Jeremy's Smile started as a free fic prompt from Clare London, "New Resolutions", which was part of her "Blog with Me" month. I enjoyed it so much, ideas have begun forming for a full story with these two young men.
I started the New Year with only one resolution, a goal actually: make Jeremy smile. Right down to his toes. He has a beautiful smile. The kind that lights up an entire room and gives everyone he meets a warm fuzzy—and it was the first of many things about him that I fell in love with.
But I haven’t seen that smile in half a dozen months. Not since the accident.
“I really wish you’d tell me where we’re going, Drew,” Jeremy said as he entered the living room. He didn’t like going out much anymore, and his slightly turned down mouth showed how much.
God he was gorgeous though, with his touch-too-long blond hair stylishly mussed, and even haunted, his sapphire eyes were captivating. He wore a plain T-shirt and faded jeans that hugged his lean, defined body in all the right places. I wanted to strip them off and slide my hands over every inch of his warm, satin skin.
“What?” he asked.
I shook my head. Today was about Jeremy. Not me. I wanted to tell him how I saw him—again—make him understand nothing had changed and never would. But he refused to believe me every time I tried, so I said, “Wouldn’t be a surprise then, would it?”
He just rolled his eyes and followed me out the front door.
Jeremy had been a good sport and didn’t question me as we the drove three hours south on the Overseas Highway to Key West Bight. He kept his curiosity in check far longer than I thought he could have. When I parked the car behind the Waterfront Market, his restraint finally broke.
“Okay, spill.” He turned to face me as I cut the engine. “What are we doing here?”
“We’re going swimming.”
“We didn’t need to drive three hours to go swimming.”
“Actually, we did.” I couldn’t help smiling at his raised eyebrow, and less than impressed expression. “And now that we’re here there’s no turning back.”
He scoffed, making an inaudible comment as he opened his door and exited the car.
We made our way through the market and out to the marina, stopping at a boat slip where a fancy looking cruiser was anchored. An older man dressed in khaki shorts and a brilliantly colored Hawaiian shirt sat on the deck with his back to us.
“Captain Dave?” I asked.
The man turned and stood up, his smile was large and warm, and his eyes glittered with mischief.
“That’d be me,” he said in a loud, gruff voice. “And you’d be Andrew Martin.”
“Please, call me Drew,” I said as he motioned us aboard the blindingly white boat.
Dave nodded. “Good to meet you, Drew.” He shifted his gaze to Jeremy, “Which means you’d be Jeremy Engleheart.”
Jeremy nodded as we all shook hands and then Dave titled his head at him, “You have no idea why you’re here, do you?”
Jeremy offered a half smile, the one that didn’t reach his eyes and only hinted at the dimples hidden in his cheeks. He shot a sideways glance at me. “Trying to get anything out of Drew is like pulling teeth.”
“Well then. I won’t be spoiling the suspense.” Dave took up his position at the helm and over his shoulder said, “All right gentlemen, buckle down and hold on to your hats.”
Less than an hour later we were treading water in the Gulf of Mexico, surrounded by bottle-nosed dolphins. Well, Jeremy was surrounded by them. A few would swim past me, like babysitters making an obligatory check on their charge. Jeremy, on the other hand, was the star of the show, their queen bee. It was as though they knew he was broken deep down, that he needed them more than I did. And they were right.
They circled around him, jumped over his head, got up close and nuzzled his cheek, danced in front of him and beckoned him to join them in their water play. The more the dolphins teased and coaxed, the more Jeremy relaxed and seemed to forget what had made his world so dark these past months.
And then it happened.
That incredible, earth-moving smile stretched across his handsome face. Both dimples made their long awaited appearance, and his eyes lit like a blazing, mid-day sun. And he was laughing. A deep, out of control, full bellied laugh. I’d been missing his smile so much I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed that hearty sound as well. It was everything I’d hoped for, and more. Joy welled up inside my chest so fast and powerful that I forgot I was treading in fifty feet of water. When the bite of breathed in salt water snapped me to attention, I swam the short distance to him like an Olympian. Treading with just my feet, I pulled him to me and kissed him like he was my last breath. And he was. I was nothing without Jeremy and I would do anything for him—anything to make him smile, make him happy.
Our feet kicked, dolphins chattered around us and he laughed into my mouth. I pulled back and just stared deeply into those gorgeous dark blue eyes of his. “You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, Jeremy Engleheart. Please believe me. Please believe how much I love you.”
Jeremy cupped my cheek and pressed a soft, heartfelt kiss on my lips. “I believe you,” he said quietly. “Crazy fool.”
“A crazy fool in love.”