Beau Barnett. Incorrigible ladies man. Gerbil boy. He goes by many names. Much like a super hero. Plus he makes the girls swoon and giggle like one too. He's the Stats-Master for Write Club. And there are many wonderful things I could say about him, but there's not enough space on my blog. I will say that he makes me laugh and smile and giggle like a school girl every single day. And he's very special to me.
I met Beau in October, the first night I subbed in for Darci Cole during WriteClub. We became fast friends, exchanging quips and jokes back and forth. He's simply one of the most supportive writers on twitter. He's always handing out virtual high fives and Kermit flails better than anyone else I know. And the banter between he and Darci is hilarious. We have all become quite the little team, we WriteClubbers. So, it's not a surprise when I say that of course I wanted Beau to write something for this project. Actually, he was the first person I asked.
His stories are some of my favorites. I adore his writing and every time I read his words, I realize what a great talent he is. His stories are simple, yet they all capture the essence of love, whether it's new or long standing. His words are beautiful and powerful, and when I read them, they remind me of the strength and capacity of love. So, I'm excited to have you read his story, The Pier. A great example of what he does best, make us all fall in love again.
The Memory Project (continued)
"That one reminds me of our dock." Jesse pointed to a picture on the right bottom corner of the page.
I smiled. "Yeah, it does." I tilted my head and snuck at glance at Jesse, my best friend. And now what? I wasn't sure. But looking at the dock, the wooden slats worn and the water serene, reflecting the sky in shades of gray, images of some of the best times of my life rushed through my mind. Most of them involving Jesse.
I looked back at the picture. "I love docks."
"I think it's a pier," Jesse said.
"Docks. Piers. Whatever. They're full of such promise. Romantic."
"Or a place where people catch and beat fish until they're dead. That too." Jesse smirked.
I rolled my eyes. "I can't believe you haven't been snapped up."
"I thought I had." Jesse leaned in close. "By you." He kissed my cheek softly, the touch of his lips on my skin sending goose bumps down my arms.
My cheeks warmed and a small giggle escaped.
This could easily be the story of us. And even though it wasn't, I imagined a great love story probably started at the end of the dock in the photo.
(to be continued)
By Beau Barnett
Upon hearing his bedroom door open, Ray laid the book he was reading, To Kill a Mockingbird, down on his chest and looked to see his older brother, Jon, poking his head in. He sighed in annoyance.
"Hey man, come on. Last weekend of the summer party at the lake," Jon said, a wry grin on his face.
"I think I'll skip it this year. Just a bunch of idiots drinking and causing trouble," Ray replied.
"No," Jon said, walking over, taking the book from his brother's chest and tossing it aside. "You're not skipping it. Let's go."
Ray shook his head, knowing his brother wouldn't give in before he did. "Fine," he said. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up as gracefully as a 16 year old boy could. "Let me grab my hat and I'll be right down."
Jon nodded and walked out of the room. Ray grabbed his Alabama hat, running his fingers through his wavy brown hair before putting it on. As an afterthought, he grabbed his book, hoping to finish it before the sun fell and the party really started.
His brother was waiting in the kitchen. "You ready?" he asked. Ray shrugged and out the door the boys went, electing to walk the mile and a half trip to the lake. "Are you seriously bringing your stupid book?"
"Shut up. I have to get it read."
Jon rolled his eyes. "You're 16. You should care way more about girls than you do some stupid book."
"The girls at school don't really interest me."
"Oh my God, you're gay, aren't you? It's ok if you are, little brother."
Ray, red faced, shoved him off the sidewalk and into the empty street, shaking his head violently. "You're an idiot. No."
Jon laughed and shoved his brother back playfully. "Whatever you say, man."
"High school girls are stupid. All they care about is shopping, N*Sync, and whatever ridiculous crap Seventeen magazine is spouting this month."
"Yes, but you can't sleep with a book..." he paused to flash a wicked smile at his brother, "...well you probably could."
"Shut up." The boys continued laughing and ribbing each other all the way to the lake.
When the boys arrived at the lake, a few of their schoolmates were already there playing a spirited game of volleyball. Jon elbowed his brother in the ribs as they walked toward the group. "Good Lord, man, do you see Rachel?" he asked, eying her bikini-clad body appreciatively. "See ya, little brother," he said, ripping his t-shirt over his head and jogging over to join the game, "enjoy your book."
Ray shook his head, admitting that Rachel did look simply amazing. He walked over to the group and said his 'hellos', joining the game on the opposite team as his brother. As more people started to show up, Ray let a sophomore he didn't know take his place, picked up his book, and went to find a drink. There was a bar of sorts set up, with coolers filled with beer or water. Ray took a water, downing half the bottle in one gulp.
Always a loner, he found a reasonably quiet spot on the beach well away from everyone. He took his shirt off and sat on it, then started to read. The warm sun felt good on his bare shoulders, relaxing him. Soon he was engrossed in the story, enough so that he didn't notice anyone coming near to him until he saw a shadow creep across the book. He rolled his eyes skyward, sighing in annoyance, expecting to see his brother standing there complete with his normal taunting grin on his face.
"Oh...uh...hi," he said, his features softening into a smile when he saw a beautiful girl standing before him. Tall, blond, and statuesque, wearing a pink tank top and denim shorts. Long, tanned legs and brilliant blue eyes. Every 16 year old's dream girl.
She smiled, making her blue eyes twinkle in the sunlight. "Hey," she said, her voice oozing a southern twang that made Ray's heart skip a beat, "whatcha reading?"
Ray stared, mouth agape for a moment before coming back to his senses and responding timidly, "oh...uh...just a book for school."
She reached out and took the book from him, glancing quickly at the title before handing it back to him. "Harper Lee, eh? Great book."
"It's not bad." Just then he felt a hand on his shoulder. He lowered his head, shaking it sadly before standing up. Of course his brother would notice him talking to a girl, especially one so unbelievably beautiful.
"Who's your friend, little bro?" Jon asked, stressing the word little before taking a large drink from his beer. To her, he added with his most charming smile, "hey, gorgeous. Jon. Nice to meet ya."
The smile on her face quickly withered. "Hollie," she said.
Undeterred, Jon reached out for her hand. "Come on, let's get you a drink, Hollie."
Her eyes quickly glanced at the beer in his other hand before cutting back to him. "No thanks," she replied coldly.
The smile in his eyes vanished as Jon dropped his outstretched hand. Shrugging, he said, "Your loss, sweetheart." He turned and walked away.
"I'm sorry about that," Ray said.
The smile returned to her face once more. "Don't worry about it. What's your name?"
Her smile got wider. "It's nice to meet you, Ray." The two began walking along the beach. Ray was quickly smitten by her all-American good looks, infectious laugh, and incredibly sexy voice. The two just seemed to connect immediately; he was really glad he hadn't blown off the party. It became obvious pretty quickly that she wasn't your typical teenager: the usual things didn't interest her.
As they walked, Hollie was struck by how easily the conversation was flowing. They seemed to have a lot in common, sharing a love for classic literature and movies. What's more, he seemed to actually be interested in what she had to say and not just paying her lip service to try and score. The thought warmed her heart, and she knew she was already developing a massive crush on him. Neither wanted the day to end.
Eventually, the summer sun set and the two were still walking and talking. They came to an old pier which jutted a few feet out into the lake. They walked to the edge and sat, removing their shoes so their bare feet could dangle into the refreshingly cool water. With the sun down and the moon rising high overhead the temperature started to drop. The two found themselves inching closer and closer together until finally Ray put his arm around her and brought her even closer. She nuzzled into his chest, perfectly content to be in his arms.
The conversation showed no signs of slowing down. The sound of their laughter permeated the lake. Well past midnight, an almost shivering Hollie pointed at the nearest house and said, "I'm freezing, and my house is right there. I'm going to get us a blanket, ok?"
Ray stood up, took her hand, and helped her to her feet. He started to say something about how it was getting late, but she put her finger up to his lips and stopped him, saying, "Don't you dare leave! I promise I'll be right back!"
He smiled and nodded. As she turned to walk away, he pulled her back towards him and gently placed a kiss on her cheek. She giggled and blushed, casting her eyes downward. "I'll be here," he said. She went inside.
Ray stood waiting on the edge of the pier, gazing at the stars over the horizon, the biggest grin on his face. Just when he started to worry she wasn't coming back, he heard her quick footsteps bouncing towards him. He turned, still grinning. Hollie had a couple of blankets in her hands. She handed him one; he took it and spread it out on the pier, sitting down on it. She sat next to him, and he wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her close while she spread the blanket out over them. They sat like this continuing to talk for hours, just enjoying getting to know each other, liking each other more and more as the conversation progressed.
All too soon, they noticed the sky lightening around them with the approaching morning. They watched the sun rise over the distant trees rendered speechless by the beauty, appreciating the promise of a new day as they never had before. When the sun had completely risen above the trees, Ray gently reached out and turned her face towards his before gently kissing her. Again, she giggled and blushed before kissing him back, their tongues slowly exploring each other's mouths with a sweet inexperienced imprecision. When the kiss ended, Ray reached out and caressed Hollie's face with the back of his hand. "Thank you," he said, "for an amazing night."
"And that," Ray said to his granddaughter Michelle, her blue eyes wide with wonder, red curls falling down her face to her shoulders, "was the day I met your grandmother."
"Wow, grandpa," she said, "that's beautiful."
"Who would have thought 65 years later we would still be together?" He gave his wife's hand a loving squeeze. "Happy anniversary, Baby. I love you so much."
Follow Beau on Twitter: @INukeYou
Read his blog here: beaubarnett.wordpress.com