Deep breaths, Coco.
“Are you okay?”
My eyes flung open to the sound of my best friend’s voice and her apologetic tone shifted me from my thoughts. The meeting I had just walked out of had been intense and weighed heavy on my heart.
It was a hot morning, particularly humid, and had only worsened by lunch time.
I was grateful the building I was in with my friend had an air con (perks of hiring one of the best law firms in the city of Melbourne—and I needed the best).
But as soon as we’d stepped out of the revolving doors, armpit sweat had begun to make an appearance through my white shirt.
I glanced at Christina. Her blue-streaked hair was tousled slightly over her flawless face, and her skin glistened from the unforgiving sun.
“I think so,” I replied, taking another deep breath as I fanned myself to cool down. “How the hell am I going to do this?”
Christina leaned closer. “Do what?”
“You know. Start over.”
“I know it sounds so cliché—”
“One day at a time?”
Christina nodded. “Pretty much.”
“Can you believe he wanted to take Boadicea?”
“What?” Christina gasped, knowing exactly how much the little pooch meant to me. “Fucking asshole.”
Boadicea was my King Charles Cavalier. My husband and I—well, now ex-husband, Jack—had picked up the loveable dog from a local pound when I’d started feeling lonely.
We had moved from the US to the Land Down Under when Jack was offered a job opportunity that he refused to turn down. Jack thought the dog could entertain me better than, well…another person.
“What did you tell that asswipe?”
“I said, ‘You can keep your bitch, and I’ll keep mine.’”
Christina laughed before shaking her head. “He has some fucking nerve, but he can suck it because you got the house and the dog.”
Jack couldn’t afford anything, so the house had always been under my name. My parents insisted on us signing a prenup, and I had never been more grateful than at that very moment.
“Where’s he staying now?” Christina asked.
“On the corner of go fuck yourself and I don’t give a shit,” I replied.
“My ex is living there too.” Christina chortled. “Popular place, that one.”
As much as I hated the idea of going through a divorce at twenty-five, I despised being with someone so selfish—and Jack was pure selfish.
Christina unzipped her bag and removed her gloss, placing the clear moisturizer over her plump lips. “So, are you heading back to work any time soon?”
“No, I took another week off.”
“Really?” Her eyes widened.
“Yeah, I told them I needed the time while I settled the divorce.”
My boss thankfully understood. He was transferring to Sydney just like Christina.
I hated the idea of losing her.
“I’m glad you can at least stay in the country.” Christina pouted, before widening her eyes as though she had the best idea in the world.
Usually when she had that particular look, something unanticipated would fly from her mouth.
“You need to come and move to Sydney with me.”
And there it was.
I met Christina while working together in Melbourne. When Jack and I had moved to Australia over a year before, we hit it off.
Christina planned to move back to her original hometown, Sydney, after her office closed and relocated to Sydney.
“Bill asked me to move to the Sydney office too,” I confessed. It was something I’d considered, but moving interstate was a big deal.
“What?” Christina yelled. “What the hell are you waiting for? Why aren’t you packing, girl?”
“The idea of packing up my life again scares me.”
“I’ve already bought a place with two bedrooms. I was searching for a roommate. Please don’t make me look for someone I can’t stand to be around, or some fucker who chews too loud.”
I bit my lip, thinking about her offer. A fresh start sounded tempting.
I loved living in Australia and couldn’t imagine going back to the US, especially having to face my family after the divorce. They supported me one hundred percent, but the added shame was too hard to deal with.
Jack and I had gotten married when we were young. His inability to keep it in his pants caused the marriage to break down prematurely.
Kind of like his cock.
My thoughts were interrupted by Christina’s insistent nagging that I move and live with her in Sydney, which I had to admit sounded quite enticing.
“So, what do you say? Will you move to Bondi Beach with me?”
“I’ve never been to Sydney before.”
“Pleeeease,” Christina begged, stretching the word dramatically.
I offered a teasing smile. “I need to speak to my boss first, and if he agrees, then yes! Of course I’ll move there with you!”
Christina howled in excitement and jumped up and down as we stood outside the law firm, causing a few onlookers to stare.
“But the living arrangements will only be temporary until I can find a place of my own to buy. I’ll sell the house here and find a smaller house for Bobo and me.”
“At least you won’t have to worry about bumping into that asshole in Sydney.”
“You never know,” I said. “He did travel there quite a bit for work. I was just never lucky enough to go with him.”
“Well, you’re going to love it. The eye candy alone will make you wetter than the ocean.” Christina winked.
“God!” I rolled my eyes at my friend, who was always candid when it came to things flying out of her mouth—or going in.
“What? I’m not kidding. You’ll soon be over what’s-his-face when you’re under someone else. Wait till you see all the available guys walking around semi-naked.”
“I can’t think about dating right now, babe. I just signed my divorce papers twenty minutes ago,” I huffed.
“Precisely why you should be dating. You need a change, Coco. You can’t stay here if there’s a chance you’ll see Jack again.”
“I don’t want anything more to do with that asshole.”
Her lips curved up slowly. “We’re going to make you forget about Jack. I promise.”
“This is the last one,” I panted, placing the brown box down on the tiled floor in the lobby of Christina’s new place, and my temporary home.
“Need help carrying it up?” Christina offered.
“Nah,” I replied. “Can you take Bobo to the apartment?”
“Sure. Come on, Bobo.”
Christina left with the adorable pup. I bent down to pick up the last of the moving boxes.
Damn. This thing’s heavy.
With my view obstructed, I stumbled onto my feet and immediately ran into two people, dropping the box on the floor. I heard a few of the contents inside shatter.
“Shit. Sorry,” I apologized, glancing up at the two guys in front of me.
The first one smiled—and what a damn smile it was. His medium sandy-blond hair sat just above his neck, and I couldn’t help but notice how perfect his body was.
The second was hot as well, heavily tattooed, and reminded me of the Mountain Man from Game of Thrones.
“Watch where you’re going, sweetheart,” the built guy said.
His friend smiled, bent down, and collected the box before handing it over to me. “Here you go.”
The box read Asshole’s Things in black marker, written in Christina’s handwriting.
I wondered why the hell I was keeping that shit. I wanted to be done with Jack, and not have any reminder he had ever been in my life. At least while I tried to live my own.
Both guys watched and smirked while I happily took the box and threw it in the lobby bin, dusting my hands as I made my way to the lift.
“Coming in?” I smiled, holding the lift door with my arm.
The two snapped out of their thoughts and made it in time for the doors to close.
“Floor?” I asked.
The cute guy leaned toward me and pressed the button for Level 1. I immediately breathed in the coconut scent which settled on the strands of his wavy hair.
So this is what summer smells like. God, he smells good.
As the door opened, I moved aside and watched them take their exit, keeping my gaze on their asses, unable to settle on just one. Because why not?
I was slightly disappointed when they stepped out of the lift. The short-haired hottie turned around and caught me staring.
My cheeks flushed a light shade of pink, and I swallowed my embarrassment. He winked before the two of them made their way through the doors of the tattoo parlor.
Christina gazed down at my hands, narrowing her eyes when I walked back into the apartment.
“Where’s the box?”
Christina arched her brows. “The one I left you with to bring up.”
“Oh, I threw it away.”
I explained how I didn’t want Jack in my life—in any way, shape, or form—so the dumping of his things was therapeutic and somehow satisfied me in parts of my body which had never been touched.
“I did bump into two guys though.”
“Two guys, huh? Were they hot? I bet they were hot.”
I smiled and placed my bag on top of the kitchen island. “They were both attractive and one was definitely your type. Tattoos. Big guns.”
“Damn,” Christina whispered. “I hope we run into them.” She fell back with a heavy sigh onto the couch, which had only arrived the day before. “So, are you sure you didn’t want anything in that box?”
“Nope. Don’t even know what was in there. Didn’t care enough to check.”
“I’m glad you threw that shit away. It didn’t look like stuff you wanted to keep anyway. Old photos of you and him, and of course, the jumper you loved so much.”
“Don’t remind me. He was wearing it the day I caught him in the garage. I don’t know why I didn’t burn it.”
I took a seat next to my bestie on the plush leather couch, realizing that our skin would most likely stick to the fabric on hot days.
“We could do something with the box.” Christina smirked.
“What are you talking about?”
“Well, we could still burn the fucking thing right outside on our veranda. A little bonfire.”
I thought for a moment, envisioning the fire going slightly out of control and some really hot firemen coming to our rescue. Single ones, of course.
“That actually sounds good.”
“Scratch that. There’s a total fire ban right now.”
Summer in Australia could get intense. Much hotter than what I was used to in the US. The humidity alone made me sweat in places I didn’t know was possible. Like my eyeballs.
“Okay, so no burning,” I replied. “It doesn’t matter. It’s in the bin now. Done and dusted. Gone from my life.”
“That’s the right attitude, babe. Now all we need to do is find someone to give you the orgasm you’ve been begging for.”
“Seriously, Christina?” I muttered beneath my breath.
“What? Jack was a selfish prick and only thought of himself. I can’t believe he was your first.”
My cheeks burned and I crumpled on the couch. Part of me regretted telling her that I had never climaxed with Jack. He was my first love, and I thought the love of my life, which was why I married him.
Boy was I wrong. He would blame me when I never finished during sex and kept telling me I was the problem. He said it enough times that I started to believe him.
“Maybe there is something wrong with me.”
Christina rolled her eyes. “Maybe if he could last longer than two minutes, you might have actually had that mind-blowing orgasm. The guy is a douche!”
I chewed the inside of her mouth. “I don’t know. I mean—”
“Don’t even try to defend him. He’s selfish in bed and selfish in life. I know you’re hurting, but I’m glad you’re not with him anymore.”
So was I.
The following morning, Christina tried dragging me out of bed, but of course, I groaned while clinging onto my blanket.
“Not yet,” I sighed. “It’s too early.”
“Get your ass up, Coco. It’s nearly ten!”
With a huff, I flung the thin material off my body. “Seriously?”
“Yes. We can unpack and head out sight-seeing, if you want.”
I moaned in refusal. “I’m too tired. Let’s just unpack and have a lazy day. I mean, don’t you have to head to work?
“Nope. I took the day off. Now get up, lazy bones.”
“Fine, I’m up.”
After a struggle, I managed to pry myself away from the comfortable bed. I was grateful Christina was there to help. Packing my life’s things wasn’t easy for me.
She was there every step of the way through my divorce and was the first person I’d called after finding out Jack cheated. We hadn’t even known each other for long.
Christina had her own troubled past with an abusive ex, but she was one of the toughest girls I knew, and hella funny. She knew how to make me laugh, even at the most inappropriate times.
The two of us spent the day unpacking, but by the end of it we were completely exhausted, not able to move a muscle.
So we decided on a girl’s night in, binging on pizza and beer while watching classic Netflix movies.
Perfect second night at Bondi Beach.
It was early morning, and I was lying in bed after spending the day before unpacking. I hadn’t had a chance to see much of Bondi, but as the weekend drew nearer, I hoped to at least make a visit to the well-known beach.
A couple of nights in Sydney, and it had already been the most relaxed I had felt in a long time. The idea of being far away from Jack gave me some semblance of a normal feeling.
After only two months living in Australia, I’d found Jack balls-deep in some whore. Not just anywhere, but in the back of my beloved Mazda 3, which was parked in the garage.
A huge factor of why I’d wanted to leave the place behind. A constant reminder of his infidelity.
No, thank you.
“What’s up, buddy?”
“Need to go out and pee?”
Bobo stood and flapped her tail. Daily morning walks were a regular occurrence for the pair of us before I had to leave for work.
“Okay, pal. Let me get changed and we can go for a nice walk. Check out the sights with me, huh?”
I jumped out of bed while Christina slept and changed into some workout gear. Bobo followed me until it was time to head out.
Before stepping into the lift, I attached Bobo’s leash to her collar. “Ready?”
The bell dinged and it wasn’t long before we arrived in the lobby. My pooch and I walked out and glanced around the unfamiliar yet thrilling place I had only seen during one of my favorite Aussie TV shows, Bondi Rescue.
With no idea where I was going, I decided to enjoy the walk nonetheless. We trailed the path along the beach, and it was truly spectacular.
The sun was already hot, glistening against the ocean, and it was only 7 a.m. Christina would kill me if she knew I went out without any sunscreen on.
A few people jogged and rode their bikes along the bath, along with other dog owners taking their pooches out for a walk. I started from the middle and made my way to the other side of the beach.
After finding a warm bench, I sat down to watch the early morning surfers take in the waves.
“What do you think, Bobo? Do you think we’ve made the right choice coming here?”
I bent down and scratched my pup on the side of her head. Wanting more, Bobo jumped on my lap and smothered me with kisses.
After a few cuddles and admiring the view, I stood and took a deep breath. We’d been walking an hour and it was time to return to the apartment.
Before I had a chance to move, Bobo bolted with my hand grasping the leash, causing me to chase after her.
“Damnit, Bobo! Stop!”
Bobo continued to drag me across the path while I attempted to keep up with the pooch. She may have been small, but she was a tough little shit.
I was so busy trying to focus on Bobo that I didn’t realize I was about to knock someone down.
Unexpectedly, I bumped into a man causing me to tumble over and land on top of him with an accidental knee—to the groin.
“Fuck!” the guy yelled, scrunching his face as he winced in pain. “My balls!”
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