Taking Action: Chapter 30
I just can’t thank Charlaine Harris enough.
My bed had never felt better. I was so exhausted that I slept through most of the next day. At one point, I thought I heard some sort of power tool, like a drill, and then maybe some hammering, but then it stopped and I drifted back to sleep. When I finally emerged in the late afternoon, I expected to find Amelia and Octavia and was looking forward to seeing them and telling them about what happened. I thought of what Danielle had said on the beach and knew that having girlfriends to commiserate with was pretty important. But when I went into the kitchen I found a note on the table instead.
We didn’t want to wake you, but Octavia and I are going to Pawley’s Island! We are so excited! Eric paid for our plane tickets and a rental car (what a doll he is!) and said that he had the house rented for another week, and there was no point in wasting it, so we are going to hit the beach! Let’s not kid ourselves—I’m sure he also wanted to get you alone here without roomies in the way. Whatever fight you two had, I’m sure you’ll work it out when he gets here. Anyway, please thank him again for us, and you kids have fun!
Wow. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I mean, I guess I was happy that they were getting a free vacation and Amelia certainly seemed excited about it, but I was also…what…jealous? Yes, I suppose that’s what it was. It felt weird that Amelia and Octavia would be in our little love nest on the beach. That was ours. But I guess I took care of that when I walked out the door, didn’t I? Maybe I should have stayed to talk things out with Eric. Why do I always feel like I have to run away when things get hairy? Suddenly being here at home alone felt like a mistake.
I fixed myself a cup of coffee and went out to sit on the front porch. I about fell over when I saw the rope hammock hanging in the corner with a wrapped present sitting on it. (Oh, that must have been the drilling I heard earlier.) I sat in the hammock and untied the ribbon on the present and pushed back the paper to find a very tacky frame with seashells and starfish all around it and Pawleys Island written across the top. The photo was of me and a very happy Eric holding the camera at arm’s length sitting on the hammock at the beach house. I started to cry, of course.
I took the picture inside and set it up on my dresser, and then went into the kitchen to eat. I took a long hot bath and thought about what had happened in the past week, and it was all so overwhelming. Being at the beach house with Eric felt like a dream. Was I crazy to run away from him? From all of it?
I started to unpack, but then decided that I was just too tired, so I put on some sweats and took Gran’s ugly quilt out to lie in my new hammock. I tried to sleep, but just kind of dozed off, then woke to find myself in the dark and started crying into my quilt. I was really enjoying my cry and feeling sorry for myself when I was distracted by the sound of something coming up my driveway. I sat up to see coming right at me a very tall pale shirtless man running barefoot on the gravel. He ran up the steps and stood in front of me on the porch, and we both just looked at each other for a moment. Then he said, “I seem to have lost my memory.”
I could tell he didn’t mean that and I started to see where he was going with this.
I said, “Oh really?”
“Yes. You seem like a kind woman. Do you think that perhaps you could take me in? Clean my feet? Fall in love with me?” He was starting to smile, but then he grew more serious. “I promise I won’t hurt you.”
“Oh Eric. I just don’t know. I’m so confused.”
“Okay, then.” And then he turned around and started back down the steps.
I jumped up and said, “Wait! Where are you going?” I looked down at the bloody footprints on the porch, and ran down the steps after him. “Eric, come back!”
He was running away down the driveway and I was running as fast as I could after him, but I knew I’d never be able to catch him. Then he turned around and started running backwards, smiling at me. I ran hard and kept calling his name, but then he seemed to just disappear into a mist and I couldn’t see him anymore.