Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Good and Bad (05/07/09)
TITLE: What's Good for the Goose Chars the Gander
By Catrina Bradley
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She raised herself to rest on her elbows and opened her eyes enough to peek at her husband. Josh was comfortably planted in the shade of the beach umbrella, and engrossed in the latest John Grisham best seller.
“Josh! Honey, your toes.”
“Huh?” His attention finally diverted from the novel, Josh looked over at Angela.
“Your feet are in the sun. Looks like your toes are getting red. What time is it, anyway?”
Josh scootched up from his slumped position in the folding chair and pulled his feet up under the protection of the umbrella.
“And grab me a water, will ya?”
“Yes, your highness. Anything else your servant can do for you?” Josh lifted the lid on the cooler and pulled a dripping water bottle from the melting ice.
“Just the time, Jeeves. Is it time for me to turn over?” Angela had let her head fall back and her eyes close again, so didn’t see it coming. Josh scooped a double handful of ice and water from the cooler and flung it over her. She bolted upright and let out a gasp, followed by a contented purr as the breeze further cooled her sun-heated skin. “Mmm. Nice. More.”
“Go ahead and turn over. You’ve got some good color on your front.” Josh shook the excess water from his hands in her direction. “It’s time for me to go on up to the room, though.” He bent over in the chair over and poked at his toes. His fingertips left white echoes where they had pressed into his flushed skin. “Sorry, babe.”
“I know, hon. I’m sorry too. I’ll walk up with you. I could use a potty break anyway.”
The contrast between Angela’s long, brown fingers and his red, puffy toes as she soothed lotion into his fiery skin was not lost on Josh. “I hate the beach.”
“You don’t hate the beach. You hate what the beach sand and sun do to you. The beach is beautiful and you know it.” The color contrast wasn’t lost on Angela either, and she wondered again what God was thinking when He had mated her with Josh: the bronze sun goddess, who soaks up every available ray, and the ghostly-white shade seeker, who is allergic to the sun.
Not content merely to cause him to burn, God makes the same sun that sustains life on this planet poison to her husband. An hour under its penetrating rays causes Josh’s skin to break out in an angry, itchy rash. The red bumps spread and congregate, leaving swollen pustules in their wake. Even with SPF 50 sunscreen slathered from head to toe, Josh’s skin sizzles and bubbles when exposed to the sun for too long.
Angela squirted another dollop of aloe lotion onto Josh’s foot and caressed it into his hot toes. “Sun gotcha good, hon.”
“Yeah, the sand probably rubbed off the sunscreen.”
“I told you we could sit up on the patio. You would have been under the shade and I could still get sun.”
“I wanted to walk on the beach. I wanted to dig my toes into the sand.”
“So you hate the beach huh?” Angela smirked at her husband, and winked.
Josh reached over to brush sand from her brown shoulder. His fingers seemed to glow against her dark skin, and he let them linger. “I remember when I used to get this brown. I practically lived at the neighborhood pool.”
“Uh huh. And you won the diving contest.” She tilted her head and nuzzled his hand with her cheek.
“The sun’s not evil, hon. Your skin, maybe. But look what the sun can do.” She hooked a finger under the edge of her bathing suit, and gave Josh a peek at the milky skin under the surface. “Tan lines.”
“Mmmm. Tan lines. Yeah, that’s a good thing. Can I see more?”
Angela slapped at his hand and squirmed away laughing. “Nope. Not yet. Enjoy the AC for a while, and I’ll be back later to reveal the masterpiece the sun painted.”
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