Ripped - Cassia Leo


I approach slowly, not wanting to anger it, then I position my shoe in just the right spot before I bring it down fast on top of the cockroach. A sickening crunch tells me I destroyed him, but Lindsay still cowers on the bed, her back against the headboard and knees hugged tightly to her chest. I slowly remove my size-thirteen sneaker from the wall where the three-inch-long flying cockroach was perched.

It twitches slightly and Lindsay lets out a shrill scream. “I hate this resort!”

The 80-percent-dead roach falls to the floor on its back and makes a halfhearted effort to turn itself over.

Lindsay continues to scream. “Don’t just stare at it. Put it out of its misery! It’s suffering!”

I shake my head. “Sorry, little guy. But you have to die or I’ll never have sex tonight. It’s survival of the fittest.”

I swat the roach one last time, then I scoop it up with some toilet paper and flush it away. After I wash off the bottom of my shoe, I come out of the bathroom ready to consummate our unofficial second honeymoon. But Lindsay is curled up on her side, hugging herself.

“Come on, baby. It was just one monster-sized flying roach.” I sit on the edge of the bed and push her golden-blonde hair out of her face. “We’re on the edge of a tropical island. There’s probably critters in all the hotel rooms in this area. I’ll bet they even serve the roaches as a delicacy at the Four Seasons.”

“You’re literally making me sick with fear.”

The bungalow on the beach in Tahiti is one of the shittiest rooms we’ve stayed in since I began surfing competitively again nine years ago. Nine years. I can’t believe I was afraid my dad would tell me twenty-three was too old to start competing again after a two-year hiatus. Well, I’m thirty-two now and at the top of my game. So why the fuck am I staying in a shitty room like this?

It’s all my fault.

The resort sold me a package, which included a bungalow on the sand and a couples’ massage in their “five-diamond” spa. I’m not allowed to get a massage from anyone other than Edie, my sports physician. But I thought Lindsay would appreciate it. And I was afraid if I didn’t book the package right away, Lindsay would change her mind about coming with me.

She’s only four months pregnant with our third, but she’s already mega stressed about this child. Our youngest, Mila, is just out of diapers. But now that our oldest, Kaia, is entering fourth grade soon, we decided to put her in a private school in Wilmington. We weren’t happy with the two private tutors we’d hired for her, and Lindsay doesn’t feel confident that her English degree is sufficient to homeschool the kids herself. This means we had to sell the house in Carolina Beach and move to Wilmington. It also means that from now on, I’ll be traveling to events all over the world alone.

This event in Teahupoʻo, Tahiti, is officially the last one Lindsay will be attending with me. Which is why we decided to leave my trainer at home and come here alone. We left the kids with Lindsay’s mom, Lillian, for nine days while we enjoy our moldy bungalow “just steps from the beach.” This is our fifth day here and tomorrow I have to be at the beach at six in the morning for the first heat in the quarterfinal, and I always perform better when I’ve had sex the night before.

I’m going to have to seduce her.

I tuck a lock of Lindsay’s hair behind her ear and she shudders. She always gets goose bumps when I touch her ears. I trace my fingers lightly down her jawline until I reach her chin.

I gently grab her chin between my thumb and forefinger and turn her head so she’s facing me. “I’m sorry this resort sucks.” I lean down and plant a soft kiss on her lips, then I pull away just far enough so our noses are still touching and she can feel my breath on her lips. “But I think I know how I can make it up to you.”

She lets out a soft puff of laughter. “This isn’t going to work, Adam. The moment passed. I just want to go to sleep. Actually, I just want this trip to be over. If you really want to make it up to me, you can fast-forward through the next three days.”