A/N: We all know I have a sad obsession with the boy bands. This little snippet is a result of me listening to more NKOTB than any grown woman has the right to. Forgive me for this gratuitous pile of fluff.
A very special thank you to SueObsessed for giving this a once over and being a fantastically lovable human being. Thank you, Hunney Bear.
Jones Beach, 1988
My favorite time of year - sun, sand, and waves. Cruising with the top down on the convertible or all the doors off of the Jeep, and girls in tiny bikinis. What's not to love?
I've always looked forward to my family's annual vacation out to Jones Beach. Every summer, for as long as I can remember, we'd pack up the car and head to the shore for two perfect months of surfing, boating, and lazy days covered in sand. Dad would take a leave of absence from the hospital, opting to fill in for old Doc Horn in his beach clinic for those eight weeks. He happily traded treating the gunshot wounds and car accident victims of the city for sunburns and the delicate procedure of removing splinters from sandy feet.
My favorite summer was 1988, the year I turned seventeen. I'd just gotten my driver's license, and freedom had a sweet, sweet taste. My new Jeep (well, new to me) was perfect for hauling the guys around and toting our boards back and forth from the beach. Not to mention, that summer promised a ton of blockbuster hits that an aspiring director like myself couldn't wait to see. And, it was the summer I met you.
It was so hot that day. I had gone down to the beach with a few of the guys to waste the day away. We were hitting a volleyball back and forth - not really playing a game, just goofing off - when you and your friends walked past us. The legs were the first I noticed: miles and miles of them, tan and stretching out from under those short shorts and tiny little skirts you were all wearing. You were so distracting that I wasn't paying attention to the ball that spiked over the net. I caught the stupid thing with the back of my head and ended up sprawled out face down in the hot sand. Talk about utter embarrassment, but I played it cool. As cool as a guy with a face full of sand could be. You stooped down to check on me after you stopped laughing. Your laugh was the most beautiful sound I'd ever heard. I knew then that I had to know you. When I asked for your number you hesitated, worried that I might be some kind of serial killer, but my charm wore you down and you scratched out the numbers in the sand.
"Don't call after ten," you warned. "My dad will get pissed if you do," you tossed back over your shoulder as you walked away with your girls.
My heart was pounding that night as I dialed the number you'd given me, and it wasn't because it was twenty minutes past ten either. I couldn't stop thinking about you and when I might be able to see you again. It was worth the wrath of a pissed off father just to hear the sound of your voice. I couldn't sleep that night after you agreed to come out on the boat with me and my friends the next day. I just laid there staring up at the ceiling, and remembering how you looked like you were glowing with the sun shining behind you. The next morning couldn't come soon enough.
We agreed to meet at the boat ramp and you pulled up in your friend's Mustang convertible; your long hair windblown from the ride over. The guys had started backing the boat trailer down the ramp, but all work ground to a stop while the bunch of us drooled as you and your entourage piled out of the car. Watching you, I was convinced there wasn't anything hotter than the sight of you in a bikini top and cut off jeans shorts. I recall being jealous of the shredded edges of the denim. My fingers itched to be in their place, whispering across your skin along the hemline. I spent countless hours wondering if your skin was as soft as it looked.
Once the sails were hoisted and we were all settled in on the catamaran, we pointed the boat toward deeper water. The sun beat down on us, and thankfully the sails provided some shade from the relentless rays. Your skin glistened from the tiny droplets that rose to the surface from the heat, and I was mesmerized by how it looked like it was actually bronze. You were so beautiful. We talked all about our families where we were from as the waves rocked the anchored boat. You were visiting your grandparents and the rest of your family was back home in Florida. I asked what it was like to be in a hurricane, and you admitted that you'd never built a snowman. After a while the heat became unbearable and you stood up, shed your shorts, and dove off the side of the boat. I watched as you bobbed in the water, begging me to join you. I would have happily joined you right away, but hearing you plead was too cute. When begging didn't work you switched to taunting.
"What's the matter, pretty boy? Is the water too cold for your thin skin?"
"Pretty boy? I am not pretty," I scoffed, but secretly I was thrilled that you thought I was attractive. "And who are you calling 'thin skinned'? You're the one used to warm, tropical waters. Maybe it isn't the temperature of the water I'm worried about, but what's lurking beneath the surface."
I was caught completely off guard when you reached up and grabbed my ankle. I would've never guessed that someone so tiny could have so much brute strength. The deep water was cool and shocking at first, but I calculated my revenge as I swam the few yards over to where you were treading water.
You even looked a little nervous about what I was going to do once I caught up to you. You thrashed and splashed when I got close enough to grab hold of you, but it was useless.
"Stop splashing around like that," I warned, "you'll just attract every shark in the area and then you'll really have something to worry about!"
You squealed as I grabbed your wrist and pulled you to me, nearly drowning me in the process. You gasped when our bodies tangled together under the surface of the water, and I couldn't resist you any longer. So I kissed you. Shocked, you grabbed onto me, clutching my shoulders, and my hands pressed into your back holding you against me. It took every ounce of my strength to keep my fingers from "accidentally" getting tangled in the strings of your top. Being that close to you made me feel warm all over, even with the water as cold as it was. That first kiss was over far too quickly.
"What was that for?" You asked in that breathy tone I came to know so well that summer.
"Nothing. I just wanted to know if you tasted as good as you looked," I confessed.
"And...," you prompted. Your smile outshone the sun.
"Do I taste good?" The blush that crept across your cheeks was deepened by the color the sun had left there.
I planted a quick kiss on the tip of your nose and replied, "Wouldn't you like to know?" And with the look of surprise still lingering on your face I grasped your waist and hurled you through the air. You came up spitting and sputtering and making promises to make me pay.
"You are in so much trouble, pretty boy!" You threatened as you swam towards the boat, but I didn't need you to tell me that. I'd known that from the moment I saw you walking down my beach.
Over the next few weeks we spent every waking moment together. Our days were filled with playing in the waves and dozing on the beach while the sun dried us, leaving our skin sticky and salty. It was impossible to keep my hands off of you in some way or another. It didn't take much to soothe the ever-present ache - my arm resting against yours, our feet touching as they buried deep in the cool sand, or a brush of my fingertips across the warm skin of your lower back. I loved smoothing the water droplets that pooled on your slick skin when you came out of the surf. I'd never seen a girl surf as well as you could. In fact, I was in awe of everything you said and did.
Your parents came up to visit for a few days, and I can't remember a time when I was more scared than the night I met them. Your dad threatened me with unmentionable pain if I so much as touched any part of your anatomy that propriety deemed should be covered in clothing whilst in the good Lord's house on a Sunday. I remember hoping, rather irreverently, that you wore that hot pink bikini to church. If not, then we'd already broken that rule days earlier while out on the boat. After all these years, I still worry about him finding out about us breaking his rules before we even knew what they were.
Our nights were filled with movies at the drive-in and bonfires on the beach. I was appalled when you confessed that you'd never seen Jaws, claiming it was too "icky", but I promised to kiss you every time someone was eaten. You still hated that movie. After that, I had to bribe you into seeing Crocodile Dundee II by reluctantly agreeing to see Big. Although I never admitted it, I would have gone anyway just to see Tom Hanks.
We'd sit around and talk about the future, our dreams, and the best and worst things about our hometowns You were going to be a teacher and inspire countless kids to change the world. I had plans of becoming the next Spielberg, and I begged you to star in my first movie, to which you politely declined, claiming you couldn't even act like a teenage girl. You admitted that you'd always felt older than your sixteen years, and being with me was the first time you had actually felt like a teenager. Stolen kisses and secret touches filled the evenings we spent together. I still can't look up at the sky on a clear night without thinking back on the hours we spent wrapped up in the old quilt from your grandma's bed, planning our futures, and getting lost in each other in front of the fire. Sometimes I can even hear the waves in the background.
The air was noticeably cooler the day you stood on your grandparents' front porch and told me goodbye, and it wasn't just because fall was around the corner. It was like you were taking the sun with you when you left. My family was heading back home a few days after you, but I couldn't imagine what I would do without you there. You promised me you wouldn't cry, but a few silent tears escaped and slipped down your cheeks. I held you and promised that we'd keep in touch like we planned, and you vowed to return the next summer.
I've been back to Jones Beach every summer since. I sit in the sand and reminisce. Even though that was years ago, the image of you crossing the sand in those tiny shorts and cut up t-shirt drives me crazy. I can't imagine any other place I'd rather be than where I met the girl of my dreams that summer in 1988. But I have to say, my favorite Summer is the one playing in the shallow waves as the two of us watch from the sand. She's everything like her beautiful mother, down to the way she glows when the sun shines behind her. Thanks to you and her, it's summertime year round.
END NOTES: While I know there aren't any concrete mentions of SM's characters in this fic, I still feel like I have to give her some credit, seeing as it was her peeps I pictured when writing this. I guess I should give a shout out to the boys as well. Jordan, Jon, Danny, Donnie, and Joey: Thanks for a fantastic song about young love and fun summers.
And thank YOU, for reading. I don't deserve your attention, but I do crave it so!
Have a fantastic summer!