[twenty four]

She hated being alone.

Always had, always would. She could manage, survive well enough on her own, but the longing for someone by her side never ceased.

Such was the case at the present moment.

The cool water crashed at her feet, and she sighed heavily, as the wind blew her hair out of her face. Walking along the beach, doing anything at all at the beach, was never a one person activity as far as she was concerned, and it seemed as if she was doomed to keep doing such activities alone.

Sandra sighed once again, sitting on the sand and wrapping her arms around herself. When had it gotten so cold?

“This is SO not a good day,” she grumbled under her breath, rubbing her arms against the cold. “Today, of all days..”

She hated being alone.

He had been on her mind all day today. It really wasn’t a good day to be alone. She was liable to do crazy things if Nick kept invading her thoughts the way he’d been doing.

She hadn’t seen him in forever. It’d been far too long since she’d laid eyes on him, and she wasn’t above admitting she missed him. Despite all the trouble she’d caused, the way she’d given him pointless headaches and turned his otherwise perfect world upside down, she would never again deny she loved him.

Not that it mattered now...

Sandra blinked back tears, sniffling loudly. Life had never been easy for her, yet she’d survived, but this.. this was just too much to handle.

She brought her knees up to her chest, hugging them tightly as the wind picked up. She noted the tide coming in, and remembering how much Nick loved moments like these, burst into tears. She buried herhead in her arms and cried softly, the ache in her chest growing more and more unbearable by the second.

She could almost feel him there. If she concentrated hard enough, she could swear he was right there with her, enjoying the sight before her, listening to the waves crashing just a few feet ahead of her. She shut her eyes, squeezing out a fresh batch of tears, and imagined he was there. Walking toward her, kneeling on the sand beside her, reaching out with his hand and...

A gasp escaped her lips when she felt a warm hand close around her shoulder. Either her imagination had really gotten out of control, or...

“Hey stranger,” came the soft whisper. Now she was hearing things...

She lifted her head and her heart turned sommersaults at the sight before her.

“You.. but.. I.. you’re here,” she stammered, her brown eyes locked on his blue ones. “How -”

His mouth invaded hers, cutting off her sentence, her train of thought, everything. The only thing that existed, that mattered, was him, his lips on hers, his arms going around her, pulling her ever closer to him.

He couldn’t be a part of her overactive imagnation. This was all too real; it felt real, and his scent was as wonderfully intoxicating as she’d remembered...

Never breaking their kiss, he eased her gently onto her back, and she felt the warm sand along the length of her back, cradling her head as she opened herself to his caresses. His touch set her on fire, his kisses drove her insane, and she was drinking it all in with a hunger that shook her.

“Nick,” she gasped breathlessly upon breaking their kiss. “What.. what are you doing here?”

“Tour’s over,” he smiled, looking down at her. “You really did lose track of time, didn’t you?”

She swatted his arm playfully. “It’s kind of hard to keep track of anything when you have only one thing on your mind..”

“Just one?” he asked. “What?”

“You,” she smiled. “I missed you.”

He bent his head down and kissed her once again. “Not as much as I missed you, baby,” he whispered, his voice choking up with an emotion he could never keep under control when he was with her.

Her arms went around him and she hugged him fiercely. “So.. vacation time now?”

He laughed softly as he buried his face in the crook of her neck. “Yeah.. long vacation time..”

Sandra closed her eyes, savoring the sensations his lips on her neck gave her. She moaned softly, and felt him smile against her skin as her hands began their exploration of the body she’d come to know so well.

Where only moments ago it had been so cold, was now burning with the passion they’d known and fallen in love with over the past year.

“Baby,” Nick whispered hoarsely, letting up the assault on her collarbone briefly.

“Hmm?” she moaned, looking up at him with passion filled eyes.

He leaned down, brushing his lips with hers briefly. “One year today, San.”

“Mm,” she nodded. “A whole year... and so many more to look forward to.”

“Happy Anniversary,” he smiled, kissing her forehead. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Nicky,” she replied breathlessly, pulling his face down to hers, capturing his lips with every promise to show him just how much she did in fact love him.

[the end]

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