Replica of Alexander the Great
DAY ONE: CHAPTER THREE
“Whoa, what’s happening?” Tyler asked as Xander tried to take control of the car.
“I’m experiencing my first déjà vu. No, wait.” Jesse giggled like a girl as the tow bar came off just as the SUV came to an abrupt stop. His nose slammed into the back of the headrest just like the last time. “Yep, definitely a déjà vu.”
The white jeep ahead of them swerved to the right and briskly moved off the road. “Oh god.” The three girls sitting in the back seat screamed at the top of their lungs as Kaleb turned the steering wheel and slammed his foot on the brake pedal. The jeep turned twice on the sand before halting.
As soon as everyone shuffled out of the car, Xander threw the tow bar in Kaleb’s direction. “What the hell was that? Did you doze off or something?”
“Casey was crying and I got distracted, sorry!”
“Did you say Casey cried?” Jesse’s jaw dropped and narrowed his eyes at Kaleb. “Are you sure it was her? Blonde hair, blue eyes – “
“She’s the only blonde here.” Kaleb snapped. “I know who Casey is and she cried.”
“Why don’t you go to that bar over there and announce it to everyone?” Casey shouted and mimicked him. “Casey cried.”
“You could’ve killed us all!” Tyler picked up a handful of sand and threw it at Kaleb. “Asshole!”
“Hey, blame those girls, man!” Kaleb did the same as Tyler. “They were talking about very interesting things!”
“Don’t put it on us.” Paris scoffed. “You left the steering and turned around completely in your seat.”
“Hey, so was Xander.”
Xander gaped at Kaleb in disbelief. “I wasn’t the one driving a jeep and towing an SUV, dickhead.”
“They were talking about underwater kisses and American supermodels. It was hard not to listen in to their conversation.”
Xander pretended he didn’t hear what Kaleb said. “Knobhead.”
“Stop calling me names! It’s not my fault.”
“Oh, so it’s mine?”
Xander and Kaleb started shouting in each other’s face.
“You didn’t even know where to go.”
“I knew that we were supposed to meet them at the pier.”
“What pier? He clearly said at the yacht parking spot.”
“Well, at least I knew how to reach there.”
“Oh, please. You would’ve made a fool of yourself hadn’t I seen you guys by the side of the road. And who doesn’t have a spare with them?”
“Am I supposed to predict the future ’cause losing control of the car and getting a flat tire were the last things anyone would expect.”
“Alright, just admit it, Xander. Both of us didn’t know where to go.”
“Okay, fine. Neither of us knew nada!”
“What?!” The others joined in. “You guys had no idea where to take us? That’s great ’cause look at us now! We’re in the middle of nowhere, with endless sand and saltwater. And what kind of a beach is this? I don’t see people around.”
They were arguing with each other, words overlapping until someone whistled from behind them. “Hey!”
A tall guy with bright blue eyes watched them with amusement and his dark blonde hair danced along with the cool breeze of the sea. Dark blue button down and beige shorts drew attention to his athletic build. He stared at eight startled faces who stared back at him.
Kaleb and Xander’s hands were around each other’s collars, Paris and Ellie were still bickering with Jesse and Tyler, Casey’s face was tear – stained and Hope’s dress had a pink blotch, like a splash. She was the first one to speak. “Vincent.”
The towering man grinned at her. “Missed me, Hobbit?”
Hope’s face lit up like Christmas lights as she ran into his arms with a squeal and his arms spontaneously circled around her wrist. A surprised, low laugh rumbled from his chest as he spun her around. She didn’t realize how much she had missed him until she felt the echo of his soft laugh in her ear.
“You have no idea, Vinny.” She buried her nose in his neck and inhaled his musky scent. He released her with a chuckle and intertwined their hands as everyone walked up to him. He talked to all of them, one by one, never letting go of her hand.
Hope looked up at her best friend with a tiny smile. She had known Vincent since they were five years old. He was there in every chapter of her life and he once said that she’s his ride – or – die friend. Just like he was hers.
Vincent smirked, feeling her eyes on his face. “Am I that good – looking today?”
Hope smiled and squeezed his hand. “I’ve never been so pleased to see you.”
Jesse threw an arm around her shoulders. “We’re all just a little shaken up from our slight brush with death.” He pointed his thumb at the two wrecked cars.
Vincent frowned. “What happened? Is everyone okay?”
They let out a collective sigh. “Don’t ask.”
Vincent kissed her head tenderly. He just knew how to make her feel better. That’s what Hope loved about their life – long friendship. He always read her body language, understood her inside out and he knows her more than herself. With those two, actions spoke a million feelings than words could.
“Can we just get off this beach?” Tyler asked.
“Yeah, I don’t want more sand in my eyes.” Kaleb commented.
“Wait, what about the cars?” Xander asked.
“For now, grab your bags. I’ll send them for service.” Vincent said as he opened the trunk. “The yacht’s ready.”
As they walked towards the docks, Vincent looked down at the stain on Hope’s dress. “You hate strawberries and it’s your go – to outfit.”
“I know. I just want to tear it to shreds.”
“It’s cherry vanilla.” Casey yelled over her shoulder.
Some guy was navigating the yacht as Hope planted her ass on the deck, the view in front of her entirely blue. Vincent and Tyler sat on either side, a beer can in hand. She snatched it from Tyler before he can take a sip and took a long gulp. “Ah, you just know what I need.”
He grinned and took the can from her. “Wow, how long has it been since the three of us sat like this and shared beer?”
Vincent took a sip out of the can. “Last year on my birthday. You both came to New York and we had a night out. I saw Hope only once after the engagement party – “
She took another sip of their beer. “Night at the museum.”
“That sleepover thing for kids and adults?”
She nodded and passed the can to Tyler, glancing at Vince. “I did my duties as the best woman, but that sleepover was the only time we spent without worrying about the wedding.”
Tyler sighed and downed the rest of the beer. “Maybe two weeks on a private island is exactly what we all need.”
“Welcome to Bluestone!” Vincent grinned as his friends gawked at the place they’re going to live in for the next two weeks. More specifically, a colossal white home with arched glass doors and windows. Hope’s fingers brushed across the wrought iron black stair railing as they walked up to the front door. Vintage landscapes decorated the walls of the foyer and a modern crystal chandelier hung above them on the ceiling.
“Damn.” Tyler whispered as he goggled at the butterfly stairway in front of him. “It feels like we’re in a soapy show.”
“Hi, I’m Nell – the wedding coordinator.” A woman in her mid – 20′s in a body hugging creme suit and dark hair twisted in a flawless bun greeted them with a chirpy smile. “Welcome to paradise.” She pushed frosted welcome bags into their hands as some people wearing identical outfits; probably housekeeping, escorted their bags up to their respective rooms. “Come on in, Miss Silverstein’s waiting for you.”
“Oh, this feels so royal.” Tyler commented as everyone watched Jesse follow Nell without blinking. “He is hooked.”
Hope caught a glance at Miss Silverstein over Nell’s shoulder. There was warmth her dark brown hair and eyes brought to her features. She threw her arms around her. “Hey, Hop!”
Hope awkwardly patted her back. She spent an entirety of forty seven minutes with the bride, so she still wasn’t used to her. “Hey, Sel.”
“Hey, girls!” Selena shared a group hug with her three best friends and introduced herself to Jesse and Tyler. “Hey, babe.” She shared a passionate kiss with her fiancé.
“How was your ride?”
Everyone started muttering under their breaths as Selena’s cousin explained to her. “We lost control of the SUV, got a flat tire, our car was towed by Kaleb’s jeep which lost control because he was interested in girl gossips, the tow bar came off and we almost died twice, the jeep went off the road and stopped on the beach, we threw sand and yelled at each other until your fiancé interrupted us, thankfully or I swear we would’ve started a war, and then we got on the yacht and came to the house.”
Selena blinked at Xander and glanced at the people behind him who were looking into their welcome bags. “Wow. That was…action – packed.”
Jesse pulled out a pink colored round box. He scrunched up his face when he read the label on it. “A candle for epic fails smells like one teeny, tiny mistake, OK? It’s like all handmade and stuff.”
Tyler looked at his. “A candle for messy people smells like a potential genius. Just look at Einstein, Steve Jobs and all those people on Hoarders.”
“Sarcastic candles, really?” Paris said in disbelief but smiled when she read hers. “A candle for hipsters. Coffee, bacon and craft beer smells just like your beard.”
Just as Hope took her blue candle out, she heard footsteps from behind.
She stiffened. She knew that voice. Hope turned around so fast that she was afraid her bones would snap.
The man in front of her looked like a replica of Alexander the Great in one of the paintings in her museum. He was two or three inches over six feet with the most magnificent pair of green eyes. Thin droplets of water dripped down his bare torso, disappearing into the tiny towel wrapped around his slender hips. A few strands of his dark hair fell over his eyes as they glanced around the living room before resting on Hope. His eyes widened and he lost his grip on the towel.
“Holy guacamole!” Jesse and Tyler buried their faces in the lavish curtains while Xander and Kaleb hid behind the tall pillars.
“Mother fathers!” Vincent covered his eyes with one hand and his fiancée’s with the other, who shrieked, “Corn nuts!”
“Cheese and crackers!”
“Peas and rice!”
Paris and Ellie exclaimed in unison, gawking at the outline of his–
“Relax, he’s not naked.” Casey said blankly and everyone let out a collective sigh of relief. “He’s wearing a – “
“Speedo?” Jesse laughed. “Well, hello! Princess Consuela Banana hammock.”
“Shut up, Crap Bag.” Vincent smacked his head and turned to the guy wearing a banana hammock. “Put on some clothes, man. Our parents will be downstairs any minute.”
Vince wondered if they heard him because right then, two couples in their mid – forties made their way down each side of the staircase. “Well, hello.”
Hope was forced to avert her gaze from Liam Turner as she grinned at one of the couples, who engulfed her in a tight hug. “Diana! Nicholas!”
“Hope. It’s been too long.” Diana ran her fingers through her hair in a motherly way. “Did you find your Chris Pine yet?”
“Don’t scare her already.” Nicholas said with his always – present smile. “The question you’re supposed to ask is how many times she had sex last.”
“More like how long since she had sex.”
“Ugh.” She buried her face in her palms and groaned. “I’ve been here for three minutes and you’re already embarrassing me.”
“No, you love us.” Vincent put the weight on his arm that was on her shoulder. “You’ve been stuck with the Engelwards’ for too long to even think about hating us. Anyway, these are Selena’s parents – Marcel and Raven.”
“Oh, hi.” Hope shook hands with them. ”Nice to meet you. I’m Hope Martin.”
The elderly couple smiled widely, so wide that she thought their faces might split. “We heard so much about you from Vincent.” Raven looked at something over Hope’s shoulder. “Good god, Liam! Where are your manners?”
He smiled sheepishly as he desperately tried to cover himself. “Sorry, Rave. I just like to show off my Superman Speedo.”
“Can we please go up to our rooms now?” Jesse whined groggily. “I want to sleep ’cause I don’t want to have bags under my eyes at the welcome party tonight.” As soon as he said the words, he fell on the couch face first with a snort.
“What the hell are you doing?” Tyler hissed as Jesse mixed something in a glass of wine. “Are you spiking your own drink?”
“Shh, it’s not for me.” He grinned and held the glass up in pride as Tyler asked again, “Why do you need alcohol when you’re drinking a non – alcoholic wine?”
“It’s not for me.” Jesse repeated and glanced at Casey, who stood at the corner of the room with her Rosa Diaz stance – arms crossed and a scowl on the face. “She needs to loosen up.”
Before Tyler could talk him out of it, Jesse walked over to her with a flirtatious smile. “Wine?”
Casey looked at him and then the glass cautiously. “Why are you offering me wine?”
“I’m just being a kind man, dear.” He smiled as she hesitantly took a sip.
“Red wine’s my favorite. And it’s non – alcoholic, right?” She muttered to herself before drinking the rest of it. “Thanks.” She grabbed his glass and downed it in one go.
“Don’t mention. You need another glass?”
“Hey.” Tyler ignored them and approached a brunette with a distant look on her face, like she’s lost in thought. “I didn’t have a chance to introduce myself before. Tyler Meller.”
She laughed. “Tyler Meller? That’s like Amelia Bedelia.”
He immediately pulled out his phone and started typing, “I just met a cook and she’s comparing my name with the children’s book Amelia Bedelia. What a nut, huh?”
She rolled her eyes. “I own a restaurant. Also, I’m not a nut, you are.”
He raised his eyebrows. “What?”
“You’re typing your thoughts for the world to read because – “
“Because I’m an online reviewer and a blogger.”
“Because you’re afraid to voice your thoughts out loud.”
“What? That’s not true.” Ellie could say from his high – pitched tone that he was offended. “I just voiced my thoughts out loud while typing.”
“But you can’t look me in the eye and call me a nut.”
“Pfft, of course I can. You’re a cook who says that my name is the same as a housekeeper and – “He trailed off. “Are you always blunt with strangers?”
She shrugged and took a sip of her wine. “Does it hurt to be a forthright person?”
He watched her for a moment before shrugging back. “I guess it doesn’t. However, not introducing yourself after someone did hurts.”
She shook his hand with a soft laugh. “Ellie Barnes.”
“El?” Paris joined them. “Who are you?”
“Hi, Tyler Meller.”
“Paris West. Wow, your name reminds me of some story I read in kindergarten.”
“Yes!” Paris and Ellie laughed while Tyler glared.
“Hey, you guys!” Casey stood in between Vincent and Selena with an arm over their shoulders. “I’m so happy for you guys. My favorite baseball player and my favorite journalist are getting married! I love you guys!”
Everyone in the room stopped talking and watched her in silence.
“Uh – oh.” Tyler mumbled to himself. “Looks like the alcohol kicked in.”
A/N: There’s one more chapter before day one ends. God, so much can happen in just one day.
LOL, Katherine :)