Girl, u crazy.
I readthe text message from my best friend Lily.
Then, as the smallest airplane I’ve ever flown on touches the ground, I smile. I should be tired after the other two flights it took me to get here all the way from Texas. Yet, a sense of determination and purpose washes over me as I look out the tiny window.
The arresting views take my breath away.
Fernando the Noronha, an island off the cost of Brazil, is gorgeous. Known as a treasured ecosystem because of its diverse marine and wildlife, it’s remote—less touristy than places like Bora Bora, but certainly just as stunning. I mean, I guess. Never been to Bora Bora, but if these azure waters and rock formations are anything to go by…
My phone buzzes again, signaling another text.
I mean, he’s your bf’s dad. And what if u get fired for creating this hot mess?
I clutch the phone in my hand, and slide it into my tote bag. Yes, I created a hot mess. Yes, I’m using emergency, last-minute personal leave from work for a reason that’s not so… urgent.
Lily has a point. But the knowledge that I shouldn’t be doing this has zero impact on my actions right now. Besides, Alex is my ex-boyfriend as of now. The bastard who cheated on me with my roommate. So now not only am I newly single, once I get back to Texas, I’ll be looking for a new place to live. Does he even know how hard it is to find a decent living arrangement these days? Thanks, d-bag.
Which brings me here.
I’ve worked as a corporate travel and events planner for Stanton Inc., the giant sports gear company that swooped the industry by storm, for two years. It’s an amazing job, great pay, especially since I’m a 22-year-old without a college degree. But I may kiss it all away with my revenge plot to sleep with my ex’s dad to teach him a lesson.
The idiot has also been text messaging me non-stop, wanting to talk. Talk, my ass.
Before my mom met my stepdad, she had the same type of problem. I know because I’ve seen her cry too many times under the dim light in the kitchen, when she thought I was sleeping or doing my homework.
My father left us when I was two. She always looked for a male father figure for me, but until my stepdad came into our lives when I was ten, she had her heart broken a lot.
I promised that would never be me.
That’s why I still haven’t had sex with anyone, because I was scared I’d get too attached to the wrong person. Turned out, that happened anyway.
Dated Alex for six months, and now I know why he was so patient with waiting for me. Because on his end, there was no waiting. The bastard was fucking my roommate Ava behind my back, the entire time. I was cheated on, again and again.
Threads of frustration cross through my chest. Three days ago, when I found out, I was sad and hurt. Then I wiped my tears and decided to get even. He cheated on me with someone I can kick from my life, even if that means a huge hassle as far as living arrangements. I chose to get back at him for sleeping with someone he can’t kick out of his life. His dad.
I depart the airplane, grab my luggage and leave the small airport. A cloud of smoke smacks me on the face, and I realize it’s humidity. Within seconds, as I walk to the white taxis lining up at the entrance, sweat forms on my forehead, and I feel this electric charge going over my hair line all the way down the tips. My hair feels frizzy, and I wonder if there’s a chance I’ll look put together after three flights and this godawful weather. Fat chance.
“Quer ajuda, moça?” a short taxi driver asks, offering help from what I can guess, and I nod, and he helps me with my luggage.
“Me leva para esse endereco, por favor,” I say, using the line from the Portuguese/English translator app I downloaded the night before. I’m sure my accent is heavy and laughable, but he glances at the paper I’m handing him, with the address to the rental house where Rhett is staying.
Then he nods and I slide in the car.
We ride through the heavenly setting, and I contemplate the scenery. Coconut palms sway in the wind and the sun glints off the ocean waves. I roll down the window, defying humidity for a moment of brief courage. The salty air has a decidedly tropical flavor, reminiscent of coconut and mango.
The driver says something in Portuguese, and I recognize words likerápido, and conclude it won’t take us long to get to the area where Rhett’s rental home is located.
A place like this would be perfect for a honeymoon, so idyllic and peaceful.
But no sight in front of my eyes excites me as much as the one I’m about to see, soon.
Rhett Stanton. CEO of Stanton Inc. My ex-boyfriend’s dad.