And if I was truly honest with myself, when I looked at him, all I could think of was which would taste better – the Dole Whip I had sampled or him…
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Dying was hard work and all I had wanted to do was sleep, sleep and sleep some more. But after the dream I had just had when I nodded off, my desire for sleep had completely disappeared.
Stretched out on my lounge chair next to the pool, I tried to decipher what the dream had meant. I had seen myself standing high on a mountaintop, my arms outstretched wide as if to embrace the vast blue ocean that lay beneath me and all I was wearing was a simple purple lei and a grass skirt.
I had no clue what it all meant and I gave up trying. What I did know was that I had woken up feeling fully rested, at peace and with the decision to get a second opinion on my diagnosis when I returned home. Meghan’s suggestion to take time to clear my head in Maui had been the right choice. Most of the time I actually forgot the reason why I had taken this trip in the first place.
But that was just most of the time.
I put on my floppy hat, slipped off my sandals and headed into the pool to cool off from the heat. I closed my eyes, raked back against the cold tiled wall and enjoyed the water caressing my skin until voices sliced through the air behind me.
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“But I have soooo many other people that I want to invite to the wedding! I need more seats for my side.”
From behind my dark sunglasses, I snuck a peak at a young couple in their early twenties getting comfortable in the lounge chairs next to mine. They struck me as an odd pair. He was plain and homely-looking in contrast to the girl who was fully made up with make-up and expensive tote bag. Her long perfectly coiffed blonde curls were obviously enhanced by hair extensions, her breasts looked unnatural perky for her body type and with the length of her nails, there was no way she ever washed dishes.
But the worst of it all was her completely annoying voice that sounded like a cross between Elmo and a whiny four year old. I tried my best to block out their conversation but I would have needed Tom Cruise for that mission impossible.
“We agreed that we would each stick to 50 guests babe.” His voice was patient but definitely not firm. “We need to cut back to save on costs.”
I watched as the girl rolled her eyes at him. She reminded me of Hannah. Then, the girl sighed as though she had the weight of the world on her shoulders – First World problems.
“You mean that you need to save on costs! You should have agreed to let my father pay for the entire wedding! We’re on vacation and we should be enjoying ourselves instead of skimping. It’s bad enough that we aren’t staying at the resort that I wanted.” She was clearly unimpressed by the quaintness of the complex. “If I can’t have the Smores on the beach or the spa day like I wanted at the other hotel, I at least want to do all the other things I had on my list.” The girl pulled a bottle of lotion out of her bag and shoved it at him. “Put some lotion on me.”
The boy obeyed and lovingly slathered tanning lotion all over her back as she rattled on about her list of all of the things she wanted to do and buy until I thought his slippery hands would slide around her neck and squeeze her into silence…for good.
“Let’s go for a swim,” he suggested and motioned to the pool.
“No. I need to get started on my tan and anyways, I need to buy a new magazine in the lobby first.”
“Didn’t you just buy one this morning?” The boy’s voice was overflowing with frustration and I could almost hear his eyes rolling back into his head.
“Yeah, but I don’t like it.”
When I glanced over at them again, I caught him staring at her like he could follow through with the image I had.
“Fine. I’ll take a swim while you go get a new magazine.”
“No. You need to come with me. I don’t want to go alone.”
There was a brief silence and a loud groan from the boy. I already knew that he was going to give in.
Taking me off guard, the boy suddenly turned and caught me looking in their direction.
“Uh, Ma’am? Would you mind watching our stuff while we are gone?”
Ma’am? Was I that old to be called Ma’am?
I nodded. “Sure but I might be leaving soon.”
“Oh, that’s okay. We won’t be long. Thanks a lot.”
When the young couple disappeared, I let out a huge groan, got out of the pool and made my way back over to my chair.
“Run Forrest run,” I kept muttering to myself uncontrollably, shaking my head. “Run Forrest run.”
“You won’t believe me but I was thinking the exact same thing,” someone said nearby. “I loved that movie.”
Feeling my face flushed with embarrassment, I looked over to the only person sitting with a book in his hands a few chairs away. The man’s eyes twinkled with laughter and I was utterly mortified.
“Oh my…I didn’t mean for anyone to hear me,” I apologized. Through my sheepishness, I found myself taking a full look at this man with dirty blond hair, a lean muscular build and blue eyes that I found hard to look away from. From his deep tan and his totally relaxed vibe, everything about him screamed outdoorsy surfer dude. I was also beginning to realize that he was more than handsome. My stomach did a nervous flip.
Why was I suddenly feeling like a school girl?
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“Oh, don’t apologize! Yesterday, she wouldn’t stop complaining about how cold the pool was. I give that marriage less than a year to survive. Narcissist girl and doormat boy will not make a lasting relationship.”
I nodded. “Yeah. And the same applies for the reverse combination too. But they say opposites attract, right?”
“That’s what they say. But compatibility is so much more important, don’t you think?” The man lay his book down on his lap and gave me his full attention. “I haven’t seen you around here before. Did you just check-in?”
“No. A few days ago.” His blue eyes were hypnotic and his infectious smile took me for a loop. I felt my face flush again and I pretended to look for something in my purse as an excuse to look away as I settled back into my chair.
“Really? I haven’t seen you around.” His friendliness made me a little suspicious and I hoped that this conversation wouldn’t crash and burn like what had happened to me on the Pineapple Express.
“Oh, I’ve been going to the beach a lot so this is really my first time at the pool,” I offered cautiously.
“Well, there’s first time for everything, right?”
His eyes twinkled again and I swallowed hard.
Was there some kind of flirty double entendre behind his words?
I forced myself to ask a semi-intelligent question. “Are you a tourist too?”
“No, I’m a kama ‘aina.”
“I’m what they call a long time resident. I travel back and forth between here and New York but I spend most of my time here. I love the island vibe. ”
I nodded and let an awkward silence take over. Any other normal woman would have asked where he was from in New York and what he did for a living but I knew that I would find myself tongue tied with him so I said nothing.
What could I say that would be friendly but not too friendly to avoid him getting the wrong idea?
He pointed to the notepad I had with me.
“Are you making a list of things to see while you’re here?”
“Sort of…” I lied. My notepad really contained a running list of things I needed to do when I got home to start tying up loose ends, to start shutting down my life.
“Well, if you want any recommendations about what to see and do, I could…”
As if God knew how nervous and flustered I was, I was saved from further conversation with Mr. Handsome when my cell rang. I hadn’t felt that way in years. And if I was truly honest with myself, when I looked at him, all I could think about was which would taste better – the Dole Whip I had sampled or him…
“I’m sorry…I…I need to take this call.”
His face dropped in disappointment.
I clumsily started gathering my items, slipped on my sandals and let my cell slip out of my sweaty hands. Of course, Mr. Handsome was agile enough to catch it before it hit the concrete. He glanced quickly at the caller id and smiled.
“If you don’t answer it soon, Meghan will hang up,” he teased handing it back to me.
“Oh, thanks.” I clicked it, told Meghan to hold on and said goodbye to him. “It was nice meeting you. Uh, maybe we’ll see each other around?”
Mr. Handsome gave me one of his infectious smiles and nodded.
“I’m sure that we’ll bump into each other again.”
I couldn’t scurry away fast enough, feeling his eyes boring holes into my back as I walked away. Poor Meghan. I completely forget that she was still on the line.
Continuation – H is for “Hale”
©2017 Marquessa Matthews.
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