I was going for a sweet little romance today. It is a little bit longer than I planned on, but hopefully, it is still sweet.
I didn’t use any particular prompt for this. I googled romance, lots of beach photos came up and I thought: why not?
The soft bed felt incredible after a day spent banging my head on a surfboard. Right this moment, I couldn’t imagine why a beach vacation sounded like a good idea.
Josh straddled me, hands rubbing and massaging my back. “Better, love?”
I nodded and looked at him over my shoulder. Cheerful blue eyes and a crooked smile gazed down at me. His bare skin gleamed in the lamplight and I wished I had the energy to do something for him. But I was flat-out exhausted.
Not for the first time, I reflected on how lucky I was to have him.
“Tomorrow,” I said, “I am going to lounge poolside all day long.”
Josh laughed. “The ocean too much for you, huh?”
I scowled. “The ocean is unnatural. All that water. It ought to be divided up into lots of lakes. Pool-sized lakes, with waves the size of my finger.” I held up a finger to demonstrate.
Josh laughed again, used to my grousing and leaned down to kiss me. He tasted of mint and our taco lunch.
In spite of my exhaustion, my cock thickened under me. “Josh -”
“Shh. Let me.” He turned me on my back and nuzzled my throat.
When my stomach growled, we broke apart. Josh grinned. “Dinner. C’mon. My treat.”
I reached for a dry shirt. Josh didn’t; he had no problem going out bare-chested. Not that I minded. Tall and solid muscle, without being bulky, my mouth watered the first time I laid eyes on him.
The diner overlooked the beach and had a line a mile wide. Sweat trickled down my back. This heat and wet couldn’t be more different from real life. From the icy rooms and tempers crazed enough to kill. From warm, spraying blood – I shook my head. Couldn’t go there.
Josh gripped my hand, eyes understanding and chattered on about tomorrow’s activities. The sound wound around me, like a massage given voice. I blocked out the past month and just focused on Josh.
By the time we reached the hostess, I was calm again. We were seated by a window overlooking the ocean.
“Are you sorry we came?” asked Josh.
I looked up, startled, from the menu. His eyes were uncharacteristically serious. “No. Though I can’t say I am serious about surfing again tomorrow.”
He smiled again. “It will be perfect. You’ll see.”
Silly California boy. Just because he loved the sport and hadn’t been in years, that didn’t mean I should love it, too.
We ordered funny movies from the hotel’s cable and I tried not to think why we didn’t go clubbing. Last time, when we came back, it happened. I couldn’t go anymore.
“Uncle Mason!” Five-year old Ann leaped into my arms. I laughed and swung her around, but she clung to my neck. “Can we go, Uncle Mason? Please?”
“Ann -” The words died in my throat when I looked up. Adam stood in the doorway. Ann’s father. He pointed a gun at me. My sister, Judy, limped behind him.
“Mason, take her. Baby, please. We can-”
A shot roared in my ears and my hands ran with blood. Not my blood. Ann’s.
I blinked and opened my eyes. Josh leaned over me, face worried. He gripped my shoulders and I realized he was shaking me.
I nodded and sat up.
Ann was fine. Judy was in a wheelchair, but Ann was fine and living with my parents. I worked on Ann until the ambulance came. Couldn’t operate on her myself, but I made sure she got the best doctor. All was good now. Why did I have the same dream every damn night?
He hugged me close. “They’re fine, love. Just fine.”
I knew that, but it didn’t really help. I closed my eyes, resting against him. He felt so good, so warm and solid and comforting.
“Make me forget,” I whispered. “Make love to me, Josh.”
Josh studied me and I wondered what he saw. The moonlight wasn’t strong enough to let him see much. He nodded and drew me down beside him.
When my body ached pleasantly, I snuggled against Josh. He’d cleaned us both up and draped an arm over my waist.
The next day dawned bright and hot. The news showed a picture of Adam. He was sentenced to five years in prison. Josh turned off the TV and steered me outside.
Josh owned a board, but mine was rented. The waves today were just like yesterdays. I paddled in, with Josh yelling instructions and encouragement.
I pushed up on the board, dragged my foot under me – and promptly wiped out. I surfaced to see Josh on his feet, riding a wave. He grinned at me and paddled back to me. “Again!”
I’d fallen off a dozen times already, but I nodded and lay down my board. I paddled out like Josh said, popped up. This time, this time, I felt the magic. For the first time, I managed to ride the wave to the end.
“I did it!” I pumped my fist and grinned at Josh. “Josh, I did it!”
“I know, love, I know!” He reached across both our boards and dove into my mouth like he was starving and I had all the meat in the world. “Again!”
The rush was fantastic and I did it over and over. By noon, I was tired. We staggered off the beach, legs trembling like rope in the wind. Like the jump rope Ann loved.
I stopped still, remembering. For the first time in months, fear didn’t suffuse me. She still jumped rope. She was safe. She really was. Adam was in prison and couldn’t hurt them anymore. Why hadn’t I realized it before?
“Mason? Love?” Josh stopped when he realized I wasn’t following. He walked back to me. Again, worry clouded his eyes.
“I am fine. Listen, let’s go clubbing tonight. Would be shame to come all this way and not go at least once.”
Josh stared at me, relief and surprise in his face. “You sure, love?”
“I am sure. You’re right. Everything is fine.”
A slow grin spread across his face. “Of course I’m right. I’m always right. C’mon, love. We got to get you ready.”