Thursday, March 18, 2010

Friday Fiction for March 19, 2010

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by Christina, over at With Pen in Hand. Set aside your pen for a moment, and check out what she produced with the pen in her hand, along with the other submissions in MckLinky.

I’m trying to decide if this is a good place to leave Timothy and Teresa for a while, or if I need to give a more conclusive ending to this story. Sometimes, leaving room for imagination is a good way to finish a story, and sometimes it’s not. Feel free to chime in with your opinion on whether this is a satisfying place to stop for now.

Reef, Her Madness

Part 7

By Rick Higginson

Teresa entered through the front door of the bungalow, wearing a blue tropical print sundress. The fabric appeared lightweight, and well-suited to the climate of the island. She spread her arms and glanced down. “I can’t believe how much the gift shop wanted for such a simple dress,” she said, sounding like she was about to apologize.

“It looks nice on you,” Timothy said. “Did they have everything you needed?”

“Sort of; I’m not real crazy about the souvenir print panties they had. I mean, I can understand t-shirts or hats or tote-bags, because people will see those and the resort gets advertising from them, but underwear? It’s not like I’m going to let the whole world see my panties so they can know that I visited here.”

He shrugged. “It’s probably not much different than a tattoo someplace on a person’s body that they wouldn’t show to anyone else, except underwear can be changed.”

“I suppose you’re right, but it still feels weird to pay extra for a piece of specially decorated clothing that I’m not going to show anyone else. They’ll do, though, until I can get to my clothes in my bungalow.”

“Look beside the bed,” he said.

She took a few steps farther into the room, and stopped. “My luggage – how’d it get here?”

“When I called the manager earlier to tell them it was okay for you to charge to my bill, I mentioned that you’d been locked out of your bungalow. He went and investigated, and had your stuff brought here.” He crawled up beside her. “Your bill is being credited for your share of the bungalow from last night on. He doesn’t have another open room for you yet, but is going to try and find you one. Until then, you can stay here if you want.”

“He couldn’t get Jenny to let me back in?”

He hesitated a bit before answering. “No. She wouldn’t budge, even when he told her she and her boyfriend were going to have to pay the full cost of the bungalow.”

“Did she tell him why?”

“Before I answer, do you have any idea what she’s angry about?”

“Not a clue.”

“She said you’d hit on her boyfriend.”

“What?!? Where’d she get a stupid idea like that? I can’t imagine what she sees in him, let along having any desire to be within arm’s reach of him myself.” She released a disgusted-sounding noise. “I’d hit on a pig before I’d hit on him.”

“Well, wherever she got the idea, I guess that explains why she’s locked you out.”

“I should just change my flight and go home.”

“No, you shouldn’t. Why should your vacation get spoiled because she has a problem?”

She gestured in frustration. “I came here to spend a week with my friend, and I’d hoped she’d get over whatever her problem was so we could salvage some of that, but that’s not going to happen now. So I don’t have my friend, I don’t have a bungalow, and I don’t really have any reason to stay.”

He moved to the foot of the bed, and took hold of the corner post. Struggling hand over hand, he pulled himself up until he could get his fluke under him. Finally standing upright, he hopped awkwardly to turn and face her, holding onto the post for support and balance. He let go with one arm, and held it out to his side. “You still have a friend here, at least if you want one.”

“That looks really uncomfortable for you.”

“Maybe a little, but I thought it would be more comfortable for you than asking you to get down on the floor with me. I don’t have legs to go for a walk with you, but I do have arms that work just fine for hugs.”

She stepped into the embrace and lowered her face to his shoulder. “Why have you been so nice to me? I’ve been such a pest.”

“I don’t know, Teresa. I’ve spent pretty much my entire life surrounded by the Pod, and I came here thinking that being alone for once would be enjoyable. The funny thing is, you’ve been the best thing about this vacation so far. Maybe I’m just not cut out to be alone.”

“You’re the only reason my vacation hasn’t been a total disaster.” She sniffed and squeezed him a bit tighter.

He gave her a light kiss on the neck. “Would you really want to split up the duo of Merman and Crazy Reef Girl? There’s still so much ocean to save.”

“How am I supposed to save an ocean when I can’t even save my oldest friendship?”

“You don’t know that it’s not salvageable yet, and if it’s not, it’ll be because Jenny doesn’t want to save it.” He stroked her hair. “The Pod has an old friend named Diego. He’s a church pastor, and he often has some interesting perspectives on things. He told us once that God sometimes has to use a bad situation to direct us towards something good.”

“I’ve told friends similar things. Funny that it doesn’t seem as easy to accept when it happens to me.”

He chuckled. “Diego says that faith isn’t accepting things that are easy. The Pod had to accept a lot of things that weren’t easy since the day Dr. Marcel was taken from us. Some of us still don’t accept that it was all part of a plan, but looking back, I see too many things that were just too much to be coincidence.”

“My pastor says there’s no such thing as coincidence.”

“Then maybe both of us being here this week is no coincidence, either. I’m not suggesting we rush into anything, but we could always take the rest of the week to decide if it’s worth pursuing beyond that.”

“A week isn’t much time to figure something like that out.”

“Ten feet isn’t much of a swim, either, but we’d never have made it out to the reef without swimming that ten feet first.” He shifted his weight slightly, trying to relieve some of the discomfort in the tip of his tail. “There’s a restaurant in town that’s setting up a low table for my birthday tonight. I’d love it if you would join me for dinner.”

She lifted her head from his shoulder and looked into his face. Her eyes were red and wet. “It seems I’ve invited myself to so much of your vacation. I think this is the first thing you’ve invited me to.”

“There are a lot of things the Pod has no experience with, but I think I’m actually asking you out on a date.”

“It’s been a long time since I was asked out by anyone that I would consider going out with. Are you sure you want to date a crazy girl like me?”

“I wouldn’t have asked if I wasn’t sure.”

“Is this dress nice enough for the restaurant?”

“It’s nicer than the t-shirt I’ll wear.”

She put one hand on the back of his head, and gave him a quick kiss. When he smiled, she gave him a longer kiss.

“Does this mean it’s a date?”

Nodding, she whispered. “Thank you for saving my vacation.”

“Thank you,” he said.

1 comment:

BethL said...

LOL--souvenir panties :) This is such a fascinating scenario… with your non-human and human characters. You've created such a creative world. (I'll leave it to more intelligent people to advise you on whether to end here or fill in a little more detail-- How's that for helping? :)