Gigi was lounging by the pool, soaking up the Key Largo sun and enjoying her family’s antics, when she thought she heard a familiar voice. Swiveling her head around, she saw a young man heading toward one of the poolside bungalows carrying several suitcases. A sudden bolt of recognition shot through her, causing her to clutch her chest, but then Gigi saw a bosomy, botoxed bottle blond follow close behind.
She shrugged the episode off to wishful thinking. The man she thought she had seen would never have tied himself to a woman like that. No, no. Shake it off, girl, Gigi thought.
It must have been the hot sun causing her to imagine things. Turning in her chair, she watched her cousins roughhouse in the pool, playing an improvised game that was part water polo and part keep-away. She removed her over-sized sunglasses and baseball cap, and rose from her lounge chair to jump in the pool, joining her cousins’ horseplay. Still, Gigi turned around in the water and stared at the bungalow the couple had entered. The voice had sounded so familiar. For a split second she was sure it had been someone she used to know.
“Watch out!” yelled a cousin as a ball flew through the air, bouncing off Gigi’s head.
“Ouch, give a girl a heads up,” she complained.
Her cousin, Boomer, shot her one of his signature ear-to-ear grins and said, “I told you to duck. Get in the game, Cuz! Where were you?”
“Right here, Cuz!” cried Gigi as she attacked by splashing water and jumping on her boisterous cousin while pushing him down into the water. She then gave Boomer a ferocious noogy on his head. “You’re such a dweeb, Boomer,” she squealed as he pushed his way back up and effortlessly threw her into the deep end of the pool.
Other cousins joined in the fun.
Defending herself against an onslaught of attacks by her playful cousins, Gigi forgot about the man who had been struggling with four suitcases as he entered Bungalow Two.
She was too busy having fun.
The pool activity died down, and most of the relatives had retired to their bungalows for a little rest.
Gigi and Boomer still had plenty of energy and decided to go kayaking. While Boomer went to purchase drinks, she headed for the kayaks, which were tied up at the pier. Gigi strode into the turquoise water, struggling with one of the kayaks.
“Here, let me help you,” offered a masculine voice.
Once again Gigi had a glimmer of recognition, but shrugged it off. Without looking up, she replied, “Don’t bother. I think I’ve got it, but thanks.”
“Gigi? Gigi, is that you?”
Gigi swung around as if she had been struck by lightning. She cupped her hand over her eyes, but still couldn’t get a good look at the man standing before her as the brightness of the sun blocked his face.
“I can’t believe it. I mean, what a coincidence. Gigi, it’s me. It’s Nathan!”
“Nathan?” echoed Gigi, stunned. “Nathan, is it really you?”
In one quick, athletic move Nathan jumped into the water and retrieved a drifting kayak. “Oh my gosh, how long has it been?”
Gigi wanted to say twelve years, two months, three days, and five hours, but squeaked, “Oh, I don’t know. A long time.”
“This is unbelievable. What brings you to Key Largo?”
Gigi turned around and pointed to the pool where some youngsters were still swimming. For a few seconds, she couldn’t make any words come out of her mouth and finally yammered, “Family reunion.”
“Really? Are your parents here? I’ve got to say hello.” Nathan stretched his neck to check out the pool.
Gigi remembered the task at hand and took the kayak’s rope from Nathan’s hand. She regained her composure enough to allow herself to get a good look at Nathan. Oh gawd! He was still gorgeous, even more so. Gigi swallowed. “Why are you here, Nathan?”
Nathan’s face broke into a big toothy grin. “I’m here with my fiancée. We’re getting married this weekend.” He slapped his forehead. “This is wonderful. You’ve got to come to the wedding. I can’t wait for you to meet her.”
Gigi felt her stomach drop and her mouth go dry. She found it hard to breathe. She tried saying something but couldn’t manage the words.
Fortunately for her, Boomer arrived, carrying several bottles of water. “Nathan, is that you, man? Nathan! You old dog. Son-of-a-gun, it is you!”
Boomer dropped the water bottles and gave Nathan a big bear hug. “How long has it been?”
“About ten years,” answered Nathan, beaming at Boomer.
“Twelve,” murmured Gigi.
Boomer swiveled around. “What was that, Cuz?”
“Nothing,” replied Gigi.
“Whatcha doing here, Nat?” asked Boomer.
“I’m getting married.”
“No way. Getting married. Can’t believe it.”
“Now that you’re here, you’ve got to be my best man, Boomer. Katie and I are here by ourselves.”
Boomer flashed a quizzical look at Gigi and saw that
her jaw had dropped. “Well, I’d, um, geez, I’d be honored, bro.”
Gigi let go of the rope, stumbled away, and found a chair to fall into.
The two men followed, not noticing she was mumbling to herself–of course, Boomer, why don’t you be his best man, like you were supposed to be when Nathan and I were to be married–remember?
Boomer nudged Gigi’s chair. “Isn’t this great, Cuz? Like old times.”
Gigi waved her hand listlessly. “Sure is.”
“What are you lovebirds doing tonight, Nathan?” asked Boomer.
“I thought I’d take Katie to a place across the road called Aussie Jack’s. The owner of the motel suggested it.”
Gigi had a feeling she knew what Boomer was going
to say and shook her head, trying to get his attention.
“We’re having a family luau tonight, right here.”
“Oh, no,” whispered Gigi, hanging her head.
“Why don’t you bring your little lady and join us? We can catch up and you can see the rest of the family.”
Nathan slapped Boomer on the back. “That would be great. You can meet Katie. We’ll be happy to join you.”
Boomer beamed. “Awesome. See you tonight then. Well, now that is taken care of, Cuz, you ready to take off?”
“Oh, yeah, Boomer. I’m ready to shove off all right,” replied Gigi, angrily. She was wondering how much worse this vacation could get.
“We’re headed out on the kayaks,” explained Boomer.
Nathan declared, “Don’t let me keep you. I’ll see you two tonight.”
“Righteous, dude,” spouted Boomer as he pulled Gigi out of her chair and pushed her toward the kayaks. He
turned, waving goodbye to his family and then to Nathan, chuckling as he made his way to the kayaks.
Nathan watched Boomer and Gigi as they paddled around the mangroves and out of sight. He was thrilled to see his old friends again. And they seemed happy to see him as well. At least, Boomer did.
He wondered why Gigi seemed so standoffish and somewhat reluctant to meet his gaze. She didn’t even give him a hug. If anyone should have been glad to see him, it was Gigi. After all, they had been tight for many years. She didn’t seem happy to see him at all. She seemed stunned.
Nathan made his way slowly back to his bungalow. Yep, Gigi’s reaction was a puzzle.
Series: A Last Chance For Love Romance, Book 4
Publisher: Worker Bee Press
Length: 98 pages