"How did this happen?" she mourned, "I'm Greek; I never burn. No one in my family burns."
"We've been out in the sun almost all day, every day, and you never use even a mild sunscreen, baby," Pres reminded her.
"But you haven't burned; in fact your beautiful tan is even darker than it was," she gave him a resentful look.
"I wore sunscreen. We don't burn easily in my family either, except for Perry. We'll pick up some aloe lotion and when we get back to the cottage I'll be happy to spread it all over you, very slowly, for a long time," he grinned.
"I just bet you will."
Sofia borrowed Pres's sunscreen and they stayed on the beach a bit long, watching the waves.
Finally she excused herself to go visit the ladies room at the front of South Beach. When she came out she noticed the little playground and she couldn't resist the swings. There used to be a set of swings at the mobile home park she lived in when she first met Pres. When she didn't come right back Pres picked up their towels and beach bag and went looking for her. There she was, swinging on the swing set like a child, a big smile on her face. Her natural delight in simple things like a front porch or a swing was just one more thing that made him love her.
Posing for pictures taken by a strolling photographer was fun. His prices were exorbitant, but the couple figure it was worth it to have photographs of them together. They'd asked strangers to take a photo once or twice with rather dubious results.
As evening fell Sofia didn't even know how to voice the sheer joy she felt at that moment. She'd thought she'd loved Pres as much as she could, but eery day she found she loved him more. It was the first time in her life that she spent so much time just having fun and laughing but he was the reason. She'd never been on a trip or had one vacation since she was a very small child. Memories of day trips to the city park, and of her father, alive and well, and catching her at the end of the slide were fuzzy but they remained the best memories of her childhood.
"What are you thinking about so hard?" Pres took both of her hands in his and swung them slightly.
"I don't know how to explain it."
"Well, let me ask you this--are you having a good time?"
"Oh, Pres! I'm having the best time of my life. Thank you so much!" she gave a little hop and he scooped her up in his arms laughing.
"Same here, baby, same here."
The next night they decided to go out for a late supper at The Deck Restaurant.
Once they were seated and looking over the menu, Sofia confessed,
"I've actually never had lobster. We lived on the coast in Greece, but I was a small child when Mom and Dad moved here--Anneliese was just a baby. But I do love shrimp."
"Oh, you have to try it then. It's sweet and very rich, but so good. If it turns out you don't like it I'll order something else for you," Pres urged.
While they waited for their food to come they began to talk about their future together. It was the first time Pres brought up buying a house that would be bigger than the one they were currently renting. Although he did not admit it to Sofia, he also wanted to move because this was the house that she had shared with Dana Conadera for a while and he couldn't forget that. He wanted them to live in a house they they chose together.
When the lobster arrived Pres had to show her how to eat it, which she did with enthusiasm.
"This is delicious,"" she exclaimed, "I could eat this once a week!"
Pres winked at her and laughed,
"You used to think cheeseburgers were ambrosia; now you want lobster every week. I've created a monster."
Looking around the room Sofia remarked,
"That aquarium is huge, Pres, have you ever seen one that big?"
"There is one in Myrtle Beach you can walk through because it's a tunnel with clear walls and ceiling, there are fish swimming over your head. The restaurant has an Olympic sized pool out back, too. But I think I'd rather go up to the deck--they have dancing and a small bar, what you do you say?"
"Oh, yes, I'd love to dance," she said, "And can we have some of those fruity drinks with pineapple and cherries and little umbrellas in them if they have them?"
"Oh, they'll have them; don't worry," he assured her.
Ripley's Aquarium at Myrtle Beach
Once upstairs Pres led her out on the dance floor right away,
"Dance with me, gorgeous?"
"It would be my pleasure."
He pulled her closer and nuzzled her ear,
"I love you."
"Oh, Pres, I love you, too. I dreamed about this so many times, but my dreams were nowhere near the reality."
"I think we'll both always remember this time," he whispered and then his lips brushed hers gently. He deepened the kiss right away, pressing her body tightly to his.
"Well, you ready to go home?" his voice was suddenly deeper and a bit husky.
"Oh, but our fruity drinks!" Sofia protested.
"Oh, yeah. That's right," he looked a bit discouraged but then brightened, "Okay, one quick drink and we're done; we'll catch a taxi instead of walking. It's faster."
Sofia snickered and replied,
"Yes, lover. That sounds like a plan."
"Have you given any more thought to us going house-hunting?" he asked as soon as they were seated at the bar and had ordered their "Bahama-rama-mamas".
"If you really want that then, yes, we can start looking."
"But don't you really want a home of our home?" he asked her.
"Yes, I've dreamed of us owning our own home, but it's just that there have been so many changes so quickly. And I did think you liked my little house. And, Pres, we're spending a lot of money on Twikkii Island."
"I'll show you our finances; I should have done that before this. I t hink you'll feel better then. As for the changes I hope they've been good ones. They have for me."
"They are good changes--I didn't mean they weren't--it's just sometimes it's hard for me to wrap my head around all of them. But I do want us to buy a house if we can afford it."
Pres felt relieved but then he saw that she was still frowning.
"What is it then? Please, baby, I need you to tell me," he prompted.
"I--aren't you happy at all at my little place?" she asked, looking almost as though she had hurt feelings.
"Of course, but the key words are "little" and "my place," he finally admitted, "I'm so proud of everything you have accomplished while we were apart. But, frankly, it's the house you lived in with Dana. That probably shouldn't bother me, but it does."
"You believed me when I told you that we never so much as held hands, didn't you?"
"I did and I do. But as I told you before I can't forget that he was in love with you, even if you didn't return his feelings. Look, I know I'm being stupid. I can't justify it. And I know you still want to have Dana over to visit Dion, and I can deal with that. Heck, I always liked the guy. But..."
"I'm not so tied to that house that I can let you be unhappy there, Pres," she was suddenly decisive, "It's only a rental after all. I think, then that we really do need to start house-hunting when we get back."
Pres smiled happily. They called a taxi and went downstairs. It had been an eventful day, but a good one.
Next update to Blog: The Brothers Everhart Ch. 25 Halcyon Days and Nights Part Iv