This is Part 5 of a series. Click here for Part 1
Key West was only three hours away from Morgan’s home in Miami. And when he and Otis had arrived just before lunch, he had no intentions of staying the night.
But after meeting Sigrid. There was no way he was leaving. She was beautiful, smart, insightful and Otis had wholeheartedly approved.
Within a few hours time they’d crashed a wedding at the Hemingway Estate, spent lunch devouring conch fritters and Patron margaritas at Captain Tony’s, and then settled in for an afternoon of swimming and sunning on the private beach of the Casa Marina Waldorf.
So far Otis hadn’t seen any cats at the pet-friendly resort, but after the treasure trove at Hemingway’s house, Morgan could see he was on point.
Wisely Sigrid and Morgan had bought a leash before heading back to the hotel.
By and large this was turning out to be the best day of Morgan’s life, and maybe Otis’ too.
He and Sigrid and talked about everything. Things that never really came up when he was with Genevieve or his prior girlfriends. There was always something missing. That internal connection. An unexplained knowing that you were in the right company. Someone who could finish your sentence. Someone who say what you were thinking. Or better still say what you might not have the courage to say yourself.
The talked about her work-a-holic father. How he seemed to love his role at Microsoft more than being with his family. It was’t true, but it always felt like that while she was growing up. Point was, her dad didn’t know how to connect. He never learned how to love, only how to work. That’s what his dad taught him. A wounded boy taught by an older wounded boy.
It was the diagnosis that shocked Sigrid’s dad into reality. She could immediately see the regret. Like he had wanted to connect but, now it would be too late.
Morgan didn’t know who to be mad at. Her father or her father’s father. He wanted someones head on a stick for hurting this beautiful girl who kept sucking the oxygen out of him overtime he looked at her. He nearly went cyanotic when she dropped her cover up on the beach chair, as the three of them bounded down to the water. Her flawless skin in a white high-cut, one piece was suffocating.
But the more he thought about her, it wasn’t just the physical attraction. She was stirring up feelings he’d never really thought about. Why would he want her dad’s head on a stick? The more he thought about it, it mirrored his own feelings about his father, only worse. You just don’t abandon little girls. All children need the love and guidance of a father. But girls even more so. It’s what keeps them from running to find their father’s love in the arms of the first boy that says he likes her. They’re just more vulnerable that way.
Morgan didn’t grow up with his dad. Two weeks in the Summer and a week during Christmas wasn’t the best way to build a strong father-child bond. Even so, Morgan had always held his father up on a pedestal. He was hero, even if an absent one.
The anger over his dad’s absence had subsided though the years. Especially when his step-brother told him it wasn’t much better living under the same roof since dad was always working anyway.
The more Sigrid and Morgan talked. The more the similarities rose to the surface. Of course it was always easier to get cathartic after a few margaritas. By the end of lunch they’d agreed that a wounded child had been handed down from one generation to the next. And their parents had done the best they could with the tools they had.
As Morgan thought back on their lunch he wanted more. But as the long afternoon sun finally started to fall behind the resort he wasn’t sure what that might look like. Dinner? Of course. Then what? Get his own room? Sleep on the couch. The more he tried to figure it out, the more he was impressed to let it go and just see what happened.
As he gathered their things, he watched Sigrid play in the water with Otis as they headed toward him. Her lithe body was bathed in the orange afterglow of the setting sun. His eyes were riveted. And as Sigrid looked up, she gave him the same wide, inviting smile he saw when he first stumbled upon her at the Hemingway house. A disarming, knowing smile that said stop here, stay awhile.
“Dinner?” Sigrid shot him the invitation.
“I bet Otis is hungry too.”
Sigrid laughed and looked at Otis as he leapt out of the water. “C’mon ole boy. I promise to make him be nice to you.”
“Otis what have you been telling her. I’m always nice to you.”
Morgan stood holding their things as the trio started to walk toward the showers near the pool.
“Where do you want to eat.”
“Right here If that works for you.”
Anywhere works for me, Morgan thought. “What about Otis?”
“I have a two room suite. Once we dry him off he can just stay in the living room.”
“Sounds good. Would you mind taking him up? I didn’t bring another change of clothes and would like to buy a shirt and some shorts at the boutique.”
“Sure. Get what you need and then come up. If you like you can stop by the restaurant and put us down for a seven o’clock reservation. I have a cheese and fruit plate in the room so we can snack while we get ready.”
Morgan was watching her speak, but after she said, “then come up” he started to lose contact with his surroundings. The day was now migrating from special to sublime. He felt like a sixteen year old kid going on a first date. Only in a thirty year old man’s body, who actually had the resources an faculties to take in and savor the experience.
He snapped to, “Perfect. Be up shortly.” She gave him the room number as Morgan floated into the lobby.
Twenty minutes later. He knocked on the door. Sigrid answered. Her long blonde hair was pulled neatly into a pony tail with small strands falling around her sun kissed face. Still in her cover up she ushered Morgan into the expansive suite. Otis was already dried and dutifully waiting for mealtime.
“I gave him some cheese. He wouldn’t stop staring at me when I pulled out of the fridge. Help yourself.” She said, pointing to the fruit plate and newly opened Pinot Noir. “I’m going to change.”
Morgan grabbed a glass and carried his backpack with Otis’ food and bowl into the kitchen. He still was’s sure how the night would turn out, but he had no plans to leave Key West anytime soon.
This is Part 5 of a series. Click here for Part 6
This week’s Garage Fiction prompt was provided by
You can see Ms. Lebrun’s artwork on her DeviantArt page here: http://ghislaine-l.deviantart.com/
These weekly scenes & stories are part of an ongoing project codenamed “Garage Fiction”. Since January 2015, three writers (Jinn Zhong, Dogwood Daniels and Me) have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week. We post on Sundays and dissect on Tuesdays via podcast.