Sandra walks down the sandy path to the beach. She looks back at the three-story beach house to see if anyone has seen her leave. The lights in one of the third-floor bedrooms are on. Martha and Susan are sharing the top floor, so one of them must be up. She hopes no one decides to come to the beach because she's looking forward to seeing the sunrise alone. Sandra is sharing the second floor with her soon to be wed best friend, Janine. They are in Amelia Island for Janine's bachelorette weekend, two days of partying and fun. Already, they had started drinking and dancing the night before at the old saloon bar downtown. The bar had been nearly empty, but there was a DJ, and the music was good. The four women must have lowered the mostly male crowd average age by at least fifteen years, but they weren't looking for dates. They were there to drink, and dance and they did just that until the bar closed at midnight. While dancing, Sandra had noticed a good-looking, dark-haired guy sitting at the end of the bar. It seemed to Sandra that every time she looked his way, he had been looking at her. She had ignored him, but his stare had made her uncomfortable.
Her skin tingles, and she wraps her sweater a little closer around herself. For some reason, she remembers the guy from the bar and has a creepy sensation. She looks back to make sure no one is following her. She shakes off the feeling and hurries to the beach. She loves the ocean, the smell of brine, the sound of the surf, the sense of freedom it evokes in her. The beach is deserted, and the sun was still minutes from rising. This time is her favorite time of day.
She sits down to wait for sunrise. Instinctively she looks for her phone and realizes she has left it at the house. She considers going back but instead, she takes a deep breath, inhales the sea air, and looks out to the horizon. The pink, yellow bands peeking behind the clouds mesmerize her, and she allows herself to relax. She needs this. She rarely has a minute to herself without someone demanding something of her. She just wants to enjoy the weekend. When the last rays of sun are high above the horizon, she closes her eyes and leans back on her elbows, feeling the sun's warmth.
"Beautiful, right?" a voice startles her, and she jumps. She brings her hand up to her face to shield the sun from her eyes as she tries to make out who the voice belongs to.
"Sorry, I awake you," he says with an accent. Sandra cannot detect its origin.
"It's alright. I had zoned out." She's surprised when the stranger sits next to her without her asking.
"I'm Lucas. And you?"
"I'm Sandra, and I've got to go." She tries to get up, but he grabs her arm.
"Please stay. We don't talk. We watch the ocean."
Her instincts tell her to run, but she stays. There's something familiar about the guy.
"I saw you last night, you and your friends," he says. She then remembers the guy from the bar but does not say anything. She tries to get up, but he holds her back.
"Sorry, I don't remember meeting you. We had a lot to drink."
"Yes, I know. You are the beautiful dancer. I watched. But, when I see you now, I say, Lucas, this is destiny. You must talk to the beautiful blonde girl. She's waiting for you by the water."
"Oh really. I think I better go."
"No, no, I'm sorry. I scare you. I promise I will say no more. We sit, and we look at the ocean." He stays quiet for a few seconds but then starts again. He tells her he's vacationing from Brazil. He has been on the island for a week and will return home on Sunday. He wants to marry soon, as soon as he finishes his studies at the University of Sao Paolo, where he studies law. Back home, he lives in a big fancy house and owns three cars. He'd like to show it to her one day.
"And you? Tell me about you."
"I'm here to celebrate my friend's bachelorette weekend," Sandra says, but she stops when she notices a puzzled look on his face. Lucas has never heard of a bachelorette party, and Sandra explains.
"Why would a girl who loves a man and wants to marry him leave him to come and dance and be with other men? She does not love this man," Lucas asserts.
"Yes, she loves him, but this will be her last chance to come and have fun with her friends while she's still single."
"I don't understand. I don't like this idea. And you, you have someone you want to marry?"
"No, I never want to get married. I love my job and my life and don't want to mess up a good thing."
"Oh, wait until you fall in love. I will change your thoughts."
He grabs her right hand, brings it close to his face, turns it, and kisses her palm. This is way too intense for Sandra, and she scrambles to her feet.
"I've got to go. My friends are waiting for me."
"Ok. I see you later," Lucas tells her confidently.
Later that morning, Sandra and her friends are at the beach ready for a tranquil day in the sun when Martha notices a guy walking towards them.
"Ladies, I think we have company. Sandra tilts her head, and she sees it's Lucas. He approaches and introduces himself to the group of women. Sandra looks up and says, "We've met."
She puts her head down and pretends to sleep. Lucas sits down near Sandra. He is engaging and friendly, and soon Sandra's friends are laughing and having a good time with the sexy, hot guy. But Lucas only has eyes for Sandra. He's attentive and offers to rub sun lotion on her, which she quickly declines. After a while, Sandra gets up. She wants to get away, but Lucas follows her. She does not need this. Sandra had hoped to spend a fun weekend with her friends and does not want any complications. The more she tries to get away, the more determined Lucas is to win her over.
"Let's go sailing. I rent a boat," Lucas tells her. He grabs her hand, and she quickly pulls it back.
"No, thank you. I don't like sailing," Sandra replies, walking a little faster.
"You like bike riding, let's go." She shakes her head. The suffocating Florida heat is getting to her.
"Let's shop. All girls like shopping."
Sandra does not know how to get rid of this guy. But it's too hot to be cool.
"Hey, Lucas, I don't know how they do it in Brazil, but here in America, when a girl is not interested, she tells the guy to take a hike."
"Oh, a hike? You want to go on a hike. There are no mountains here."
"Not me, buddy. You, take a hike."
Lucas does not understand what Sandra means, and she sees the same puzzled expression he had earlier that morning. Sandra does not care. She's not in the mood to teach anyone anything. She just wants to be left alone. She takes a deep breath and leaves Lucas standing on the shore. Let someone else explain it to him.