I woke up the next morning with the taste of maraschino cherries in my mouth and my entire body feeling like a devoured ice cream sundae. It had been an amazing night.
The bad part was that I had only 48 hours left with Nick. I glanced at the clock; it was only 8:30. Taking care to not disturb Nick, I crawled out of bed. After walking Bitsy around outside (she was slowly getting the idea of potty training), we came back in. A dish of dog food and a bowl of fresh water later, she was down for a mid-morning nap. It didn’t seem like a bad idea. I crawled back into bed.
The next time I looked at the clock it was a quarter ‘til noon. I looked over; Nick was still asleep. I nudged him gently.
“Nick, it’s almost noon!”
“Good,” he mumbled.
“Half the day’s gone!”
“We’ll just stay up later,” he rationalized; his eyes refused to open.
I cuddled up to him. I ran my fingers over his bristly stubble. He opened an eye, glancing my way. I lifted my fingers in a wave.
“Something tells me I’m not going to get away with being lazy all day,” he said, stretching. I shook my head.
He let out a great yawn and looked out at the sunshine spilling in between the draped doors. “Looks like a good day for boating.”
I smiled, thinking of the pictures downstairs on the hall stand. “Sounds great to me,” I responded.
We took our time showering and getting ready. By the time we were ready to go, it was almost three o’clock. Nick drove down to a nearby marina.
“I keep one of my boats here,” he explained.
I was picturing in my mind the old fashioned ship from the video I Got You. Truth is, I had rarely traded my land legs for a pair of water wings. I had been on two boats in my entire life, and one of them was the type toddlers sit in and go around a metal lagoon in the middle of a county fair.
When we walked up to Nick’s boat docked at the harbor, I noticed it wasn’t near as large as the one in the video. It was a sailboat. Nick watched my reaction.
“My speed boats are in Florida,” he explained. “This wind’s perfect for a day of old fashioned sailing.”
He climbed on board. I was still looking at the bobbing vessel. He held out his hand.
“Get your daisy dukes up here,” he said. Grabbing his hand I let him pull me aboard.
He had rolled up the cuffs of his jeans and topped it off with a white t-shirt. I had opted for shorts and one of his t-shirts, tied at my waist. The laundry I had to do when I got home was astronomical.
We walked along the boat; he gave me a lesson on the higher points of the nautical world.
“We’re on the deck,” Nick explained, stomping his foot on the floor. “The big sail is the main sail and it can be turned with the boom. The mast supports both sails. The smaller one is the jib.”
“Jib,” I repeated nodding. “Got it.”
After a preliminary check to make sure all parts were in working order, Nick walked over to the wheel. I lay out on the floor of the sparkling deck.
The afternoon was absolutely amazing. I had feared that I might get seasick; I didn’t feel the least bit queasy. The wind whipped through my hair and the boat sliced through the water with ease. After awhile, Nick had us on a straight course with no obstacles in sight. He came and stretched out by me.
“What do you think?”
I looked at him. He had propped his sunglasses on top of his head. His eyes were amazing.
“How is it that sometimes your eyes are so blue and other times they’re green?” I asked.
He laughed. “Is that what you’re so busy thinking about?”
I smiled. “Besides completely enjoying this day, yes, that’s where my mind’s at.”
He flipped over onto me. I rested my leg gently against his side. He nibbled my bottom lip.
“We could crash,” I teased.
“I don’t know anyone else I’d rather be shipwrecked with,” he said. His hand slid along my bare stomach.
“I like this shirt,” he said, giving the knot a tug.
“It’s yours,” I said, laughing.
“It looks so much better on you.”
I allowed myself to get swept up in a make out session in the middle of the ocean. It took another’s boat horn to pull us out of our reverie.
“I better turn around and head to shore,” Nick said. It was growing dark.
We didn’t get back home until about nine o’clock that evening. Bitsy was a ball of pent up energy. She streaked through the house, barking happily.
“Tomorrow’s the big fireworks show on the beach,” I said. Nick nodded.
“Usually I love to be here for it,” Nick said.
“I just know that once the show’s over I have only a few hours left with you.”
I nodded in understanding. We went to bed with Bitsy still tearing around and around various rooms, rolling, tumbling, and playing in her own happy world. I wanted to cherish every moment we had left.
I awoke to the sound of loud cracks and pops coming from the beach. Groaning, I rolled over, snuggling up to Nick’s back.
“Ignore it,” he mumbled. I buried my face into his shoulder.
Another loud display started up a half hour later. This time, Bitsy emerged from wherever she had collapsed from exhaustion the night before. She ran right into the glass doors leading out to the balcony. I turned around at the sound of the dud; she sat there looking extremely confused. I laughed.
“I can’t ignore it any longer,” I said. I slid out of bed.
“I’m going to take Bitsy for a walk,” I said to the massive lump in the bed.
Nick grunted in response.
Sliding on a robe over my pajamas, I clipped Bitsy’s pink leash to her pink collar and we took off down the beach. I was on the lookout for anyone playing with bottle rockets; I wanted to keep Bitsy as far away from the commotion as possible. When we turned the corner, I saw people up ahead.
“That’s our cue to head back home Itsy Bitsy,” I said. She dug her back legs into the sand, but she wasn’t able to gain any traction. Reluctantly she let me turn her around and we headed back to the condo.
Nick still wasn’t up by the time we headed back to the bedroom. I took a shower; when I came out, he was still hibernating.
“Are you going to spend my last day here sleeping?” I said.
“I was hoping I could sleep until, oh, August,” Nick mumbled. “Then you’d be back already.”
“No,” I said, tugging the sheet off his head. “That would just mean you missed your flight to Washington.”
He rolled over on his back, staring up at me. I smiled.
“Up and at ‘em, Carter.”
While he took a shower, I made an early lunch. As I finished spreading mustard on the French bread we had finally gotten around to thawing, Nick walked into the kitchen. He had on a white tank top, blue jeans, and red sneakers.
“Hey, Mr. Patriotic,” I said, handing him a sandwich. He smiled and took a large bite.
“AJ called as I was stepping out of the shower. He and Rochelle will be here in about an hour. AJ said he’s bringing a game and they want to stay for fireworks,” Nick said.
“Should I be worried about this game?” I asked. Nick grinned.
“Most likely, yes.”
“Naughty Charades?” I said, staring down at the box.
“Yeah, we bought it at the porn store,” AJ said, proudly. I looked at him like he was crazy. Nick was grinning; once again I was highly amusing him.
“There’s three categories,” Rochelle explained. “Sexy Things, Sexy Activities, and Wild Card. You find out which category you have to do by rolling the dice. Sexy Things are sex objects, Sexy Activities are verbs, and Wild Card can be anything!”
“I vote that Livvy starts us off,” Nick said, suppressing a laugh. I glared at him.
“Hey we’re a team!” Nick said, holding up his hands.
Rochelle held out the dice. “Go ahead!”
Biting my tongue, I took the dice and gave them a good shake. I tossed it down; the dice landed on Sexy Activities. Rochelle handed me the box of cards. Taking the first one in the deck I looked at my verb; booty call.
I turned to look at Nick. His eyes were sparkling; the blues and greens mixing together. He was loving every minute.
I bit my lip. AJ started the timer. With a frustrated sigh, I mimed talking on a telephone.
“Sex line?” Nick guessed. I shook my head.
I shook my head. I heard the timer ticking away. Reluctantly I turned around, placing a hand on my butt.
“Five seconds!” AJ called.
“Butt phone…butt phone,” Nick murmured. Her hands were folded in concentration. With just a second to spare, he clapped his hand.
I looked at him in surprise. “That’s it!”
I sat down next to him, glad my turn was over.
By the time the game was over, I was laughing hysterically. Watching AJ mime out a penis pump and Nick demonstrating the finer aspects of spooning was almost too much to handle. At the sound of the first fireworks lighting up the sky we declared a tie and headed out for the show.
Rochelle and I leaned back against AJ and Nick respectively as reds, blues, greens, golds, and every other color of the rainbow lit up the sky above the ocean. The beach had never been so crowded; couples young and old and children ran to and fro. I felt Nick kiss the top of my head.
“What time does your flight leave?” he whispered.
“Four a.m.,” I responded. He groaned.
My palms ran over his knees. “I can’t,” I said. It hurt me to say it.
Nick pulled me a little closer; we watched the last of the fireworks hang in the night for several moments. At last, there was nothing but blackness.
A tear slipped down my cheek.