Her toes brushed across the rippled sand and she sat up in surprise, her focus returned to find that she’d drifted back to the beach with the tide. She rolled gracelessly into the water from her board, tucked it under her arm and walked across the pale sugar sand of Mango Beach toward what passed for the public showers.
Just to annoy the Barbie Dolls, she willingly amped up her enchantment on the lifeguard as she passed by the shack and he gave her his full, undivided attention before the chorus of pouting disappointment. A brunette over at the Snack Shack caught her eye and there was the brief moment of Déjà vu. Something rang a little too familiar about the woman, but Sharon dismissed it as just another person that she saw every day but didn’t know personally.
She leaned her board against the 4X4 post, peeled out of the top half of her wetsuit and pulled the chain, gritting her teeth as the icy water bit into her like Aunt Frannie’s Chihuahua. She released the chain, backed up a few steps and ran her fingers briskly through the spiky fuchsia mop that passed for a hairstyle.
With eyes squeezed shut, she quickly turned and startled herself by staring at the thickly sculpted, bronzed chest of a Greek god. Although which one, she wasn’t entirely sure at the moment. Ares? Nope, this man had really kind eyes. Maybe he was Apollo incarnate? Well, Apollo if he were dressed in the most obnoxious ‘I-really-don’t-give-two-shits’ Jams she’d ever seen. The shorts were a flurry of paisley cast in the most uncomplimentary colors. His curly, sun bleached hair crowned him well and completed the illusion. He reflexively wrapped his hands around her upper arms to steady her. Her eyes lightened two shades as she followed the strong lines up to his face, and she smiled awkwardly.
“Do you mind? All of this gorgeous beach and you have to perch behind me like some deranged vulture? Stalker much?” she mocked.
“Not my fault that you can’t tell the difference between soft white sand and my bony feet. Got two feet of your own, do you really have to walk on mine?” he volleyed with practiced ease. Eyes like freshly mined coal looked at her appraisingly. “My name’s Kevin Templeton. Everyone calls me Tripper.”
“And they just won’t stop, will they? Bunch of bullies. Or is that because your big feet are always in the way?” she feigned a glare.
His hand remained offered, but for the sake of watching him squirm, she just stared at him a few moments more. “Actually it’s because I rack up the frequent flyer miles…and you are?”
“On my way to lunch. But, it was nice to meet you…Tripper, I gotta roll. Good luck with that nickname thing.” She skirted around him and shuffled up to the parking lot, smirking to herself as he gave her an appreciative whistle. She threw an extra taunt into her hips as she walked away, gingerly crossed the scorching blacktop to the “Mean Machine,” the nickname for Jamus’ rusted out, smoke belching; oil leaking, olive-green Jeep CJ-7. She stowed her board and dug through her boogie bag for a towel and a pair of faded cutoffs. She leaned against the ecologically unsound beast and peeled off the rest of the wetsuit, revealing the tiny bikini beneath. After drying off and slipping into the shorts, she strolled across the lot to Frisco’s Pizza.
She’d just placed her order and was sipping on her Dr. Pepper when she felt someone invade her personal space and take a seat at the stool beside her.
“It’s about freakin’ time. I was afraid you were going to turn out to be just another dumbass male that can’t read the road signs.” She turned to face him and smiled saccharine. “So, Tripper, what exactly is it that you do?”
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