The morning sun peaks over the horizon, but I am already awake and staring at the sky. My stomach feels like it is twisting inside out, and I am finding it hard to focus. Kai is wrapped around my torso, his head on my chest. He passed out a few hours ago after our night of sex. I study his face, his breathing slow and steady. I shouldn’t have done that. Why do I feel so fucking guilty? It is just sex. I have done it thousands of times with different people. Why am I feeling guilty now? My entire body aches and the afterglow I usually feel after fucking is absent.
Is it because I thought of him? The entire time I couldn’t stop thinking about his lips on mine rather than Kai’s. Every thrust, every touch, I dreamed it was him. His golden skin, his soft hair, I could practically taste his cock on my tongue. I don’t understand it. Isn’t it monstrous enough that I took advantage of Kai? I had to be dreaming about another man while I fucked him? Why is Nerites creeping back into my mind now? The fates work in mysterious ways. Is this them telling me to find him?
No. It’s because I found the key, and the guilt I buried deep down inside is slowly surfacing. Fuck. I hate myself. I hate that I want to close my eyes and stay in the dream of Nerites. I know I could catch a whiff of him if I focused enough.
I slip out from beneath Kai, grab my pants, and slip them on, forgoing a shirt. I walk to the front of the boat, the water and wind working together to get us to our destination. I take a seat, breathing in the fresh, salty air. Not even this can put my mind at ease. Fuck, what did I do?
Running my fingers through my long curly hair, I look back over my shoulder at Kai. Long ago, I made a promise to myself that I would not fuck those who are dear to me. Kai is an old friend, and honestly, I didn’t want to lose the one friendship I have. I know when he wakes he will realize what we have done, and things between us may become awkward. What if he hates me? I would deserve it.
I groan with regret and guilt. Kai is a good guy, and I used him to get another man off my mind. I thought about Nerites the entire time. What the fuck is wrong with me? I bury my face in my hands, letting out a long breath.
We are a day and a half out from our destination, and I wish I’d left Kai behind and finished this on my own. It is my task. It is my chest that I am retrieving. It shouldn’t be that difficult.
I hear Kai shift behind me, and my shoulders tense. His steps are nearly silent as he makes his way to me, and I close my eyes. Here comes the talk I have been dreading all morning. Kai sits beside me, staring out over the open sea.
“So,” he whispers, “last night.”
I clear my throat. “Was just something to pass the time.”
I see Kai tense out of the corner of my eye. “Yeah…”
I squeeze my eyes shut and clench my jaw. Fuck. Could I really be that blind? Had this meant something more for him? Why do I have to stick my dick into everything that breathes? And when I say everything, I mean everything. I really need to gain some self-control. Why didn’t I see that Kai felt more?
Looking at Kai, I see the hurt on his face, and I feel the urge to run. It is what I do best. Run away from each and every problem that arises. I ran from Atlantis, from responsibility.
“I’m going for a swim,” I mutter before sliding off the edge of the boat. I splash into the water, sinking deeper and deeper as the boat continues on its course. I will catch up with it later. Now, I need to think of what to do. Maybe if I stay away for a couple of hours, Kai will forget all about his mistake of letting me in, and everything will be back to how it was. The sea is usually calming to me, luring me into peace, but the shadow of the ship above me is like a strike. Reminding me of what I just did.
Maybe. Fish swim closer to me, my presence summoning them. The schools of fish are like underwater flies, nothing but a nuisance. They swim around me, some of them rubbing their bodies against my shoulder. I sigh, bubbles floating out of my mouth and up to the surface as my toes touch the sand. Suddenly I am alone again, the fish scared off by something I have yet to see. I mentally prepare myself, just in case it is something other than the shark, squid, or typical underwater predator. I summon my Trident, its weight comforting in my hand.
A large great white emerges from the depths, its black eyes staring into my soul. I smile at the shark, reaching my hand out to touch it. Its rough skin slides along my fingers as it snaps at me.
“Hey, that isn’t very nice.” I chuckle.
The shark bats me with its tail, and that is when I notice a net tangled around its fin. I hiss. Damn fishermen. They have a nasty habit of leaving their fishing gear in the water. Gently, I cut the net with my trident, releasing the shark from its binds. The great white circles a little faster around me as a thank you before swimming off.
I watch him go, wishing I could be as easily freed. My mind is trapped with thoughts of Nerites, and I need to cut him loose so I don’t hurt those that I care about. I already hurt Kai. I can’t feel what he feels for me, and I knew that before I touched him. I close my eyes and stretch my arms out to find the ship. It’s bow is currently crashing into waves a few kilometers ahead of me.
I crack my head from side to side before swimming after it, using the trident to grant me speed. I surface and climb on from the back of the boat, the trident melting and reforming as beads around my ankle. Kai is still sitting where I’d left him, not turning to face me, and I let out a long breath before joining him.
“I’m uh…sorry,” I mutter, sitting beside him.
“It’s fine,” he replies coldly.
I shake my head. “No. I shouldn’t have taken advantage.”
Kai looks over at me before patting my back. “Hey, we were just two friends fucking around…nothing wrong with that.”
I can see the hurt I caused in his eyes and it makes my stomach clench again.
“Breakfast?” Kai asks, clearly wanting to change the subject.
I nod. “Yeah.”
We both get up from the bow of the ship before making our way to the tiny cabin underneath the boat. The awkward silence fills the space. Closing my eyes, I take a seat. This is going to be a long trip.