Author’s Note: I couldn’t resist doing one more story for Didi Oviatt’s WIP challenge for this month. This time May Rose Farlington, Raven, and Missy get their moment in the waves….
May Rose Farlington wriggled her toes in the sand. She liked how it felt. The sand under the sand was cool and a little bit damp.
She glanced back, but he wasn’t there.
She sighed and sat.
She wrapped her arms around her knees.
The waves rushed back and forth. They couldn’t be still. They were not meant to be still.
Yet, despite its restless nature, the ocean was so full of life. Every droplet. Every splash. Every bit of foam all the way to the depths.
There was life.
James paused on the edge of the boardwalk. A dark figure sat on the edge of the shoreline and he knew that it had to be her.
He untied his shoelaces and removed his shoes. He considered cuffing his slacks, but the mental image of creases and wrinkles in the material distressed him. He left them uncuffed.
James removed his socks and tucked them inside his shoes. He left them on the boardwalk and stepped onto the day-warmed sand.
The sand would surely stick to the hems of his slacks and would be a bother to clean, but he loved how the sand felt beneath his feet. Soft and yielding. So soft and so warm.
The moon was full. One hundred thousand million stars lit the sky and the air smelled of ocean.
James looked up as he plodded through the sand.
How far upwards does scent travel? A mile? Perhaps a mile more? Does it peter out? Or does it simply cease to be? How far must one travel before the ocean is naught but a large scentless body of blue?
May Rose heard the muffled shuffle of feet on sand. She leaned back on her hands and looked over her shoulder. She grinned as James approached her. “It certainly took you long enough. I have been waiting for hours.”
He stopped beside her. “Your parents have not observed your absence, Miss Farlington. Yet, they are bound to do so. You ought to head back.”
“I know that.” She flopped onto the sand. “But tonight is so beautiful and it is our last night at the shore. What harm could come of us just sitting here?”
“There are a great many answers to that question, Miss Farlington.”
“Oh, stop with all of your Miss Farlingtons!” She grabbed his ankle. “Come down here or I’ll pull you down.”
He sighed as if he were aggrieved. “I suppose either way I will wind up flat on my back with sand all over my clothes.”
“Clothes can be cleaned, James. Memories like this can only be made once.”
He sat and looked up at the sky.
He smiled. “It is a beautiful night.”
Raven walked down the boardwalk. It was a brand new one—all perfect edges. No knotholes. No splinters.
It smelled of fresh cut wood — that wonderfully clean and dusty smell.
He stopped at the end of the boardwalk. He untied his shoes and removed them. They had looked terribly eccentric and incongruous with the rest of his ensemble…or his lack of an ensemble. Yet, wearing his socks and shoes had made him feel a bit more normal, a lot less naked. But he couldn’t possibly wear them on the sand. The thought of sand spilling into his shoes made him want to choke and die.
Raven removed his socks and retied the towel around his waist. He headed down to the shoreline.
Missy was there waiting for him.
“I hear footsteps. Footsteps in the sand. Soft, deliberate footsteps. I should be worried about who that might be, but I’m not. Because I know.” Missy turned around and grinned. “I know it’s my Raven.”
Her grin grew as she noticed his shirtless state of being. “My pretty shirtless Raven.” She ran to him and flung herself into his bare arms, knocking him flat on his back on the soft sand.
Raven’s face burned as his towel’s knot fell apart from the impact.
But she smiled at him.
Missy smiled at him. Her skin was both darkness and light in the moonlight. Her dark hair — a curly mystery in the night’s colors.
He sat up and he didn’t think about his shirtlessness. He didn’t think about his butler suit hanging in the hotel closet. He didn’t think about the small swimsuit protecting his modesty.
He didn’t think about May Rose Farlington.
He looked at Missy and he saw just her.
Raven smiled. “Missy.”
“Raven.” She smiled back. “It’s a beautiful night.”
“Yes.” He kissed her. “It is.”