Authors: Virginia Jewel
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary
“We work together in LA and we were both in need of a vacation, so I got the jet and the keys to this place.”
Chrissy smiled sweetly at them. “So, are you two together?”
A small giggle escaped, but I shoved a piece of toast in my mouth to mute it. Chrissy knew that they were straight. Even though they both obviously took good care of themselves, it was also obvious that they were both straight.
“We’re not gay, if that’s what you are implying,” Nick, the blonde, quipped from the table.
A quick look up told me that he was smiling. He knew what Chrissy was up to. He glanced over at me before looking back at Chrissy.
“I was just asking,” Chrissy said in her carefree cute girl voice. “Well, I’m going to go jump in the shower then head to the beach. Anyone care to join me?”
“I’m going for a run, so I’m out.” I said, as I crumpled the paper towel my toast had rested on. “I’ll see you down there later, maybe.”
I didn’t wait around to see if either of the men would join her. Knowing Chrissy, she’d have them both panting over her before the sun set over the North Carolina horizon. A smile played across my face as I set off down the steps and onto the beach.
I ran for a half-hour then walked in the sand for another forty-five minutes. By the time I made it back to the house, it was empty. After changing into my bathing suit, I headed back down to the sand. I couldn’t find Chrissy so I just plopped down in an available patch of sand. With my flip-flops off, I buried my feet in the sand and watched the water. There were more children out than there had been the day before, and I watched as a group of them attempted to build a sandcastle. It was a little lopsided, but in the end, wasn’t too shabby of a castle. When they finished, they quickly abandoned it and headed out into the water.
As I watched them running into the ocean, I caught a glimpse of someone sitting on a surfboard further out in the water. A wave built and he paddled to catch it. I watched as he quickly pulled himself into a standing position and rode the wave closer to the shore. He made it look so easy, and I marveled at how graceful it seemed. He dove off his board then reappeared above the water. He ran a hand through his hair before he pulled himself back onto the board.
It wasn’t until he was seated on the board again that I realized who he was. It was Nick, the blonde from our house. I’d suspected he had a great body, but now it was confirmed. Even from this distance, I could tell that he was ripped. It took me a few more seconds to pull my eyes away from him. He wasn’t Chrissy’s usual type, but he’d probably do for a fling. She was on vacation, after all.
With a chuckle, I lay back onto my towel and closed my eyes. The sound of the water and the other sunbathers chatting almost lulled me to sleep, but a painful itch on my ankle pulled me out of my almost-sleep state. My feet weren’t buried in the sand anymore, but it felt like something had bit me. I scratched and checked, but didn’t see anything. I lay back down, but the itching started again. So, I headed out to the water in the hope that whatever was biting me couldn’t swim.
“I thought that was you.”
I turned to see Nick floating on his board a few feet away from me.
“How was your run?” he asked with a smile.
“It was good,” I answered timidly. After admiring his body from afar, I was feeling a little shy as I bobbed along in my bathing suit. I wasn’t out of shape, but I certainly wasn’t as fit as he was.
“Do you run every morning?” he asked and paddled closer to me.
“I try to, but I’m not as disciplined as I should be.”
He tilted his head to the side in question. “What do you mean?”
I rolled my eyes, “I have to work to keep my shape. I can’t just call up mommy and have her make me an appointment to get my trouble areas taken care of. Being out here on the beach makes me realize how much more running I should be doing.”
Nick smiled, “I didn’t notice anything wrong with your body.”
I blushed and looked down at the water.
“I meant that you look healthy, to me,” he added quickly. “You don’t see a lot of healthy looking women living in LA.”
I smiled and nodded. I still wasn’t sure if he’d just given me a backhanded compliment or not.
“Do you surf?”
He was obviously trying to change the subject.
I shook my head, “No. I’m pretty sure that surfing is one of those things that looks a lot easier than it actually is.”
He laughed, “It takes some practice to get good at it, but it’s not impossible.”
“Well, you are very good at it.” I smiled, “I was watching you earlier.”
He smiled again, “I know. I saw you watching me.”
“You could see me from all the way out here in the water?”
He smiled then admitted sheepishly, “Actually, I saw you walking out from the house so I followed you until you sat down in the sand.”
“That makes more sense.”
We looked at each other for a few seconds as we both bobbed with the wave. He was still lying on his board and I was floating next to him.
I looked out at the horizon and saw other surfers catching some big waves. “Looks like you’re missing some action out there.”
He turned his head towards the waves then back to me. “Yeah, I should probably get back out there.”
“Maybe I’ll see you around later.” I waved and swam off towards the shore. Before getting out of the water, I made sure to adjust my bathing suit. I wasn’t sure if he was still watching me, but just in case I wanted to make sure my ass wasn’t hanging out.
Back on my towel, I collapsed down and tried to brush the sand off my feet. Sand was the one thing about the beach that made the whole experience awful. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get all the sand off me. My ankles were still a little itchy, but not nearly as much as they had been before my swim.
I spent the rest of the morning on the beach. As the temperature on the beach rose, so did the number of people playing in the sand and on the water. By lunchtime, it was too crowded and I was feeling a little claustrophobic. Besides, my ankles were itching like crazy!
Back at the house, I brushed the sand off my feet before entering through the back door. The house was quiet and I carried my stuff up to my room. After a long shower, I carried my wet bathing suit out onto the deck by the pool. Next, I made myself another peanut butter and jelly sandwich then headed out onto the porch to sit on the swing and enjoy the slight breeze that was blowing past the house.
The whole experience would have been a lot better if it wasn’t for the rash that was slowly inching its way up my legs. The itch that had started at my ankles seemed to be spreading and the pain was past the point of distraction. I was about to head in to see if there was a first aid kit, when the French doors opened and Nick sauntered out onto the porch. He must have just gotten out of the shower because he was still wet, but now he was wearing jeans. Still no shirt, though.
“Can I possibly bum some food off you? We didn’t bring any food and I am starving.” He smiled sweetly at me.
“Help yourself!” I smiled back at him.
He was back in two minutes with a sandwich of his own. He sat against the porch railing across from me.
“Did you have fun at the beach?” he asked between bites.
I pulled my leg up and scratched as I answered, “I did, until it got really crowded.”
He nodded and took another bite of the sandwich.
“How were the waves?” I was trying hard to be subtle about my scratching, but it was driving me crazy. Both legs were itching and it was taking every ounce of self-control I had to keep myself from scratching like a flea-ridden mongrel.
“They started to die out a little, and the water was getting crowded.” He shrugged and shoved the last bite of food into his mouth. When he finally swallowed, he asked, “Are you okay?”
“Me? I’m fine. Why?”
He looked down at my feet then back up to me. With a smile, he said, “Because you’re scratching the hell out of your legs.” He pointed at my ankles.
I sighed and scratched even harder. “I think I’m having an allergic reaction, or maybe I got bit by something. It’s awful!”
“Let me see.”
He leaned closer and grabbed my leg, pulling me, and the swing, towards him. His hand gripped my foot, turning it over in his hands, while the other hand ran up my calf and around my ankle. He dropped that foot and reached for the other one, inspecting it in the same way.
“Do you have any nail polish?” he asked as he inspected my foot.
“I hardly think that a pedicure is going to cure me.” I rolled my eyes and tried to pull my foot back.
He held it firmly in his hand and smiled at me. “You have chiggers.”
“Ew! Gross! What are they?”
He laughed, “They are little mites that get onto your skin and make you itch. They won’t really hurt you, just annoy you and make you want to scratch your skin off. Nail polish?”
“I think I have some upstairs, why?”
“If you put nail polish on them it will suffocate them and they’ll die quicker. Go get it.” He ordered me and dropped my foot from his hand.
Eager to get rid of the itching, I ran up the stairs to my toiletries kit and searched for nail polish. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my clear polish and the lightest color I had was a shade of turquoise. I grabbed it and went back to the porch. Nick was still sitting there, watching as people walked past the house.
“So, do I just put it on the bumps?” I sat back down on the swing and shook the bottle of polish.
He sat up and reached for the bottle, “Here, give it to me.”
I handed it over and watched him as he picked my foot up again. He rested it against his chest and started to twist open the bottle.
Suddenly feeling self-conscious about my feet, I pulled my foot off his chest. “I don’t want to get you dirty.”
He grabbed my foot and put it back on his chest, “Relax, your feet are clean.” He opened the bottle and began carefully painting my ankle and shin turquoise. “This is a very nice shade of blue you’ve chosen. Would you like me to do your toes when I’m done?” He asked without looking up.
I blushed and laughed. “I couldn’t find any clear polish.”
He looked up and smiled, “I like it. It matches your eyes.”
“Does that charm work on the girls in LA?” I asked with a sarcastic smile.
He laughed, “I do alright.” He pulled my foot off his chest and brought the other one up to take its place.
“How did I get these chigger things, anyway?” I asked as I watched him paint my other ankle.
“Did you run on the edge of the beach, where the bushes are?”
“That would be the culprit.” He kept his head down as we talked, concentrating hard on his painting.
“Perhaps that’s a sign that I shouldn’t be running while I’m on vacation.” I smiled at the idea of taking the week off from working out.
He looked up and smiled. “I think so. I’d be happy to suggest some other form of exercise, if you’d like.” He lowered his eyes back to his painting.
He looked up and grinned wickedly. “I meant that I’d be happy to teach you how to surf tomorrow. You get quite a workout doing that.”