Her Dad's Friend(5)

By: Penny Wylder

“Anyone want a refill?” my dad asks. He lifts what’s left of the amber liquid in his glass. He’s drinking hard alcohol, I realize. This is going to be some kind of party. Not sure if that’s a good thing or bad at this point. My dad is unpredictable after a few drinks.

“I’ll take another scotch on the rocks,” Paul says.

I show my dad my full flute. “I’m good for now.”

By the way he shuffles his feet, it’s not his first drink of the day. It’s kind of hilarious seeing someone who’s usually so poised let his guard down. That only happens when he’s with Paul.

“You know he’s going to forget about that drink as soon as he gets to the bar,” I say.

“I know. I’m not even drinking.” Paul’s smile is all glistening white teeth and dimples. “Come here and give me a hug. I haven’t seen you in ages.”

His hair has more silver in it than I remember, but it doesn’t age him like it would other men in their barely forties. He’s one of those guys who started going gray young. Better than losing it, which he hasn’t one bit. It’s thick and wavy on top, and damn can he ever pull off the silver fox look. Doesn’t hurt that his baby blues are the same color as the water and shine against his tan face. He could so be one of those older hipster models you see in high fashion ads these days. The Miles Better types with less facial hair.

As soon as his arms are around me I’m melting. His hands rub my back, warm breath on the pulse of my neck. He smells like sun and chlorine and coconut from the pomade in his hair. I want everyone else to disappear so I can be alone with him.

The text starts running circles in my head. Will he bring it up, or should I? Or should I just leave it alone and hope it goes away? Ugh.

“I can’t believe how grown up you are.” He steps back and studies me. “Twenty-one already. Time flies,” he says.

“I’ve been grown up for a while now.”

“I’ve noticed.” His eyes shift to my breasts for a brief second before finding my eyes again. He shrugs his lips as if embarrassed for looking. I wish I would’ve worn something a little more revealing than the university t-shirt I threw on this morning to get manicures.

I can only imagine the horror show he sees in front of him right now. All I did this morning to get ready was shower, brush my teeth, and throw my hair into a messy bun. I’m the epitome of lazy college student at the moment with my blotchy face I spent the morning picking at, down to the Uggs on my feet. I look like a hot mess.

Before I can respond my mom comes up to us. “Go get your suit, Rachael, everyone wants to swim a while before we do cake.”

“I didn’t bring a bathing suit.”

Emily comes up behind me. “Don’t worry, I have you covered.”

We head upstairs to my childhood bedroom. Emily pulls out the tiniest bikini I’ve ever seen. It’s black and made of string and an inch or two of fabric. The butt area is practically a thong with thin strings attaching it to the triangle in front that barely covers me. It’s a good thing I got that Brazilian. The top half of the suit is more string than fabric and does a shoddy job at being an actual, functioning garment. If I’m not careful when twisting my torso, my areolas will show. There’s no padding either so it shows off every bump and curve.

“You’re insane,” I tell Emily. “I can’t wear that. My dad will have a heart attack.”

She smiles mischievously. “Don’t worry. I thought of everything.” She hands me a lace cover dress to go over the top of it until I get in the pool. I get dressed and we head downstairs.

Paul is already swimming when we go outside. With my sunglasses on I can stare openly and not be obvious about it as he glides seamlessly through the water. I can’t think of anything more satisfying than the look on his face when he finally sees me. With my dad preoccupied beside the booze, I take off my cover and Paul’s eyes grow wide, mouth opening like he’s about to belt out a big note. He’s lucky no one’s splashing or he would drown.

Emily is beside me in a modest one piece and a pair of shorts. She’s always been self-conscious in a bathing suit. “Good thing I brought out the big guns. Did you see the look on his face?”

With a quiet cat-call whistle at me, and a slap on my ass, Emily flits off to talk to the boys she invited. I sit on the edge of the pool with my feet dangling in, adjusting my body to the temperature. It’s a hundred and too-fucking-hot out and I can already feel the sun burning my shoulders. I’m slathering 50 SPF Banana Boat on every exposed piece of skin because I have the complexion of a Tim Burton character and this bathing suit would make hilarious tan lines. The point is to make Paul hot if he ever sees me naked, not make him laugh.

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