Cuban Connection: Two Faces of Love
Cuban Connection: Two Faces of Love
T he next day I skipped the morning run and shopped instead-scarves, simple makeup, light, bright outfits-casual and sporty-I needed them all to fit into this new life. Even if I never connected with my Latin lover, I knew Conchita was right about the upgrade.
At noon I drew back the curtains of my beachfront hotel room, opened the doors to the tiny porch, sat in the sun with no sunscreen, and ordered a fattening lunch, my day rounded out by a siesta in the sun.
The writing pad and my laptop slept with me-the pad in my lap. I could not produce one sentence of my romance novel, no matter how hard I tried. My life experiences were nothing to write about-yet!
Dusk approached, and I pinned my hair up in Conchita's new style and tied it back with a scarf. The light fabric of my shorts and top absorbed what was left of the heat of the day, and the breeze crept through the open weave as I walked to the beach across from the hotel to catch another breathtaking sunset.
I felt eyes on me when I stepped onto the boardwalk; it was my Latin lover. A group of people laughing, drinking, and dancing surrounded him. For me, everything stopped-the music, the noise, the movement, and my heart. Our eyes met and he dropped his drink. His friends laughed and teased him. They looked in my direction and one of the men whistled.
I was more mortified than flattered. Again, that damned Boston gene! I put my head down and tried to disappear, but the sight of him played in my mind as I continued down the boardwalk to find a spot on the beach. This striking, dark-skinned man in linen shirts and pleated slacks, with his full mane of coal-black hair slicked back and shining, obsessed me. His looks beguiled, but his spirit and strength captivated me. He was a big guy with rippling muscles. I wondered how he saw me-tiny, blonde me. We could not look more opposite!
I turned my attention to the swirling sky and pounding surf and remembered why I had come to the beach: the sunset. The sun began its slow dive into the waves and a cooling, lazy breeze came off the Gulf. It felt like soothing fingers stroking my face and neck.
Every night there were spectacular light shows on this beach. Its position was perfect to catch the colors and their reflection on the water. People brought chairs and watched the hues change as they morphed-from pale blue, butter yellow, and light pink-to bold orange, fire red, and lemon yellow. Then to pitch black.
I picked my spot in the sand and joined the other sunset-worshipers, who were already settled and watching, like music lovers at an open-air concert. There were families and singles. Children danced with the sandy surf. Picnic dinners, popcorn, and wine were everywhere. Couples kissed, held hands, and wrapped their arms around each other. Each pod remained a respectful distance from the others.
My mystery man was still on the deck with his group. They were jovial and happy, and sang while a Reggae band played a soft, swishy number with a relentless beat.
One of the waiters approached me. "Miss, a gentleman asked that I extend to you an invitation to join his party. I tried to catch you on your way to the beach, but you did not hear me. He insisted that I find you."
My heart stopped. "Which gentleman?"
He pointed to a group of people at the patio bar. A short, fat, balding man in an embarrassing Speedo waved to me in the gathering darkness.
"Tell him I appreciate the invitation, but my husband is on his way."
My hopes were dashed. The deck rocked with laughter and Latin music as my heart sank.
But wait. Maybe there was hope. My love interest stopped talking and singing, separated himself from the party, leaned on the deck railing, and scanned the beach-in my direction. I could see him in the glow of yellow string pineapple lights, but he could not see me. I watched from my