Authors: Lindsey Woods
I nervously buckled my lap belt. Below I could make out the sloshing around of luggage as the workers loaded it into the cargo hold. I took a few deep breaths and put my bag under the seat in front of me. It was finally here.
"I can't believe we're finally here! I feel like it's been forever. In four hours we will have drinks in our hands and be on the beach relaxing," Charlotte said.
"Yeah, sounds great, now let's just get up in the air so we can land," I said and fidgeted nervously in my set.
"Remember last year the airline lost your luggage Char?" Adrian laughed loudly as Charlotte's face formed into a frown.
"Woah, Olivia, let up on those arm rests. You have four hours to go all white-knuckled on them. You'll be fine. This is what, year four? We've made it this many times, no reason to think this will end badly." Adrian gave a chuckle at her own observation.
It was true. This was our fourth year of flying to Mexico. Every year my best friends Charlotte and Adrian and myself took a month long trip to Cancun. This was only made possible by the fact that Charlotte's parents were loaded and owned a condo there. We had all met our sophomore year of college at Boston University. There Charlotte studied physical therapy, Adrian studied dance and I studied classical art. We had graduated with our degrees in our respective fields and went on to stay and pursue Masters degrees. Every summer we left town for the month of June and stayed in Cancun.
Charlotte had landed a job as a physical therapist intern at a local rehabilitation center and Adrian had snagged herself a deal doing a small regional dance tour. I had been interning at a local art museum since my junior year of college and my boss was fine with the month off.
The trip had originally started as a way for us to unwind after a stressful year and finals. After our first year we had such a blast that we swore that we would go annually, even if only for a week. However, none of us had any pressing responsibilities this summer so we kept our vacation time for the month of June. We were all still in that delicate state of being not quite grown-ups. We had jobs that were flexible enough to allow us some freedom. We all took extreme advantage of this fact.
The flight attendant came over the speaker and went over all of the safety information as we pulled away from the gate. As we taxied away from the gate my heart thudded in my chest. If you had to stereotype me and my friends I would be the nervous, high-strung one, Charlotte was the proper well-bred one and Adrian was the doesn't give a damn about much one. We didn't always fit into those archetypes but right now, getting ready to float thousands of miles above ground? Mine fit. Perfectly.
The flight of course went smoothly and we landed in Cancun, and were waiting for our bags at the baggage carousel.
"Who wants to take a bet if someone is going to have a bag missing?" Adrian smiled as she watched Charlotte for a reaction.
"Well, there's mine so it's not going to be me." Charlotte pulled her large luggage off of the conveyor belt and shot a dagger filled glare are Adrian.
Next my baggage came around and I grabbed the enormous suitcase. Adrian was getting visibly nervous as the carousel circled with no sign of her bags. Charlotte hid her smile behind her hand as we waited for what seemed like an eternity. Finally Adrian spotted it and walked further up the conveyor to pull it off.
We grabbed a ride on a shuttle van that went between the resort the condo was in and the airport. The ride there was short and sweet and Charlotte tipped the driver as he finished getting out bags out of the van.
Every time we came here I was awed by the size of the resort we stayed in. It was very much in competition for the skyline with nearby hotels. Sitting at 37 floors it was one of the most prestigious resorts in Cancun and I was beyond blessed that Charlotte and her family were willing to supply us with a nice place to stay every year. We were blessed by the fact that this was essentially our condo for the month whereas some guests traveled in and out in the same fashion of a hotel.
We rolled our bags into the elevator and hit the button for our floor. It seemed hard to believe that it had already been a year. Last time we had come Adrian had broken the hearts of at least half a dozen local boys. Charlotte and I sat back and watched as Adrian had showered them with attention and then when things got a little too real, she backed off and ran for the comfort of her friends. That was her. She enjoyed the attention of boys until they started to want a little more of a relationship than a fling. Not that she was easy, that wasn't necessarily the case but she loved the chase. It was when she caught them that she began to lose interest.
Charlotte was engaged to a man back home and they truly were perfect for one another. He was sweet, he worked in business with her father and he showered her with gifts and praise. I loved Kyle for her and I know she hated to leave him for a month at a time. She did it with a smile on her face and promised that no guy was going to make her forget about the fun she could have with her friends.
We all practically ran to the familiar door and Charlotte used her key card to open the door. It looked as amazing as I remembered. It was decorated in all white with accents of a turquoise blue. It truly looked like it belonged in this tropical paradise.
We all took our predetermined rooms. Each year someone else got the master bedroom with the attached bathroom while they other two girls had their own bedrooms but with an adjoining bath. I was blessed to receive the master bedroom this year and rolled my bags down the hallway.
I rejoined the girls in the central living area as we planned out our day.
"Tonight we of course need to head on down to the pool party. We can have some drinks, dance, find some cute boys." Adrian already had cute boys on the brain.
"I'm beyond ready to go out and have a good time. I feel like I haven't had a day off in years. I can't wait to have no rules. I don't have to worry about waking up in the morning, or studying, or homework I can just enjoy myself," Charlotte said.
"Well I know I need to go get some color on my pasty white skin. I think I'll lay by the pool and let people wait on me," I said and nearly sighed at the thought. I couldn't wait to lay by the pool, getting a tan and have drinks brought to me.
Both girls agreed and we quickly ran to put our bathing suits on and head down to the pool.
The sun felt so good on my skin. The warm radiated through me and I took a sip of my daquiri.
"There's just something about being in the sun that makes me feel as though I have to constantly be sipping from some incredibly girly fruity drink," I smiled as I said it, feeling the coolness of the drink coat my palette.
"So let's make a plan. Tonight, beach party. Tomorrow I think we should hang by the pool again. We can work on getting ourselves a nice tan early on. We should have dinner tomorrow night down the street at that little tiki bar. They had the best fish last year." Adrian gushed, ready to pack the month with as many things as we could possibly do.
"Girls, I swear, there are so many beautiful men here. Dear lord, save me. Look at that group over there by the bar!" Adrian had quickly umped from plans to boys.
I was about to poke fun at her and her ADHD when I saw exactly who she was talking about. Sitting at the bar was a small group of guys. All of which were in swim trunks, which of course was nice to see no matter what. They were all huddled around the bar, picking up beers. One however caught my attention. He wasn't extremely tall, he looked well built and his tan was amazing. He wore a dark pair of sunglasses and had brown hair. What I noticed most about him was the way that everyone in that group was paying him attention. He was talking excitedly and smiling through the seemingly enthralling story he was telling. All at once the group burst into uproarious laughter and clinked their beer bottles against his. I felt like an intruder, looking into an extremely private moment between a group of friends yet I didn't want to take my eyes off of him. Even though I had no way of knowing he was looking at me, nor could he tell I was looking at him through our respective pairs of sunglasses, I felt the heat of his eyes on me and quickly turned away and listened to the girls chat.
"I feel good about this trip. I think I'm ready for a little Mexican romance. I want to find me a nice summer fling. You know, intense, full of passion, one of those months where you feel like you need a cheesy music montage to capture all your adventures and laughter. Where the audience watches that minute and a half montage and wishes it were them," Adrian mused.
"She's not much for the dramatic, is she?" Charlotte asked with amusement. We all got a laugh out of that was Adrian feigned hurt and laughed in spite of herself.
We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon by the pool, sipping our fruity drinks and imagining what our vacation had in store for us.
The music was tremendously loud as we traveled down to the beach. Every Friday our hotel hosted a beach party, and we haven't missed a single one since we started coming down. The three of us had come up from a long day of sunbathing and showered and dressed. When we got down to the beach there were already tons of people dancing and drinking and chatting. The DJ was in his makeshift tiki booth bobbing his head and changing out the records. The breeze coming off the water felt heavenly as we wandered up to the bar and sat.
"We'll all have a Jack and Coke please," Charlotte said to the bartender.
"I am so excited to be here and dance and drink the night away! It's only ten and already this place is slamming full of people." Adrian could hardly hold in her excitement. It was clear through her career choice that she loved to dance, but more than that she liked to interact. To say Adrian was outgoing would be an understatement. She ate, slept, and breathed entertaining and she didn't need to be on a stage to do it.
"This whole scene is deja vu and I love it. It reminds me of all the times we've come and every time is as fun as the last." Charlotte sipped her drink and looked around. Charlotte was serious, but that didn't mean she didn't have fun. She was just the resident mother. She made sure everyone was safe and then she would have a great time. That was her nature even before her and Kyle got engaged. I appreciated her ability to have fun while keeping the mama's hawk eye out.
"I'm just glad to be done with finals and here with my two best friends for the next month. To a great trip full of fun and laughs, I love you guys," I said, lifting my glass as we all bumped them together and took a big swig. I felt at home with these two women and they helped me to come out of my shell. Anytime we were together I felt completely safe and not judged. I was able to open up more and let my hair down. That also could be partly the alcohol and partly that I knew I would never see any of these people again.
"You know where to find me, ta-ta ladies!" Adrian crooned as she finished her drink, hopped off her bar stool and gracefully sauntered onto the dance floor.
"Well there she goes. I can't believe she lasted this long," Charlotte chuckled watching Adrian immediately make her own place on the dance floor.
"So, tell me about the wedding plans," I said, taking another sip of my drink.
"Well, we've booked it already for late summer, August. We didn't want a really long engagement. I mean everyone says there is no rush, but there is no reason to wait either. Nothing is going to change if we waited another year so we're just going for it sooner rather than later. I'm really excited about it, but we want to make sure we're ready in every sense of the word."