| After breakfast Tom and I walked back to the motel and I went to the room to rest for I drove twelve hours. Tom changed into his bathing suit and he will be at the pool area. So when I wake up and find Tom not in the room I assume he is still at the pool. I change into my black bathing suit. I toss on a nightgown as a cover up and I walk out to the pool area. I spot Tom talking to a young girl about our age. The girl has very short black hair and hazel eyes. She is short, only about five feet tall, and it looks as if she only weighs about a hundred pounds soaking wet.
I call to Tom who is all pruned from being in the water for a while. Tom and the girl climb out of the water and approach me. Tom introduces the girl as Ashes Lincoln. She smiles at me and I sense that something is off about her. I just cannot put my finger on it. It is like she cannot be trusted and my gut says not to trust her. I sigh for Tom appears to be infatuated with her and how can I tell him to be careful with her?
I ask Ashes, “Where are you from?”
Ashes says, “Dallas, Texas.”
I ask, “What grade are you in?”
Ashes says, “I am in tenth grade at Brandish Private School.”
I ask, “Is that a Catholic High School?”
Ashes replies, “Yes it is.”
Tom asks, “How is the education you get?”
Ashes replies, “It’s okay. It’s school I guess. I am an average student.”
I say for them to have a good time and I dive into the cool, refreshing water of the Olympic sized pool. Tom disappears into the motel and emerges with soda and snacks. When I finish my laps a half an hour later the snack and soda is a perfect treat. I listen as Ashes Lincoln tells us about her mother passing away from colon cancer. Ashes says her father brought her on this trip to try to cheer her up. It has been a tough six months for her. I feel bad, that must feel horrible, and Ashes says she misses her mother terribly.
Ashes asks, “What about your parents? Where are they?”
Tom looks at me and then says honestly, “They are back in South Boston. Max and I came out here to Brant just for a little get away for there are a lot of issues going on with them.”
Ashes is curious, “Like what?”
I quickly jump in and say, “It is a long, boring story.”
Ashes says, “That’s cool you guys are here though.”
Tom adds, “We drove out here.”
Ashes asks, “How long did that take you guys?”
Tom says, “Four days, we took turns driving, and we drove straight through.”
Ashes asks, “How long are you guys staying out here?”
Tom looks at me and I reply, “We’re not sure yet.”
Tom asks, “How long are you out here for?”
Ashes says, “It must be nice. Dad and I are here for another week and a half.”
I glance at the time on my cellular phone and it is three o’clock in the afternoon, “Well I’m gonna go shower and relax. Tom don’t be too much longer, I’d like to go to the boardwalk and do some window shopping, and have an early dinner.”
Tom says, “Sounds good.”
I disappear into the motel and I am in the room before I know it. I take another shower to rinse off the chlorine from my body and I change into blue jeans and a royal blue t-shirt. I feel so fresh and my phone trumpets stating I have a text message. The message is from Tom wondering if we can go out to dinner with Ashes and her father. I really wanted to do some window shopping but I suppose it would be alright if we went to dinner with them. It might even be fun. So I text message Tom back that it would be fun and nice to go out with them.
Tom is back in the room to shower saying that we are going to a restaurant on the boardwalk called Mermaids. Mermaids is a seafood restaurant and my stomach instantly growls. I love seafood. Tom showers and when he emerges from the bathroom I have him sit on the end of his bed. I decide that I have to have a talk with him about this whole Ashes thing.
I fold my arms across my chest and look at Tom, “I really hate to have this conversation with you.”
Tom raises an eyebrow, “What conversation?”
I say, “About Ashes.”
Tom asks, “What about her?”
I state, “Tom, Ashes is only gonna be here for a week and a half and we are going to be here permanently.”
Tom asks, “What’s the point?”
I am irritated that he is not seeing it the way I am seeing this whole thing, “I just don’t want you to get too attached to Ashes. I know neither of us have had girlfriends or boyfriends and I know you wear your heart on your sleeve. I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
Tom realizes what I am trying to say, “I promise I will be careful.”
I say, “I am just trying to look out for you honey, that’s all. If the roles were reversed right now I hope you would be having
this conversation with me.”
Tom replies, “You know I would be.”
I am relieved, “That’s good to know.”