Sunsets at Seaside(8)

By: Addison Cole

“I wore my thong. Looks like you’re the odd one out,” Jenna said to Bella.

“Has anyone seen Theresa?” Amy whispered.

Jessica spread her towel on the lounge chair and stretched out on her stomach. “Do you mean Theresa Ottoline? The woman I rent from?”

“Yeah,” Jenna answered.

Jessica pointed at the woman walking through the pool gate. She felt something on her butt and was surprised to see Vera covering it with a towel.

“Stay as you are,” Vera said with a serious tone.

What the heck?

Jessica waved to Theresa. Theresa lifted her chin in response. She’d been curt since Jessica arrived, but at least she usually smiled. Now she walked at a fast pace with her jaw clenched and her shoulders riding just below her ears. Her high-waisted khaki shorts hung nearly to her knees, and her polo shirt was primly buttoned. She had short layered hair, which, in combination with her outfit, looked a bit mannish.

Theresa crossed her arms and stared at Bella, tapping her foot on the concrete deck.

“Hi, Theresa. Here for a swim?” Bella set a pair of big round sunglasses on her nose and leaned back in her chair.

“I think I might.” Theresa wiggled out of her shorts, exposing far too much of her bare, white, cellulite-covered rear end, the tiny triangle of a thong peeking out at the top of her butt crack.

Jessica had no idea what was going on, but she covered her mouth to keep from laughing at the look on Bella’s face.

Jenna and Amy clung to each other’s arms with one hand and stifled their laughter with the other. Bella pressed her lips together, barely suppressing a laugh.

“How about it, Vera?” Theresa yelled across the pool deck. “You up for a Thong Thursday swim?”

Jessica looked up at Vera with wide eyes.

“Oh, I think I’ll spare you the imagery. Thank you, though,” Vera said.

Jessica chanced a peek at Theresa, whose eyes were still pinned on Bella.

“Actually, I think I’ll go run a few errands. You girls enjoy the afternoon.” Theresa pulled up her shorts and stomped out of the gate.

Amy and Jenna ran to Bella’s side, whispering and laughing. Jessica looked at Vera, who motioned her over to the table where she was sitting. She handed Vera the towel she’d covered her butt with and sat across from her.

“Hi, I’m Jessica. Thank you for covering my butt. I think.” She drew her brows together, still confused by what had just happened.

“Bella’s a prankster, and Theresa is the property manager. As you probably guessed, thongs aren’t allowed at the pool.”

“Oh.” Jessica chewed on her lower lip. “Gosh, I hope I’m not going to get in trouble. I had no idea, and the sign…”

“Bella made the sign. Every year, Bella plays tricks on Theresa. She’s been doing it since she was a kid, and every year Theresa ignores her. But this year, it looks like Bella’s getting a little payback.”

Jessica scrutinized the three girls, still laughing and carrying on about Theresa’s thong. She was a little envious of their fun.

Vera reached across the table and patted Jessica’s hand. “Don’t take it personally, hon. This wasn’t about you. You should be proud of that body of yours.”

Jessica felt herself blush. “Thank you. They look like they’re a fun group.”

“They are fun. Some of the nicest women you could ever meet. How long are you here for?”

“For the summer.” She turned back toward Vera. “I’m here through the beginning of August, I think.”

“You think? Where are you from, dear?”

“I’m from Boston. I’ve rented the apartment in the big house for the summer, so I’ll probably stay if nothing comes up at work. Where are you from?”

“I’m from Boston as well, and I’m also here for the summer. I come every summer.” Vera smiled.

Jessica glanced at the girls again.

“Why don’t you go join them?” Vera nodded toward the others.

“Oh goodness, no. I couldn’t do that. It’s been a long time since I’ve had friends like that. I really have to be going anyway.”

“Do you have a date?” Vera lifted her thin, gray brows.

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