Roddrick Kennedy braced her arms against the white counter of the exquisite bar. Around her, the island air drifted, blowing her hair and dress aside as she stood in its way, embracing it. Rolling her neck, she listened to the different sounds of the wedding as it grew lively from the night's festivities. Heat from the day still clung to her dewy skin, giving her a golden glow under the lights of the small yet extravagant outdoor venue.
The local waiter handed her a small glass with a smile in return. Turning with a small thanks, she languidly sipped the water, grateful for its cooling nature as it glided down her throat.
There was music filtering through her ears-upbeat and exciting. She could picture her mother moving in time to the beat, laughing with her trademark smile that seemed to stretch her face to capacity. With a slight grin, Roddrick watched the joyous families and friends of the bride and groom, wishing that she could be in their shoes at that moment.
It had been a long time since she was able to let go and enjoy herself in that manner; God how she ached to. She had been ridden down by her problems for so long, that she had forgotten how to move without the weight of the world on her shoulders. With the condensation from her glass dripping from the tips of her fingers, she pressed the digits to the exposed portion of her skin in a docile way, trying to cool herself from the climate.
The island had been a beautiful place; the very first time she had been abroad, and here she was having to cut the trip short. Though she would give anything to spend an entire lifetime here, she knew that she had to return before the end of the trip. She had kept in contact with her little sister, Roderica, becoming a pain in the neck with the constant need for reports on their mother. The woman wasn't dying or in any critical condition by any means, but Roddrick had trouble accepting that, and tended to go overboard with worrying about her if she wasn't close by.
Her eyes caught sight of a blonde head, bobbing in bliss as its owner danced her heart out. It was Lauren Vitale; a friend of Roddrick's who had invited her to her wedding with much pleading and promising of a good time. Roddrick was sure that anyone else wouldn't have wasted as much time trying to convince someone to come to their wedding as Lauren had, and much to her surprise, she had finally accepted the offer.
The smile on Lauren's face was so incandescent that there would be no need for the light of the moon to shine down on the gathering as the night drew near. Roddrick began to feel stuffy as she stood amidst the rather happy time in these people's lives. Drawing the thin fabric that was wrapped around her shoulders together, she allowed her feet to carry her off to explore the island. She hadn't gotten a chance to with all of the planned activities, and she knew that if she didn't take this opportunity now as she headed back to the room she was staying in; there would be no way for her to do it before her early flight in the morning.
Milo's eyes followed the back of the disappearing woman's figure as she weaved her way through vivacious family members as they drank and danced in celebration. He had sat watching her from his tucked away table as the wedding after party commenced.
He had figured that he was the only one there that had a less than stellar energy level despite the importance of the event, so when he had seen yet another person quietly enjoying themselves, he couldn't help but watch her from afar out of curiosity. That curiosity had grown into an undeniable attraction which he couldn't name yet as he too rose from his seat in pursuit of the woman before she left without a trace.
With hands in his pockets, he maneuvered through the crowd quickly and was able to avoid being stopped by those who wished to pull him aside and congratulate him on his return, or ask prying questions of how he was doing since he came back, their last memory of him being passed out in his apartment bathroom after overdosing on whatever pills he had in his cabinet. He didn't really enjoy having to grit through the intrusive conversations he found himself having much too often lately.
A hand ran through his hair out of habit as he followed behind the object of his attention.
His eyes took in her appearance; the faint outline of her back muscles as her arms swung by her side. Her pace wasn't rushed as she seemed to stroll down the paved path. Milo admired her while she admired the scenery as the dark drew near. The further away they moved from the party, the less light followed them. They were left with the small walking path lights at their feet to guide them along.
It wasn't particularly hard for the woman to catch his attention the way she did. He had seen her over the past few days leading up to his sister's wedding. He had no idea who she was, but it was obvious that she was a rather close friend of Lauren's as he had seen them talking in passing. There was a gravitational pull towards her that he was sure would be frowned upon by his family should they notice it. Warning bells would sound off immediately as he stood through the onslaught of discouraging remarks he was sure to receive from them to deter him away from getting into anymore mess behind a girl.
Milo was glad that they weren't there to see him now.
Everything that she saw was a perfect subject to photograph. Roddrick's hands wished to hold the weight of her camera right then, so that she could save even more memories of her trip to share with her mother and sister back home. With a fleeting thought, she had left it behind for the ceremony not wanting to miss out on the special moment of Lauren's day because of her need to capture everything in sight.
As she walked, she heard the voices and laughter die down the further away she was. She focused on the sound of the breeze as it passed her by and the footsteps that walked in tune with her very on behind her. She calmed her mind from overreacting, and decided that whoever it was meant no harm, but still her body tensed as a wave of tremors washed over her. She could feel the hairs on the back of her neck stand at attention as she became even more aware of Milo.
Thinking that she would take just a quick glance over her shoulder, she found herself locking gazes with the man who came to a stop upon her course change.
The hazel eyes that watched him closely narrowed after finding him stopped. He figured if he wanted to look innocent, he would have continued on past her to seem less suspicious. He couldn't do so as he felt a tug in the pit of his stomach rendering his legs useless.
This was the closest he had ever been to see her face. Full lips remained motionless as his eyes took in their sight. He wasn't ashamed to take full advantage of this opportunity to admire her face to face. He watched as her expression turned sour; an eyebrow crooked upwards at his perusal.
"Can I help you?" The husky voice which left her sent a sensation to the base of Milo's spine when it reached his ears. There was a raspy sound laden in her tense words.
"Well?" She asked now, irritation evident in her stance. Milo stood without a word as he took measured steps towards her, bringing him just inches away from where she stood. The top of her head barely grazed his chin in height as she tilted her head back to watch him carefully. Roddrick's breath caught in her throat just as she was ready give him choice words before she felt firm fingers on her chin, caressing it. The hot trail he left with his fingertips put her on alert as he traced the same path down her neck as her hand had just moments before.
If she had any sense, she would have slapped him, kicked him, and defended herself from his unwarranted touch. All of the common sense that should have aided her in that was nowhere in mind as she stood with no qualms to his touches.
She felt him dip into the curve of her collar bone, and lightly brush his way up the front column of her neck, coming to rest at her pout. She wasn't sure if it was the moment of it all, or the island air, but she couldn't command her body to resist the urge to close her eyes at the feel of him. Roddrick had no idea where this was coming from-this willingness to allow a strange man this close to her.
He wasn't sure what had come over him as he toured her face with his fingers. There had been no rejection on her part, which he was sure would have stopped him from this. The fact that there wasn't gave him courage to continue, especially when the eyes he stared in to lowered the longer he lingered. He could see now the myriad of green and brown decorating her orbs as they stared back at him. There was a flash of something in them which halted his attentions, and drew his brow together.
Roddrick felt the rapid rise and fall of her chest as the heat which radiated from the stranger met her own skin. She could no longer say if the incessant warmth she felt came from within her or not now that he was here. She had felt it all day, constantly fanning and hydrating herself to keep sane.
Her mind couldn't make sense of the matter when his lips softly brushed her own. She didn't know when she had begun to move hers against his in response, or when her arms drifted to his neck while his wrapped around her waist. Her chest ached as she eagerly pushed against him, unaware of the lack of modesty she had as she drew him in closer.
She was one move away from climbing his tall figure before his hands on the side of her face pulled her away far enough for him to whisper to her.
"Come with me."
She was all aware of what his command meant as she shook her head with her response. Fingers laced in between her own as they whisked her alongside him.
Milo had her on his bed before the door even shut once they reached where he was staying.
The pressure building in his groin grew as he watched her flushed expression. She stood to her feet, walking out of her sandals as she approached him. Her eyes latched on to his the best that she could in the darkness of the room. The only audible sounds were their heavy breathing as they processed where they were, and what they were going to do. There was no denying that Roddrick would be beneath him, on top of him, any way she wanted to tonight.
Good judgment wasn't there to tell her to high tail it out while she still had the chance.
She wondered if she should ask his name, ask something that would make him less unknown to her, even though her body called to him with an ache as if it remembered him from memory unbeknownst to her. Her hands moved to the hem of his shirt, drawing it up to his chest as her nails scraped across the taut skin that lied beneath it. The way his stomach clenched and quivered from her touch caused for more of her excitement to reach the tops of her inner thighs as she pressed them together under her dress.
Roddrick was glad to have him finish taking off his shirt as her lips immediately fell to the smooth expanse of his chest, kissing him and the salty taste from the night air left behind on his skin. She drew him near by the waist as she felt a hand entangle in the hair at her nape, pulling her head back as his eyes burrowed into her own. Her mouth lied open as a soft groan left her.
The raw need in his eyes was a contradiction to the calm demeanor he held. Milo could feel the animalistic desire racing through him as he captured her lips with his own, meeting no resistance as his tongue entered her warm mouth in hopes of claiming it. He could taste the sweetness that was her essence in the kiss as she reacted with just as much fervor.
His hands came to the thin straps of her dress, nearly ripping them off as he pushed them over her shoulders. Roddrick shimmied out of the material, leaving her in her underwear that seemed too much for her in the moment. Milo's hands explored what his eyes could not see as he ran them along the spine of her back. Tightly, he gripped her firm behind in his hands. Roddrick all but groaned at the feeling. Her bra was unclasped before she realized it as Milo spoke hoarsely," On the bed."
She wasted no time as she leaned back on her elbows, watching him from below as his hands went to the buckle of his belt. Roddrick could see the dark shadows of tattoos gracing his right arm, and followed them up to his shoulder. By the time her eyes came back down, he had already freed his arousal baring himself to her.
Roddrick clenched at the sheets held between her fingers as his body blanketed hers. His lips kissed hungrily at her neck, the feel of his flesh on hers as her body undulated against him by the second. She could feel the rough hairs lining his face graze the stark contrast of the sensitive skin of her neck. Arching into his hold, she found that she wanted to offer-to give-herself to him in any way she knew how. His scent engulfed her as she felt a hand catch one of her breasts, kneading it.
She lost herself in the brief pleasure that he gave her in that moment. The feel of his hands and lips on her body allowed Roddrick to let go of inhibitions she purposely kept around to guard herself. When she found her legs resting on his back crossed at the ankles, and his tongue entering her expertly, she knew that there would be no turning back tonight.
Milo gripped the pillow atop his head closer as the sound of loud knocking woke him up.
"Milo! I know you're in there. It's time for breakfast." On the other side was his mother's muffled voice calling out to him.
Stretching an arm out to draw in the warm body that had been with him all night long, he tensed when he felt nothing but air. Finally opening his eyes, he shielded the sunshine away from them as he took in the sight of his empty bed.
When had she left?
He didn't have time to wonder and look around for the woman he spent his night with as his mother began to sound more urgent.
"Milo! Are you in there? Open the door, now." That same frantic sound she yelled with was something he had gotten used to in the past year of being back. Easing her worries, he pulled himself out of the bed, stepping into a pair of boxers so that he could open the door for her.
Victoria Vitale was mid knock when the rush of wind from her son's hotel door met her. Her heart began to settle back into her chest, the fear of her son lying passed out now disappeared as she took in his disheveled appearance.
"What were you doing in here? Did you not hear me knocking? We've been calling you all morning."
"Well, I was asleep, mom. Relax." Leaning down, he placed a sloppy kiss onto her cheek, glad to see her color returning to them. Victoria had been the one to find him during his rough time, and he knew how on edge she was with him around.
"Asleep? You've never slept in late before."
"It's nice every once in a while." He smiled at her. He felt her smaller hand reaching up, smoothing down his wild hair.
"You ran off so early last night...I thought something was wrong with you." The eyes he shared with her were large and concerned as she searched his for any lie he would tell her to make her feel better.
"I just needed to get away for a bit." He spoke softly.
Accepting his answer, she shook her head, wringing out her hands.
"Breakfast started ten minutes ago, I'm giving you five to get dressed and ready, or I'll be back here-"
"I know, I know. You have to leave first though, otherwise it will just take me longer."
"I mean it Milo!" Victoria's smile was dainty as she pointed a stern finger in his direction. He watched her walk away before he thought to shout," Is it just the family this morning?"
"Yes, just close family. Everyone else has their own set up.Why?" Victoria stopped, ready to turn around
"Just asking." Closing the door before she could head back, Milo leaned against it, tapping his head against the wood. He had hoped that there would be a chance that the woman who had caught his eye since the beginning of the trip would be there. He didn't know who she was, or what her name was. He had been so good at having one night stands and not needing any unnecessary information for a good fuck.
It hadn't even been more than a handful of hours and he already wanted to meet her again. Shaking his head, he hurried and showered before his mother would come storming back to drag him down by his ear.
Lauren Vitale was sipping on her orange juice, plate untouched, by the time Milo had finally came to breakfast. Putting it down fast, she rushed to her feet, jumping into his arms as he caught her and spun around.
"It's about time you showed up! I was starving waiting for you." She knocked her brother in the shoulder as he raised an eyebrow.
"Now, why would you wait on me?"
"Because it is the polite thing to do. Besides, I feel like I haven't gotten to spend time with you, with everything being so hectic. I leave tonight for our honeymoon, I won't see you for weeks!" Grabbing his hand, Lauren led Milo to a special seat beside her. She kissed her now husband on the top of his head as she sank down into the seat between two of the most important men in her life.
"Rough night Milo?" Talton Haynes gave Milo a smirk as he looked the younger man over.
"I'm pretty sure not as rough as yours was." He winced at the slap to his chest as Lauren scolded him before laughing.
"Last night, tonight, the next two weeks..."She mumbled against Talton's throat as she delivered soft kisses to it.
"I can't wait until that wears off. Enjoy yourself while it lasts." Milo raised his own glass to Talton from over Lauren's shoulder, the two men dapping each other up.
Milo looked for a waiter to pull aside so that he could order his own meal, but that wasn't necessary as he saw his mother leading one right his way.
"I went ahead and ordered for you. It's just what you like. I made sure they didn't scramble your eggs too hard..." Eyeing the plate that was placed in front of him, Milo held up his hands.
"Um..thanks mom, but you know you didn't have to do that."
"Of course I did! I saved you the trouble." He knew Victoria meant well, but he found himself just a little tweaked at her once again making decisions for him. It seemed that no matter how big or small they were, she was intent on making sure Milo had everything taken care of.
Deciding not to argue with her on this-it was just breakfast-he began to eat in silence, every now and then chiming in on a joke with Talton or teasing Lauren.
"There he is!" The boisterous laughter of another man coming his way caused the hairs on the back of his neck to stand at full attention. It was his uncle John, waddling his way over to his side of the table.
"Milo, son; look at you! You're looking better than the last time I saw you!" John laughed hoarsely at his ill placed joke. The last time he had seen him was after having his stomach pumped in the hospital, and Victoria had called for him for support. Since his father's death years ago, John had become the family's go to man for many things. Even walking Lauren down the aisle. Milo knew he had a dark sense of humor, so he tried to swallow his small and albeit innocent jab without becoming too uptight.
"Yeah, I guess that was quite a site." Putting down his fork, he stood to his feet knowing that the big bear of a man was going to drag him out of it anyway for a hug. Milo had grown since the last time he had seen him, even putting on weight in muscle, but nothing compared to the tight hold John put him in, knocking the wind right out of Milo.
"It's always good to see you. Let me ask you, have you spent your time well here? Find you a future wife yet?" John nodded to some of the female employees of the restaurant they dined in. No doubt in his mind that he had given one too many flirtatious winks to the young women there.
" I'm afraid not. Have you?" Milo braced himself for the hard slap to his shoulder as John nearly doubled over with laughter.
"I'm getting there! At this point, I say to hell with marriage. I can pick me up a few for a good time every now and then." He spoke in his ‘quiet voice' which still managed to grab the attention of Victoria.
"Honestly, John. We are eating here!"
"Just don't say anything to your mother. She thinks she's my wife..." Milo was relieved when someone else caught John's attention, and pulled him away as he sat back down into his seat.
"Don't frown Milo. I don't want that to be the last image I see of you." Lauren turned in her seat, noticing her brother's demeanor. Grabbing his face in between her hands.
"I want to see that smile of yours." Lauren babied Milo to no end, and there was never any point in stopping her. She was too sweet and had such good intent that he didn't really mind, It had been this way since they were kids.
Growing up he had to deal with many kids at school laughing at him because his sister was the girl who made flower chain necklaces and wore them around her neck or the waist of her long flowing skirts. She had a smile for everyone, and was hard to dislike. Her friends were many, and they all seemed to fall in love with her instantly. She was a magnet for good things and good people. It was then that he remembered to ask her of one friend in particular.
"I actually want to ask you about someone. "
" Mama, what are you doing?" Roddrick shut the trunk of the cab down, hitting it to tell the driver he could leave as she walked up the few short steps to her mother's home. Around the edge of the small house, she could see her mother standing to her feet at the sound of the trunk.
Rockelle Kennedy moved the brim of her large gardening hat at the sound of her daughter's voice.
"Roddrick, you're back." Putting down the old watering can she held, Rockelle reached for her cane and stood to her full height. Roddrick left her bags on the sidewalk as she rushed into her mother's opened arms, careful to not knock her off balance.
"You should have called me! I would have come to get you."
"I did call, but I see you've been out here messing around in this garden."
"Now, you know I have to keep my tomatoes growing."
"You can't be on the ground like that, mama. Where's Rodey? I told her to not let you do crazy stuff like that."
" Roddrick, leave that girl be. She is not my watch dog." Rockelle wiped the fallen wisps of Roddrick's low ponytail from her face. Pointing her cane over to her discarded bags, she told her to pick them up.
"Come on, let's go inside so you can tell me about everything." Roddrick quickly went and placed the bags on her body, and walked back to her mother, grabbing her hand and leading her into the house and out of the summer heat.
"Lauren looked beautiful. She had on this simple dress, it wasn't anything crazy. Everything was just perfect. I took a few shots to show you. Maybe one day I'll take you there so you can experience it in person."
"It sounds lovely, honey. I hope you had a good time down there. Go all that way and all you do is call home checking on me. One day you're gonna have to learn how to live life without worrying."
" I worry for a very good reason." Roddrick's head lied in her mother's lap as she ran her fingers through her strands. Roddrick was busy popping blackberries in her mouth as she talked to her mother that she didn't notice the sound of the front door opening as her younger sister came in.
"Is she here? Did Roddrick come back yet?" Roderica raced through the house and let out a high pitched squeal at the sight of her sister on the couch. Running, she jumped onto her before Roddrick could sit up all the way.
"My goodness Rodey, I didn't go away for that long."
"It was long enough."
"Just a few days."
"Stop ruining the sisterly moment." Roderica squeezed Roddrick so tightly she nearly choked on her berries.
"You're suffocating me." She coughed.
"Oh, whatever. You're one to talk. You wouldn't leave us alone the whole time you were gone and now you're acting brand new?" Roderica stood to her feet playfully scoffing at her sister as she began searching the bags that still remained in the living room.
Rockelle looked to her eldest daughter as she watched her younger sister search through her bags for a present.
"What'd you get me? Huh?" Roderica threw various items of clothing over her shoulders as she looked for anything that would seem to belong to her.
"You're cleaning that up." Roddrick called. She knew that Roderica had hit the jackpot when she heard yet another breathless scream.
"It's beautiful!" Turning around, she held up the aqua necklace against her skin, smiling from ear to ear at Roddrick. Dropping to her knees, she crawled over and began to fasten it against her sister's neck.
"I have a few more things in there, but I figured you would really love this one." She reached over and pulled out another box, this one meant for her mother.
"Roddrick, you know you didn't have to get me anything." Rockelle sighed as she scooted over, lifting her mother's wrist as she removed the bracelet she had bought for her. Rockelle accepted it, and kissed Roddrick countless times as she hugged her.
"I'm going to look so good in this." Roderica had managed to strip down and get into the clingy high low dress that had been bought for her as well. She turned in it as their mother gasped.
"I can't believe you got her that! She's not leaving the house in it."
"Mama!" Roderica pouted.
"It's just a dress, mama. She can show off what her mama gave her every once in a while." Roddrick winked, as her sister padded her feet in delight.
"And you know I will..." She mumbled, receiving a side eye from Rockelle.
"You will what?"
Standing to her feet and stretching, Roddrick smiled to herself as the two bantered back and forth. Everyone and their mama knew that Roderica was the kind of child who chose books over boys. Sometimes her friends had to drag her out of the house on Friday nights just to get her away from studying. She was intent on making sure that her brains got her into the top school of her choice, and even with it being her final year of high school. She refused to let up.
"I'm going to shower, then we will go eat." Roddrick called over their loud talking as she grabbed her bags, and headed off into her mother's bedroom. When she shut the door behind her, she was given a quiet space to relax in. Heading straight for the shower, she turned the knobs, adjusting the water temperature to the perfect degree. Roddrick stood in front of the bathroom mirror as she began to undress. Pulling her hair onto the top of her head, she caught sight of a dark bruise on her neck.
"A hickey?" Delicate fingers rose to the mark left behind on her by the man she spent her last night in paradise with. She hadn't had a lovebite since high school, and cringed at the thought of it now. Good thing her mother hadn't seen it so she wouldn't have had to explain it.
The small bathroom began to fog up as the steam rose from the shower. Stepping in, she hadn't noticed the soreness of her muscles as the water rushed over her in soothing waves.
She hadn't been able to forget the pleasant ache which remained, even though she had tried. That morning, as she climbed carefully from under the weight of his arms, she had rushed from his room to her own. It had felt too familiar, and too right to lay there with him. To wake up to each other and dig themselves into a deeper hole than they were already in.
"Damn." Roddrick rested her head against the cool tile of the shower as she thought to herself. She hadn't remembered using protection, and she prayed that of all the times she didn't have birth control, nothing would come up now. Her last contraceptive had been an IUD she rejected, and with all of the things going on in the past few months, and the lack of sex in her life, she never found the time to remember to start back on any birth control.
A baby was the last thing she needed right now.
Closing her eyes, Roddrick tilted her head back under the spray of the water.
"I'm not going to worry. I'm not going to worry. " She chanted to herself. She tried to do what everyone else seemed to tell her-to not worry-but how could she when the thought of surprise pregnancies and STDs ran rapid in her mind.
"I'm worrying." She moaned, slapping her hand against the wall.
First thing she was going to do would be to make a stop at the free clinic.
The pleasantness she had once held now washed away and down into the drain of the shower.