Love at First Sight… or Not So Much
That’s the theme chosen by Jordan McCollum for the Valentine’s Day Romance Blogfest she’s hosting. My contribution is more in keeping with the “not so much” part of the theme. I hope you enjoy it and then will move on to check out the other posts by linking to them from the bottom of Jordan’s blog. It’s a great way to add a romantic touch to your day and meet some new blogging friends along the way. Be sure to read her own contribution, too. It’s here. Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!
The frigid waves angled along the shoreline, unfolding froth as watery lace on the sand. Marella had walked the beach earlier and now sat on a log, the pile of scrounged driftwood at her feet. Her scarlet ski jacket didn’t prevent the occasional shiver, but she wasn’t quite ready to return to the cabin.
So much for the happy winter holiday that had been planned for months. Everyone else talked about escaping to warm southern sunshine, but she and Larry had discovered this west coast Long Beach resort last winter, and loved its seclusion and privacy. The reservation for a Valentine’s Day getaway weekend seemed like the perfect Christmas present for him. And it would have been except for the fight on Christmas Eve, after which he packed up pajamas, toothbrush and computer, and moved out. Well, good riddance to him.
Marella had decided against discarding the non-refundable reservation. It was a perfect opportunity for a writing retreat – four uninterrupted days to work on her novella. As soon as she finished gathering enough wood to lay a fire in the cabin’s rock fireplace and burn the pages she had ripped out of her diary, she planned to pour a glass of wine to celebrate her single status, and settle into the down cushions of the couch to write.
She tugged the collar closer to her ears and squinted into the wind. Where the wave-slick sand met a rocky outcropping, something moved.
The lodge owner had said seals occasionally showed up on the beach, but this neither slid nor lumbered like a seal. In fact, it leapt and cavorted. Curious, she rose and picked her way among the logs to take a closer look.
“Oh, my goodness!”
It was a mop of sodden gold, a dog whose coat dripped salt water, sand and bits of seaweed as he alternately pounced on a starfish and tossed it aloft. At her outburst he stopped and stared.
“What on earth are you doing out here? You’re filthy… and I doubt that poor starfish is enjoying your game!” She scanned the deserted beach beyond the rocks. “You must belong up at the lodge. Go home.” She tried to shoo him towards the lodge but he continued to stand there, so with a shrug she left him to his game.
Back at the cabin she deposited the armload of wood outside the door. Leaning one arm against the doorframe for balance, she untied and kicked off her boots. As she opened the door, the dog suddenly appeared on the porch with the starfish clamped in his mouth, and pushed past her into the room.
“Hey, get out of here and take that with you! Go on; get out! You’re dripping all over the floor, and that… thing… is gross.” Rather than obey, the dog ambled across to the braided rug in front of the couch. He spit out the glutinous pink mass and proceeded to shake a gritty spray over couch, coffee table and carpet.
“Aghh!” Marella ran to the bathroom and grabbed a bath towel. Her first instinct was to flap it at the dog and chase him from the cabin, but it occurred to her such an aggressive approach might cause a negative reaction. “What am I suppose to do with you?” she said, and perched on the arm at the opposite end of the couch.
In answer, he nosed the blob along the rug in her direction.
“Oh, wonderful. I have a cat at home that brings me dead birds and mice. I hardly need any more love tokens of that caliber.”
Leaving the starfish, the dog came to her and rested his chin on her knee, soaking the fabric of her jeans. Marella slid the towel towards his head and began dabbing at his dripping ears, until soon she was toweling his whole body. It took a second towel but she didn’t stop until he was reasonably dry.
Her second-to-last task was to scoop the starfish up in the towel and deposit it outside. Her final task was to bring in enough of the driftwood to start a fire. The dog watched the process, and when she was done he lay down on the mat in the warmth of the fire and closed his eyes.
She watched him for a moment, and when it didn’t appear he planned to move, she took the soiled towels to the bathroom and dropped them in the tub. Back in the corner of the cabin designated as the kitchen, she poured her glass of wine.
“Happy Valentine’s Day to us,” she said, raising the glass briefly before taking a sip. She found her notebook and pen, and curled up on the couch with her feet tucked under her.
“At least you’re more agreeable company than Larry.”