Chapter 11 - Joan
I read my book as children screamed and played in the surf. Some teenagers were building a sandcastle that looked like a work of art. I stood around watching for a while, glad I’d brought my hat. The sun was intense. The sand took on the shape of a lovely mermaid with a face quite similar to the twin girls working on it. I sighed, wishing my sister was around to play in the sand with me. I would like to have her opinion of Price, but in reality, she would have probably already taken him to her bed. She wasn’t complicated. She acted and thought about it later. We were on opposite ends of the spectrum, but I still missed her. I kicked at the sand and left the kids to their sandcastles. I needed to get my head out of the clouds. If Price didn’t want me, why was I wasting my time thinking about him?
“Hey, Pretty Lady.” A man tapped me on the shoulder. It was Vince from the night before. He wore his uniform.
“I didn’t realize you were a motorcycle cop,” I said.
“It’s the only way to go around here. I can get on the beach if need be, and I’ve chased down some of the fasted speeders out by the bridge on this thing.” He patted the handlebars. He had a toothy smile, but it was pleasant.
“It’ll be lunch time soon. Want to join me?”
I considered his invitation. I would rather have lunch with Price, but he wanted nothing to do with me. I’d channel my sister until I could figure out who I wanted to be.
“Sure. Where shall I meet you?”
“How about Patty’s? You been there?”
“No. Where is it.”
He pointed down the beach.
“You can’t miss it. It’s got a big back porch where they have live bands in the evenings. Best seafood this side of Mexico.”
“Sounds great.” I smiled up at the big man. He revved his bike and waved as he rode away. Here we go. Joanie is back in town. I had a couple of hours to decide what to wear, so I walked to the place to get a feel for it. Laid back and casual would work, so I was good with the comfy clothes I’d brought. I found myself getting nervous as the time grew closer. Vince and I had danced several dances, but we hadn’t talked much at all. I really didn’t know much about the guy. Surely, I could trust a cop to be a gentleman? I hoped so. Joanie may be coming out of her shell, but she’s still hesitant.
I primped in front of the oval mirror in the bedroom until I couldn’t find another thing to improve.
“This is as good as it gets,” I said to myself. I’d chosen a pair of blue jean shorts with a button up shirt tied at my waist and my favorite flip flops. I hung some loops in my ears and sprayed my hair so it wouldn’t go wild in the wind. A spritz of Chanel No. 5 finished my preparations. My hands were sweating, and I still had thirty minutes to wait. Not sure what to do with myself, I opted for my book and the hammock. I’d just gotten to the steamy part of the book and wondered if it was a good idea to read that sort of thing before a date. Then I slapped myself up-side the head internally and opened the book. Nobody ever had sex that great. Did they? I was alone and my face was beet red. Ridiculous, Joanie, I said to myself, but I kept reading until the cigarettes came out – or should have.
I was pretty worked up by the time I made it to Patty’s Back Porch. Vince’s motorcycle was in the parking lot, so I took a deep breath and pushed the doors open. A cacophony of sound hit my ears. People talking, laughing, a juke box playing some old country song, and the clatter of silver on plates. If the sound wasn’t intriguing enough, the smells were heaven...