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night after dinner, there was no one else on the beach. Nicolette was by
herself, which she usually preferred. Although she caught herself looking up
and down the beach several times and she realized that she was a little
disappointed. She sat down in the sand and put her sandals next to her.
had only been a slight chance that he would be there. She didn’t even know how
long he was staying at the shore. He
might have gone home. Plus, a couple of hours ago, I was back and forth as to
whether I even wanted him to be here. She watched the sun begin to set over
the bay, but she became restless. She got up and walked over to where the last
bit of waves quickly slid over the smooth sand so that the water would wash
over her feet.
She loved the water. Even when her
family spent days on the beach, she couldn’t be out of the water for more than
an hour at a time. She even went swimming earlier that day in between dozing
off under the umbrella. She wasn’t going to swim that night, but she did walk
in another few feet so that the waves almost reached her knees.
“Watch out for rogue tidal waves.”
The voice that suddenly came from
the beach made her jump. She spun around and saw Ryan standing in the sand just
out of reach from the foam.
“You scared me!” She yelled to him.
about that.” He laughed.
right. You don’t look sorry. I notice that you’re keeping a safe distance from
the water this evening.”
“You’re right about that.”
She walked a few steps in toward
him, but then stopped where the water was ankle deep. “So at least now I know
that if I want you to keep your distance, I just have to stand out here,
right?” She laughed.
“Or you could tell me to go away.
That would be much easier.”
“No, you don’t have to go away. And
I’ll come out of the water so you don’t get scared.”
“I’m not scared. It’s just that
after the other night I have a new respect for the strength of the under-tow at
“Well then you can respectfully stay
there and I’ll come out of the water.”
She walked past where he was standing
in the wet, muddy sand and plopped down by her shoes in the fluffy white sand
on the beach.
your family driving you crazy again tonight?”
“No, I just felt like going for a
walk. I really like the beach at night.”
“I noticed.” He stood and pointed to
the sand about two feet away from her and asked, “If I sit here, is this a safe
enough distance or will you have to go back in the ocean again?”
“Right there is ok for now.” And
then she realized that it actually was ok. Her stomach tightened slightly, but
not like it had other times. Maybe it was possible for her to be friends with
this man. He was easy to joke with and talk to.
night they sat there for two hours just talking about anything and everything.
He told her that he worked in construction. She told him about her job and how
she liked teaching high school.
don’t think I would have learned anything in your class if you were a teacher
in my high school.”
I meant that as a compliment. I wouldn’t have been able to pay attention to
what I should have been learning. Going through puberty is tough enough without
having young, beautiful teachers.”
that’s why some of the boys in my class got bad grades… and one or two girls
too. I knew it was a mistake to teach in a see-through top and a wonder bra,”
she said sarcastically.
year wear a lot of layers, you’ll see a huge improvement in their grades.”
though I doubt that’s a problem for my students, I’ll give it a try.”
He’s so fun to
talk to and joke with. Real life doesn’t seem so serious when we’re hanging
out. I can’t believe we talked for over two hours tonight. And I can’t believe
we’ve only met twice. These were
just some of the thoughts that went through her head as she lied in bed that
night. She was actually happy for the first time in so long. She drifted off to
sleep, but images began to sweep her mind as another nightmare began.
was sitting in a chair in the prison’s visiting room. She stared at the glass
partition in front of her. There was no one on the other side. She looked next
to her on both sides. Every other chair was occupied by someone talking into a
phone to a loved one on the other side of the glass. Everyone was telling
whoever they were talking to that they loved them and they missed them. Some of
them were holding up photographs to the glass. Nicolette turned back to face
her own partition, but it was smeared with blood. She stood and leaned over
trying to wipe it off, but it was on the other side. She picked up the black phone
next to her.
can’t see you. You have to wipe the blood off. You have to wipe it off! I can’t
deep, raspy voice came through the phone. “You can’t see me because I’m not
eyes blinked open in bed. She could barely see in the dark attic, only a little
bit of moonlight came in the small porthole window. She slept with a portable
fan on, since the attic wasn’t completely air conditioned. Her face, pillow,
and t-shirt were tear and sweat stained and cold from the air blowing lightly
on the moisture.
She had woken up from her nightmare at
four-thirty in the morning and hadn’t been able to fall back to sleep. Once
again, that day she dozed off lying on a large blanket on the beach. Frank and
Jerry had all of the kids down by the water building a giant sand castle, so it
was easier than usual to drift off.
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