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Setting Friday Free (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 35


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.


The bridge wasn't up, and Garrison paid little attention to the speed limit as he drove Laurel home. She must have sensed how much she'd upset him with her snide remark about Mrs. Nelson. Laurel didn't try to talk to Garrison on the drive to her house.

Garrison pulled into her driveway. Laurel seemed surprised when he exited the car and came around to her side. She waited for him to open the door.

"I'm sorry I snapped at you," Garrison said as he helped Laurel out of the car. "Apparently, I still have some pent-up resentment toward my mother, and I took some of it out on you. Will you forgive me?"

Laurel sniffed. "Of course. I thought you were mad at me. I was just cracking wise."

She threw her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a long, hard kiss. He kissed back with equal enthusiasm as much from relief that things were okay between them as from passion.

"I was thinking," Garrison said after they moved apart and started toward her door. "You might want to leave a change of clothes and a couple of bathing suits up in your room at my house, you know, in case you wind up spending the night again."

Laurel gave Garrison a crooked grin. "My room, huh. The nicest guest room you have is my room now?"

Garrison felt the color rising in his cheeks. "If you want it to be. You can stay over anytime you want, and if you have some of your things there, we won't have to rush by here so you can change before class."

Laurel hesitated on the top step of her front porch. "I appreciate the offer, G, and I'll think about it. You're right. Keeping a few of my things there in 'my room' just in case I do need to stay over is probably a good idea."

She hesitated a moment and gnawed on her lower lip. "I tell you what. Meet me in the Union after your last class today. Wait, what time is your last class today?"

Garrison thought for a moment and then said, "My honors seminar gets out at one-forty-five."

Laurel nodded. "Meet me in the Union at two, where we studied yesterday. We can talk more about this then. Right now, we both need to hurry." She hopped down a step, kissed him quickly, and moved to her door. "I'll see you at two."

Before Garrison could do more than say, "Okay," Laurel turned her key in the lock and disappeared into her house. He returned to his car and headed for school. Garrison arrived in time to walk in just ahead of the instructor.


Garrison was on his way from Calculus to the University Union for a cup of coffee and to do some studying with Calvin and Mariah when his phone buzzed. Hoping it was Laurel, Garrison's smile faded when he saw the message was from his father.

[Mr. Kaylor] When are you done with your classes?

[Garrison] Around 2. Then I'm meeting Laurel to study.

[Mr. Kaylor] I thought you and I might go fishing.

[Garrison] Fishing. Do you even go fishing?

[Mr. Kaylor] Yes, I know how to fish. I grew up on Buzby Beach, didn't I?

[Garrison] That's true. What time?

[Mr. Kaylor] 7

[Garrison] I'll meet you there.

Garrison pocketed his phone and hurried to catch up with Calvin and Mariah.

Mariah glanced his way when he fell into step beside Calvin. "Laurel?"

Garrison shook his head. "My dad."

"Hmph," Calvin grunted. "What did he want?"

"He wants to go fishing on the pier tonight," Garrison revealed.

Calvin reached for the door and held it open. "Are you going?"

Garrison nodded. "Laurel has to work tonight. I should have all my homework done by then. He wants to meet on the pier at seven. I said I'd meet him."

Mariah led them to the corner table they'd come to think of as their own. "I take it things went well yesterday. Before you left campus, you gave me the impression you weren't too happy about him showing up unannounced at your house."

Garrison put his book bag down in the chair he planned to sit in. "I wasn't, but we talked, argued some, and in the end, we decided to give this father and son thing another go. Truthfully, I think his new wife talked him into it."

Calvin had started to turn away but stopped in his tracks. "You're father got married. Didn't you just learn about him dating and being engaged on Sunday? How has he married already?"

"Dad and Trina - that's his new wife - eloped last Friday," Garrison told his friends. "They spent a couple of days in Vegas and then came home to tell everyone. My father drove them down here because he wanted to tell me in person."

Mariah sat down and pulled her tablet and calculus book out of her book bag. "You two go get our drinks. Then, Garrison, you can tell us all about the big father and son reunion."


The guys returned a short time later with three sweet teas and an order of bacon cheese fries.

Mariah pointed at the fries and asked, "Whose idea were those?"

"Mine," Calvin admitted. In response to his girlfriend's frown, he said, "Hey, I was hungry."

Garrison looked up when a shadow fell over the table and saw Alan Chenowith standing behind him.

"Hey, guys, what's up?" Alan said as he slipped his book bag off his shoulder. "Have you seen Delaney?"

Calvin, Garrison, and Mariah all traded looks. Then Mariah said, "She wasn't in calculus this morning."

Alan frowned. "She just sent me a text and asked me to meet her here. I figured she'd be hanging out with you."

"We haven't seen her -" Garrison began to say but was cut off by Delaney calling out from across the seating area.

"Here I am, Alan. Sorry, I'm late. I forgot to set my alarm and overslept."

She hurried over to the table. "Good morning, y'all. Can you believe I slept through calculus? I hope one of you took good notes."

Delaney pulled a chair from another table to the table where Garrison sat with his friends and signaled for Alan to do the same.

"I can send you my notes," Mariah offered. "I've got them all on my iPad. The equations, too. This thing is awesome."

Delaney smiled at the other girl and said, "You are a lifesaver, Mariah. Thank you."

Delaney was brought up to speed on what she'd missed in Calculus class with Mariah's help. The four of them: Garrison, Calvin, Mariah, and Delaney, finished their homework due Wednesday before they had to leave for their College Writing class. Alan's next class was also in Morton Hall, so he walked with them as far as the classroom door.

Garrison noted the way Delaney's attention stayed focused on Alan. She never gave Garrison a second look. He hoped it meant the end of her throwing negs at him and trying to get under his skin.


After his writing class and his honors seminar, Garrison hurried to meet Laurel at the University Union. She was there waiting for him and greeted him with a quick hug and a brief kiss.

"Are you up for a late lunch?" Garrison asked after the kiss.

"I am starving," Laurel said. "Unless you've got your heart set on eating here in the Union, I’m thinking a Philly Cheese Steak from Kickback Jack's would be delicious about now."

Garrison's mouth started to water at the thought of one of Kickback Jack's cheesesteak sandwiches. "Do you want to meet me there, or should we ride together, and then I'll bring you back here?"

Laurel pursed her lips and slowly began to grin. "Actually, I need a ride. Denver's car wouldn't start this morning. She dropped me off here and took my car to work."

"How are you going to get to work later?" Garrison asked before it dawned on him what her answer was going to be.

Laurel cocked her head and gave Garrison a coy grin. "I was hoping my boyfriend might give me a ride to work. We don't even have to go to my house." She reached down and picked up a small duffel bag. "I have my uniform and clothes for school tomorrow right here, along with an extra bathing suit and change of underwear."

Garrison's eyes widened. "You're going to come back to my place after work and spend the night?"

Laurel's smile faltered. "You're okay with me staying over, aren't you? After this morning, I thought it was an open invitation kind of thing."

Garrison's face lit up. "Of course, I'm okay with you staying the night. I'm surprised, in a good way, you want to stay again so soon. You can stay every night if you want to."

"Be careful," Laurel cautioned the eager young man. "I may take you up on your invitation."

"You have the codes," Garrison reminded her. "Mi casa es su casa."

Garrison's story continues in Chapter 36

© 2021 DW Davis

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