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Perfect Love Story (Love 1) Natasha Madison 2022/8/3 13:48:42

I sit down, glad I brought the big blanket, and watch the waves come at me, careful to sit far enough back so I remain dry. The coffee in my hand gets cold faster than I can drink it. It’s almost like drinking iced coffee by the time I place the empty cup beside me. My thoughts take over, and I make mental lists of everything that needs to be done. I’m watching the waves so intently I don’t even see the little girl running along the water until I hear her giggles when the water touches her rubber boots.

Watching the carefree little girl makes me smile. I look back and see a golden lab run in the water and then back toward her. She stops running and puts her hand on the dog’s back. “Mila.” I hear a man’s voice yell out. “Mila. You’re too far,” he says again as the dog sits by her side. She waits for the man to come closer. He is wearing pants and a sweater with a baseball cap on, covering his eyes.

When he gets closer, she turns and runs ahead, but when her head turns, she sees me. Her dog jumps in front of her, trying to catch her attention, but she runs over straight to me. “Are you lost?” she asks as her dog barks at me, and my head snaps back.

I don’t have time to answer because her father comes running and grabs the dog by the collar. “Sorry,” he says. “Flounder, stay.” He orders the dog to sit next to him while he pants, and his tail moves on the sand.

“I’m sorry, he really is a good dog,” he says as he pets his head and then squats down in front of his girl. “Mila, what did I tell you about talking to strange people?”

The little girl’s little curls fly into her face, a strand going into her mouth, and as she reaches up to move it away, her raincoat falls off one shoulder. “Poppa, she lost.” She points back at me as the father now looks up at me, and for the first time, I see his face. His blue eyes cloudy and almost a dark blue, just like the ocean I’m looking at. His lips full and as his cheeks are covered with stubble.

“I’m not lost,” I tell him and the little girl. “I just moved into that house,” I say as I point back to the white house.

The minute I mention the house, his demeanor changes, and his back goes straight. He stands up, grabbing his little girl’s hand. “She isn’t lost,” he says as he pulls her away from me with the dog following them. I sit there in shock at what just happened. The man bends down and picks up the little girl, and she hugs his neck with one hand and waves bye to me with a little smile. My hand comes out of the blanket and my fingers bend as I wave back to her. I watch them walk back down the beach, the dog running in and out of the water, until they are no more than a speck in the distance.

I sit out there for a while, watching the water as it slowly inches closer and closer when I hear footsteps behind me. “Dude, my whole body is stiffer than a ninety-year-old on Viagra,” Crystal says as she sits next to me, and the visual causes me to snort. “So Ms. This Adventure is so Cool, Delores called, and she is coming over in about thirty minutes to see us. Apparently, Nanny filled her in.” I don’t answer her. Instead, she stops talking as she looks at the ocean, and we get lost in our thoughts until she gets up and holds out her hand to me. “Let’s go.” I grab her hand to help me up, and we walk back inside.

The toast pops up as soon as we hear a knock on the door. I look at Crystal, who gets up and walks over to the door to open it. “Hi,” she says to an older lady with gray hair that looks almost silver. “Please come in.” She moves away from the door as I lean against the now clean counter, bringing my coffee cup to my lips.

“Oh, dear.” The woman looks around as she takes in the room. “I had no idea,” she says as she looks at me. “You must be Hailey.” She comes into the room and spots the fridge. “What in the heavens?”

“I take it you didn’t know how bad the condition was?” I ask her, and she shakes her head.

“This house belonged to my grandson and his then wife. Before she took off, that is,” she says. I just nod at her and sip my coffee.