Beach House

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Cheating Wife

“Thank you. For letting me have the kids all summer.”

“Look. Just because we’re divorced doesn’t mean I don’t care. They’re my kids, too, remember? I want them to have a great summer with their mom. So go. Have fun. And don’t be afraid to meet new people,” he told her.

“Oh, so you can feel less guilty about having met someone new?” she teased even though it still stung seeing her ex-husband with another woman even after being divorced for two years.

“Okay, that might make me feel a little better, but mostly, I really do want you to be happy, Michelle. It’s been two years, and while I don’t keep tabs on you, I don’t think you’ve gone on a single date.”

“Yes, I have!” she said somewhat defensively.

She was defensive because the grand total of dates she’d gone on was one. She wasn’t going to bring it up because it had been an unmitigated disaster, but she had gone out once.

“All right. Fine. It’s none of my business anyway. But you’re still a very attractive woman. Just be open to the possibility, okay? The kids tell me all the time you’re not happy, and maybe finding someone would help,” he said in such a kind way it moved her.

“They say that?” she asked now feeling even worse if her kids could tell how miserable she was most of the time.

Michelle Harris tried her best to put on a good front for the sake of her children, but the divorce had really been hard on her. She hated that it bothered her as much as it did, but it still ate at her—a lot. She knew she was a good mother, and she’d done her best to be a good wife. But no matter how hard she tried, her now ex-husband had never seemed satisfied.

She’d learned since the divorce he was the kind of man who would never be happy with one woman, and a part of her wanted to warn this new, younger girl he was dating. But she was an adult capable of making her own decisions, and unless something drastic happened, she’d have to learn about Nathan Harris the hard way just like she had. Hopefully, there wouldn’t be any children the next time around to get hurt the way hers had.

Both of their children had always been a little shy, but since the divorce, their 11-year old son, Teague, had become even more withdrawn. He lacked self-confidence and seemed afraid to try anything new or even make new friends. That’s why Michelle hoped the summer camp she’d signed him up for while they stayed at the beach house they were renting for the month would be a real boost for him in that regard.

Nine-year old Emma was also shy, and Michelle knew she missed her father a lot. She’d been a daddy’s girl all her life, and when Nathan moved it out, it had been just as hard on her as it was on her brother, but for very different reasons. Emma lost her best friend and Teague lost his male role model—such at is was.

“Well, we better get going,” Michelle said to her ex. “Maybe you should say goodbye to the kids.”

“Oh, right,” Nathan said. “Hey, guys! Come here!”

Both of them ran up the steps onto the front porch and gave their father a big hug.

“Can you come visit us at the beach house, Dad?” Teague asked nearly showing signs of excitement.

“Oh, I’m not sure that’s such a good idea,” he said trying to let his son down easily. “But you’ll back in a month, and we’ll spend a lot of time together then, okay?”

“Okay,” Teague said quietly.

“Daddy? When will you buy us a dog?” Emma asked after her hug.

Nathan looked at his ex-wife who was shaking her head ‘no’. He’d promised several times, but never followed through, and now was definitely not the time.

“Well, you see, we need to wait until you get back. At least. We can talk about it again then, okay?”

“You always say that,” she told him trying her best not to cry.

“I’m sorry, honey. We’ll see, okay? Come on, give me a smile!”

Still too little to resist his charms, Emma finally gave in.

“That’s my girl! Okay, you two be good and listen to you mother!”

“We will!” they both promised as they got into the SUV and headed out for the nearly three-hour drive to Copalis Beach on the far-western shore of Washington State that lay ahead of them.

August was by far the nicest month of the year there. It was almost always warm, dry, and sunny, with the occasional hot spell every few years where temps hit the mid-90s for a few days. Even then the mornings were pleasantly cool and just about the only time one might need a jacket or sweatshirt.

The sun was out and it was a gorgeous day as they drove west then south then west again to reach the beaches on the Pacific Ocean’s easternmost edge.

The beach house Michelle had rented was as beautiful as the weather, and as one might expect, decorated with a very beach-flavored kind of theme.

“We have bunk beds! Awesome!” Teague said as the kids quickly explored the small, two-bedroom house which was really more of a cottage.

It was actually half a house that was technically a duplex as there was a mirror-image set of rooms separated by a single wall that comprised the entire unit on the other side of ataköy escort that wall.

Michelle was surprised but happy to see there was no other vehicle in the driveway when she pulled in. She loved her privacy, and she needed virtual silence at night in order to sleep. As she went out onto the deck of the second floor, the only sounds she could hear were the cries of seagulls and the occasional crashing of a large wave making her even more certain she’d made a great choice.

“This is going to be perfect!” she said to herself as the kids came tearing up the stairs from the outside and onto the deck.

“Can we go to the beach, Mom?” Teague asked already pleading.

“Can we?” Emma chimed in.

“Um…how about as soon as we get unpacked?” their mother offered.

“Yes!” Teague said as he and his sister went in via the sliding glass door.

Fifteen minutes later they made the 100-yard walk to the beach and the largest ocean on earth.

“The water isn’t warm!” Teague shouted after wading in.

“It never gets very warm around here, buddy. This is about as good as it gets!” Michelle called back.

It was around 3 pm, the warmest time of the day, and that made the chilly ocean water bearable as the kids splashed and played while their mom laid out on a large towel and caught some rays.

Having lived in the Seattle area her whole life, Michelle had no real concerns about skin cancer. In fact, the lack of harsh sunlight was one reason she still looked so youthful at 36. Like most people from the western side of the state, she was very, very white to the point of being pale, and a little sun would do her a lot of good.

The fact that no one else was anywhere around made it all the more enjoyable, as Michelle was very insecure about the way her body looked. She’d once been a size 4 but had only recently gotten back into a 10 after struggling with weight and other self-esteem issues since the birth of her second child.

She lost it all within a year after Teague was born, but this time, the extra weight stuck to her like glue, so even though she still looked better than most women her age, she felt like a beached whale laying out in the sun. Wearing a bikini was out of the question, and even in a modest one-piece suit, she still felt very self-conscious.

After an hour, the kids were bored and wanted to go back to the house, so Michelle packed up the few things she’d carried with her and they headed ‘home’.

“There’s an outdoor shower at the back of the house. Make sure you rinse off all that sand and salt water!” she told them as they ran ahead.

“I got the one on the right!” Teague said as he arrived first letting his sister take the one on their side of the beach house.

Michelle left each of them a towel then said, “Wash all that gunk off then come upstairs and we’ll get something to eat, okay?”

She set her things down upstairs then realized she’d left her phone on the table out back when she was handing the towels to her kids. As she walked back down to get it, the kids passed her on her way up. She saw the phone laying right where she left it and walked straight to it and picked it up, grateful no one else was there to take it.

“You shouldn’t leave that laying around,” she heard a deep male voice say.

Michelle was so startled she yelped.

“Oh, my God! You scared me to death!” she said as she whipped around.

“Sorry. I saw someone using my shower and was going to come out and say hello. I’m assuming that would be your son, right?” he said.

“Um, yes. Sorry. It won’t happen again,” Michelle assured him. “I wasn’t aware anyone else was staying here.”

“I run a little summer camp here during August and I was down there making sure everything was ready to go for tomorrow,” he told her smiling for the first time.

Michelle noticed immediately he was very attractive. How could she not notice? He was only wearing a pair of swim trunks and his body was rock hard and muscled from his narrow waist to his wide chest up to his broad shoulders and some very large ‘traps’ on either side of his neck. He also had a square jaw, a day’s worth of black stubble growing on his very handsome face, high cheekbones, and beautiful blue eyes, and some of the sexiest, thickest, darkest hair she’d ever seen.

She guessed him to be maybe 25 or so and once that fact was established, she did her best to try and avoid looking at the body she found nearly impossible to ignore.

“Hello?” he said waving his hand.

“Oh. I’m so sorry. I was…I was thinking about my…phone,” she said making it up on the spot when she’d really been thinking about how long it had been since a man had even kissed her. “I really don’t want to leave it laying around, huh?”

“No. Definitely not. But I was asking if your son is gonna be in summer camp,” he informed her obviously repeating the question she hadn’t heard.

“Oh. Right. Yes. He will be. My daughter is here, too, but she’s not a camp kind of person.”

“I must have missed her. I only saw the one avcılar escort kid,” he said still smiling. “How old is he?”

“Teague is eleven,” Michelle told him. “Emma is nine.”

The younger man tilted his head as though he was thinking then said, “You have an eleven-year old child?”

Feeling a bit touchy, Michelle said, “Yes, I do. Is there something wrong with that?”

He put up his hands and said, “No. Not at all. It just surprises me, that’s all. You don’t even look 30 so I guess it just kind of caught me off guard.”

“Oh. Okay,” she said realizing he was actually kind of complimenting her.

“How long are you staying here?” he asked politely.

“The whole month,” she told him. “It’s a kind of getaway for me and I’m hoping a lot of fun for them.”

“Just them? You’re not planning on having any fun?” he said, clearly teasing.

“I didn’t say that,” she said defensively knowing ‘fun’ was something she hadn’t had much of since well before the divorce.

Things had been rocky the last two years of their marriage, and Michelle had just hung on for dear life through it all, and then there had been two additional years where bitterness and the demands of her two children had consumed her and her time.

“Ah. I see,” he said still being polite.

“I, uh…I should get back inside,” she said. “It was…nice to meet you.”

“But you didn’t,” he said.

“I beg your pardon?” Michelle asked not understanding.

“You haven’t met me. We didn’t even introduce ourselves,” he flashing that amazing smile of his.

“Sorry. You’re right. I’m Michelle. Harris.”

“Nice to meet you, Michelle Harris. I’m Brock Nothen.”

“No-thun? With a ‘u’?” she asked not sure she heard correctly.

“No. With an ‘e’. It’s Dutch,” he told her. “I’m originally from Pennsylvania. I moved to Washington six years ago.”

“Ah, okay. You didn’t say ‘state’ so I know you’ve been here for a while,” she said smiling back.

“Right. If you’re not from here, you automatically say ‘Washington State’ which to someone from here means the rival university in over Pullman near the Idaho border.”

Michelle laughed for the first time then said, “Yes. The University of Washington Huskies main rival—the Washington State Cougars.”

“I won’t keep you,” Brock said ending their banter. “But it was a pleasure meeting you, Michelle. I guess I’ll see you at camp tomorrow then.”

“Oh, right. Yes. See you then,” she said feeling silly for feeling the way she was feeling.

As she turned to go inside, she heard the sound of feet on the stairs outside and then Emma’s voice.

“Mom, look!” she called out as she glanced up to the second-floor deck and saw a dog appear with Emma right behind. “Isn’t she beautiful?”

“She’s a ‘he’,” Brock called out.

At the sound of his voice Emma froze and got very quiet.

“She’s very shy,” Michelle said quietly. “So is my son for that matter. Both of them really want a dog, but I’m just not ready to take on the responsibility, and if we get one, I know who’ll be feeding it and taking it outside every day.”

“I’ll feed him, Mom,” Emma said having heard in spite of her mom’s best effort to talk quietly. “And I’ll walk him. Every day. I promise!”

“Honey? Please don’t start, okay? Can you bring the dog down so he can go inside?”

“Okay,” she said without enthusiasm.

The dog followed her down and went straight to Brock.

“Hey, boy! How you doin’? Did you make a new friend?” he asked as he knelt down to pet him.

“What’s his name?” Emma asked as she held her mother’s leg, something children her age didn’t normally do.

“Jake,” the man told her. “And you must be Emma.”

“How did you know my name?” she asked quietly.

“Oh. I told him, honey. He only saw Teague, and I was letting him know I have two children,” her mom explained. “This is Mr. Nothen. He runs the summer camp.”

“She can call me Brock, if you’ll allow it,” he said as he moved closer.

“Well, if you don’t mind,” she said thinking it might be okay since he was so young.

“Not at all. Mr. Nothen makes it sound like I’m a teacher,” he said as he smiled at Emma. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Teachers are hugely important, but I can’t ever imagine myself being one.”

“Don’t you want to come to summer camp, too? We have all kinds of fun,” Brock told the little girl.

“No thank you,” she said quietly but with slightly more confidence.

“Okay, but if you change your mind, I know the camp director, and he’ll let you in late,” Brock told her knowing her mom would understand he was the director.

“Sorry to run, but we really need to get inside,” Michelle said as she took Emma’s hand.

“Okee-dokee!” Brock said. “Nice meeting both of you!”

Michelle was floored when Emma stopped and said to Brock, “Can I play with Jake sometimes?”

“Emma, Jake isn’t our dog, honey. We can’t…”

“Sure. Anytime,” he said before seeing the look he got from Michelle. “Um…anytime your mom beylikdüzü escort says it’s okay, I mean.”

“Mom? Can I?” Emma asked, her eyes filled with expectation.

All she could think of to say was, “We’ll see,” and with that they headed inside to get dinner started.

Fortunately, Michelle forgot all about her handsome young neighbor ten minutes later as she began making dinner for her kids after taking a quick shower of her own. What she couldn’t get rid of was Emma talking about the dog and Teague wanting to see him, too.

“I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to wait until we see Mr. Noth…Brock…again.”

“But he lives right there, Mom!” Teague said pointing to the wall ten feet behind him.

“That’s no excuse to interrupt him. It would be just as rude as if he lived somewhere farther away. Maybe you’ll bump into him and Jake sometime soon and then you can pet him.”

“Cool!” Teague said.

“He said we could play with him anytime we want, Teague,” Emma announced.

“As long as…what?” Michelle said.

Emma looked sad as she said, “As long as you say it’s okay.”

Michelle brought their video games with them, but hoped the kids would stay busy enough they wouldn’t need them. But with no television to entertain them and nothing to really do until the next morning, they were going stir crazy by 7pm.

“Okay. Here you go,” she said caving on the first day.

As she watched them playing happily, she thought back to being a kid herself when no such thing existed. What had she done all day after coming home from school or during the summer? Oh, right. She was either on the phone—a cordless land line—with friends or listening to her discman or at a friend’s house talking and listening to her discman.

Okay, so times were different. At least they were together even if they weren’t actually doing much of anything together.

She let them stay up until 9:30 then told them it was time to get ready for bed.

“Ahh! Do we have to go to bed already?” Teague complained. “It’s barely even dark outside.”

While he did have a point, they had to get up at 6:30 to be at camp by 8 o’clock and they’d need time to wake up and eat breakfast. Or at least Teague would and of the two, he was the one who really didn’t like getting up early.

“Sorry, guys. Off to bed!” she said finally putting her foot down.

“I get top bunk!” Teague called.

“No fair! You always get the top bunk!” Emma whined even though they’d never had bunk beds before.

“Whoa! Stop!” Michelle called out. “Tonight we do rock, scissors, paper for top bunk. Whoever wins tonight gets it for a week. But then we switch for a week every week after that, okay?”

Teague was all smiles until Emma covered his rock with paper and got the top bunk.

“No fair!” he said the way kids often even did after losing fair and square.

“Yes, it was fair,” his mother told him. “You just don’t like the outcome. But next week, the top bunk will be yours. Now, get in bed!”

She gave them both a hug and a kiss then turned out the light and went to go sit out on the deck and just listen to the ocean until she got tired enough to fall asleep. She waited fifteen minutes to make sure the kids were asleep then slowly opened the sliding glass door and stepped out onto the deck.

She took one step and found herself looking right at Jake who, by the way he was wagging his tail, seemed very happy to see her.

“Hello, again!” Brock said to her.

“Oh. Hi. I…I had no idea you were out here,” she said.

“I like to come out here and chill for a while. It’s my ‘zen’ place,” he told her.

“I can go back inside,” she told him.

“No. Why would you do that?” he asked. “I’d enjoy the company.”

“Company? I was thinking I’d just sit and listen to the ocean,” she told him almost annoyed he’d assume she’d want to talk.

“That’s fine, too. I’m not much of a talker,” he told her. “Pull up a chair!”

She’d intended on sitting on her side and yet there really wasn’t any kind of divider, and there wasn’t exactly a whole lot of space. She grabbed a chair and set it about five feet away then tried to relax.

“I really love it out here,” Brock said just seconds later.

“Um, yeah. It’s very peaceful,” she said wishing he’d let it be peaceful.

“Where are you guys from?” he asked. “Other than Washington.”

“Just south of Seattle,” she said not wanting to volunteer too much information.

“Where exactly?” he asked cheerfully.

“Well…Auburn, if you must know,” she said knowing her annoyance was showing through.

“Oh, okay. I live in Seattle. When I’m not out here, of course. I went to the U-dub and just stayed there after I graduated.”

“A Husky,” she said knowing ‘U-dub’ meant University of Washington.

“Yep. I love the city. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the beach, too. A lot. But I really miss the hustle and bustle, you know?”

“Not me,” Michelle said. “You can keep the rat race.”

Realizing she wasn’t going to engage with him, Brock said politely, “I guess I’ll leave you alone.”

Michelle also realized something. She was being rude.

“My apologies, Brock. I’m not trying to be unfriendly. I guess I just expected, or at least hoped, I’d be out here by myself. Not on the deck ‘out here’, but…here. In the beach house.”

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