“I’m sorry I couldn’t call on your birthday. The time difference really screws me up when we get back late,” Nate said. “Did you have fun with your friends?”
Cindy had tried, but instead she’d spent the entire night wondering why he hadn’t even sent a card. Things were pretty serious between them, after all. She didn’t expect a fancy gift—Nate was a starving grad student—but come on. “Yeah, it was nice.” She was a lame liar, but he must not have caught it through the poor cell phone connection.
“Did you get any cool gifts?”
Unbelievable. “Um, nothing too exciting. How’s the study going?” Counting whales. In Maui. Surrounded by bikini-clad surfer girls. While she froze her ass off in Wisconsin. He was probably sitting on the beach sipping something fruity—no, make that a cold beer—ogling the tourists and comparing her flabby backside to some brunette goddess' perky—-
“Oh, now that’s cruel,” he said with a chuckle.
“Huh?” She snapped back to their conversation. Had she said that out loud? “What’s cruel?”
Irritation crept into his voice. “Well, maybe guys give you plane tickets all the time, but I sure as hell don’t buy them for just anyone.”
“You bought plane tickets?”
“You didn’t get them?” he asked. “I mean they’re e-tickets but I stuck the confirmation in your card.”
“I didn’t get a card,” she said, her heart ready to burst. Not only had he not forgotten her, he’d bought plane tickets.
“I’m sorry, honey. I sent it a few days ago. I thought that was early enough to get there in time. Hold on, I’ll email you the itinerary.”
A few seconds later, her computer dinged and she opened the message.
Meet me in Maui next week so I can spend ten days making it up to you.
“You want me to come visit?” She’d never been to the ocean, let alone the Hawaiian islands.
“I love you, Cindy,” he said. “I hate being away from you this long.”
“I love you too.” Blinking back happy tears, she started searching for swimsuits online. Forget her flabby rear, she was going to enjoy herself. The perfect bikini jumped out at her and she checked the RUSH ORDER box.
She imagined leaving her snowbound home for romantic walks on the beach at sunset, snorkeling out to a cove to watch the colorful fish, warm nights under the palm trees.
“I’ll be there with polka dots on,” she said, unable to stop smiling.
He chuckled. “I’ll be here, ready to remove them.”