The Space Between

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Chapter 12


“Waking up was easy, knowing that my reality had become as happy a place as my dreams.”

Friday Morning

I left my apartment feeling refreshed from a good night’s sleep. I happily put the blame on Madalyn for feeling very well rested. I had woken up at six and grabbed my tool belt out of her car. I called a towing company to come get her car because I did not want it to sit at the bakery all day and risk having some kind of fine. I had them tow it to the local auto body shop. My plan was to surprise Maddy with getting her car fixed and getting some body work done on it. It was a very pretty car. Old, however, with a bit of rust. If I restored the old paint and got rid of the rust, I thought she would like that. The car already had lots of character, and it fit her personality. It would be my second present to her. The first being images of herself hanging in my apartment. The body shop owner agreed to a fixed price that was quite high do to the time frame I wanted it done in.

I’d taken the surf boards off the top rack the night before. I was hoping she would want to go surfing later because it looked like it was going to be about ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit. I planned on taking the boat to Shackleford Island and surfing off the south-western tip. The waves there were supposed to be really nice.

Before I went to sleep, I reviewed all the pictures I had taken of her. They were breathtaking. I took all the images I wanted and sent them off to be printed in various sizes in Newport, which was a town over. I could pick up the prints in the afternoon. So I planned on getting as much siding done this morning, and maybe more, if Maddy was willing to help, so I could leave and get them hung. I would invite Maddy over around three thirty, and we could go surfing. I planned on her coming over after that and seeing the pictures.

For not getting to bed until after one in the morning, I wasn’t feeling tired at all. The heat that hit this early in the morning was stifling. I threw my tool belt in the back and headed down Orange Street. When I turned right on Route Seventy, which was also Cedar Street, I noticed a black unmarked car. It had originally been sitting horizontal to the Bakery on Front Street. There was no way they were here for me.

When I reached the end of Route Seventy, I decided that I did not want them to follow, just in case I had been found. I turned my signal on to go left like I normally would have to get to Maddy’s house; instead I turned right immediately and floored it down Live Oak Street back toward the water-front.

On the next block I took a left on Broad Street. I barreled down the road for a few blocks and then made another left, which took me up to Cedar. I basically jig jogged in a circle to get back to Route Seventy. I kept looking in my rearview mirror and saw no tail. Driving down Route Seventy, now obeying the speed limit, I looked around for anything else before turning onto Fairview Drive. I drove down the long lane past the few trees to Maddy’s house, and the thought that someone was following made me furious. Contemplating the probability that I had been found made me realize that I had most likely overreacted.

There was no way they were here for me. I couldn’t be too careful, however. I should have gotten a look at the license plate.

I parked in the driveway and jumped out, grabbing my tool belt. It was hot outside already. I removed my shirt and put my belt on as I walked around to the back to finish putting up the siding. I started from where I had left off, taking my measurements, cutting the siding and laying them on.

I had done quite a bit in fifteen minutes when Maddy walked outside in blue jean board shorts that were cut off. She had a white-and-gray striped tank top on that was loose fitting and knotted in the back. It had the logo RVCA on the front. The swimsuit top she was wearing could be clearly seen through her loose fitting tank. She had a pencil holding her hair up and wore aviator sunglasses. I really could not quit staring at her. Although she wasn’t all dressed up, her frumpy get-up was sexy.

She didn’t say anything to me as she came out of the house. She walked right over to the saw where I was standing. I stepped aside and motioned for her to have-at-it. She held her hand out, and I stood there for a moment, a little clueless as to what she was requesting. Then I realized she wanted a tape measure. I handed my second one to her, and she took it out of my hand, stepping up to the saw. There was already a piece of vinyl siding laying across it. She reached up to me and snatched the pencil out from behind my ear.

“What was your measurement?” she bluntly asked.

“Six and a quarter… am I in trouble?” I asked.

She didn’t respond as she measured, made her mark, cut it with the saw, and handed me the six and a quarter piece of siding. I walked over to the house, snapped it in place, and put a few nails through the holes.

She was acting peculiar. Her whole vibe screamed, attitude. I took my next measurement and told it to her. I lifted my Ray Ban shades up to make sure I was not misreading my measurement. She placed a piece of siding on the saw and began to measure.

“Good morning, by the way,” I said.

She turned her head and nodded to me. I was getting the impression that she was mad about something. The saw started and she made her cut then walked the piece up to me.

“Give me the next few measurements,” she commanded, walking back to the saw, hardly looking at me.

Okay, I’ll play along, I thought.

I took a few more measurements.

“The third piece I will need to start with a full one,” I informed her.

I watched her write them down and start her cuts. She was being aggressive as she moved the vinyl in place. Also, she was going too fast and was going to end up getting herself hurt. I wasn’t going to risk that happening, so I approached her before she could make her next cut. I grabbed the saw, not letting it down. She looked at me from behind her dark aviators, and then squeezed the lever, making the blade spin. This annoyed me because now I could really tell her aggression and attitude was aimed at me. I grabbed her by the wrist, and as gently as possible, pulled her hand off the lever.

Madalyn ripped her arm away from my grip, jumping back.

“Stop it, Jack,” she exclaimed.

I held my arms out in confusion. “Maddy, what the hell? You’re going too fast and you’re going to end up hurting yourself.”

Madalyn growled in frustration. I just put my hands on my hips and sort of enjoyed watching her throw a small tantrum.

Was she really doing this, and how was this in anyway provoked?

Almost as soon as her tantrum started it ended. Instantly, her mood did a three-sixty, and she calmed down.

I almost laughed because her temper was cuter than anything, and in no way frightening.

“Are you okay?” I asked, smiling.

She wrapped her arms around my torso, and placed her chin on my shoulder.

“I’m sorry, Jack. My mother just really pissed me off this morning, and I can’t get over it.”

“Over what?” I questioned.

She pulled away for a moment and lifted her glasses off her face, placing them on her head. She smacked me on the shoulder but hugged me immediately afterward.

“Dammit, Jack. I’m sorry, I just don’t know how to react. I’ll just tell you. Please don’t be mad,” she said as she stomped her foot.

I tilted my head to the side in curiosity, wary of what she was going to tell me.

My mom tried to Google search your name last night,” she said, sighing heavily. “Actually, she didn’t try, she did Google search your name last night,” she continued, sounding a little choked up.

My heart immediately sank into my stomach, and I became still. What did she find? What kind of history was already created for Jack Ryder? There should be nothing. That name, technically, wasn’t even real.

Still holding onto me, she kissed my neck and shoulder. “I’m sorry Jack I told her not to. I was telling her a little about you, and she wanted to know more. I had no idea what to tell her because I don’t even know myself.”

She pulled away to look at me, but left her arms around my neck. “It doesn’t bother me that you have secrets, Jack. My mom just started in on me right when I woke up this morning. If you couldn’t tell, it has severely affected my mood. I was just afraid that she was going to tell me something that would make me change what I thought of you. Honestly, that is what I fear most. What you are not telling me - what if I don’t like it? Do you hear me? I’m shutting up now. I sound just like her. You know what? Damn her.”

I stood there with her hanging onto me, my arms at my side, remaining silent.

“Jack? Say something, please,” she said, pleading.

“What did she find?” I asked.

She looked at me, a little confused.


“When she searched my name, what did she find?” I repeated.

“Nothing. She found nothing. That is why she was acting stupid. She kept saying that there was nothing on your name. She’s just being nosy. I would just let it go, it’s just her being bored,” she tried to reassure me.

As much as this bothered Madalyn, she was telling me to let it go. I was relieved that nothing had been found. It was as it should have been. It meant that how things had been set up were working. It also meant I probably overreacted when I saw the black unmarked car. I just needed to come up with something to say to Anne in case I was confronted about it.

“Can you let it go, Maddy?” I asked her.

She looked at me with a puzzled expression.

“Does your mother’s reaction bother you, or is it the fact she found nothing, and most likely doesn’t trust me?” I added to the question.

She sighed heavily, and closed her eyes. “I just want everyone to love what I love. I could know nothing else, and this would be enough,” she replied, as she once again embraced me.

I brought my arms up around her. She’d replied to my question sincerely, holding nothing back. I knew because her voice was shaken and constricted.

“You’re sweet, Maddy. Did you just admit to loving me?”

Her head was pressed against my chest as she nodded her head, yes.

“Love, yes. That’s putting it lightly. I always have,” she added, her voice constrained.

“Always?” I questioned.

She only nodded again as we held onto one another.

“Well, I appreciate your understanding. It’s not that I don’t trust you, or your mother for that matter. I get her. She’s just looking out for her daughter. Sometimes a parent can be over protective,” I said reassuringly.

I could feel her frown at my response, but I ignored it. Madalyn held herself against me, rubbing her hands up and down my naked back desperately. The heat outside was suffocating, and I did not want to work out in it all day. I wanted to quit earlier than I had planned.

“Maddy, let’s just finish this side of the house, which should only take an hour. It’s too hot out today. I thought we’d go surfing. Does that sound good to you?” I inquired.

“As long as you’re there, I’ll be there too,” she responded.

I pulled her away from me, only to bring her back to my lips. I kissed her, hoping to change her flustered mood, and she welcomed it.

As we finished with the siding, I told her how I had a few things to do before we left for the beach. It would give her a chance to get together whatever she wanted to take out on the boat.

“How long are we going to be out there?” she wondered.

“Well, I wanted to lay out on the boat and look at the stars away from city lights again. Is that okay?

“That sounds wonderful. I was scheduled to work tonight, but I just quit,” she said.

“Wait, what? No, don’t do that,” I said.

“Why not? I don’t want to work there, and do dishes. I do that enough at home. Besides, I have a new job in general construction,” she said very matter-of-factly.

“Alright then,” I said.

“That’s it? You’re not going to lecture me?” she asked.

“No, why would I do that?”

“I don’t know. I just expected you to say more about me quitting.”

“Well I’m not going to. You can do what you want. Besides, I like having you here,” I said truthfully.

Eleven forty-five rolled around and we had finished the siding. We made it through without Madalyn making any measurement mistakes. I thought her number problem was a confidence issue, but I loved this about her. For all her beauty and perfection, she had this small imperfection that she needed my help to fix, and I was able to help her.

She gave me a quick kiss good-bye, and we parted for maybe an hour and a half. I drove to Newport straight from her house, and picked up my prints. The entire drive, I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder for the black unmarked car.

I had bought eleven picture frames for the prints. One large twenty-four by thirty-six, and the rest were eight-by-tens. I made it back to my apartment, and hung them all on the wall in my bedroom, right where they had been taken. The largest was a less saturated color than the rest. Her eyes were pronounced, as was the sunset coming in the window, overlooking the Atlantic. It was a good accent to the room. Anything at this point would have been, because I had virtually nothing on the walls. I put all the black-and-white images around the main image, spaced evenly. They consisted of her shoulder, her lips, her hands brushing her bikini bottoms, her breasts being covered by her hands. All had been a macro shot, and each had its own frame. When it all came together it was a mural of Madalyn.

Maybe I would show it to her after we went surfing. I really had no time to show her before surfing. Besides, if I took her upstairs to my apartment, I knew other activities would ensue, and we would end up not having time to surf.

I left my house around two in the afternoon, and I picked her up. She was waiting for me on the front porch with a large, white canvas beach bag, full of whatever she felt she needed to bring. She leaned over and kissed me on the cheek as she hopped in the truck, placing her bag on the floor in front of her feet.

I parked at the bakery and grabbed the surfboards from upstairs. After I came back down the stairs we started to walk across the street to the dock. I noticed the black unmarked car on Front Street, a few spaces away from the dock that my boat was at.

It wasn’t a coincidence that they were in the same spot. I had Maddy walk in front of me, and I walked around the blue truck they were parked next to. I held my surfboard over my face and made sure to maneuver it so it continued to cover my face.

Son of a bitch!

If I had been made, then they saw Maddy too, which put her at risk. Who was I kidding - they most likely already knew about her anyway if they’d found me.

Stop over-reacting - they could be here for something else.

I glanced at the license plate, and it was definitely a government car. The license plate was not tied to any state.

We walked to my boat and laid the surf boards down. I helped Maddy into the boat while she held onto her white bag. She found her footing gracefully to the floor of the boat, and set her bag down. I made sure to have my back to the parking spaces, where the car was. If they were there when I got back, or anywhere near the area, I would contact home and let them know.

We set out from the docks, speeding through the Beaufort Channel. I slowed down once we got close to Shackleford Banks. I anchored the boat on the back of the island, away from the Atlantic waves. The walk to the other side wasn’t bad. We only had surf boards to carry. The sand was quite hot on our feet and took some getting used to.

We stood about twenty-five feet from the beach, and Maddy stuck her surfboard in the sand so it was standing straight up. She reached up, grabbing the top, and standing on her tip-toes, stretched out her body. She did a few more stretches without holding onto her board then took off her gray-and-white tank top and cut-off jean shorts. She had on a white two-piece, with light pink stripes running horizontal and vertical. Everything she wore complemented her. I realized I was lusting when she took her board out of the sand.

“Do you want to go surfing, or did you bring me out here to stare?” she teased as she arched on her toes, shaking her butt in my direction.

I felt embarrassed. “I’m sorry, Maddy. I didn’t mean to stare. You’re just… never mind, let’s just go surfing.”

She laughed at me as she ran her hand through her hair. “You’re totally in love with me,” she said.

I put my hand in the pocket of my light blue swimming trunks, feeling nervous about her statement. It wasn’t that I didn’t agree with what she had just stated. I had not discovered anything about her that I didn’t love. I loved everything about her. I only felt guilty telling another woman that I loved her. Not to mention, it had only been a week since we had actually met. Saying that in my head made us sound like we were in a school yard, throwing around the word love carelessly, over a silly crush.

The intensity I felt toward her didn’t feel silly, however. We had only just met each other, and it was an acute, severe feeling of need being in her presence. I had never felt so fiercely about anyone. I feared loss like someone who feared heights, attempting to climb down the outside of the Eiffel Tower. They would cling to the side because their life depended on it. After knowing only a little about her, I feared losing her. That is why I could not tell her the truth about the previous Jack. It was too much for anyone. She would surely run away.

I looked out across the Atlantic Ocean getting lost in my own thoughts. I missed home terribly. I would always miss it. But now I ached for Madalyn.

“I believe you are lost in that head of yours, Mr. Ryder,” Madalyn spoke, interrupting my thought process.

I leaned down and kissed her, and we started to walk toward the water when someone called out to us.

“Well, if it isn’t Knight Ryder and his Princess!”

“Tristan!” I shouted excitedly. “What are the odds?”

“Pretty good actually, because I go surfing here every other day, and you happened to catch me on what feels like the hottest day of the year, Dude,” he replied in all seriousness.

Madalyn laughed at Tristan and his unintentional, innocent sarcasm. He was accompanied by a small-framed, cute blond woman.

“Hi, Tristan. You ready to fight over some waves?” Madalyn challenged.

“I wouldn’t dare fight thee, Madalyn Amor. You want a wave, it’s yours, sweetness,” he replied.

I looked at Madalyn, wondering what Tristan meant when he turned her name into a title.

“Thee, Madalyn Amor?” I questioned.

“Really, bro?” Tristan replied. “Maddy here is a great surfer. She’s even been offered sponsorships only to turn them down.”

I looked at Madalyn, shocked and impressed. She really was everything. If she only knew who I was, and how much we really had in common.

“Is that true, Maddy?” I asked.

“Yeah, I’m alright,” she humbly answered. “I just have fun, Jack. I wasn’t looking to impress anyone.”

“I’m sorry you guys, I am being rude. This is my girlfriend, Neveah. She just moved here from Southern California,” he introduced.

She stepped forward, shaking our hands.

“Please call me Nev,” she said.

“So have you two known each other long?” I asked.

“Quite a while, actually,” Nev replied. “We met playing an online video game when we were both sixteen, and we’ve talked ever since. I decided it was time to make the move, and so far it has been great. The east coast is gorgeous,” she informed us.

I was a little baffled at how they met. Neither one of them skipped a beat when they spoke, and I could see why they were a couple. You could tell they had both killed too many brain cells on a certain product given to us from the earth.

“I love the east coast as well. And welcome to our home, Nev,” Madalyn politely welcomed. “So how long have you been here?” Maddy asked.

“Three days,” Nev replied, catching Madalyn by surprise, and she searched for how to reply.

“…far out. Let’s go catch some waves,” she said, running toward the ocean, and diving in on her board. We followed after her.

For the next few hours, we all surfed together. It was hard to fathom how things were turning out for me. I had a one-track mind for two long years. When my original plans had come to a halt, and I was beyond frustrated, another door had opened. One I did not expect. Enjoying our moments together was how I kept myself grounded. Unfortunately, I was living for the moment. Including Madalyn in my future was hard to work out in my head. I could not hurt such a special person. These thoughts angered me, so I threw them away and continued living for the moment. For Madalyn.

I watched her carve and cut into every wave effortlessly. No wonder she had such a healthy figure - she had been surfing her whole life. Her persona, however, did not fit the way she surfed. She attacked the waves she was dropping into and carved with aggression. What she was doing was fun, but her angry approach made it look as though she was not enjoying herself.

When she rode out her wave, she was only about fifty feet from me. I laid on my board and paddled over to her. She was cheering on Nev, who had just dropped in. She had a big smile on her face.

“You know, I am having so much fun. I haven’t been out to this beach in a while. We sold our boat when I was about fourteen, and I never had a way to the island,” she informed.

“Are the waves always this big here?” I asked.

“Usually, but I think there was a storm out at sea because these are not your everyday waves,” she told me.

“Now that you mention it, I forgot to check the weather today when I made these plans,” I said.

Maddy laughed.

“Who needs a weather-man? I can tell you it’s hotter than two squirrels mating in a wool sock out here,” she laughed as we are quickly elevated from an incoming wave.

“Point taken. And thank you for painting that vivid scenario,” I said.

Maddy cheered as Nev finished her run.

“That girl’s got skills,” she said with an infectious smile.

“So do you, Maddy. My goodness, I have never seen a girl surf like you,” I said.

“How many girls have you known that surf?” she questioned.

It was impossible for me to not bring up bits and pieces of my past. How did anyone commit to this lifestyle of starting over completely?

“Well, actually you’re the first,” I answered untruthfully.

“Oh. Well for someone from Iowa, you sure know how to surf. You’re incredible, actually. There must be some monster waves to practice on amongst all the fields of corn… and livestock,” she said, laughing at herself.

“Well, I vacationed a lot near the ocean. I went snowboarding a lot too,” I said in reply to her sarcasm.

“I’m sorry. I think I sounded like a jerk just now. What I mean is, you surf very well for someone who just moved here from the Midwest. But really, I know there is more to you. I know that. I figure, I don’t need to know. I love what I already know about you. And then if anyone, like my mother, asks about you, I don’t have to lie,” she intelligently rephrased.

I wasn’t going to try to cover over what she was implying about myself. She was not stupid, and I respected her intelligence.

“When did you figure all of this out?” I questioned.

“Just now. Surfing helps me clear my head. A lot like writing,” she added.

I swam closer to her and leaned over to kiss her, but all I could do was reach her shoulder. My lips met her shoulder, and I tasted the salt water on her skin.

“It’s alright, Madalyn. I’m not offended. And I love how smart you are. If I could tell you I would.”

Madalyn then took her endearing eyes off me, looking at the approaching wave. “Oh no, incoming,” she said with excitement, falling flat on her board and duck-diving beneath the wave with me. We duck-dived through the beautiful underworld of the Atlantic. So violent and unforgiving on top, but serene and beautiful below.

We paddled out further, meeting up with Tristan and Neveah. The four of us surfed until almost sunset. Tristan and Nev walked to where he’d anchored his small boat, and headed back to the main-land. Maddy and I ended up laying on our surf-boards, holding hands so that we would not float away from one another. She stretched out with her feet crossed and her left arm above her head. Her eyes were closed, and her lips held a light smile.

“Today was blissful,” she said.

“I agree. I enjoy watching you surf,” I told her.

She smiled softly at me while squinting her eyes at the sunset that was making the violet in her eyes shimmer.

“Likewise, Jack. If I didn’t have to eat, I would be out here all night with you,” she added.

“Are you trying to tell me that you’re hungry?” I asked.

“Starving,” she said with a beautiful smile across her face.

I sat up on my board.

“Well, let’s go and get you some food then. Something as beautiful as a rose should always be watered and nourished,” I said.

Maddy laughed at my lame, illustrated compliment.

“Cute illustration, Ryder. I’m not a flower,” she replied.

We started to paddle back to the shore.

“You’re right. A flower doesn’t do you justice, nor would I enjoy its company as much.”

Madalyn laughed as she paddled, and we reached the waist-deep sand bar.

“Jack, people don’t talk like that anymore. Although they are sappy, your compliments make me blush,” she said, laughing.

We carried our boards out of the water and made the five-minute trek across the island to the boat. We climbed the top of the small sand dune, our surfboards on top of our heads. She climbed in front of me, and I admired her. When we saw the boat, I walked two steps in front of her and turned around.

“I’ll race you the rest of the way to the boat,” I challenged, starting to run backward, getting a head start. She started to run, and was going to pass ahead of me, but I turned and took off into a full sprint. I stopped just before I reached the boat and watched her run the rest of the way.

“I’m not touching the boat before you. I won’t take your charity of letting me win,” she said, laughing as she slowed her stride.

“My goal wasn’t about winning. I only wanted to watch you run,” I said, taking in every part of her.

Madalyn looked down at her body, and then she glanced back at me. She dropped her board in the sand and threw herself at me, wrapping her legs around my waist. She didn’t kiss me, but only held my face, pressing her nose to mine. We stared at each other for a long moment, taking each other in. I felt her heart beating in her thighs, and through her legs. She pressed herself against me harder and appeared to be studying all the space in my eyes, feeling ourselves, skin-to-skin, heart-to-heart.

“I could do this,” she softly whispered, centimeters from my face.

I swallowed. “This?” I questioned.

She ran her index finger down my neck and poked it lightly into my chest. “This. I could do this,” she reiterated.

I knew what she meant, but also didn’t know what she meant. Madalyn at times said things that only she could in her head understand. I felt as though she recalled thoughts that she had and spoke them, even though they would need further explanation. She understood them, so it didn’t matter if anyone else did.

She moved her body against mine slowly, like the waves, reestablishing the hold she had with her strong legs and firm thighs.

I knew if I let this continue, it would have happened. But then she surprised me when she climbed down, never taking her eyes off mine. She stretched onto her toes and kissed me, softly on the lips, slowly bringing to a stop her assault on my mouth, which I had willingly surrendered.

“Jack, I’m hungry,” she said seductively. Again, a statement that I felt had more than one meaning.

“Are you seducing me into feeding you?” I joked.

“I’m hungry,” she said, raising her eyebrows.

I smiled at her as I picked up our boards and pushed them into the boat. Madalyn held her arms out to me once I pulled myself up and over into the boat. I lifted her effortlessly, and her nimble ballet steps helped her almost float down to the floor of the boat. I unfolded one of the seats and pulled a blanket out, handing it to her.

“Thank you,” she said, as she wrapped it around her, and sat in the front of the boat.

I pulled in the boat anchor and jumped back out to push us to sea. I climbed back in and fired up the engine. Madalyn was hungry. I sped us back across the Beaufort Inlet Channel. The water was pretty choppy, so I could only do about thirty once we drew closer to the marina.

Madalyn never looked in the direction the boat was going; she watched me steer the boat the whole way back. When I slowed down in the no wake zone, she reached into her bag, and pulled out a short, coral-colored, beach dress. She stepped carefully into it and brought the thin straps over her shoulders. She then did the amazing trick that every male loves. Her hands moved behind her back and she untied her swimsuit top, pulling it out from under her thigh-bearing, utterly flattering dress.

Like everything else she wore, she owned it. The top of it had a white draw-string rope just under her breasts. She reached down into her bag once more, pulling out medium-sized hoop earrings. She quickly placed them in each of her ears.

I could have crashed us when she decided to drop her swimsuit bottoms, and pulled out a small pair of solid-gray panties. She spun them around her finger, smiling at me before stepping into them.

What was not to like about Madalyn?

She was highly intelligent, was educated, had a good sense of humor, and no words had ever been recorded in the English language to properly describe how beautiful she was at every moment. She also did well in demonstrating how imaginative she could be, even though she openly admitted how she had no prior experience with men.

She wanted something from me, and I really wanted something from her. I think I was doing a better job at hiding how I felt in that division. She had heart, a truly strong spirit, holding nothing back in showing me all of her. Nothing she did was apathetic. She was sincerely wholehearted.

In her innocence, and possible ignorance, she claimed me as belonging to her from the moment we had met. It’s as though she looked at me and knew something I didn’t. She had shown me who she was from the start and had no insecurities about doing so. She held no reserve in how she loved. Her heart was fierce, and not for anyone else’s heart that may be apprehensive.

Why had she trusted me so freely?

She threw herself into the busy highway that was love, and relationships, but acted as though she had no fear of being taken out. I had been thrown into the same highway she was crossing, broken and damaged. She just happened to be there… waiting.

I had fallen for her in just a short amount of time. Accepting this, I knew my life would not be the same. She would have to know things if we were going to stay together. Secrets would have to be shared. Otherwise, she would never know me. I had only one question: was it safe to tell her?

I scanned the area for the black car as I steered us into the marina. It was nowhere in sight. I wasn’t going to let my guard down, but this was a good sign.

I parked us and tied the boat to the dock. I looked around for the car once more as I held my hand out to Madalyn. Still, I saw nothing. And over the past two years I’d prided myself on spotting anything out of the ordinary. I pulled her out of the boat and grabbed both surf-boards. She held her arms out, posing in her outfit for me. She looked stunning. Her dress hung a little past the middle of her thigh. It was loose fitting and had a draw string that tied just under breasts, justifying her shape. The coral color of the dress with the white rope felt nautical. How she was wanting my approval was cute.

“I’m all ready for my dinner date.”

“You look stunning,” I complimented.

I felt under-dressed. I still had light blue board shorts, a tank, and leather flip-flop sandals on.

“I should probably change so I don’t feel self-conscious next to you.”

“Nonsense. Let’s just eat at your apartment,” she replied.

“Is that what you want?”

She nodded.

“How do you feel about Chinese food?” I asked her.

“Sounds good to me, but we better hurry so that my body doesn’t start consuming itself from the inside,” she replied.

I grabbed her hand and ran us down the dock, playing along.

“Why are we running?” she laughed.

“I have to hurry and get you fed before something happens to you,” I joked.

We reached the bottom steps of my apartment, and she fell against me, laughing.

“I can’t go up. I have no energy. There is not enough fuel in my tank; I need sustenance,” she said, laughing, her brilliant-white smile and adoring laugh further captivating my heart.

“It’s okay, I gotcha,” I told her as I dropped the surf-boards and carried her up the stairs.

We laughed all the way up and into my apartment. I cradled her like a baby as I called in our order.

“Help. Help me - I’m hungry,” she laughed as I tried placing our order.

I hung up the phone and continued to play.

“Hold on for me, food’s coming.”

“I’m holding on. I’m even holding my bladder. I have to pee, and the laughter isn’t helping.”

I quickly ran her past my weights, into the bathroom off of the living room.

“Go pee,” I told her, setting her on her feet.

“Okay, can you hand me my bag. I dropped it by the door. I’m going to get cleaned up before the food gets here.”

After getting her bag, I laid a blanket down in front of the bay window of the living room, overlooking the marina. A few minutes later, dinner was served.


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