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.
Mr. Kaylor frowned. "Avoiding dealing with the Friday question is what I'm doing."
"How long does Trina think you'll be here fishing with me?" Garrison asked.
"I told her we might be here a while," Mr. Kaylor told Garrison. "Why don't we pack up this fishing gear and go back to your place? Trina won't know the difference."
Garrison removed the leader from his line and put it in his tackle box. "What if Friday shows up while we're there?"
Mr. Kaylor separated his rod into its two halves and said, "Friday showing up is what I'm hoping for."
They packed the rest of their gear onto the fishing cart. Braelyn called out in surprise when she saw them leaving.
"Is that it for you two? You didn't give it very long."
"Something came up," Mr. Kaylor said. "I'm sure we'll be back another time."
When they reached the bottom of the entrance ramp, Mr. Kaylor told Garrison he'd meet him at the house. Garrison tossed his fishing rod and tackle box into the trunk of the Miata and was about to get in when he saw his dad having a hard time loading the fishing cart onto the back of the Coastal Towers golf cart. He decided his father could use some help.
"The guy at the resort helped me strap this buggy in when I left to come up here," Mr. Kaylor said when Garrison approached and offered his assistance. "If you could hold this thing against the seatback while I tighten the straps, I think we'll be good."
Garrison held the cart, Mr. Kaylor tightened the straps. The cart stayed put.
"I'll see you at the house," Garrison told his dad as the older Kaylor got behind the wheel of the golf cart.
Mr. Kaylor nodded and drove away. Garrison quickly followed in his car, catching and passing his father not far down the road.
Garrison had parked the Miata in the garage and was waiting by the open garage door when Mr. Kaylor rolled into the driveway in the golf cart. Once his dad was through the gate, Garrison closed it and motioned for Mr. Kaylor to park the kart behind the Miata. There was more than enough room.
Mr. Kaylor parked the kart, shut it down, and pocketed the key. Garrison closed the garage door and led the way into the house.
"How will we know if Friday is here?" Mr. Kaylor asked.
"Most of the time, I hear a splash in the pool, and when I look, there she is," Garrison explained. "Last night with Laurel was the first time I've seen Friday before she jumps in the pool. What I think we should do is sit out in the sunroom and wait."
Garrison stopped in the kitchen and prepared them each a glass of sweet iced tea before sitting down in the sunroom.
Mr. Kaylor sighed and rubbed his neck. "What if Friday doesn't show up?"
"Then we try tomorrow night again," Garrison suggested. "I think she'll come, though. From what she told Laurel and me, if this thing between you and Friday doesn't get resolved today or tomorrow, she will have to wait until next year for her next chance."
"I don't want that," Mr. Kaylor insisted. "I want Friday to be free to move on." His voice cracked. "We should never have ... I should never have drunk so many beers that night. There was this party. Friday and I were having a great time. We'd only known each other a week, but we were sure we'd found the love of our life in each other. It was going to be our night, the night we proved our love."
"Dad," Garrison interrupted, "you don't have to get too specific."
Mr. Kaylor coughed and said, "Right, Son. Where was I? Oh, yeah. We managed to find our way back here from the party. I pulled a couple of cushions off the big chaise lounges and made a place for us on the pool deck. We talked a little, kissed a little, and then I don't remember. I blacked out from all the drinking. When I came too, I was alone on the cushions, and Friday was -" Mr. Kaylor stopped and started to sob. "Friday was in the pool. She was just floating there, face down. All I could do was stare. She didn't move. I knew she was dead. I knew because my heart died as soon as I saw her.
"I walked down the steps into the pool and held her lifeless body and cried. I'm not sure how long I stayed in the pool with her. Eventually, your grandfather found me there and took me inside.
"For weeks, I was in a daze. Your grandfather arranged for me to postpone starting college until the spring semester. After the investigation, they sent me away. When I came back months later, Friday was never mentioned in this house again. In the spring, I went off to school, stayed away when school was out, and finally settled in Raleigh, where I lived until I met your mother.
"Then your mother got the job in Wilmington and moved down here. I told her I couldn't go back to New Hanover County. She said she was okay with that and suggested we get a divorce. She never told me she was pregnant. Your mother knew I wasn't ready to be a father. She was right. I was a terrible father. You turned out all right despite me being your dad, though, didn't you?
"The truth is, Garrison, I've only been in love once in my life, and that was with Friday."
Garrison listened to his father's revelation with rapt attention. So much of what his father was saying, Garrison never knew or even suspected. He suspected his mother had given him a carefully edited version of history to make her look like the aggrieved party. We're going to have a long talk about her version of things, Garrison promised himself.
Garrison, who'd been on the edge of his seat listening to his father's confession, sat back and, after a deep breath, asked, "Do you mean you never loved my mother?"
Mr. Kaylor shrugged. "I guess I loved your mom at some level. I was never in love with her, though, not the way I was in love with Friday."
"What about Trina?" Garrison continued questioning. "Do you love her?"
"What Trina and I have is different, Garrison," his father replied. "We love each other. We respect each other. And we're friends. Is it hearts and flowers with violins playing while we share the plate of spaghetti love? No. But at this point in our lives, it's what we both want and need."
Friday's story continues in Chapter 38
- Setting Friday Free (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 38
Friday and Freddy share the long-delayed words she's waited 37 years to hear.
© 2021 DW Davis