“We are officially the last of the Mohicans.” Leya Greenwood raised her martini up, toasting her two best friends sitting at the bar with her.
“Are you kidding me? Everyone from college is hitched now but us?” Summer Carter circled the edge of her wine glass staring through the large window that separated them from the other wedding reception attendees. Most of who were dressed in bathing suits, splashing in and out of the pool with the bride and groom or lounging in the hot tub. Some people were dancing to eighties and nineties music on a large stone area that extended the length of the pool.
“That’s right.” Leya glanced at Martha Sanchez now Danner, sitting on her new husband’s shoulders in a white two-piece that had “bride” written on her ass, playing chicken against two other couples locked together in the same manner. Two hours ago, Martha, a college friend, appeared beautiful and happy at her wedding in the downstairs ballroom. Last night at the bachelorette party she told them all Patrick had swept her off her feet after meeting her at a costume party last fall. Now here they were married six months later.
“Best of luck to them,” Kathryn Maynard mumbled as she sipped from her sunset martini.
Turning away from the revelers, Leya stared at Kathryn, dressed similar to her, in a one-piece red and gold bathing suit and sarong tied around her hips. The only difference was that Leya was wearing a white tankini and sarong.
“Come on, Kat. Doesn’t the idea of the right man and a fabulous wedding just make your heart race with excitement?” Leya couldn’t help the joy in her own voice. Since she was a child she’d been collecting an album of her perfect wedding and man. She frequently watched bridal show marathons when she had time on the weekend.
“Absolutely not.” Kathryn pulled her cherry from her drink and popped it in her mouth, and waving the stem around, she said, “What it does make me think of is how long until I get a call to represent one of the parties.”
Leya could understand her friend’s perspective. Kathryn was a divorce attorney and had to deal with the worst of marriages every day. As much as Leya loved the thought of “happily ever after,” she knew she would’ve never been able to do her friend’s job.
“This,” Summer looked away from the people dressed in swimming attire and frowned at the decorations of palm trees, coconuts, leis, and various plastic floating devices turning the Virginia Beach Country Club into a beach setting in March, “would never be my idea of a wedding. Who invites people to celebrate their new life and asks them to come naked?”
Shaking her head, Leya hid her smile behind her martini glass as she watched the disgusted look on her friend’s face as Summer took a healthy gulp of her wine. Summer was a brilliant dental hygienist, but she was more than a little bit prudish. Not a pious kind of prude who was holier than though, not by a long shot. She just didn’t believe there was a reason to go naked unless a person was about to bathe or have sex, in private.
The perfect example was the black knit jersey poncho over her one-piece bathing suit that came to her knees was two sizes away from being a muumuu on her. Summer, just like she and Kathryn, kept herself in tip-top shape and definitely wasn’t hiding out of shame.
“Not my first choice either, Summer. If Martha likes it, I love it. Patrick is not even telling her where they are going for their honeymoon. Ah, a man that plans.”
“I can do my own planning.” Kathryn downed the last of her first drink and signaled the bartender for a refill.
“You don’t want a man, Kat?” Leya joked.
“In my bed, yes. At the altar…uh, no thank you.” Kathryn winked at the bartender as he set her martini on a coaster in front of her.
The three of them had been eyeing the scrumptious bartender who looked just like Bradley Cooper. He was a yummy specimen of man. However, Leya was not the bartender dating type. Not that she took issue with any employed man; for her it was a matter of not struggling financially. Money had been hard to come by when she was growing up. That was one of the driving reasons she had become a financial analyst. She wanted the benefits of making money and knowing how to keep it.
To her, being a bartender just said someone was still trying to find a career while pulling in free-flowing money. A lot of them had ex or current drinking/partying issues and were still trying to live the single life.
She shook her head, Mr. Bradley Cooper look-alike was probably a good lay, but not future material. Leya refocused on her friends.
“Definitely not with a tropical beach party-themed reception.” Summer was saying as she rolled her eyes.
“Well, Ms. Planner, when’s the last time you planned somewhere to go?” Leya sipped her drink. “Hell, when is the last time any of us went anywhere?”
“With my client load, there just isn’t time. If people stop getting divorced then maybe I can have some time for myself.” Kathryn crossed her legs.
“That’s not going to happen.” Leya sipped her drink.
“I wouldn’t even know where to go.” Summer leaned back holding her glass in her lap. “I think about taking a vacation sometimes. Especially after the winter we had this year. I thought the icy temperatures would never leave.” She sighed. “Then time just gets away from me and I find myself fifty patients later still not having even researched anything.”
“Well, the only thing I’ve had tropical was this coco cabanatini,” Leya declared, finishing off the drink consisting of Malibu coconut rum, banana liqueur, and other flavors and signaled for another.
Summer and Kathryn laughed and agreed. Leya smiled; she really did love her two best friends. If she was going to be single and miserable, it was great to have the company of her girls.
“You know what, Kat and Summer, there’s no telling when Mr. Honeymoon-Planning Man is going to show up in any of our lives.”
“Forty would be nice.” Kathryn winked and picked up her second drink, balancing her elbow on the back of her other hand in her lap, still not drinking it.
“Lord, no.” Summer’s eyes stretched wide.
“I’m with you, Summer, I don’t want to have to blow the dust off my eggs to get started.” Leya picked out the cherry floating in her drink and dropped it in her palm pretending to blow and brush off the dust.
Summer tossed her head back and laughed, Kathryn snickered behind a small cocktail napkin, tears of mirth welled up in her eyes.
“Okay, maybe not that long.” Kathryn used the napkin to fan herself.
“Surely. I’m only thirty-two. I don’t know if I want to sit on the shelf for another eight years. God forbid.” Exhaling a breath, Leya leaned back in her chair and stared at the guests. In a few weeks it would be hot enough in Virginia Beach to dip in the Atlantic. The humidity had already begun to reach record highs. However, even living on the coast Leya could not recall the last time she’d been to the oceanfront. At that moment she’d never felt as if she needed a vacation as much as she did right then.
Leya dropped the cherry on a napkin and lifted her fresh martini. She took a moment to drink from it then lowering it, she turned to her friends and said, “We can agree we are successful in our perspective careers and that we’ve neglected ourselves. Chained ourselves to our jobs.”
“Riiight,” Kathryn said, eyeing her suspiciously.
“I think we also can agree that a man and a honeymoon are not in our near future.”
“And?” Summer asked.
“I’m going to take a page out of Kat’s book—”
“We’re going to get the bartender drunk and take advantage of him?” Kathryn wiggled her eyebrows.
Laughing, Leya said, “Uh, not that book. The one where we can plan our own trips.”
“We tried that a couple of years ago and it never worked out,” Summer declared. “Our schedules kept conflicting.”
“I believe that was the year of the divorce case from hell,” Kathryn proclaimed lifting her glass as if she was toasting the memory.
“We don’t have to do it together.” Leya set her glass down and leaned her elbow against the bar turning fully to her friends.
“Alone?” Summer’s brows pinched inward.
“When?” Kathryn tilted her head and stared at Leya.
“By the end of the year and all the holidays and family time start creeping in on us again. We all pick a place and take a trip. A nonworking vacation.” Grabbing up her glass, Leya held her glass out to her two best friends.
“I don’t know. This is just not a good time for me with my caseload—”
“Come on, Kat.” Leya stopped her friend, knowing that if she let Kathryn head down the road of thinking about her job, she would never agree. “I’m not saying you have to do it next week.”
“Fine.” Kathryn raised her glass. “I’m in.”
They both looked at Summer, who was still looking a little unsure.
“If you pick a place with a beach, Summer, Kat and I will even buy you a shroud for the trip.”
Laughing, Summer said, “I’m not that bad.”
Leya and Kathryn eyed Summer’s current outfit.
“Okay. Okay.” Lifting her glass she tapped it against the other two glasses.