The foursome, tennis rackets in hand, exits the court and winds their way around the Hyatt’s grounds on the perimeter path, encountering a few joggers but mostly meanderers in the late morning sun shine. The smaller swimming pool comes into view as they round a curve and Joe nods to the right, declaring, “Our suite’s in the Royal Ponciana. You sure I don’t need to shower and change?”
“Only if you’re cold,” Darryl replies brow knit tightly. “And you certainly don’t look cold. I swear, mate, you sweat enough for two men.”
“At least,” Misty says under her breath. “You want to just hop in the pool before we eat?”
“In my clothes? No. I don’t think so. Plus, those showers are there to keep the dirty, sweaty out of the pool. I just don’t want to, as Bugs Bunny would say, ‘Offend.’”
“Joe,” Misty replies, “if you were stinky-sweaty-dirty I’d be the first person to insist that you shower-”
“-That’s for sure, MS one-part-per-million,” Joe interjects.
“-and since I’m not, you don’t,” she continues. “You’re fine.”
“You could rinse off in the shower,” Julie suggests. “There’s even big beach towels right there.”
“That’s a good idea,” Joe concedes. “I’ll just kick everything off but my shorts and take a quick rinse. Thanks.”
“Jules is full of good ideas,” Darryl replies, taking his wife’s hand, kissing and then releasing it. “I should wash my hands too. Got a bit grimy back at the court.”
“Big yes on that, Darryl. Grimy,” Misty replies as they stop at the poolside shower and Joe, slipping down to shorts, turns the water on. “It was a good match. I do have a question though. It seems like the match was more intense when we were ahead. Did you let up on us?”
“Hmm,” Darryl replied, twisting his mouth to the side. “Well, if I did it wasn’t intentional. Last night you mentioned that Sweaty Joe here knocked a bloke on his can during a mountain-bike race, right?”
“I did not!” Joe, declares from the shower.
“You did too!” Misty fires back, flinging her free hand skyward at the wrist.
“Okay! But I didn’t have a choice!”
“Well,” Darryl says, head tilted to the side, “I wasn’t there but in all likelihood you did, right? Have a choice that is. I mean, if it had been a training ride you’d of likely found a way not to collide. Same thing if you were riding with a newbie. My guess is you’d cut him some slack and explain things later, true enough?”
“True enough,” Joe replies, toweling off. “I think I’ll keep my shirt and socks off. They’re soaked.”
“No worries, babe,” Misty says, “we’ll sit under an umbrella so you don’t burn.”
“Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide; right” Darryl declares.
“Pardon?” Joe asks.
“It’s the Aussie in him coming out,” Julie says. “The five S’s are the slogan for Australia’s anti-skin cancer campaign.”
“Big problem down under,” Darryl says with a nod. “We all have different levels of competitiveness for different situations. At least most of us do, we’ve all met the bloke who goes for broke playing horseshoes with a kindergartner. Same deal. I came to play hard but not tennis circuit hard and subconsciously I may have let up a bit after I felt like we were going to win. I promise I’d have given more if it would have taken more. Let’s wash hands and order, shall we?”