Under Construction in Bora Bora by Jacie Lennon

 

1

Colin

Iraise my wrist to check the time, sliding the band of my watch back and forth in the sweat that’s gathered. Ten thirty, and I’m already soaked. This tropical heat is no joke, and my body isn’t used to it after living my whole life in England. London, to be exact.

I’ve been here for three weeks now, my new project finally underway, and I have a sense of accomplishment about it. This is what I’ve dreamed of—owning my own company, working alongside my employees in construction. To get this account was something I’d had my heart set on. Sure, maybe I have connections, but it doesn’t diminish my excitement.

“Plans, sir,” my foreman, Leo, says as he sets them in front of me. His grin makes me roll my eyes.

“Not funny,” I say as I sock him in the arm.

He’s my best friend, always stood by my side, and I wouldn’t trust anyone else as much as I trust him in this position. “Call me sir one more time, and I’ll give you a proper beating.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’ve noted some things that need to be addressed.”

I look as he points them out and then bend closer to the papers.

“We can’t put the pipes here. They need to be moved. My suggestion is this area.”

“Good catch. Go ahead and make the changes official. Any word on the supplies delivery?”

“Should be here tomorrow or day after.”

I nod, a smile taking over my face as I stand up from where I was hunched over the worktable.

I stare up at the add-on piece we are building. The resort is starting to look normal again, not as much wood, siding, nails, and equipment lying around. It’s a quick project, but it will have the most impact on our clientele list. It will look impressive to have worked on a high-end resort.

“Your dad would be proud of you.”

Leo’s statement makes my heart hurt but also swell. That’s the one thing I’ve always wanted—to make my father proud. It’s why I followed in his footsteps with construction.

When my grandfather opened Fairview Construction with his vision and dedication to hard work, he never saw it leaving England. It was a small mum-and-pop venture back then, but my dad dreamed big. He made me dream big with him, and when a heart attack took him a year ago, I was shocked that he’d left the entire company to me.

It was touch and go for a while as I tried to figure out how to manage a company when, prior, I had only been an employee there, but I’m thankful I’ve had Leo by my side for all of it.

“Thanks,” I say, grasping his shoulder with my hand and squeezing. “When is the interior designer supposed to show?”

Leo goes quiet, and I glance up at him.

“I don’t know how to tell you this …” he starts, and I let out a groan. “I got word today that Martha’s ill, so she might be delayed a week in getting here, if she’s able to come at all.”

“Don’t tell me that. I’ve got money on the line.”

“I know. I only received word a few minutes ago though.”

“Well, is there someone else we could get out here within the next day or two?”

“Possibly. I’ll have to check with a few other agencies.”

“Okay. Do some searching and let me know as soon as possible.”

“You got it, boss.” With that, Leo claps my shoulder and strides off.

I reach up to rub the back of my neck, letting out a long breath. I survey what we’ve done so far, and things are falling into place. But I’m going to need that interior designer sooner rather than later.

I should’ve seen this coming. Everything was going so smoothly, so it makes sense that there would be a hiccup. It’s up to me to fix it now that I’m the boss, and I can’t let this go badly. My father’s and grandfather’s legacies are on the line, and now, it’s my legacy too.

I bend back over the worktable, glancing across the changes we made, and then start my rounds on the different areas my guys are working in. I lean down to pick up a pile of wood that needs to be moved and grunt under the weight.

I think back to working alongside my father, seeing him work his ass off for this company, and I miss those days. I wish he could be here with me now, but he’s not, and I can’t dwell on that fact.

I’m making my way with a shoulder full of lumber to the outside of the building, where we are working, when I see her. A woman is standing across the grassy walkway with her phone to her ear, appearing to look at me, and at first, I’m confused. Her wavy hair is high on her head, and she’s carrying a bag. Her flowy dress flutters in the slight breeze, but she’s far enough away that I could be wrong about me being the object of her perusal. I turn my head as much as I can to see if something is behind me, but there’s nothing.

I look down at myself and realize that I took my shirt off earlier, so I’m half-naked, my torso glistening with my body sweat in the broad daylight. It’s nothing new at a beach resort, as guys are shirtless all the time, so I’m still confused about what has her attention.

I look back up to smile awkwardly at her, but she quickly averts her eyes. I shake my head and move to drop off the wood and do my rounds to see what’s getting done on the resort today.

I enter the hollowed-out recesses of the new part of the building that we are constructing, and I immediately see Leo and two other guys going over the new plans. They raise their hands to wave. I acknowledge them and then continue on, wanting to check out the construction of the new lobby.

Things are starting to shape up. Don, my guy overseeing the construction of the lobby itself, is standing in the center of the room with his hands on his hips. I stride over as he turns to me with a grin.

“It looks good. Is the floor ready for tile yet?”

“We’re putting up the remainder of the walls today, and tomorrow, we should be able to start.” He points out where the walls are being finished.

For a moment, all I see is the woman outside with long brown hair pulled up in a high ponytail and staring back at me, causing my heart to beat a little faster.

Get it together.

“Great. We hit a snag with the interior designer, but once we get that worked out, everything should start coming together.” I pound him on the back and leave the way I came in.

The sun has been draining me, my body taking a while to acclimate to this island climate, but I can’t say I hate it. I only wish I could enjoy it a little instead of working the entire time.

I find my T-shirt, which was discarded on my worktable outside, and slip it over my head in case I encounter any more of the resort’s customers. I stride back to my room, thrilled to get out of the heat and into the air-conditioning, to take a shower and have lunch.

Once I finish cleaning the sweat and grime from work off myself, I call for room service and then step out on my balcony. The view is a dream, one that vacationing couples and families pay good money for, and I’m getting it for free, so I try to take advantage of it whenever I can.

There’s the pool down below, palm trees framing it and people leisurely floating, holding fruity cocktails or lounging on the deck chairs.

The cabana bar is playing festive music while birds chirp overhead, and off in the distance, I watch the waves of the ocean lap at the shore.

It’s paradise.