“Have you seen the artist yet?” Mandy asked me as I finished hanging my clothes in the closet.
“No. Cute, huh?” I asked.
“Amazing. Sex on a stick. No doubt about it,” she said, twirling a chestnut curl around her finger.
Sex on a stick. That phrase took me back a couple of weeks. I could probably never again hear it without thinking about Damien. I smiled despite myself.
Mandy flounced on the bed. “I googled him. Do you know one of his pieces sold for $50,000? Can you freaking imagine? I wonder what that painting in reception is valued at. I could fall in love with an artist. Especially this one.”
“Because his work sells for a lot of money?”
“No, because I saw him in swim trunks yesterday,” she said, laughing. She waggled her eyebrows. “Oooo la la. Who knew an artist could have a body like that? He makes Channing Tatum look like a Neanderthal. He’s staying in the Conrad’s Guest Bungalow. I bet Missy Conrad has her sights set on him.”
The epic rivalry of my big sister, Mandy, and her once best friend, Missy. They used to be called the M&Ms because they were inseparable. Scott Draper, the high school quarterback, changed them to M minus M far too quickly. He disappeared, following the trail of another girl, but the animosity between Mandy and Missy didn’t.
“Mom invited him to the Oyster Fest tomorrow. You’ll get to see him then. But, I’ve already staked my claim, Clare. You can lookie, but no touchy.”
“No problem. I’m taking a break from men for a while.”
“So what else is new? You were on a break before you went to the city. You’re on a perpetual break. Lloyd isn’t seeing anyone,” she said and laughed, because she knew my thoughts on the subject.
After she left, I glanced at my phone. Still nothing from Damien. There was a text from Lucy. Evidently Dominic had shown up at the library looking for me.
I changed into shorts and a t-shirt, grabbed Shandy’s leash, and headed for the beach. Walking with the sound of the waves breaking always focused me, rejuvenated me. Damien was part of my past. A very unformed, uninvestigated, part of my past. A mantra formed as I walked, watching the sandpipers scurry from the approaching waves: You’re better off.
end 10/2/2016 (3)