Beach Bummed
By Amelia Brooks
Date: March 12, 2016
Ch. 22

“Senorita! Senorita!” the cab driver calls to me. Struggling with several pieces of luggage, I just want to get to the front desk of the resort and check in, but the cab driver is not going to leave me alone until I give him my attention.
“Yes?” I turn around, trying not to show my barely contained frustration.
He says something in Spanish and gestures wildly with a concerned look on his face. I try to figure out what he means, but obviously, the two years of Spanish I took in high school did me not one bit of good.
He keeps acting like he is pulling something down and gesturing towards me. A breeze picks up off the Gulf of Mexico and I’m immediately aware of what he is trying to tell me. I drop my carry on and yank the back of my sundress out from the tangle of its strap, my face turning red.
What a way to show off my new hot pink thong, I think to myself, mortified and thankful that I don’t know a single person in a thousand miles.
I gather a tiny bit of composure as I hear the cab driver drive off. There was no way I could have turned around and thanked him for his courtesy in my embarrassment. Picking up my bags, after I make sure one more time my dress is hitting right above my knee on all sides, I make my way to the front desk of La Aqua, the resort hosting a medical conference this week that has allowed me to book a vacation for virtually nothing thanks to my dad’s practice.
“Hello, I have reservations for Tenley Walker under the SCA Seminar,” I say to one of the women manning the desk.
“Okay, let me pull that up,” the woman says as she types, intently studying the screen in front of her.
“Ahh, here it is. A swim up suite. It is just you, correct?” she glances up, waiting for my answer. Gee, thanks lady for reminding me that I’m all alone.
“Yep. Just me,” I reply, trying to sound chipper.
“Alright, you will be in Room 108. Here is your room card. The gentleman will take your bags to your room. Do not hesitate to ask us for anything, and please enjoy your stay,” she says, smiling warmly at me. A bellhop has appeared to my left, already gathering up my two bags and waiting for me to hand over my carry on.
“I’ve got this,” I say, holding on to my leopard bag. It has all my money, travel documents and jewelry in it. There was no way I was handing it over to a stranger, even if it was his job to take it.
He shrugs, and heads to, I’m assuming, my room. I sign a couple of papers the lady at the desk hands me and then head through the stucco breezeway and down a pebbled path to locate my abode for the next week.
As I make my way to my room, I notice the beauty that surrounds me. The resort really is impeccable. Lush foliage is everywhere, and although the walk to my room is quite a trek across the expansive resort, I don’t mind. I can’t help but think that I am really lucky to have a job that allows me to get to experience this kind of luxury and is understanding enough when I give them a five hour notice of my vacation plans. I guess that’s a perk of being the office manager for your father’s medical practice, along with the basically free vacation.

When I arrive at my room, the serenity is breathtaking. I toss my bag onto the plush bed; walk past the small sitting room and out the teak sliding doors onto the stone patio that steps into the semi-private pool. This pool only has access to the eight suites on the bottom floor of the building. On the other side is a barrier of tropical plants. Surveying the sparkling, clear ocean and feeling the breeze on my face, I close my eyes and take in all the sounds and aromas. This is exactly what I needed. A week to myself soaking up the sun and downing tequila shots, and Daniel will be a distant, slightly unpleasant, memory.
Since I haven’t ate since before my flight, I pop open a beer from the mini bar and order up some room service. I decide that the nice lounge chair on my patio right by the pool will be my sole destination for the afternoon.
I open my suitcase and scrounge around for my bikini. I’m looking for the neon yellow one, hoping all the bright colors will force me to feel more cheerful. I take a quick shower to rinse the grimy, travel feeling off, don my bright little duds, take a few bites of the chicken salad sandwich room service brought to me, and head onto my patio, intent on a few hours of soaking up the sun.
I put my Corona bottle on the little table and flip through a magazine before I turn onto my stomach so that my back can get some sun too. I undo the back of my string bikini, and with the sounds of the ocean in the background, begin to drift into a nice little cat nap.
“Well, hello there,” a strong male voice interrupts my solitude. I glance around and see a dark haired, very handsome man lounging in the pool just below me. How long he has been there, I have no idea.
“Hi,” I questionably answer him. Who is this guy?
“We’re neighbors,” he smiles up at me with a million dollar grin. He further explains, “My suite is next door to yours. I’m Jack Kelley. Are you here for the surgical conference?”
I’m feeling sort of awkward, lying here, facing a man with A-list actor looks, who is clearly chatting me up while my bikini top is untied.
“Nice to meet you, Jack. I’m Tenley, and I am here for the surgical conference on a technicality,” I tell him. Since my dad is a surgeon, he’s the reason I could sign up for this trip. I just have to sign into at least one seminar.
“Could you turn around for just a second?” I ask him.
He looks at me quizzically, but does what I ask. I scurry to tie my swimsuit back together and right myself, so that I’m sitting up on the lounge chair, and I feel better now that I’m properly covered.
“Okay, you can turn back around now,” I say as I admire his defined, muscular back.
“Would you care to join me for a swim?” he asks.
“Nah, I’m going to go in and get dressed for dinner soon,” I say, adjusting my sunglasses. At this point in time, I am not in the mood for men, even the ones that look like Adonis.
“Did you bring your husband along?” he questions. He is clearly not giving up any time soon.
“No, I’m not married.”
“Geez. No. I’m here by myself,” I say in exasperation.
He smiles that smile again. “Good. Me too.”
“Look, I really need to head in, I don’t want to burn,” I tell him, hoping he gets the hint.
“Okay, can I escort you to dinner?” he asks, catching me off guard.
“I guess so,” I reluctantly agree. It will be better than eating alone, I justify to myself. Plus, this guy isn’t going to stop until I give in anyway. Dinner with a gorgeous man surely won’t kill me. It very well may provide just the distraction I need.
“Don’t be too excited,” he sarcastically jokes. He swims over to the patio beside mine and steps out of the pool. I feel like I might need to wipe drool off of my chin. Daniel was attractive in an edgy, musician kind of way. Jack Kelly, however, is hot. Broad shoulders and a sculpted body combined with his dark hair and tanned skin makes him look like a cross between an athlete and a male model.
“I’ll be at your door in an hour,” he says as he towels off. I have to break my eyes away, embarrassed that I was staring. I stand up, slipping my sandals on and gathering my things quickly. An hour wouldn’t give me much time to waste.
“Okay, see you then,” I give him a slight wave as I head back inside my room. Tossing my towel and glasses onto the table, I flop onto the big, canopied bed. The breeze gently rustles the sheer covering since I had left the balcony doors cracked.
What had just happened? I came here to nurse a wound. A wound I hadn’t even allowed myself to think about yet, and this completely hot stranger has already swooped in and distracted me from my purpose.
I sit up and resolve to spend this week in Mexico in an entirely different way than I originally set out to do. Instead of tequila shots, I would use Jack Kelly to forget about Daniel.
With my mind made up, I dig through my luggage for the perfect outfit for dinner. I pull out a strapless black dress that was above my knees in the front, but nearly hit my ankles in the back and hang it on the hook. I hop in the shower, which is fabulous with its marble floor and glass wall, thinking about what to do with my long, highlighted blond hair. I’m a natural brunette, but I’ve kept my hair highlighted since I was a teenager.
Wrapping up in a huge, fluffy towel, I step out of the shower and rub on a lotion from the resort’s spa line that smells like lavender and limes. I apply my makeup and blow dry my hair, deciding to let it hang straight and down my back.
I take extra care picking out what to wear under my dress, just in case anyone else were to see. Not that I plan on that happening right away, but you never know. A matching black, lacy bandeau and thong are my final choices.
I slide my clothes on, slip into black flip flops (I don’t want him to get the impression that I’m trying to hard) and I hear a knock at the door as I am putting on a pair of pearl earrings. The hour really has flown by!
I grab my paisley wristlet and open the door. Standing before me is Jack Kelly in a white button up with the sleeves rolled up and slouchy linen pants. I resist the urge just to pull him into my room and have my way with him.
He whistles, and butterflies fill my stomach. I shake the feeling away. I don’t want to get emotionally attached to this beautiful man who probably leaves a trail of broken hearts behind everywhere he goes.
“You don’t look so bad yourself,” I tell him and take his offered arm.
“Shall we?” he asks and I nod.

We make our way to the Pan-Asian inspired restaurant the resort boasts. The recessed lighting and open patio facing the ocean exudes romance. Jack speaks with the maître‘d and we are seated at a table for two facing the Gulf. The sun is almost set, and the view is breathtaking.
“Wow, beautiful,” I say quietly, looking out across the ocean.
“Very,” Jack says. I turn and see that he is looking at me. I swallow.
“That isn’t a very original come on,” I point out and peruse my menu. I see they have my favorite, California rolls.
Jack laughs, “You are something else, you know that?”
“So what do you do for a living, Jack?” I ask him, changing the subject.
He doesn’t get a chance to answer me, since the waiter has arrived for our drink order.
“Whatever domestic beer you have on tap,” Jack tells him, “and for the lady...”
“A margarita on the rocks and a shot of tequila with a slice of lime,” I politely finish.

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