Chapter 7 - Joan
I stood stock still wondering what had just happened. I had convinced myself I wasn’t interested in this man, but when he leaned in close, and I could feel heat radiating off his body, I lost all coherent thought. When his lips touched mine, he’d been so careful to wait for my response. And when the kiss went deeper, well, I couldn’t put words to what happened then. I’d never had a man affect me so strongly. My sudden hunger and the yearning I’d felt were new. I thought of my past. Fred had been aggressive and demanding. I’d felt pushed, even as I’d agreed to his advances. But Price had seemed to soak me up, enjoy the taste of my mouth, the feel of my hands.
I sat on the couch and ran my tongue over my lips. He’d tasted like mint. I liked to analyze my world. I wanted to know why Price would be interested in me. Fred had called me his school marm. He’d teased me in front of friends, saying he had his own personal librarian. He used these and other terms that made me feel stuffy, dumpy, and uptight. He’d jokingly given me a ruler as a Christmas present, saying I could use it to rap his knuckles like the nuns who’d taught him in parochial school.
And now, this party animal, this sarcastic, gorgeous hunk of a man comes along and makes me feel like a siren, luring him in with a silent song only he can hear.
I’d been reading too many books. The erotic scenes had obviously messed with my mind. The next time I bought a paperback, it would be a Harlequin romance. One kiss at the very end and nothing more. I’d switch my television choices to the Hallmark Channel. Enough of this, I said out loud, but in my heart I craved more. If one kiss had been enough to make me forget all inhibitions, what would it be like if we took it further? My body heated at the thought. I wondered if I could pretend that the sink was stopped up, or maybe I could tell him there was a giant spider in the bathtub. He’d surely come to save me.
I sat back and stared at the ceiling, thinking, “Who am I?” I came to Sandy Shores to find myself. This was not what I thought I would find. Was I a wonton woman, or had Price awakened something in me that had been asleep and waiting?
To clear my head, I took a walk on the beach, careful to apply sunscreen to my already tender skin and to wear my big, floppy hat. I left my flip flops at the entrance to the beach and enjoyed the sand between my toes. Families were everywhere. Moms pulling cold drinks out of coolers, applying sunscreen to their little ones; dads laying still as their kids buried them with sand; young people laughing, throwing balls; teenagers riding boogie boards in the surf. I’d never wanted children. Never had a serious relationship before Fred, and he’d been like a big kid I had to take care of. Why was my biological clock ticking so loudly now? One kiss surely wasn’t enough to set that in motion, too. Was it?
I walked southward, toward the neighborhood I’d seen in the distance. The sun shone down from directly overhead. Before I got to the houses, I passed an interesting ice house. The sign read, “Mitch’s Ice House.” A m...