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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2267761
Will Katie and Jacob only have a summer fling? For contest.
Word count: 4,550

Summer Fling


Katie

Katie put her beach bag on the towel, spread under the large umbrella. Retrieving a clipboard, off the small table the hotel supplied, she found three classes listed. The schedule was doable if the afternoon storm held off. Florida storms were sudden, known to last only a few minutes. so she should be able to get the sunset class done.

Before coming to the canopy tented area, behind the hotel she applied a generous layer of suntan lotion. She would apply more to demonstrate to her class how important skincare is and how to cover every exposed part of the skin. Sunburn on the lower back or back of the legs was not fun.

The conversation behind her let her know the first participants were arriving. Turning she smiled. “Welcome everyone. You can put your bags under the canopy of the umbrella behind me. Please sign in.”

A lady approached her. “My mother didn’t register in the Hotel. Can she join us?”

“Sure. Add her name to the sheet.”

A half-an-hour later, Katie, stood in front of thirty-two people. “Alright everyone, let’s get started. You are welcome to stand under the canopy or in the sun. I know everyone has plenty of suntan lotion on. You should have added some to your shoulders, back of your neck, arms, and legs. Make sure you have some on the back of your legs also. For those wearing two-piece bathing suits don’t forget the midriff. I have extra lotion under the umbrella in several strengths. There is also a cooler of water. If you feel out of breath please stop, even if for a few moments. If you feel light-headed, step out and have a seat in one of the Adirondack chairs at the edge of the canopy.”

Katie turned when Carl ran up. “Sorry,” he panted.

Katie smiled. The teen was getting some lifeguard credits by helping in her classes. “Everyone this is Carl. While I’m teaching the exercising class he is going to help if anyone needs assistance. Ok, let's have some fun. Carl, can you start the music please?”

Instrumental music from the ’70s floated on the warm gentle morning breeze. “Ready everyone. We’ll start by doing some stepping in place.” Katie matched her movements to her words. “As we progress through the class some of the exercises will get harder. Not everyone will be able to complete this class. There is nothing wrong if you need to step out.” Katie knew there would be several who pushed too far. Carl would step in if needed and guide them to the sidelines.

Twenty-five minutes later, the active members of the class dwindled to five. Not bad for the group. Her eyes kept going to one man who exercised off to the side. Why he was taking the beginners class she couldn’t understand. The man was built, hunk type built. His six-foot-plus bulked-out frame held a few tattoos. She recognized the Navy sparrow tattoo on his left bicep which meant he crossed the equator at least once. The other visible tats were a ship and flyer wings. She would guess he flew in the Navy. Katie did not and was never going to get a tattoo. She was scared of needles.

At the end of the class, she thanked everyone for coming. Her next class was in forty-five minutes. She advertised the class as intermediate including a beat. She would be working everyone through the chacha, mambo, twist, and even some western line dancing. The evening class would be around 6 pm. The hotel wanted her to run an after-dark class in one of the conference rooms, but she told them no. After a long day in the beating sun, she used the after-dark time to regenerate and get some studying in for the Master's class’ she’d start in September.

Half-an-hour later, forty-three people stood in front of her, even Mr. Built was there. She needed to have four people sit out. Their skin was pale, their breathing labored. She told them they could stay and watch if they wanted to sit under the canopy but sunstroke was a real thing. When she started to walk toward Mr. Built, he shook his head, so she stepped back. Katie gave her normal speech about suntan lotion, water, and stepping out of the class for a breather.

The class went quickly. Everyone thanked her and she sat in one of the Adirondack chairs to put on her sneakers.

“Can I go now?” Carl asked.

“Sure. You did well today. Good catch on the older lady's troubles. Thanks.”

“No problem. I knew she wanted to stay in but there was no way she could complete the dance steps. I told her if she wanted to join the first class in the morning we would appreciate her there to help others.”

Katie chuckled. “Good idea. Now go. I will be having the advanced class this evening. The storm is supposed to be inland by four so we should be good to start around six.” Carl motioned to tip his none existent cap and took off at a jog. Katie laughed when he ran to a very pretty girl on the patio of the hotel, took her in his arms, and swung her around. Young love was nice.

“Excuse me, Katie. My name is Jacob Ingram,” came a deep voice from behind her.

“Yes, how can I help you?”

“I’m not going to be able to make the evening class. Do you do private lessons under the stars?”

Katie stepped back. “Does your line get you results?”

“It’s not a line.”

“Yeah sure.” She looked up and found his eyes. Such beautiful sea-foam green eyes. “No, I don't do private lessons sorry. You are welcome to join us tomorrow though.”

“I can make your extra effort worth you're wild.”

What a jerk.

“I think I have answered you.  If you continue with this attitude I will report you to the hotel and bar you from my classes.”

“I thought…”

“I can guess what you thought but luckily life doesn’t move by your thoughts. If you will excuse me I need to get some lunch and have some personal things to do.” The employee lounge, on a normal day, was too noisy so she would have to go home for four hours until the next class. At least the jerk wouldn’t be there.

<>=====<>=====<>


Jacob

Jacob sat back in the chair at his desk. He’d drawn night duty for the summer. He loved being in the Navy but hated boring night duty in the records department.

His mind wandered back to the morning. When he was walking on the beach, he saw an exercise class in progress behind the Savoy Hotel. The leader of the group drew him closer. Her five foot nothing, begged for him to watch her. She wasn’t stick skinny like so many of the girls who vied for his attention. He liked enough padding on a woman, where he could hold on and wouldn’t feel like he’d been stabbed every time she brushed against him.

He sweated through the class, grabbed a bottle of water from the cooler, and headed toward the North end of the beach. Maybe tomorrow morning he could catch her on his morning beach jog. On his way back, he discovered another class getting ready to start, so he joined. The class was dancercise. He pushed through, so he could watch the pixie at the front moving her body in all kinds of delicious ways.

He introduced himself and went for a bid to get private one-on-one classes. She shot him down faster than a heat missile following a McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II jet. She’d been affected by the try because her brown pupils dilated. He cringed at the memory of how he’d been a jerk and offered thinly veiled sexual favors for the classes. 

“Hay Commander, daydreaming isn’t part of the job,” his best friend quipped from the door to his office. Harvey at one time was his radio officer and was seated behind him when their plane hit the deck of the carrier too hard. Both of them still worked through medical issues but both survived walking and talking and were still allowed to be in the service. Yeah, they were on permanent paperwork status, but still in the service.

“Lieutenant Commander, Stockton, get back to work.”

Harvey smiled, gave him a one-finger salute, and headed out.

Jacob tried to go back to work, but his mind went back to the warm sun-drenched sand, gentle breezes, and an angel doing exercises. He could feel the heat, not from the sun, but from his emotions, working their way through his body. Wednesday, his next day off, he was going to apologize for today’s SNAFU and see if the angel would be willing to date him.

<>=====<>=====<>


Katie

For the last three days, Jacob Ingram was not in her classes. Katie couldn’t figure out why this made her feel sad. The man was a jerk, thinking all he needed to do was give her a fast line and she would fall at his feet. She chided herself for acting like a teenager at 26-years-old.

“Alright, everyone. Let’s start.”  The sunset’s Pro class intensity was better experienced after the heat of the day. The weather was beautiful on the west coast of Florida beach, during sunset. Tonight they were working during a gentle breeze off the Gulf of Mexico. The incoming tide lapped at the sand and seagulls road the air currents overhead begging for a snack.

Three-quarters of the way through the set, Katie glanced to the left and found Jacob standing there watching. Every once in a while he would try one of the moves, for one repetition. Turning back to the rest of the participants she gave encouragement. “Nice everyone. Keep up the pace. Breath. Breath. Almost there. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two and One. Nicely done. Give your arms and legs a little shake. Don’t forget to grab a water. There won’t be any classes tomorrow, because of the predicted storms, so I’ll see you on Friday. Anyone leaving, have a safe trip and I hope to see you in the future when you vacation at the Savoy.”

Several people came to her and complimented the class. A couple even left extra tips which were appreciated. She made decent money running the classes through the hotel, but the tips allowed her some extras, not in her budget.

Katie plucked her towel off the chair and waved at Carl. His girlfriend was sitting under the canopy. In about an hour, employees from the hotel would dismantle the canopy and take the cooler and lounge chairs into the hotel. The setup would be redone before class time Friday morning.

“Katie?”

Katie froze clutching her towel to her chest. She didn’t want to turn around. Jacob was taking up too many of her thoughts. Taking in a breath and letting the air out, she plastered a smile on her face and turned.

“What can I do for you, Mr. Ingram?”

He stepped close enough she could smell the Sandlewood aftershave tinged with the salty scent of the water. “First, I want to apologize for Sunday. I was being a jerk.”

“Yes, you were.”

<>=====<>=====<>


Jacob

Jacob rubbed the back of his neck with his fingers. He wanted to reach out and pull her to him. She smelled like sunshine, honeysuckle, and coconut. “I haven’t dated for a long time. I guess I’m trying, to ask you out on a date. We can go anywhere you want and do anything you want.”

She wasn’t saying anything. Her stare was unnerving. Why wasn’t she saying anything? Was she rejecting him?

“All right. I’ll go out with you. We can go to dinner, not an expensive one, and sit somewhere quiet and talk. The quiet place will not be your place or my place. I like walking on the beach at night .”

Jacob took a chance and took her hand away from the grip on the towel. He turned it so he could kiss each of her knuckles. He wanted to kiss her palm but not yet. “Where should I meet you?”

“Do you know where T.J.’s is?”

“The restaurant? Yes.”

“I’ll meet you there tomorrow night at 7:00 pm.”

He reluctantly let go of her hand and bowed. “I will meet you there.” He started to turn but turned back. “I want to kiss you on the cheek, may I?”

She nodded, so he leaned forward and brushed his lips across her warm cheek. He felt a spark. Things like sparks from kisses never happened outside of movies or books. Right? Smiling he turned and walked away. Everything in him told him tomorrow night was important.

<>=====<>=====<>


Katie

Katie took in a deep breath of the salty fresh air, still tinged with some of the heat of the day. For the past nine weeks, she and Jacob spent quality time having fun. They met for lunch, ate at several of the local restaurants, and visited all the little “tourist traps” of the beach and mainland. Jacob came to her house for dinner several times, and she visited his home on base several times. Every minute together was easy flowing.

As they walked to their favorite place at the end of the public pier, Katie side glanced at Jacob strolling beside her. She dropped her eyes to their entwined fingers. Nine weeks ago she was giving him permission to kiss her on the cheek. Tonight they would go back to her Beach Cottage, eat, snuggle, and get a little hot-and-bothered on the couch, on the screened-in back porch.

Katie refused to go as far as what her mom used to say was “all the way”. Yes, she was 26. Yes, she was a virgin. Yes, she lost her heart to the Navel Lieutenant Commander three weeks ago when he spent way too much money winning her the Plush Seahorse from the shooting stall on the pier. He made a production of presenting the gift to her adding the knightly flourish of a low courtly bow.

She still was contracted for two more weeks of exercise classes at the Hotel. College classes for her Masters’s Degree started in two weeks at the University an hour away.  Katie felt melancholy to think the long days of summer were going to shorten into the winter months.  Jacob told her he was getting a promotion, and possibly transferred. So much for summer romances.

Katie stopped at the railing of the pier, near the end over the water. This was a favorite spot of hers. Here you could smell the salt water, hear the waves as they tried to eat the beach, watch the people playing games or getting something to eat at one of the many stalls, and still feel like you were in a separate world. Her attention was drawn to the pelican dive-bombing for fish further out in the water.

Jacob leaned on the railing near her and pulled her into his arms. She melted into the comfort placing her head against his chest and listening to the strong heartbeat. “Have you heard any news on where you are being transferred to?” She tried to keep the sadness out of her voice. He made no promises to even stay in touch. He’d mentioned the L-word a couple of times in the heat of their passion. Being a summer fling was not an easy pill to swallow.

Katie planned on using school work to help glue the pieces of her heart back together. The cracks were already wide, thinking about his leaving. “I’m proud of you Jacob. Maybe you’ll get your dream and have a ship to float across the ocean.”

<>=====<>=====<>


Jacob

Jacob captured a wind-blown curl and placed it behind her ear. When he first started stopping his beach runs to take part in her classes, fun and the scenery drew him there.

The Navy complicated relationships. The uncertainty of being in one place for a short time, before having to pull up stakes and move could eat away at any feelings. The little pixie, enfolded in his arms, was making his decision to move slow difficult. She was adorable. She was always ready to have some fun or just sit if either of them worked a long day. They could sit in companionable silence.  Although he was frustrated beyond belief he held back from pushing their relationship into the bedroom. He would respect her wishes.

The Hotel was closing at the end of the month for renovation. Katie would be returning to college and he would continue with his career. In theory, the situation sounded plausible and easy. In real life, his feelings were now tied to the sweet woman in his arms. “I heard today the promotion is going through. By the end of next week, I will be Commander Jacob Ingram.”

“Jacob, I’m so happy for you.”

“There is one thing sweetheart. Tomorrow I leave for a month’s training in Virginia.” He felt her body stiffen. “From there I’m not sure where I will be going. I could be returning here, get sea duty or go anywhere in the world. I’m not sure how much I can contact you. The training is intense. There is very little downtime.” This was hard. He knew his heart was telling him he needed to come back here, but he was in the Navy. A minimum of six years still lie ahead of him before he could retire. The Navy tended to not care what your heart was telling you.

Summer flings were difficult. He shied away from them. Maybe he would be selfish. When he found out where he was going he would ask her to come with him or wait for him to return, turning the hot summer days into a year around days. Would she say yes? Did she care about him enough to have a relationship? Did he have the nerve to put his heart out there?

Katie shivered.

“You  cold?” Hints of cooler weather floated in off the Gulf, as the sunset, this time of year. He angled his body to block the breeze.

“No. When do you leave in the morning?” Her face was turned up to his. Was it a trick of the light from the dock lights or were her eyes holding back tears?

“I’ll take you home tonight. I have to return to the base in an hour or so. I fly out at  4:30 am.” He placed two fingers under her chin. “This Summer has been fabulous, Katie. I have a lot of memories to take along, to hold in my heart.”

She nodded against his fingers dropping her forehead on his chest. This shouldn’t be this hard. Maybe … no he couldn’t think of possible maybe’s. All he could do was kiss her and let her know she was important to him. So he did!

<>=====<>=====<>


Katie

Jacob was missing out of her life for three and a half weeks. She received two texts and one phone call which was awkward. As far as she knew he still didn’t have any idea where he would be after training.

As of yesterday, the Hotel was closed for a two month renovation period. Tonight they were throwing a party for all the staff and family. Katie was attending to say goodbye to her friends. Classes next summer were still up in the air.

Katie fixed a plate from the food lining the banquet table. Grabbing a soda from the ice-filled barrel, she walked through the open glass partitions of the ballroom and found a seat at one of the round white tablecloth-covered tables on the outdoor patio. The full moon over the Gulf of Mexico was a sight she would never get tired of. The beach was pristine. All of the summer umbrellas and Adarondix chairs were stored away. The lifeguard tower was dismantled, to be rebuilt before the next season.

A band played in the far corner of the main room. Several couples two-stepped their way around the polished Parque dance floor. Katie smiled. Jacob attempted to teach her to dance on several occasions. She allowed his lessons when they were safely out of the public eye. To say she possessed two left feet was an understatement. She asked him why he put his feet in danger so much and he told her the experience gave him an excuse to hold her tight. Why did the man keep shattering the walls around her heart?

Katie planned on staying for about an hour maybe two, giving her enough time to say farewell to her friends. Martin, one of the sous chefs, his partner Carl, Maggie, her husband, and daughter joined Katie at the table. Their chatter stopped abruptly. She followed their eyes, to find a tall, fully decked-out GQ model in a Navel Dress White uniform standing behind her to her left.

“Excuse me Miss may I have this dance?”

<>=====<>=====<>


Jacob

Jacob parked his car. There was a parking attendant but he wanted to be able to leave and not wait if this night went sideways. He walked into the Hotel, removed his cover, and found the celebration in full swing. His eyes zeroed in on one person in the room. He internally yelled at himself for waiting two weeks. Planning for this night took every second he wasn’t in class or on the field.

Walking up behind her he straightened and held out his hand. “Excuse me Miss may I have this dance?”

Katie turned toward him. “Jacob?”

“Yes. Will you dance with me please?”

Katie didn’t like dancing. They practiced in her beach cottage, but she didn’t think she could do the steps. She did step on his toes, but she knew how to do the two-step, waltz, and a bit of jazz. Tonight he would stick to the two-step. She laid her hand in his and he pulled out her chair while holding on tight. The music wasn’t a normal two-step tempo, but he could work in the steps.

She stood in front of him, her head tilted back, her bright eyes on his face. “Everything is alright beautiful. Keep those beautiful eyes on mine. We are alone on the floor. Only you and I exist. Ready?”

Katie nodded.

He started them off, doing the basic steps. When she relaxed in his arms he added a twirl and a half turn, a few steps, and another half turn. Finishing the dance he whispered in her ear. “Can we leave or do you need to stay longer?”

“We can leave,” was a whisper from her rose-colored lips.

He retrieved his hat from the table and led her out the door. Outside he replaced his hat. “Will you be warm enough in your sweater if we go to the pier?” Summer was still trying to hold on to the Gulf Coast but the breezes off the water held more coolness than heat.

“I’ll be fine.”

Jacob debated on whether to make the twenty-minute walk to the pier or take his truck. If things didn’t work out though, he would need to be able to get her home. The five-minute ride was made in quiet. She wasn’t asking questions, which could be good or bad.

She held his hand as they walked to the one place near the end of the pier which could be called their spot. He sealed their lips together trying to put all his feelings into a kiss. When it became necessary to breathe he took on a short step back. Her auburn eyes showed brightly in the light from the overhead lamp. He took her hands in his, rubbing the backs with his thumbs. “Katie, sweetheart, I brought you here to talk.”

She stiffened and tried to pull her hands away.

He firmed his grip. “I want to fill you in on the last month.”

She stopped pulling away and nodded.

“I did get my promotion. I am a Commander. A pay raise and more responsibilities come in the package. I will have a home on base if I choose to or I can get something off-base. They buried me deep in classes and demonstrations. My scores have me reassigned to a Virginia base teaching program.” Her audible gasp grabbed his heart.

“So you’re moving to Virginia? When?”

“I have to report in three weeks.”

Katie pulled away. She didn’t walk away, but her back was now to him and she was shaking. 

“Katie, look at me please.”

Her slow turn gave away the fact she was frightened about what he was going to say. He held out his hand and she added hers. “Sweetheart. I can’t tell you how much I missed you. I’m hoping you missed me also.”

Her eyes rose and their gazes locked. “I did miss you, Jacob. I tried to use school work to take up time but even algebra wasn’t enough. I’m going to miss you.”

“You don’t have to miss me, Katie. I love you. We’ve known each other for a few months. I want you to move to Virginia with me. You can continue school. I can take care of you.”

“I don’t know Jacob. I’ve never lived north of Florida, heck I’ve never seen snow. What if…?”

Jacob swallowed hard and reached into his back pocket pulling out a small box. He lowered himself to one knee and held an opened ring box in front of him. “Katheryn Marie Simon, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”

<>=====<>=====<>


Katie

Katie stared. She steeled herself over the past four weeks for him to walk out of her life. Others navigated through Summer Flings and moved on, she could too. She was not a teenager, but an adult, so she should be able to manage. Jacob was staring at her. A ring box sat cradled in his right hand. She needed to … to what? Her mind felt clouded. Jacob loved her. There was only one answer she could give. “Yes, Jacob. I will marry you.”

Katie watched as he placed the ring on her finger. She found herself being twirled around in strong arms. When he set her feet back on the wooden dock, she stared at her finger. She was engaged. She was going to get married. Lips closed on hers and she melted into a puddle of goo.

Coming up for air, she whispered, “I love you, Jacob. I’ll try and be a good wife, I promise. I’m a bit frightened to move so far from where I have lived all my life.”

“You’ll be fine, Katie my love. We have three weeks to pack you up and get things headed for Virginia. I have a small house on base, but we can find something else if you want after you see the house. I love you sweetheart with all of my heart.”

Their lips came together, in a lingering kiss.  Breathing became unimportant. Life settled in around her.  Her summer love became her love for all seasons.

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