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Day Off

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God, I needed this, I thought to myself as I settled into my chair. I practically had the entire beach to myself. I could see some people off in the distance but they weren’t going to bother me. I was here at 6am and I was going to enjoy my first day off in three weeks if it killed me. I had started to feel like I might snap at any minute and I vowed to myself that I wasn’t looking at my email or taking a call from work for a solid 24 hours. They were just going to have to survive without me.
Taking a drink of my coffee, I pull the book I’d brought with me out of my bag. Nothing says day of relaxation like reading a fluffy, steamy romance on the beach. I was planning on hitting every cliche I could today, fuck it. Maybe I’ll even hit on some cute boy after I open that bottle of wine brought to have with lunch. Piling my hair on top of my head and throwing a headband on, I pull my sunglasses on and open my book. This is exactly what I need in my life right now.
About two hours go by and the sun is starting to really come out. I lean my head back, soaking up the rays and feeling the tension leave my body. I really can’t let myself do this again. I need these days to recharge and remember myself. I’ve let too many people make too many demands on my time and energy and I’ve left nothing for myself. When was even the last time I went on a date? When was the last time I got laid? I can’t even remember. My dates consist of me and my B.O.B. for a quickie before I pass out after a 12 hour day. Ugh. This shit has really got to stop.
I lift my head and look around. The beach has gotten a little more crowded but it seems everyone wanted their own space this morning as well. Good, I think. Then at least I won’t have to be self conscious of my glow in the dark white skin that hasn’t seen the light of day in I don’t know how long. Here it was the middle of the summer and I hadn’t laid out once. Really hadn’t even seen the sun, since it was usually on its way down when I crawled out of work and to my car. Fuck it, I think as I pull my cover up off exposing my ghostly skin and the black bikini I’d forced myself to put on this morning. You only live once and with my life, I was barely doing that. It’s not like I was in a beauty contest anyways. The beach was practically empty.
I move the chair back down until it is lying flat. A nap sounds perfect right about now and hopefully it will be lunchtime by the time I wake up and I can pop open my bottle of wine. This day is getting better and better. I settle in and fall asleep.
All is well until I’m awoken abruptly by a slobbering tongue. A big, lumbering Golden Retriever is lapping at my face. I laugh and push him away slightly.
“Where’s your human, big guy?” I say as I scratch behind his ears.
Looking up I see a guy running toward me with a leash and collar in his hand. I can’t tell exactly what he looks like with the sun behind him, but I can see a mop of curly brown hair flopping as he runs.
“Looks like you’re caught, buddy,” I tell the dog as the man reaches the sand near me and slows to a jog. “Escape was futile.”
“Dude,” the man says. “Why do you always take off and find a woman? Am I not enough for you?”
The dog’s tail begins to wag in the sand. I laugh out loud as the man walks closer to me. I notice that he’s young. Really young. At least 10 years younger than me, maybe more.
“Duke, seriously! I’m starting to get a complex,” the guy says as he crouches in the sand next to his dog and takes him by the scruff. “You’ve got to stop taking off like that and finding beautiful women. I’m starting to think that you and my mother are ganging up on me. I can find my own lady, you know?”
I laugh at the serious expression on the guy’s face and the thumping of the dog’s tail on the sand.
“I’m guessing you have had this conversation before?” I ask him as he slides Duke’s collar back around his neck.
“Only every morning when I take him for his walk,” he replies as he runs his hair through his curls. “He seems to think it’s time for me to settle down. I always find him with a woman. Though I do have to say that you are the first one that hasn’t freaked out when he licked them.”
“Eh, what’s a little dog drool,” I reply scratching Duke behind his ear. “It washes off. Besides, he clearly loves his daddy and doesn’t realize that Daddy is too young to settle down. What are you 18?”
“I’m 25, but I’ll agree with the too young to settle down,” he laughs. “I’m Aaron, by the way.”
“Maddie,” I say. “And if you had pockets, I’d ask for your ID. You look young enough to be my son.”
“Come on,” he replies. “There is no way that you are a day over 27.”
“Well, Aaron, I’m fast approaching my 35th birthday” I say with a smile. “You just earned yourself an invitation to join me for lunch. I’ll even let the lack of ID slide and let you partake in this bottle of wine. Unfortunately, I don’t have a chair for you.”
“I’ll up the ante then,” Aaron says. “How about you come back to my place with Duke and I, bring your lunch, and we can eat on the deck? It’s just a few houses down the beach. We’d love to have lunch with a beautiful woman. That way you can wash off Duke’s drool before you eat, too.”
I think for a minute. This kid is 24 years old. If I go with him back to ‘his place’ and it’s actually his parent’s place, I’ll be mortified. But I turn him down and Mr. Tall, Dark and Curly is going to walk back out of my life. Wasn’t I just saying how long it’s been since I got laid? Fuck it. I’m in.
“Sure,” I reply. “That sounds lovely. Let me just grab my stuff.”
I get up from my chair and bend to grab my chair. Aaron bends to pick it up at the same time and our bodies collide. My hands automatically reach to steady myself and I find them up against Aaron’s chest. His hands are wrapped around my hips, holding me steady. God damn. I feel like some sort of cougar and I am ready to jump this kid right here in the sand.
“Thanks,” I say as I run my hands down his chest to his stomach and look up at him.
He’s looking down at me and I can tell by the look on his face that he’s thinking the same thing I am.
“No worries,” he says. “Let me get your chair, you get your bag and let’s get back to my house, yes?”
“Yes,” I reply, reluctantl removing my hands from his stomach. “Let’s hurry.”
“Hungry?” he asks with a smile as he moves to grab my chair.
“Something like that,” I tell him as I throw my bag over my shoulder. “Lead the way.”