Home > Come Away with Me (With Me in Seattle #1)(14)

Come Away with Me (With Me in Seattle #1)(14)
Author: Kristen Proby

“You’ve clearly been here before.”

Luke smiles at me. “Yeah, my parents used to bring us here when we were kids for picnics and stuff.”

“Do you mind if I leave my camera bag in the car? I’ll just take my camera.”

“No problem, I’ll close the top.”

Luke patiently waits for me to gather what I need out of my bag, then closes the top of the car, locks it, and we’re off, hiking down the covered bridge that leads to the hotel and the falls access where tourists can ooh and aah over the beautiful water.

I sling the camera strap over my neck and check the settings as I walk.

“How long have you been a photographer?” Luke asks. He’s intently watching me adjust the settings.

“All my life, actually. My dad bought me a digital camera when I was about ten, and I never wanted to do anything else.” The memory brings a smile to my face and I look up at him.

“He must be very proud of you,” he murmurs.

The pain is swift and hard. “He’s gone.”

“Gone?”

“My mom and dad were killed almost three years ago.” Shit, I didn’t mean to say that!

“Damn, Nat, I’m sorry.” Luke stops walking and pulls me into his arms, holding me tight, my camera squished between us, and I’m mortified to feel tears prick the backs of my eyes. I do not want this day to turn sad.

“I’m okay.” I put my hands flat against his hard chest and look up into his face. “I’m okay. Let’s not get sad today.”

Luke’s frowning down at me, his eyes full of compassion and to my relief, void of pity. I don’t want him to feel sorry for me.

“Hey, I’m okay. Really.” I cup his cheek in my hand and he turns and places a kiss in my palm.

“Okay.” He releases me and we resume our journey to the falls. It doesn’t take long as it’s not far from the road.

I glance over at him, and he’s still brooding, a small frown on his face.

“Luke, cheer up. You didn’t say anything wrong. I’m happy you’re here.”

He looks me in the eye again and gives me a half smile. I relax a little, happy that the mood is lifting and pick up my camera as we turn the bend to see the falls.

“I’m so glad there isn’t anyone else here today,” I’m trying to change the subject.

“I’m surprised there aren’t,” he replies.

“Well, summer’s almost over, and it’s the middle of the week, so I figured we’d have the place mostly to ourselves.” I start snapping photos.

Luke steps back and watches me work. I move up and down the path getting different angles, stopping to adjust my settings and take shots of flowers and spider webs and other things that catch my eye. The trees are just beginning to change color, so I aim my camera up and take photos of those too.

“Ready to move on?” I glance back at him. “I hope I’m not boring you.”

He shakes his head, his arms are crossed in front of him and he’s leaning on a fence. He looks relaxed, but his eyes are watching me intently.

“Nothing about watching you is boring, Natalie.”

Oh.

He unfolds himself and takes my hand, kissing my knuckles, before leading me farther down the dirt path to get shots at the base of the falls. He again backs away and leaves me to my work. I feel his eyes on me as I move, and I smile to myself.

After about twenty minutes I’m satisfied with the shots I’ve captured.

“Okay, I think that’s a wrap.”

I turn around to find his eyes have widened in surprise.

“What?”

He shakes his head. “You’re done so soon?”

“Well,” I check my camera. “I’ve taken almost four hundred photos. I think I’ll have some good shots out of these.”

“I’m sure they’ll be beautiful.”

I grin and put the lens cap on my lens, careful not to point it at him, and let my camera fall down to my hip. I don’t understand why he doesn’t like to have his photo taken, but I can respect it. I wish I could talk him into posing for me. He’d be a treat to capture.

“What are you thinking?” he asks as we climb the trail back to the car. He’s beside me, his hand on my low back.

“Why don’t you like to have your picture taken?” His eyes meet mine, then he quickly looks away. He shrugs nonchalantly, but I can see he’s hiding something.

“Look at me,” I say softly, smiling.

His wide blue eyes meet mine, and he’s got that where is she going with this expression.

“You can tell me.”

We’ve stopped on the trail, facing each other, and because of the uneven ground I’m almost at eye-level with him. I rest my hands on his shoulders.

Luke’s eyes widen further and he swallows, and it looks like he’s going to confess something. My stomach clenches. Talk to me!

Suddenly he shakes his head and closes his eyes briefly.

“I just don’t.”

I frown up at him, but he shakes his head again and whispers, “It’s just part of my phobia of being in crowds.

Stupid, I know.”

I want to probe him further, but he takes my hands off his shoulders, links his fingers with mine, and snakes our arms around my back, pulling me close.

He rubs his nose back and forth over my own, his blue eyes intense.

“I’ve been thinking about kissing you all day.”

   
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