I woke the following morning to the sound of the ocean crashing against the beach. I was still wrapped in William’s embrace, my head resting on his shoulder. His breathing was even and soft as he slept.
I was too comfortable to start the new day. Looking around without bothering to lift my head, I located our clothes, neatly folded on the other chair under the cabana. Heat rushed to my cheeks. Who had done that? And when had they done it?
William stirred beside me. “Morning, love.” His voice was rough with sleep.
“Morning,” I whispered, not sure if our mysterious housekeeper was still nearby.
He was immediately focused. “Beth, what’s wrong?”
It was impossible to hide anything from him now. I was an open book now and he was my reader.
“We had a visitor,” I said, pointing at our neatly-folded clothes.
He relaxed back into the chair. “Oh, Beth, we’re grown adults. We didn’t do anything the rest of them haven’t done.”
He was right, but it wasn’t something I was so open to having everyone know. “But…”
“Relax, Beth.” William consoled me. “Are you regretting it?”
I was shocked at his question. “No, never!”
“So don’t be embarrassed. It’s a natural part of a relationship,” William chuckled. “Stop over thinking everything.”
I hid my face on his chest. He was right; he was always right. How could I doubt what had happened between us? We’d both been ready, and I was sure a few people up at the house were curious why it hadn’t happened sooner. I had to stop over-analyzing everything.
A different thought crossed my mind. “Oh my god, William!” I jumped up, scrambling for my clothes.
“My camera!” I cursed as I yanked the tank top from the folded clothes over my head.
“Where did you leave it?” He sounded concerned, knowing what my equipment meant to me.
“On the beach, before we went into the water last night,” I yelled as I hopped out of the cabana, still attempting to get my other leg in my shorts.
We spent the next twenty minutes searching the beach. My anger quickly turned into horror as reality sunk in. My camera was gone. Had someone taken it, or had the ocean claimed it?
William tried to comfort me as we trudged up the path to the villa. “All those photos… the airport, the flight, the first photos of Jamaica, they’re all gone, William.” I was more upset over the loss of the photos than the camera itself.
Voices were audible from the kitchen as we stepped through the patio doors. The aromas were incredible, but weren’t enough to lighten my mood. Most people would be upset about the camera, but even if it was my favorite, and worth a ridiculous amount of money, it was the loss of so many memories which upset me.
Jude came out of her bedroom and stopped short when she spotted us. She glanced towards the kitchen as she rushed towards us. She wrapped her arms around me, and whispered loud enough so William could hear her, “Everyone thinks you went for an early walk.” I stiffened, unsure how much she knew. “I put your camera in your bedroom.” She chuckled as she stepped back. As she turned, she reached out and tugged on William’s shirt. “You really do pack neatly.”
I stood motionless, completely stunned and my body turned to lava with embarrassment. Just before Jude turned the corner to the kitchen, she glanced over her shoulder. “By the way, William, you should get a tan on that ass.”