Kiara read somewhere once that the definition of insanity was repeating the same behavior but expecting different results. She decided insanity it what defined her dating life recently – just a giant loop of meet, greet, and then ejection seat. Sometimes she was the one hitting the ejection button, but other times she was the one getting left in the dust.
It didn’t feel good either way, and when her latest boyfriend broke up with her via text last week, she decided to be done with men all together. Enough. Fin. The end. Maybe she should just join the nunnery.
When she walked into the Outback Outfitters office, she was going to remain single the rest of the year. Maybe take some time to figure herself out before she threw herself int he arms of another man. Well, in a literal sense. In a literary sense she had never been in the arms of a man, but it was definitely on her life’s bucket list.
A white water rafting lesson should give her the sense of adventure she was seeking but still allow her to make it back to work on Monday. She wasn’t exactly sure what one would wear for such a lesson, so she settled for shorts and a tank, as the temp was already well over eighty, and it wasn’t even noon.
Finally, she heard someone step out of the office and she excitedly awaited her first trip down the Mighty Mississippi. She stood to greet him, and she was shocked when it wasn’t the old hippie she had seen on the advertisements. Oh no. This was a tall, blonde and well built version of her dreams. He was magnificent.
Leif heard the ring of the front door, and he set out to meet his first client of the day. The weekend was booked back to back, and he felt so blessed to be able to share his thrill seeking passion for the outdoors with so many people. This was just a single lesson, and he had the kayaks set out and ready to go.
When he reached the reception area, he was astounded at the beauty he beheld. She was a good six inches shorter than he, but her blue eyes sparkled with enough excitement for the both of them. Her lips were painted a shade of pink that complimented her creamy complexion perfectly, and he wanted to lock the door and just kiss her on the spot.
That thought surprised him, as he was usually patient and passive, but maybe she could bring him thrills in a way he hadn’t experienced recently. He felt the smile stretch from his heart to his face, and he offered his hand in greeting. “Hello! I’m Leif, and you must be Kiara?”
She brought her hand up and shook it excitedly, her soft fingers contrasting her confident shake. He wanted to bring that hand to his lips, but he summoned the strength to control that urge as well.
“Yes, sir. You must be the expert guide I was promised over the phone?” she said, only the slightest hint of fear in her voice.
“Yes, ma’am. I have rafted these rapids nearly every day of my adult life, and today the conditions are perfect. Have you ever taken a kayak over the rapids before?” he asked, wondering what her skill level would be.
“Uhm, no. I’ve never taken anything over the rapids before, nor have I ever paddled a kayak” she said shyly, as if she had admitted something horrible. He didn’t quite understand, but it piqued his curiosity.
“Well, it’s a perfect day to learn. Well, first things first, we need life jackets.” He led her to the wall of endless vests and allowed her to chose. He grabbed his favorite, well worn jacket, and she chose a neon pink life jacket and officially became the first person to ever look good in a life jacket.
“I’ve got the kayaks ready down at the dock if you’re ready?”
The excited smile plastered once again across her precious face, and he hoped to keep it there all afternoon.
Kiara couldn’t believe it. The day she swears off men, a Norwegian hunk walks into her life. He wasn’t her type, not by a long shot, but he definitely had her attention. Thankfully for the fee that she paid when she booked the lesson, she had his attention for the next two hours. When he took his t-shirt off before donning the life jacket, her jaw nearly hit the floor. He had the whole wash board abs that all the girls talk about, but when he pulled his shirt up, his shorts had ridden far enough down that she saw those delicious looking lines just on the inside of his hips that led the way to the part of anatomy that gave her chills just thinking about. She wanted to trace those lines and see where it took her.
When she looked up, she was thankful that he was so consumed with the zipper on his life jacket that he didn’t notice her staring. She decided against following suit and left her tank top on over her bikini. She suddenly felt a flush of self conscious sweep through her body, feeling like she could never compare to his perfectly sculpted physique.
Well, she straightened herself out, she was going to pretend like she could keep up to him in every way, at least for the next two hours.
He looked over, double checked her straps, and led her toward the door.
“You’re not exactly who I was expecting,” she said, trying to start a conversation that would take her mind off his magnificent body.
She heard his laugh, and it reverberated straight to her heart. She wanted to hear his laugh again. He finally replied, “I suppose you were looking for the hippie on the front of all the pamphlets?”
“Well, yeah, kinda,” she said.
“If you’d rather my Dad taught this lesson, I could ring him and he’d be here in less than two minutes” he replied, a hint of humor in his voice.
“Oh no, this is fine,” she said out loud, better than fine she thought to herself.
He held the door for her and noticed the way her brows suddenly scrunched up. “Are you all right?” he asked, wanting to truly know what she was thinking.
“I was just imagining what would happen if I fall out,” trepidation reaching her features.
“Oh darlin’, just imagine what it’ll be like to feel like you’re flying,” she seemed surprised by this answer, and that familiar smile trickled back.
“I’ve got your back today. Don’t worry, be happy,” he found himself saying, the same thing his Dad would be telling her if Leif had decided to stay in bed this morning, the same thing his Dad had told him a hundred times or more growing up. He hoped it reassured her the way it always had him. Judging by the confident set of her shoulders, it must have worked.
He led her to the kayaks and learned she was truly a beginner. However, her eagerness to learn and her willingness to do as he asked without question beguiled him. It took a good half hour, but she had the kayak completely figured out, and they were able to navigate their way down the gentle waters of the river.
He found that she easily fell into conversation as they floated down the river. She asked about the birds flying overhead, floating on the water, or pecking at things on the shore. He was happy to have the answers, thankful again that his Dad had taken such good care in teaching Leif about the wildlife all around them. He also loved that she was so interested and was willing to ask questions rather than try to hurry the trip and reach the finish. She enjoyed the ride, and that was exactly the way he lived his life: go with the flow.
Once they reached the first set of drops, she steeled herself and navigated her way perfectly. The second set was a bit trickier, but she was ready for them. He gave her some advice, and the shriek of excitement that came out of her precious body as she hit them brought a smile back to his heart. She took life by the horns, and he felt so privileged to share this with her.
They reached the final set, and he couldn’t wait to see her explode through them. It still gave him complete satisfaction, and he knew it would be even more exciting for her first time. Her laughter continued, and when she started forging her way through, excited screams came out well. Her laughter was infectious, and he found himself having the time of his life, too.
This was the best day she had ever had, and kayaking through the white waters was such an adrenaline rush! She was on cloud nine and didn’t care who saw. She was still grinning ear to ear when they reached the landing dock. She watched him pull his to shore, and she held onto the pole and waited for her turn. He easily pulled the kayak out of the water and deposited his life jacket on it.
And that’s when her jaw hit the floor yet again. She quickly pulled herself together, but when she realized he was coming for her, she felt the need to overcompensate and do something for herself. She stood up, intending to exit onto the dock, but as she stood she felt the entire kayak wobble this way, then that, and before she knew what happened she fell out of the kayak and plopped into the cool water.
Leif paddled his to shore, hopped out and pulled it the rest of the way. He took off his life jacket and went down the dock to pull Kiara to shore, but she had already tried to climb out on her own. She was trying to stand in the kayak to climb onto the dock, but he knew that wouldn’t work. He started to hustle to reach her, but as he predicted the kayak teetered, she wobbled, and out she fell.
The water was calm in this bay and no more than a few feet deep, but he found himself jumping in after her anyways. She immediately righted herself and stood waist deep in the water, but instead of terror her face read humor. She was caught in another fit of laughter and he was immediately drawn to her.
She stammered out between giggles, “I…can’t believe… I did that….” She wrapped her arms around her stomach, probably sore from so much laughter. He found his legs moving in her direction. “I… can’t believe… you jumped in, too…” and another set of laughter as she recalled him cannon balling in after her.
When he got too close, she splashed him. He found himself splashing back, and when he got her a little too roughly, she brought her hands up to dry her face. His body had a mind of its own, and he found himself pushing her drenched hair out of her face, doing his best to dry her despite his own wet hands.
She suddenly grew quiet, and he looked down. Her eyes had grown to an immeasurably deep blue, and he saw the light freckles across her nose for the first time. He bent to kiss one, and when he did he heard her breath catch.
That was the first time he had ever kissed a client, and he knew he had no business kissing one now, but she was just so utterly kissable. Instead of pulling away, she brought her hands up to his chest, eventually sneaking them around his neck as she kissed him back full on the lips.
Her kiss affected him even more deeply than her smile or her easy going demeanor did. He felt as though when she touched him, his world stopped spinning. All he could think of or see or dream included her. It was a magical uniting of souls he had never experienced before. It was an unending loop of pleasure and lust and love at first sight that kept him balanced and focused while the rest of the world kept spinning. He seemed to focus only on her, but he also envisioned what their future could look like together. It was mind blowing, and he had known her for less than two hours.
He couldn’t wait to see what the rest of their lives held, together.