“Do you see that guy?”
“Next to Ralph Lee, by the window.”
Meg rolled her blue eyes, but didn’t answer Rochelle.
The train headed west into the sunset, like the final scene in a movie. The view was countryside and the occasional distant farmhouse complete with a red barn sporting a weathervane.
Ralph’s head dropped an inch, his consciousness evaporating steadily.
The strange man mouthed three words I love you and Rochelle shivered. His lean frame towered above Ralph and his exotic heritage was impossible to discern.
And what was up with that hat?
Rochelle’s thoughts solidified into tangible reaction when the man reached up and cocked the hat back in mockery. She felt his eyes on her from behind dark glasses.
Though silent, his deep voice filled her head regardless. You hate my hat, but you like my face. I’m Marco, and I love you.
Meg turned to stare, her cover-girl face wearing the usual “Rochelle’s nuts” expression, but it didn’t matter. She returned her gaze to Marco, who was sliding a very wet tongue along full lips.
“Cocky,” Rochelle whispered.
Once more Meg rolled her eyes then resumed her conversation with her blonde-clone friend one row back.
Rochelle thought her next two questions rather than speaking them. Do I know you? And what happened to Ralph’s flute?
She waited patiently, reliving the moment when Ralph placed his well-cared-for flute case in the empty seat by his side.
I’m your coconut man, and Ralph’s flute would be stuck up my ass if I was flesh, but fortunately, I’m not.
Rochelle blew Marco a flirty kiss, feeling warm and squirming in her seat. Meg released an exaggerated sigh through perfect pink lips.
Across the aisle, Ralph Lee’s drooping head had nearly disappeared into Marco’s chest. Half in, half out, his right ear and eye only dim shadows. Marco simply shrugged.
You’re going to win the solo. Ralph’s no longer a threat.
How do you know that?
I foresee it.
How? Meg plays better than me.
Baby, you’re the greatest. If you hike up your schoolgirl skirt and shake your beautiful ass…you’ll win. Also, Meg could be out of commission soon.
What do you mean? I want to win because I’m good.
No. You just want to win.
Rochelle’s blonde adversary rose, instructing the wannabe behind her to slide over. Rochelle made room for Marco.
You have all you need, including talent.
“Yes,” Rochelle whispered, the scent of sun-warmed coconut enveloping her. But her eyes were on Ralph Lee, who was bleeding all over his flute from a gaping hole in his head.
Rochelle kicked her own flute case farther under the seat, ignoring the tacky red stains and hair caught inside the clasp. She cuddled next to her coconut man and relaxed.
When the train reached its west coast destination, its occupants slept, aside from Rochelle, who raised her flute high before smashing it against a sleepy blonde head.
I’m your coconut man.