Mark Reynolds needed a change. His divorce finally over, he wanted to put as much distance between him and his past as he possibly could. The divorce was an ugly one, neither party won in this war. And whatever "love" that remained on Mark's part was destroyed in the fighting and bitterness of the divorce. But that was over now and Mark just wanted to move on.
His job had been very sympathetic to his marital situation, and had given him the time off he needed for the multitude of hearings, meetings and consultations necessary for him to get through the divorce. Now that it was over however, he wanted a chance to regroup, collect himself, and plan out how to proceed from here. It was time to have a heart-to-heart with his boss.
"Mr. Jenkins?" he said, knocking on the door to his boss's office. He peeked around the corner of the partially open door.
"Come on in Mark," Mr. Jenkins said, "Have a seat. What can I do for you?"
"Thanks. Well, Tom, as you know my divorce was finalized the other day. It wasn't a pleasant thing, I mean no divorce is pleasant but for me and Amy, it was particularly hard. I don't know if you ever heard the story behind our troubles but it started a couple years back when I went on that sales trip to Boston - you know the Andrews account. Anyway, I come to find out that while I was away, my Amy was having an affair. And not just any affair... she was fucking around on me with my best friend!
"I thought it was a one time thing and I was willing to let it go at that. I was hurt, to be sure, but I still loved Amy. So we talked it over and I thought we had gotten past it. But apparently not, because she met with him several times later. I caught her once, she had texted him and forgot to clear her phone afterwards. I picked up the phone accidently thinking it was mine and found the message. And then when I went to that sales conference this past January, I found out she had spent the whole weekend with him. After that I knew it could never work out. Amy just didn't respect me as her husband and wouldn't quit fucking around on me. So I filed for divorce and... well you know the rest of the story."
"Mark, I am so sorry that you and Amy came to this. It is terrible to see you two splitting up. I always looked at you and Amy as 'the perfect couple' - you know, the 'Ken and Barbie' of the company. But I guess even Ken and Barbie can break up if there is cheating going on," Mr. Jenkins said.
"Yeah, well, it's over now and I just want to forget the whole damn mess. That's what I wanted to talk to you about. I would like to take some vacation time and clear my head. I just want to get away from town and away from all these memories for awhile and put my head back together. I know I have burned through a lot of my annual leave with all the meetings and hearings, but I'd like to use what I have left and whatever advanced leave I can get to have some time to regroup and figure things out. I'd even use some leave without pay if I have to," Mark said.
"Mark, you are a good employee and a good salesman. You have done this company well in the past. I don't see why we can't help you now. You don't need to take any leave without pay. Let me look at the books and I'll see what I can do for you. Come by my office after work today and I should have an answer for you," Mr. Jenkins said.
"Thanks, boss. I appreciate it. I do like it here and want to do my best for the company. That's why I need to sort all this out so I can focus on work again," Mark said. He left the office and went back to his own to work some more on the account he was trying to get.
Quitting time came around and Mark stopped by Mr. Jenkins office again. This time the door was open and as mark got to the doorway Mr. Jenkins invited him in.
"Mark, I've been looking through the books. You've been with the company for almost nine years now correct?"
"Yes, that's right. It will be nine years this coming November."
"And since you have been here our business has grown considerably, in no small part to your work."
"Well, thanks, boss, but it hasn't all been my work. We have a great team here and we all work hard to grow the company."
"That's true, we do have a good team. Anyway, I see that you do have a little leave left on the books. And if I have it calculated you will earn another weeks worth of leave by the end of the year. So how much time off would you like to take, Mark?"
"Well if it's possible I would like at least a couple weeks. Like I said earlier, this has been a pretty rough time for me."
"Yes, I can imagine. Tell you what I can do for you, Mark. You have done us a good job since you have been with us. You have been here a long time and I don't think you have intentions of leaving us, do you?"
"No sir. I'm not going anywhere. I like it here and I like the people I work with. I am happy here and don't plan on leaving."
"That's good to know. I am going to grant your leave then. You have three days' leave on the books now with another week to be earned by the end of the year. That is ten days altogether. But because this has been so hard on you, and I know a bit about messy divorces myself, I am also going to let you have an additional ten days off. You will get paid for them, so you won't lose any money, just promise me you will come back ready to work."
"That's great, Tom. Thanks so much, this will help a lot. And yes I will come back ready to work," Mark said. He left the office that night, happy knowing he was appreciated at work and that his boss was pleased with the job he was doing.
A week later, Mark was finishing up his last work day before starting his vacation. He had booked a trip to the Bahamas, a place he had always wanted to visit. He left the office that evening and headed straight for the airport. He had already packed and brought his bags to work in the trunk of his car. He was excited about going on this trip and wanted to get started. He stopped at a fast food joint and grabbed a quick burger, fries, and soda before heading to the airport itself. His flight was due to leave Los Angeles International at 8:00 p.m. and with security and parking he wanted to get there a bit early.
He arrived at the airport in plenty of time. Parking the car, he took his bags, picked up his tickets and made it through security with a few minutes to find his gate and wait to board. The plane took off right at 8:00 p.m. as scheduled and once they reached cruising altitude, the pilot switched off the seat belt sign and Mark was able to spread out a bit and relax.
A little over eight hours later, the plane landed in Miami International Airport and Mark had to change planes. He had a two hour layover so he had time to find the gate he needed for his connecting flight, grab something to eat (airline food never did appeal to Mark) and still have a chance to walk around and stretch his legs a bit.
He made his connecting flight and a little over an hour later, the plane was preparing to land in Nassau, the Bahamas. He then took a taxi from the airport to Paradise Island, a neighboring island just to the north of Nassau, connected by a half-mile long bridge. The cab pulled up in front of the hotel Mark would be staying at and the driver helped get Mark's bags out of the trunk while the hotel porter put them on a luggage cart and went with Mark to check in. Then Mark and the porter took his bags to his room and once his bags were in the room and he had tipped the porter, he flopped down in the king-sized bed for a well-deserved rest.
After around five hours of good sleep, Mark woke up feeling a lot more refreshed. His hotel room was on the 20th floor and on the north side. The attached balcony afforded him a pretty good view of the beach and some of the surrounding area. He decided to take a look around. His hotel was conveniently close to the beach and since he came here because of the tropical island allure, it seemed like a good place to start. So he walked down to Atlantis Beach, a long strip of beautiful white sand on the northern edge of Paradise Island, about a block from his hotel.
As he walked down the beach, which at the time was sparsely populated, he saw a very attractive young woman emerging from the surf. She walked past him and smiled a dazzling smile as she went to her towel laid out on the white sand. He watched as she laid down on her back, putting her sunglasses on so she could soak up some sun. She certainly was easy on the eyes, he thought to himself, turning back around to continue walking down the beach.
After a bit of a walk, he turned and made his way back to the hotel. It was getting close to dinnertime and he was hungry. He went up to his room the shower and freshen up before going to dinner. When he was ready he went downstairs to the hotel front desk.
"Where is a good place to eat?" he asked the desk clerk.
"Oh, sir, there are a number of very fine restaurants here on the island, but if I may suggest, why not just go to one of the hotel restaurants? Here we have everything from a casual snack shop to five star formal restaurants, depending on what you are in the mood for," the desk clerk said.
"Okay, well how about a nice steakhouse where I can get a drink as well?"
"Well, you might try the Waterfront Lounge. It has an excellent menu and the chef there is wonderful. The restaurant serves alcohol as well," he said, "It's just down the hall a little ways past the casino. You will see the sign on the right."
"Okay thanks," Mark said. He walked down the hallway, stopping for a moment and walking into the casino to check it out. He walked through the casino looking around a bit before continuing to the restaurant. He found the restaurant easily once he left the casino. He found a seat inside and the waitress brought him a menu. He ordered a steak, baked potato and salad from the menu and after the waitress left to put the order in, he went to the bar to get a drink. The bartender took his drink order and told him that someone would bring it to his table. He went back to his table to wait on the drink and his meal.
Presently the cocktail waitress came with his drink. It was the girl he saw on the beach!
"Hi there! I remember you - weren't you the girl I saw on the beach earlier today?" he asked.
"Yes, I remember seeing you too. My name is Jennifer."
"Hi, Jennifer, my name is Mark. Nice to meet you."
"Nice meeting you too, Mark. How long are you going to be here?" she asked.
"I'll be here for the next couple weeks... till the 18th," Mark said.
"I see. Well that should give you some time to look around some."
"Yeah, there sure seems to be a lot to see. I really don't know too much about the Bahamas, so I am sort of lost around here."
"Well, I'd be happy to show you around a little bit if you like," Jennifer said.
"That would be wonderful. My own private tour guide!" he said smiling.
"Yeah I guess I am, at that!" she said giggling. "So are you staying here in the hotel?"
"Yes, I am," Mark said. "It's a very nice hotel and my room is a small suite."
"Sounds nice. I have a small apartment in Nassau, on New Providence Island. I wish I lived closer... gas is so expensive here in the Bahamas. It would be nice to be able to walk to work, but everything on Paradise Island is geared for tourism, obviously."
"Yeah, I'll bet it would be expensive to live here on Paradise Island," Mark said.
"It's not possible. The only houses here on the island belong to the hotel and resorts and are used by their managers and executives."
"I see," Mark said. "So, Jennifer, when do you get off work?"
"Well, not for several hours yet, I just started my shift. I won't get off work until 1:00 am. Fortunately I don't have to close up tonight, so I can leave early. And it's Jen or Jenny. Only my Mom calls me Jennifer, and only then when I am in trouble!" she said chuckling softly.
"Okay fair enough, Jen. Do you have a break or anything during your shift?"
"Yeah, I can take a half hour break during my shifts. Why do you ask?"
"Well, I thought if you'd like we could talk a bit. I mean if you are going to be my tour guide, you should know a bit about what I want to see."
"That sounds good. I will be taking my break around 9:00 pm. Can you come back by then?"
"Sure can. 9:00 it is then!" Mark said with a smile.
"Good. I am looking forward to being your tour guide," Jennifer said.
"And I couldn't ask for a lovelier one," Mark replied. Jennifer blushed at the comment. She then turned to get back to work and in another minute or two Mark's dinner arrived. He ate his dinner and finished his drink, then went back to his room for awhile. He had stopped in the lobby to get some brochures of the local sights and activities, and read through them while in his room. He glanced at the clock a few times, keeping track of the time. He didn't want to miss his 9:00 meeting with Jennifer.
The time came for him to head down stairs to see Jennifer again. He took the elevator to the lobby then walked down the hall to the Waterfront Lounge. He spotted Jennifer right off and found himself a table. She came over to the table after dropping off some drinks.
"Hi, Mark, I'm glad you came back by."
"Of course! I wanted to talk to you some more," Mark said.
"Do you want something from the bar, first?"
"Sure. I'll have a Jack and Coke. Are you allowed to drink?"
"Not while I'm working. But if you'd like, you can buy me a cup of coffee."
"Okay good let's do that. I'd feel funny drinking alone."
"You're sweet. Okay, I'll get them. Why don't we talk out on the terrace outside. It's quieter there."
Mark went out onto the terrace overlooking the beach and ocean and found a nice table by the railing. A minute later Jennifer came out with their drinks. The two of them sat at the table getting to know each other and talking about the things there was to see and do while he was there in the Bahamas. They started out with the simple things.. she told him she was 26, he said he was 30. She had been born in Virginia,
and he was Minnesota born and raised.
He told her that he had gotten tired of the cold weather in Minnesota so he moved to Los Angles and gotten a job with his advertising agency. He found out that Jennifer had lived in the Bahamas for a little over six years now and had moved there from Virginia. He told her about his divorce and that he was there trying to get his life back together again.
He learned that Jennifer, too, had been married once, but it didn't work out either. Her ex-husband had chosen his career over his marriage and she couldn't handle him being gone for most of the year on business trips. He explained to her that Amy had cheated on him with his best friend and that she continued the affair even after being found out.
Mark found that the more he talked to Jennifer, the better he felt and the more they had in common. He was thoroughly enjoying talking and spending time with the lovely island girl until she sadly announced that she had to get back to work. They walked back into the lounge and she walked him to the front door. They talked about tomorrow and what he wanted to see first.
"What time would you like to get started?" Jennifer asked.
"Well, I was thinking if you'd like to have breakfast with me, we could start after that," he suggested.
"I'd like that," she said smiling. "There's a very nice restaurant here in the hotel that serves a great breakfast. It's a casual atmosphere and the chef is really good."
"That sounds just fine. I am looking forward to your showing me around tomorrow," he said.
"So am I, Mark. It's going to be fun showing you all the sights here on the islands," she replied. He turned and began walking down the hallway but after a few steps he turned to look back. Jennifer had waited by the door until he had turned the corner. seeing him look back she blew him a kiss and then went on inside to finish her shift. Mark continued walking back to his room, thinking about this island girl he had met.
That night in his room, his thoughts kept going back to her. He closed his eyes and could see her face in his mind. He could hear her voice still in his ears and he could smell her soft scent in the air. "This is nuts!" he thought to himself. He had only met her that day, mere hours earlier, yet she seemed totally intoxicating to him. Mark went to sleep that night with dreams of her and the memory of her coming out of the surf replaying over and over in his mind.
...to be continued... The above story is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and events in it are products of the author’s imagination and are used as fantasy. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than Lushstories.com
with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="https://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-stories/island-girl-chapter-1.aspx">Island Girl, Chapter 1</a>