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Starting Over at 55 (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 25


DW is 55 Plus & married for 30 years. He once nearly lost his wife in a horseback riding accident. He wondered if he could start over if...


Wednesday morning, Jack finished his breakfast at The Crabby Stack and went home, where he booted his computer and checked his e-mail. There was a note from his attorney, Gary Cummings, concerning the lawsuit.

[Gary] Looks like the insurance company for the trucking company is willing to settle out-of-court for what we’re asking. The company that owned the freight still hasn’t responded. I’ll let you know as soon as I learn more.

Jack sent a note back, thanking him. He also had an e-mail from Brayden.

[Brayden] Hey, Dad. Just wanted to check-in and see how things were going. Been working late hours and didn’t want to wake you. I know how you old folks need your sleep. Luv U. B

The time stamp on the e-mail was just after midnight the night before. “I’m glad he didn’t call at that hour,” Jack said to the computer screen.

All his other e-mail was spam or ads. Jack marked the ads from companies he did business with occasionally as read. The rest he marked as spam in the forlorn hope it would stop showing up in his in-box.

Done with his e-mail, Jack logged into Facebook but quickly tired of the cat pictures and posts asking for likes for puppies and logged out again. He shut down the computer and closed the laptop screen.

Jack crossed the hall and looked into the spare bedroom. The sheets he brought from Goldsboro and slept in his first night were crumpled up on the bed.

I should probably wash those. Why didn't I think of it when I washed the new sheets on the new bed.

Wondering back into the kitchen, Jack was at a loss for what to do with himself. He looked out the back door, and the sparkling water of the pool beckoned to him. Jack grabbed a beach towel from the bathroom closet and hesitated at his bedroom door, trying to decide whether to change into a bathing suit or not.

As he wasn’t expecting company, Jack decided he wouldn’t worry about a bathing suit. He shed his clothes, draped the towel around his neck, and went out to the pool deck.

The sun, which was shining when he went down the hall, had disappeared behind a thin layer of stratus clouds. Jack looked up and didn’t like what he saw.

“It looks like a front moving in,” he said to the sky. “Skyler mentioned something about storms moving in yesterday at breakfast.”

While a breeze had begun to kick up, it wasn’t raining, and there was no hint of thunder or lightning, so Jack went ahead, washed off under the shower nozzle, and walked into the pool. As he reached the deep end, Jack lifted his legs, allowing his whole body to become immersed in the water.

When his breath ran out, he surfaced and swam several lengths of the pool. Jack swam until he began to tire. The first drops of rain started falling as he climbed from the water. He’d just picked up his towel when he heard the first rumble of thunder.

“Guess I got out just in time,” he said aloud as he ran into the screened room. The door banged shut behind him, which seemed to signal the skies to open up and the downpour to commence. Jack stood there, holding the towel and looking out at the heavy raindrops churning the water in the pool.


An hour later, the rain had moved on out to sea, and Jack, having showered and dressed, he headed up to The Beach Cone for lunch. At least, today, I shouldn’t run into anybody I know, Jack thought as he went in the door.

The rain had sent folks on the beach scurrying for cover, and The Cone was crowded. Even the seat Jack had hoped to find at the end of the counter was occupied. He backed out the door and walked down the sidewalk to The Parisian Bean. They wouldn’t have lunch, but he could nibble on a croissant and have a cup of coffee. Maybe by then, things will have thinned out next door.

Business at The Parisian Bean was brisk with people getting in out of the rain, but it wasn’t as crowded at The Beach Cone had been. When Jack got to the counter, the young man who’d waited on him and Georgia earlier in the week - His name is Jacques, Jack remembered - smiled as he recognized Jack.

“Welcome back to the Bean,” Jacques said. “What can we get for you today?”

Jack was about to answer when a gorgeous woman came out from a back hall, walked over to Jacques, and asked, “How are you holding up, JQ?”

“I’m doing okay, Mom,” Jacques said. “I can hold out until Sabine gets here.”

“That’s my boy,” Jacques’ mom said. Turning to Jack, she said, “Sorry to hold you up. I’m Marie.”

Jack realized he was staring and felt the heat of embarrassment rising in his cheeks. “I”m Jack. No problem.”

“Enjoy your coffee,” Marie said. “I need to get back to my kitchen.”

“Uh, thank you,” Jack stammered. He watched her disappear back down the hall, noting she was just as attractive from the back. I wonder what she looks like when she lets her hair down.

Jacques grinned as he watched Jack watching Marie walk back to the kitchen where her ovens were. Marie baked specialty cakes and cupcakes for sale in the coffee shop and filled special orders.

“Don’t feel bad,” Jacques said to Jack. “She has that effect on most men. But don’t let Scout catch you looking at her like that.”

“Oh, geez, I’m sorry,” Jack said. “But, young man, your mother is a beautiful lady. No doubt about that.”

“So everybody tells me,” Jacques said, but with a smile that showed he was quite aware, and a bit proud, of what folks thought of his mom. He glanced at the line formed behind Jack. “I guess I’d better get your order.”

“Yeah,” Jack said. “Uh, I’ll have a caramel macchiato, hot, and a plain croissant.”

“What size?” Jacques asked.

Since they only had one size croissant, Jack assumed Jacques meant what size coffee. “Medium,” he said. “I don’t think I could handle one of those buckets.”

“Coming right up,” Jacques said. “That’ll be six-eighteen.”

Jack handed Jacques a ten. When Jacques gave him his change, Jack stuffed a dollar in the tip jar.

“Thanks,” Jacques said, absently, as he moved to prepare Jack’s coffee.

Sunshine returned by the time Jack finished his coffee, and the folks who’d rushed to shelter in the shops and restaurants began to find their way back to the beach. Jack, feeling full from the croissant he’d nibbled on while drinking his caramel macchiato, decided to forgo a sandwich at The Beach Cone and followed the crowd toward the ocean.

Jack's story continues in Chapter 26

© 2020 DW Davis

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