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The Caffeinated Grape (A Buzby Beach Novelette) Chapter 05


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.


Donovan and Dallas eventually made it to breakfast at Pancake Palace.

“You weren’t kidding about these omelets, Donovan,” Dallas said enthusiastically after her first few bites. “The flavor is amazing. I wonder what their secret is.”

Donovan swallowed the bite of the Western omelet he was chewing on. “The staff is sworn to secrecy.”

After they finished breakfast, Donovan asked Dallas if she thought they should wander down to The Caffeinated Grape.

“I just texted Becky, and she said they’re doing fine. Business has been steady since the opened, but not so much that she and Cedric can’t handle it.”

Donovan’s phone started playing “Weird Science.” In response to Dallas’s questioning look, Donovan said, “Will’s ring tone.”

“Hey. Will. What’s up?”

Will’s answer must have surprised Donovan because his eyes went wide.

“When did you get here?” Donovan asked.

Donovan nodded as he listened. “We’re right around the corner. Give us two minutes.”

He hit end on his phone and said to Dallas, “Will and Kate are at my place. They decided to surprise me with a visit.”

“Then I get to meet your youngest son,” Dallas said, biting her lip. “I wish I’d had a little more notice.”

Donovan took her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “You look great. Will’s going to love you.”


Will and Kate were leaning on Will’s Jeep Wrangler, watching Donovan and Dallas walk towards the townhouse. As Donovan and Dallas got closer, Donovan overheard Kate ask Will, “Who’s the woman with your dad?”

Will shrugged his shoulders and pushed off the Wrangler. “Hi, Dad.”

Kate moved up next to Will. “Hi, Mr.Thornton.”

Donovan released Dallas’s hand and gave Will a bear hug. Will, an inch shorter than his father and more slender, returned the hug with equal enthusiasm. Kate then received a friendly hug from her boyfriend’s father.

Donovan then took Dallas by the hand and said, “Will, Kate, I’d like you to meet Dallas.” He let go of Dallas’s hand and put his arm around her waist. “Dallas, this is my younger son, Will, and his girlfriend, Kate.”

“I’m delighted to meet you, Will. You, too, Kate. Will, your dad’s told me lots about you.”

“All good, I hope,” quipped Will. “He told me he’d met a gorgeous woman with a warm heart and a dazzling smile. I don’t think he did you justice.”

Dallas glanced at Donovan. “He’s as big a flirt as you are.”

“I taught him well,” Donovan said.

Kate spoke up and said, “So, are you two dating?”

Donovan looked at Dallas. When she smiled and nodded, he said, “Yes, Kate, Dallas and I are dating.”

When Donovan confirmed to Kate that he and Dallas were dating, Will’s face scrunched up as if he’d eaten something sour. Dallas was smiling at Kate and didn’t see the fleeting look on Will’s face, but Donovan did.

“Dallas, why don’t you and Kate go inside and plan how we’re going to spend the day? I need to talk to Will.”

Dallas gave him a puzzled look but said, “Sure, Donovan. Should I make some coffee?”

“Coffee would be good,” Donovan replied.

Kate and Dallas went inside.

I deserve to be happy, too

Donovan turned to Will. “Do you have a problem with me dating Dallas?”

Will shook his head. “I don’t have a problem with Dallas, Dad. She seems like a nice lady. The idea of the two of you as a couple took me by surprise, that’s all.”

“Will, it’s been over a year since your mom left me. She's already married to the jerk she cheated with. Don't you think I deserve to have someone in my life who makes me happy?”

“Yes, Dad, you deserve to be happy. You deserve it more than Mom does, that's for sure, after what she did. I should have known by the way you talked about Dallas the other day that she was going to be more than just a new friend.”

Donovan broke into a grin. “The moment I saw Dallas, I knew there was something special about her.”

Will grasped his dad’s arm. “I’m happy for you, Dad. I do have one question, though. Have you told Tommy?”

“Not yet,” Donovan admitted. He gestured toward the door. “I suppose I’ll have to let him know before he comes home on leave.”

Father and son went into the townhouse and found Dallas and Kate on the patio sipping coffee.

“Did you two get everything discussed that you needed to discuss?” Kate asked when Donovan and Will joined them.

“Yes, we did,” Donovan informed her as he took the seat next to Dallas. “Did you ladies come up with a plan for our day?”

“Indeed we did,” Dallas announced. “Kate and I both decided we’d visit The Caffeinated Grape, then have lunch at Dead Tom’s, and finish with a couple of hours of laying out on the beach.”

“What are Will and I supposed to do while you ladies are soaking up the sun?”

Dallas hooked her arm around Donovan’s and rested her head on his shoulder. “Mostly, you’re supposed to gaze upon us in awe of our beauty. You will also be required to apply sunscreen to those areas we cannot reach.”

Will and Donovan exchanged looks. “We can do that,” they said in unison.

Dead Tom

Dead Tom

All the outdoor tables at The Caffeinated Grape were full, as were about half the tables inside when Donovan and company arrived.

“Are we ever glad to see you guys,” Becky said as they walked in the door. “Neither Cedric nor I have been able to take a break all morning.” She suddenly noticed Kate and Will. “I’ll be with you in a moment.”

“Becky, honey, they’re with us,” Dallas explained to her harried friend. “This is Donovan’s son Will and Will’s girlfriend, Kate.”

“Oh!” exclaimed Becky. “It’s nice to meet you. Can I get you anything?”

“I’ll get them whatever they want,” Dallas told Becky. “You go get Cedric, and the two of you take a break. Go over to EJ’s and have a donut. Donovan and I can take care of things here for a few minutes.”

Becky did as Dallas suggested. She and Cedric left Dallas and Donovan to run the shop while they took a short break to catch their breath. Will and Kate watched in amazement as the older couple fell into a routine of taking orders and delivering drinks like it was as natural to them as walking.

When Cedric and Becky returned about half an hour later, Dallas and Donovan were hesitant to give up their roles.

“Next Sunday morning, we’ll be here,” Dallas informed Becky.

Becky and Cedric showered them with profuse thanks before they left.

Out on the sidewalk, Will chuckled and said, “You two were amazing. It was as if you’d been making and serving coffee your whole lives.”

“We got a lot of practice at the grand opening yesterday,” Dallas explained as they made their way up the sidewalk to Dead Tom’s.

Kate looked at the sign for Dead Tom’s and wrinkled her nose. “Who names a restaurant Dead Tom’s?”

“You’ve never eaten here before?” Dallas asked. “The food is great.”

“The restaurant gets its name from a character in the story *TREASURE ISLAND,* Donovan told Kate. “Or maybe it was the movie * MUPPETS’ TREASURE ISLAND.*

“I think it was the movie, Dad,” Will said as he held the door open.

“I think you’re right,” Donovan said as he followed the ladies inside.

Donovan's story continues in Chapter 6

© 2021 DW Davis