He threw his board down on the sand, his eyes blazing. I was a little taken back. He said, “How many boyfriends do you need, Odette?” ————————————————–
I woke up as the sun was just peeking over the horizon and threw on my white bikini, some comfy gray sweatpants and a wooly hat. I could hear Zoe playing with Luna in the living room and when I slid open the sliding-glass doors of my bedroom and stepped out in bare feet, the birds were singing their morning chorus against the wash of blue sky. I walked down the little path of stepping stones through dunes covered with prickly sand-spurs, tiny golden flowers and vines, and made my way to the soft, cold sand of the beach. I had told Jake not to come this morning, but I needed to go and check anyway.
The ocean was ragingly beautiful with the sun sparkling across the huge, green crashing waves. I hugged my cold-self and imagined how it would be right now if I hadn’t told him not to come. I imagined him walking up the beach towards me. Maybe Milo would be running up next to him. I imagined him picking me up and kissing me. My heart started to pound just from the thought.
I sighed, sat down in the sand and slowly traced his name with my finger in the tiny grains. I wondered where he really was, what he was doing right now, if he was thinking about me or if he hated me. But even now, even missing him like this, I knew I was doing the right thing. Chris wouldn’t give me any more chances at this point. I got up, scrubbed his name out with my foot and made my way back inside to join Luna and Zoe.
The rest of the day was busy with working and taking Zoe to her appointments. It warmed up nicely by the late afternoon, early evening, so when we got back I decided to go for a jog and swim. The tide was very strong, even in the shallow ocean. So I dove under and rinsed off quickly. I dried off with my orange towel, threw it in the sand and pulled on my warm sweatpants. I was surprised when Evan walked up. He pushed his glasses up his nose and said hi. I totally had forgotten I was supposed to meet him, and was glad I just happened to be out there when I said I would be.
“Hi” I leaned to the side and squeezed the salt water out of my hair and managed to also smile at him.
He didn’t look as comfortable out here on the beach as he did last night at the party stretched out on the couch with his wine and his smug smile. He said, “Um, I talked to my sister and she wants you to come by tomorrow to talk to her if you can.”
This was awesome. “Yay! thank you, thank you!” I clasped my hands and smiled happily at him.
“You know, Odette,” he said. I could tell by the tone of his voice that something uncomfortable was going to be said next. “I didn’t mean to be such a jerk last night.”
“What do you mean?” I mumbled, unenthused, putting my hands on my hips. It didn’t matter that he had a nice face and cute glasses….he was too annoying.
“Well, asking you what you were wearing to the beach. That was a totally lame thing to say and I’m not that kind of a guy and I was kicking myself all the rest of the night over it.”
“I don’t think I even thought about it for more than like, two seconds” I said, looking up at some seagulls flying overhead.
“But your face, you looked like you were utterly creeped out.”
“Well,” I looked right at him, “I figured you’d had a few glasses of wine and guys say stupid things when they’ve had a few,” I said. “Believe me, I’ve heard it all.”
“I’m sure you have” he said. He leaned in for an awkward hug. I kind of patted his back like he was a little boy and I swear he smelled my shoulder. I stepped back, wiping off his breath. Then he turned around and left. I bit my bottom lip and laughed. He was so weird.
Then I turned to pick up my towel from the sand, but stopped when I saw someone on the beach walking towards me and I totally froze. My heart started to pound rapidly, it was like everything I had imagined this morning, at least the first part, was coming true.
Jake looked exactly how I had pictured…shirt off, holding his board, and I could barely breath with excitement and sorrow. He looked angry. I wanted to run towards him and just hold him but I knew I couldn’t. And damn it he shouldn’t be here because there was no way I was ever, ever going to get over him if he kept coming to me. I watched him walk slowly towards me, then he stopped right in front of me. He threw his board down on the sand, his eyes blazing. I was a little taken back. He said, “How many boyfriends do you need, Odette?”
I was confused. “What are you talking about?”
“I’m gong to tell Chris. I’m going to tell him that now you are fucking some nerd at the beach.”
I was horrified, then I suddenly realized he was talking about Evan. He must have seen us talking then that ridiculous hug at the end. “What are you talking about?” I laughed. “That’s crazy.” He didn’t flinch. He still looked furious and I realized he really and truly thought that I was messing around with Evan.
Then it was my turn to be angry. All the emotions that I had been suppressing came crashing into my chest. I stepped forward like I was going to tackle him or something and said clearly, “I’m not doing anything wrong. I can actually do whatever I want. Chris and I are separated and you and I…” I put my hand on my heart, “are nothing. We are nothing. So why are you here yelling at me? You have no right to even talk to me.”
He rubbed his nose and looked up at me. I was probably shaking with anger. Then his face softened and he looked so conflicted. As he looked right at my eyes I realized he was probably going to kiss me and I could have turned and walked off and ended it right there. But I let him take my arm and pull me in. I seemed to fit perfectly against this chest with his arms wrapped around me. I kissed him back and suddenly dissolved into crying over him, I didn’t want to let him go. He pulled away and looked at my tears then smoothed my hair back out of my face. He looked really happy. Then he hugged me again and I saw Evan out of the corner of my eye, watching from Luna’s porch. This was no good. Chris didn’t need to find out about this and Evan was not a person to be trusted. I didn’t want to ever leave Jake’s arms but I pulled away from him, murmured, “I told you not to come,” and picked up my sandy towel. I shook it on his feet to piss him off then walked off. I needed Chris, not this.
He said, “No Odette, don’t….don’t go. Please, Odette.”
He pretty much ripped my heart out right then on the beach. All I wanted to do was run back to him and tell him it was OK and that I needed him to be truly happy. But instead I grasped onto doing what was right and screamed at him to go. I don’t remember what I said but the words came tumbling out of my mouth then he picked up his board and was gone.
I just ran to the porch, and as I was about to brush past Evan, (who was gaping at me), and throw open the sliding doors to go inside, I turned to see Jake heading into the huge waves with his board.