Chapter One – “Call me Fishmael”
Where have all the good men gone?
Serina James brushed off the meddlesome thought as she flipped the sign to Closed at the front of her new swimwear shop, Suits You Boutique. She still had way too much work to do to be pining away over the lack of eligible males in the town of Melody Point. Socialites from nearby Newport, Rhode Island to the Hamptons had hit the boutique hard lately with rush orders for custom swimwear women just had to have yesterday. Yes, the summer season was in full swing.
At least, that was the case during the day. But by night, the regular summer crowds filling up the usual trendy night spots in the small tourist town had been, well, lacking in the “available men” department.
But she needed to focus on the task at hand; work on her recent design creation, a two-piece, black bathing suit prototype that she now wore. She wended her way around racks of colorful swimsuits and entered the back private sewing area where her best friend Becca Chase stood patiently waiting.
“All ready for the final fitting?” Becca asked.
“Yes. We are officially closed. Thanks for staying after hours to help.” Serina was just about to stand up on the dressing platform in front of the three-paneled mirror when something caught her eye across the room. “Hold on,” she told Becca and marched over to an ivory string bikini on a hanger.
“What are you doing? You already finished that,” Becca complained.
“Oh, really? This crooked stitch screamed at me from across the room.” Serina fingered the hem on the bikini top. Yep, there it was. “I’ll have to re-sew the entire thing.”
Becca came up beside her to inspect the goods. “You’re kidding me, right? It’s not really crooked, it’s just…wait, let me get this straight. You saw this so-called imperfect single stitch from across the room?”
“How do you do that?”
“How do you see things…” Becca shook her head and laughed. “Never mind. Now, can we get back to working on your prototype?”
“Sure. I’ll fix that stitching tomorrow.” Serina lowered the imperfect bikini top onto her workbench and made her way back toward the dressing platform. She climbed on top and inspected the black prototype in the mirror’s reflection. She pointed to a section of hem on the board-short waistline and indicated where to put a finishing pin.
Becca got to work, which allowed Serina’s thoughts to skip right back to the uneven male-to-female ratio in the area. Gosh, she’d been distracted by it all day. How many more times would the thought pop into her head? What had gotten into her?
“Becca, do you think Melody Point has a man-shortage?” she blurted.
Becca peeked up from under her mane of curly brown locks, her eyes wide. “A man-shortage? I don’t know, why?”
“Pickin’s are slim lately. Men seem scarce. They’re either in some obscure relationship, or away on business on short notice, or vacationing elsewhere.” Realizing how silly she sounded, Serina waved off the idea. “Nah, forget I mentioned it.”
“No, I won’t forget it. I’m glad you’re coming around and thinking about getting out there again. It’s about time.”
Serina scoffed. “Don’t get any ideas. I’m not coming around. I just, well, noticed the lack of fish in the sea, is all. Besides, I’m way too busy keeping this business afloat to get back ‘out there’ again.”
She barely finished her sentence when a pinprick stabbed her side.
“Yeouch!” Serina arched her back in time to keep away from her friend before she jabbed her again. “You did that on purpose!”
“Only because I didn’t like what you said. You can’t use your work as an excuse forever. Now stay still and don’t make me stick you again,” Becca barked as she added another pin to the swimsuit…
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