Authors: Kimberly Fox
“What’s wrong?” I ask in a whisper.
“Nothing,” she says, taking a deep breath and sniffing. “Everything.”
“Can you tell me?” I ask, taking a handful of sand.
“Tomorrow is our last day together,” she says wiping her wet eyes, “and I’m, well, I’m going to miss you.”
She’s so beautiful, even when she cries. Her warm eyes are red and puffy and I just want to kiss her until all of her worries wash away like the tide.
“I haven’t been totally honest with you,” I say turning towards the ocean. Two sailboats drift by in the distance, side by side.
She drops her head. “This can’t be good.”
I take a deep breath giving myself one last chance to back out but there’s nothing in me that wants to back out. This is the best thing to happen to me in a long time. “I spoke to my OCI this morning and he offered me a position.”
She sighs. “Okay,” she says looking at me sideways.
“It’s in Buffalo.”
Her head perks up. “Buffalo, Iraq, or Buffalo, New York?”
This girl makes me laugh. “Buffalo, New York.”
She’s looking at me with a dazed look on her face. I start to panic a little. I thought she’d be happier than that.
The sides of her lips curl up into a smile. “Really?” she asks, her face lighting up.
I nod. “I took it.”
She hugs me so hard that I fall over in the sand. “You could have played football,” I say as she showers me with kisses.
“So, you’re stuck with me,” I say, dropping onto the sand and pulling her on top of me.
“I’m stuck with you,” she whispers, looking thrilled.
I glance down past her face at her breasts pressed against my chest and her sexy cleavage popping out. “So I guess you’re happy about it?” I ask with a smirk.
Her thick hair tickles my face as she lowers her lips to mine and kisses me softly. “I guess so.” She takes a deep breath and looks at me with serious eyes. “Are you sure about this? It’s a big commitment.”
I look in her stunning green eyes and wonder how I can’t be sure. She’s perfect. If I do have a soulmate it’s got to be her.
“I am,” I say with a nod. “I love you, Cynthia.”
She lets out a relieved breath and kisses my chin. “Thank you,” is all she says.
My heart pangs when she doesn’t say it back but it’s okay. It’s okay if she doesn’t feel it yet. She will eventually.
“I have something to tell you too,” she says with a grin.
“I love you too. A lot.”
I kiss her deep and long. “Good,” I say when we finally pull away. “Because you’re going to be stuck with me.”
Tanya grabs my arm and yanks me towards the dance floor. How can I say no to the bride? She’s got that crazed look in her eye and I wouldn’t be able to say no even if I tried.
“It’s my wedding and I make the rules,” she says, lining up the four guys: Ethan, Lucas, Matt and Chase in front of us. Each girl is in front of their guy.
“You four,” Tanya says to the guys. “Watch us and follow along. Don’t screw it up!”
She points to the DJ and Wannabe by the Spice Girls comes on.
The four of us break into the clumsy routine that we perfected in grade seven and our four guys try to follow along.
We’re surrounded by all of the wedding guests who are bent over laughing at the four ridiculous looking guys as they try to copy our sexy moves. I laugh too but I bet we’re not much better than them.
All of us are sweaty, laughing and out of breath when the song finally finishes. “What did you get me into?” Chase asks Ethan.
“Get used to it!” Tanya says with her arm hooked around Megan’s.
“Because we are fa-mi-ly,”
“I got all my bitches with me,”
“And everybody loves to hear us sing.”
Chase is smiling. “I think I’m going to like being a part of this family.”
The cake gets rolled out and I rush over to take a picture before it’s cut up into pieces. It’s two layers and is decorated with icing that’s the color of sand. There are two plastic palm trees on top with two empty towels made out of icing spread out underneath. It’s adorable.
Tanya and Ethan do the whole icing on the nose thing but it’s interrupted by a commotion behind us. I glance back as I hear yelling in Spanish and chairs crashing over.
Stephanie is running towards us like a football player about to tackle a quarterback. But instead of having her sights on a quarterback, it’s on poor Tanya. There are four security guards chasing after her but they can’t seem to catch up no matter how fast they run. She’s heading straight for Tanya with pure rage on her red face.
Chase shifts to the side and casually sticks out his foot as she passes. The blond bitch flies through the air like a crash test dummy and lands face first in the wedding cake.
The four security guards swarm her, handcuff her and drag her out. She’s screaming the whole time with chunks of beige cake dripping down her face.
Everyone is staring at everyone in shock as Julia steps forward and tries to pick up the smashed remains of the wedding cake. “Oh no,” she says. “Your cake is ruined.”
“Are you kidding?” Tanya says, her face happier than I’ve ever seen it. “That was totally worth it!”
The music starts back up and everyone rushes to the dance floor. “Hey sexy girl,” Ophelia says, grinding against her date, the chef from the seafood restaurant. He’s here on his night off wearing an old clip-on tie.
Ophelia grins creepily at Chase. “Why don’t you and this sexy hunk of man meat come and join us tonight in our room for a little goodbye group orgy?”
“Thanks,” I say, inching away from my horndog roommate. “But I think we’ll pass.”
She shrugs. “The red sock will be on the door handle if you change your mind.”
“Red sock?” Chase asks when we get away safely.
“Don’t ask,” I say, closing my eyes and trying to get the horrible images that Ophelia put into my head.
“Where’s Matt?” I ask Julia when she comes dancing over.
She motions to the beach with her head. Matt is walking along the shore collecting shells.
“Chase,” Julia says. “I’m assuming you and Ethan don’t have any more brothers?”
“Unfortunately, no,” he says, shaking his head.
“Any Navy SEAL friends?” she asks hopefully.
“I have a whole platoon of them,” Chase answers.
Julia grabs his arm and pulls him away off the dance floor. “Really,” she says, tapping her chin. “Please go on.”
I skip over to where Tanya and Megan are showing her parents and Ethan how to dance. Mr. Prentis has his arm wrapped around Ethan’s shoulders as they kick out their legs and laugh.
Chase comes back over a few minutes later with a sexy smile on his delicious lips. He walks right up to me, cups my cheeks and kisses me on the lips.
This is true paradise.
And I’m bringing it home with me.
Chase walks over to where we’re all waiting in line at the airport with a paper in his hand. I hold my breath until he waves it at me. “Done.”
“Yay!” I say, clapping my hands and jumping up. He managed to get his flight changed. He’s coming straight to Buffalo with us.
“Are you sure it’s okay if I stay with you for a few days,” he asks.
I kiss him long and hard.
“How’s that for an answer?” Megan says behind me.
I turn and stick my tongue out at her.
The line to check-in to the airplane isn’t moving. “Maybe the flight will get canceled and we’ll get to stay another week,” Tanya says. Ethan’s muscular arm is wrapped around her.
“You just want that so you won’t have to get on the airplane,” he says.
Tanya smiles nervously and pops another Gravol.
Ophelia pushes through the line with the hotel bill still in her hand. I sigh. “I’m not paying for that,” I say for the twentieth time.
“There’s four hundred and sixty dollars in pornography rentals,” she says, pointing at the bill. “These weren’t all mine.”
Chase stuffs a wad of cash in her hand. “That should cover it.” She looks down at it and disappears down the line before he can change his mind.
“Thank you,” I say in relief. “I thought she would never leave me alone.”
The line starts to move and we roll our suitcases a few inches before dropping them again.
Julia turns to me when Matt is looking through his suitcase for his passport. “Is it rude to break up with Matt now?” she whispers.
My mouth drops. “Wait until the poor guy gets home,” I say in disbelief.
Matt stands back up and turns to her. “Julia,” he says. “I have something to tell you. I think that I’m a little out of your league.”
Julia’s face drops. “What?”
“I just feel that I bring more to the relationship than you do,” he says with his chin in the air.
“Are you serious?” she asks in shock.
He nods. “I think we should part ways.”
Julia crosses her arms and glares at him. “No.”
“No?” Matt asks.
“You don’t get to break up with me,” she snaps, grabbing his arm and holding it tightly. “We’re staying together. Forever!”
I stifle a laugh as we get to the front of the line and Julia drags poor Matt to the check-in counter. She’s crazy. She’ll be running away by the time the wheels of the airplane hit the runway in Buffalo.
“Couples traveling can check in together,” the airline attendant says.
Chase and I both look at each other and smile. “We’re a couple,” he says to the man.
My heart is brimming as we head over holding hands.
So it’s official.
We’re a couple! :)
Four months later
Chase is standing on the stage at the swear-in ceremony in his full uniform. He looks sexy as hell in it and I can’t take my eyes off him. I’m outside on a beautiful summer day surrounded by the friends and family of the new recruits who are about to swear into the military after Chase has put them through hell for the past ten weeks.
It’s his first class and he’s done his job whipping them into shape. He got a job as a drill Sargent in basic training but he hopes to move up and train SEALs one day. He’ll get there.
He walks forward with a slight limp. He had an operation on his knee and he’s fine now. He’ll never be a Navy SEAL again but he can still work out and we even joined a couples’ volleyball league on the weekends. I don’t want to brag but we’re the top team in the class. Of course.
Chase starts rambling about article numbers, policies, restrictions to the new recruits and I zone out and think about the past four months. They’ve been amazing. Chase moved in immediately after we got home from Belize. It wasn’t planned that way. He was supposed to just stay at my place for a few days while he found an apartment but we were having so much sex and so much fun, that the afternoons where he was supposed to go apartment shopping turned into sex marathons and it just never happened.
Honestly, I love living with him and we’re even house shopping now. We found a beautiful four bedroom house down the street from Megan and Lucas with a huge walk-in closet that’s straight out of my fantasies. It’s a bit expensive but we’re considering it.
The recruits raise their hands in the air but my eyes are locked on Chase. I still think of Belize with fond memories. Tanya and Ethan are doing great. They moved back to Buffalo, are happily married and they’re even trying to have kids.
Julia broke up with Matt on the plane ride home and she keeps bugging Chase to set her up with one of his Navy SEAL buddies. There are a couple of guys on the stage with him who look like interesting candidates. I’ll have to talk to him again.
Aaron disappeared after his failed wedding and was never seen again. At first, we all thought that Stephanie might have murdered him and thrown his body out to sea but I saw his mother in the supermarket the other day and she said that he moved to Alaska. He’s hiding out off the grid somewhere up there.
Stephanie, on the other hand, is not doing so well. She got bailed out of the Belizean prison by her brother Lucas after getting arrested outside the resort. She was getting off with a fine for public disturbance but that went downhill pretty quick when she slapped a few cops. She tried to sneak on the plane to come home but she got nabbed at customs. She’s still in prison awaiting her trial.
Chase swears the new recruits in and the proud parents around me erupt into cheers and claps. Cameras flash as the fresh faces bow to the crowd.
“Excuse me,” Chase says into the microphone when the large audience settles down. “There’s one more person that deserves an honor.”
He looks directly at me and grins. “Cynthia Connor please come up to the stage.”
I’m not sure which one drops further down, my mouth or my stomach. He grins even wider when I look at him and shake my head.
A young muscular soldier in full uniform appears in the aisle out of nowhere and holds out his hand for me. “Ma’am,” he says. “Please come with me.”
I’m as red as a librarian as I get up and climb over the man beside me.
I’m going to kill Chase.
Everyone in the audience watches me with curious eyes as I walk up the steps and join Chase on stage. My stomach is rolling with nerves.
“This woman,” Chase says to the audience, “is my lifeblood. She’s my everything. She pulled me out of a dark place with her beautiful guiding light.” He turns and all of a sudden he’s talking only to me. “Cynthia, I love you.”
I feel a presence behind me and turn around. All thirty or so new recruits are each holding a long stem red rose.
When I turn back to Chase, he drops to a knee. My trembling hands fly up to my mouth and I gulp. “Are you crazy?” I whisper to him.