Beyond the Ocean's Depths (Not an Average Shifter Romance)

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Chapter 2: The New House

TOBIE

By four-thirty I was mentally done for the day. I’d gotten my office pretty settled, or at least presentable, should I have any visitors. Devin, the kid who was the aquatic center’s resident computer guru got me set up on the network and my email account established. Then I met Vickie and Chuy, my youthful and enthusiastic underlings, and the one’s who’d been caring for the animals on their own since Rob took over.

Both were recent college graduates in Marine Science, and Vickie had been born and raised in Navarro Beach. Chuy, on the other hand, was a city-boy, hailing from Miami.

The first thing I had to explain to my Star Wars geek of a daughter when I got home that evening, was that Chuy was not named after Chewy, or Chewbacca, the lovable Wookie. But that it was in fact a nickname in Spanish for Jesus - how or why, I have no idea.

“When I have a baby, I’m naming him Jesus so that I can call him Chewy!” Anne proudly exclaimed in response.

I had a feeling that all of my future grandchildren would have names like Chewy, Rey, Boba Fett, and even Kylo or Darth Mal, both of whom, to my motherly-fears, Anne tended to get all mushy about. She apparently had no qualms about favoring the Light- or the Dark-side - they were all awesome in her book.

I just shook my head; there was no point in arguing how silly that would be, for she didn’t care. She was a geek and proud of it!

“So, how was your first day at the Summer Center?” I asked changing the subject.

Since school was out for the summer, I’d enrolled Anne in the local Summer Center program for working parents of older kids.

The kids were divided up by school grade and given a gamut of activities, educational and creative, to pick from throughout the day. It was similar to school, but without the homework, though tutoring on tough subjects was available. Anne was excited to go, and I was relieved to have some place where she’d be taken care of, fed, and be able to stay active physically and mentally. In Cincinnati, Anne would spend her summer days with my parents. She had fun with her grandparents, but she needed more of an outlet now that she was getting older.

“It was good! All the teachers are nice, and the kids seem okay. I didn’t really talk to anyone, just hung back and scoped it all out.”

“Ah, I see.”

“There is this cute boy that was in the art class...” she proclaims with a smirk.

“Whoa, lady! You’re already scoping out the boys on your first day! You’re not dating for another three years at least, you know!”

“I know, but that doesn’t change that he’s cute!”

I’m not a hundred percent sure she isn’t just pulling my leg to try to get a reaction out of me, but in comparison to myself at her age, Anne was all about the boys. Though I had a feeling it was all talk at this point (thank goodness), for I’d yet to see her be brave enough to actually talk to too many kids, let alone ‘cute boys,’ on her own.

When I was her age, I hadn’t been interested in seriously looking until I was much older - more towards the end of high school, and even then I didn’t date anyone until I left home for college.

Anne on the other hand was not only looking at all boys by eleven, but also looking to hook me up with anyone who was within her idea of my age range. And her idea of ‘cute’ didn’t necessarily match up with ‘cute’ on my behalf.

Fortunately, she hadn’t actually tried to hook me up on a date in reality, and after fighting it for a while, I eventually relented to her teasing and prodding for who I thought was cute, and we could now easily joke with each other about ‘hot guys,’ at a safe early-teen level, of course.

Admittedly, I do feel terrible about picking up cues on how to go about checking guys out from my teenage daughter, after all I am a grown woman of thirty-nine, done married and divorced - albeit with minimal dating experience. She definitely got those genes from her father, I’m afraid.

While most parents wouldn’t be so candid with their kids, I’d seen too many parents criticize their children’s feelings, which were natural enough biologically. And I wanted Anne to know that her feelings were normal, and that she shouldn’t be ashamed of her feelings. I also wanted her to feel comfortable enough to be able to confide in me about anything so that she could make smart decisions in the future. I just hoped she’d stay so communicative once she grew further into her teen years.

“Okay, so beyond one cute boy and some nice teachers, what else? What’d they serve at lunch?”

“It was chicken with rice, and I had a side salad with it. It was okay.”

“So, no chicken for supper tonight. Why don’t we do my famous spaghetti to celebrate both of our first days of school and work, huh?!”

Anne smiles brightly, as spaghetti was her most favorite meal. “I’ll cut up the veggies!”

The next of couple hours were spent cooking, eating, and filling each other in on the events of our day.

After supper, Anne and I cleaned up the kitchen, then she went upstairs to continue unpacking and decorating her new bedroom. The three-bedroom beach house wasn’t new by any means, but it was recently renovated and overlooked the Gulf from the two upstairs bedrooms and had a neat little observatory balcony on the roof. Being just in my price range, it was an easy choice as soon as Anne and I walked through the doors of the light orange-pink Stucco with a lovely Spanish tile roof.

I was tired of unpacking, so decided to walk out to the dock and take a moment to just relax on my own. The long dock started from the end of the almost non-existent backyard consisting of sandy grass, then extended out over a long swath of natural Floridian vegetation - stubby palms, long grasses, the sparse pines that the southern United States is known for, along with several other thick-leafed trees.

It made it almost impossible to see the beach from the first floor, save for the tunnel-like section the dock ran though. But it was Anne’s favorite part of the dock, for it reminded her of Jedi Master Yoda’s swampy planet. What’s it called...? Oh yeah, Dagobah.

I liked it as well, as it made me feel like I was in primordial Florida, the time when all of life on Earth began millions or billions of years ago, as animals began evolving into the land animals we now have today. Alligators and turtles are amazing examples of animals who were alive during that time period.

Exiting my primordial forest, I emerged above the light-colored sand stretching out beneath the timber dock, leading out to my beloved water.

How had I lived in Cincinnati and so far away from the ocean for so many years?! I truly felt at home here!

The sun was setting, and I couldn’t be happier to end my first day on the job at the beach.

Taking a seat on the end of the dock, letting my bare feet dangle in the warm water, I closed my eyes, feeling the warm rays of the setting sun on my face and the breeze blow through my hair and across my skin. This was heaven!

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