A New Beginning

Sara stretched out in her plastic chair, slapping her sunglasses onto her face and plopping a hat over her auburn hair. She glanced out from under the rims of her pink plastic specs to watch a cute surf dude walk by, admiring his dark tan and suave swim shorts. Suddenly aware of the rising heat in her skin, she reached into her purse, groping around its jumbled contents. Three metallic colored combs and a bottle of nail polish remover later, she was studying the label of her economy sized sunscreen bottle. She popped the top and squeezed some into her palm, then slathered it over her face, shoulders and under her shirt, oblivious to the curious and sometimes disgusted glances of the wary beach travelers milling about her on the crowded sand.

A young man of about her age walked by, his tanned arm clutching a worn and aged surf board, looked strangely at her for a moment as she finished applying the sunscreen to her cracked and already burnt skin. She closed the bottle and slipped it back into her bag, then realized that a shadow had fallen over her, momentarily blocking the glare of the sun. She glanced up at the young man, who quickly started off in the other direction, his cheeks warming in embarrassment.

Sara frowned, her head swimming with confusion. Suddenly the part of her mind focused on logical thinking kicked in, and she felt her own cheeks now blushing with embarrassment.

Sara smacked her forehead, despaired that her own naïve and foolish mind had played such a trick on her, then was immediately sorry as the sunburn on her forehead began to sting painfully. She groaned then laid back against the chair, accepting her sullen fate. She closed her eyes and relaxed as the cool sea breeze wafted over her. Just as she was drifting off to sleep, the pain in her forehead flared up painfully, startling her into full awarement. Her eyes snapped open just in time to see a multi-colored beach ball bouncing away. To her immense surprise, the young male surfer from before bent to retrieve the ball, then jogged over to her, concern and guilt plainly written on his handsome face.

"Sorry about that… oh man, I broke your necklace." He said, studying to something on the beach floor. Sara sat still for a moment, rubbing her slightly aching forehead, but managed to give him a weak smile.

"Oh that’s okay. I'm sure you didn’t mean any harm…and don’t worry about my necklace... I don’t think it's…" she trailed off as she looked down to find the object of the man's distress. Her mother's beloved golden cross lay in the sand, glinting in the afternoon sun. It now bore several dents, and the slight silver chain was lying in the sand next to it, several broken links apparent. She gasped in surprise, and then quickly found herself immersed in guilt and sadness as she picked up the mangled keepsake. The necklace had been her only link to her deceased mother, and now she had degraded her memory by allowing it to be broken in such a ridiculous situation.

Sara jumped slightly as she felt a hand on her shoulder, and looked up to see the surfer dude kneeling in front of her on the sand, his tenor voice inquiring if she was all right or not.

"Oh, sorry, I'm fine." She smiled sheepishly, and he smiled back, then gently took the cross necklace from her hand. He studied it for a moment, then looked back into her eyes.

"This necklace is really special to you, isn't it?" He asked, his voice soft and full of tenderness.

"Yeah... it was my mom's…. she gave it to me just a few days before she died..." Unbidden tears welled up in her eyes as she told him, and he put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"I'm sure she's still watching out for you. Why don’t you come on over to my house. We'll see if we can get this fixed up… and maybe I'll get to know you a little bit better." He said, smiling as he finished his sentence. Sara looked at him in shock for a second then nodded.

"That sounds like a good idea to me. But, well… what's your name?" she asked, biting her bottom lip, her freckled forehead creasing with nervousness. The surfer dude laughed at himself, then playfully smacked his forehead in a gesture of forgetfulness.

"Geez, I haven’t even introduced myself! I'm Ronnie. Ronnie Makron." He offered his hand, and
Sara tentatively gave hers, and was surprised when he lifted it to his face and gave it a quick kiss.

"I'm... Sara." She managed to say, blushing furiously. Ronnie picked up her bag, slinging it over his shoulder, then took her hand gently, tucking it under his arm. Without another word, they began walking towards the boardwalk. Halfway there, Sara stopped, then turned to Ronnie questioningly.

"How… how come… I mean, earlier, I probably looked like…" she stopped herself, then began blushing again. Ronnie just smiled, and continued walking, pulling her along.

"I think me and you are going to be friends for a while… besides, I thought you were cute… little freckles and all." Then it was his turn to blush. Sara felt herself blushing as well, and they gazed at each other for a moment before bursting into outright laughter.

On the beach, a butterfly floated over the abandoned beach chair, glowing under the afternoon sun with an ethereal aura. Anyone who noticed the beautiful butterfly could have sworn that she smiled as the new couple walked down the boardwalk, hand in hand.

Later On that Evening...

"Well, it might be a little messy, but it’s the best I've got to offer." Ronnie said bemusedly as he opened the door to his house, revealing a well kept and tidy home. He ushered her in, grinning, and got her to sit down on a comfy looking white couch before she could manage to utter a single word.

"Wait right there, I'll go get you something to drink." He said, and walked off to what Sara guessed must be the general direction of the kitchen before she could even manage to collect a sane thought in her befuddled mind. Sara looked around hesitantly, and found herself chuckling at Ronnie's earlier statement about the house being messy. It couldn’t be any cleaner if a maid had done the dusting herself.

Psychedelic paintings and pictures of past surf adventures were taped neatly to the wall in organized little clusters, and even all of the furniture matched in color and style. Finally Ronnie returned from the kitchen carrying two drinks, both with tiny straws and a split slice of lemon on the edge of the cup. Sara chuckled lightly as he gently handed her the drink.

"Ginger ale on the rocks." He said, seeing that she was in a humorous mood. She sipped gingerly at the drink and found it refreshing, then managed to gulp the rest of it down within three seconds, further ignoring the provided straw. She looked up to see Ronnie staring at her incredulously over the rim of her cup, and blushed to see that he had barely taken a sip out of his own drink.

"Burp?" She said aloud, and they both burst out into laughter simultaneously. As the laughter died down, their eyes met, and Sara found herself leaning instinctively towards him, with Ronnie doing the same. Just before they made contact, he cleared his throat and sat back into his seat. Sara pushed down a tiny feeling of rejection, knowing what that previous action would probably have led to.

She held back tears of mirth as he noisily drank the rest of his drink, obviously trying to non-verbally change the subject. Finally he set the cup down on the wooden table with a quiet thunk.

"So... why don’t I go see if I can get this fixed up? You can come watch of course." He blushed furiously, causing Sara to launch into another fit of chuckles. She followed Ronnie down a set of stairs into the basement and into a small workroom in the back.

“Take a seat.” He said, flashing her an impish grin. She sat down lightly on a wooden bench in the workroom and looked around, then picked up a small gadget she couldn’t identify and began to toy with it as Ronnie set up several small tools on his worktable.

“Comfy?” He asked, a wide grin on his face. He reached over to a small boom box and switched it on to omit soft rock of some romantic sort. Sara chuckled lightly and stood up then moved over to stand behind him.

“Think you can fix it?” She asked, standing on her tiptoes to look over his shoulder. He had set the silver chain in a little bowl with the broken links and set the pendant next to several small hammers and screwdrivers.

“Of course. I am mister fix-it after-all, aren’t I?” He said, grinning as he immersed himself in self-ego for a moment. Sara looked at him incredulously for a moment.

Instead she just nodded vigorously and pulled and old stool up next to the worktable so she could watch him work on her necklace more closely. He began working on the broken chain links, using the hammers and a pair of pliers to squeeze them back into their proper shape, then to relink them. He finished fixing the silver chain, stealing glances at Sara whenever he thought she wasn’t paying attention, then set it down on the table gently, beaming proudly at his small accomplishment.

“See? It’ll turn out all right.” He picked up the pendant and began using the small hammer to bend it back into shape, then began speaking to her as he worked.

“So where do you live?” He asked, just a hint of reluctance in his voice, as if afraid to hear her answer.

“Oh... I live just a couple of minutes from here. I go to UoV.” She said, hoping that he knew she was referring to the University of Virginia. He seemed to brighten a little, then turned to her, smiling.

“Wow. Junior? What’s your major?” He asked. She chuckled lightly, then scooted a little bit closer.

“Yeah. I’m a biology major.” She answered, blushing a little bit at the thought of her being a “smart” girl.

“Oh, a smart girl eh? Cool. Very cool. I used to be a lit major... it was a two year course. I work mainly in business though. I’ve got a little bookstore down on Main Street.” He finished, then laughed lightly at the astonished look on her face.

“A bookstore? Whoa… creepy.” She said, then shut her mouth quickly, realizing how rude she must have sounded.

“Its not that creepy, although it does scare me every once in a while…” He turned and suddenly handed her necklace, fully repaired. She stared at it in her hand dumbly for a moment, noticing its new gleam and shine.

Suddenly her happiness burst through and she stood up and hugged him.

“Thank you so much.” She said, and then noticed that he still held her in his arms. She looked up at him, and noticed a difference in his eyes. She found herself slowly edging upwards on her toes until their mouths met briefly for a kiss that seemed to last for an eternity. When she pulled away slightly and opened her eyes again, she found that he was smiling down at her, still holding her in his arms, and found that the one thing she wanted most was to stay in his arms forever.