Monday, May 27, 2013

Escape to an Adventure (5)

   The stranger sat down at Julia Masons table in the Diner.
   "I haven't been able to take my eyes off you, beautiful lady. The minute you came in I said, 'Johnny, here's the girl for you!'"
Taken aback by this man's brashness, Julia held her breath as he reached over and extended his hand and exclaimed, "My name is John Agar."
   "Excuse me, John. You're sure direct." 
   He laughed. "At my age, I can't afford to beat around the bush." He took a lusty slurp of his coffee and winked at her. "I bet your name is something pretty, like Rose or Amber maybe."
By now, Julia felt comfortable and charmed by the man's easy manner.  She smiled and said Julia, Julia Mason."
"Well Julia, where are you from?"
Julia swallowed uneasily, and thought, relax.  He looks like a nice guy. "I'm from Minneapolis," she said then.
"Well, I'm sure you're glad to get away from all that snow. How long will you be here Julia?"
"Two weeks." As she raised her cup of coffee, her hand trembled slightly.  Now she worried, maybe she was telling him too much.
 "Just enough time."
"Just enough time for what?" Julia asked curiously.
"Dinner, dancing, cruising on the water. Anything you want." He waved a hand in the air as he spoke.
"Well, you really don't waste any time do you!"
"Nope," he smiled. "Listen there's a wine tasting party this evening down in Shelter Cove Harbor, would you go with me?"
She scanned his face, tried to read his mind. He looked honest.
He leaned over and lifted her chin. "I promise, I'm nice.  Where are you staying?"
Julia gave him the address.
"I'll pick you up at five then. I've got to run for now, but I'll see you tonight." And after that whirlwind he disappeared out the door of the Diner and down the street.
After he left, Julia sat back and bit her lower lip in doubt, but flattered by all the attention she thought, well why not, a vacation romance might be fun!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Escape to an Adventure (4)

   Julia Mason checked her watch. Ten minutes went by, then thirty, forty and then about an hour.  She stopped and listened.  Had she walked right by the place she was staying at?  She stood bewildered. Her clothes were wet, and her hair hung in wilted strands around her face. 
   But no --, she began to hear voices, and familiar sounds. A car door slammed and voices echoed through the billowing gray.  Cooking odors wafted from a restaurant's kitchen.  Suddenly a familiar sign loomed just in front of her that read, Surfside Beach and Tennis Club!  She was safe!
   The next day dawned clear and Julia stood on the balcony of her condo and watched the sun come up over the ocean. For a few moments just then,  the world was cast in pink.  Tiny clouds formed a network of white lace in front of the glow.  A long v-shaped parade of gulls glided by and gently tipped the white capped waves in their flight.
   The island was twelve miles long and shaped like a high top shoe. The brochure had said one main street ran through the length of the town.  No advertising or street signs were allowed to clutter the landscape except on each corner, a small discreet listing of the businesses was displayed on a subdued colored sign.  The suburbs were called plantations with locked gates and twenty-four hour guards.  Each area contained businesses, homes and golf courses,  The colors were muted shades of greys, browns and blues, so as not to distract from the uniqness of the blazing plant life.
   Julia decided to have breakfast first, on her way to explore the island. She dressed with care, wearing another of her new outfits. This time a long avocodo skirt with fringes on the botton, an overblouse cinched with a gold belt and gold and white sandals.  She pinned her hair up in a knot on the top of her head and glancing at herself in a mirror, she now looked like a completely different person.  Great, she smiled at her reflection. No one knows me here, I can be anyone I want to be.
   She called Reno and his white limousine sped up to her door a few minutes later.
   "Good morning Miss Mason.  Where to?"  He asked importantly and his eyes lingered on her as he held the car door.
   "Reno," she said, "Would you take me to a nice restaurant please."
   "The diner then," he remarked and they drove off.
    "How was your first day," he asked and swung around quickly in his seat for a peek at her as he drove. "Do you mind if I call you Julia?"
   He sure was getting friendly, Julia thought uneasily but went on.  "Well, " she grimaced,"I got caught in the fog when I went out to walk by the water,"
 "Oh no--," and he clapped a hand to his forehead, "I forgot to warn you, bad weather comes in fast here by the ocean.  What did you do?"
   "I panicked!"
   "Julia," he said then, "I live near here right off the beach, Why don''t I come by and get you and go with you on your walks.  I can keep you safe."
   Her eyes met his in the rear-view mirror.  He was young, and much too intense.
   Not knowing how to get out of this situation, Julia replied, "well maybe--".
    The Diner was in a upscale hotel. The host sat her at a table and placed a menu in front of her. The room was full and the air delicaately laced with the cool air-condioning and the expensive colognes from the people sitting around her.  All were elegantly dressed and their conversations spirited. 
   Self-consciously, Julia tucked her Timex watch under on her wrist and was glad she'd bought her new clothes even if they'd been on sale.  She took out the same pack of cigarettes she'd brought from home, but instead of using her old Cricket lighter, she reached for the book of matches on the table suplied by the resaturant. And then even though her fingers shook she dared take the long elegant cigarette holder she'd bought on a whim out of her purse and in inserted it over her Marlboro.  Carefully taking a small drag of the cigarette so she wouldn't cough, she blew the smoke out and toward the ceiling.  Damn she must look good, she decided.
   She ordered an omelette, then jumped in alarm as a man's voice said "paardon me lady, may I join you for coffee?"
   Julia looked up into the steely eyes of a tall stranger, dressed in white shorts, a white t-shirt.  His legs were tanned and powerfull.
   "Well--," she said hesitating as a chill moved up her chest, and not even waiting for her answer, he pulled out a chair and sat down.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Escape to an Adventure (3)

   The sun warmed Julia Mason's shoulders and the soft white sand cushioned her feet. The tide had been in leaving behind thousands of sea shells where it had crested, then receded. She looked at the vast expanse of blue water, and realized that it reached over to some far-off country.  Probably Morocco, she thought. She began to walk faster as the high waves beat against the sand.  Her breath caught as she gazed at the tangled jungle of tropical plants and trees that grew wildly amongst the dunes.
   She walked on, caught up in the beauty of her surroundings, feeling the marvelous freedom. And, she didn't notice the fog that had begun to roll in over the water behind her. By now, she was several miles out when suddenly the sun dimmed, and a curtain of damp grayness swept in.  In a matter of seconds it caught up to her and began to close around her. She stopped and watched in horror as it swept past her and moved on, spiraling over the beach.
   She stood still, smothered in the fog.  Everything had disappeared; the sky, the beach and the ocean, and she could see only a few feet ahead of her. The silence only brokened by the crashing waves.
  But how far away were they?  Was the tide coming in again?
  She was lost!  Should she scream?  Panic began in her chest and her heart raced as the Atlantic Ocean crashed. She was alone in a strange city, and there was no one there to help her.  She was truly on her own and it could be hours, maybe even all night before she could get back to her condo.
   Don't panic, calm down, she reminded herself, remembering what she'd taught her class of young school children about being lost. Think--, she whispered and start walking.  But which way was back?  She sagged down in the sand and cried tearfully, realizing she'd forgotten that too.  After a few minutes, she got up and determinedly started walking, not at all sure of the direction. But she recalled as youngster, playing with her brothers in the heavy woods around their home and how they'd leave small rocks to mark their trails to find their way back out of the forest.
   Follow the ridge of seashells, she reminded herself.  And she set off and soon the shells crackled under her feet as she walked on, feeling any minute she should finally step out of the curtain of fog.  She checked her watch and saw it was almost seven pm and she wondered how soon it would get dark.
   Oh Lord, the thought of still being out there after dark scared the daylights out of her! It had been an hour since she'd started her walk.  A little glimmer of hope calmed her as she realized then if she walked for an hour, shouldn't she end up somewhere close to her complex, where she had started out from?  That's if she was going in the right direction.  She remembered on the way in, hadn't she seen swamps and marshes bordering the water on the other side of the area.
   She tried to hum something to calm herself at the thought of the snakes and allgators that would rush at her.  The water continued to slap against the shore as she struggled against the fear.  The time dragged!