Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings
Joe Cosentino © 2017
All Rights Reserved
The sun rose like an erupting volcano filling the sky with shafts of violet, magenta, and gold, which ultimately turned to clear blue. Cal Cozzi stood on the white sand and gazed at the old lighthouse in the distance. At thirty-three, he was in the prime of his life, with thick auburn hair, clear green eyes, and a trim athletic build. Life was good, and as he smiled at the foamy waves teasing the craggy shore, Cal basked in the morning sun and in the beauty of his home.
Cal’s great-grandfather, Calvin Cozzi I, had built the resort at Cozzi Cove and had had a big hand in the development of the town of Cozzi. It had always been home for Cal, and proved to be a solid oasis when as a young man his football and later restaurant careers failed, and nine years ago when his parents died in a car accident. He’d especially felt its comfort when he later lost his husband of five years to cancer. Like the bay water rejuvenated by the golden rays of each sunrise, Cal had put his life back together by managing Cozzi Cove and marrying Michael Rodgers.
Michael, clad in a T-shirt and shorts like Cal, appeared at the front doorway of the main bungalow. His stocky build, caramel-colored skin, exotic eyes, and warm smile still caused Cal’s heart to beat faster.
“Then you’d better make breakfast.” Cal enjoyed playing with Michael.
Michael liked it too. “If you make blueberry buckwheat pancakes, I’ll give you a massage.”
“You massaged something pretty well last night.”
They shared a knowing smile.
Michael said, “I know how to get you inside.”
“The guests will be arriving soon.”
At these words, Cal hurried inside the glass-enclosed porch, scooped the twenty-two-year-old into his arms, squeezed Michael’s bubble butt, and gave him a good morning kiss. Then Cal went through the living room, passing the doorway to their front bedroom, and into the kitchen, glancing through the entrances to the rear bedroom and bathroom on the way. Cal was glad his brother’s renovations of the bungalows had kept his great-grandfather’s layout while expanding the rooms, including cathedral ceilings lined with white pine beams. As he gazed at the white wicker and oak furniture laden with flower-print cushions, Cal was thankful his great-grandfather’s heavy nautical-themed furniture had found a home in a local museum. He smiled proudly at his own additions: the prints on the walls depicting lighthouses, seashells, and rocky beaches.
As usual, Michael leaned on the granite-topped island while Cal made breakfast. “Aren’t you going to put more blueberries in the batter?”
Cal raised the mixing spoon. “Do you want to make these yourself?”
“I prefer to critique.”
Cal mixed the buckwheat flour, buttermilk, egg, honey, coconut oil, and blueberries in a large bowl. “Your college degree is in photojournalism, not the culinary arts.”
“A lot of good it did me.”
Michael nodded and his soft chestnut bedhead fell into place. “Four years of college to be a bartender.”
“You’re only a bartender while Tommy is in New York City.”
“Yeah, and when Tommy comes back from visiting Blue, it’s bartender’s assistant time again for me.”
Cal poured the batter in circular mounds on the warm oiled skillet. “What about that gay magazine?”
“It was one freelance job!”
“Something else will turn up.”
“Tell that to my resume on the web. It’s beginning to feel like a wallflower at a party.”
“It takes time. Photojournalism is a specialty field.”
Michael pouted. That turned Cal on every time. He wrapped his arms around Michael and squeezed him into his chest. After a few wet kisses, Cal said, “You can always help me around Cozzi Cove.”
“I thought you hired a new houseboy when Connor and his husband opened their bed and breakfast in town.”
“I’m interviewing him this morning.” Cal smelled the pancakes starting to burn. He grabbed the spatula and quickly flipped them.
Michael licked his lips. “You flipped me over like that last night.”
“And you loved it.”
They kissed again.
Cal felt Michael’s erection pressing against his own. “I’d better concentrate on these pancakes.” He slapped Michael’s backside. “Instead of these cakes.”
“That’s not what you said last night.”
Cal giggled and served the pancakes. They sat at the white oak kitchen table, feeding each other and intermittently licking maple syrup off each other’s chins.
Just as they were finishing breakfast, Carla Mangione lumbered through the back kitchen door and announced, “If this watermelon doesn’t come out of the patch soon, I’m going to kill someone.”
“Hey, you’re talking about our watermelon!” Cal replied as he got up to help her to the table. He put pancakes on a plate as Michael went to pour juice and milk for her.
“It won’t be soon enough for me.” Carla rubbed her enormous stomach; she was only thirty-five, but these days looked more like fifty-five. “I never knew you could get varicose veins on your stomach.”
“And I’m sure yours are beautiful.” Cal served Carla breakfast, kissed the top of her dark hair, and took a seat across from her at the table.
Carla leaned forward to massage her lower back. “I must be the biggest pregnant woman ever.”
“That’s because you’re carrying our big, beautiful baby,” Michael said, joining them.
After taking a sip of juice, Carla gagged. “Why does everything taste like fish or liverwurst?”
“Maybe our baby is the antichrist,” Cal offered.
Carla took a bite of the pancakes. “What kind of huge genes do you two guys have?”
“Don’t blame us.” Cal put his arm around Michael. “It must have been the egg-donor.”
“She must have donated ostrich eggs.” Carla pushed her plate away.
Michael pushed it back in front of her. “Eat up, honey. You’re having breakfast for two.”
She looked down at her enormous stomach. “Really? Do you think?”
Cal finished his juice. “Whatever happened to, ‘As your dear old friend and sister-in-law, it would be my honor to help you and Michael bring a child into this world. I can’t think of anyone who’d make better parents’?”
“That was before I gained forty pounds and my back started aching constantly—before my breasts swelled up like helium balloons and my ankles expanded faster than a conservative politician’s pocket after meeting with a Super PAC.”
Cal fed her another piece of pancake. “But isn’t it all worth it to bring a new life into the world?”
Carla groaned. “I used to get offended when people said God was a man. Now I’m sure of it. No woman would put another woman through this.”
“Did you do your exercises this morning?” Michael asked.
Carla laughed. “I stopped being able to see my toes weeks ago.”
“Have you been meditating with your crystals?” Michael sounded like a teacher with a lazy student.
“I think I threw them at your pictures when the baby kicked me like a Radio City Rockette. Meanwhile, you two were no doubt going at it last night like a running back and a wide receiver.”
“A tight end, please,” Michael said as he handed Carla her glass of milk.