Good Enough to Trust(6)By: Zara Stoneley
I wondered what Holly would make of him if she was here. She liked to label people. Charlie was her surfer dude, Dane her cowboy. Something dark and heavy settled inside me. I missed them. I wanted to be with them, sharing a joke, finding out what they were all up to in Cheshire without me, not soul searching in a part of the country that didn’t seem to want me.
“You okay?” The brown eyes were surveying me slightly dolefully, steady, gentle. This was a man who could probably be patient, prepared to wait.
Holly would probably say he reminded her of one of his bullocks. Right from his curly shortish hair, spritzed with the damp air, through those broad shoulders and muscled-up arms he was like some stocky bullock. Strong and probably just as skittish when the mood took him. Fun and a bit rough and tumble, which made me wish I’d pushed my luck on the hillside.
“You here on your own then?”
I nodded. “You can always tell me to shut up if I’m being too nosy.”
His knee nudged against mine and it was nice. Secure. Even if he wasn’t the tallest guy in the world I guessed he’d be a safe pair of hands, in every sense of the words, dependable. Which was tempting, even if it wasn’t clever.
“You here for long?”
“I’m not sure yet.”
I wasn’t, I hadn’t got a clue. Soul searching was like that, hard to put boundaries around.
“I’m renting a cottage near Halgabron.”
Frown lines deepened on his wide forehead. “So what took you up that hill? I mean you can—”
“Get to St. Nectan’s through the wood? I know.” I probably looked sheepish. “I walked up to Boscastle and then wanted to follow the footpath from there up along the top to the waterfall. I’ve done it before. Guess it was a bit silly in this weather.”
He didn’t remark on the silliness or not of the situation.
He could have added ‘in the summer’, but he didn’t.
“Not many people come down here this time of year, you know.” He leaned forward conspiratorially so that I could see the twinkle in his eye. “And there’s a reason for that.”
I thought back to last time I was here, summer, and it seemed like a different time and a different place. But I still liked it, even without the warmth and sunshine, though I wasn’t a hundred percent sure that it liked me. There was something a bit magical about this corner of Cornwall, magical and mystical.
“I like it without the crowds.”
“Is that why you’re here, to get away from the crowds?”
He was looking a bit serious, no twinkle, which was bad news. Looked like Will had hidden depths.
“Oh, it’s a long story.” I wasn’t going to lie, I really wasn’t. I was here to find myself, not hide from the person I really was and pretend to be the person I’d like to be.
“Very long?” He sat back, still nursing the pint in one hand and looked like he’d got all the time in the world. Which he probably had, apart from bullock duty.
“Too long.” I stuck my tongue out at him, which wasn’t mature, but how I felt. A bit of a ‘leave me alone and keep it light’ message.
“You don’t trust me enough to share it?”
Ah, that trust thing.
“You’d be bored. Actually, I’m more interested in how I got lost on your hill, I really thought I knew where I was going.”
“I’m more interested in why you stopped off to entertain my bullocks.”
“I like to be sociable.” I sat up in my best prim and proper way. “They’re cute.” I thought about the big brown eyes and furry heads and tried not to think about what they were attached to. I grinned. “A bit like you.”
He took a gulp of beer and grinned back. This could end up in us both looking like simpletons, or getting laid.
“Cute eh? I can think of cuter things.” And the way he said it, and the way he looked was so direct my pussy clenched and the same need I’d felt on the hillside came rushing back. I shuffled a bit on my stool and tried not to fall into the simpleton trap or look like a randy teenager.
“I could give you a guided tour of the waterfall.” He tapped the back of my hand with one strong finger and I had a feeling that it would be the type of tour I wouldn’t forget in a hurry. But I couldn’t go there with him, not yet.