Parasite Paradise: Prologue

“This is just fabulous! I don’t remember the last time I was so relaxed!” Forrest sighed, contently flopping back onto the mound of pillows adorning the bed. “What a wonderful idea it was to go down the shore for a weekend, dear. I commend you.” His eyes closed.

Cynthia sat in a plush red chair near the window, demurely applying sunscreen to her aging skin. Outside, she could see the hordes of beach goers all clamoring for their spot in the sun. Umbrellas drew upward in a parade of bright colors.

“Well, I simply thought it would be good to get away. Just the two of us.” Her voice was soft when she spoke.

Forrest stretched, agilely swinging his legs over the bed, his socked feet barely touching the floor. “You better lather me up too. You know us scientists; paler than an albino in winter. It’ll be good to get out of that lab and feel the sun again.” He rolled a pant leg up to admire his pasty skin.

“The people on the beach will find you revolting. You’ll reflect the sun!” Cynthia laughed. She adjusted her wide brimmed hat, purchased especially for the occasion, to a more comfortable position on her head.

Forrest sidled toward her with hands jammed into his pants pockets like an old gunslinger from the Wild West. “Is that so, little lady? You thinkin’ on insultin’ me?” He wriggled his eyebrows suggestively.

Cynthia placed a hand over her mouth to hide her grin. Forrest thought that he hadn’t seen her look so young and happy for a very long time. “Maybe…”

“Maybe!?” Without warning he leapt, pouncing on her and knocking them both to the floor. Before Cynthia could catch her breath, his lips were on hers, softly massaging.

“There,” he whispered, rubbing their noses together in an Eskimo kiss. “That’ll teach you to insult my tan.”

Cynthia said nothing, staring at her husband. Before she could think better of it, she locked her arms around his muscular back, hugging tight. Even after fifteen years together he was still the only man she wanted.

Forrest helped her to her feet; the two made their way out of the hotel and down to the beach. The air was filled with the laughter from various mouths of youngsters, happily engaging in activities bound to earn them sand in horrible places. Holes were being dug near the surf to catch unsuspecting tourists in a weak moment. Cynthia felt that she could finally relax.

They claimed a deserted patch of shore for their own, a bit nearer to the water than she would have liked. She was opening her lounge chair and about to take out her paperback novel when Forrest snatched it from her bag.

Cynthia’s eyes widened. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“We didn’t drive down the shore for you to burrow your nose in a book! I want to see you in that water!” Forrest shook the pages in the direction of the waves to prove his point.

“Robert, I’m sure that water is positively freezing! I’ll go in later, I promise, once it’s warmed up a bit.”

The volume was flung aside and she was in his arms seconds later. Despite her screeches of protest, Forrest carried her to the water’s edge. He waded into deeper water, ignoring the chill and resulting goosebumps. Cynthia’s toe was attacked by a small lap, and she cringed.

“Oh, it’s not so bad!” Forrest exclaimed. Cynthia could hear his voice shaking. “Just need to get used to it, is all.” Taking a deep breath, he plunged them both into a wave.

When he rose again, Cynthia was sputtering and clinging to him in the manner of a wet cat. She was the cutest thing that he had ever seen. Her hat lay drenched against the side of her head. “Robert! How dare…”

He dunked them again. This time, Cynthia was positively steaming. She was about to let him have it when she saw the smile on his face. She felt her own face shift into an adorning grin. “You should have told me ‘under.’”

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