Shock hit her. He was there. Looking straight ahead, leaning back on his arms, feet outstretched with ankles crossed, he gazed out at the waves. Unmoving.
Ella looked away then back, for verification he was real. Sitting some distance from her, he didn’t move. Not even a twitch. Possibly, he didn’t see her. She stared, unable to look away, afraid he’d vanish if she didn’t keep her eyes on him. If she’d thought he was handsome before, he was even more so that morning.
In the pale orange light of the sun, just barely burning over the horizon, his lightly bronzed skin shone. His hair was a golden brown, and though he wasn’t looking her way, she remembered that his eyes were golden amber. She’d looked into them one time, the one time that he’d held her, saved her. He’d looked at her when he’d slid her off his back, and she’d never, ever forget those eyes. The light flattered him. He looked golden—gorgeous and golden, that was how she’d describe him.
She should go over. Thank him for the other day. Dreadful shyness took her, and she could not will her body to move. She knew if she did manage to walk over, and by some remote chance attempt to thank him, she’d freeze up. She just knew it. Social graces were not high on her list. People often thought she was stuck up, not knowing that her silence was shyness.
If she didn’t move now, she might lose her chance. Yet, despite her great need to say something to get his attention, she was riveted to the spot. Just staring. He didn’t give any sign he noticed her, and it occurred to Ella that he didn’t like her. He’d felt compelled to save her, but he’d rather not have anything to do with her.
Calmly, he turned his head to look at her, and she looked down.
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