Authors: Sigal Ehrlich
Copyright Â© Sigal Ehrlich
ISBN: 978-0-9914007-9-9 (eBook)
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Copyright Â© 2016 by Sigal Ehrlich
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For my readers.
Also, for my real-life Ian.
To reach the core of inner beauty, one must first unravel the many protective layers.
No matter what, relationships will always be haunted by mistakes we've made and wrongs we've hurt each other with. And you can only hope, as the legendary Bob D. sang, that you'll have a strong foundation when the winds of change shiftÂ .Â .Â . and boy, these winds of change are shifting. Shifting and bringing a big pile of change with them as they swift by change that I can't anticipate. Change I can't protect myself against.
“What's crappening? What you gorgeous ladies doin'?” Ian's voice booms from my cell.
“Nothing much, just breaking our backs working on our tan lines.” I turn to lie on my stomach, facing the sea. “I'm watching Daniel surf. Tash's reading.”
Now, you're talking
. Please tell me you're at a nudist beach and describe every piece of stretched skin, smooth skin, foreskin, ridge, rim, and vein you see.Â .Â .
“Jeez, I'm so horny, I could do a goat. And that man of yoursÂ .Â .Â .” Ian adds and sighs. A sigh I could easily constitute as a moan. “Looks like he might be holding some fine stallion in his stable.”
Tasha shakes her head, snatching the phone from its resting place on the straw mat we're most indulgingly sprawled across. “No, Ian. Seriously, boundaries! That's her
you're talking about!” she squeaks.
Ian laughs it off. “Newsflash, Barbie. The fact he's spoken for doesn't mean he can't be healthily appreciatedÂ .Â .Â . every part of him, that is.
“You're too much this early in the morning; speak to Hales.” Tasha scrunches her nose, handing me the phone. “I'm getting back to my book.” She slides her sunglasses from her head back to cover her eyes.
“What's she reading?” Ian asks with a chuckle, his voice colored with horn sounds and bustling street bedlam.
“One of those I'm so in love with you I can't breathe, it's you, it's always been you, but your stepbrother is oh-so-hot, so let's have a mÃ©nage kind of literary gems.”
Ian snorts a laugh while Tasha raises her hand to show me her middle finger, not even bothering to glance my way.
“All the heroines in these books are practically snails, Tash. Snails!” Ian hollers.
A “Huh?” rolls out of our mouths in unison. Tasha pivots her head, her eyes jumping from the device in my hand to my shrug.
“Softies! No spines. Leaving trails of slime in every scene the hero, pardon,
, breathes their way.”
I giggle, my eyes drawn to Daniel catching yet another wave, adeptly riding it with utter grace and heightened sex appeal. His damp, mussed hair highlighted with streaks of gold by the warm sun. All of a sudden, the “trails of moisture” part doesn't sound so ludicrous. Still drinking up the delectable sight that is my fiancÃ©, I ask, “So how's the Big Apple treating you?”
“I'm heading to a meeting with the director as we speak,” Ian says, excitement lacing his words. “God, it's like the worst part of Shitville up here. It's so raucous and gray,” he murmurs next. “I still can't believe this is really happening. Crazy, eh?”
And we're back to the original subject.
“I'm so happy for you. I was beyond stoked when I saw your ugly face on a billboard, but a movie; that's mind blowing.”
“Yeah. I hope everything goes smooth, and there'll actually be a movie.” His voice takes a weaker, self-conscious tone.
“Just be yourself.”
“Dah. Okay, gotta go. Sharky's here.”
“Bye,” Tasha and I chorus. “Knock âem dead.”
I smile at Ian's perfect accolade for his agent. Stanton Cohen, aka Sharky, is indeed a personified shark. Smooth. Sharp teeth and tongue, a bona fide swindler who threads the big league's media waters leaving casualties behind. And while he's at it, he clinches the best deals for his clients.
Tasha closes her Kindle and turns to lie on her back, covering her face with an impossibly large, floppy straw hat. “I feel like I need a break,” she says to the skies.
I crane my neck and give her a side-glance, finding nothing but a hat made of straw and plump lips. “A break from what, missy?”
“I don't know.” She sighs
“Work, home, life?”
“Rafa, I think. And, well, yeah, him.”
I turn to mimic her position, lying on my back, and close my eyes to block out the blinding sun. “Why, what happened?”
There's a moment of utter silence, besides the faint echoes of birds' chirping and waves swooshing. “Nothing happened. That's the thing.”
“Not sure I'm following.”
“Sometimes, it feels like I'm with Ian when I'm with Rafa.” The tail end of her sentence comes out on a softer chord.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean we have this great chemistry in every aspect of our relationship, yet it feels more like a sibling sort of connection rather than what it's supposed to be.”
“That sounds like a great foundation for a relationship to me.”
“No.” She sighs again. “Not when there's no tension whatsoever.”
“The tension that controls your excitement. The kind that makes you want to rip his clothes off when you see him. I don't have this thrill bubbling up in me before seeing him. I'm always glad to see him, don't get me wrong. ButÂ .Â .Â .” She huffs. “There's no anticipation. Zero anticipation. You know what I mean?”
For some meditative beats, I ponder her words and my reaction to Daniel. Tasha's concern crystalizes. Regardless of how long we've been together, even if Daniel is in the next room, I miss him. A constant light with his name on it buzzes within me. “Yeah, I think I get what you're saying. So what are you going to do about it?”
“Dunno. Guess I need a short break. Some time apart. A getaway to think things over. Somewhere I'd be slathered in creams and oils till I die of happiness. Besties are a part of the package, of course.”
“I hear ya.” I nod though she can't really see me from under The Hat. “Let me talk to Mr. Hollywood and see what we can do. See if his tight schedule can accommodate simple ol' us.” She sends her hand to her hat, raises it enough to send me a gigantic grin that ends with a glitzy smile, and then returns to hide under the ridiculous accessory.
“So did Daniel mention anything about setting a date again?” Tasha asks out of the what-in-the-literal-hell blue, making me wince.
What's up with killing the serene quietude, missy?
“No, but it's probably coming. Actually, I'm surprised he's dropped it for a while now.” I bet it's a new tactic of his to keep me numb, sedated with sex and bliss before the next strike.
“Hales, really, what's your problem? Honestly, I don't get you. And please don't give me the whole finding yourself first thing. It might work for Krishna chicks. Otherwise, it's just lame.”
Seeing Daniel's handsome face before my closed eyes, I look for some illumination to what's been holding me from finally setting a date for our wedding. I don't even have the slightest of doubts in my mind about marrying him. But still. “I don't know,” I say in mild frustration.
“You're so maddening.”
“Excuse me, missy? Whose side are you on anyway?”
.” By her tone alone, I can just imagine the hole she would have burned into me with her stare if that absurd hat didn't have her buried. “Grow a pair and just do it.”
“Grow a pair and do what?” Daniel's voice timbres from somewhere above, prompting me to send my hand to shade my eyes and look up at him. In tandem, Tash resurfaces from under her straw accessory. With one powerful shove, Daniel secures the surfboard in the sand and sends his hand to the zipper at the back of his wetsuit.
He halts with the suit peeled down to his waist when Tasha says, “Told your lady love here that the whole stalling to set a date for the wedding is getting old.”
And then there were two.
I'm officially disowning her. As of this moment, it's just Ian and me. But first things first. I must comment on this treason before my not so subdued beloved psycho has a field day with it. And since there's no better distraction than seduction, I jump to my feet to jump him. Before he is able to comment or breathe, I stretch up on my tiptoes and glue my lips to his. Drops from his damp hair rain down on me as our kiss gains momentum. Breaking the kiss, I say, “Hey, you'll get me all wet,” while adding a sultry hue to my voice.