She should have gone to the caves once she learned Sayid was not going to be on the beach tonight. She would have been safer, or at least that is what she told herself now that she was standing so close to Sawyer again.
She was not going to forget that kiss anytime soon. She wondered if he would. Had he kissed so many women over the years that one more just did not matter? It had been a long time since she had been close enough to a man to kiss him. And she did not give them away casually or without thought. He had to know that or she would have given into his extortion the first time he said his conditions.
She had many questions for him. What was his real name? Why had he become what he despised and taken the name of the very man he hated? He had focused his attentions on her almost from the beginning. She had not been able to figure that out.
Shannon was by far more beautiful than she was. Claire, well, she could understand a man like Sawyer not finding an eight-month pregnant woman attractive. It did not seem to stop Charlie, though. Kate could not help but smile at the possibility of love blooming between those two.
Love was not something Kate knew much, if anything, about. The one man she trusted lately had turned her in for the reward being offered for her. She had worked her ass off for him and he repaid her with betrayal. She was never going there again. Or at least she thought not.
But now she was in a position where she had to trust more than just one person. She had to trust forty-five people if she wanted any of them to make it out alive. That was why she had given into his request for a kiss. Shannon's life was hanging in the balance. She would not have it on her conscience that she could have done something as simple as kiss a man if Shannon had died.
She should have known Sawyer did not have the inhalers. He had been decent about other things. So she was not sure why she gave into the others and believed he had them. She did not think he would let someone die to prove a point.
"Why didn't you just tell them you didn't have the inhalers?" She whispered the question into the night and sat on the sand a few feet from where Sawyer lay sleeping. The nights were so beautiful, peaceful. She could almost forget that they were stranded here and violence could erupt between so many at any given moment.
"What was that, Freckles?"
She started at the sound of his voice. "I thought you were asleep," she said her back remaining toward him. She did not want him to see that he had surprised her.
"If you were going to crawl in bed with me to help keep the bed bugs from biting I can pretend to be."
"Not necessary," she whispered, glancing over her shoulder at him. The sight of him walking out of the water onto the beach would be etched in her mind for a long, long time. She wondered briefly which would fade first, the memory of him glorious in his nakedness or their kiss. She doubted either would dissipate anytime soon.
"Now that your knight-in-shining-armor of the beach has gone on a solo mission you decided to come to me, is that it? Feeling a little afraid out in this wide open space?"
She shook her head not sure why she was surprised by his cockiness. She suspected a lot of it was an act now, but she was not sure how much was playacting. "Will you ever get over yourself?"
"Now, Sweetness, there's a question many have pondered for years. I'll get back to you on that," he said. The moon in all its glory with its rays reflecting off the water provided her enough light to see his face and the confident smirk there.
"I won't hold my breath." She watched him sit up and drape an arm over his knee, his fingers dangling free in front of him. She turned her attentions back to the water no longer daring to look at him. He was too handsome for his own good. And he knew it.
"That's a good thing, too, because I don't know that I've recovered enough to give you mouth-to-mouth."
"Your mouth seemed to work just fine."
"Is that right?" he asked, his voice thick with the confident cockiness that was so familiar to her by now.
"Yes," she said. She felt warmth spread from her neck to her cheeks and was glad she was not facing him. She would not let him see her blush like a school girl who had just experienced her first kiss.
"I'm not so sure it did. Care to let me test it out?"
"Why? You have nothing to extort a kiss from me for."
"Maybe I just want to kiss you."
She laughed with a shake of her head. She was never the girl guys went after. She had been liked in school, had friends but she was always the one who got bypassed in favor of someone she was with. The Shannon's of the world.
Suddenly he was right behind her, close enough that she could lean back and place her head against his legs if she wanted to. She closed her eyes, cursing her stupidity at getting distracted enough not to pay attention. She did not hear him close the distance between them, did not even know he had moved from his makeshift bedroll.
"Why did you come here?"
She was worried about him, but sensed if she said so he would storm away or his mood would suddenly darken. He did not seem to like people getting close to him. So why was he getting close to her now. "I don't know," she said finally without looking at him. She was afraid if she did that it would be her undoing. She had gone so long without a comforting touch and she was vulnerable, especially after that kiss.
"Aw, come on now, Sweetness. Tell, ol' Sawyer what you came here for if it wasn't more kissing."
"I think you'd get entirely too much pleasure out of knowing I came to you for that. So even if I did I'd never admit it."
"Why's that I wonder?"
"I suspect you've kissed a lot of girls."
"Is that right?"
"And I presume you did not have to blackmail them into kissing you."
"Not hardly," he said and sounded entirely too confident about it. He sat next to her in the sand then and shot her a smile that was more than likely meant to melt the hardened shell she had placed around her heart long, long ago.
"And you've broken your share of hearts along the way, too, I expect." She would protect hers at all costs. She felt a little bit like Fox Mulder because she did not want to trust anyone ever again. Trust only brought heartache and disappointment with it.
"Can't deny it. Though I'd expect you have broken your fair share over the years, Freckles."
"Now I find that incredibly hard to believe. A girl like you?"
"A girl like me, what? You don't know anything about me."
"I'm guessing you prefer it that way, which leads me back to why you came around my abode. You came to me obviously for something. You didn't run off to the caves seeking out ol' Doc."
What did she want? She honestly did not know, or at least nothing she would admit to herself. She did not want him. She did not want to be Eve to anyone's Adam but if she had to choose, Jack was the safest of the Adam's available to her. He would not tear her heart out of her chest and stomp on it. Sawyer would. She had no doubt he had done it to a line of women going back years and years.
What had Jack said about a clean slate? If she deserved that, didn't everybody, including Sawyer? She still had not answered his question.
"I don't want to run off to Jack."
"Can't you just sit with me without trying to read a deeper meaning into it?"
"Sure, Freckles, whatever you say," he said. He sounded so sincere that she had to turn to look at him. Really look at him.
"Aww, Sweetness, don't look at me like that." He draped an arm around her shoulders and drew her closer. Her gaze never broke from his. "Let's just sit a spell then. Is that what the lady wants?"
"Yeah," she said softly.
"Well, now, why didn't you just say that?"
"Shut up." She laughed lightly and let her head fall back against the crook of his arm where it met his shoulder. The last of the clouds in the sky seemingly floated away, giving them a beautiful unobstructed view of the water. She just hoped that he could keep his mouth shut and not ruin the first peaceful moment of the day either of them had gotten today.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com