The Painting in the Background
Robin’s first time in Mena Lagoon is a wonderful experience. It’s not long before the events that unfold turn out to be quite strange. After meeting an elusive gentleman, he realizes not everything is at it seems on the private beach.
Jared is handsome in the most devastating way. Despite his dark, shrouded aura, Robin soon becomes aware that there is an intense attraction growing between them. One night of fulfilling his wild desires has him hooked. To his morbid fascination, he learns that his new lover is a mutant.
Learning the truth is not enough to repel Robin. Instead, he feels compelled to help Jared. The mysteries come with discovering what lies in the blood of the Hurley brothers.
The ocean waves danced in a slow, soothing rhythm. There were no less than fifteen people scattered on the private beach of Grayson’s holiday resort. Gusts of warm wind rushed through Robin’s shoulder-length, honey-brown curls and caressed his golden tan skin. The afternoon sun grew intense, releasing light perspiration. The sound of rustling palm tree leaves and crashing waves added to the spirit of relaxation. His thoughts strayed, tossed out there somewhere in the sparkling waters. Two people surfed in the distance. He used his old camera to capture colorful frames of the coast.
A glimpse of a brilliant rainbow fading behind a lighthouse piqued his interest. He kicked a heap of sand in a rush to stand at a better angle. About twenty clicks were enough photographs to grace a piling collection. Being a photographer for more than twelve years, he knew taking hundreds of frames a day was all it took to find the one. There were several places on the coast of Mena Lagoon, a private beach overlooking the Mena islands.
“Rob! Get back here. It’s time to go,” his friend Kevin called. He had long, mopey black hair. He liked to wear rock band t-shirts, skinny jeans, and converse sneakers. Standing at the edge of the walkway, he signaled Robin to come over.
Robin had lost track of time ambling and taking clicks—he had forgotten about the others. He stashed the camera in the maroon carrier bag draped over his shoulder.
Amy, Kevin’s girlfriend, waited behind the red Jeep, her long, pink floral dress dancing in the wind around her slim hips down to her ankles. The blonde beauty had fine facial features. Gary was already in the driver’s seat. Robin took his place next to him while the couple occupied the back seat. Even as they drove along the coast, Robin watched the white-capped waves move toward the shore, dissolved by the sand in the distance.
The sweltering heat dropped in the early evening as the sunset painted the clear blue sky into a light color. Out of habit, Robin saw an opportunity to take more shots. A line of cafes and restaurants were on the opposite side of the road in between several hotels.
“I don’t get why you guys want us to go to the beach when it’s almost empty. No girls to meet,” Gary complained, his booming voice in full effect. The muscular stud had thick brown skin and a buzz cut. He thought any girl would easily fall for his charm.
“You were surfing it up without a care. Didn’t you have a great time?” Amy asked.
“Well I did, but I like it when there’s a bunch of people around.”
“We closed school early. The place is yet to be crowded. I’d rather enjoy the vacant space now,” Kevin said, struggling to keep his blowing strands off his face.
“I’m craving chocolate ice cream,” Amy mused.
“You’re always craving something,” Kevin said.
It was a short drive back to one of Grayson’s holiday homes. The white mansion was a majestic double-story surrounded by green leaf tree canopies. Different kinds of tropical flowers popped out of the bushes on a well-maintained lawn. The house had an interior of astonishing beauty. Cream sofas with gold framing graced the center of the living room, facing a massive television, and vintage antiques.
Robin rushed into his assigned bedroom on the upper floor. He was always in awe of its meticulous arrangements. A huge flat-screen was placed before a king-sized bed adorned with a black and gray cover. In the far corner was a tiny mini bar with a coffee set and wine goblets placed on a glass shelf at the top. Long silver drapes flowed back and forth in the light breeze coming through the open window at the end of the room. Beyond the railing of the wide balcony, the vast ocean twinkling under the fiery sunset on the horizon gave a spectacular view.
Robin walked to the most cherished side of the room that showcased his personal gallery. Multiple silver frames, placed in a grid on the wall, held old and new photographs. His pictures hung everywhere he went, and it was a chance he’d taken to ask Gary’s father to install the frame for the duration of his stay. For inspiration. He dropped on the chair near a small desk and scrolled through the film he had been working on all day. He printed the best and resisted the urge to run his fingers over the lovely images of the sunny coast.
The door opened. Amy peeped inside with a look of anticipation. “Remember, we’re going back tonight for the bonfire. Be ready in the next hour.”
“And why is it that you never bother to knock?”
“Oh, damn, sorry about that. I’ll keep in mind to do so next time.”
“You better,” he mumbled when she closed the door.
Taking one final, lingering moment gazing at the exquisite shots, he then got up and stripped naked. After a quick, warm shower, he trudged to the closet with wet feet and put on blue jeans, a white vest, and a purple pullover. Without paying attention to his grumbling stomach, he proceeded to upload the remainder of his stills to his laptop. As the grating feeling in his tummy got worse, he was forced to close the application and rush downstairs. The others were already gathering around the rectangular table in the dining hall.
Suzanne, the chef, brought in the main dishes. They were each served with fried potatoes, green salad, and prawns. Other foods were added to the table, but Robin was busy scrolling through his phone, trying to get a feel for the endless pictures and whether he should post them up on his blog.
“Oh, my God. Robin, are you even paying attention to what we’re talking about?” Amy said.
“He’s always on that thing,” Kevin said, then dropped a prawn in his mouth.