Camilla Cohen sat on the edge of her bathtub in her upscale New York City apartment. The only sounds she could hear were the distant, angry honks of the passing cars on the street and the ticking of her grandmother’s antique clock that stood proudly in her small living room. No matter what was going on outside, her whole world was being turned upside down behind the door of that bathroom. A blond wave tumbled over her shoulder as she looked down at a little white stick that had two ominous pink lines jetting across the results window.
“Shit… shit, shit, shit.” She whispered as she tossed the pregnancy test into the garbage and closed her eyes. She suddenly had a pounding headache. What the hell was she going to do? She was a single woman with a wonderful career… and honestly, she barely knew the man that had gotten her pregnant. A baby would change things much more than she was comfortable with. In fact, it would ruin everything.
She thought back to her vacation to Australia a little over a month ago, and replayed everything in her mind… how the hell had she ended up here?
She vividly remembered knocking on the rust colored front door-- she recalled that she had to shield her eyes because of the bright Australian sun. She admired the large H that hung from the metal hook in front of her, and before long, the door was swinging open.
“¡Camilla está aquí!” A woman said happily from the other side of the door, in her lovely Spanish accent. “Cami! I’m so happy you are here!” Elsa squealed.
“Elsa!” Camilla dropped her bags and lunged at her best friend, hugging her tightly.
“Oh, I need to get in on this. Come on girls, bring it in.” A man goaded from behind Elsa and suddenly the cackling women were embraced between two very large arms.
Camilla laughed. “Hey, Chris.”
He kissed her on the head when he let the girls go. “How was your flight from New York?”
“Ugh… it was long. I’m completely exhausted.” Cami huffed.
“I know those long flights well. Stoked you’re here.” She smiled at Chris as he picked up her bags and began to trot them into the spare room. “I’ll just put these in the spare room, yeah?”
Cami nodded at him. She stood in her best friend, Elsa’s, Byron Bay beach home that she shared with her husband, Chris Hemsworth and their children. Really, everyone knew him as Thor, but Cami only knew him as the big, loveable husband of her best friend. Cami and Elsa had struck up a friendship years ago at an event, and now they traveled between New York, Madrid and Australia when possible to see each other.
“Where are the kids?” Cami asked, as she grabbed a handful of grapes from the kitchen table.
“Oh, we left them with my brother back in Brisbane. We thought this could be a more… adult week.” Elsa winked at her friend.
Cami knew what that meant. “Come on, Elsa. Don’t.”
“Don’t what? I am completely innocent.” She looked at her friend with exaggerated virtue.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Elsa had invited her here only to try and hook her up with a man. Last time, it was Elsa’s brother’s best friend… and that really, really didn’t work. He was a nice guy, but absolutely not for Camilla. She hoped this trip wouldn’t be the same. She was kinda bummed that the kids weren’t here, because she loved playing with them, and now her trip would be a bit more dull without their blond heads and smiling faces.
“Really? You’re innocent?” Cami sighed. “Who else is coming?”
Elsa held up her hands in surrender. “I’m not the one that invited him, Chris did-”
“Oh, man… I knew it.”
“I know, I’m sorry. He’s a really nice guy though, and I think that you two have a lot in common!”
“Who is it, Elsa?”
“Just one of Chris’ friends… Tom.”
“Tom… Tom who?”
“Tom… Hiddleston.” Elsa looked at Cami naively. “Loki.”
“Oh God…” Cami buried her face in her hands. “You guys are trying to set me up with Loki?”
“Come on, Cami. He’s a great bloke. One of my best friends.” Chris interjected when he came back into the room. “I’m sure he’d love someone to hang around with while he’s here. Things are a bit hard for him right now.”
“Can’t he hang out with you then, Chris?” Cami snarkily asked.
“I meant… a… a female.”
“Ah, I see. Look, I don’t doubt that he’s a great guy… I just… ugh. You guys do this every time. Why can’t I just have a vacation and spend some time with my friends? With no strings?”
“You don’t even have to talk to him if you don’t want to. I told him that he and I could cook out on the barbie, drink a few beers, build a few fires… caveman stuff.” Chris grunted trying to be funny, but it didn’t go over very well with Camilla. “Really, he just wants some sun and relaxation. Harmless, yeah?”
“Yeah…” Elsa continued Chris’ sentiment. “It’s no big deal. We can go do some shopping. Or get our nails done. We don’t have to hang out with the guys.”
“Whatever you say. I’m gonna unpack and take a quick nap. The time change is already getting to me.” Cami closed the bedroom door behind her, and took a seat on one of the twin beds that was in the room. The Hemsworth kids normally slept in here but they made room for her when she was in town. She huffed and kicked at the brightly-colored rug with her bare toes. She didn’t want to go shopping or get her nails done, and she knew that Elsa didn’t want to either. They would both rather go surfing with Chris, cookout, or go hiking and exploring than shop. She and Elsa loved to go snorkeling for lobster or crabs, bring them home and make Chris cook them up for dinner, and they practically lived in their bikinis the entire time. She assumed that wasn’t happening this time since Chris’ friend was coming as well.
The Hemsworth’s vacation home was affectionately referred to as the ‘Surf Shack,’ which was aptly named because it was on the very edge of a private sandy beach with perfect waves, and it was truly paradise. Some of the most beautiful sunsets had been seen here, surrounded by Chris, Elsa and their kids, usually around a bonfire in the sand. Maybe she should have just stayed home this time. Cami laid down on the small yellow bed and closed her eyes. She’d just sleep for a few minutes, and then get up and clean herself up for dinner. After all, it was 11 P.M. in New York. If she were at home, she’d be getting ready for bed right now instead of taking a 2 P.M. nap.
It would take Cami a couple of days to get acclimated to the time change, she’d stay for a week, and then go back to her apartment in New York. All she could do now was try and make the best of her time here before she had to go home.
When she woke, all she could hear were the sounds of “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” by the Temptations blasting through the air, with two loud men’s voices singing, or attempting to sing, the words and laughing loudly. She recognized Chris’ booming voice… the other must be his guest.
“... and so it begins.” Camilla grumbled, as she grabbed what she needed for her shower from her bag, and exited the room to walk as quickly as she could to the bathroom. Maybe she could sneak by so quietly that they wouldn’t even see her.
“Ah! Camilla!” She heard Chris say from the living room, so she begrudgingly turned around. “Camilla, this is my mate Tom. Tom, Camilla.”
Tom placed his beer on the coffee table, wiped the bottle’s condensation from his hand on his pants, and stood to greet her. “It’s a pleasure, Camilla.”
“Hi, Tom.” His large smile was genuine and so lovely, but she was still bitter that Chris and Elsa were trying to hook them up. He looked different than she had remembered, because he now had a fairly thick, but trimmed beard, and wore his hair longer than he had in the past. His eyes were a lovely blue, though—like the ocean. Cami placed her hand in Tom’s, giving him a lackadaisical, half-assed handshake. “Okay, I’m headed to the shower.” She said as she turned and went into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.
“That was quite the warm welcome.” Tom said sarcastically, as he plopped back onto the couch with his beer.
Elsa sighed from the kitchen. “I’m sorry, Tom. She’s a little bitter. We didn’t tell her you were coming until she arrived today, otherwise she probably wouldn’t have come.”
“Oh. It’s no wonder that she’s angry then. At least I was warned.” He laughed.
“So,” Chris lowered his voice to a whisper. “What did you think? She’s gorgeous, right?”
Tom grinned. “I think that was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”
“Just wait until you see her in her bathers.” Chris raised his eyebrows, and did a little whistle.
“What are you guys talking about over here?” Elsa smiled as she interrupted they men’s conversation.
“Oh, nothing, honey. Nothing at all.” Chris replied sheepishly.
“Mmm-hmm, sure. Todos ustedes mienten terriblemente!” Elsa rolled her eyes, and took a seat on Chris’ lap. “She will warm up, Tom. Otherwise, this is going to be a long week. Come on, dinner’s ready.”
Cami emerged from the bathroom, freshly showered, and wearing a flowy, soft, eggplant colored sleeveless top, and short cutoff shorts.
“You look like you feel better.” Tom said as he watched her walk toward them, and was taken aback by her natural beauty. Her long, golden hair — now wet from the shower, twinkling honey-colored eyes, tan skin and freckles that suited her perfectly.
“Did I really look that bad before?” She snapped back toward him.
“Oh, no… I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean that-” He sputtered.
“It’s okay. I know what you meant. I’m just a little grouchy, is all. Really, it’s fine.”
Elsa interjected. “Well, how about the girls sit on one side and you guys can sit opposite us.” Everyone agreed, chose their preferred beverage, Tom with another beer, and Cami with a cranberry juice and vodka, and took their seats. “I made steaks and potatoes, I hope that’s okay with you guys. Oh, and because I am such a fantastic friend, I made a vegan moussaka with eggplant and potatoes… I didn’t think you would want steak, Cami.”
“Yum! You are the most fantastic friend ever. Te adoro!” Cami kissed her friend on the cheek.
“Sounds like a lovely meal, Elsa.” Tom mentioned. When he extended that grin across the table toward Camilla, he was met with a look that was anything but happy. He quickly cleared his throat and looked down at his frosty beer bottle. Why did she dislike him so much, when she didn’t even know him?
Near the end of the meal Chris asked “What do you guys want to do tomorrow?”
“I was thinking-”
Tom and Cami spoke at the same time, both stopping abruptly to let the other one finish.
“Go ahead, Camilla, I’m sorry.”
She smirked toward him. “No, really, Tom. Go ahead.”
“Um… no, no, ladies first. I insist.” He laughed uncomfortably.
Cami rolled her eyes. “Fine. I was thinking of hiking up Hayder’s Point, and looking for that lush waterfall we found that one time. We could swim, take our lunch, and eat while we’re there. What’s your great idea, Tom?”
“I was going to suggest that we spend the day on the beach, but your idea sounds much more fun, Camilla.”
“Hmph.” She said with a grin.
“Yeah. Yeah, we can do that.” Chris said, trying to break the tension in the room. “It’s not too far, so we can leave about nine, and make it there by lunch, yeah?”
Everyone heartily agreed, and finished their drinks. “I think I’m going to bed. It’s been a long day.” Cami mentioned, as she stretched her arms toward the ceiling.
“Oh, speaking of beds… Tom, you know we have spare beds, they’re in the same room as Cami’s bed. I’m not sure how you both feel about sharing a room…”
Tom looked toward Cami but sensed an uneasiness in her expression. “Oh, no… no, the couch is just fine with me. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve slept there.”
“Are you sure?” Elsa asked.
“Of course. Don’t worry about me.”
“Well… okay, then. The offer stands, if Cami doesn’t mind.”
Tom grinned. “I know, I’ll be fine. Thank you.”
Camilla settled into her bed, and listened to the noises coming from the living room. It sounded like Chris and Tom had stayed up talking, but she couldn’t hear Elsa—she must have gone to bed. For some reason, the hushed tones of the men talking lulled her into a deep sleep, and before she knew it, it was daylight. She couldn't want to see what this day held...