Ch. 24 This Could Be Paradise

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***Beth

They took their time showering and scrubbing each other clean in the bathroom at the bungalow. When he was done rinsing off, Russell offered to go pick up lunch, to which Beth readily agreed. He said he would be a while because he needed to grab another few things in town. Alone, she dried with a towel and found a pair of shorts and a nearly see-through t-shirt.

So, Russell couldn't seem to control himself around her anymore. Things were coming along splendidly. It had been on the tip of her tongue to tell him to buy more condoms in town. She was down to two and thought he would know better what to buy than she would. However, she couldn't bring herself to say it out loud. Some irrational fear whispered that she would break the spell around them that day if she pointed out their dwindling supply of protection. He had told her that he could not give her tomorrow, and she did not want to remind him that they were already there.

She took a book with her to the hammock in the yard in order to lay it across her face while she had a nap, waiting for him to return. He woke her up with a kiss and he scooped her up in his arms, only to throw her on the bed and make love one more time before lunch.

After eating, they napped together, limbs entwined through the hottest part of the day until it was about 3:30.

"Could we go to the beach this afternoon?" Beth asked him, propping her head in one hand and running her fingers through his chest hair with the other.

"When you ask me like that, you can have anything you want," he replied.

"Oh, I'll take a piña colada and a foot massage in that case."

"Done! Let's save it for tonight, though," he said and kissed her. "For this afternoon I think going to the beach is a great idea. I'll get the snorkeling gear and stuff in the car if you can grab some towels and anything else you want. Deal?"

She packed a beach bag with everything she thought they needed—finally, she could rub sunscreen on Russell! She was so excited, her hands were shaking. She also put some cash in an inner pocket. One condom left, and if things went her way, that wouldn't last them the rest of the day, much less the rest of the night. They had a flight out of Kauai tomorrow afternoon and then it was on to Denver in the evening. She tried not to count how many hours that would be. Or how many hours she could spend on the beach versus how many in bed with Russell.

Life was complicated, and things would only get worse when the vacation was over. Her camera was on the table and she caught a quick picture of Russell smiling as he loaded the car.

Hanalei Bay was the same as the day before: sun-drenched and not too crowded. Russell sat down patiently while she rubbed and rerubbed him several times, ostensibly to protect his skin, but in reality making up for lost opportunities.

"I think you've covered me at least three times, Beth," he said. "When do I get to do your back?"

She submitted with relish to his attention and they let the sunscreen soak in few minutes. Kids laughed and screamed, adults chatted and read books, and teenagers flirted. Beth loved it.

"Do you know what this place needs?" she asked.

"Hmm?"

"A seaside portrait studio," she stated. It was all clear to her now. She had not seen a single photography studio the whole time they had been in this town—which is not to say they didn't have any, but there should have been one across the street. "Look at these people doing wonderful things and having a great time. I bet most of them would love the opportunity for a professional picture taken of themselves here in the sand."

"Well, most people who want a professional are getting married and they book that in advance."

"Actually, most people don't know they want a professional for the regular vacation stuff. It's only when they get home and realize that they had the picture setting on for night time shots the whole trip do they regret not spending an extra twenty for a couple of really nice portraits. And I'm not talking about the cheesy quick pictures that tourist trap places take and then digitally insert you into a barrel going over Niagara Falls. No, I mean genuine, on the beach portraits, with emotions and authentic backgrounds, a discount for families, and all the beauty of real life caught in its pure messiness; pictures that you can receive by mail, email or on a CD, with the studio across the street. In another life or alternate universe, I am doing this."

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