"The sun feels nice," breathed Will, fitting his hands behind his head.
Stretched out above the sand on a wide blanket, Will and Luke relaxed their bodies. Memorial Day Weekend was less than a week away, giving the guys just enough time to get some color after a long, dull winter of gray skies and cold.
"Sunscreen?" Grady asked, sheltered under the enormous-rainbow striped umbrella that shaded him from view. Clad in a baseball hat, white t-shirt, and globs of thick sunscreen, Grady sighed loudly, returning to his magazine.
"I'm not going anywhere near that ridiculous umbrella," Luke snapped.
"I'm preventing a bad sunburn, unlike the both of you."
"It's obnoxious," Luke hissed.
Nothing made Luke cringe more than the thought of pink triangles and rainbow flags, as they sat on a beach full of scantily clad prospects. All that gay pride is better left to the lesbians, not to Luke Yates.
"Aw, come on Grady, risk some pre-cancers cells for a little summer romance," Will laughed, shading his forehead with his hand.
"Looks like we don't have to worry about Joey!" Will announced, picking up Grady's buzzing cell phone. The guys leaned in closer as the live video feed played. There I was, on a studio-created beach, a risqué shoot in nothing but a square-cut, bronzer and a great big smile...
"But, I'm a writer," I pleaded, as if no one was listening, as they kept thrusting smaller, tighter bathing suits behind the make-shirt curtain. Just an hour ago, I was sitting in the office of the Miami magazine when I was pushed, tush-first, into a photo shoot promoting the new "it" writers. Apparently my "it" was better noted in nothing but bronzer, blush and spandex.
"Come out, hurry, hurry!" a Spanish-accented photographer kept calling.
"I don't think anyone is listening to me," I yelped, as the make-up artist, stylist, and everyone else crowded around, doing their work.
"I'm flattered." I tried to speak, as my hair was being pulled, styled and spiked. "Really, I'm not even a model," I stuttered, to no avail, while hands kept shifting my swimsuit, pushing my feet into flip-flops, and constantly making adjustments.
"Dante!" I cried out, pushing my way toward him, as he came on the set. "No one is listening to me!"
"Wow, you look fabulous!!" he exclaimed, looking me over.
"Please, not you, too!"
"Take a deep breath and just relax," he whispered, taking both my hands into his and kissed me. "I will be right there, so look at me if you get nervous."
Dante winked, and after a quick shove, I was in the frame of the photographer. I don't know if it was Dante, the warm lights, or my New Miami Moxie that propelled me forward. I shucked off the white cotton robe, lost my never-for-a-split-second, and beamed.
The next morning I left Miami for New York.