Copyright 2003, all rights reserved
I love the beach. More importantly, I love *this* beach. No kids allowed. Peace and quiet. Glory Hallelujah.
I know what you're thinking... how can you go to the beach and not have kids screaming and running around making life miserable? Turns out... it's actually quite easy. You book your annual vacation on a remote tropical island and stay in a resort that specifically prohibits children. Sure it costs more, but it is so worth it.
No, I don't have anything against kids. I love kids. Kids are great. But when your work centers on children, they are the last thing you want to see on vacation. This was my vacation, the one time each year when I could relax.
Oh yes, it's wonderful to lie on a towel in the warm, white sand with the ocean gently lapping at my toes. Some people, most people in fact, might prefer to spend Christmas morning sitting around a tree opening gifts, but not me. I prefer the nice quiet beach with the sun shining down and a cold margarita in my hand.
I come here every year. I spend Christmas Eve traveling with the promise of waking up and spending Christmas morning on this wonderful private beach. While the resort is exclusive, I'm never alone. There's always one other regular who is here year after year. Like me, he prefers a towel on the sand to a chaise by the pool. He's here every Christmas morning when I arrange my towel and order my drink.
This year was no different. I rolled out of bed on Christmas Day, put on my favorite red bikini, and headed to the beach. Sure enough, there he was -- sprawled out on a towel, snoring softly, just like every other Christmas morning for the past 4 years. He was an ordinary looking man, pleasant but not stunning. Sandy blonde hair, regular build, nice tight buns; I allowed my gaze to linger there just for a minute before settling down on my own towel. Giving my usual order to a passing waiter, I settled in for a long relaxing day in the sun.
"Excuse me... Miss?"
I blinked in confusion. My sandy-haired neighbor was kneeling next to me, gently shaking my shoulder.
"You might want to turn over. You're getting a little pink."
I rolled onto my back and sat up. Shading my eyes against the sun, I looked into his eyes for the first time. They were a soft gray, touched at the moment with concern.
"Thanks for the warning." I held out my hand, "I'm Tina."
"Tina, pleased to meet you. I'm Shawn."
Shawn grinned mischievously as he took my hand in his own. I was surprised when he didn't shake it, instead raising it to his lips and brushing a soft kiss across my knuckles. My tummy did a little flip-flop as his lips touched my skin. How long had it been since I'd felt that flutter? Long enough that it scared me a little. Long enough that it excited me a whole lot more.
We spent the rest of the day together. It was a little scary how quickly we clicked. I haven't talked to a stranger for more than ten minutes in years, and here we were -- talking incessantly for hours. Shawn was intelligent, educated, charming, and he made me laugh. I was completely smitten. I hadn't felt this way in such a long time.
The only bump we hit was when he asked me about my job.
"So what do you do for a living, Tina?"
Shit. How do I answer this? Damn, damn, damn. I really didn't want to talk about this yet.
"Shawn, I'm sorry, but this is my vacation. The first day of the only vacation I get all year, and the *last* thing I want to talk about right now is *work*. Do you mind?"
He smiled that easy, sexy smile that caused my stomach to flutter. "Not a problem at all. How about a dip in the ocean to cool off a bit?"
I laughingly agreed, racing him down to the warm, clear water.
He asked me to have dinner with him that evening. Saying no never even crossed my mind. I took my time getting ready. Hair, check. Make-up, done. Dress... killer. Why was I so nervous?
Shawn was right on time, knocking on my door at 7:30 sharp. I took a deep breath and opened the door. The look on his face made my primping worth the effort. He didn't say anything; he didn't have to. His face said it all.
Dinner was wonderful -- soft music, candlelight, delicious food. He took every opportunity to touch me, holding my hand under the table, brushing the hair back from my face. Each time he did, my skin tingled and my heart sped up. I couldn't believe how quickly I was forming an attachment to this man.
We went dancing after dinner. It was a small nightclub on the resort grounds and not many people were there. It suited us just fine. The band played a lively mix of popular music, slow and fast numbers. Shawn loved to dance and he was quite good. It was a joy to dance with a man who knew how and enjoyed what he was doing.
I came to dread the fast songs. I couldn't wait for the next slow song. Shawn would pull me close and settle my body against his, then start that slow rhythmic movement that moved us around the floor. He smelled so incredible, and his body felt so good rubbing up against mine. Every slow song we danced made me more aware of Shawn and how much I was attracted to him.
The bar announced last call and the band moved into the last number. Shawn folded me into his arms as the first notes to one of my favorite songs, "When You Say Nothing At All", began to play. The delicate melody washed over us as the smooth, smoky voice of the singer brought the words to life. As we moved around the dance floor, I felt Shawn's lips brush my temple and I lifted my face to his.
Oh, this man could kiss! Everything I had been feeling all day surged to the surface and I returned his ardent caress without reservation. My world narrowed until all that existed was the man kissing me and the song weaving its magic around us.
It's amazing How you can speak Right to my heart Without saying a word, You can light up the dark Try as I may I could never explain What I hear when You don't say a thing
The smile on your face Lets me know That you need me There's a truth In your eyes Saying you'll never leave me The touch of your hand says You'll catch me Whenever I fall You say it best When you say Nothing at all
As the song ended, Shawn gently ended our kiss and drew away slightly, looking into my eyes. He studied me for a moment before that incredible smile of his began to form. I felt it tug at my heart and I couldn't help but wonder if I had finally found the one man I could share my life with.
The rest of the week was damn near idyllic. We spent almost every minute together -- walking on the beach, windsurfing, snorkeling, sitting quietly and watching the sunset. We'd have dinner together each night and afterwards we'd explore the resort and the small town nearby. We always made sure to stop at the nightclub for at least one dance. The band knew us on sight and by unspoken agreement they always played "our" song. Every time Shawn took me in his arms I fell deeper in love.
At the end of the song, he would kiss me and look deeply into my eyes. We never said anything. We didn't have to. Joining our hands together, we would walk the short distance to Shawn's room and make love. When we touched each other it was magic. The world ceased to exist and all that mattered was Shawn. It didn't matter if we were laughing and teasing, rutting like bunnies, or making slow, tender love - I always felt my soul connect with his. In that moment it ceased to matter that I was 160 years old.
I knew I had to tell him soon. The week was almost over and I had to get back to work. I knew Shawn loved me, I could feel it. That doesn't mean I wasn't scared out of my mind at the thought of telling him my secret. We had only been together a week. Would he be able to accept me for who I was? Was love enough to convince him I was telling the truth? I didn't know but time was running out. I would have to tell him tonight.
We spent the day quietly, lying on beach holding hands. Both of us knew today was our last day together. Shawn was flying home in the morning and so was I. Every moment that day was bittersweet. I had finally found the love of my life. I could only hope for the best. After dinner, we went to the club and danced to our song. When it was over, Shawn and I went to the band and thanked them for making our stay at the resort special.
Making love that night was special. Shawn kissed and caressed every inch of my body, expressing with every touch his love for me. I did the same in return, telling him how much I loved him with soft touches and passionate kisses. When he slipped inside of me I felt truly complete. Time and again, Shawn brought me to the brink of release and then gently pushed me over. When I thought I couldn't take any more, he buried himself in me, moaning my name as he collapsed against me.
Snuggled into his embrace, I knew my time was up. I had given a lot of thought to how I would start this conversation. Screwing up my courage, I snuggled closer and took a deep breath.
"Shawn, why do you spend Christmas at the beach?"
He pulled back a little and looked at me in surprise. "We haven't talked about this yet?"
"Oh. Well, two reasons really. First, I design toys for a large, privately held company. I spend most of the year working long hours and the time between Christmas and New Years is our only downtime. Everyone who works there is on vacation right now. Second, I don't have any family. I lost my parents a few years ago. They loved Christmas and always made it special for me. Now I find sitting at home alone on Christmas pretty depressing. A few years ago I started coming here. By lying on the beach, I can forget that it's Christmas and enjoy my vacation."
"I'm so sorry about your parents, Shawn. I didn't mean to bring up bad memories for you."
He stroked my arm and dropped a reassuring kiss on my temple. "You didn't love. It's kind of nice to talk about them with someone. They are never far from my thoughts this time of year. They truly loved Christmas."
This was the opening I had been hoping for. "Were they the 'There is no Santa' types or were they 'Santa is real' types?"