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Setting Friday Free (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 30

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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.

setting-friday-free-a-buzby-beach-novel-chapter-31

An invitation to dinner

Mr. And Mrs. Kaylor joined Garrison and Laurel on the upper deck.

Trina pointed at Mr. Kaylor and then at Garrison. "It would appear the two of you have come to a mutual accord, and peace has broken out."

Mr. Kaylor smiled and said, "It was good to clear the air. I've got a lot of time to make up for with Garrison, and I plan to do just that, starting tonight."

Garrison and Laurel exchanged looks. "Tonight?" Garrison said. "What are we doing tonight?"

"Trina and I are spending a few days at the Coastal Towers resort, and we have dinner reservations for three," Mr. Kaylor explained. "If we can prevail upon Laurel to join us, I'll call and tell them there will be a fourth."

Laurel smiled and said, "I would love to if you really don't mind me tagging along."

Garrison's father grinned and said, "Of course, we'd like you to join us. You are Garrison's girlfriend, after all. We wouldn't leave you out."

"Am I dressed all right?" Laurel asked. She was wearing a pair of off-white Capri pants, a light blue blouse with a lace neckline and cuffs, and strappy sandals in anticipation of Garrison taking her someplace a little fancier than Denver's for supper.

"The dress code at Francesca's is summer beach casual," Trina assured the younger woman. "What you're wearing is fine. I love your blouse, by the way. It really brings out the color of your eyes."

Laurel beamed from Trina's praise. "Thank you so much." She nudged Garrison and added, "I really like your dad's new wife."

"We're agreed then," Mr. Kaylor said. "Trina and I are going to go to check-in. The reservation is at seven. We'll meet you there."

Garrison and Laurel walked Mr. Kaylor and his bride to the door and watched them drive off. Laurel gave Trina the passcode, so the newlyweds had no trouble leaving the estate.

Garrison closed the door when they were gone and collapsed against it, sliding down until he was sitting on the floor. Laurel squatted next to him.

"Are you all right?" she asked Garrison. "What went on here this afternoon?"

setting-friday-free-a-buzby-beach-novel-chapter-31

Garrison heaved himself up off the floor and led Laurel to the kitchen. There, he refilled his tumbler with sweet tea and offered Laurel a glass, which she gratefully accepted.

"You want to know what happened here this afternoon?" He took a healthy swig of his tea. "But before I get into the story of what happened here this afternoon, I need you to clear something up for me."

Laurel put her tea down. "Sure, what?"

"I know we haven't known each other an entire week yet, but it seems one of us is often referring to us as boyfriend or girlfriend. Trust me; I am in favor of the idea of you and me being a couple. I want to make sure we are on the same page regarding this boyfriend and girlfriend situation."

Laurel rolled her eyes and said, "You can tell you're the son of a lawyer, Garrison. Okay, counselor, I confess. I've been thinking of you as my boyfriend since the first night we met. I hope this news doesn't freak you out."

Garrison took Laurel's face in both his hands. "The prosecution rests," he said with a smile just before he pressed his lips to hers.

The kiss went on until both Garrison and Laurel had to come up for air.

"We should, uh, maybe go into the family room," Garrison suggested.

Laurel shook her head. "I thought we were going for a swim."

"We can," Garrison agreed. "The water is likely to be cold. Friday was just here."

"It's a warm afternoon," Laurel pointed out. "A swim in a nice cool pool would be a relief."

Garrison slid off his stool. "I'll change and meet you out there. The bag with your swimsuit is upstairs in the big bedroom."

Laurel got off her stool, kissed Garrison on the cheek, and said, "I'll be down in a jiffy."

Garrison turned around when he heard the door open to the family room, and his eyes nearly bugged out.

"Too much?" Laurel asked as she pirouetted to give Garrison the full effect of the red bikini she was wearing.

"Just enough," Garrison replied. "You look incredible."

Laurel smiled and curtsied. "Thank you. You don't look so bad yourself."

She ran over to Garrison and kissed him firmly on the mouth. Then she took his hand and led him outside to the pool. Laurel stopped at the steps leading into the pool and stuck her toes in the water.

"It's cool, but not cold," she stated after testing the temperature.

setting-friday-free-a-buzby-beach-novel-chapter-31

Laurel walked down the steps. Garrison followed. When the water was chest high on Laurel, she stopped and stretched into a back float. Garrison enjoyed the view of her floating before he, too, lay back and stared at the clouds scudding across the sky.

"This is so wonderful, Garrison," Laurel remarked after several seconds of companionable silence.

"Mm-hm," Garrison murmured in agreement. "The water is just right."

"I wonder why Friday makes the water cold when she appears," Laurel pondered out loud.

From the end of the pool, Friday answered. "It's not because of me."

Garrison and Laurel both tried to turn and see who spoke. In doing so, the startled teens wound up dunking each other underwater. They rose to the surface, sputtering and laughing.

"You were so scared," Laurel taunted Garrison.

"Me?" Garrison argued. "Who let out the squeal just before she went under?"

Garrison blinked the water out of his eyes and turned his attention to the deep end of the pool. There stood Friday, not in the water. Her bikini was dry.

"Hi," Friday said. "I'm sorry if I startled you."

"It's okay," Garrison said. He exchanged a glance with Laurel. She nodded.

"I know you probably weren't expecting me," Friday continued. "I hadn't planned on coming back today."

Garrison pulled his lips over his teeth and thought about what he should say next when Laurel spoke up.

"We don't mind. I am curious, though. Why did you come back?"

"You're Laurel, right, Garrison's girlfriend?" Friday asked. "How long have you two been dating?"

Laurel seemed taken back by the question. "What an odd thing for a ghost to ask?"

Friday lowered her eyes. "Oh, I'm sorry. It's just; I haven't talked to another girl in a long, long time. Don't get freaked out, but I was hoping, maybe, you and me, we could be friends, at least as long as I'm around."

Laurel turned her head and caught Garrison's eye. She raised one brow in question. Garrison shrugged.

Can you be friends with a ghost?

Laurel turned back to Friday. "I didn't know such a thing was possible. You and I being friends. Sure, if you want, we can be friends. Why don't you jump in and join us?"

Friday smiled. "Thanks, Laurel. The only other one of ... ah, I'll say ghost. It's easier. The only other ghosts my age are those two up at the park, and they don't socialize much."

"You mean there are other ghosts on the island?" Garrison asked in dismay. "I thought that was just story told around the island. How many others are there?"

Friday sat down on the edge of the pool and splashed her feet in the water. "I don't know how many. There are a lot. Most of them are older people hanging around to watch over their kids or grandkids. Then there's the guy who was eaten by a shark. Most of him was anyway. He's one morose ghost."

Laurel laughed. "Why is he still hanging around?"

"Who knows?" Friday said with a shrug before pushing herself off the side of the pool into the water. "He never talks to anyone."

Friday breast stroked far enough to be able to stand beside Laurel. Garrison's eyes drifted from Friday's face toward her top, made nearly transparent when it got wet.

"Keep your eyes above the waterline, Garrison," Laurel commanded when she followed the direction of his gaze.

Garrison blinked and shook his head. "Sorry. It's just - I'm a guy. They're right there."

Laurel and Friday laughed. "Oh, let him look. He's seen it before," Friday said.

Laurel sneered at Garrison. "If he happens to glance, okay, but I'd better not catch him staring."

This brought more laughter from the ladies.

Garrison lay back in the water and floated away from his girlfriend and her ghost friend. No one will ever believe this even if I dared tell anyone. I'm not one hundred percent certain I believe it.

Friday stopped laughing and returned to the subject of the cold water in the pool.

"You guys think I'm the reason the water in the pool stays cool. I'm not. Garrison, haven't you ever asked Chad, the pool guy, about how the water stays nice and refreshingly cool. He should know. His dad built the system for your grandfather years ago." As an aside to Laurel, Friday added, "Chad was a hunk back in my day."

Laurel giggled.

So, that's why the water stays cold.

Garrison righted himself and stood. "My grandfather had a cooling system built for the pool? He never mentioned it to me."

"Freddy told me about it, you know, back then," Friday clarified. "Your grandfather got frustrated when swimming in the pool felt like taking a bath. I'm not sure how it works. Freddy might know. Chad probably does."

"Learning how such a system works is worth a call to Chad, provided my father doesn't know," Garrison said as he leaned into another back float. "I'll ask dad at dinner tonight."

"You're having dinner with Freddy?" Friday asked. Envy and a touch of sorrow filled her voice. "I wish I could go with you."

Laurel barked a short laugh and said, "Mr. Kaylor would really freak out if you walked into Francesca's with us. Not to mention what Trina would think."

"I would if I could, but I can't," Friday said, sadly. "The only place I can be 'real' is here in the pool or walking from the pool to the gate. I mean, where the gate used to be."

Garrison asked from his reclined position, floating on his back. "Could you come but be invisible?"

"Why would I do such a thing?" Friday asked. "No one would even know I was there. I'll hang out here and wait for you guys to get back."

Laurel's phone started an incessant beeping. "The alarm I set to let us know when to get out of the pool and start getting ready for dinner is going off. I'm sorry, Friday, but Garrison and I have to go prepare ourselves for dinner."

"Have a good time," Friday said. "You can tell me all about it when you come back."

Garrison climbed the steps out of the pool. Laurel and Friday shared a sisterly hug, and then Laurel followed Garrison to the cabana house for a shower - in her own stall. When they came out, Friday was gone.

© 2021 DW Davis

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