The loud greedy squawks from the seagulls outside pulled me from my dreamless sleep. What time was it? From the weak rays of sunlight that warmed my shack-like house I guessed it was somewhere around six o’clock. I sat up quickly wanting to change into the closest bikini then head down for a morning surf when a sudden throbbing wracked my head.
“Erghh...!” I moaned as I cupped my lightly calloused hands to my head. “What the hell happened?” It was then that the myriad of memories flooded my brain of the events that passed yesterday.
The surfboard cracking against my head.
Waking up in dry clothes in an unfamiliar house.
The gentle, scarred, tattooed, blushing, muscled giant with dimples so deep my diaphragm would forget to work causing my momentary lapse in breathing.
I swivelled my aching head around looking for him. Would he have stayed the night? It was then I noticed the blanket that covered half my body and the note sitting on the coffee table. I picked it up and smiled as I read Ray’s surprisingly neat handwriting.
I didn’t have the heart to wake you up after sweeping the water out. You had a very eventful day and I don’t blame you for falling asleep... even if it did bruise my ego a little bit. Just kidding.
It was a pleasure meeting you Seychelles, and if you ever need help with anything at all don’t hesitate to give me a call. I’ll be there.
I hope I’m not out of line when I say that you look beautiful when you sleep.
PS. Your snoring is very cute.
My hand flew to my mouth. Oh God, he heard me snoring?! Did I snore? Maybe he was just joking... How embarrassing. In any case, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I traced my fingers over the letter and re-read the few short sentences.
Did he really think I was beautiful?
I shook my head and gingerly stood up and when I wasn’t being attacked by the hammering of a thousand tiny hammers against my skull I walked to my bedroom to change into a bikini and grabbed my towel.
I pouted when I realised that the surf board I used yesterday hadn’t been at Ray’s house and I came to the conclusion that it was either broken or long gone. Instead of grabbing another surf board, I decided on just walking along the beach. My idiocy of actually going out in the water during yesterday’s storm made me cringe and I made a mental note to thank Ray again for saving my life.
I rubbed my arms with my hands as I walked barefoot down the cool sandy banks to the beach. Goosebumps prickled up on my skin due to the colder weather this morning. Despite the coldness however, I enjoyed the weak rays of sunlight that barely warmed my skin.
The tide was low this morning and the water waved from far back only rushing forward to barely tickle my toes. The wet sand was littered with starfish that were left stranded by the water and as I walked along the water’s edge I bent down and toss them, one by one, back into the cool water. The sky showed no hint of the storm that had passed; instead the sky was painted with rough streaks of white clouds.
One by one, I threw the starfish back with a light splash into the salty water until I spotted a big, dark figure in the distance on the sand bank. I smiled and made my way towards the beast of a man sitting on the sandy banks staring at the ocean.
I glanced down at my watch for probably the hundredth time wondering why I was waiting to see a flash of blonde hair in the water as the owner rode the wave. Seychelles was probably still sleeping for all I knew after nearly dying yesterday.
Just the same as every morning I woke up covered in sweat from re-living the near fatal gunshots in my dreams and dressed to head down to the beach. My leg was much tighter and sore this morning than others and the fact that I had no crutches to aid me around made me wince as I hobbled down the hidden path to the beach.
I was so used to gazing out and seeing Seychelles paddling out deeper into the water before riding back on a wave as I sat on the soft sand. However, this morning I was greeted by a calm ocean void of anything except the hungry seagulls. I plopped down onto the sand and felt the tiny grains between my toe and under my feet while my mind began to wander.
It had been just over six months...
I’d received no word from Tom or anyone else at the base for six months, since the letter I’d read when I woke from hospital. I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed at the lack of communication from my best friend but there wasn’t anything I could do. There’d been times when I sat at the table with a blank piece of paper staring straight back at me and my pen hovering over the sheet, but nothing came to mind on what I should say.
I’m healing well... How’s the blistering heat over on your side of the world?
No, it didn’t seem quite letter-worthy.
I had to admit that I missed the funny bastard. He was serious when he was on duty and any time I needed him but he could switch off like a light and transform into this lady-charming, joke-telling man when he was relaxing.
I pulled the sleeves of my jacket down when a chilly wind picked up. It broke my mind chatter and forced me to look back out to the empty ocean. I was half glad Seychelles decided against going out to surf again this morning, and yet the other half of me was disappointed I would miss out on seeing her twist her body back and forth as she steered her board over the glassy surface of the water.
“Mind if I join you?”
The sweet, delicate voice that I already seemed attuned to made my eyes snap up to Seychelles’ emerald irises. She was wearing a loose knitted sweater that dropped down to show her sun kissed shoulder and well worn ripped denim shorts that were so short she might as well not have bothered wearing them. Her tangerine coloured bikini strap wrapped around her neck and on her lips she wore a shy smile.
An involuntary smile crept onto my lips before I scrambled to stand up, “I don’t mind at all... Sleepy Beauty” I winked at her cheekily.
She laughed and rolled her eyes at me, “Please tell me you were joking when you mentioned my snoring”
I slipped off my jacket and laid it on the sand before motioning for her to sit on it. Only after she smiled and sat down did I sit down next to her and continuing, “Maybe, maybe not”
She rolled her eyes again but playfully shoved her shoulder against mine. Even through her thick jumper and my long sleeve shirt I could feel the warm tingles spread up my arm from just her touch. What the hell was that?
I peeked over at her but she was staring at the ocean while the wind flicked her hair across her face, seemingly lost in her thoughts. I was never really one to talk much and it felt good to be able to sit with her without needing to fill the silence with chatter. I’d only known her for a day and it already seemed as though we’d been good friends for years.
“Thank you” she whispered. It was so quiet it was almost lost to the wind. “For saving me, that is. I know I thanked you yesterday... but I just really can’t thank you enough. You saved my life Ray. That kind of thing doesn’t happen every day to people like us. So thank you”
She flashed me such a genuine and sincere smile that I couldn’t return it. “Well, your life was definitely worth saving Seychelles. And you’re welcome”
I rubbed at my leg again and stretched it out wincing a little at the throbbing over the gunshot wounds. “What happened to your leg, Ray?”
“I was shot” I answered simply. “Well, shot twice really”
From the corner of my eye I could see her surprised face and her mouth hang wide open. “What?! What do you mean you were shot? How? When?”
“It’s a long story... but I’ll give you a snippet” I sighed and rubbed at it again. “I’m a Lieutenant in the Air Force and was off duty when our base was attacked by an unidentified force. Apparently it was a suicidal mass shooting and there were many of us who were either not or barely armed. I was leading my team to the armoury when I was shot through the leg twice while my back was turned.
‘It nearly killed me from the amount of blood I lost, but they managed to save me and I was shipped back home to recover and recuperate. At least until I’m physically and mentally able to return.” I turned to look at her wide eyes, “The Air Force is my life. It’s... strange not being active, but I guess it’s about time I was forced onto a vacation. If you could call this a vacation. I hadn’t seen my mom for about ten years”
Silence fell over us, with nothing but the crashing waves and whistling wind as music, as she let the information I gave her sink in. “Wow... So I was saved by a Lieutenant huh?” she smirked, “That’s pretty sexy”
I ducked my head and blushed, cursing my easy embarrassment for compliments like those. I admired her for not questioning me more about the shooting and instead replied with a single sentence that cheered up the conversation, “Nah not really. I guess it’s instilled in me to help and protect others”
I glanced down at my watch and sighed. “Have somewhere to be, Lieutenant?” she asked cocking her head slightly.
“Yeah, actually. I have an appointment with the doctor at the hospital, apparently this is where I may or may not be ‘allowed’ to do more rigorous work” I was actually kind of nervous. I was desperate to get the official ‘yes’ from the Doc so I could get back into shape and I hoped that yesterday didn’t set me back. Not that I regretted it, not at all!
I heaved myself up and Seychelles copied me before dusting off my jacket and handing it to me. “Thanks” she nodded her head at my jacket, “Well, uh... I guess I’ll see you around. Good luck with the appointment”
“Thanks Sleeping Beauty” I smirked. “Hopefully I’ll bump into you soon”
With one last smile she turned around and walked back the way she came while I spun back to the pathway and collected my crutches on the way. I didn’t want to tire myself out before I was tested.
I was ecstatic!
The doctor was more than happy with my progress and gave two thumbs up for me to get back to physical activities again and the first thing I wanted to do was put my free membership to the gym to good use. I was driving my old car back to my house whistling a tune that matched my happy mood. The sun was blazing brightly in the cerulean sky and birds sang brightly.
I cut the engine on the drive way and made my way to the front door when I suddenly stopped. Perhaps it was the airman in me, or maybe it was just instinct but I knew that someone else besides my mom was at home.
I silently walked over and, not surprisingly, the front door was open. The deep chuckle of a man came from the kitchen and I wondered who the mystery man could be. I was more than ready to knock the lights out of any man who would hurt my mom.
“These are, swear to all that is holy and unholy, the best cookies on the face of the planet Sandy” The man gushed through a mouthful of, apparently, cookies.
The voice was immediately familiar and a grin broke out onto my face. “Tom! What the hell are you doing here?” I called out as I walked around the corner.
Tom’s raven black hair was longer than the last time I saw him but other than that he was exactly the same. The same chestnut brown eyes that crinkled slightly at the corners when he smiled and his laugh was still as boisterous as ever.
Tom turned to me and the next thing I know he’d jumped off the chair he was sitting on and ran over to tackle me to the ground. I groaned. “So the little man child has finally showed up! Good to see you Beast!” He laughed as he messed up my hair that had grown a little and stood up. “I was expecting you back already! What’s taking you so long?!”
“Fu-freaking hell, Tom!” I corrected myself glancing over at my mom, “I’m still recovering! The doctor said it’d be a least a year and I only just got clearance from him to be able to do physical work”
“Rayray, that’s fantastic news!” Mom squealed but Tom rolled his eyes at me.
“Clearance, smearance... it’s a good thing I’m here then because the Beast I know would only ever follow orders from the higher ups. Looks like I’ll need to give you a little push to get back onto track. You look like you gained a few inches around your waist there buddy” He patted my still flat stomach.
I knocked his hands away and rolled my eyes. “I was about to smart ass... I came back home to change so I could head over t the gym to get started again. I’ve missed it”
Tom nodded his head and sat back down on the chair, “Good. It’s just not the same without the Beast on the prowl for weak links back at the base.
“Give me a minute to change then we’ll both head over to the gym. I’ve already signed up to it.
“Well get going then! Time’s a-wasting”
“The Beast is in the house!” Tom shouted as we entered the gym. A few men glanced our way before rolling their eyes and concentrating on their weights again while a few of the women present gave us an appreciative once over. “Yum, yum” he commented quietly at the ones running on the treadmill.
I felt back to my normal self as I huffed another breath out as I pushed the heavy weights up. Sweat trickled down my face and covered my skin from the effort it took. Tom and I had been at the gym for almost an hour already and he was acting more like an angry coach than a friend who ‘wanted to give me that little extra push’.
“That’s it Beast! Give me one more! Don’t be such a girl!” he shouted from behind me.
“Beast, huh? That actually suits you quite well” A honey sweet voice commented from my side. That sexy voice could only be one woman. Seychelles.
She’d caught me off guard and I quickly looked over to her and lost concentration on the weights I was currently holding above me. Seychelles was wearing a black and yellow cropped top and a pair of tight black leggings with running shoes and her skin was slick with sweat. She was throwing me a half smirk and winked when she caught my eye. It was only of the sexiest sights I’d ever seen.
The weights swayed and tilted a little too far to my left. Before I could centre it above me again it quickly swung further and fell straight to the ground... taking me with it. I fell off the bench press with a heavy thud and ended up lying on the ground. I swiftly scrambled up to see if she saw that horrifyingly embarrassing moment.
Of course she did.
“Shit! That was my bad Beast!” Tom apologised.
“Ray are you okay?!” Seychelles called out running towards me.
“I’m fine, I’m fine” I quickly said, “It’s just my dignity and pride that hurts a little. So what are you up to Sleeping Beauty” I smiled at her while I stood up.
Before she could answer Tom snorted with laughter. “Sleeping Beauty? Shouldn’t her name be ‘Beauty’ if she’s going to be affiliated with you? You are, after all, the Beast “
So, I’ve done a quick tally and the votes are in! Ray shall be played byyyyyyyyy *drum roll*
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson!
Here are the votes:
Dwayne Johnson – 33 votes
Jason Momoa – 31 votes
David Bautista – 5 votes
So it’d always been a close call between the two but in the end The Rock won. Howeverrrrrr, this was just so I could put a cast on the side for y’all. If you imagine Ray to be someone else then by all means imagine him your way =)
Thank you for all your lovely comments!