Reactions in Aqueous Solution - Elements of Chemistry (Part 1) ATTRACTION (2015)

Elements of Chemistry (Part 1) ATTRACTION (2015)


Chapter 9. Reactions in Aqueous Solution

I DIDN’T CHANGE clothes as I completely forgot that I wanted to change clothes. Therefore I continued to wear my relatively modest, halter-top, two-piece bathing suit on the ride from the house to this new and better place where Martin insisted we go…to be alone…

Being alone with Martin didn’t freak me out at first. It felt like a very theoretical state of being; like being informed I was going to go become quark–gluon plasma (i.e. one of the theoretical phases of matter) or the winning contestant on American Idol. So, equally likely.

The truth was that my mind was slow on the uptake because everything was happening too fast. On Friday afternoon I was hiding in a science cabinet on campus. It was now Sunday afternoon and Martin was practically wooing me—insomuch as crazy handsome, billionaire, geniuses woo a girl—on a small island in the Caribbean.

I was not used to change and I was not good with surprises. The entirety of my past and all changes therein were well documented via the agendas prepared by George. I’d always had time to prepare.

But not this time.

Thus, I forgot to freak out until he was leading me by the hand down a sandy path and through a healthy amount of tropical underbrush. In his other hand he held a picnic basket. I glanced up and blinked at the broad muscles of his back and it abruptly hit me where I was and who I was with and what we’d done so far.

The kissing, the touching, the whispering, the shared moments and the heated stares. I’d made eye contact with him more in the last thirty-six hours than I had in the last six months as his lab partner. A shiver passed through me. Life was happening too fast.

I mumbled, “Fast, quick, rapid, supersonic, hurried…”

Martin glanced over his shoulder, his oceanic eyes sweeping me up and down. “What did you say?”


His eyes narrowed on me. “Are you okay?”

I lied, “Yes. Good.” Then deflected, “Where are we going?”

A glint of some devilry flashed in his gaze, curving his mouth to one side—devilry looked really good on Martin Sandeke—and he returned his attention to the path. “Just this place I know with a waterfall and cave. It’s part of the estate, so no one else uses it.”

“How nice,” I said, bending as he held a palm frond out of my way, and added conversationally, “we have a garage at my house. It holds a car and some of my dad’s tools.”

Martin glanced at me, equal parts amused and confused. “Oh?”

“Yes. And a hammock in the back yard.”

“Is that so…”


“So, no waterfalls?”

“No. But this one time, when it rained a lot, the gutter broke. That was similar to a waterfall.”

Martin laughed. I knew he was laughing because, though he was quiet, I saw his shoulders shake; and when he turned to look at me, his eyes were bright with humor and he was flashing a lethally bright smile.

“You’re funny, Parker.”

“Thank you.” I looked away from the beacon of his smile. It was blinding. “You’re also…humorous at times.”

We walked another hundred yards or so in silence and I forced myself to study the surrounding landscape. The ground was sandy—light grey and white—and heavily littered with bleached shells. Tall palm trees provided the ceiling of the canopy. The path was littered with thick palm bushes and underbrush. All around us insects buzzed and hummed a constant symphony, and I could make out the faint sounds of rushing water. It grew louder the farther we walked but not overwhelming. The weather was warm, and would have been hot if we were in the sun and farther inland. But in the shade and so near the ocean, a cool breeze whispered over and cooled my bare skin.

Martin turned slightly, still holding my hand, though his attention was on a series of rocks before us that descended a stairway of sorts.

“Be careful here, just watch your step. It might be better if you do this barefoot. You’re not going to need shoes anyway.”

He released my hand, kicked off his shoes, and preceded me down the path made by the sandy boulders.

I, likewise, kicked off my flip flops and followed, keeping my attention on the trail. The sound of the rushing water increased exponentially as we descended. Then I stopped because Martin stopped, and I looked up and saw this place where he’d brought us.

And my mouth fell open.

He’d brought us to a very small cove, mostly shaded by palms and the surrounding rock face. It was about twenty feet in diameter. The crystal clear, turquoise water was mostly still, but rippled near the far end. Upon closer inspection, the cove appeared to be adjacent to a cave. The waterfall was unseen, but I heard it; I guess it must be behind the rock face.

It was like a little room, private, intimate, breathtaking.

I don’t know exactly how long I stood there gaping at the small natural loveliness of our surroundings. But I became aware of Martin’s gaze all at once, watching me; I darted a look at him, snapping my mouth shut.

“Do you like it?”

I nodded. “It’s…it’s stunning.”

He grinned, obviously pleased. He’d set the picnic basket down at some point on a shelf created by the curving rocks, leaving both of his hands free. Martin with two hands free felt a little dangerous. I glanced at his hands, my heart skipping.

“Come on,” he said, holding one of his dangerous hands out to me.

I accepted it, and he led us down into the water, his eyes holding mine. It lapped at my ankle, then calf, then we were submerged to our waists just three feet from the edge.

“How deep is this?”

“Uh, that’s an entrance to the cave where the waterfall is.” He indicated with his head to the far side. “It’s relatively deep over there, maybe fifteen or twenty feet. But on this side,” he pointed to my right, “it’s flat and about three or four feet.”

“Have you gone into the cave?”

He nodded, his eyes traveling over me. It was a slow perusal of my body that did things, unexpected things, like made me tremble, my stomach flip, and my nipples harden. The longer he stared the hotter and more intense his gaze grew. It felt like he was on the precipice of something, saying something.

I didn’t want him jumping off any verbal cliffs, so I interrupted him, pulling my hand from his, before he could speak. “What’s the plan, Stan? What’s the deal, Neil? Is there a schedule for the rest of this week? Anything I should be aware of? I remind you again and in all seriousness that I have two papers to write and a vector calculus test to study for. Also, again, you and I do have that lab assignment we need to prep. I have you trapped here, therefore I expect you to help with the literature search. Also, I have two books I’ve been dying to read.”

Martin wasn’t smiling, but his eyes were warm and interested. “Do you always talk like that?”

“Like what? Like awesome?”

“Yeah, like awesome.” His tone was serious, verging on earnest.

I felt pleased by the compliment despite the fact I’d self-deprecatingly complimented myself and he’d merely agreed. Because I did want to be his friend so it was important to be honest. “Actually, no. Truthfully, you make me nervous so I’m a little more jumpy and vociferous than usual.”

“Vociferous. You have an excellent vocabulary.” He pushed himself backward a few feet and began treading water near the center of the cove. His eyes seemed to glow, reflecting the sea-green of the saltwater.

“Ah, yes. That I do. I’m a big fan of synonyms.”

He exhaled a soft laugh, peering at me like I was weird and wonderful. It made my smile widen.

“So, plan for this week? What can I expect?” I took small steps near the edge, not wanting to venture too close to Martin and his glowing eyes and dangerous hands.

“Well, team practice, like this morning. The waves are minimal on this side of the island because we’re basically set in the middle of a large inlet. The Gulf is like a big lake. We’ll be practicing and training in the mornings, so you’ll get your quiet time.” His voice was downright conversational. It was nice.

“Good.” I tucked my hair behind my ears, this news settled my nerves somewhat. If he was training in the mornings then I could use the time to prepare my friend attacks.

“But in the afternoons and evenings…,” he paused, licked his lips, his eyes flickering over me, “I want us to be together.”

This news halted my progress around the rim of the cove. Paired with the predatory glint in his eyes and the slight undercurrent of a mandate in his words, my insides felt like a jumble of knots…made out of magma. That’s right, magma knots. Perhaps if I hadn’t skipped breakfast my stomach wouldn’t have been so tumultuous.

“To have tacos?” Despite my best efforts, this question emerged somewhat high-pitched and breathless.

“Yes, tacos. And there will be parties and other things.”




I frowned. I’m pretty sure I scowled. This reaction was instinctual. I hated parties. Hate.

“Parties?” I may have curled my lip in a miniature sneer.

“Yeah, on the island, at some of the other houses, friends of mine. You know, the usual college scene stuff.”

Usual college scene…just a bunch of billionaires’ kids and their friends. It sounded delightful.

“Yeah, no thanks.” I pulled my eyes from his, inspected the rocks. “I don’t go to parties. It’s one of my life rules.”

“Life rules?”

“Yes. Good ideas to live by.”

“You just made that up. Not going to parties isn’t one of your life rules.”

He was right, I had just made up not going to parties as a life rule, but he didn’t need to know that. Therefore I ignored his last comment and tried to act blasé. “I don’t want to go, but don’t let that stop you from going.”


I sighed, then met his gaze.

“I want you to come.”

“No, thank you.”

He ground his teeth. “Kaitlyn, you promised you were going to give this a try.”

“I will…”

Once again he was giving me the severe stare down, likely because my weakly delivered I will didn’t even sound convincing to me.

Managing to swallow around the sudden thickness in my throat, I squared my shoulders so I was facing him.

“Here’s the thing, Sandeke. I am. I am going to give this a try. Despite my worries—”

“What worries?” He sounded exasperated.

I ignored his question. “Despite my worries and reservations, I’m going to give this the good college try. But I don’t even know how to dance. I can tango like a pro, but I don’t do the body wiggle weird thing. And isn’t that what the kids do these days at parties? Dance?”

He lifted an eyebrow at my excuse—obviously unimpressed—and with two fluid strokes moved to join me.

I stiffened, my eyes wide, and backed up a step at his advance. “What…what are you doing?”

“I’m going to teach you how to dance,” he said simply, already on me, reaching for my body.

I stiffened further, feeling unaccountably breathless as his big hands slipped around my waist and settled on my hips and lower back.

“But there…but we…but—”

“Shhh,” he said, pulling me closer. “Relax.”

“Create cold fusion,” I murmured in response, unable to relax and placing my hands nowhere, because placing them anywhere on Martin felt perilous to my wellbeing.

He glanced down at me, his eyebrows in a perplexed V. “What does cold fusion have to do with anything?”

“You tell me to relax, which is impossible. I tell you to create cold fusion, which is impossible.”

His answering smile was crooked. “You can’t relax?”


“Why not?”

“You know why not.”

“Well, it might help if you touched me.”

“That will not help.”

“It might.”

“It won’t.”

“Touch me.”

I scowled at his chest, my hands still in the air at my sides. Stupid perfect chest.

“Parker, if we’re going to dance you have to touch me.” He sounded amused and his fingers flexed on my bare skin. I felt the roughened calluses of his palms just before he released my body to grab my hands. He brought them to his shoulders, pressed them there, then returned his own to my hips. I didn’t miss the fact that his hand placement was now a bit more daring than it had been a moment ago, lower, closer to my bottom.

I swallowed thickly, glaring at my fingers where they touched his perfectly sculpted shoulder.

“Don’t you want to touch me?” he asked, his inflection daring, teasing, but also something else. Something hesitant and uncertain.

I lifted my eyes to his; they were guarded, his smile looked bracing, almost like a grimace, like he was preparing himself for bad news.

I sighed. I knew I sounded resigned and a little pitiful. “Yes…”

His gaze thawed as it dropped to my lips. “Then you should…because I want you to.”

“I don’t know how,” I blurted.

“I’ll teach you.” His voice was low, soft, and held a promise.

“I’m not good at this.”

“We haven’t even started.”

“I don’t mean the dancing, I mean the touching. I’m pretty sure I’ll be good at the wiggle dancing once I apply myself, as I have excellent rhythm.” Heat was beginning to build in the space between us where we didn’t touch; my stomach and his, his chest and mine. I had the sudden sensation we were magnetized, and I had to make my body rigid to keep from plastering myself against him.

“Why do you think you’ll be good at dancing? You’re very stiff, you need to loosen up.” He swayed his hips and mine to the left, then the right, then back, his movements measured and slow. I moved with him, trying to loosen up without succumbing to the magnetism.

“Because I used to ballroom dance and I play three instruments. Did you know that? And also the drums…so I guess four instruments.”

His eyes, which were still on my lips, flickered to mine and his eyebrows ticked upward with surprise. “Really? What else do you play?” He sounded interested.

“Guitar mostly. But also the piano and saxophone and the aforementioned drums.”

He smiled. I swear he’d been smiling so much it felt unnatural. Before now, I thought I’d seen him smile three times in the last six months and all three of those times the smile had been mean and hard because he’d been about to unleash a world of hurt on someone.

These were different smiles, relaxed and happy smiles. They were devastating and no less precarious to my wellbeing than his mean and hard smiles.

“I’d like to see that,” he said after a beat. “I’d like to see you play.”

“We can go back now and I’ll show you. I think I saw a guitar in one of the rooms back at the compound.” I said “the compound” in a deep, weird voice, hoping to cut through the raging tension building between us, making it difficult for me to breathe.

I made like I was going to move away. His grip on me tightened, staying my attempted retreat.

“No.” He shook his head, the word sharp, and his eyes flashed with a warning. Then he brought me flush against him.

This was not a good idea. It drove all the breath from my lungs and I trembled, gasped, spikes of hot and cold rushing under the surface of my skin. I felt sensitized everywhere. Instinctively, my eyes shut, startled by the ferocity of the sensual, swirling, damning, overwhelming physical feels.

He half growled, half groaned then set me away, placing essential distance between us. My lashes fluttered open and I found him watching me with his jaw set and his eyes ablaze. His hands were on his hips and I saw his Adam’s apple move with a thick swallow.

I shifted on my feet, not sure what to do with my arms. I decided to place them in the water at my sides. “Sorry.”

“Why are you sorry?”

“I don’t know. I guess I’m not sorry.”

He growled, his eyes half closing, and he tugged a hand through his hair. He looked…frustrated.

His frustration made me frustrated because I didn’t know why he was frustrated. I surmised based on his expression that I’d done something wrong, made some novice misstep, but I had no idea what.

I hated I was so clueless about boys. I didn’t know anything about them other than what one can absorb from porn and pubmed articles. Otherwise they were a cornucopia of conundrums.

“What’s going on?” I blurted, feeling lost and confused by the last sixty seconds, not to mention the last two days. My hands convulsively gripped my thighs in the water. “What are you thinking?”

His eyes lifted to mine and he stared at me, saying nothing, but his frustration was tangible. I could hear him breathe though, could see his chest rise and fall with his deep exhales. The longer he stared at me without saying anything the faster my heart beat; I felt like it was going to throw itself out of my ribcage.

Then he said, “Come here,” causing me to jump a little, though his voice was quiet, almost lost amidst the combined sounds of the waterfall and the insect symphony. Even if I hadn’t heard the words, I would have read the want—what he wanted—in his eyes. He looked a little wild with want.

I tried to take a deep breath but managed only a shallow inhale. Silently I obeyed, wading toward him until a foot separated us. I was glad my hands were in the water so he couldn’t see them shaking, because they were shaking—just a little.

When I stopped, his gaze dropped to my body, to my chest, ribs, and stomach. My lower belly felt tight and my breasts heavy. Full. The force of his stare was physical—corporeal—and I shifted a half step backward under its intensity.

Maybe he thought I was going to turn and flee, or maybe he’d reached the limit of his patience. Whatever the reason, Martin closed the remaining distance between us. He gripped my waist again. This time the shock of sensation from Martin’s rough calluses against my bare midriff sent a jolt to my center and up to my heart.

He held me firmly as though he didn’t trust me to stay.

“I need to touch you.”

“You are touching me,” I whispered breathlessly, unable to tear my gaze from his.

Martin shook his head slowly, lifted one hand to the tie at my neck that was holding up my top. Without breaking eye contact, he tugged on the fastening, loosening, then releasing the halter. With a feather-light touch he brought the straps forward, the tips of his fingers on my neck and shoulder sending a shiver down my spine. His movements were slow and purposeful, and he didn’t stop pulling, and his eyes never left mine.

He brought his other hand to the second strap, the backs of his knuckles brushing against the tops of my breasts—pulling, pulling, still pulling—until he delved with meticulously measured movements into the material of my bikini top and tugged it down with aching deliberateness, exposing my body.

His gaze dropped to my bare breasts and he blinked, his eyes half lidded, the rise and fall of his chest obvious.

Then he touched me with the backs of his hands and knuckles—my hardened nipples and the undersides of my breasts—until the top was lowered completely. My stomach twisted and my back arched on instinct. I was near panting now.

I felt crazed, overwhelmed, like I was on the precipice of a high cliff and needed to jump—I had to. I had no choice. I absolutely needed it. Whatever Martin was about to do, I needed it.

A small, helpless sound escaped my lips, something like a whimper, causing his gaze to sharpen and his body to sway toward mine. I realized his chest was rising and falling faster than it had been, and the sense he was close to a similar edge made me bold.

So I touched him.

It was just my fingertips against the hard ridges of his abdomen, but it made him flinch and release a growly sigh like I’d both hurt and pleased him.

“Kaitlyn…” My name from his lips was tight, choked, needy.

He shifted an inch closer; the water swirled around us. One of his hands slid back up my body and cupped me—reverently at first, like I was fragile—and his other moved lower, around my back, slipping into the fabric of my boy short bikini bottoms, inside, down, until he was gripping my bare ass with one hand and massaging my breast with the other, his thumb sweeping over the peak twice before pinching it.

I cried out, the spike of pleasure severe and unexpected and clearly wired straight to my core. My hands instinctively lifted to grip his shoulders and my back flexed, arching on instinct.

“Dammit.” His eyes half closed, and he brought me against him with a jerky movement, as though it were a reflex he couldn’t control.

Suddenly he bent at his waist and his mouth was on me. He licked, kissed, and sucked my nipple into his hot mouth, then grazed it with his teeth.

“Ah! Martin.” My eyes drifted shut briefly and my hips bucked, my grip on his shoulders increasing. I felt taut and swollen and greedy for his touch, his hands, his mouth, his body.

“I have to touch you.” His voice rumbled. He circled the center of my breast with his tongue before drawing it between his lips.

“You are touching me,” I repeated, holding on to his neck and the back of his head, pressing him to my chest, and feeling a little insane.

“Not here,” he growled, his caresses growing more aggressive, insistent, forceful.

He bit the underside of my breast and my ribs like he wanted to consume me, his fingers on my bottom digging into my flesh, severe and punishing. He pinched my nipple again, this time harder, and it hurt, but it also felt necessary. Then his hand in my bikini moved from my bottom to my front, his fingers parting and entering me.

Martin straightened, then captured my lips with his just as I cried out my surprise. His tongue mirrored the stroking of his fingers. His free hand grabbed my ponytail and he roughly positioned me how he liked, tilting my head to the side, opening my mouth just as he was opening my center.

My nipples grazed his chest. I flexed my thighs, my stomach, and my back tight. My nails dug into his shoulders and back. His fingers were inside me and it wasn’t the soft teasing he’d employed in my dorm room. This was rough, urgent, his fingers searching, uncomfortable and a little painful, but…God, it felt so good. So good. So, so good.

My body seemed to understand what my mind hadn’t yet discovered and my hips rocked instinctively in time with his strokes. He bit my lip as I panted, his hot mouth moving to my jaw then neck as he yanked my hair, exposing the vulnerable expanse of skin to his teeth and tongue.

As though from a great distance, I heard him cussing and complimenting me. A steady stream of growled fucks and beautifuls and gorgeous and damns between clenched teeth, against my skin, hot breath spilling over my ear and neck. I became aware all at once that his erection was pressed against my hip and he was moving the hard length, rubbing against me, as I moved on his hand. My breath hitched as my stomach coiled tight. My jaw was tight. Everything felt tight and taut and close to breaking.

And then I did.

I broke.

In fact, I cried out.

Violent, sweet desolation tore through me, delicious spasms accompanied by fierce trembling. I was paralyzed by this vicious wave of beautiful destruction, strangling and releasing and suffocating me over and over. I became aware of his fingers stroking slower, softer, like they’d taken what they wanted and were now moving as a mere echo of their earlier urgency.

My body also instinctively relaxed without my telling it to do so, going almost limp. Martin’s mouth was on my neck, sucking, licking, and biting. I felt his heart beating against my bare breast and its thunderous pace matched mine. My vision was blurry and I realized I wasn’t breathing, so I gasped for air, swallowing a gasping breath as I buried my face below his neck, hiding.

I felt him shudder. His fingers inside my body, still stroking and petting—like I’d done something good and he was rewarding me with a gentle touch.

With plain reluctance, he slipped his hand from my bikini shorts and released my pony tail. At first I thought he was going to set me away again, but he didn’t. He embraced me. His strong arms came around my body and he crushed me to him. Automatically I snuggled closer.

I wasn’t confused. I was nothing other than my body. Blissfully satiated. My mind was completely blank, devoid of thought. I merely felt.

And everything about being in Martin’s arms felt like bliss.