Ashley giggled as Jordan’s fingers slid down her back, tickling her in the process. He kissed her neck and she moaned.
“I love you, Jordy.” Ash’s drunken voice proclaimed. Her breath was the scent of the booze.
“I love you too, babe.” Jordan said into her skin.
The night around them was quiet other than the occasional crash of the waves against the shore. At least it was quiet. In the distance the two of them heard the faint sound of laughter and it was getting closer and closer.
“Do you hear that?” Ashley asked, making sure she wasn’t the only one.
They both sat up and looked out in the direction it was coming from. Seeing something moving, they squinted their eyes, trying to make out what it was.
Once they got close enough, Jordan had a thought, “Is that…”
“Em and Geno.” Ashley cut him off, realizing for herself. Neither of them had even noticed that they had left until now. “What are they doing?”
Emily and Evgeni were trying to quietly signal for Jordan and Ashley to get up and run, failing in the process. Although they seemed to had lost the man who was following them, they weren’t taking any chances.
“I think they want us to get up.” Jordan said, sounding more like a question than a statement. He stood up from the sand, wobbling slightly as he first got to his feet. He then offered his hand to Ash, who took it and nearly fell over when she tried to stand. Giggling, she held onto Jordan for support.
Emily was falling slightly behind Geno as they approached their friends. They had been running nonstop for quite a while. She hadn’t realized how far they had strayed from their initial spot until now. Figuring they were close enough for them to hear without being too loud, she called out to them in a whisper-yell.
“Go back to the hotel!” She tried to tell them, but they didn’t move. Instead, they looked at each other, confused and giggly.
Geno chuckled and helped her out, “Run!” He called out and they got the hint, tripping over themselves as they slipped their shoes back on. Although they were still confused at why they had to run back to the hotel, they didn’t question it.
Emily smirked at Geno who was laughing as he looked back at her.
“What?” She asked as they jogged.
“You tired?” He responded, still smirking at her. She wrinkled her nose at him.
“No.” She lied and he could tell.
“Come here.” Geno slowed his pace and held his arm out to her.
She wasn’t sure what he was trying to do, but before she could ask he lifted her up and carried her over his shoulder. The sound of her laughter filled the silence of the night around them.
“Geno!” Emily exclaimed though her laughs as he carried her to where Ashley and Jordan still were. She wasn’t expecting him to pick her up, but couldn’t complain. She didn’t feel like running anymore.
It didn’t take long for them to catch up with Jordan and Ashley, even after stopping to grab their sandals they had taken off there earlier. Jordy was carrying his girlfriend now, too, since he wasn’t as drunk as she was.
“Sooo,” Ashley began, drawing out her words, “why is it that we’re running?”
“Some guy was chasing us for being on private property.” Emily told her, still hanging over Geno’s shoulder.
“Oh.” Ash said simply and giggled.
Once the four of them got back to their hotel, they slowed down and let their girls down outside the doors. They walked into the lobby as casually as they could manage, quietly strolling past the young woman at the front desk and pressing the up button for the elevator. The doors slid open and they stepped inside, still staying silent. It wasn’t until the doors closed that sound came out of any of their mouths in the form of laughter.
“That was fun!” Ashley exclaimed. She held onto Jordan’s arms for support.
“And we made it back without getting caught!” He boasted with a smile, “Suck on that, Danny B!”
“Oh, what a night.” Geno laughed, his gaze falling upon Emily’s soft smile.
“Yeah.” She nodded in agreement, just happy that she made it out without regrets. Even though Geno had dropped the L word.
“Shhh, guys. Shhh!” Jordan shushed them all just before the doors slid open revealing the seventh floor. They fell silent again as they walked out and the couples went in opposite directions. Ash to Jordan’s room, and Em to Evgeni’s.
Geno stopped in front of the door and turned to face his girl. He smiled at her automatically.
“I had fun tonight.” He said.
“Me too.” Em gave him a smile, looking up at him, just wanting to go to her room and go to sleep. It had to have been pretty late by now.
Geno’s hand brushed the side of her cheek as he looked into her eyes. He leaned in and kissed her lips softly.
“And I meant what I said. I love you.”
Before Emily could even think of something to say in response, the door opened behind them and Max’s head peaked out.
“Oh, hey guys!” He pretended to be shocked to see them there. Geno was fooled but Em knew better. She thanked him with a small smile when Geno wasn’t looking. Max nodded to show he recognized her appreciation.
“Hey, Max.” Geno’s voice had a slight hint of annoyance in it.
“So, you guys have fun out there?” He asked with an insincere smile on his face.
“We sure did.” Emily returned his smile with a similar one.
“Not too much, I hope.” Max said, really referring to what he told Emily earlier.
She shook her head no, “Just the right amount.”
Geno looked from Emily to Max and back again. He sensed by the way they were talking that their words had some other implied meaning to them, but he wasn’t about to question them. Max had made it very clear earlier that the two of them were just friends. So whatever it was that they were talking about couldn’t have been that big of a deal.
“Okay, well it was nice seeing you. Me and Geno are going to bed now. Right, Geno?” Max said, ready to pull him in the room and lock the door.
Geno raised an eyebrow at him, “Uhh…”
“Okay. Goodnight, then.” Emily said.
“Goodnight,” Max smiled, “Geno, say goodnight.”
Geno did as he was told, “Night.” He said, getting confused with what Max was trying to do. He questioned him once they were back in their room and the door shut, while Emily went back to her own.
“Why’d you do that?” Evgeni asked. Max walked over to his bed and got ready to get under the covers.
“Do what?” He feigned obliviousness.
“One, cut into our conversation and two, make her leave.”
Max knew the answer to both of his questions. He cut in because he was listening to their conversation through the door and when he heard Geno tell her he loved her, he wanted to help a friend out so she wouldn’t have to answer him. He made Em leave because he knew she wanted to and she was too nice to say that to Geno’s face. But he wasn’t about to tell him that, that’s for sure.
Instead he lied, “Oh, sorry I didn’t mean to cut in. But I did want to talk to you. I‘ve got a couple questions, actually.”
“Okay,” Geno sighed, “Shoot.”
“Alright, here it goes.” Max stalled momentarily while he thought of something to ask. He wasn’t as prepared as he made it seem. His plan ended at getting Geno into the room without Emily. “Um, did you have a good time?”
Geno looked at Max as if asking if he was serious, “Yes, Max.”
“Good, good.” Max looked around. He figured he might as well just ask everything that was on his mind. It was the only way he’d find out the answers. “Did you kiss her?”
“Yes, Max.” Geno replied as he changed into some sleep clothes.
“Did you, um, get much further than that?”
Max breathed a sigh of relief on that one, even though Emily had already hinted that they hadn’t. “Did you drink a lot?”
“Did you tell her you love her?”
Geno looked at Max this time, not answering without thinking much like the previous questions. “Yeah,” He said, “I did.”
“And do you?” Max studied his expression and knew the answer before he even opened his mouth, “Are you really in love with her?”
Geno’s lips formed a genuine smile and he nodded, “I am, Max. I really am.”
Emily was back in her room. She changed into some pajama shorts and a t shirt and got ready to go to bed. Ashley came back in the room while she was washing her face, and crashed onto her bed, falling asleep within seconds of her head hitting the pillow. Ashlen had been asleep too. Whatever her and Sidney had done must have left her happy because she had a peaceful smile on her face as she slept.
Suddenly feeling exhausted, Em got under the covers of her bed and grabbed her iPod from the bedside table. Listening to music helped her fall asleep when she had a lot on her mind. She put in the earphones, laid back, put the music on shuffle and turned off the lamp.
A song by A Rocket to the Moon came on as she stared at the dark ceiling. Her thoughts were a jumbled mess of the events of the day. It felt like weeks since she’d last talked to Kris, even though it had only been this morning that they last spoke. She pictured his face in her head. His crooked smile, his glowing brown eyes, she loved everything about it. As she remembered their special night together, all she wanted was to be with him now and relive the every moment of it. From their first kiss, to when they told each other they were in love, to sleeping together. It all made up what she considered the best day of her life.
But then there was Geno. In her head she heard his voice telling her that he loved her. So sincere, so romantic. She felt awful knowing that he truly meant it when she couldn’t bare to say it back. She knew what it felt like to be in love. But she couldn’t imagine the feeling of not being loved back. She didn’t want to imagine it, and she certainly didn’t want to make anyone have to experience it. Her and Geno had been such good friends before the night at the club. Before then she never really considered him liking her as anything more than a friend, let alone being in love with her. She could only imagine how things would have been different had Kris showed up in the first place. Or if she hadn’t spotted Geno in her moment of desperation. It was unclear as to what would’ve happened, but there was no point dwelling on something that was unchangeable now. The only thing she could do was consider her options. One, break up with Geno on Monday and be with Kris. Or two, stay with Geno and just be friends with Kris.
As the song came to an end, the next random one came on, only to further convince her that her choice was the right one. While We The Kings serenaded her and put her thoughts to rest, Emily drifted to sleep, dreaming of the man she loved. Her secret valentine.