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Happy Friday everyone!

To help everyone kick off this lovely weekend, here’s another teaser from my debut book, A Night to Forget! This is the unedited draft of the first three chapters after the prologue. If you haven’t read the prologue, I recommend that you read that first before these three chapters. The prologue can be found in my previous post. 

What do you think? 🙂

If you’d like to get immediate updates of A Night to Forget and my upcoming books, please join my mailing list: http://jessicawoodauthor.com/mailing-list/. If you’d like to be a beta reader for me, please email me at jessicawoodauthor@gmail.com. And if you’d like to be apart of my street team, please go here: http://jessicawoodauthor.com/street-team/.



Chapter 1

 “Emma, did you book your flight yet?” Jill asked, as she popped her head into the kitchen, with excitement in her voice and gleam in her eyes. “I booked mine this morning!”

“Not yet. I’ll buy my tickets later tonight. Promise.” I looked over at her with a reassuring smile and knew she was anxious for me to finalize my flight before prices went up even more.

“Okay, and I’ll make sure Steph and Gloria get their tickets soon too,” Jill said. “We only have a month left to plan this trip, and there’s still so much to plan out!”

I laughed. “Jill, don’t stress out about it, we still have a whole month left before spring break. I’m sure we’ll have a blast together regardless of what we do. Besides, with you as our event planner, I have no doubt that it’ll be the best spring break ever,” I said.

Jill has always been the planner and meticulous one in our group of four. She had lists for everything and loved to organize events and trips. This was great for the rest of us. Without Jill planning our senior year spring break trip to Cancun, we’d probably just show up and try to figure out what to do when we got there, which is probably wasn’t the best idea considering that Cancun is suppose to be the spring break hotspot for college students.

“Thanks, Emma. Sorry if I’m being anal about this,” she said. “But this will be our last big hurrah before we graduate, and I really want it to be unforgettable. I don’t want us to forget each other when we all graduate and go our separate ways and—”

“Jill, don’t think like that,” I said, interrupting her. “I know we’re all moving away from L.A., but we’re all best friends. We’re only a phone call and plane ride away. Trust me,” I reassured her.

“Yeah, you’re right, Emma. Gosh, I’ll really miss you when you move away.” Jill sighed. “Who’s going to keep me fed when you move out?” she teased.

“You mean you’ll really missing my cooking,” I shot back with a laugh.

“Well, that too,” she giggled, “but seriously, it’s going to feel weird without you here in L.A.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” I agreed. Out of our group of four, Jill was my very best friend, and the closest thing I had to a sister. We have been roommates since the beginning of sophomore year, and for the past three year, we’ve lived in this small—but perfect—two bedroom apartment in Brentwood, just a few minutes west of the UCLA campus where we went to college.

Jill and I met during Welcome Week freshman year. From the moment I saw her, I knew she was one of those effortlessly trendy people that you loved to hate. Plus, she was a hapa—half Asian, half white—and gorgeous; every guy at UCLA seemed to drool all over her when she walked by.

But when I actually started talking to her, I instantly loved her. She was genuine, bubbly, and thoughtful, which made it difficult for me to resent her for very long. We’ve been inseparable ever since, so it will definitely be weird not being able to see her on a regular basis after graduation.

Of the four girls, Jill was the only one in our group that was staying in L.A. after graduation. She was going to be an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Our friend Steph was attending law school in the fall at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and Gloria was moving to Paris after graduation to be an assistant art curator for a prominent art gallery there. And as for me, I was moving to San Francisco right after graduation. I was going to be a marketing associate at Fisher & Morrison Consulting, one of the top consulting firms in the country. I was beyond excited for this great opportunity, and of course, incredibly freaked out at the same time. I know that I have worked really hard in school and deserved this job, but part of me felt inadequate—what if there was a mix-up and they really hadn’t intended to hire me?

“So, what are you making today,” Jill asked with delight, changing the subject and pulling me out of my thoughts. She loved it when I decided to bake.

“I’m just finishing up these dark chocolate brownies for the Student Body Bake Sale tomorrow,” I said as I quickly put on the oven mitts and pulled a fourth batch out of the oven. Two more batches to go, and then there should be more than enough for the bake sale.

“Oooh, can I have one, Emma?” Before I had a chance to say yes, Jill reached for a cooled brownie. I laughed at her excitement.

“These are amazing!” she exclaimed. “I’m sure Mike will appreciate all your help with his Student Body stuff. He may be the big, hotshot president of UCLA’s Student Body, but he’s nothing without you and your help. You’re the best girlfriend a guy can have.”

“Right, thanks,” I said, feeling a tinge of guilt wash through me.

To be the best girlfriend, you shouldn’t be having sex dreams about a man that’s not your boyfriend. And you probably shouldn’t wish that mystery man was real and doing unspeakable things to your body. And you certainty shouldn’t have those desires when you haven’t even done those things with your boyfriend! I thought to myself.

I haven’t told the girls about the dreams I’ve been having for the past few months—not even Jill. It was that same dream every night, with that same mystery man, on that same beach. I felt guilty just thinking about him again. Plus, just the thought of this man made it difficult to think about pretty much anything else, and the memory of his touch made me hot and weak all over.

“So why are you baking so many brownies?” Jill asked, bringing me out of my reverie. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I would never complain about you baking,” she continued as she reached for another brownie, “but aren’t there a lot of people bringing baked goods for this sale? Four pans of brownies seem to be a lot from one person.”

“Actually, I’m making six trays of these,” I said quickly, feeling slightly defensive. “I know I’m making a little more than normal, but this is a big bake sale and they’re trying to raise a lot of money. I just want to be supportive,” I said half-heartedly.

“You really are the best, Emma. Well, I have to finish my history paper tonight, so I better get back to work. Thanks for the brownies,” Jill said gleefully as she grab a third one to go. “And thanks for subtly calling me out on being a Cancun-spring-break-planning-Nazi. I know I can be slightly obsessive when I get into my planning mode,” Jill said as she laughed at herself.

“I know, and we love you for it. But trust me, we will have an unforgettable time in Cancun, and I know you’ll do a great job planning it, like you always do.”

After Jill left the kitchen, I was lost in my own thoughts.

Why did you bake so many of these for Mike’s bake sale? I knew Mike wasn’t expecting me to bake this many. In fact, I was only planning on baking one batch, not six.

Okay, yes, I loved to bake and I found it really relaxing. But, maybe I had gone a little overboard with six batches. Jeez, Emma, you’re only baking for a bake sale, not trying to feed a small village in Africa. What were you thinking?

Was I trying to compensate for my feelings of guilt? I know I’ve been feeling a bit guilty lately with these dreams. Yes, I couldn’t control what I dreamed, but the fact that I don’t want these dreams to end was the source of my guilt. Sometimes I caught myself making an excuse to go to bed early, just for the possibility of seeing him again, touching him again, kissing him again. My skin prickled at my memories of him.

Don’t get me wrong, I really cared about Mike. We’ve been together for about a year now, and we got along pretty well. One thing I really appreciated about him was how understanding he was that I wanted to wait to have sex. Most men I have dated dumped me pretty soon after they realized that they’d have to wait awhile before I would even consider having sex with them. They didn’t care that I had my reasons. In fact, even after I told them about what happened to me that night during my freshman year—the night that changed my life forever—they still broke up with me when they realized that I wanted to wait.

But Mike seemed to be different. Even though he wasn’t a virgin, he respected the fact that I was. He seemed okay with the fact that I wanted to take things slow. He had told me that he wanted to be my first and was willing to wait until I was ready.

And no, I wasn’t a prude. I’ve done everything up to sex. But I just haven’t wanted to have sex with anyone yet (except for my mystery dream man, of course). I’ve always wanted my first time to be special, and with someone special, and as much as I cared about Mike, it had never felt right to me. I have heard people describe the feelings they had for the one they loved—that electricity they felt when their bodies touched. I haven’t felt that yet with anyone. Maybe I was being naïve to think that kind of love could be real, but I was not ready to give up the hope that it can be a reality for me.


Chapter 2

After several weeks of shopping and of desperately searching for some decent-fitting swimsuits—which, by the way, is near impossible—Cancun was just a day away. I was giddy with anticipation at the thought of the fun-filled week Jill had planned for us.  It took me about two hours of packing, but I finally managed to pull the zipper around my suitcase, which was now stuffed to the brim.

I heard the doorbell sound from the living room. That must be Mike. We were going to have dinner and hang out before we both left for spring break tomorrow.

“Hi babe,” Mike said when I opened my apartment door to let him inside. He was wearing my favorite worn-down grey t-shirt and dark-washed jeans, and he looked handsome this evening. It looks like he just shaved before he got here, I thought to myself.

He leaned in for a hug and I inhaled deeply the familiar smell of his cologne as I buried my face into his embrace. He only wore his cologne on special occasions. “You smell nice, babe. Are we wearing cologne tonight?” I teased as I leaned up towards him to give him a kiss before leading him inside.

“Well, considering we won’t be seeing each other for all of next week, I wanted tonight to be special.” There was slight rawness in his voice, and I felt a tinge of guilt. “I know, I’ll really miss you, but we’ll talk on the phone daily. Promise.”

“Are you all packed for Vegas?” I asked, trying to derail the conversation.

“Not yet, my flight isn’t until tomorrow afternoon. I’ll pack in the morning.”

“Mike, you are such a procrastinator,” I laughed as I playfully slapped him on his shoulder. “You always leave things to the last minute.”

“Hey, what can I say? I work well under pressure,” he said playfully.

He pulled me into his arms and kissed me deeply. I let out a deep sigh of content. Mike made me feel comfortable and safe, and I never felt pressured to do anything I didn’t want to do.

“I love you so much, Emma,” Mike whispered softly into my ears, his warm breath on my ears sent chills down my back. I looked up at him, “I love you too, Mike. And I really will miss you when I’m in Cancun. I promise to send you lots of pictures of the beach, the sunset, and Chichen Itza.”

“Chichen Itza?” he said, his eyebrows farrowed in confusion.

“Yes, remember? I mentioned it to you before. It’s one of the places the girls and I are visiting next week. It’s one of the largest pre-Columbian Mayan city ruins,” I said.

“Oh right, you did mention something about that,” he said with disinterest in his voice. I felt a shot of annoyance in his response. He never seems interested in anything beyond what’s going on immediately around him.

“So where did you want to order our dinner from?” I asked, trying hard to brush off my irritation.

“I was thinking of some Chinese take-out. What about you?”

“Chinese food sounds great. Do you know what you want to get? I have a few menus here somewhere,” I said as I sifted through the kitchen drawer dedicated to take-out menus, random condiment packets, and some random odds and ends.

“Yeah, some Kung Pao Chicken would hit the spot. Want to share?” he asked.

“Mike, you know I have a peanut allergy. There’s peanuts in Kung Pao Chicken,” I said, my irritation starting to return.

“Oh right. Sorry about that. What about Chicken Cashew?” he asked as he looked at the menu.

“My peanut allergy includes cashews, remember?” What was wrong with him tonight? Has he always been so insensitive? I thought.

“Oh, right. Hmm. Do you want to just order for us then? I don’t really care,” he said as he handed the menu to me.

“Is something wrong, Mike?” I asked, irritated by how he was behaving.

“No, nothing’s wrong. I’m not too hungry,” he said with no further explanation.

“Okay, well let me call in an order for a few things. We may get hungry later,” I said.

After I called in the order, I went into the living and sat down next to Mike. “So do you want to watch a movie or something?” I asked.

“Hey, so my bros want to hit up a strip club one of the nights next week,” he said abruptly in response. “Would you be okay with that?”

I was caught by surprise and wasn’t sure what to say.

“Yeah, well, umm. Sure, I guess that’s okay,” I responded, not quite sure where this conversation is going.

“Thanks, babe. I know you’d understand,” he said as he leaned over to kiss me. As he slowly anchored his body over me, his kisses grew more hungry and his hands moved with a purpose. “I love you so much, Emma.” His voice was shaky and rushed.

“I love you too, Mike,” I said, confused by where this was all coming from.

“Mike?” I asked, with an edge of urgency in my voice.

He didn’t hear me. His hand was behind my back unhooking my bra as the other hand and hungry mouth were moving towards my exposed breasts.

“Mike, what are you doing? We’re in the living room, and Jill’s in her room,” I hissed at him, the annoyance I felt was rising. What’s gotten into him?

“Right, right, let’s go to your room,” he said hastily, getting up and moving us towards my room as he continued to kiss and knead my breasts.

“Mike, but the Chinese food delivery guy will probably be here soon,” I protested, trying to halt our movement. He ignored me and urged me further.

“Mike! Stop it, what are you doing?” I said, my voice louder and with more conviction as I pushed him away from me. “What’s wrong with you tonight?”

Mike finally stopped at my words. “What’s wrong with me?” he demanded, “What’s wrong with me?” he repeated as anger invaded his voice. “What the fuck is wrong with you, Emma?” he yelled, his face red and contorted. “What the fuck is wrong with us?”

I stood there in bewilderment and couldn’t respond. I noticed that I was holding my breath, too stunned to even exhale. I’ve never seen Mike act like this towards me.

“I … Mike, what are you talking about?” I finally said softly, unsure of how he’d react.

“Emma, I don’t think I can take it anymore. We’re both 22 years old! We love each other, or at least I think you love me,” he paused slightly, looking for an acknowledgement from me.

I couldn’t speak and just stared at him.

“And we care about each other, and we’ve been together for over a year now,” he continued. “So why are we not having sex? We should be having sex! Lots of sex!”

“Mike, I’m sorry. I thought you were okay with taking it slow. It just doesn’t feel right yet, but I do really care about you,” I said meekly.

“Fuck, Emma. What do I need to do to make it feel right for you? When will you ever be ready? College is almost over. It’s our senior year. I can’t believe I have a girlfriend and I haven’t gotten laid in over a year! I’ve tried really hard to be patient with you, Emma, but do you know what my frat bros think about me? Do you know what they say behind my back—no actually, what they say to my face?”

“Why are you talking to them about our sex life?” I interrupted him.

“What sex life? We are guys, Emma. We talk about sex, girls, sports, and more sex. We talk and think about sex all the time. And for most of us, we are having sex all the time,” he said in disgust. “Except for me, that is. Do you know that I’m the laughing stock at the house? Before I met you, I got so much ass, the guys respected me. But then I met you. I thought you were special and unlike the other blondes around L.A., so I was willing to wait a little longer. But, it’s been over a year now, Emma. Are you ever going to sleep with me?” Mike’s voice was a mixture of anger and resentment.

“I—I don’t know,” I said, surprised by my admission. A look of hurt broke through Mike’s angry face. He was not expecting that response.

“What? Why? Why the hell not?” he demanded.

“Honestly? Well … I’m not sure. For some reason, it just doesn’t feel right, at least not right now. And I don’t know if it’s timing … or if it’s us.” Tears were rolling down my face as I looked up at him when I spoke. Why did it take this long for me to admit this to myself? I thought.

“Is there someone else?” he ask accusingly.

“No, there’s never been someone else,” I said defensively. He doesn’t have to know about the dreams. Plus, it’s not like I have any control over those thoughts.

“Shit, I don’t know what to believe anymore with you. You tell me you love me, but you don’t even know if you’ll ever want to have sex with me.” He sighed in frustration and violently rubbed his face with his hands. “I can’t do this anymore.”

“Do what?” A feeling of dread flooded through me.

“This, Emma,” he said as he motioned his hands back and forth between us. “Whatever this is between us? This sex-less relationship. This friendship,” he said with disdain in his voice.

“Mike, it just doesn’t feel right yet,” I whispered.

He backed away from me and started heading towards the front door. “I know what happened to you during freshman year traumatized you, but it’s been three years, Emma, and I’ve been very patient up until now,” he paused and looked away. “It’s my last fucking year of college, and I’m going to have sex. If not with you, then with the many ready and willing girls who would love to fuck me.”

He then paused and looked back at me, “Last chance, Emma.” There was a spark of hope in his voice.

I looked at him in shock and indignation. “I’m sorry, Mike. I can’t … I just can’t, especially not with someone I apparently don’t even know.”

“Fine. Goodbye, Emma. Have a great fucking life.” Mike slammed the door behind him, and with that, he was gone.

I stood there in shock, unable to move or understand what exactly just happened.

What just happened? Why am I holding out on him? I mean, if I was honest with myself, I know that I was ready for sex—in fact, I have been for quite some time. So why hadn’t it felt right with Mike?

He was right to be upset with me. Aside from some minor things, he had been a decent boyfriend. After a year of dating, I should want to sleep with him, even if I had been traumatized after that night three years ago. That had nothing to do with Mike, and I shouldn’t hold out on him for something he hadn’t done. I shuddered as the memory of that night crept into my consciousness. I immediately pushed it out of my thoughts.

No, it was more than that. I just never felt that electric spark with Mike. I did love him and care for him, but I never thought that he was the one. He was someone I felt comfortable with, someone who never pressured me into sex—well, that is, until tonight. But I have never looked at him and thought, God, I want you here and now. Wasn’t that something I should feel about someone I was going to give up my virginity for? Was I asking for too much?


I jumped in surprised when Jill lightly touched my arms. “What just happened? I heard the yelling,” she said with concern and worry in her eyes.

“I don’t know. I think Mike and I just broke up,” I whispered, my voice slightly shaky and uncertain.

“Oh, I’m so sorry, hun. Are you okay?” she hugged me as my body remained limp and unresponsive, still reeling from shock.

“I think I am, surprisingly,” I said as I was slowly coming out of the fog. “He wanted to have sex, and I didn’t.”

“And he should respect that. He always has. What’s changed?” Jill said in protective tone.

“Well, it has been over a year since we’ve been together. And Jill, I do want to have sex. But I want my first time to be with someone special, and I just realized tonight that I’ve never wanted it to be with him.” I sighed. As I said these words aloud, mix feelings of loss and freedom flooded through me.

“I can’t believe I never realized that before.”

“Yeah, well … I think I always thought that,” Jill said sheepishly.

“Really?” I looked at her in surprise. “What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, you guys did seem to love each other, but I never saw passion between the two of you—well, at least not from you. It was always playful, but I’ve never seen you look at him in that way.”

“In what way?” I asked, not quite sure what she was implying.

“You know, the look someone gets when they’re completely in love with someone in every way and they can’t keep their hands off that person. You didn’t have that with Mike.”

She was right, I realized. I always found Mike to be handsome and charming, but I’ve never found myself thinking sexual thoughts of him.

At that moment, a few flashbacks of my sexual encounter with the mystery dream man came into my thoughts. Mmm, yeah, definitely no sexual thoughts like those.

“Well Cancun cannot have arrived at a more perfect time,” Jill said with excitement. She was always the one to find the positive side to things. “Now that you’re single, it’ll be so much more fun! Four single girls on spring break in Cancun!” She giggled in excitement.

I laughed at her, and realized how infectious her positive energy has always been on me. “You’re right. Cancun will be perfect, and we’re going to have an unforgettable time!” I said, making an effort to join in the excitement.

“And who knows, maybe you’ll meet someone there who you do have a passionate spark with,” she teased.

“Oh come on, Jill. I’m a virgin and that’s just not like me,” I said, laughing at her suggestion.

“Hey, anything can happen. As they say, ‘whatever happens in Cancun, stays in Cancun!’” she said with a devious wink and giggle.

Chapter 3


I laid lazily on my back with my eyes closed, enjoying the relaxing day that Jill had blocked out for us in her busy itinerary. This was our fourth day in Cancun, and up until today, our days have been packed with events. I laughed at the memory of seeing Jill’s color-coded itinerary, charts, and maps for the first time when we landed in Cancun. The itinerary was more than a little ambitious, but Jill was determined to make this week a memorable one.

I thought back to the last three incredible days we’ve had. We had arrived in Cancun Sunday morning full of giggles and excitement. Since then, we’ve explored the strip, ate more than our fair share of delicious fish tacos, and spent hours at Mercado 28, the amazing open market that sold a hodgepodge of local handcrafts, souvenirs, cloths, and food. We had also went on an all-day catamaran snorkeling tour, where we sunbathed on the deck and snorkeled at the various locations the tour took us to. The turquoise-blue waters of Cancun were breathtaking and I had seen so many fish of various colors while snorkeling. I  was pretty sure I saw Nemo and Dory, but the girls didn’t believe me. We had also spent a day visiting the Chichen Itza, the large pre-Columbian city build by the Mayans. And of course, at night, we had gone to a different club each night, having more tequila than we’ve ever had in our lives while dancing the night away.

Today—thank God—was our “day off” according to Jill’s itinerary, and the plan was to spend the entire day on the beach.

“Hey Emma, Jill and I are going to walk down to that beach party over there,” Steph said as she got up from her spot on the sand.

I opened my eyes slightly, squinting at the light as I looked up at her. I then looked over to the direction of the beach Steph was pointing towards. There was a large beach party about two beach resorts over from where we were. Even from here, I can see the sea of people several hundred yards away and hear the faint sounds of a Bruno Mars song playing.

“Wanna come with us?” Steph continued, as she brushed her fingers through her wavy blonde hair.

“Maybe a little later. I’ll find you guys,” I said. I felt too comfortable at the moment to move.

“I’ll stay here with Emma,” Gloria said. She was laying on her stomach and flipping through Cosmopolitan.

“Thanks, Glo.”

“Okay, don’t wait too long, or we’ll claim all the hot guys for ourselves,” Steph teased.

“See you guys in a few. And I’ll try to control Steph and save you guys a few hotties,” Jill yelled back, as she and Steph walked towards the party.

I laughed after them. Steph was 5’9”, blonde, and had a big boobs and a size 2 waist. While she had no trouble drawing guys in, she also intimidated most of them. She was incredibly smart and aggressive, and as long as I’ve known her, she has never lost an argument with someone else, over anything. She was going to make a great future lawyer.

Right after Steph and Jill left, a hot, tanned shirtless waiter came by to take our order. I ordered another strawberry daiquiri and Gloria ordered a pina colada. I made a mental note to myself to get that next. As the waiter headed back towards the bar area, Gloria and I could not resist catching a glimpse of his broad muscular tanned back and his shorts that hugged tightly around his butt.

Gloria and I glanced at each other, and she said, “Cute ass.” We broke out in a fit of laughter.

“Anything good in Cosmo?” I asked as I motioned at the magazine opened in front of her.

“Just the usual. The featured section this month is ‘Hot Relationships with the Older Man,’” she said with interest. My eyes were probably playing tricks on me, but I thought I saw a flush in her cheeks.

“Oh interesting.”

“Would you date an older man, Emma?” Gloria asked.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind if the guy was a few years older. That would probably be better since he’d be more mature than the guys our age. What about you?” I asked. Something about Gloria’s behavior peaked my curiosity.

“I think older men are hot, so I probably would,” she said. She giggled as her cheeks became rosier.

“Have you—”

“What’s the oldest you’d date?” she continued, interrupting me.

“Hmm, I’m not sure. I’ve never really thought about it. Maybe 10 years older?” I ventured. “Do you have an age limit?” I asked.

“Not really. I used to think so, but I’ve met some older men that are really hot and realized that I can’t really set a limit.” she said.

“Gloria, are you seeing an older guy?” I asked cautiously.

“No—no, I meant, you know, older guys like Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp. They’re both about to turn 50, but they’re so hot.” Gloria said in a rush.

“Yeah, they are,” I agreed. I decided not to push the subject. “So are you excited about Paris? I can’t believe you’re leaving right after we graduate,” I said, changing the subject.

“Yeah, I’ll really miss you guys,” Gloria said.

“I’ll definitely visit,” I said with a wink. “Any excuse to go to Paris.”

Gloria laughed, but said nothing. I realized this conversation was over.

Luckily, the waiter came with our drinks. I took a deep sip from my strawberry daiquiri. The icy sweet drink was perfect and I instantly forgot the tinge of worry that began to rise from my conversation with Gloria.

I looked over at her, and she had already drank half of my pina colada. She then got up from her towel and said, “I’m going to go take a dip in the ocean and then tan my front side.” And with that, she was gone.

I laid back down on my beach towel and gave a long sigh of contentment as I allowed my body to relax. I felt the warm sun caressing my body and the gentle ocean breeze cooling my skin and blowing through my blonde hair. I heard the waves beyond my feet crashing in the distance and the tropical music playing from our beach resort bar. I smelled the warm salty ocean air mixed with hints of sunscreen and tropical flowers.

During the last few days since my breakup with Mike, I thought a lot about what went wrong with our relationship. I realized that our relationship was never about us or me, it was very much about him. Mike was that politician type. Everything he did while president at the Student Body was part of his long-term plan to advance his political career. In fact, after graduation, he wasn’t going to move to San Francisco with me. Instead, he was heading to D.C. to intern for a U.S. congressman. He wanted me to move with him to D.C. and find a job there. Now that I thought back, I was pretty sure he wanted me to be his future trophy wife. That just wasn’t who I was, and I was glad that we broke up now than after we started our new jobs.

I was zoning in and out of sleep now. My minds started drifting to the man in my dreams. His warm brown eyes and deep-set dimples. His toned, sun-kissed abs, and broad shoulders.

I heard a group of girls giggling in the distance and my eyes fluttered opened. I looked down towards the water to check on Gloria. I saw her down at the waves in her green bikini, talking to a guy. She was twirling her long brown hair—the telltale sign that she was bored and disinterested.

As I got up to head towards Gloria, I caught a glimpse of someone from the corner of my eyes. Instinctually, I turned and looked for the person that caught my attention. The glare from the sun momentarily blinded me. After the halos of light subsided, I gasped. There, about 200 yards away, running towards my direction was him—the mystery man from my dreams.

I blinked, trying to figure out if I was in a dream. This can’t be a dream, I thought to myself. In my dreams, it’s always just him and me, and no one else existed—or mattered.

I couldn’t believe that he was real. Real and here in Cancun. Here in Cancun and on this beach with me. Just like my dreams. So it may not have been as romantic as my dreams, with all these people everywhere. But, good God, he looked gorgeous. A surge a sheer happiness washed over me, and I knew it was not due to the daiquiri.

But why was he here? The thought popped into my head. And why was he running on this beach?

I was about to walk towards his direction when I heard Gloria’s stressed voice in the distance. “Sorry, I’m not interested.” I heard her say.

Reluctantly, I forced myself attention away from the mystery man and towards my friend. The guy I had seen talking to her had his arms around Gloria and was trying to grab her ass. It was clear even from where I stood that the guy was clearly drunk. I ran towards Gloria as fast as I could.

“Hey! Get off her!” I screamed as I punched and kicked at the guy, trying to get him to release Gloria.

“Jeez blonde, I’m just trying to have some fun,” the guy said as he released Gloria and put up his hands suggesting he was innocent. “Don’t be jealous, I can make time for you too,” he said as he licked his bottom lip and looked me up and down.

“Fuck off, creep,” I said as I pulled Gloria away from him and lead her quickly towards our spot on the beach.

The guy muttered something back, but we were far enough away from him to hear what he said.

It wasn’t until we got back to the safety of our spot on the beach that I remembered who I had seen just moment ago. I looked around, searching desperately for another glimpse of him.

But he was gone.