealous or crazy so I let it go.

To my great surprise, he often brought me home, but never into his house; he always took me through the side gate into his backyard and out the back gate onto the beach as he had that first night.

To my even greater disappointment, we had yet to do more than kissing and slight groping over the clothes. Sheesh, it had been five months since I had sex! And we’d been seeing each other for two. What was the problem?

One night we were sitting down on one of the logs in front of a bonfire he made at the same place he and his band got together to spend their male bonding time. We had just left a rather boring party where I followed Paul around talking to people I knew while he worked his magic and discussed some songs he was working on with producers and other music bigwigs.

It was the beginning of July and though the days were hot, the nights were cool and calm. A breeze was blowing tendrils of my curled hair around my face so I pulled the blanket Paul had brought tighter around my scantily clad body.

Since he had yet to really make a move besides kissing me, my outfits had gotten decidedly smaller and tighter with each date. I knew he could tell because every time he picked me up his eyes were wider and more lust filled.

That night I was wearing a bright green and blue halter dress with a dangerously low neck line and even lower back. Most of my hair, minus a few wisps around my face, was held up loosely in the back by a sparkling pin. Black feather earrings dangled down to my bare shoulders and my black pumps gave me some added height putting me eye level to Paul when we were standing, but they were now in the sand next to my bare feet.

Paul was wearing black dress pants and a black button up shirt with a black bow tie. I couldn’t see a trace of his tattoos or really very much of his skin for that matter. It wasn’t fair. It was like he didn’t want us to have any kind of flesh on flesh contact unless it was hand or mouths.

I turned to him, slightly frustrated and when he turned to me I let the blanket fall from my shoulders and used both of my hands to grasp his face firmly and kiss him hard. It took him a moment but he reacted, kissing me back-though not as passionately. Before I could deepen the kiss he pulled back, smiled, pecked me on the lips, and then slid down so he was sitting in the sand with the log as his back rest.

“Well that was nice and unexpected," he added quietly.

Nice? That’s it? I had to know why he didn’t seem into this so I slid down so that I was straddling him and kissed him again slowly, waiting to see if he would stop me. When he didn’t I ran my hands up his chest and around his neck, pressing myself firmly up against him, willing him to touch me more.

I felt his hands on my lower back as his arms encircled me. I was rejoicing because maybe he had just been shy all this time. His hands slid up my bare back, giving me chills- the good kind- until they reached my shoulders where he gri[pped them and pulled my body away from him.

I was astonished and embarrassed and now a little bit angry as well.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, slightly sharper than I intended.

“Nothing,” he answered breathlessly with a flash of guilt in his eyes. “I like you Holly. I have for a long time and… I just want to take things slow. I have Olly, he deserves a great life and the person that is in it with him and I has to be perfect so…. I just… I want to go slow.” He looked at me with his big round puppy dog eyes and I couldn’t help but feel like a total idiot and a slut for throwing myself at such a nice sweet guy.

I have him a faint smile before burying my face in his chest so he wouldn’t see how embarrassed I was.

He hugged me for a few brief seconds before pulling back, “It’s getting late, I should get you home.”

I nodded in reply, climbed off him, and grabbed my shoes. I felt lucky to have gotten closer to him over the past couple months. That was what I needed- a genuinely nice guy.

I took it all as a sign that the rest of summer would bring great things for Paul and I.

Of course, how could I know that along with the scorching July heat would come the all too familiar burn of betrayal. And that when he said the person in their lives had to be perfect, he already had someone else in mind.

 

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