Her opening up and sharing with him was therapeutic for him as well. He would take the physical pain a hundred times over to dismiss the fact that he missed the warning signs that the enemy was near. Knowing he may have missed something that lead to the capture of his men was the part that hung in his gut the longest. He could understand that for sure.
She then asked him, “Truth or dare.”
“I dare you to eat all the vegetables off of this plate.”
Ha! “Dearest Ann, you are going to eat those vegetables, even if I have to take you across my knee to convince you of it.” He said with heat in his eye. “You are putting us all in danger by not fueling your body. Who knows what tomorrow is going to bring. Heck, who knows what this evening might bring?”
She blush creeped back up her neck.
“Truth.” He said with conviction.
“Tell me the truth, would you really take me across your knee?” she asked.
“Some things I don’t have patience for.” He said decidedly. “Putting my buddies in danger is one of them. If that’s what it takes,” he smiled as he turned to her, “I’ll do it right now and get it out of the way.”
Her eyes widened. She contemplated the situation.
He let it sink in for a minute. Then he asked her, “Truth or dare?”
“I dare you to eat all the meat off of that plate.”
“And if I don’t?” she asked with that spark in her eye, that mischievous look in her eye that he could never get enough of.
“You already know the answer.” He told her. As he said it, he watched her muscles tense, in preparation for standing up, most likely to run.
“Then you’ll have to catch me first!” she said with a giggle as she got up and sprinted across the sand. He could have caught her there, but he wanted to play. He liked this side of her.
He sprinted ahead until he got within a few feet of her. She dashed left, dashed right, and ran behind a log.
When she accidentally ran into a thicket, he knew there was only one way out. He had been out here often enough to know every trail, every tree, every nook and cranny. When she turned to come out, he brought his foot up onto a short stump, caught her in the escape and swung her back side around to give it a swift swat.
She yelped, but playfully chided him on. “Is that all you’ve got?”
“Are you ready to eat your food?”
“Nope” she said defiantly.
He landed another swat across her sweet little ass. Nothing violent or painful, just playful.
“Are you going to eat that food before it gets cold?” he asked.
“I haven’t decided yet!” she teased as she tried to wiggle out of his grasp.
“Last chance” he warned. When she gave it another wiggle, he landed a final swat, knowing it would be his last. He liked to play, but he definitely wasn’t going to be a controlling bastard. She could choose to eat or not, he wasn’t going to make her do anything.
“Mercy!” she said playfully.
“Are you going to eat?” he asked.
“Yes, I will eat the food.” She responded sarcastically. He released her, and she stood upright, a blush across her face.
“Thank you for making such a wise decision for us all,” he said smugly.
“I like knowing that you’re a man of your word” she said with that grin on her face, and before he knew it she had found a way to reach his lips and kissed him hard. He never knew what to expect with her. Her tongue energetically sought out his, and the kiss deepened. His hands went under her shirt, and her hands pulled his shirt up and over his head. She felt every inch of his bare skin, from his pecs to his abs, and her hands greedily took in his broad back and shoulders.
“Oh fuck, I could never get enough of you” he said in between breaths, “but you need to eat. You can’t distract me from that.” When they had regained their bearings, he pulled her into his lap and covered her in the blanket. He put the plate of food in her lap and for the last time asked her to eat.