Author's Note: This is my submission to Lit's Summer Lovin' Contest. I hope you enjoy it and votes and comments are appreciated.
I worked like a dog for that company for eight years and what happened?
They fired me.
Bright side? Nice severance package. So screw it. Instead of diving right back into the overcrowded pool of job hunters, I decided to take it easy for a while. I deserved it; I'd barely taken a day off for the last eight years, so I was going to take that package and use it to fund a long, lazy summer vacation to make up for all the spring breaks I never got and all the summers I'd worked through while growing up in Ithaca, New York.
Don't get me wrong, I loved Ithaca. I was born there, it was beautiful, and I didn't think I could leave permanently. I had spent too many summers swimming in Cayuga Lake, too many winters sledding with friends. I had my problems here and there, but mostly I had only good memories. I just needed a change.
When I was growing up, we vacationed in North Carolina, where my mom's parents lived. That was where I first surfed; yes, people can surf on the East Coast. They surprised me by moving to North Carolina after my dad retired. I liked North Carolina well enough, but Ithaca was home and I'd been my job for a few years. My parents thought about selling our house, but when my apartment building decided to go condo and I couldn't afford it, they offered to rent it to me.
My situation was pretty much ideal. I had a great house at a low rent, a girlfriend, a decent job and friends to hang with in my free time. The first crack in all of that was losing my job. Soon after that, my girlfriend, Penny, and I started arguing a lot. I noticed a passive-aggressive streak in her I hadn't before. It started to drive me crazy.
I needed to go somewhere else for a while, just for a change.
I wasn't sure what to do until one day I got call from Manny, whom I'd known since high school. He'd gone out to California right after we graduated from Ithaca College and said he wasn't coming back east of the Mississippi even if his dad died. So far he'd stuck to his vow, but so far his dad was the picture of health.
Manny had done well out there. He had a decent job working for a cable company, a girlfriend, and a spare room which he offered to let me use. I figured why not? I'd always wanted to visit California. Even Penny said the time apart would do us good. With the package from my company, I could take a vacation at my own pace, the whole summer and more. And who didn't want to surf off the California coast?
I flew out and spent the first few days settling in. Manny knew a guy who knew a guy and got me a good deal on a used car so I could get around on my own. I was a little homesick at first and in every comparison I made with Ithaca, California fell short. I figured I just needed a little more time to get used to things and decided to give California a chance.
At the end of my second week in the Golden State, Manny came in from work.
"Hey, man. How's the grind?" I laughed at his scowl.
"Shut up, Diz, you fucking freeloader." The words were mock-angry and Manny grinned at me.
"Not my fault if you're a slave to the Man."
"You got a lot of balls, saying stuff like that when you're staying in my house."
"At least I've got balls. Don't you worry about all those electrical lines shriveling yours up?"
"At least mine won't shrivel up from lack of use."
My turn to scowl—Manny had me there. He'd been going with a girl named Helena for the last few months. I was surprised to find she was a fair bit younger than Manny, but she was cool and we got along. She even offered to set me up with a friend of hers. I surprised no one more than myself when I said maybe another time, but it was the honest answer.
For the first time since I'd started working during high school, I had no obligations to anyone else. Well, I had some obligations to Manny, but that was cool. That was a matter of courtesy and friendship. No one wanted anything from me right now, not my parents, not a boss, not a girlfriend, and I loved it.
Manny went to his room and got changed. It was warm, so he threw on shorts and a t-shirt, which wasn't too different from what he'd worn to work—khakis and a cleaner t-shirt. But I knew how good it felt to make that switch from work to home, especially on Friday. Manny came back and grabbed a beer from the fridge.
"So, you want to hit the beach this weekend?" he asked.
"You bet. I can't believe I've been here all this time and I've only seen the beach, like, twice." That had been a letdown, but even without a boss or a girlfriend, there was stuff that needed my attention, like getting the car, buying groceries and other necessities. The weather hadn't been cooperative, either. Every time I'd been ready to hit the beach, there was rain. Not just showers that you could wait out; these were serious downpours that resulted in some flash flooding. Hell of a way to start a California summer.
This weekend had a better forecast of mostly sunny and warm, and I intended to make the most of it.
"A bunch of people are going to get together tomorrow," Manny said. "It's kind of a big pre-summer, pre-tourist-season party. We'll be in this place called King's Bay. It's perfect—gorgeous but never gets crowded."
"Don't let that get around." I took two beers out of the fridge and handed one to Manny. "If you've got a place like that, keep it to yourself. You probably shouldn't even have told me, but I promise to keep the secret."
Manny laughed. "Good man. Hey, maybe you'll even get laid. Wouldn't want those balls of yours to wither away."
"You are a jealous, jealous man, Manny. I have all this time and nothing to do with it, and you have to get up and haul your ass into an office every day."
"Vacations don't last, Diz. You'll have to haul your ass with the rest of us sooner or later." He grinned before taking a swig from his bottle.
I didn't have to do that yet, I reminded myself. Even after buying the car, I had enough money to go a few months without looking for a job—like I said, it was a nice severance package.
The truth was, I didn't really want to go back to an office. I mean, who does? We all go, and most of us don't mind, and we get along with some coworkers and tolerate the others. I bet a lot of people, including myself, all harbor dreams of going somewhere else, doing something totally different. Something that would have our parents rolling our eyes at how ridiculous we are, like chucking everything and moving across the country to California.
I wanted something different, something new and exciting. Don't we all?
We arrived at King's Bay on Saturday morning somewhere between nine and ten. It was the kind of day and place where keeping track of time just made no sense. Why limit your enjoyment, even by noting the time?
King's Bay was incredible. I'm no poet, but this place almost made me wish I was. The water was a cool dark blue out to the horizon. There were mountains to the north and the sun had risen behind them so that it hung bright and yellow in the sky. The sand was soft and white and warm and I could imagine rolling around in it with any number of the women who had shown up. I refused to let the reality of sand in awkward places intrude on my fantasy.
This was going to be a perfect day, I could feel it. Different, new and exciting.
Everyone brought something—food, soda, beer, wine, and some other more interesting things. Manny and I, both culinarily-challenged, brought rolls, chips and stuff to drink. Helena met us there and brought containers of fresh fruit. Introductions were made, to friends and friends of friends. I couldn't keep track of them all, but it didn't matter.
There were lots of women, and all beautiful. It must have been a law in California, at least on the beaches. I wasn't sure one-piece suits were allowed, either. Every woman I saw was in some sort of two-piece, usually a bikini. I did not complain.
Once everyone had some fuel in their system, all attention went to the water. Some people wanted to swim, but most of us wanted to do what everyone wants to do when they come to a California beach: surf.
My second purchase in California after the car had been a surfboard. I hadn't surfed in a long time and I knew I'd never be a pro, but I was going to take all this nice empty time and fill it up with riding waves.
I grabbed my board, strapped the leash around my ankle and headed out. The water was cold but felt great, and I didn't even care. I just wanted to get out to where those waves were.
I swam out a ways, lying on my board and letting the sounds and smells of the ocean wash over me. It had been ages—years—since I'd been to a beach, let alone had time to surf. I loved it.
After swimming out a while, I sat up and took a deep breath. The sky was clear and the water looked like it wanted to have some fun. I grinned, watching and waiting for a wave. Someone laughed and I turned to see who was out with me. A gorgeous woman with long dark hair sat on a board a few yards away. She looked over at me and when our eyes met I had a flash of vertigo, or thought I did.
"What's so funny?" I called over.
"Nothing. Just basking in the bliss of the perfect day." She closed her eyes and tilted her head back as though she was drinking in the sun.
Wet hair clung to her shoulders and back, tracing all kinds of curves over her skin. Water drops trailed down her sleek neck, and an image of me licking them away hit me hard enough that I oofed out a breath I didn't realize I was holding in. She wore a two-piece suit, but one that was more suited to surfing than a bikini. All the same it left little to the imagination, and I had a great imagination when it came to women.
"What's your name?" I asked. A low roar caught my attention and I turned. I could see a wave coming in that was just begging someone to ride it.
I watched her for a minute and then we both turned around and got ready to catch the wave. I waited, waited, then jumped up and let it take me. It was like flying. Spray from the wave hit me but I didn't care. I concentrated on keeping my balance, making sure my feet had a good grip on the board and adjusting to follow the flow. I wasn't going to try anything fancy.
I glanced over and saw that Surfer Babe—until I knew her name, I would call her Surfer Babe—was up as well. She looked sure and easy on her board, as though she'd been doing this all her life. There was no tension in her body, as I knew there was in mine. I was willing to bet she was smiling, and if she could have closed her eyes and taken the wave in that way, she would have.
I did pretty well until something bumped my board and I lost my train of thought. I shifted and tried to compensate, and ended up going under the water. I came up laughing. Not bad for someone who hadn't surfed in years, I thought, and I turned around to do it again.
I did that I don't know how many times, and Surfer Babe did too. We had a little competition going, but I didn't care who won. Well, that's what I told myself because after watching her a few times, I knew there was no way I'd "win."
Back on the beach I found Manny sitting with a group of people who were grilling some food. I was impressed that someone had thought to bring a grill and realized it was probably way past lunch time as my stomach growled something fierce. I grabbed a beer and a burger and sat, gulping the burger down in about four bites.
"Hey, man." I elbowed Manny. "Who's that girl? Do you know?" I pointed at Surfer Babe.
Manny stared at her for a minute, then shook his head. "I don't know. I mean, I've seen her before but I never got her name or anything."
"Seriously? Come on, man, she's totally doable. Look at that body." I looked myself and had to readjust my swim trunks as a result. "You never even tried with her?"
"Never wanted to. Don't get me wrong, she is an eleven on a scale of one to ten." Manny paused and tapped a finger on his beer bottle, then shrugged. "I don't know, guess she's just not my type. One of those things you know on instinct or whatever. She's all yours, big man."
I scoffed and got another burger. It was good to know Manny had no designs on Surfer Babe, but I wondered why he hadn't tried.
After lunch I stretched out on my towel and slept a while. I woke up with sore muscles but was determined to surf some more. I grabbed my board, put the leash around my ankle and went out into the water.
I kept my eyes ahead, scanning the water, but my senses were alert for Surfer Babe. Once I stopped, I sat up and looked around and there she was, on my left this time. I took advantage of a lull between waves to talk to her.
"Hey, I didn't get your name."
She smiled, a wicked little smile that curled me on the inside. "I never told you."
"I'm Dizzy," I offered.
She looked me up and down and arched an eyebrow. "Then maybe you shouldn't surf."
I laughed. "Call me Diz."
I shivered at the sultry tone of her voice and the look on her face. You know how people say, "I could just eat you up!" She looked like she could eat me up, and I couldn't say I'd mind. I liked assertiveness in a woman. Few things are sexier than a woman who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to tell you. Surfer Babe looked like she could give classes in assertiveness.
I savored the shiver and grinned. "What's your name? Or is it a secret?"
"Not a secret."
"Then what should I call you?"
"Let's see who gets in first. You win, I'll give you a name." She licked her lips and most of my blood rushed south.
We waited for a wave, then got into position when one came along. I beat her in by inches, and I wondered if she'd let me win. I'd improved over the day, but she had that ease in the water that I never would, no matter how much I practiced. She had some kind of connection, some innate ability, and some have it and some don't.
We walked back to the crowd on the beach. People were kicking back now, snacking, drinking, smoking the occasional joint. It was as though there was no yesterday and no tomorrow, only the now. I liked the now.
I unstrapped the leash from my ankle, grabbed a towel and rubbed it over my face and hair. "So, gorgeous, what's your name?"
She stared at me for a minute and I got that vertiginous feeling again.
"You can call me Callie."
I chuckled. "Callie like Cali, short for California?"
She shrugged. "If you like."
"Come on, is that your real name?"
Callie gave me another wicked grin. "I said I'd give you a name. I didn't say it would be mine."
For a minute, I was speechless, then I laughed. "Touché. I didn't think of that. I like it, though. Otherwise, I'd have to call you Surfer Babe."
This time she laughed. "'Surfer Babe?' That's the best you could do?"
"I had to think of something, and that was better than 'Hey, you.'"
"Not by much."
"Are you hungry?" I asked. My stomach rumbled. The sun was low in the sky but I didn't bother to check a watch; I'm not sure anyone had one to check. I hadn't even heard a cell phone ring since arriving.
"I could eat." Her eyes raked over me and I got that shiver again. Damn, I'd never known a woman like this, who could get reactions like that from me just by looking. It was a weird feeling, but I liked it.
By the time we finished a light dinner, the sun was low in the sky. A few people went out to catch one last wave, but I was too tired and didn't want to surf or swim in the twilight. Sharks come a lot closer to the shore than most people suspect, and I didn't want to be the opening shot of a Jaws remake.
Instead I spread a towel over a rock and sat on the sand, my back against the rock. Callie sat between my legs, her back against my chest. My cock got hard the second she sat down and only got harder as she shifted, looking for a comfortable position. There was nothing I could do. I mean, for crying out loud, I had a gorgeous woman in a bathing suit pressed up against me.
When she turned around and gave me a wink and a smile, I realized she'd done all that fidgeting on purpose. I grinned back and wrapped my arms around her as we settled in to watch the sun set.
I supposed I should have felt a little guilty since Penny and I hadn't officially broken up. On the other hand, Penny had said she thought we should see other people if the opportunity came up and we wanted to. That had sounded fine to me.
I had wondered if she already had someone she wanted to see, but wasn't upset at the thought. Our increasingly frequent fights had made me pessimistic on our long-term future. If Penny wanted to see anyone else, that only proved me right.
Back on the beach, campfires began to pop up and people gathered around them. Once the sun was down, the warmth of the day didn't last long. Callie and I stayed where we were, comfortable enough with body heat.
"So, Diz, tell me where you're from."
"Ithaca, New York."
"That's a ways away. What brought you out here?"
"I lost my job and decided to have an adventure before looking for a new one." I liked the way that sounded, like I was in control of my destiny.
"You just up and left? What about friends and family?"
"My parents live in North Carolina. I still have my friends, but I needed a break." I shrugged and accidentally-on-purpose brushed my arm under her breast. I felt her shoulders shake in a silent laugh. "Ithaca will be there when I want to go back."
"Nah." I shook my head even though she faced away from me. "Well, sort of. I was seeing this girl, Penny, but we had a big fight after I lost my job. We're in an off phase."
"I see." Callie was quiet for a moment, then changed her position again. I bit back a groan at the friction against my cock. Another image burst into my head, of her on top of me and me driving into her. I knew she would be wet and hot; she'd be as aggressive in bed as she was out on the ocean.
I tried to distract myself. "How about you? You from here?"
She nodded. "I've always lived close to the water. I couldn't possibly leave."
"How about a boyfriend?"
For a moment I wasn't sure she'd answer. Her body tensed and I wondered if I'd hit a sore spot. Then she relaxed. "No, no boyfriend. The last one left. I couldn't keep him." She sounded a little hurt and resigned.
I couldn't help it—I hugged her. "He was an idiot."
That got a laugh. "You don't even know me. Maybe he was smart to get away."
"Impossible. A goddess like you? Who'd want to leave you?"
"It seems like I can't keep anyone," she murmured. "I always have to let them go. Someday I hope someone stays."
"One day you'll find the right guy and he won't want to leave."
"That's sweet, and I hope you're right."
We sat for a while longer and talked. She told me she was an artist, that she wove rugs, tapestries, and other things on a loom. I told her that I'd all but driven my high school art teacher to drink with my lack of ability. That made her laugh, a sound I liked a lot.
Soon it was full dark, with a half-moon shining down and thousands of stars hanging in the night sky. I hadn't seen so many stars in years. It was like there were too many to watch at once; I had to lower my gaze to the water before I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of them. A breeze flitted by and I realized I was chilly. If I was, Callie had to be, as she was still only wearing her swimsuit.
"Callie, you cold?"
"A little." She shifted and my cock, which had at last settled down, jumped to attention again. "You?"
"Yeah. I was going to grab my sweatshirt and go sit by a fire."
She turned and scanned the beach. We could see the knots of people around the fires, some laughing, some talking. Just having a good, relaxing time, enjoying the moment.