DW is a veteran, a father, a husband, and a teacher. He's published 9 YA/NA novels thus far. The story you're reading might be next.
Friend Me if You Want
"I'm stationed there, yes," Owen replied after taking a sip from his now refilled coffee cup. "I grew up in Wilmington. I'm headed there now. My dad's retired and he lives at Buzby Beach."
"Your food should be ready," Kenzie said as if she hadn't heard his reply. "I'll check."
Owen sighed. He decided Kenzie wasn't actually interested in him; she was just making small talk.
Kenzie returned with his breakfast of sausage and eggs scrambled together, home fries done to a nice golden brown, and a biscuit nearly large enough for a sandwich. She set the plate before him and slid a basket with spread and jelly his way from farther down the counter.
"What is it you do in the Army?" she asked in lieu of inquiring as to Owen's satisfaction with the contents of his breakfast.
"I'm a combat medic," Owen answered as he split his biscuit and began spreading grape jelly over the inside.
Kenzie nodded. "So, you save people instead of killing them."
Owen finished chewing and swallowing the bite he took from his biscuit. "You have the basic idea."
"You're from Wilmington," Kenzie noted. "I would have thought you'd join the Coast Guard or Marines. Why the Army?"
"Mostly because of my brother, I guess," Owen explained after a bite of his sausage and eggs. "He did six years in the Army. And my cousin Declan is an Army officer."
"Your brother got out after six years?" Kenzie asked. "Why didn't he do twenty and retire?"
Owen took another sip of his coffee. "Grice decided three Purple Hearts were enough. He didn't want to push his luck."
Kenzie blew out a breath. "I can't say as I blame him, then. Your brother - you said his name was Grice - is lucky to be here."
Owen didn't point out that Grice was his half-brother and twenty-six years older than Owen himself. Kenzie moved down the counter to check on her other customers. Owen finished his breakfast before she came down his way again.
"Let me get that plate out of your way," Kenzie said when she was standing in front of him once more. After clearing Owen's plate, she returned with the carafe. "Would you like some more coffee?"
Owen shook his head and reached for his wallet. "Could I have some in a to-go cup, and could I have the check, please?"
"Sure," Kenzie said, her smile faltering. "Do you have to rush off?"
"I'm meeting my father down in Buzby Beach. We're going to see my Uncle Mike about-" Owen hesitated. Would Kenzie believe him if he said he was going to see his Uncle Mike about his penthouse condo at the Coastal Towers Resort? Owen doubted she would. "About some family things."
"Oh, yeah, then I guess you have to get going," Kenzie conceded. "When do you think you'll be coming back this way?"
Owen didn't have a lot of experience with girls, but he knew when a girl was signaling that she liked him.
"I'll be stopping in every time I head down to Wilmington," he assured Kenzie. "Which will be every chance I get."
Kenzie's green eyes lit up, and her smile regained its luster. "Good, I'm glad. I'll get your to-go cup and your check."
Owen paid cash for his breakfast. He was in his car before he noticed the note on his receipt.
You can friend me if you want. K
Kenzie's social media handle and cell phone number followed.
"Well, what do you know?" Owen said to himself as he started his car.
Owen arrived late in the morning at the Crossroads Townhouse complex where his father lived. He spent the remainder of the drive from Chadbourn to Wilmington thinking about why Kenzie gave him her on-line handle and cell number. When he got to his father's place, he put thoughts about Kenzie aside and concentrated on the reunion with his father.
Owen's Uncle Michael and Aunt Rhiannon had come to see him graduate from Basic Training. His father didn't. Ben had not served in the military, had opposed the Gulf War in 1991 and the Iraq War in 2003. Owen's decision to follow in his half-brother's footsteps and become a soldier wasn't one Ben supported.
Ben's stance against the military actions the United States had taken in the years since 9/11, while they kept him away from attending Owen's various graduations from the assortment of military schools Owen completed, hadn't stopped him from staying in touch with his son. Owen, for his part, understood his father's position. He believed it was his father's attitude that led him to become a medic rather than choose combat arms.
Ben greeted Owen at the door with a smile and a bear hug.
"You look good, son," Ben said as he stood back to let Owen in. "I'd say military service agrees with you. You were always in good shape, but you've certainly filled out over the last year."
Owen retrieved the overnight bag he'd dropped when he hugged his father and said, "I did put on a few pounds, Dad, all of it muscle. We medics need to be able to pick up and carry any and every size soldier. I've been working out a lot to make sure I can do just that."
"Your hard work shows, Owen," Ben said as he led the way down the hall to Owen's room. "How was your drive down? Was there much traffic?"
"Traffic was light until I got to this side of Memorial Bridge," Owen told his father. "The closer I got to the island, the more cars there were on the road."
Ben stopped at the door to Owen's room. "I imagine so. Everyone was up and about their Saturday morning errands." He changed the subject. "Are you hungry? Have you had breakfast?" Ben glanced at the watch on his wrist. "Or maybe I should be asking you about lunch."
"I had breakfast on the way here from Bragg," Owen informed his father as he stepped into his room and tossed his bag on the bed. He took a moment to look around the room. "You left everything just like it was the day I took off for basic."
"There was no need to change anything," Ben said. "I don't have many folks come and spend the night. If I do, they stay in the guest room."
Owen's story continues in Chapter 3
- Owen's Loves (A Buzby Beach Short Story) Chapter 03
Owen and Ben head to the Beach Cone for lunch and run into Owen's high school friend, Sean O'Larrity.
© 2020 DW Davis
DW Davis (author) from Eastern NC on December 20, 2020:
There is a lot of love and respect between them. It's been just the two of them for many years. More to come on why later.
DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on December 20, 2020:
Interesting interplay between father and son, with differing views.