short story - Miami Bikini Contest

originally written September 21, 2022

“Shit, shit, shit,” I mumbled as I dug my way through piles of dirty laundry. I needed that bikini. I finally noticed the glint of the red strap of the top and pulled it triumphantly out from under a lump of shirts. I pressed it to my nose. Damp, but still smelled alright. I fished around for the matching red bottoms then shoved both under my armpit, rushing into the living room of my apartment. My mantra followed me, “Shit, shit, shit. I’m so late.”

As I entered the living room Joe was standing by the couch, arms crossed, eyebrows furrowed. He stared at me as I started rummaging through the stacks of paper scattered across the desk wedged into the corner. I could feel him about to ask what I was looking for, so I answered before he could speak, “My entrance paperwork.”

I heard the creak of his shoes on the floorboards, felt his warm body pressing up against the small of my back as he reached past my body and shifted the dogeared psychology textbook. Sure enough, there it was underneath: my Miami Bikini Competition entrance form.

I picked it up tenderly, like it was a rose covered in thorns. Joe placed his hands on my hips and tenderly turned me around to face him, so the form was pressed between our chests. “You’re not taking this seriously,” he said. “You need to be more prepared.”

“I have a job, Joe,” I said, annoyed. “And school. Out of all of those things, this is my lowest priority.”

His hands drew against my body and came to a rest on my stomach. My toned muscles seized under his touch. “You’re the most promising girl I’ve ever trained,” Joe murmured into my ear. Goosebumps rose across my skin.

“Joe…” I mumbled. “I need to focus on other things. I need to focus on school. This isn’t my future.”

He stepped away from me, eyes flashing. I sighed. We’d had this conversation a million times and it was always the same. “So you’re throwing this away? You’re giving up on me, on us? You’re the sexiest girl out there and you know it. Any other girl would kill for your opportunity at winning, for that prize money.” He ran his hand through his hair, exasperated. It was graying prematurely. Not that prematurely, I could hear the voices of my friends saying. In the two years since Joe started fitness training me, that’s all they ever seemed to say. I wondered if he was going gray because of me.

“I just…” I trailed off. He was right. The money from these bikini contests spoke louder than words. I glanced at my desk, the words tuition flashing in my head like a big, neon sign. “Okay.”

“Okay,” Joe agreed. “Change.” He steered me and the red bikini into the bathroom.

was back out and changed barely a minute later. “I’m ready,” I said, striking a pose. Joe just nodded and was about to step towards the door, when he paused. He looked at me again, his eyes landing on my legs.

“You haven’t shaved,” he said.

I looked down. Sure enough, little brown pinpricks of hair were starting to sprout, obvious against my lightly tanned skin. I hadn’t had time to shave for days.

“It’s fine,” Joe said, pointing back towards the bathroom. “Grab your razor. You can shave on the way.”