Santa Ana in August was hot and dry. The sun baked the streets, sidewalks, and anything else in its path. Sweat was inevitable, even in the refuge of shade or with the assistance of a fan. The city’s citizens were either cooped up inside with their air conditioning on full blast, or at the beach in the cool water. I was one of the cooped up. Three fans directed toward me and my shirt still clung to my chest and back with perspiration. A tall red head skipped past my room sporting a pair of jean shorts and a bikini top.
“Vivian Tyler, where are you going?” I yelled after her, unwilling to get up from my seat in front of the rotating fans.
“I’m heading to the beach, Xavier and Erik are picking me up. Want to come?” She popped her head into the door frame of my room just in time to catch me shake my head in response. “I figured; see you in a couple hours!” The front door slammed behind Vivian and I sprang up, pulling off every item of clothing I had been wearing. Now fully naked, I was free to let the fans cool off every part of my body.
My fingers scrolled through a playlist on my phone and settled on “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot. My silly choice of music couldn’t and wouldn’t be made fun of by my best friend now that she had left, so I wasted no time in letting lose. My hips moved to the beat of the song, matching each phrase, loop, and hook. I used a toothbrush as my microphone, rapping along with the voice that spilled through my speaker system.
“’Well, use me, use me
’Cause you ain’t that average groupie
I’ve seen them dancin’
To hell with romancin’
She’s sweat, wet,
Got it goin’ like a turbo ’Vette
I’m tired of magazines
Sayin’ flat butts are the thing’”
I held out my toothbrush to my fake audience as I spat out the lyrics.
“’So, fellas! (Yeah!) Fellas! (Yeah!)
Has your girlfriend got the butt? (Hell yeah!)
Tell ’em to shake it! (Shake it!) Shake it! (Shake it!)
Shake that healthy butt!
Baby got back!’”
Suddenly the doorbell rang and my heart lurched from my chest. Quickly pulling on my robe, I tied it tightly around my body and scrambled toward the door. With the music playing quietly in the background, I opened the door and sucked in a fearful breath. The man in front of me towered over my small stature by at least a foot, making my body tremble with intimidation. But it wasn’t just his tall and muscly physique that led to my trembling knees, it was his god damn gorgeousness. His dark brown hair was slicked to the side, mirrored aviator sunglasses shielded his eyes from me, and he wore a blue police uniform that clung to every contour of his body.
“Sorry to disturb you Miss.” He smiled charmingly down at me and I forced a girlish giggle back down my throat.
“I-It’s no problem, Officer. What can I do for you?” I bit my lip, moving some hair away from my face. His penetrating stare was hard to match, so I settle for looking at his name tag.
“I’m just going around the neighborhood introducing myself. I’m moving in next door to you.” His voice echoed with a hint of a Spanish accent as he pointed to the old Jones’s house that had been sitting for sale for almost a year.
“Oh, well, welcome to Ophelia Avenue.” I smiled sweetly and moved from one leg to the other awkwardly. “I’m Jane Kingsley.”
“Daxon. Daxon Rivera.” He smirked down at me, bringing his fingers to the collar of my robe. “Did I interrupt something?” His thumb moved across the soft, plush fabric of the only clothing I was wearing. My breath caught in my throat as I fumbled around for an excuse.
“Um,” I swallowed hard. “I was about to take a bath.” Lying was never one of my specialties, which he quickly caught onto.
“After a performance like that, I’d assume you’d work up quite a sweat.” He bit his lip to suppress a knowing smirk, his cheek indenting with a dimple. With my brain coming up blank on a response, my cheeks flushed with embarrassment.
“Don’t worry, I’m a big fan.” He winked, stepping backward down the steps of my house’s patio. “By the way, Princesa, I’d close your curtains from now on.” The officer skipped down the stairs and down the sidewalk to the next house. My jaw was practically on the floor. Slamming the door, I ran to my room and pulled on some clothes.
My new neighbor saw me naked.
My new cop neighbor saw me naked.
Despite the temperature, I buried myself in the blankets of my bed, wanting to escape the deeply embedded embarrassment in my stomach. Vivian came home a few hours later, as promised. She disappeared into the kitchen, making her fresh fruit smoothies and preparing her organic-based dinner. Curtains now tied closed, I sauntered into the kitchen and sat at the table.
“What’s for supper, Wifey?” I waggled my eyebrows at her playfully. Vivian smiled and shook her head, plating the food and placing it in front of me.
“Rosemary chicken with cherry salsa.” She stuck a fork into the chicken breast and started plating her own food.
“What would I do without you?” I questioned, digging in. Viv was a culinary major and being her roommate backslash best friend, definitely had its perks. I debated on telling her about what happened with the new neighbor, but decided against it.
“Anything interesting happen while I was gone?” She questioned as she cut into her chicken. Biting my lip, I shook my head.
“Nope. Boring, like always.”