Chapter 1: The Dream
Scanning the beach, or more so the flawless bodies on the beach, I chew on my inner cheek.
Drop a dress size with the amazing svelte suit! The ad had screamed, modeled by a girl that looked like she didn’t need to worry about dropping a dress size at all.
Being the hopeful soul that I am, I bought it without a second thought.
The svelte suit digs into my hips, reminding me that if I really want to drop a dress size, I need to get my butt to the gym.
“Babe, can you oil my back?” A god-like creature purrs, flicking his highlighted blonde hair back from his deep blue eyes.
He turns, crouching before me on the sun lounger, so I massage oil into his broad, already tanned back.
My fiancé, Kurt Derby.
Clutching my sarong around my chest, I wedge it under my arm so I can spray his back.
The women stare at him as they walk by, their eyes flickering to me with surprise.
My fingers sweep over his back, a smug smile on my lips.
A guy like Kurt Derby doesn’t look like he belongs with me. We are complete opposites in so many ways; I like lazing in bed in the morning, but Kurt prefers going for a jog; I like Friday night pizzas, whereas Kurt frowns at me over his tuna salad.
“All done,” I declare, pulling my hair back so he can return the favor.
The wind blows against my bare back, and I turn to see Kurt chatting to Amber and Leila, two girls we used to go to school with.
They’re mid-run, their perky white visors protecting their stunning features from the rays, bottles of water in their hands, and sweat dripping over their tanned, toned bodies.
“I reckon you can do it in under twenty minutes,” Kurt teases, crossing his arms across his body.
Has he forgotten I’m here?
Dropping my sarong, I rub sunscreen into my arms and legs, inwardly cursing the fact that Kurt is a girl magnet.
I massage sunscreen into my face, trying to ignore the fake laughter I can hear from Amber and Leila.
Probably laughing at another lame joke.
Opening my eyes, I see Kurt jogging to the water, his back muscles rippling as he goes.
He looks like a lifeguard in those stupid red shorts.
A hot, ripped lifeguard.
That I’m marrying.
A stupid grin stretches across my face until I hear the fake laughter again.
Amber and Leila are watching Kurt hungrily, their gaze moving back to me before they snort once more.
“Can I help you?” I demand, enjoying the embarrassment on their faces.
Amber turns away, but Leila's eyes slide down my body, and I know she’s staring at my wide hips and stomach.
Snatching up my sarong, I blink back angry tears.
“Ali! Come in!” Kurt yells, waving at me.
Leila watches me with delight as I shed the sarong once more, striding over to Kurt, who is watching me with a smirk.
“Your fans are staring at me,” I say grumpily, dipping my toes into the water.
Living near the beach is something I’m eternally grateful for. The sun dances on the waves, creating glittery foam that disappears when you touch it.
“That’s because you’re beautiful.” Kurt pulls me close to him, wrapping my legs around his waist.
I pout, and Kurt kisses me hard on the mouth with salty lips.
“If you’re not happy about the way you look, do something about it, babe.”
I know he means well, but that fucking hurts.
Not all of us like exercise, and whenever we have this conversation, we end up arguing.
“I’m fine how I am; I just don’t appreciate the pitiful looks you get for being with me.”
Kurt groans, rolling his eyes in exasperation.
But I’m on a roll.
“You know what I mean. Why aren’t you with someone more like you? We probably look ridiculous together.”
Kurt shakes his head, the water dripping over his exquisite jawline.
“Because I love you, Ali.”
His voice softens, and I feel bad.
It’s not his fault I’m insecure; it’s mine.