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Setting Friday Free (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 11


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.


Laurel must not have objected to Mariah using the second shower stall, Garrison surmised when Calvin's girlfriend entered the cabana house shortly after knocking and opening the door. Laurel confirmed this for him when she came out in her Denver's Franks and Fries uniform.

"Mariah will be out in a minute," she informed Calvin and Garrison. "You two look like you've already changed."

"We did," Calvin acknowledged. "Garrison let me use his shower while he ordered the pizza. Then he took his turn."

Laurel sighed. "I wish I could stay for the pizza, but I have to work. Thanks for inviting me over, Garrison."

"I'll walk you to your car," Garrison offered.

"You don't have to do that," Laurel told him, but the look in her dusty blue eyes said she was glad he wanted to.

Garrison was about to say he had to wait for the pizza anyway but stopped himself. "I want to," was what he said instead.

They reached Laurel's car. She tossed the tote with her wet bathing suit into the back seat and turned expectantly toward Garrison.

"Thanks again for inviting me," she said as she leaned closer. "I had a good time."

Garrison's experience with girls was limited, but he wasn't oblivious. "I'm glad," he replied as he lowered his head and gently pressed his lips to hers.

Her response was to wrap her arms around his chest and open her lips slightly. Garrison encircled her with one arm and entwined the fingers of the other in her long, light coppery-brown hair. His lips parted, and his tongue made tentative contact with Laurel's lips.

They broke off the kiss only when both were breathless. Laurel leaned against her car, smiled, and said, "Wow! Just Wow!"

Garrison set his hands on her car's roof on either side of Laurel's head. "My feelings, exactly."

Laurel pressed her hands against Garrison's chest. "I really do have to get to work."

Garrison stood up straight and lowered his hands. "I wish you didn't have to. What time does your shift end?"

Laurel grimaced and said, "We close at eleven, and then we have to clean up. I won't get done until midnight. Maybe you can come by later for a milkshake or some fries?"

"Maybe a milkshake and some fries," Garrison countered. "I'll definitely come by."

He leaned in and kissed Laurel again. The kiss wasn't as long as the first. She broke it off and got into her car. They shared a third, even shorter kiss after she opened her window. Then she started her car.

"I'll see you later, right?" Laurel said, putting her car in drive.

"Yes, you'll see me later," Garrison assured her.

Laurel nodded and smiled before driving away. She'd barely cleared the gate when the pizza delivery driver arrived with dinner for Garrison, Calvin, and Mariah.

Garrison signed the credit card slip and tipped the delivery driver generously. He carried the two pizzas through the house and out to the deck.

"All right!" Calvin exclaimed. "The pizza's here."

Garrison put the pizzas on Calvin and Mariah's table and went inside to get them some drinks. He returned with three cans of seltzer.

"What are these?" Mariah asked as she examined the can Garrison handed her.

"Flavored seltzer," Garrison replied. "It is basically carbonated spring water with a hint of flavor. No sugar, no sodium, no fat, no calories, and it isn't bad for you like diet sodas are."

Mariah opened her can and took a sip. "Hm, not bad."

Garrison sat down, spread a napkin, and helped himself to a slice of veggie lovers' pizza. Calvin was already finishing his first piece of the double pepperoni he'd ordered. Mariah chose a slice of the veggie pizza to start with.

"How much do we owe for the pizza?" Calvin asked Garrison before taking his second slice.

Garrison, his mouth full of pizza, shrugged and shook his head. After swallowing his first bite, he told Calvin, "I got these. Y'all can buy next time."

"Cool," Calvin replied, and he took his second piece.

Between bites of pizza, Mariah and Calvin asked Garrison about the story behind how he came to own his grandparents' house.

"The house should have gone to my father," Garrison explained after washing down his first bite of the pepperoni pizza with seltzer. "But something happened just before my father left for college, and my grandparents wrote him out of their will. I have no idea what would have become of the place if I hadn't come along.

"But I did come along. Years after my father finished law school, he met my mother. They got married and had me. She was already working as a surgeon then.

"The marriage didn't last until my first birthday. I wound up living in Wilmington with my mom and visiting my dad in Raleigh every other weekend. Somewhere along the line, my grandparents changed their will again and made me their sole beneficiary."

Mariah was nodding along as Garrison told his story. "And you have no idea what happened to cause your grandparents to disinherit your father?"

"No," Garrison reiterated. "I don't know what happened, only it must have been awful. My grandparents never talked about it. Neither did my father. I don't know if my mother even knows."

"That's pretty heavy, man," Calvin noted. "It's like you've got a family mystery. Don't you want to know what happened?"

"My grandparents are gone," Garrison said, sadly. "My dad and I never talk about important things. All he ever wants to know is how I'm doing in school and if I'm getting good grades."

Mariah looked at the cell phone. "Calvin, we should be going. You might not have to work until eleven, but I have to be to work at eight."

"Do y'all have to rush off?" Garrison asked.

"I'm afraid so," Mariah said. "Thanks for the invite and the pizza, Garrison."

She gave him a friendly hug.

Calvin gave Garrison a bro-hug and said, "Yeah, thanks. Next time the foods on us."

"Sure thing," Garrison agreed.

He walked his friends out to their car and then returned to the deck to clean up the debris from their meal. Garrison was about to put the trash in the bin by the kitchen door when he heard a splash in the pool.


Garrison's story continues in chapter 12.

© 2020 DW Davis


DW Davis (author) from Eastern NC on December 20, 2020:

I'll only say it's not a stray dog.

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on December 20, 2020:

Friday's splash? Have to wait and see. Of course, it could be a stray dog!

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