The Costa Rica place wasn’t gonna be ready early. They were having it painted in anticipation of our arrival. I’d rented it for a month, not knowing what our long-term plans were, also telling the owner we may be there a few months, and to charge me whatever she felt was fair given I didn’t want her making any future bookings until I told her we were leaving. I was paying a mint for it, so she’d clearly had it in her head to make it so we’d wanna stay longer.
She went on about upgrading it with fresh paint and some additional finishes to make it nice for us and was apologetic that it’d take a few more days. I let it go. Not her fault my schedule had changed. She tried to recommend a bed and breakfast not too far and said she’d hurry the workmen up, but I declined.
So, a few more days in Aruba, sticking to the original schedule, unless I wanted to add a different spot or take our time getting there, staying somewhere else first.
I found Tia in bed, still sulking. She was staring at the television, some chick flick on.
I climbed in. “Looks like a few more days here,” I said. “Unless we wanna take a cruise or head somewhere else.”
She gave me a snotty look and her eyes moved back to the television.
“Got a problem?” I inquired.
Her mouth tightened in annoyance.
She rolled her eyes.
He was on his side, propped on his elbow, staring at me.
I kept my eyes on the TV. He didn’t take a hint.
The vacation was supposed to be good for us and he was acting like he hated every minute of it. I knew he couldn’t force himself to have fun and I also knew he was pretending the past few days for me. I could see it in his eyes, the tension, the annoyance, the fact that he was putting up with touristy things for me and doing a shitty job of it, because I knew he hated it. He wasn’t even trying to fake it until he made it. Not that I wanted him to be fake. I wanted him to be okay. And that he wasn’t made me feel guilty for even being here. What could I do? I was in a zero
“You wanna not ignore me?” he demanded.
My eyes met his. “That guy wasn’t flirting with me. He was mostly talking about his wife and kids, about their city and stuff we should do if we ever got there. In fact, he mentioned he sells life insurance three times. He probably just wanted to sell us some.”
His eyes rolled ceiling wards. “If I were talking to some chick about you, my eyes would not be on her tits. And if that fucker and I were anywhere else, I’d have knocked his teeth out for staring at you like that. It’s only because his kids were there that I didn’t make him choke on his own molars. He should fuckin’ up his own life insurance, leave money for his wife to buy a new pair of tits when I put him in the ground.”
“Possessive much?” I snapped.
His brows shot up as he looked at me like I was an idiot.
I moistened my lips. “I’m just not loving the idea of spending the next few days bored sitting around in our room. I figured we could get out and have some fun. Try to get our minds off all the crap, and---”
“Oh right. I’ll just snap my fingers,” he offered and then he snapped them and blinked at his own fingers in fake-astonishment. “Shit, yeah… shoulda done this days ago. Now I’m great. Just fuckin’ peachy.”
My expression dropped. “I’m sorry. That was insensitive of me.”
“Ah. You think?”
This was pointless. He was angry and not the kind of angry I wanted to mess with. Yeah, it’d help him release it, but I wasn’t in the mood to push his buttons and get my ass reddened. For a change.
“I’m sorry, Tommy. I’m going for a bath. To clear my head and my bad attitude. When I come out, I’ll be better. Promise.” I got up and went to the bathroom, like a dog with a tail between its legs.
Five minutes into my soak, he was in the bathroom with me. I’d been reclined. I sat up as he dropped his cream linen shirt, then his khakis, and climbed in, getting behind me and pulling me back so I was now reclined on him. His face was gentle, though. I hadn’t provoked the beast.
He gathered the length of my hair and pulled it over to one shoulder. I leaned over and kissed his forearm and then I burst into big, fat tears.
He spun me so that I was straddling him and put his hand to my jaw. “I love you, baby girl.”