Jermaine had thought of nothing but the success of this assignment. He boarded the plane with his hopes up higher than the flight would take him. Then Vera had fallen ill. He got her voicemail at the hotel.
Vera hadn’t realized that the milk in her refrigerator had turned while she was bucking for a promotion beneath Jermaine’s boss. She was quite fond of Jermaine, but Mack was much wealthier, more established, and more likely to settle down soon.
She had arrived home ravenous the next morning, never guessing that the power had been off all night. Vera only read about the fierce storm as she stirred milk into her morning coffee and drank her third cup. She finished reading the weather, made the connection, and dropped the cup as her stomach lurched.
Karma had never approached her subtly and she knew that it was going to be a vengeful bitch this time as well.
Jermaine had been far too preoccupied to notice that she had been much less than attentive lately. He had neglected her a little bit, but Vera knew she wouldn’t have needed much of an excuse. She had always been drawn to money and power. Vera grinned wickedly, thinking, Mack has all that and more.
Gizelle would be her replacement on the shoot. Man stealing little jezebel from hell, she thought, clutching her stomach, much too ill to care more deeply at the moment.
Jermaine knew he would lose the shoot entirely, possibly with his enviable career, if he couldn’t pull off an incredible feat of magic. He paced the room, mumbling to himself, “Some men make women disappear. How do I make the perfect woman appear in front of my lens?”
Vera has it all, he surmised dejectedly. No one is as excellent for Spain as she is. What am I going to do now? Picturing her, Jermaine spat his frustration acidly, “You just had to poison yourself the day before a shoot that will make or break me, damn it all!”
He strode across the room raking his fingers through jet black locks. Leaning into the ornate sill over looking Malvarossa beach, he peered out the window in full-blown panic, not seeing the rich beauty of his surroundings, the opulent Hotel Balneario Las Arenas, or the sand and blue green sea innate to Valencia, with the sky a barely perceptible difference in shade, but a world of change from New York’s steel and grey scenery. All hope was lost and he no longer cared to observe. It was too painful.
There was nothing left to do but stare out at the pink hued sunset, the long expanse of sand and the perfect translucent, turquoise sea, in which to drown myself when I get the axe, he added dismally.
Then his gaze landed on her. Lying on a blanket far off in the distance, completely unguarded in sleep, was the naked beauty he had been praying for.
Jermaine blinked and shook his head, certain that she was a mirage or that he would wake up to realize he had only dreamed her.
Instinct and adrenaline took over. He raised the camera dangling from his neck and snapped his first photograph of her. Viewing her through the telephoto lens, he took stock with a critical photographer’s eye.
She had skin like liquid velvet with a slight blush on her face, obviously unaccustomed to lying nude beneath the sun, he smiled despite himself, well pleased with that rumination.
Jermaine had seen many beautiful women, had bedded more than half, and was always dismayed that so many had leathery, sun damaged skin.
Look at that red hair, he grinned with his heart racing, longing to drive his fingers through the silky riot. That’s not a color you can get from a bottle, he beamed, happily lost in his voyeurism.
Suddenly she stirred, causing him to drop the camera. She’s leaving! He ran from his luxurious surroundings as though the room were on fire. With his stomach in knots, he paused midway to catch his breath and then ran faster. His lungs were near to bursting when he found the place he had seen her.
Jermaine dropped to his knees as his hopes fell away. He placed his hands on the still warm indentation of her exquisite body and closed his eyes in grief when a musical voice startled him out of his thoughts.
“Por favor señor, encontraste mi anillo? Please sir, did you find my ring?”
Jermaine opened his eyes to find the naked beauty wrapped in a blanket and speaking to him in a language he didn’t understand. Her thumb grazed her ring finger urgently and the message was conveyed.
“Ring! You’ve lost your ring,” he said, gesturing to indicate his understanding.
“Sí. Por favor, ayúdame a mirar. Yes. Please, help me look.” Gizelle knelt down to run her hands lightly over the sand, pleading with her gaze.
Jermaine pretended to search, knowing that his knee had landed on it. Not wanting to risk losing her twice, he kept it hidden, asking, “Do you speak English?”
“¿Inglés? Un poco. Lo intent. A little. I try,” she stumbled, still searching the immediate area frantically.
“Okay, that’s good,” he exclaimed gratefully.
“¡No, no es bueno! ¿No lo entiendes. It’s not good! Do you not understand?” she asked, obviously mistaking his meaning and emphatically pointing to her ring finger.
Suddenly, her full meaning registered in mind and he understood completely now. She’s engaged to another man. She’s promised to another! He hoped his devastation didn’t show.
Gizelle glanced at him and realized he was utterly crestfallen. He had the look of a man in great physical pain. Though she didn’t understand most of his words, she understood the look of personal torment. It touched her heart and she forgot her own panic.
Gizelle tucked the blanket around her, sat down in the sand and gently took his hand. Jermaine’s breath caught as they looked into each others eyes.
©️December 15, 2018 at 7:48 All Rights Reserved
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Tags: #WiP #love, #lust, #erotic, #fiction, #betrayal #cheating, #infidelity, #karma, #lovers, #models #photography, #voyeurism #mystery, #amwriting, #WiP, #international #romance #Spain,#Valencia #stalking, #exhibition