No Time to Explain

By: Kate Angell

One

Here comes the bride.”

The wedding march echoed down the Barefoot William Boardwalk. The annual Southwest Florida bridal event brought both engaged and expectant women to the beach. It was a sea of sexy, sweet, and everything in between. Joe “Zoo” Zooker took it all in. The idea of marriage made him sweat. It triggered his gag reflex. He could, however, admire the ladies planning their weddings, as long as they didn’t involve him. He was a bachelor. For life.

“Does Crabby Abby’s General Store sell condoms?” asked his Richmond Rogues teammate Jake Packer. Better known as Pax.

Joe and Pax presently leaned against the blue metallic railing that separated the boardwalk from the beach. Joe knew where the condoms were shelved. He’d stocked up earlier in the week. “They’re back by the pharmacy, bottom shelf, next to the douches and the K-Y lubes.”

“You need anything, bro?”

Joe shook his head. He had six Magnum XLs in his wallet to get him through the night.

“Be right back, then.” Pax pushed off the railing. He walked the short distance to purchase his protection. He planned to get lucky. So did Joe.

The team was in town for spring training, with an entire weekend to kill. Booze, babes, and sex would definitely come into play. Monday, and they’d turn serious. They’d live and breathe baseball. The entire team would assemble for workouts and scrimmages. Nine Roanoke Rebels would also hit the field. Affiliate Triple-A players participating in preseason practices and an exhibition game. Showcasing their talent and hoping for the call to suit up in the majors.

Joe hated squad competition. Dean Jensen in particular got under his skin. The minor leaguer played left field. Joe’s position. Joe had refused him, four years running. Under Rule 5 draft, Dean had one final year to either make the club’s expanded forty-man roster or be passed over. The guy kept coming after Joe, harder and faster each season. He just wouldn’t let up. But then, Joe wouldn’t have, either, if the situation had been reversed.

He rolled his shoulders now. Cracked his knuckles. It was too nice of a day to dwell on the asshat. He turned and stared out over the Gulf. Clear skies. Turquoise water. White sugar sand. Sunbathers. Sand castles. Carnival rides, an amusement arcade, and a long fishing pier stretched south. Paradise. He would retire here. Years from now. Following his last bat.

Joe waited patiently on Pax—for all of five minutes, before restlessness claimed him. He wasn’t good at standing still. He was in continuous motion. A few brave men mingled with the wedding-minded ladies. He tugged down the bill on his black baseball cap. His mirrored Maui Jim aviators allowed him to stare, and not be caught doing so. He stepped into the crowd. Pax would find him. Unless he found a hot babe first.

So many women. Blondes, brunettes, redheads. A chick with purple hair. The multicolored storefronts on the beachside shops were all open, welcoming the stirring breeze and the aroma of salty air. The scent of freshly popped popcorn wafted, along with the aroma of chocolate fudge, cheesy nachos, cotton candy, and women’s perfume.

Ladies came on to him. He was recognized by many. Flirted with by most. Inviting glances and promising smiles. His navy T-shirt scripted with I’ve Broken All the Rules Today, So You’ll Have to Make New Ones drew whispered suggestions. Half-naked women appealed. Kink tempted. He liked the attention. A lot.

Space was tight. Whether intentional or by accident, female bodies pressed against him. Some snugged as close as skin. He didn’t mind the touching. Although a few hands got downright personal. Arousal heightened his senses. He was looking for a weekend lover, but no one fully caught his eye. So he kept on walking, sex foremost on his mind.

Long decorated tables lined both sides of the boardwalk. Signs were visible. Bridal banners arched overhead. Women clustered, checking out the area’s best photographers, florists, engraved invitations, caterers, bakers, wedding and reception venues, entertainment, hairstylists, makeup artists, prenuptial consultants, and other important services. Mannequins exhibited wedding gowns. Assorted accessories, from veils, crystal tiaras, rhinestone headbands, and sashes to every type of jewelry exhibit came next. Along with the garters.

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