A Tragic Wreck
Page 3

 T.K. Leigh

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Just as the sun rose on that November morning, the Jeep pulled up. And, as usual, surfer boy untied his surfboard and smiled. Nothing ever changed. A smile. A drink of coffee. A sigh. That’s what her mornings were composed of.
“My life is pathetic if my only excitement is some guy whose name I don’t even know,” she mumbled as she read a book on her e-reader, drinking her coffee.
“Cameron. My name’s Cameron Bowen, but most people call me Cam.”
Olivia jumped, looking for the source of the voice. Surfer boy stood to the right of Olivia’s deck in his wetsuit, carrying a surfboard. She hadn’t noticed him walk up to her deck, desperate to finally make an introduction.
Cam turned the corner and stood by the steps leading to Olivia’s deck, watching as the gorgeous, tall brunette quickly bolted off the lounge chair, turning to her front door, and frantically trying to open it. “You see, usually when someone gives you their name, they may want you to return the favor. At least where I’m from they do.”
Olivia listened to his accent, noticing a hint of a southern drawl. “And where is it you’re from, Cam?” she inquired, turning around and crossing her arms.
“All over really. But, truth be told, born and raised in South Carolina.” His eyes sparkled and Olivia couldn’t help but respond to him.
“Me, too. But I haven’t lived there in well over a decade.”
“That’s a pity.” His lips turned up into a small but attractive smile that made Olivia want to melt. “I bet you used to sound too cute for words with a little southern drawl.” He beamed, showing Olivia a perfect set of teeth.
God, he’s really handsome. This was bad. This was very, very bad. She was trying to get over Alexander. It still pained her to think about what she had done, leaving him. She couldn’t string someone else along, knowing full well she could never give that person her entire heart. She gave her heart to Alexander and he still held it, although he probably didn’t realize it.
Cam took a few steps closer, still on the sandy road by her deck. He was rather attractive and had a good body underneath his wetsuit. Olivia had noticed how handsome he was several weeks ago, but up close, he was even more so. His silver eyes beamed as he smiled, staring up at her. The ocean breeze gusted, blowing his wild sandy hair in front of his eyes. But she was off men. And, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t get Alexander out of her thoughts.
“So, are you going to tell me your name, or do I have to try to guess it?” He cautiously stepped up the stairs of her deck, making sure he wasn’t intruding.
She uncrossed her arms and took a few steps toward him, holding her hand out. “My name’s Olivia. People call me Libby, though.”
Taking Olivia’s hand in his own, Cam felt her soft skin. There was something so tragic about the woman standing in front of him. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but she just seemed so alone. He had been watching her every day since mid-October when she appeared out of nowhere, renting old man Robinson’s beach cottage. He figured she would only be there for a week, but every day, without fail, she sat outside, drinking her coffee and staring out at the ocean as if it held the answers to all her questions.
The first week, she barely smiled. As she drank her coffee, he noticed tears streaming down her face. Something made her sad. The waves were killer that week because of a big storm brewing off the coast. The second week, the waves died down a bit and, after checking the report, he thought about blowing off surfing in the morning. But something about the sad girl who sat on her deck and drank coffee made him put on his wetsuit and go. And even when the waves were more or less non-existent, every day he drove down to Ocean Avenue in the Fernandina Beach section of Amelia Island and smiled at the girl with the sad brown eyes.
“Libby. It’s wonderful to finally put a name to the face.”
Olivia took in the man she had grown accustomed to seeing. His silver eyes had a depth and a kindness to them that she had never seen before. She felt as if she could spill her entire life out to him and he wouldn’t judge her. His smile was infectious and, before Olivia knew it, she smiled back. She couldn’t remember the last time she smiled. It felt good.
“Do you surf?” Cam asked.
“I’ve tried it a few times. I lived in Hawaii for a bit and I didn’t want to stick out as a haole so I learned to surf.” She looked over the horizon at the dozen or so bodies bobbing up and down, waiting to ride a wave into shore.
“What’s a haole?” he asked.
“It’s a Hawaiian term for mainlanders.” She took a long sip of her coffee, wondering whether she should offer him a mug.
“Ah, I see.” He smiled a genuine smile at the quiet woman. “Want to catch a few waves?” he asked, gesturing toward the water.
“I don’t have a board. Or a wetsuit.”
“Just grab a bathing suit. The waves are pretty calm today so you’ll be fine without one.”
Olivia hesitated, thinking about it.
“Come on. I see you sitting here every morning, drinking your coffee, and you just look so sad. Please. Let me at least show you some fun.”
She looked at him, shocked that he noticed how empty she was in just those few seconds each day. “Okay,” she said after a moment of deep thought. “Give me ten minutes. I need to shower.”
“Great. I’ll go try to catch a wave or two. I’ll see you out there.” He ran toward the water, holding his board.
It was a relatively warm morning for mid-November, but Olivia knew the water would be freezing. She had been there several weeks and still hadn’t put a foot in the ocean. Even if she didn’t get on a surfboard, at least she would finally feel the saltwater against her skin.
She took a quick shower, making sure to shave fairly well. Pulling her long, wavy hair back, she threw on the two-piece swimsuit that she used when training for triathlons. She grabbed a towel, then walked between the sand dunes down to where the water met the shore.
Cam ran up to her when he saw her walking down the beach. “Hey. You made it.”
“You sound surprised,” she mumbled dryly.
“Well, a little. I thought you would blow me off, maybe go for a run and then just sit in your house the rest of the day.”
His statement caught Olivia off-guard. “How do you seem to know so much about me?”
“You caught my eye. I have a thing for beautiful women.” He winked, grabbing her hand and pulling her toward the water’s edge.