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Starting Over at 55 (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 19


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...


Wanda Pays a Surprise Visit


The next morning Jack was finishing his walk when he rounded the corner by his house and noticed a red Ford Escape parked on the road in front of it. That Escape looks just like Wanda’s, he thought.

Before he got close enough to determine if it was Wanda’s Escape or not, a voice called to him from his front porch. “It’s about time you got home, mister. Where the heck have you been?”

Jack turned toward the familiar voice and saw Wanda, in a white blouse and a pair of snug-fitting black shorts, standing on his porch with her hands on her hips, her lips pressed into a thin line, affording him a scathing stare.

“I was out for a walk,” Jack answered as he walked up his sidewalk toward the porch. “It’s what I do in the morning. What are you doing here?”

Wanda stepped down off the porch and approached Jack. Her arms wanted to reach out and hug him, but she held back, and not just because he was sweat-soaked.

“I felt like a day at the beach and thought I’d surprise you,” Wanda said. “Surprise!”

“Yeah, you surprised me all right,” Jack said, moving around her and up the steps. “If I’d known you were coming, I’d have been here waiting for you.”

Wanda turned around to follow him. “Then it wouldn’t have been a surprise.”

Jack Invites Wanda in and then Out to Breakfast

Jack laughed and shook his head. “Well, come on in. You can try out my new sofa and stare at the empty spot the TV is going to go in when it gets here while I shower and change.”

Wanda stepped past Jack, who was holding the door for her, and into his living room. She stopped and took a good look at his new furniture.

“You did okay. The room looks good. When’s the television getting here?”

Jack stepped past her and into the kitchen. “Sometime today, this afternoon.”

He opened the fridge and took out the insulated cup filled with iced coffee he’d made before going out for his walk. Looking out the kitchen window, he eyed the pool longingly but decided it wasn’t worth the bother of digging through the clothes he hadn’t unpacked yet to find a bathing suit. He wasn’t going to take a dip sans suit with Wanda there.

Wanda stood watching Jack as he looked out the window. He heard her shoe scuff on the hardwood kitchen floor and turned around. Remembering his manners, he said, “You want some coffee? I haven’t got much else but coffee and water.”

Wanda smiled. “No thanks. I had plenty on my way here.”

“I suppose that’s a good thing,” Jack said with a wry smile. Holding up his insulated cup, he said, “Now that I think about it, this is the only cup I have.”

Wanda shook her head. “You are a mess.”

Jack shrugged and took another sip of his iced coffee. “Why don’t I get a shower and then we’ll go get some breakfast. There’s this place called The Crabby Stack we can walk to from here. They serve the best pancakes. A friend of mine works there.”

Is Wanda tempted to peak at Jack in the shower?

Is Wanda tempted to peak at Jack in the shower?

What Kind of Friend, Jack

Wanda felt a chill at the way Jack smiled when he said a friend of his worked at this pancake place he mentioned. What kind of friend, Jack? she thought but didn’t say out loud.

What she did say was, “Sounds good. Do you mind if I take a walk out back by the pool while you get ready?”

“Of course not,” Jack said. “If you brought your suit maybe we could take a dip later.”

“Like I’d come to the beach and not bring my bathing suit,” Wanda said with a roll of her eyes. She wrinkled her nose, and said, “Why don’t you go get your shower?”

Jack put his iced coffee back in the fridge and told Wanda, “I won’t take long.”

Jack walked back to his bedroom trying to work out in his mind why Wanda had suddenly shown up unannounced on his doorstep. It wasn’t that he minded her coming down, but he would have liked a heads up.

I wonder what time she left Goldsboro. It’s nearly two hours from there to here so if she drove straight through she must have gotten on the road about five-thirty this morning.

Picturing her standing there on his porch, the thought that ran through Jack’s head was, That blouse and shorts sure looked good on Wanda. And I think she’s doing something different with her hair.

Wanda Sends Her First Message


Wanda was still outside by the pool when Jack returned to the kitchen. His hair was still wet. Otherwise, he was ready to head for breakfast. When Jack looked out the window at Wanda, she was standing facing the early morning sun. The sun’s rays rendered her white blouse nearly translucent, and Jack’s breath caught in his throat as he realized she wore nothing under the blouse. Wanda, almost as if she could feel his gaze, turned and smiled at him.

Jack felt the heat rising in his cheeks and managed a terse smile back before turning to the fridge to grab his iced coffee. After a healthy swallow, he started toward the back door, but Wanda came in before he reached it.

“Ready to go get some breakfast?” Wanda asked. “I’m starved.”

“Uhm,” Jack stammered, trying hard to keep his eyes on her face. “Sure. Let’s go.”

When Jack got to the end of his walkway and started down the sidewalk in the direction of the beach, Wanda stopped.

“We’re really going to walk?”

Jack looked over his shoulder, saw that she’d stopped, and turned around. The sun was playing its trick on her blouse again, causing Jack to swallow hard and concentrate on looking her in the eye. Knock it off, Jack. She’s your friend. She was Cheryl’s friend. You’re not supposed to think about her like that.

Wanda stared back at Jack, waiting for a reply, but not unaware of what was distracting him. I still can’t believe I wore this blouse like this. I don’t know what I was thinking. Who am I kidding? It was five in the morning, and I wasn’t thinking. At least he noticed.

It took a few seconds, but Jack finally found his voice. “We can drive, but it’s not even half-a-mile. We’d probably have to park a ways away and walk anyway.”

Wanda walked up and put her arm through his, hugging it against her. “Then let’s just walk.”

Any doubt Jack had that Wanda’s wardrobe choice had been innocent vanished as he felt what was under the blouse press against his arm before she released her hold and tugged him down the sidewalk. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly as he fell into step beside her, Wanda’s arm still linked through his.

Starting Over at 55 continues in Chapter 20.

© 2019 DW Davis

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