I worked like a dog for that company for eight years and what happened?
They fired me.
Bright side? Nice severance package. So screw it. Instead of diving right back into the overcrowded pool of job hunters, I decided to take it easy for a while. I deserved it; I'd barely taken a day off for the last eight years, so I was going to take that package and use it to fund a long, lazy summer vacation to make up for all the spring breaks I never got and all the summers I'd worked through while growing up in Ithaca, New York.
Don't get me wrong, I loved Ithaca. I was born there, it was beautiful, and I didn't think I could leave permanently. I had spent too many summers swimming in Cayuga Lake, too many winters sledding with friends. I had my problems here and there, but mostly I had only good memories. I just needed a change.
When I was growing up, we vacationed in North Carolina, where my mom's parents lived. That was where I first surfed; yes, people can surf on the East Coast. They surprised me by moving to North Carolina after my dad retired. I liked North Carolina well enough, but Ithaca was home and I'd been my job for a few years. My parents thought about selling our house, but when my apartment building decided to go condo and I couldn't afford it, they offered to rent it to me.
My situation was pretty much ideal. I had a great house at a low rent, a girlfriend, a decent job and friends to hang with in my free time. The first crack in all of that was losing my job. Soon after that, my girlfriend, Penny, and I started arguing a lot. I noticed a passive-aggressive streak in her I hadn't before. It started to drive me crazy.
I needed to go somewhere else for a while, just for a change.
I wasn't sure what to do until one day I got call from Manny, whom I'd known since high school. He'd gone out to California right after we graduated from Ithaca College and said he wasn't coming back east of the Mississippi even if his dad died. So far he'd stuck to his vow, but so far his dad was the picture of health.
Manny had done well out there. He had a decent job working for a cable company, a girlfriend, and a spare room which he offered to let me use. I figured why not? I'd always wanted to visit California. Even Penny said the time apart would do us good. With the package from my company, I could take a vacation at my own pace, the whole summer and more. And who didn't want to surf off the California coast?
I flew out and spent the first few days settling in. Manny knew a guy who knew a guy and got me a good deal on a used car so I could get around on my own. I was a little homesick at first and in every comparison I made with Ithaca, California fell short. I figured I just needed a little more time to get used to things and decided to give California a chance.
At the end of my second week in the Golden State, Manny came in from work.
"Hey, man. How's the grind?" I laughed at his scowl.
"Shut up, Diz, you fucking freeloader." The words were mock-angry and Manny grinned at me.
"Not my fault if you're a slave to the Man."
"You got a lot of balls, saying stuff like that when you're staying in my house."
"At least I've got balls. Don't you worry about all those electrical lines shriveling yours up?"
"At least mine won't shrivel up from lack of use."
My turn to scowl—Manny had me there. He'd been going with a girl named Helena for the last few months. I was surprised to find she was a fair bit younger than Manny, but she was cool and we got along. She even offered to set me up with a friend of hers. I surprised no one more than myself when I said maybe another time, but it was the honest answer.
For the first time since I'd started working during high school, I had no obligations to anyone else. Well, I had some obligations to Manny, but that was cool. That was a matter of courtesy and friendship. No one wanted anything from me right now, not my parents, not a boss, not a girlfriend, and I loved it.
Manny went to his room and got changed. It was warm, so he threw on shorts and a t-shirt, which wasn't too different from what he'd worn to work—khakis and a cleaner t-shirt. But I knew how good it felt to make that switch from work to home, especially on Friday. Manny came back and grabbed a beer from the fridge.
"So, you want to hit the beach this weekend?" he asked.
"You bet. I can't believe I've been here all this time and I've only seen the beach, like, twice." That had been a letdown, but even without a boss or a girlfriend, there was stuff that needed my attention, like getting the car, buying groceries and other necessities. The weather hadn't been cooperative, either. Every time I'd been ready to hit the beach, there was rain. Not just showers that you could wait out; these were serious downpours that resulted in some flash flooding. Hell of a way to start a California summer.
This weekend had a better forecast of mostly sunny and warm, and I intended to make the most of it.
"A bunch of people are going to get together tomorrow," Manny said. "It's kind of a big pre-summer, pre-tourist-season party. We'll be in this place called King's Bay. It's perfect—gorgeous but never gets crowded."
"Don't let that get around." I took two beers out of the fridge and handed one to Manny. "If you've got a place like that, keep it to yourself. You probably shouldn't even have told me, but I promise to keep the secret."
Manny laughed. "Good man. Hey, maybe you'll even get laid. Wouldn't want those balls of yours to wither away."
"You are a jealous, jealous man, Manny. I have all this time and nothing to do with it, and you have to get up and haul your ass into an office every day."
"Vacations don't last, Diz. You'll have to haul your ass with the rest of us sooner or later." He grinned before taking a swig from his bottle.
I didn't have to do that yet, I reminded myself. Even after buying the car, I had enough money to go a few months without looking for a job—like I said, it was a nice severance package.
The truth was, I didn't really want to go back to an office. I mean, who does? We all go, and most of us don't mind, and we get along with some coworkers and tolerate the others. I bet a lot of people, including myself, all harbor dreams of going somewhere else, doing something totally different. Something that would have our parents rolling our eyes at how ridiculous we are, like chucking everything and moving across the country to California.
I wanted something different, something new and exciting. Don't we all?
We arrived at King's Bay on Saturday morning somewhere between nine and ten. It was the kind of day and place where keeping track of time just made no sense. Why limit your enjoyment, even by noting the time?
King's Bay was incredible. I'm no poet, but this place almost made me wish I was. The water was a cool dark blue out to the horizon. There were mountains to the north and the sun had risen behind them so that it hung bright and yellow in the sky. The sand was soft and white and warm and I could imagine rolling around in it with any number of the women who had shown up. I refused to let the reality of sand in awkward places intrude on my fantasy.
This was going to be a perfect day, I could feel it. Different, new and exciting.
Everyone brought something—food, soda, beer, wine, and some other more interesting things. Manny and I, both culinarily-challenged, brought rolls, chips and stuff to drink. Helena met us there and brought containers of fresh fruit. Introductions were made, to friends and friends of friends. I couldn't keep track of them all, but it didn't matter.
There were lots of women, and all beautiful. It must have been a law in California, at least on the beaches. I wasn't sure one-piece suits were allowed, either. Every woman I saw was in some sort of two-piece, usually a bikini. I did not complain.
Once everyone had some fuel in their system, all attention went to the water. Some people wanted to swim, but most of us wanted to do what everyone wants to do when they come to a California beach: surf.
My second purchase in California after the car had been a surfboard. I hadn't surfed in a long time and I knew I'd never be a pro, but I was going to take all this nice empty time and fill it up with riding waves.
I grabbed my board, strapped the leash around my ankle and headed out. The water was cold but felt great, and I didn't even care. I just wanted to get out to where those waves were.
I swam out a ways, lying on my board and letting the sounds and smells of the ocean wash over me. It had been ages—years—since I'd been to a beach, let alone had time to surf. I loved it.
After swimming out a while, I sat up and took a deep breath. The sky was clear and the water looked like it wanted to have some fun. I grinned, watching and waiting for a wave. Someone laughed and I turned to see who was out with me. A gorgeous woman with long dark hair sat on a board a few yards away. She looked over at me and when our eyes met I had a flash of vertigo, or thought I did.
"What's so funny?" I called over.
"Nothing. Just basking in the bliss of the perfect day." She closed her eyes and tilted her head back as though she was drinking in the sun.
Wet hair clung to her shoulders and back, tracing all kinds of curves over her skin. Water drops trailed down her sleek neck, and an image of me licking them away hit me hard enough that I oofed out a breath I didn't realize I was holding in. She wore a two-piece suit, but one that was more suited to surfing than a bikini. All the same it left little to the imagination, and I had a great imagination when it came to women.
"What's your name?" I asked. A low roar caught my attention and I turned. I could see a wave coming in that was just begging someone to ride it.
I watched her for a minute and then we both turned around and got ready to catch the wave. I waited, waited, then jumped up and let it take me. It was like flying. Spray from the wave hit me but I didn't care. I concentrated on keeping my balance, making sure my feet had a good grip on the board and adjusting to follow the flow. I wasn't going to try anything fancy.
I glanced over and saw that Surfer Babe—until I knew her name, I would call her Surfer Babe—was up as well. She looked sure and easy on her board, as though she'd been doing this all her life. There was no tension in her body, as I knew there was in mine. I was willing to bet she was smiling, and if she could have closed her eyes and taken the wave in that way, she would have.
I did pretty well until something bumped my board and I lost my train of thought. I shifted and tried to compensate, and ended up going under the water. I came up laughing. Not bad for someone who hadn't surfed in years, I thought, and I turned around to do it again.
I did that I don't know how many times, and Surfer Babe did too. We had a little competition going, but I didn't care who won. Well, that's what I told myself because after watching her a few times, I knew there was no way I'd "win."
Back on the beach I found Manny sitting with a group of people who were grilling some food. I was impressed that someone had thought to bring a grill and realized it was probably way past lunch time as my stomach growled something fierce. I grabbed a beer and a burger and sat, gulping the burger down in about four bites.
"Hey, man." I elbowed Manny. "Who's that girl? Do you know?" I pointed at Surfer Babe.
Manny stared at her for a minute, then shook his head. "I don't know. I mean, I've seen her before but I never got her name or anything."
"Seriously? Come on, man, she's totally doable. Look at that body." I looked myself and had to readjust my swim trunks as a result. "You never even tried with her?"
"Never wanted to. Don't get me wrong, she is an eleven on a scale of one to ten." Manny paused and tapped a finger on his beer bottle, then shrugged. "I don't know, guess she's just not my type. One of those things you know on instinct or whatever. She's all yours, big man."
I scoffed and got another burger. It was good to know Manny had no designs on Surfer Babe, but I wondered why he hadn't tried.
After lunch I stretched out on my towel and slept a while. I woke up with sore muscles but was determined to surf some more. I grabbed my board, put the leash around my ankle and went out into the water.
I kept my eyes ahead, scanning the water, but my senses were alert for Surfer Babe. Once I stopped, I sat up and looked around and there she was, on my left this time. I took advantage of a lull between waves to talk to her.
"Hey, I didn't get your name."
She smiled, a wicked little smile that curled me on the inside. "I never told you."
"I'm Dizzy," I offered.
She looked me up and down and arched an eyebrow. "Then maybe you shouldn't surf."
I laughed. "Call me Diz."
I shivered at the sultry tone of her voice and the look on her face. You know how people say, "I could just eat you up!" She looked like she could eat me up, and I couldn't say I'd mind. I liked assertiveness in a woman. Few things are sexier than a woman who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to tell you. Surfer Babe looked like she could give classes in assertiveness.
I savored the shiver and grinned. "What's your name? Or is it a secret?"
"Not a secret."
"Then what should I call you?"
"Let's see who gets in first. You win, I'll give you a name." She licked her lips and most of my blood rushed south.
We waited for a wave, then got into position when one came along. I beat her in by inches, and I wondered if she'd let me win. I'd improved over the day, but she had that ease in the water that I never would, no matter how much I practiced. She had some kind of connection, some innate ability, and some have it and some don't.
We walked back to the crowd on the beach. People were kicking back now, snacking, drinking, smoking the occasional joint. It was as though there was no yesterday and no tomorrow, only the now. I liked the now.
I unstrapped the leash from my ankle, grabbed a towel and rubbed it over my face and hair. "So, gorgeous, what's your name?"
She stared at me for a minute and I got that vertiginous feeling again.
"You can call me Callie."
I chuckled. "Callie like Cali, short for California?"
She shrugged. "If you like."
"Come on, is that your real name?"
Callie gave me another wicked grin. "I said I'd give you a name. I didn't say it would be mine."
For a minute, I was speechless, then I laughed. "Touché. I didn't think of that. I like it, though. Otherwise, I'd have to call you Surfer Babe."
This time she laughed. "'Surfer Babe?' That's the best you could do?"
"I had to think of something, and that was better than 'Hey, you.'"
"Not by much."
"Are you hungry?" I asked. My stomach rumbled. The sun was low in the sky but I didn't bother to check a watch; I'm not sure anyone had one to check. I hadn't even heard a cell phone ring since arriving.
"I could eat." Her eyes raked over me and I got that shiver again. Damn, I'd never known a woman like this, who could get reactions like that from me just by looking. It was a weird feeling, but I liked it.
By the time we finished a light dinner, the sun was low in the sky. A few people went out to catch one last wave, but I was too tired and didn't want to surf or swim in the twilight. Sharks come a lot closer to the shore than most people suspect, and I didn't want to be the opening shot of a Jaws remake.
Instead I spread a towel over a rock and sat on the sand, my back against the rock. Callie sat between my legs, her back against my chest. My cock got hard the second she sat down and only got harder as she shifted, looking for a comfortable position. There was nothing I could do. I mean, for crying out loud, I had a gorgeous woman in a bathing suit pressed up against me.
When she turned around and gave me a wink and a smile, I realized she'd done all that fidgeting on purpose. I grinned back and wrapped my arms around her as we settled in to watch the sun set.
I supposed I should have felt a little guilty since Penny and I hadn't officially broken up. On the other hand, Penny had said she thought we should see other people if the opportunity came up and we wanted to. That had sounded fine to me.
I had wondered if she already had someone she wanted to see, but wasn't upset at the thought. Our increasingly frequent fights had made me pessimistic on our long-term future. If Penny wanted to see anyone else, that only proved me right.
Back on the beach, campfires began to pop up and people gathered around them. Once the sun was down, the warmth of the day didn't last long. Callie and I stayed where we were, comfortable enough with body heat.
"So, Diz, tell me where you're from."
"Ithaca, New York."
"That's a ways away. What brought you out here?"
"I lost my job and decided to have an adventure before looking for a new one." I liked the way that sounded, like I was in control of my destiny.
"You just up and left? What about friends and family?"
"My parents live in North Carolina. I still have my friends, but I needed a break." I shrugged and accidentally-on-purpose brushed my arm under her breast. I felt her shoulders shake in a silent laugh. "Ithaca will be there when I want to go back."
"Nah." I shook my head even though she faced away from me. "Well, sort of. I was seeing this girl, Penny, but we had a big fight after I lost my job. We're in an off phase."
"I see." Callie was quiet for a moment, then changed her position again. I bit back a groan at the friction against my cock. Another image burst into my head, of her on top of me and me driving into her. I knew she would be wet and hot; she'd be as aggressive in bed as she was out on the ocean.
I tried to distract myself. "How about you? You from here?"
She nodded. "I've always lived close to the water. I couldn't possibly leave."
"How about a boyfriend?"
For a moment I wasn't sure she'd answer. Her body tensed and I wondered if I'd hit a sore spot. Then she relaxed. "No, no boyfriend. The last one left. I couldn't keep him." She sounded a little hurt and resigned.
I couldn't help it—I hugged her. "He was an idiot."
That got a laugh. "You don't even know me. Maybe he was smart to get away."
"Impossible. A goddess like you? Who'd want to leave you?"
"It seems like I can't keep anyone," she murmured. "I always have to let them go. Someday I hope someone stays."
"One day you'll find the right guy and he won't want to leave."
"That's sweet, and I hope you're right."
We sat for a while longer and talked. She told me she was an artist, that she wove rugs, tapestries, and other things on a loom. I told her that I'd all but driven my high school art teacher to drink with my lack of ability. That made her laugh, a sound I liked a lot.
Soon it was full dark, with a half-moon shining down and thousands of stars hanging in the night sky. I hadn't seen so many stars in years. It was like there were too many to watch at once; I had to lower my gaze to the water before I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of them. A breeze flitted by and I realized I was chilly. If I was, Callie had to be, as she was still only wearing her swimsuit.
"Callie, you cold?"
"A little." She shifted and my cock, which had at last settled down, jumped to attention again. "You?"
"Yeah. I was going to grab my sweatshirt and go sit by a fire."
She turned and scanned the beach. We could see the knots of people around the fires, some laughing, some talking. Just having a good, relaxing time, enjoying the moment.
Callie put a hand on my chest and my heart raced. Our gazes met and I held my breath, on the edge of that cliff again. "I know of a nice private place close by. Want to come with me?"
Did I want to? Did seagulls steal food? Yes, but ... I couldn't. I knew Penny had talked about seeing other people, but going off with Callie just didn't seem right. Penny and I weren't done, and being with Callie would feel like cheating, at least to me.
"That sounds fantastic, but I'm going to have to take a rain check." Part of me couldn't believe I said it. I could imagine a little devil on my shoulder foaming at the mouth due to my decision.
The corners of Callie's mouth turned down and I hastened to reassure her. "Look, you are the most beautiful woman here, and there's nothing I'd like better than to be alone with you. But I'm really beat, and I don't think I'd be much good to you tonight." I smiled and ran a finger along her jaw. "Let's just stay here for a bit, what do you say? It's nice just to be with you."
Cripes, I sounded like a Hallmark card. Or a Lifetime movie. From what I've heard.
Callie smiled. "All right. This time."
As a compromise I got my sweatshirt but came back to the rock. We resumed our position, her in front of me, my arms around her, my cock hard against her back. She'd shift every so often and I knew she was getting a little revenge for my negative response to her invitation.
Gentleman that I was, I decided to grin and bear it.
The weekend was over too soon and we headed back to Manny's. I took a couple of days to explore at a more leisurely pace. I walked around to see what there was close by, used my bike to go farther away, and went to another beach or two.
As beautiful as the California scenery was, I missed Ithaca. It was all just so different. Different trees, different terrain, even different smells.
With Ithaca on my mind, I called Penny and wished I hadn't. From the second she answered, she was on the offensive. I remembered why I hadn't called her more often and why time apart had seemed like such a good idea.
I couldn't do or say anything right and she threw my vacation back at me at every opportunity as though I was a slacker. That pissed me off. It wasn't like I'd just quit and left. I'd been fired and had taken the time to make some plans and talk about it with her. Nor was I mooching off Manny. Despite his protests, I gave him some money for rent and utilities. Penny ignored me when I pointed all of that out.
"I saw Lee the other day," she said by way of changing the subject.
"Yeah? How is he?" Lee and I had worked for the same company but he'd survived the last round of layoffs.
"He's good. He asked me out, actually."
"What'd you say?" I was curious; after all, seeing other people had been her idea.
"No, of course. God, Diz." She huffed out an indignant breath. "I also saw Pat Troklas a few days ago and he asked me if you and I were still together. I said yes, and he said that was too bad, because he'd always wanted to ask me out."
I could hear the threat under the words, that if I didn't want her there were other guys that did. I wasn't going to play that game. "Penny, if you want to go out with somebody, go ahead. It's pretty clear that you and I aren't working and you said we should see other people anyway."
"You heard me, Pen."
"Diz, are you breaking up with me? Over the fucking phone?" She was incredulous.
"I'm sorry it's over the phone, but yes, and we should have done it a long time ago." As I said the words, I knew I was doing the right thing.
"Jesus, I can't believe you!"
What could I say to that? She ranted at me for a few minutes and then disconnected. I tossed the phone on the couch next to me. I guessed I should have been upset, but instead I was relieved, and I was ready to give Callie my full attention.
The weekend came and not a moment too soon. The weather looked iffy, but I was determined to go to King's Bay. I was tempted to drive out Friday night, and mentioned it to Manny, but he shook his head.
"Don't bother, man. Traffic will be hellish, and it'll be dark and cold by the time you get there. Seriously, if you want more time, just leave early Saturday morning."
"Okay." I nodded. I wanted to get back there as soon as I could, but Manny was right. I needed to calm down. King's Bay would be there in the morning.
"Why are you so anxious to get out there, anyway?" Manny asked. He'd come home late from work and Helena was at her mom's or her sister's or whatever, so it was just us. We bonded over beers and nachos.
"I need to clear my head, and the best surfing is there." So was Callie, but I didn't say that.
"You want to see Callie." Manny saw through me.
"Yeah, I do."
"What about Penny?"
"We're done." I told him about our last conversation. He'd been working a night shift all week so I hadn't had a chance to tell him Penny and I had broken up.
"You didn't dump her to go after Callie, did you?"
"Oh, hell no. No, it was going to happen anyway. Penny wanted me to be the bad guy and so I finally did it. I should have done it a while ago, I guess. I was sick of the passive-aggressive crap."
"I'm with you, man. That sucks." Manny nodded in agreement and drank some more beer.
"Yeah, well, it's for the best. Even if I go back, it wouldn't fix anything."
Manny looked at me in surprise. "You're not going back?"
I started to answer, then stopped and frowned. I was going back to Ithaca, wasn't I? I'd never considered staying in California. Until now, apparently.
"I don't know. Doesn't matter." I waved a hand to dismiss the idea. "I don't need to make a decision yet. Besides, I'm enjoying the beach too much." I grinned. "Ithaca's fantastic, but you can't surf there."
And, I thought later as I lay in bed, Callie wasn't in Ithaca.
I didn't sleep well and woke up early Saturday morning. At six I told Manny I was leaving, and he stared at me as though I was insane. "Jesus, Diz, even the fish aren't awake yet." He shook his head, yawned, and went back to sleep.
I threw my stuff into the car and took off. The morning was dazzling despite the forecast. Pastel pinks and oranges colored the sky as I headed to King's Bay. I rolled the windows down to enjoy the California breeze. It rushed through me, sparking feelings that you just don't get from Freon-cooled air.
I tried to relax and enjoy the ride, but my thoughts were a jumble of Ithaca, California and Callie. In an effort to distract myself, I turned on the radio. Commercial. I made a mental note to bring my iPod next time and tapped the station buttons. On the fourth I at last found a song, something by the Beach Boys. Couldn't get away from them during the summer in California, I supposed.
When I saw the turnoff for King's Bay, I drew in a deep breath and released it slowly. I was relieved to be there, so much so I was surprised. I hadn't realized how much the place had gotten under my skin and how much I'd missed it. I thought I might even like it better than Cayuga Lake.
The scenery soothed me. It was as incredible as it had been the first time, maybe more so in the early morning light. Since the sun was behind me, I could look out over the water without worrying about a glare.
I checked my watch, saw it was going on seven and found a place to park. I stepped out of the car to stretch. Some gulls screeched and flew over the water, and I thought I saw a dolphin farther out.
Mesmerized by the waves, I thought of Callie and had visions of her rising up out of the water, her long wet hair clinging to her body and water streaming off her skin. My eyes snapped open as I realized I had no idea where Callie lived, or even if she'd be around this weekend.
I took a deep breath to calm down. I smelled the salt water, closed my eyes against the breeze and swore I felt the spray of the waves on my face. I was too far from the water for that, but there was something about this place that made me feel I could anyway. I let out a long breath; all of that was great, but I was still sitting by an empty beach, alone.
"What the fuck am I doing?" I smacked my hand on the top of the car.
What was wrong with me? I had left the house at some god-forsaken hour of the morning—on a Saturday—to go to the beach and hopefully see some woman that I barely knew. I didn't know where she lived, how to contact her, or even her goddamned last name.
I leaned against the car for a few more minutes and was quiet, letting the sounds and smells wash over me. After a while, I calmed down and decided not to worry about it. I hoped I'd see Callie but even if I didn't, I'd take advantage of a day to myself at the beach where I could think without anyone distracting me.
I opened the car and reached in for my stuff. Despite my eagerness, I'd packed plenty of food and drink for the day. I took my cooler, my surf board, and a bag containing a towel and a change of clothes. I walked down to the beach and staked out a spot beyond the high-tide line on the sand.
I'd worn a sweatshirt which I stripped off and dropped onto the towel. At this hour the temperature was on the cool side, but it would warm up fast and the chilly air felt good. I wadded up the sweatshirt and used it for a pillow. With the adrenaline rush gone, my poor sleep and early morning caught up with me and I zonked out.
Something smooth glided along my skin and I heard a voice. "You're going to burn lying here in the sun. You should be more careful."
I smiled before I opened my eyes. "Hello, gorgeous."
Her laugh was low and throaty. "How would you know if I'm gorgeous or not? Your eyes are closed."
I looked up to find Callie sitting next to me, dragging her fingers in circles along my upper arms. "I could tell by your voice. Like a siren, beautiful and dangerous."
She laughed again and pushed at my shoulder. "You are so full of it."
"I can't help it. I've been thinking about you a lot."
Her hand stopped moving. "Really?" She sounded surprised.
I propped myself up on my elbows. "Really. It's hard not to think about someone as beautiful as you."
For a minute she didn't say anything, then gave me a soft smile. "That's sweet."
I guessed I'd honestly surprised her. She had none of the cocky, flirty attitude that she'd had even a minute ago. It made no sense. Callie was beautiful, and she didn't strike me as the type who wasn't aware of it. Surely other guys had told her she was pretty. So why would my flirting make her go all mushy? Before I could ask, she pushed her hair away from her face and recovered herself.
"So what brought you out here so early?" She stretched out beside me.
"I had a lot of stuff on my mind and needed a place to think. Plus I was hoping I'd find you." I was conscious of her next to me, and glad I'd opted for sweatpants to start the day, since my body couldn't help but react to hers. I rolled over to face her. "And lucky me, I did."
"Lucky you, I was up early myself." She drew circles on my arm again. I shivered as goose bumps ran up my skin in the wake of her touch. "And no one else is here yet," she said.
"So I have you and the beach all to myself?"
"For as long as you like."
My mind raced with the implications of that, but I tried to sound nonchalant. "I bet you say that to all the guys."
She went silent; her body went still. Her fingers stopped moving and I felt the tension radiate in waves.
"Look at me, Diz."
I rose up on my elbow and met her eyes. They were dark and I couldn't have looked away for anything. I wanted to apologize but it was like I was paralyzed. I couldn't wiggle my big toe, let alone talk.
"Diz, I'm only going to say this once. I don't say that to all the guys. I said it to you." Her voice was hypnotic and powerful. I was lost in that and in her eyes. "I only say it when I want to, when it's right."
My mouth was dry as I tried to swallow. "So is it right?"
The tension fell away and her eyes lit up. "We could find out."
I grinned, although I felt some residual uneasiness from whatever had transpired between us. I ignored it. "What do we do first?"
She laughed and stood, then held a hand out a hand to me. "We swim."
We swam. We surfed, we rested on the beach and we swam some more. I'd never seen anyone as at home in the water as Callie. She was one of those people that made you think if mermaids were real, she'd be one. If she'd grown a tail and headed out to the horizon, I wouldn't have been a bit surprised.
I noticed after a while that the beach wasn't as crowded as I had expected. That struck me as odd. Summer was in full swing. I remembered Manny telling me that King's Bay was like a little secret; that some people knew about it, but it was never as packed as a lot of other beaches. Even so, it seemed like there should be more people around.
"Is it always like this?" I asked Callie.
"What do you mean?" She tipped her head back as she drank from a bottle of water. I watched a drop of water fall onto her neck and trail down. It was all I could do not to lean over and lick the water off of her skin.
"Hmm? What?" I shook my head before another drop could distract me. "Oh, I just meant the beach. I thought there would be more people." It was hard to ignore the image of me running my tongue along her shoulder, finding the pulse point at the bend in her neck and then ... Christ, I had to stop thinking about that.
She gave me a little smile and a shrug. "Sometimes there are. Sometimes not."
I raised an eyebrow. "Yeah? Do you have a spell or something to keep them away?"
Callie leaned in close; I thought of the sea as I caught her scent. "Do you want me to keep them away?"
At that moment, it seemed completely possible that she did have some kind of power to keep people away if she wanted to. I smiled at her. "I like having you to myself, but it doesn't seem fair not to share the beach."
She smiled back, her white teeth nibbling at her full bottom lip as though she was uncertain of something, but her body language belied it. God, she was tempting. You read about temptresses and femme fatales, but Callie was all of that and more. She knew what she was doing.
I wished I knew what she was doing. Her mouth was inches, maybe centimeters, from mine. I wanted to kiss her. I had a feeling it would be like nothing I'd experienced before. A fleeting thought of Penny crossed my mind at that, I guess because she was my most recent "experience." As I pushed the thought out of my head, Callie pulled back with a frown.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"You're thinking about someone else?" It was less a question than a statement, and she sounded hurt.
"No, I mean, yes, but not like you think." I took the initiative and reached out to her, rubbed my hand over her shoulder. "I told you I had a girlfriend, back in Ithaca. I don't anymore."
"You broke up?"
"Yes. In fact—" I ran my eyes over her body, drinking in all the details I could, then met her gaze again. "I was hoping I could cash in that rain check today."
Callie laughed. "I think something could be arranged." She trailed her finger down the middle of my chest; my cock jumped in response. "I can't believe she let you go. I wouldn't have."
I cleared my throat. "You might decide she did the right thing."
Her lips curved and she laughed low in her throat as she drew her finger upwards. I bit back a groan.
"Now, Dizzy, why would I ever let you go?"
"Maybe I'm a bad kisser," I offered. I was dizzy, all right, and she was making me so.
"Let's find out."
She leaned across the little bit of space between us and pressed her lips to mine. I was conscious of the two points of contact: our lips and her finger on my chest. It felt like we were fused together at those points. Her tongue flicked against my lips and we both snapped.
I wrapped my hand around the back of her neck and opened my mouth, anxious to taste her. Her tongue met mine in a teasing but urgent duel and she hooked her arm around my shoulders. She pressed her breasts against my chest and her hips against mine. I couldn't hide my erection and didn't even try.
Callie pulled her lips away and ran the tip of her tongue along my jaw. I groaned and felt her smile. She rolled her hips against me and I responded in kind. I had no idea if anyone could see us and I didn't care.
I found her lips again and plunged my tongue in her mouth while I pressed her down on the towel. She was aggressive in her response, slung one leg over mine so that I could feel the heat between her legs. I think we would have fucked right there, but the screech of a seagull about three feet away startled us both.
Laughing, I rested my arms on either side of her shoulders. "I guess we were offending him."
Underneath me, Callie wiggled her hips against mine and my laugh ended on a groan. The chuckle that ran through her made her body shake and I narrowed my eyes. "You're going to get us in trouble."
"No one's paying attention."
I found that hard to believe, but I glanced up to find it was true. There were a few people surfing, a few swimming, a few lying on the beach, but none looking at us.
"You're right, but I'd still rather do this somewhere a little more, ah, secluded," I told her.
"You don't want to take me here on the beach? Here on the soft sand with the sound of the waves in the background?" Callie undulated and I started to wonder just how much we could get away with. We were farther back from the shoreline, in the shadow of some trees. I couldn't believe I was considering it.
"I would love it." I pressed my cock against her to prove my point and got that wicked grin in response. "I just don't necessarily want everyone else to see it."
"Do you want me to make them go away?"
"Sure." I grinned and kissed her. "The sooner we can be alone, the better."
"Sooner, then," she said. She dragged her nails down my back, making me groan. With a laugh, she pushed at me so I'd get up. She jumped to her feet and held out her hand. "Come on. Let's swim one more time before it's too late."
I reached out but just before taking her hand, I turned and ran towards the water. I heard her cry of indignation and kept running. I went into the water and spun in time to catch her, but lost my balance and we both fell into the shallow waves. We laughed and Callie rolled off me to lounge in the water.