The interior of the farmhouse surprised Jacob. When Delilah pushed open the weathered front door and ushered him inside, he found himself in a large, warm, and cozy living space. In front of a stone fireplace, he saw a pristine leather sofa and two chairs. On the floor, a roomy wicker basket held crocheted lap blankets. Several candles arranged on the mantlepiece bathed the seating arrangement in a soft, yellow glow. Ahead of him, a polished ladder-style staircase led to an upstairs loft.
In the kitchen area tucked against the back wall of the house, Abigail stood at an island countertop with a bottle of rum, three tall glasses, and a blender filled with ice and large, ripe strawberries.
“It’s about time you two arrived,” Abigail said. She touched a button, and the blender whirled its contents into frozen daiquiris. She filled the three glasses and handed one each to Jacob and Delilah.
“No one makes strawberry daiquiris better than Abby,” Delilah commented as she took Jacob’s hand and led him to the sofa. As he sat, she entwined her fingers in his and burrowed in next to him. He couldn’t help but notice the contact between her body and his: her shoulder against his, her arm, thigh, and calf all touching his. The familiarity of her bare skin piqued his senses, yet elicited caution from the analytical side of his mind. He chided himself for being wary of her. You’re an idiot. Don’t worry. She’s a beautiful girl, and she likes you. What’s wrong with that?
Abby joined them a minute later. She settled into a chair and wrapped a blanket around her shoulders. “Thanks for coming, Jacob,” she said as she sipped her daiquiri. “People think our house is too far out, so we don’t get too many visitors here. It’s nice to have company besides the family.”
“Yeah, it is,” Delilah added, snuggling in closer to Jacob. His heart pounded at her nearness, and when he inhaled to slow his pulse, Jacob detected the scent of coconut sunscreen on her skin.
“It’s not that I don’t treasure you, Delilah,” Abigail continued, grinning, “but I see you… sometimes only you… every day. Hanging out with someone new is… well, it’s refreshing.”
“Then it’s a good thing for you that school starts on Monday. You’ll have lots of people to interact with.”
“Oh, yeah. School.” Abigail winked at Delilah. “An unavoidable requirement.”
“You love it,” Delilah shot back, chuckling. “You’re the popular one. Me, I’m the quiet one. I’d be happy if I never had to leave the house.”
As he sipped his drink and listened to the banter between Abigail and Delilah, Jacob’s earlier doubts about the twin sisters and their farmhouse drifted out of his thoughts. The anxiety that engulfed him earlier dissipated in Delilah’s presence and the warmth of her body next to his. As he held her, Jacob pondered the events of the day.
He’d seen Delilah splashing in the waves with Abigail. She caught him watching them and smiled. The gesture startled him. But moments later, he was dumbfounded when she stumbled and landed in his lap. From then on, the day passed in a whirlwind. And he was grateful.
Jacob set his drink on the coffee table in front of the sofa and drew Delilah closer. “I could sit here and hold you all night,” he murmured. “I wish I hadn’t been so rude to you this morning. I’m glad you gave me a second chance.”
She set down her drink and gently touched his chin to turn his face toward her. “Me too. I figured that something was weighing on your mind. You seemed a bit tense.”
“I went to the beach to think about what I’m doing with my life. My third year at the university starts next week and my course load is heavy. My job is stressful. And my roommates. They’re so….” He sighed, searching for the right words. “Rowdy. I worry I won’t be able to handle everything.”
She nodded. “I can’t imagine how hard that must be. Although I don’t know you very well, I’m certain you’ll be okay.”
Jacob leaned in and rested his forehead on hers. “I haven’t dated much,” he admitted as he stroked her fingers with his thumb. “Since high school, I’ve focused most of my time and energy on schoolwork. Until today, when I met you, I’ve never met anyone who made me want to reconsider my priorities.” He closed his eyes and brushed his lips against hers. “All I want is to be with you. You’re sweet, kind, and caring, and I can’t help myself.” He gathered her into a tight embrace and kissed her with a passion he didn’t realize he possessed.
To be continued.
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Written by Allorianna Matsourani