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Life's a Beach

 
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Trace Winter
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:31 pm    Post subject: Life's a Beach Reply with quote

He smiled with relief as he scribbled his name on the line and handed the form back to the job Foreman. Certificate of Occupancy it read across the top.
It had been nearly a year since the renovation of the beach house had started but, from the looks of it, it was worth the wait. The home looked brand new inside and out, The check from his mother had somehow arrived in the mail today. For a moment he considered how she had known exactly how much it would cost. He didn't dwell on that too long. He simply scribbled his name on the check and handed it over.

The house was beachfront, right on the water and, since his parents had purchased nearly two miles of the beachfront, it was somewhat secluded. It was maybe a hundred yards from his outside patio to the sea, not counting having to walk around the large outdoor pool. Some people didn't care for salt water, right?

Inside on the first floor was a large kitchen with the latest appliances as well as a large island breakfast bar. There was a formal dining room that would never be used unless his parents came to visit. That was never going to happen..so.. The entire lower level floor was tiled to look like hardwood. Easier to sweep out the sand,

The remainder of the first floor was taken up by the entertainment room. Calling it a room really wasn't fair. It was more of an entertainment district.
A large 110" television with a remote state of the art sound system was mounted on one wall. The sound system was wired throughout the house and could be remotely controlled from any room. Big overstuffed chairs and couches offered plenty of seating. The crown jewel was the massive dark oak bar the ran nearly the length of the interior wall. Behind it, a three door refrigerator and a separate wine cooler. Finally, there was a bathroom complete with whirlpool tub, shower, and sauna. He had a feeling he'd be spending a lot of time in here.

The second floor was equally as large, accessed by a wide and curved staircase, The Master Bedroom was as big as his entire previous apartment. It was probably best he didn't go into much detail about it. The remaining three bedrooms were all well appointed and each contained a large en-suite bathroom. Plenty of room for guests and family. Well, guests anyway.

As he walked around the house, he briefly felt like the spoiled rich kid he used to be. Then he shrugged and smiled, whispering to himself "I didn't ask for any of this but I'll sure as hell take it"

He wouldn't know until much later that there had been a note in the envelope with his mother's check. He would soon learn that everything comes with a price.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:59 pm    Post subject: First Night Reply with quote

It was one of those warm, late summer evenings that made you wish summer was just starting rather than ending. The sun was setting and the beach was quiet. It was his first night back at home and he was spending it alone at the pool.

He sat on the edge of the pool, his feet dangling in the warm water. He'd just opened his second beer, or maybe his third, and was keeping an eye on the burgers he'd put on the grill. It was pretty much a perfect evening other than being alone.

Standing and walking to one of the pool side lounge chairs, he stretched out, picked up the remote and turned on some music. Maybe it was the perfect weather, maybe it was the beer, the music, or maybe a combination of it all that caused him to suddenly feel very tired.

As he drifted into that first fuzzy half sleep, he thought briefly of the girl he'd met a couple nights ago. Kenzie, yes, that was her name, Kenzie. His last thought, as sleep found him, made him smile.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For Kenzie, there were no warm summer breezes with toes in the sand. And there was certainly not a huge house with a pool waiting at the end of each day. In contrast, she had a one room apartment, a mini fridge, a view of the outside street light and the comfort of a couch that could transform into an overly firm bed which felt wonderful after working a long shift. She had learned to accommodate and be grateful for what you have.

In her case, what Kenzie had was a large, boisterous family back home in Texas. There were four brothers who'd already married and now had kids of their own. Then there was her parents. Her father was a landscaper and her mother worked as a loan processor. Last; but not least, a very snarky grandmother and great grandmother who grouched at each other from their respective wheelchairs. One was always too hot. One was too cold. Every day it seemed one of them found a way to steal the others slipper. Anytime Kenzie would visit, she'd just sit and laugh at the pairs antics. Both ladies were at least 80 by now. (Don't dare ask on pain of death.)

If Trace knew about her huge family, he'd probably run for cover.

As the last few months of summer dwindled away. She might say that despite missing those back home, having a place to herself made Rhydin seem a little more homey. Most people were friendly. There were plenty of places to eat and the bar was often entertaining in itself. But something was missing. Much to her chagrin, if would be one of her colleagues, Robert, who broached the subject while they were cleaning the gear.

"So, I heard from someone who heard from someone else that YOU were making nice with some guy at the Inn. We talkin' love, lust or a quicky? Inquiring minds want to know. Cause, you know, some of us have been hitting on you for awhile now. It's like we're not even here. You're really hurting our feelings." Offering a pouty lip and fake sniffles for the right effect. Most of it said in jest; but, a wee bit were somewhat disgruntled by how easily she could ignore them in favor of getting the job done. Who does that?

While they guys were standing around talking smack, she was already finished with her duties. "Look, you nosy biddies, I saw the guy twice at the Inn. We talked a bit. That's all. Let's be real, have you seen all these beautiful women around here, a guy that looks like that won't even remember my name by tomorrow."
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:30 pm    Post subject: at the beep... Reply with quote

The first ray of the morning sun seemed to hit him square in the eye. He was lucky like that. As he groaned, yawned and stretched, he struggled to recall just where the hell he was. Another yawn as he wiped a hand across his eyes. The table next to the lounge chair held several empty beer bottles. The smell of well done, very well done, meat wafted from the still smoldering grill. He must have been very tired last night. Yes that must be it because he certainly didn't feel hungover and he'd had plenty of experience with that feeling.

He rose from the chair and stretched again, rubbing at some sore muscles. All those bedrooms and he'd slept all night on a lounge chair. It really wasn't all that bad. He'd awakened in far worse places and in far worse condition.

He walked to the grill and looked at the remnants of what was to be last night's dinner. The little dried out hockey pucks weren't even fit for the stray dogs that sometimes roamed the beach at night. It occurred to him that at some point, he'd have to actually cook. Man cannot live by beer alone. Someone told him that once but he wasn't really sure it was true. He looked again at the grill and then once more to the empty beer bottles. With a sigh, he went to gather them all and throw them away. At that moment, he decided that he'd hire a cleaning woman. How much could that cost? His time was worth it.

After doing what would pass as clean up, he headed up the walkway from the pool and into the house. His phone was lying on the island in the kitchen. He checked it but, as usual, no calls or messages. Probably best that way he thought. What he needed now was a nice hot shower and some food. Grabbing his phone he started up stairs to his bedroom. Just at the top of the stairs, for no apparent reason, a string of numbers ran through his head. A quick glance at his now clean hand made him glad that he'd memorized them.

He went to the shower and turned on the water. He always liked to wait until the water warmed sufficiently before stepping in. While waiting, he set on the end of the bed and punched the numbers into his phone. No one answered but there was a message that sounded like her, at least as far as he could recall. So...he left a message.

Kenzie....at least I hope this is Kenzie...umm...it's me.. Trace. We met a couple times at the Inn...I hope you remember. Uhh...anyway, I was calling to see if...umm...what you're up to tonight..I mean...if you have any plans. I thought maybe we'd grab something to eat maybe..or something else. I like Chinese, Mexican, pizza,or just about anything...I can even do healthy food if that's what you're into. Ummm... He was rambling now as he'd lost any bit of concentration he might have had. So...ahh...yeah..that's really about it. If you want to do something or just hang out..I mean..you know..just as friends..we can. That's all really. Thanks.. I mean...talk to you later. Bye.

He quickly ended the call and sat there shaking his head. I am such an ass he said to himself. I doubt she'll want to go out with the Trace that left that wonderful message. What is going on with me? With more than a little exasperation, he tossed the phone into one of the pillows and headed into the shower.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trace would have all night to think about his one sided phone conversation left on her cellphone. After working several days in a row, Kenzie finally had the time to put on some PJ's so she could crash and burn face first into her bed for a nice, long, comfortable sleep which had been sorely needed. After waking more refreshed, she took a twenty minute hot shower, poured a glass of orange juice and fried an egg with two strips of bacon. A decision which helped to calm the savage beast that was her stomach.

It was just as she was getting dressed that her hand instinctually grabbed for her cell phone off the nightstand to put in her back pocket. Only then did Kenzie notice the message on her phone. A rather long message at that from Trace. She listened to it at least three times, the whole time wearing a smile on her face, before deciding she should bridge the gap and give him a call back. Her delay had not been because she wasn't interested in seeing him. That was not the issue at all. His message was so funny and cute as he rambled on her cell phone, that she greatly enjoyed listening to it over and over and over again. She planned to save the message for now.

So why not ramble on his phone for awhile if she had the right number.

Hey, Trace. It's Kenzie. Got your message. I do remember you by the way. How could I forget? Oh, and I love Chinese or Mexican food and almost any kind of pizza. I'm really not very picky. If you want burgers and beer, I'm good. If you like steak and eggs..great.

Guess what, I just happen to have a day or two off. If you're free, I'll be glad to meet you somewhere.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:19 pm    Post subject: Hit Send Reply with quote

He'd gone to bed disappointed last night. He hadn't anticipated that she'd call right back or that she'd even call soon but he had thought she would call at some point. He had laid awake for several hours reasoning to himself why she hadn't called. In the end, he had to admit that she probably just wasn't interested.

He woke late this morning without looking at his phone. He slipped on some shorts and a light t-shirt and went for his customary morning run on the beach. It helped him clear his mind and, frankly, work his way through and past his damaged ego. She didn't even bother to call back he said out loud to himself. That was all the discussion he would allow. Didn't they say something about people who talk to themselves out loud?

He got home, took a quick shower and slipped into some clean clothes. He grabbed his phone and started to slip it into his pocket. Just by chance he noticed the message indicator. He bit his lip slightly and thought Nah, it couldn't be. He knew he'd never be able to ignore it. It was a message and he didn't get many calls here. He punched in his password and listened.

It was her and instantly his confidence soared. He knew he should be patient with his reply. Make her wonder a little just like he had done. He knew as he had the thought, he could never do it. He started to put in her phone number and then stopped. Maybe if he sent her a text, he wouldn't sound so..desperate. Maybe he'd save a little of that damaged ego. So..he put her number in and typed a text.

Kenzie, it's Trace. Got your message. It was good to hear from you. I was thinking pizza and beer sounds good. There are some things I want to discuss with you. Things you should probably know. I was thinking we could meet at the Inn and I'll take you to a little pizza joint I know down the street from there. Hope you're up for it. My schedule is pretty open, so let me know. Been thinking of you. See ya.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be great to know that men pout too. It seems that women are always the ones moping about because 'so and so' didn't bother to even leave so much as a hello the next day. Guys could be rude; but, so can women. Kenzie would be extremely upset if she did something to hurt his feelings. Especially on just the second day of trying to get to know Trace better. Luckily, she had no clue of the hell he was putting himself through. Or that the said hell was giving him reasons to think he's been blown off like a dirty dish towel.

Kenzie woke up with a new found surge of energy helped along by finally getting a good night's sleep and a long, hot bubble bath. Was a much needed respite that every person should enjoy at least once. She got dressed and even put on a nice blue dress that set that red haired ponytail bouncing away. She found herself in a very optimistic mood. So why not be the bold one and give Trace a call this time? So she did; but, no one answered. She left a short message and consigned herself roaming the city on her own. All the while thinking either they were playing cellphone tag or she'd ran him off. Left her feeling a wee bit sad to be honest. Especially after getting semi dressed up.

She'd been told there was a beach somewhere; but, didn't know were or it was private or open to the public. Being as Trace was nowhere to be found, the idea of trying to locate a local beach would become her next task. Would it be soft sand, pebbles or hard rocks that hurt your heels? Would it be warm water or cold? Were there sharks here? So many questions and no one around to make sense of it.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:51 pm    Post subject: alternate plans Reply with quote

Once again he'd missed her call and listened to her brief message. He was beginning to feel a bit frustrated at the way things were going. He wasn't sure why he felt so frustrated, he really didn't know Kenzie all that well. For some reason, he just felt comfortable around her. He couldn't explain it but then, he didn't have to explain it.

He stood there for a few moments, absently twirling his phone in his hand, lost in thought. Then it occurred to him and he laughed aloud. He laughed as he wondered why he hadn't thought of it before. Why take her anywhere or meet her anywhere, he asked himself.

His place was practically brand new; a pool, a beach, quiet enough for talking and yet enough distractions if things got awkward. Maybe, just maybe, he could cook something simple for the two of them. Steaks for the grill, he had those in the 'fridge. Potatoes for baking, he had plenty of those. Simple salad makings, check. Wine, plenty of that or pretty much anything else she might care to drink, either alcoholic or otherwise. He found himself smiling and starting to get that ol' Trace Winter confidence back, wondering where it had gone in the first place.

Once more he typed in her number for a text message:

Hey Kenz, just had an idea. Why don't you just come over to my place? No funny stuff I promise. Just seems a simple way to relax and talk and, if you're really lucky, I'll make us some dinner. Something simple, steak and salad? If you have a bathing suit and are okay with the idea, bring it. Address is 3434 Hidden Cove. If you want to grab a cab, I'll take care of the fare or I can send a cab for you. I know it's short notice so, if not today, soon? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to seeing you. T.

He slipped the phone into his back pocket and went down the hall to the entertainment room. Sliding down into an overstuffed leather chair, he picked up some headphones from the side table and slipped them on. Grabbing the remote, he switched on the music and was greeted with a classical music station. He groaned inwardly and almost...almost.. turned to another channel. He'd been forced to listen to classical music as a child. It was about the only music his parents listened to or would allow to be played in the house. The piece he was listening to, Beethoven's 5th, was easily recognizable even by those who hated classical music. Da-da-da-daaa..he nodded along and actually found the childhood memories of this tune pleasant. Of course, he was much much younger then. The good memories didn't last much past that time.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems they were having a session of extreme phone tag. One trying to get in touch with the other and vice versa. It was comical. At least to Kenzie it was anyway. She knew from Trace's return calls that he wasn't trying to get rid of her. At least not yet. It could happen. Maybe after he got to know her better he'd change his mind completely about seeing her at all.

As it goes, she'd be on her way to find where the nearest beach was located. Pretty sure they had public beaches just prime for burying ones toes in the sand. Especially since her family lived in North Texas closer to New Mexico where few beaches were there to be found unless a swimming pool counts. Kenzie had been to the coast. In fact, she'd fell head over heals with the coastal waters. Even when she was younger, there had been a discussion with her parents that she'd like to live somewhere around the Gulf of Mexico. Or at least somewhere that wasn't landlocked all the time. No matter where one goes, there was always a need for paramedics. There should be no problem financially. While they did not like her idea of living hundreds of miles away, they understood a woman needs her wings. Her brothers had already flew the coop for jobs and such. It was her God given right to make her own path choices as well.

Eventually, she found sand. Where there was sand, there was usually water. Where there was sand and water there was usually music. In this case, where there was water, there was quite a bit of a crowd splashing around. Kids, adult, a few of those overweight men who like to wear Speedos and think everyone is smiling because they look good in them. Ugh! In fact, the stretch of beach she'd found was perfect for enjoying a bit of sun. Which is exactly what she decided to do. But she kept that blue sundress on the whole time. Seemed as if there were way too many people to be flashing her skin to strangers.

Then her phone rang. You would not believe how fast she could move to find it. "Hey!..." Alas, he'd already hung up before getting to it. Thankfully, he'd left a message. One that had her trying to decide if it was safe to go to this house of his. At the same time, she'd been trained in martial arts. Had a black belt. So, if he was to end up being the scum of the earth, she'd probably be able to handle him fairly easily. How much did she really know about Trace? He seemed nice from what she'd seen. Not many men make dinner. He gave her his address. Being stuck in Rhydin with very few friends, there wasn't really much to lose.

It was fairly simple to find the place. Kenzie was already walking in that general direction. Her mother always claimed her daughter would roam to the other side of the earth if not monitored. Of course that was when she was a kid; but, it was doubtful she'd change the habit. Instead of calling him back to say,'I'm here', she let her feet show the way via the address information and ended up at his door. A very nice door. A door to what seemed to be a very, very large house. "I think I'm under dressed." Whispering to herself. Which made the rap on the door even harder to make.

"Is this a resort or a really nice apartment building?" Muttering under her breath. It was hard to tell. The place was bigger than any home she'd ever lived in. EVER. Seemed wrong to show up empty handed now; but, there was no time to bring a gift.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:48 pm    Post subject: a pleasant surprise. Reply with quote

Earphones on, he cycled through a number of various music formats. There really wasn't much he didn't like in the way of music but nothing particular seemed to grab his interest this afternoon.

It was purely by luck that he noticed the flashing red light on the camera panel. He had never yet turned on the monitors for the cameras, simply being too lazy to do it, but he knew that the flashing red light meant a camera had been activated. If it had been up to him, he would never have installed the damned camera system in the first place. His dear Mommy's insurance company had been insistent, so in the end, he relented. It sure didn't mean he had to mess with it and he didn't, besides the cameras were all well hidden and he never noticed them.

The flashing red light was a nuisance though and he growled a little as he removed the headset and went to the panel behind the bar. He reached up to push the disable button but noticed the light was flashing on the FRONT/ENTRY/OUTSIDE. "Damn" he muttered, "must be one of those damned dogs or cats or something off the beach". He pulled on his t-shirt, noticing that it smelled a bit gamey and making a mental note that it might be time to do laundry.

He reached the front door with his nose still buried in his shirt. He grabbed the door knob and yanked, prepared to see the dog, cat, seagull, or whatever had wandered to his door. As the door open he yelled " get the hell out of..". His eyes widened and the words froze in his mouth as he saw Kenzie. There was that moment of awkward silence before he regained some composure. "Kenzie ? What...I mean...I wasn't expecting.." Once again, his usual confidence betrayed him and, somewhere in that little spot of unconscious thought in the back of his brain, he wondered why this kept happening with her. Regardless of the reason, he rambled on.

"I'm glad you stopped...but I haven't...there's nothing ready...I smell..." He reached down again and pulled his t-shirt up to his nose to confirm that last. Right then, he simply stared at her for a moment as she stood there silent. Then, for a reason he couldn't explain, he simply started laughing. Not an uncontrollable laughter but more the kind someone makes when they realized they look like a fool.

The laughter was brief but his eyes sparkled with the humor of it all. He managed the most controlled voice he could muster and fighting off a grin, he extended his hand.

"Why Kenzie, what a most pleasant surprise. It's wonderful to see you again. You look lovely. Won't you come in?"
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

" get the hell out of..".

Kenzie's brow lifted a touch as he opened the door. Seems Trace was clearly not happy with whoever may be on the other side. Hopefully whatever had made his words sound so cross had nothing to do with her presence. There were plenty of times where people didn't get her in many ways. She had a unique sense of humor that often did not land well with most people. Seeing as Kenzie had not seen Trace in his element yet, there were plenty of things she did not know about him and vice versa. She did feel as if it was a bit premature for him to dislike her already just for knocking on his door. He'd given her his address. Wouldn't that seem to mean he had wanted her to use it to find his house?

Maybe it was her own insecurities which created the need to offer an apology and head home to her apartment. "Bad day? If this isn't a good time, I can always come back later. I mean, if you want me to come back later. If you don't want me to come back later or even at all, that's fine too. I bet you're a busy guy anyway." Gauging from the size of that house, he was someone who had plenty of friends around on a regular basis.

Pausing for a short moment, it would be easy enough to tell she was a wee bit uncomfortable now as the wringing of her hands easily revealed. "I...uhm.." Standing in the shadow of his doorway. "I.." Sniffing the air. "Is your food burning?" Or was it already burnt?

She'd take two steps back so as not to be on the threshhold of his doorway. "Look, if you're busy or it's a bad time, maybe we can try again later. I'm not really dressed to impress anyway. YOU , you must have so many important things to do." Because anyone with a massive house on the water had to have very important things to do. Business meetings, betting on the horses, probably had a yacht. Made sense in her way of thinking.

He probably wore suits and ties everyday but the weekends. Was part of the in crowd she preferred to avoid. The type that snubs their noses up at anyone who didn't didn't have a thousand dollars on them for pocket change.

"Don't let me impose. ..maybe another time. " If he let her leave, there wouldn't be another time.
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