I heard a knock on the door and got up from my spot on the couch to get it. When I opened it I saw Jack’s smiling face staring in at me. I laughed and opened the screen door.
“What are you doing here?” I asked as I gave him a hug.
“I’m headed to the airport. Sid brought me by so I could say goodbye,” he explained. I stuck out my bottom lip.
“Nooooo,” I pouted. He laughed and flicked the tip of my nose.
“Don’t worry, I don’t plan on forgetting about you. We’ll talk on the phone and then you’ll have to come out to LA sometime during the season to visit.” I pulled my lip back in and smiled.
“Sounds good. I’ll miss you, Jacky,” I told him, giving him another hug. He laughed.
“And I’ll miss you. There’s no one in this world quite like you, Misty,” he joked.
“Should I be offended by that?” I asked. He pulled away from the hug and shook his head.
“Not at all.” He turned to walk back to Sidney’s car.
I looked over and saw Sidney sitting in the driver seat. It was the first time we'd seen each other since the morning after his party. I was still a little worried things would be awkward. Our eyes locked and he smiled at me. I returned the smile. Maybe it wouldn't be.
“Hey, Misty!” Jack called, diverting my attention back to him.
“Take care of my boy, here. He’s pretty special.”
There was a twinkle in his eye as he winked at me before getting into the car. That twinkle made me think there was more to what he said than the actual words. I gave a wave to them as I watched the car back out of the driveway and drive away.
Later that night it was the first night of the co-ed volleyball league. Aiden had called me and given me the details and I arrived, finding him almost immediately. There were teams already on the courts playing, and others were starting to warm up. I lugged my bag across the gym to Aiden’s group.
“Misty, I’m glad you could make it!” he called out when he saw me, a giant smile on his face.
“Hey, what’s up?” He introduced me to everyone else on the team as I began to get ready. I put on my knee pads and ankle brace before lacing up my sneakers.
“So what are you doing in Cole Harbour?” Aiden asked as he jogged next to me as I warmed up a bit.
“I decided to take a summer vacation and ended up here,” I told him.
“Who did you come here with?” he asked. I smiled over at him. It wasn’t lost on me that Aiden had invited me to join his team and was now asking who I was on vacation with because he was interested in me.
“I’m just here by myself.” He looked surprised.
“Really? So you don’t know anyone in town?” I stopped jogging and started to stretch.
“Well, I made some friends when I first got here that I’ve been hanging out with.” He smiled and nodded and fell silent as we continued to stretch.
We paired up together to pepper a bit while the other games continued. It took a few rounds of having him hit the ball at me to get back into the game, but once I was there I felt good. We had a round going so long that most of the other groups not playing had stopped to watch us and were cheering us on. The more they cheered, the harder Aiden and I worked. We began diving onto the floor trying to keep the ball in play. Finally Aiden dug a ball that I couldn’t manage to get to, and I helped him off the floor laughing.
“You guys seriously just went for almost 10 minutes without stopping,” someone commented. We both laughed.
“You’re pretty good,” he said to me. I grinned.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” I returned.
The game got going, and it was just like Aiden had said. Groups not playing had drinks out and were mingling with everyone. Even some of the players were drinking while their team was playing. Everyone wanted to do well, but no one took it overboard. When our team had won our match I was in a great mood.
“So what did you think?” he asked as I packed my bag back up.
“Oh, I’ll definitely be back,” I told him. We said our goodbyes and I headed home and took a shower before I crashed in bed.
The sound of rain on the bedroom window woke me up the next morning. I groaned when I saw that it was only 7 am. I rolled over to try to get back to sleep, but within a few minutes I realized it was hopeless. I got up and started some coffee and let Bauer out. I checked the weather and saw that the rain wasn’t going to let up anytime soon. I was bummed for a moment until an idea popped into my head.
I got dressed, grabbed some snacks and ushered Bauer into the car after giving him breakfast. I pulled up to Sidney’s a little while later and noticed that it was still dark inside. I giggled to myself as I walked up to the door and knocked on it. When he didn’t answer right away I started pounding on his door and ringing his doorbell relentlessly until he whipped the door open.
“What?!” he yelled as he rubbed his eyes. I burst out in laughter at his greeting.
“Good morning to you too, grumpy.” He looked at me in surprise.
“Misty?” he asked. I rolled my eyes and walked past him into the house. “What are you doing here?”
“I thought we could go fishing. It’s perfect weather for it,” I told him. He glanced outside before closing the door.
“Do you have any idea what time it is?” he asked when he followed me to his kitchen.
“Of course I do. That’s why I have coffee.” I held out a cup I’d poured from my thermos to him and he backed away, his hands in the air.
“Keep that shit away from me,” he said. I groaned before walking over and putting the cup in his hands.
“I made it pussy weak, just for you.” I pulled out a box of cereal and a bowl from his cupboard. Then I grabbed the milk from the refrigerator and fixed a bowl of cereal.
“Gee, thanks,” he replied, taking a sip. I saw his eyebrows shoot up in surprise. “This is actually good.”
“Well, hurry up and get dressed. The fish aren’t getting any younger.”
“Yes, mom,” he retorted as he headed back upstairs. I threw some cereal at his back as he continued to walk. Bauer and Sam delighted in the clean up.
Sidney had been ready to kill someone when he’d heard the racket being made at his front door. When he’d realized it was Misty his anger had faded. He wondered why that was. There was no one in his life that would have gotten away with waking him up like that, he thought. Well, obviously except for Misty.
He also realized that had it been anyone else rooting through his cupboards without permission and then eating his food, he’d have been pretty pissed off as well. It hadn’t occurred to him to be angry at her for doing that. In fact he felt himself smiling at how well she knew his kitchen and how comfortable she felt there. Then he remembered that he'd been angry at her when she dumped coffee on him the day they met until he looked into her eyes. He wondered what it was about her that made it impossible to be mad at her.
He did as she said and got dressed. He checked the weather to be safe and saw that the rain was going on all day. He’d never met a girl who thought a rainy day was perfect weather to be outside and fishing. When he made his way downstairs he saw that she’d fed Sam. That made him smile too.
“Okay, I brought some snacks of my own, but I didn’t have much in the way of lunch stuff, so I made some sandwiches from your supplies,” she told him, tapping the top of the cooler on the counter.
“Sounds good. Are you ready to go?” She nodded.
They left the dogs to themselves and walked out to the boat. Without him having to ask her, she started to help take the cover off of the boat and get it ready. When they were finished he pulled away and steered towards his favorite spot. Misty tossed him an apple when he’d stopped the boat.
“You came prepared,” he said to her as he took a bite.
“I usually am.”
They fished in near silence for a while, neither of them catching anything. A little while later he saw a tug on her line. She jumped up with a smile on her face as she began to reel in the line. He watched as she pulled out a nice sized fish.
“Check it out,” she told him proudly, holding the line up for him to get a good look at the fish, a giant grin on her face.
“That’ll make a nice dinner,” he replied. Her grin faded, replaced with a look of horror.
“You’re going to eat this?” she asked. He shook his head.
“No, you are,” he told her. Her eyes went wide as he grabbed a cooler to put the fish in.
“I told you I don’t eat fish!” she exclaimed. He laughed.
“Why not? It’s good.” He walked over and grabbed the fish to take it off the hook.
“It’s so cute,” she protested, taking a step away from him, and pulling the fish out of his grasp. All he could see was a fish. What the hell was cute about a fish?
“You’re not serious,” he commented. He reached for the fish again. If she wasn’t going to eat it, he would. She panicked and practically ripped the hook out of the fish’s mouth before tossing it back into the lake.
“Swim away!” she called after it, leaning over the side to watch it disappear into the depths of the lake.
“What are you doing?!” he yelled at her in annoyance. “I thought you went fishing with your grandfather.”
“I did. We always threw them back. We threw them back last time with Jack!” she defended herself.
“Because none of those were big enough to eat!” he said in exasperation. Maybe it was possible to get angry at her. She looked at him with the most pathetic look on her face. It was only aided by the rain streaking down her face as well, matting her hair to her cheeks. “Okay, what’s wrong? What traumatizing experience did you have with eating fish?” There was always a story with Misty.
“I caught a fish once with my grandfather. He said it was going to be dinner. Then he made me help behead and scale it. There’s nothing more traumatizing to a 5 year old than watching the fish she caught get beheaded, and then watching the mouth continue to move even after it’s no longer connected,” she explained.
Great, now he felt like an asshole. Once again, he just couldn’t be angry with her. She continued to look up at him with those sad puppy dog eyes and he grabbed her and pulled her into a hug.
“I’m sorry,” he said. She pulled back just enough to look up at him and gave him a small smile.
“It’s okay. I just couldn’t handle thinking about Trouty getting beheaded.” He nearly died laughing.
“Trouty?” he managed to choke out.
“Hey, Trout is the only fish I know and he needed a name,” she pouted. He felt the sudden urge to kiss her as he looked into her eyes as she tried to hold back a laugh of her own. Instead, he let go of her, pushing the thought out of his mind.
“From now on I know that when you say you want to go fishing it means just for fun.” She beamed up at him in triumph.
“You’re not going to make me name the fish I catch, are you?” he asked. She gave him a mischievous grin.