Being yesterday's hero took some getting used to. Cole Reynolds was no longer the star quarterback. No, at the tender age of eighteen, he was a has-been, already looking back with nostalgia at those thrilling Friday nights on the gridiron, sharing the heat of battle with his loyal teammates, cheered on by his adoring fans. But life goes on, and for him that meant getting through his last semester at Damascus High, applying for college and keeping himself in shape to perhaps play college ball. He had always planned to attend college, though he looked forward to it with some ambivalence. Some of his friends were joining the Marines to "fight those commies" in Vietnam. He had no qualms with the Johnson administration's Cold War thinking: If we don't stop "them" in Vietnam, all of Southeast Asia could go red—the domino theory in a nutshell. Cole harbored a strong sense of patriotism, felt that college and the student deferment that went with it might be shirking his duty to God and country, a duty his dad fulfilled in World War Two.
Then, of course, there was Ellen Goldfarb. She was his new main squeeze—still an unlikely one in the eyes of friends like Travis Callahan who still couldn't understand how he could have dumped hot Kayla Ranucci for her. Cole ignored their incredulity. In fact, he and Ellen got closer as winter went on. They ate together in the cafeteria and walked together in the halls, ignoring and sometimes laughing at those who still shook their heads in disbelief. On weekends they were inseparable. They saw movies together ("Thunderball" and "Doctor "Zhivago" among them), spent time over each other's houses and, as Cole once did with Kayla, cruised up and down the strip in Cole's GTO. The only thing they didn't do was what they did on New Year's Eve: go all the way. Oh, they wanted to. But, with parents and/or siblings who always seemed to be around, coupled with their negative feeling about doing it in the car, there wasn't much opportunity.
One exception was the Saturday night before Valentine's Day. Cole booked a room at the Grayson House, a Victorian era bed and breakfast a few miles from town. The cozy intimacy of the place and the light snow that fell throughout the night provided the perfect setting for romance. Even though the drinking age in their state was twenty-one, Cole managed to wrangle a bottle of pink champagne from a sympathetic liquor store clerk after telling the guy that he and Ellen were celebrating their engagement. "Hey, you're old enough to fight for your country, you should be old enough to vote and drink," the guy said. Following a candlelight steak dinner in the dining room, they went upstairs to their room, free at last to do what they had longed to do since New York.
After they dimmed the lights, they stood by the window, sipping champagne, watching the snowfall. The contrast between the view here and the one from high up in the Americana was striking. In New York, they were over forty floors above the street, gazing out at Gotham's amazing verticality, all lit up and busy with millions of people going about their business. Here, they were two floors up, their view confined to snow swirling over a brick roundabout, quaint and charming in the way small towns tend to be. They watched awhile before moving to the foot of their king-sized bed. Cole began to kiss her. He then opened her blouse and began to fondle her breasts, surprisingly small for such a big girl. Not that that bothered him. He loved her. More than loved her, he adored her. All of her. "Je t'aime," he said.
"If someone had told me a few months ago that I'd be at the Grayson House hearing those words from Cole Reynolds...in French yet..." She began to tear up.
He wrapped his arms around her. "And if someone had told me months ago that I'd be saying those words to Ellen Goldfarb..."
They didn't say much after that, couldn't say much, not with their lips and tongues locked together, then moving in, over and about each other's erogenous zones, confining their verbal communication to moans and shrieks of delight. Cole came well prepared with a couple packs of lambskin condoms, pricy but well worth it. Latex offered better protection against sexually transmitted diseases. However, you couldn't beat lambskin for sensitivity just shy of unprotected sex. Besides, the HIV scourge was years away and Cole's and Ellen's experience with intercourse had a short history; both had been virgins prior to New Year's. The nervous, tentative awkwardness of that first time had given way to a fluid, confident comfortableness. Ellen, ever scholarly and curious, had read up on the Kama Sutra; she had no trouble convincing Cole to try variations beyond missionary. Cole amazed Ellen with his staying power. He even amazed himself. He came four times that night, and that's with the champagne. He added a fifth for good measure the next morning. "You're an all around athlete," she joked.
"And I give most of the credit to you," he said, "the way you wrap those big powerful legs of yours around me, stay wet for hours on end and dirty talk me, so out of character but so fucking hot."
They held each other for most of the night and slept until ten. It was when Ellen had just changed into her short denim skirt that Cole once again got the urge. She was bending over, packing things in her travel bag. Stepping up behind her, Cole started to message the backs of her bare legs. When he began to dry hump her, she said, "Checkout time is eleven. But if it's a quickie you're after, I'm game." She then slipped her panties off, flipped her skirt up and bent over the bed. He dropped his drawers, slipped on a lambskin and slid inside her. "Oh, Cole, oh my, you're too much," she said, straining to keep her voice down, aware of people moving about, walking the halls, going up and down steps just a few feet from where they fucked from behind closed doors.
They followed up with a fancy brunch in the dining room, eggs Benedict with salmon and fried potatoes washed down with orange and tomato juice. The day was cold but sunny. The storm had passed, leaving the ground lightly snow covered. Ellen pulled a camera from her coat and asked a passerby to take their picture. They posed in front of the Grayson House, with its wrap-around porch and thick Mansard roof, Cole in his short suede jacket and dark, scrub denim jeans; Ellen in her blue, double-breasted coat, its brass buttons glistening in the bright sun.
"You've spoiled me, Cole Reynolds," Ellen said on the way back. "Please don't make me wait too long before we can do this again, before you make love to me again, before we can cuddle up like we did, just the two of us, naked and alone."
He squeezed her hand, keeping his eyes glued to the road. "How about next month during spring break? Fort Lauderdale is supposed to be wild. It's in the seventies and eighties in March and we won't have to make up stories to get alcohol because the drinking age is eighteen. Maybe we could even make love on the beach."
"Absolutely! When do we leave?"
Fort Lauderdale was indeed wild during spring break, thanks in part to a certain movie. Kids flocked to the place before then, but "Where the Boys Are" (1960) upped the human biomass faster than any chamber of commerce promo ever could. As in the movie, most of those who ventured into this bacchanalia showed up single, groups of gals and guys, hormones raging, playing out a teen mating ritual under sunny skies and cheap tequila.
Unlike Cole's parents, Ellen's mom and dad didn't take kindly to the idea of their daughter traveling a thousand miles with her boyfriend "just to drink and have sex," as her mom had put it. A couple nights in New York and a Valentine's Day overnight at the Grayson House were one thing; spring break in Lauderdale for a week was something else. Reluctantly, they let her go. After all, she was eighteen and they were very fond of Cole. "Just see that he takes good care of you," her dad had said.
So in mid-March they were off, heading south on I-95 in Cole's GTO, its trunk packed to the gills with luggage and with music blasting from the 8-track, an eclectic mix heavy on the Bs, from Beethoven and Bach, to The Beatles and Beach Boys. It was just when they crossed into North Carolina that Cole and Ellen had their first fight. Well, not a fight, really, more like a profound disagreement argued vociferously by both.
"So, it looks like we're in Vietnam to stay," Cole said.
"A huge foreign policy blunder," Ellen said. "We don't belong there."
"I say we do belong there. Communist aggression is a fact of life that needs to be contained."
"No, Cole, it's a civil war over there. None of our business. Don't tell me you believe in the domino theory?"
"Theory? Come on, El. Look at Eastern Europe. Red China. North Korea. Cuba. All mighty good evidence that it's more than just theory. Laos, Thailand and Cambodia could all be next. We've got to show our resolve in stopping communist aggression. Otherwise, we look weak in the eyes of our enemies as well as in the eyes of our friends. "
"Cole, the French got humiliated over there in their vain effort to subjugate an indigenous people that refused to be subjugated. The same will happen to us if we don't pull out."
"Ellen, you know where trying to appease Hitler got the British. If we don't do something about—"
"Please, Cole, Ho Chi Minh is no Hitler. Granted, he's a committed communist. But he's no threat to us."
"He's taking his cues from Moscow, Ellen, and those guys in the Kremlin ARE a threat to us."
Ellen didn't buy the idea that communism was some sort of monolithic movement controlled by Moscow. But she kept that to herself. She saw no point in trying to score debating points at the expense of ruining this trip. Following a tense silence, she said, "Cole, would you be willing to risk your life fighting over there? You had said something to me about joining the Marines after graduation."
"Haven't decided, but yeah, I can see it," he said just as they pulled into a Howard Johnson's. "Some of my friends plan to enlist." Ellen looked away and shook her head. Then she began to cry.
"Hey, come on," he said, throwing an arm around her. "We're here to have fun, not argue American foreign policy. Let's agree to disagree and drop it."
She nodded and hugged him. "I just don't ever want to lose you. The thought of losing you over there, of losing you period... " She cried harder over his shoulder.
He pulled away, kissed her and wiped tears from her cheeks. "You won't lose me. Not unless you wander off with some guy on the beach while I'm plastered, some crazy guy who digs tall, smart, sensitive girls with great legs."
She laughed through her sobs. "I wandered off with that crazy guy already. Then I fell in love with him. And I still love him even though his position on some stupid war is diametrically opposed to mine."
"Good, because I still love you too. Now let's get something to eat. We can at least agree on that."After some passionate makeup kisses, they went in to grab some lunch before hitting the road once again.
It took them two days to reach Lauderdale, arriving late in the afternoon. The streets were wet from a mid-day rain, but dark clouds were giving way to blue sky. Thousands of tourists were already there, mostly college kids but also those of high school age and older people on extended adolescence. Once off Broward Boulevard, Cole's GTO slowed to a crawl through the congestion. From there he drove mostly in second gear to The Beachcomber, a motel two blocks from the ocean.
Architecturally, it was a prime example of the type that sprang up at beach resorts everywhere following World War Two—a three-story, white-walled affair with balconies that overlooked a swimming pool on one side, the street on the other. A gaudy neon sign in front spelled out The Beachcomber in red, superimposed on a lime green palm tree. Cole found it listed in an AAA travel book. The price and accommodations seemed right (color TV in every room, AC, ice maker, fresh coffee in the lobby every morning), so he booked a five night stay on the first floor, room number 7. After checking in, he and Ellen hauled their luggage into their room, hit the AC and collapsed on the queen-sized bed.
Ellen, in pink shorts, threw a bare leg over Cole's waist. "I could jump your bones right now," she said.
Cole laughed. "Even after a ten hour drive? You've got some high octane energy, girl."
"Look who's talking about high octane energy—Mr. four times in one night."
"And a fifth banger-roo in the morning. Don't forget that one."
"Oh, I won't forget, me getting humped from behind in my denim skirt, trying to keep my moaning to a minimum in deference to all that hall traffic outside our room."
Cole pointed to the door. "And speaking of hall traffic..."
Even with the AC going, the sound of tourists dragging their luggage across the concrete flooring outside, interspersed with voices in party mode, came through loud and clear. In minutes, they were up, emptying their luggage and stuffing their clothing in the faux wood bureau drawers. "I hope you didn't forget the Trojans," Ellen said.
Cole pulled out three boxes of condoms in their distinctive brown and black package and grinned. "Never leave home without them. At least when I'm with you."
"Magnifico," Ellen said, making a circle with her thumb and forefinger. She then grabbed her hairbrush for some quick primping in the bathroom before dinner. She wore her dirty-blond locks just below her shoulders, banged in front, flipped up at the ends, nothing fancy but stylish enough for the times. Gone were the days when she didn't do anything with it, when it looked like a pile of straw thrown over her head. Also, she had gotten used to wearing contacts. Still, she sometimes wore glasses instead, usually when she was in too much of a hurry to put them in. Only recently did she start wearing those blue frame glasses around Cole. After all, he was the one who suggested she start wearing contacts. But when he told her that she looked prettier in contacts but somehow sexier in glasses, she lost her inhibition about wearing them.
By six, they were enjoying a nice dinner at Caffe Europa, a small Italian restaurant a few blocks away. The food gave them a second wind, but instead of guzzling beer at some club like many here did, they bought a bottle of Chardonnay, then returned to their room, first showering together, and then climbing into bed with the curtains drawn and the lights off. There was plenty of light from the pool area for them to see what they needed to see, though they did more feeling than seeing. Cole's tongue on Ellen's nipples and then her clit sent her into spasms of delight, eclipsed only by the rhythmic thrusts of his cock and the soft, soothing tone of his voice uttering words of love.
Cole kept to himself wistful thoughts of Kayla. He knew he shouldn't compare, but he somehow couldn't help himself during his and Ellen's "down time," when they held each other after climaxing, before they got ready to indulge themselves once again. He had loved Kayla, or at least thought he did when they were together, the "sweethearts of Damascus High," some called them, and not derisively either. She was so pretty, conventionally pretty, the kind of pretty that turned heads, male and female, some with admiration, others with envy, but more likely a mix of both. Their sex was confined to heavy make-outs and petting in the car and on sofas, usually above the waist. Kayla wouldn't blow him, nor would she give him but token access to her pussy. Even then it was finger jobs only. Intercourse? Pul-eze. This was a girl who talked about "saving herself" for marriage. Presumably, it was Cole she had in mind. They had talked about it, more in the abstract than anything else. But then Ellen entered his life. Or, more accurately, she entered his consciousness, first as a damsel in distress who needed to be shielded from the slings and arrows of outrageous bullies; and then as his significant other, someone on the same intellectual wavelength as he, who could talk about politics and such, who wasn't shy about letting her carnal desires known and then acting on them. That was Ellen, a chick he loved in the way he might have wanted to love Kayla, and one whose pyrotechnics under the sheets kept his wallet a little thinner from buying those gourmet lambskins.
He had just disposed of his second lambskin in as many hours. "I'll get some ice for this, Cole said, referring to the bottle of Chardonnay sitting in a bucket on the dresser.
Ellen rolled over on her side, smiled seductively with her hand between her legs. "And I'll keep the sheets warm for you. Hurry back."
After throwing on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, he descended a few steps to the ground, walked a few yards, and then turned a corner to see two people ahead of him at the ice machine, both women around his age. One was scooping out ice, while the other stood behind her. She wore skin-tight white slacks, a blue and white striped blouse and sandals. Her straight blond hair dropped to the middle of her back—generic image of the Surfer Girl, etched into the cultural Zeitgeist by the Beach Boys' song of the same name. Kayla fit that bill, her body, her face, her hair, not distinctive by the aesthetic standards of its "type," though distinctive enough, because most males would be hard pressed to deny that among the rabble of young females, very few looked that desirable. Even the "black is beautiful" crowd, if brutally honest with themselves, might have to surrender their aesthetic/carnal preferences to what they claimed were white racist standards of beauty.
Cole's attraction to said female aesthetic hadn't waned. Here it was close to ten at night; he had ten hours of drive time under his belt, plus two jacks in as many hours, not to mention a horny girl in his room who appeared as if she wanted at least one more. Yet here he was, staring at the blond, she with the deliciously perfect derrière, slim, taut waist and the legs of a gymnast or cheerleader. His cock began to stir. He had only to see her face for confirmation of what he expected her to look like, an expectation fulfilled when it was her turn at the machine, and she spun around to see who was behind her.
"Cole! Oh my god! What the...
"I don't believe it."
"Small world, huh?"
"Isn't it though."
"Cole Reynolds, you followed me here. You must have."
"You WOULD believe that."
"I suppose that out of hundreds of thousands of kids on spring break, it's a coincidence that we both decided to come to Lauderdale to stay at The Beachcomber."
"Looks that way. Who are you here with?"
"A couple girlfriends. You?"
"I'm here with Ellen."
"Ellen. Of course. I should have known."
"Kayla, do you realize that these are the most words you've spoken to me since homecoming?"
"Hello would have been one more word I've said to you since then. So yeah, I know."
"You look great by the way, boss, totally boss."
"Thanks. But not TOTALLY BOSS enough apparently, for why else would you have dumped me for her, of all people."
"Looks aren't everything, Kayla."
"No, they sure aren't. Ellen's living proof of that."
"I'm sorry you hate me."
"I don't hate you. I just don't understand."
Cole could see her tearing up. "I didn't mean to hurt you."
"But you did, damn you, you did."
She sniffled and grabbed a ladle full of ice. "Look, my friends are waiting for me. And I'm sure you've got more exciting things to do than watch me cry."
He watched her fill her bucket, so tempted to hug her. Discipline prevailed. "See you around," he said after she finished.
She started to walk off, then turned around for a parting shot. "I hope not."
Ellen was under the sheets watching "The Fugitive" when he returned. "Geeze, Cole, I was getting worried. Did you get lost?"
"Not exactly," he said, putting the bottle on ice. He was honest about telling her why it took so long to fill an ice bucket. "Look, we can search for another place if you'd like," he said, sensing her unease.
"It's not worth the hassle, not on spring break with all these no vacancy signs. What room is she staying in?"
"Don't know. With some luck, we'll all avoid each other."
"That would be nice."
Soon, they were sipping their wine and watching the program, followed by the news. By the time Johnny Carson came on, Ellen was sound asleep in Cole's arms, while Cole, eyes wide open, thought back to the girl in the white, skin-tight slacks.
"Come out of it, Kayla," said the blond with the bouffant hairdo. "You should be happy. We're in Lauderdale on spring break, for goodness sake. It's party time."
"She's right, Kayla," said the brunette with the short, curly hair. "Tons of great looking guys down here, and you're brooding over one that doesn't deserve you anyhow."
Kayla picked at her food. She didn't have much of an appetite, not since running into Cole the night before. The three went clubbing last night. But Kayla couldn't get into it. She never finished her beer, nor did she show much interest in that handsome pre-med student from Florida State who tried talking to her. Now, late morning, she was still in a funk, sitting in Omelets, Etc., a diner type eatery situated along route A1A, just yards from the beach and ocean.
She glanced out the large window, squinting against the sun's rays, one hand under her chin, the other holding a fork, stabbing into her meal, lukewarm and half-eaten. Turning back to her friends, she said, "I still love him, I guess. Still love that two-timing SOB. Sounds crazy, I know."
Spencer-Ann, the brunette, frowned. "Are you telling us you'd take him back?"
"I don't know." Kayla said. "But that's not an option anyway, not when he's still with her." Donna, the bouffant blond who knew Ellen from Damascus High, asked Kayla what she thought possessed Cole to take up with Ellen in the first place.
"He'll tell you it's because she's smart and he can talk to her about stuff I take no interest in. I'm not DEEP enough for him. Yeah, right. The real reason, I bet, is because she puts out. I mean, the girl rarely had a date before she took up with Cole, much less a boyfriend. He's getting from her what he couldn't get from me."
"Not to defend Cole," Donna said, buttering a slice of her toast, "but I never thought of him as a user. But, who knows, you could be right."
Spencer-Ann shook her head. "A jock guy like Cole taking up with a girl solely on the basis of her intellectual depth? It doesn't add up. No, I think Kayla's right. Cole's a decent guy. But, like all guys, decent or otherwise, he thinks with his penis."
"So if you really want him back," Donna said, "you're gonna have to do what Ellen does—spread them legs, girl. Pardon my crudeness, but that's what it's gonna take."
Kayla shook her head and laughed, the first time she cracked a smile in almost twenty-four hours. "Okay, then that's what I'll do. Somehow I'll get Ellen out of the way, drag Cole into our room and let him have his way with me." She laughed some more.
Now Spencer-Ann started laughing. "Wait, wait, it'll work this way. Me and Donna will kidnap her and stuff her into the trunk of our car, blindfolded, bound and gagged, leaving you free to pursue Prince Charming."
"Then, then, with Ellen still in the trunk," Donna said, breaking up, "we'll head south and drop her off in Miami Beach."
"No, no, we'll drop her off in Key West," Spencer-Ann said, holding her stomach, her face all red, almost screaming in hysterics. "That'll give you even more time, Kayla. You could screw him dry."
Diners turned their heads, staring at these three out of control young women laughing themselves silly. They could barely answer the waitress who came over to ask if they wanted something else. "Just the check," Kayla managed to get out while bent over, banging her fist on the table.
It took a few minutes for them to calm down. "Okay, so now that you're happy again," Donna said, "let's hit the beach."
"Good idea," Kayla said, before they paid the check and headed back to The Beachcomber to change.
Cole tried to push Kayla out of his mind. He was in Lauderdale with a girl he loved, and they were having a great time, doing what people their age normally did during spring break—hitting the beach during the day, sometimes clubbing at night. Both liked to drink but not to the point of getting sloshed, wasted like so many of the kids here, binge drinkers who often ended up in emergency rooms. A small percentage even died each year. Cole and Kayla were lucky; they had what some called the ideal spring break vacation, the three Ss—suds, sun and sex—and not necessarily in that order. While others were on the prowl, searching for their fantasy bed mate, they were back at The Beachcomber making whoopee.
Vacation or not, Cole stuck to his training regimen. While Ellen slept, he got up early and ran as much as ten miles to keep in shape. If he didn't join the Marines, he planned to attend college, maybe get back to those two football recruiters who had expressed an interest in him. That's primarily why, on this third day in Lauderdale at seven in the morning, he was running as he normally did on a beach all but empty save for squawking seagulls and a few people out for an early morning stroll. He ran near the water's edge in green shorts, barefoot and shirtless, his straight, brown hair blowing in the wind. His skin was beginning to tan and, as tanning usually did, it brought out the best of his muscular, athletic physique. He loved the feel of wet sand under his feet and breathing in the soothing, clean salt air. He looked forward to a hearty pancake breakfast with Ellen and then more fun in the sun.
He was on his way back, less than a mile from The Beachcomber, when he saw someone he didn't expect to see: Kayla. Or was it? From close to a full football field away, it kind of looked like Kayla. Then again, it could have been another hot blond coming his way. But Kayla, like him, exercised regularly, so it was possible. She was running in the opposite direction in white shorts and a peach colored halter top, coming toward him, her long blond hair flying around her face. He laughed to himself thinking of that corny Clairol ad: "the closer he gets, the better you look...!" Then, when he closed to within fifty yards, he had little doubt it was she. He was sure she'd ignore him, would run right by him as she would a total stranger. And if she did, no problem; he'd keep on going, wouldn't say a word. When she got to within ten yards, he could see her slowing down, even smiling. Then she stopped.
"Well, well, well," she said. "We meet again. Where's your girlfriend, nursing a hangover? No, don't tell me. She's exhausted from all the sex. Am I right?"
"Still sleeping," he said, trying to ignore the sarcasm. "And your friends? Where are they?"
She laughed. "Now THEY are nursing a hangover. Or at least Spencer-Ann is. Donna's back in the room, making sure Spence doesn't puke her brains out." She looked him over, focusing her eyes on his abs and sculptured pectorals. "I must say, Cole, you look—what did you call me the other day?—boss, totally boss."
"We're the bossiest couple on the beach."
"We're not a couple anymore, remember?"
"Ah, you're right. Okay, then we're the bossiest EX-couple on the beach. How's that?"
She looked off toward the ocean and shook her head. "You know, I was doing okay until about thirty seconds ago. " She wiped her eyes. "Damn it! Why do I cry every time I see you?"
He scratched his head, looked up, shuffled his feet. He didn't know what to say. He knew what he wanted to do. "Kayla, I'm—"
"Yeah, I know, you're sorry. You're always fucking sorry. Well, so am I, sorry for..." She pulled her hair back, shook her head.
"I know, sorry for ever meeting a lousy, no good, two-timing cad like me." He smiled, hoping his self deprecation might help.
She got in his face, letting the tears roll freely down her cheeks. "Sorry for still loving you, damn it! I still fucking love you, can't you see that?!"
His discipline collapsed like a sand castle. He threw his arms around her, closed his eyes and then commenced to kiss her like he did when things were good between them, when they were known as the "sweethearts of Damascus High," when life somehow seemed a lot simpler. For a brief shining moment, he lost himself to the passion she gave in equal measure, absorbing her deep kisses, her silky hair, her lemony scent, her perfect body that so used to frustrate him because he wanted it all, not just in token parts. He still wanted it. Boy, did he want it, craved it is more like it. And, to his utter surprise, she began to act like she was willing to give it, thrusting her loins into his, then shoving her hand down his shorts and wrapping it around his cock. She never did that before. He had always been the aggressor. Now, it appeared, the tables had turned.
"You want me, Coley? Okay, you can have me. Right here on this beautiful beach under this beautiful sunrise. Take me, Coley, take me. Come on, Coley, fuck me. You know you want to."
Of course he wanted to. But was she serious? Or was she just testing him? She had to know that doing it here would land them in the slammer; not to mention the fact that there were people in proximity; not to mention the little matter of Ellen.
She looked around, taking note of the passersby. "Look, my girlfriends will get lost for a couple hours. We can have the room all to ourselves." She looked up at him, her big blue eyes almost pleading with him to say yes. Then she took his hand and shoved it down her shorts. "Bet you never thought my pussy could get this wet, did you? You're hard and I'm wet and wanting you. You, Cole Reynolds, you who used to want me so bad it turned your balls blue. Well, now you can have me."
This was torture, emotional and physical torture. He couldn't do that to Ellen. Yet how could he resist the irresistible? How does any man, especially when tempted by the Kaylas of the world? She had her hand around his cock; he had his fingers up her pussy. The sun was on the rise. Seagulls squawked. Palm trees swayed in the cool morning breeze. Waves whooshed gently upon the shore. And here he stood close to tears, trapped in the middle of a tug-of-war between his carnal desires and doing the right thing.
He stepped back and held her face in his hands. "Kayla, a part of me will love you till the day I die. And if I ever wanted any girl more than I want you at this very moment, I can't recall who. But I can't go on hurting people. It won't work. Not now. Not here."
He expected her to slap him, to unleash a fusillade of profanity at the very least. Instead, she nodded, reached up and gently touched his face. "You're a good guy, Cole Reynolds. Ellen's a lucky girl. She won't need to be kidnapped after all."
"Oh, nothing. Something my silly friends made up," she said, chuckling. She pulled him toward her and then kissed him, as loving and tender a kiss as he'd ever received from anyone. "I'll see you around, okay? You take care." She started to jog up the beach, then turned around. "But if you ever change your mind..." He smiled and nodded, waited until she was out of sight and then started back toward The Beachcomber.
Upon his return, he expected to see Ellen sound asleep, or perhaps watching the "Today" show. However, when he opened the door, the TV was off and she was sitting straight up on a white wicker chair, her arms crossed stiffly over her chest, dressed in jeans, halter top and blue Keds. "You're up early," he said. He could see she'd been crying, and he could see she looked mad.
"Yes, I am up early. Too early for my own good. How was your run?"
He grabbed a towel, draped it over his shoulders and sat on the edge of the bed. "Great. I love running on the beach. Seconds passed, tense and silent. "Okay, I give up. What's going on?"
She shook her head. "You tell me. I get up early and walk down to the beach, hoping I can catch you at the tail end of your run, hoping to surprise you, thinking we can walk together along the shore, watching the sunrise. But the surprise is on me, because there you are, getting all loving and indecent on a public beach with another woman, a one, Kayla Ranucci."
He looked down, took a deep breath and shook his head. Then he told her what happened, from the time they met until she jogged off into the sunrise. "So that's the story. I'm sorry you had to see that."
"Yeah, me too. Well, what goes around comes around, right? I mean, Kayla was on the receiving end at homecoming, and now it's my turn, I suppose."
"It's not like that, Ellen," he said, meekly. "I love you, not her."
"You could have fooled me, what with the way you were holding her and kissing her, doing everything but screwing her. And I'm sure you'd have done that too had it been nighttime."
"Not true," he said, though he knew it could be.
"Look, Cole, at least admit that you still have feelings for her, if not emotionally than at least in the way that your cock understands best. Kayla's very pretty. She's a hot number, I get that."
"You're a hot number, too, El. And as far as my cock, yes, it's got a mind of its own. But it takes directions from up here," he said, pointing to his brain. "I control IT, IT doesn't control me." This was another partial truth that he'd let stand. He kneeled down and took her hands in his. Look, it's still early. Let's take that walk you talked about. Then we can have ourselves a nice breakfast, lie on the beach or around the pool for awhile, and then make love all afternoon." He looked down between his legs. "You hear that cock? I'm calling you to duty. That is, if my sexy girlfriend here will take me back into her good graces."
She wiped her tears, reached out and hugged him. "You're too damn good looking for your own good, you know that? I'm surprised that Kayla's the ONLY chick who's tried to hit on you down here."
He stood up and pulled her into his arms. They kissed for awhile before he washed up, threw on a T-shirt and stepped into his Jack Purcell sneakers. Then, hand in hand, they headed for the beach.
On the morning it was time to leave, Ellen stood on The Beachcomber parking lot, helping Cole load up the GTO. Across the lot, she saw Kayla loading up the trunk of her dad's big blue '63 Chevy Impala. Kayla caught Ellen's stare and stared back—a cold if not downright hostile stare is the way Ellen read it. Ellen wanted the break the ice, thought some type of peace offering was in order. She, unlike Kayla, harbored no hard feelings. Moreover, she'd be seeing her in class when they got back. So why not try to ease the tension? They didn't need to be enemies just because they weren't friends.
Kayla crossed her arms against her chest as Ellen approached, appeared anything but welcoming. "Yes, can I help you?"
"I just wanted to say that I hope you and your friends had a good time," Ellen said.
Kayla stood stiff and rigid in the same tight white slacks she wore when she bumped into Cole at the ice machine. "It's spring break. Why wouldn't we?"
Ellen threw her hands on her hips. "Look, Kayla, I know what you must think of me. I'd feel the same way if things were reversed."
"Would you now. Thanks, I'm touched. Anything else?"
"No, nothing else. Sorry I bothered you."
Ellen began to walk away when Kayla stepped forward. "Wait. Look, I'm sorry. It's all water under the bridge. What happened, happened, what always happens when two girls are in love with the same guy. One of them gets hurt. I had my turn with Cole, now it's your turn. Like I told him, you're a lucky girl."
"You told him that? When?"
"A few days ago when I saw him running on the beach and we, well, I'll spare you the gory details."
"It's okay. I saw you and Cole on the beach that morning, gory details and all. You two put on quite a show." Ellen proceeded to tell Kayla how that came to be.
"Jesus, Ellen," Kayla said sympathetically, holding her head in her hands, "you must have been foaming at the mouth."
"That, and thinking of ways to kill him. Now I know how you felt at homecoming."They both laughed.
Kayla embraced her. "See you back at school. And tell Cole to drive safe. Sometimes he acts like he's A.J. Foyt behind the wheel."
"Yes, I know."
They hugged before Ellen walked back to the car, thinking how right Kayla was. Ellen Goldfarb was indeed a lucky girl.
May 30, 2018 in romance