When Ridge went home from church that Sunday, lunch was ready and waiting for him. It was Grilled eggplant burgers with spicy sweet potato fries. There was also a tall glass of Strawberry Limeade.
Mouth watering simply from the smell and look of the burgers, he hurried to his room and quickly stripped. He could easily get used to having Danica living there and coming home to great meals.
He paused as he realized what he was thinking. He was supposed to be a widower, living on his own, doing his own cooking. He had gotten used to being on his own since Sherilyn died. Danica was only going to be here temporarily–two weeks to be exact, beginning tomorrow. She was going to go job hunting and if she found a job before the two weeks were up, she would move out and into her own place.
Was he giving her a reasonable amount of time to find a job and her own place? Maybe he should reconsider. Maybe he should give her enough time to find her an apartment after she had time to settle into her job–when she managed to get one. He hoped that she would find one and not have to leave Tampa and go to Houston. Houston so seemed far away. At least if she were here in Tampa, he would see more of her.
His growling tummy reminded him that he was hungry. He grabbed a tee shirt and pulled it on and then a pair of knee length shorts before he hurried to the kitchen. “Let’s eat out on the terrace,” he suggested.
They went out on the terrace and sat facing the bay. “I would love to be on one of those one of these days,” Danica said as a cruise ship went by. “Have you ever been on a cruise?”
“I went on two cruises–the first was a South American cruise from Argentina to Chile and the second was a Caribbean one from Tampa to the Dominican Republic. When I was in Tampa then, I always planned on returning one day and here I am. I’m living here now.”
“I’m glad you moved here. I like what I’ve seen so far of Tampa. I read somewhere that it’s nicknamed ‘The Big Guava.'”
“It got that nickname because of an early pioneer named Gavino Gutierrez who tried to cultivate guavas commercially here but was unsuccessful because of the climate and rising land prices. It was a local newspaper columnist who said that if New York is ‘The Big Apple,’ then it would only be right for Tampa to be the ‘The Big Guava.'”
“So what did you do today besides make these delicious burgers and fries?”
“Well, I did some reading. Watched some television, surfed the Internet and texted my friends in Seattle, telling them how great the weather is here in Tampa.”
“Well, this afternoon we’ll head out to the beach and go surfing.”
“I’m looking forward to that. By the way, what was the sermon about today?”
“It was, Christ, Our Salvation and the sermon was based on Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well.”
“That’s my favorite story in the Bible.”
“It was Sherilyn’s favorite too.”
“Do you think about her a lot?”
“I think about her often but not as often as before.”
“Oh. I think about her at Christmas time, Thanksgiving and on her birthday.”
“And I think about her on the day of our wedding.”
Danica didn’t say anything and they finished the rest of their lunch in silence. Then, she cleared the dirty plates and glasses while he went to wash up and get ready to go to the beach. Fifteen minutes later, they were on their way.
The surfboards were securely on the roof of the car. Danica was excited. The last time she went surfing was in the summer. She loved that she could surf all year round here in Tampa–if she was lucky enough to stay. Tonight, she would search online for jobs and apply for them. Tomorrow, she would go shopping for outfits to wear to the job interviews.
When they got to the beach, Ridge removed his Canvas shoes, shirt and pants while Danica took off just her jeans. She kept on her long sleeved top over her swimsuit because she felt a bit self-conscious. “Ready to ride those waves?” Ridge asked her as he grabbed his surfboard.
“You go in first while I sit here and watch for a while and then, I’ll join you,” she said.
“Ok.” He walked towards the water.
Danica watched as he lay on his stomach on the board and paddled out to the surf line. She removed her flipflops and sat down on the sand with the borrowed surfboard across her lap and watched as he paddled quickly to catch the rising wave and then jump from his belly to his feet as the wave broke, crouching on his board. It was obvious that he was an experienced surfer. She watched, impressed as he rode the waves.
It was really nice being here on this secluded beach with Ridge. It seemed like they were the only two people in the entire world. She enjoyed being with him and cooking for him. If only he would let her stay with him instead of turning her out after the two weeks were up. Maybe she could work something out with him. It was worth a try.
She got up and walked to the water’s edge. It was time to ride those waves.
Sources: Barry Popik; Norwegian Cruise Line; Go Surf Perth; Taste of Home; National Geographic; Gear Patrol