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.
Corie left Jack’s house just minutes before Georgia turned off Sound Street onto Fourth Street. Georgia noticed Corie walking by on the sidewalk but paid her no mind. Corie saw the white Mercedes and, figuring it was Georgia, smiled confidently.
“Good luck, old lady,” Corie said to the Mercedes as it drove by. “I’ve already done his laundry and picked out the clothes he’s wearing on your date tonight.”
Jack was sitting in his new recliner, wishing he could be watching something on his new home theater system, when he heard a car pull into his driveway. A glance out his window confirmed the car was Georgia’s Mercedes. Jack stood up, straightened his clothes, and walked out onto the front porch.
Georgia had just gotten out of her car when she spotted Jack on the porch.
“I’m not late, am I?” Georgia asked, knowing she was precisely on schedule. She hadn’t wanted to arrive early and seem overly eager, but she hadn’t wanted to be late, either, and leave Jack thinking the evening wasn’t important to her.
“No,” Jack said. “You’re right on time. I heard you pull in.”
“Oh,” Georgia said, relieved.
Jack gestured toward his front door. “Do we have to get going right away, or can you come in for a glass of tea?”
Georgia glanced at her diamond-encrusted watch and smiled. “We have a few minutes. A glass of iced tea would be right nice.”
Jack watched her close the door and walk up to the porch. He admired the way the yellow-gold blouse and navy slacks she wore seemed appropriately business-casual while at the same time showing off that Georgia was a woman who kept herself in shape.
Georgia might not have as curvaceous a figure as Corie, but then again, she’s got twenty years or more on Corie. There’s no denying she’s a beautiful woman. I’m sure there’s plenty of men around here who’d be glad to give her the time of day. Why’s she bothering with me?
Why Georgia was bothering with Jack was no mystery to Georgia. She could have her pick of the men her age who were available and several who weren’t all that available. The problem was, she’d known most of them for years, they’d known her husband, and she just wasn’t interested in any of them.
Jack was different. He wasn’t from Wilmington and hadn’t known her husband. And Jack understood her loss the way only someone who has suffered a similar loss could. Besides, he looks damn good standing there on that porch, Georgia thought as she mounted the steps.
Jack reached down and took Georgia’s hand as she climbed the last three steps to the porch. She didn’t relinquish his hand until she stood next to him and had kissed him chastely on the cheek.
“It’s good to see you,” Georgia said. “Is that the outfit you went out and bought for tonight?”
A funny tingle had tickled Jack’s cheek when Georgia kissed him. Ignoring it, he concentrated on her question.
“This is the outfit,” Jack confirmed. “Is it okay?”
“It’s more than okay, Jack,” Georgia said, placing her hand on his shoulder. “You look good, real good.”
The huskiness in her voice caught Jack off-guard.
“Uhm, thanks,” Jack said. “Would you like to go inside?”
If I go inside with you right now, Jack, we may not make it to the meeting, Georgia thought. To Jack, she said, after glancing at her watch, “Actually, I think we should probably go ahead on down to the Towers. Fashionably late is fine, but we don’t want to miss the start of dinner.”
They made it to dinner with time to spare. Georgia enjoyed introducing Jack around to her friends and colleagues from the local accounting firms.
One of the men Georgia introduced him to was Denny Johnson, the managing partner in Johnson, Philbert, & Dillon, CPAs, LLC. Before introducing him, Georgia warned Jack, “Denny’s a bit of a pompous ass. He fancies himself quite a lady’s man. He’s been married and divorced three times. Denny’s wives didn’t appreciate the fact that he’s more married to his firm than he is to them.”
Jack took a sip from his glass of sweet tea to hide his grin. When he was sure he wouldn’t laugh, he asked Georgia, “Has he hit on you yet?”
“Yet,” Georgia said, putting a hand over her heart. “Honey, he didn’t even wait until I was a widow. He’s been flirting with me since I can’t remember when.”
When Georgia introduced Jack to Denny, she didn’t elaborate on who Jack was. She told Denny that they’d recently met, Jack was new to the area, and she’d invited him to come to the dinner to meet some of the area’s business folks and get acquainted.
The first thing Denny asked Jack was, “So, you’re new around here. Are you going to work for Georgia’s firm?”
Jack cocked his head to one side, sizing Denny up and deciding how to respond. When Denny started to get fidgety under Jack’s scrutiny, Jack relented and answered his question.
“I guess you’d say I took early retirement and moved to the island so I could spend my days fishing and walking the beach.”
Denny took a sip of his red wine, licked his lips several times, and pushed his hair back off his forehead. “You’re a retired CPA then? Where’d you retire from?”
Jack raised his glass to hide his snicker. “Sorry, not a CPA.” He took a sip of his tea before continuing. “I’m a retired NTB Certified Business Instructor MBA from WWHS in Goldsboro.”
“A what?” Denny asked, his face reddening as the idea that Jack was jerking him around started to take hold in his mind.
“That’s a fancy way of saying I’m a National Board Certified high school business teacher with an MBA,” Jack explained.
Denny scoffed, “You’re a high school teacher.”
“I was a high school teacher,” Jack said in a bored voice. He was quickly tiring of Denny. “Now I’m retired.”
Denny shook his head and, voice dripping with sarcasm, said, “It must be nice. Teachers must make more than I ever thought if a guy in his forties can retire to the beach on a teacher’s pension.”
Jack resisted the urge to pop Denny upside the head and instead said, “I’m not living off my teacher’s retirement, at least not yet. The life insurance settlement I got when a trucker fell asleep at the wheel and killed my wife is taking care of everything right now.”
“Jesus, man, I didn’t know,” Denny said, a confused look of panic and sympathy on his face.
“No,” Jack said. “You didn’t. Maybe next time, you’ll think before you insult someone like you just did me.”
Not waiting for Denny to reply, Jack turned and stalked off, seriously considering visiting the bar and getting something more potent than the now lukewarm ice tea he was holding in his hand.
In the end, Jack settled for another iced tea. He managed to avoid Denny the rest of the night. When he found Georgia, she was staring in surprise at a tall, brown-haired man. The man's button-down white oxford shirt and black Hagar slacks made Jack feel underdressed even though his golf shirt and khakis seemed to be the order of the day.
As Jack approached the two of them, he heard Georgia say, “Kevin, I can’t believe you’re here. It’s been so long. What brings you to Buzby Beach?”
© 2021 DW Davis