Authors: Jess Petosa
We work late
tonight. It’s almost midnight by the time all of the guests leave and our
sections are clear.
"I need to run to the convenience store real quick and then
I'll be back to pick you up," Amy yells to me as she is running out the
I slip through the front door of the cafe and close my eyes as the
sea breeze hits my face. The night has cooled a little, and I shiver, running
my hands along my arms as if that might stop the chill. I follow the lanterns
onto the dock, letting my fingers graze over one as I pass.
I like to think that they
light the way home. To let her know that if she ever does want to come back, we
are here waiting for her.
I wonder if somewhere someone has lanterns lit for me. Am I
welcome home whenever, wherever I may come from? I stare out over the water for
a few minutes, which is calmer than it has been in awhile. I hear the clinking
sound of the bells on the buoys and voices from the boardwalk.
"That was some great avoiding you did tonight. Really.”
I close my eyes and clench my fists, exhaling slowly. Finally, I
turn around and slip my hands into the pockets of my shorts. Will is standing
on the dock, about halfway down. His hands are shoved into his own pockets, and
a gray shirt is stretched across his upper body.
"You shouldn't have come," I tell him. "To dinner
tonight, or here."
"Jane," he says slowly, running a hand through his hair.
"Don't call me that. We both know the name is a lie." My
tone sounds more callous than I mean it to.
"It's who you were when I met you, and whether you like it or
not, it’s who you are now." He takes a step toward me and I realize that I
cannot step away unless I want to take a swim. "It’s also the girl I would
like to get to know."
"So now you want to get to know me, huh?"
"I never said I didn't want to get to know you," he
points out. "I just said we shouldn't date, and then you took off down the
I can feel my cheeks turning pink, and thankfully even the light
from the lanterns isn't enough to reveal that to Will.
"Don't remind me," I say.
"Look, I know that you’re most likely really confused. I
don't know how you’re handling all of this, but I want to help." He takes
another step toward me.
"Help?" I say with a humorless laugh. "Help me how?
I don't want to know who I am, not yet."
"I can be your friend," he says.
"Just friends," I say to myself but I know he hears me.
"It's not me it's you, right?"
"Jane," he says my name again, but with frustration this
"Look Will." Now I’m the one who steps forward. "I
appreciate the offer, I do. But now that I've been honest with you about my
situation, I feel like I can continue to do so in other areas. I like you Will,
a lot. I felt a connection from the moment you stepped into the cafe, and it
just grew stronger when we went out last night. There is
I can just be your friend. So I'm sorry if you see all
of this differently, but I can't do what you’re asking."
I brush past him and hurry toward the cafe. I’m sure that Amy will
be back any minute. It feels good to be open and honest, and somehow I don't
feel embarrassed or ashamed like I thought I might. I’m almost across the
boardwalk when Will grabs my arm and spins me around.
"I can't believe I’m going to do this,” he says.
I don't have time to ask him what he is going to do before he
leans down and brushes my lips with a kiss. It is gentle, and quick, and I'm
not even sure I kiss him back. He pulls back slightly and I turn to stone,
incapable of movement. I'm staring at his lips, and my own are parted slightly.
My heart is beating fast in my chest, and by the swiftness in Will's breathing,
I gather that his is as well.
He watches me, maybe waiting to see if I react. When I do nothing,
he steps closer. His hand comes up to cup the back of my neck, and he pulls me
closer, his lips brushing mine again. This kiss isn't full of hesitation or
wonder. Instead it is deep and meaningful, full of longing and desire. I place
my hands on his waist and kiss him back, my lips parting against his. There is
a fire running down my arms and legs, setting my nerves ablaze. The fire
settles low in my belly, and I lean closer to Will.
"Jane!" Amy calls from the side of the cafe.
Will and I jump apart quickly, as though we've been caught doing
something wrong. I spin toward the side of the building just as Amy appears
around the corner.
"There you are, I thought maybe you tried to walk..."
her words trail right off the dock and into the water. She looks at Will, and
then back at me, repeating the motion several times. I’m hoping we look like
we've just been talking, and nothing else. Although, from the way Will dug his hands
into my hair, I'm sure my ponytail is askew.
"Do you still need that ride home?" In the dim lantern
light, I can see her eyes narrow. She’s trying to assess the situation.
Suddenly the discomfort of the night falls over me. Everything
Will said. Everything I said. The heated kiss.
"Yes," I say quickly, before Will can give a different
I turn back to him and bite my lip, "I'll, um, see you
later I guess."
Will's posture is rigid and his hands are back in his pockets. I
wonder if he’s debating on whether or not the kiss was a good idea, or maybe
he’s wondering why I’m making excuses to run.
One corner of his mouth pulls up into a crooked smile. "See
you tomorrow," he says.
I think I’m in the clear until I get into the passenger side of
"You were totally making out back there, weren't you?"
she practically yells the words at me.
"Well, it just sort of happened," I respond. I lean
forward and put my head in my hands, groaning. "Things are seriously
As usual, Charles and Marie are in bed when I get home, and I
almost feel bad that I am relieved. We are on such opposite schedules that I don't
even need to worry about releasing my problems on them. I shower quickly and
fall into bed with wet hair, rolling around under the covers as I replay the
kiss in my mind, over and over again. I don't know how, but I eventually manage
to urge the kiss out of my thoughts and fall asleep.
Even though it is
Saturday, and we will be busy, I’m only working the dinner shift at the cafe
tonight. That means that I have until two in the afternoon before I even need
to think about getting ready. I wake up mid-morning and head downstairs. There
is a note on the kitchen table from Charles and Marie.
Charles and I had to drive into Bangor for an appointment. We'll
stop by the cafe tonight to say hi. I can't wait to hear about your date!
I groan. Marie hasn't heard about my date. I drop the letter onto
the table and move around the kitchen, pouring myself a bowl of cereal and
grabbing a glass of orange juice. When I’m done I rinse off my dishes and put
them into the dishwasher. I could catch a bus into town and do some more shop
exploring, but the idea doesn't excite me as much as it did yesterday. I can
tell by looking out the window that it is going to be a nice day, and probably a
hot one at that. I run upstairs to my room and dig my bathing suit out of a
drawer. It is a simple, black bikini, one I found in my black bag. I
lather on some sunscreen, grab my sunglasses, and head back downstairs.
A long dock stretches from the backyard. At the end it opens up
into a large square, with lounge chairs and a fire pit built into the wood. I walk
out to the end of the dock and kick my flip-flops off before settling into a
chair. I lean back and close my eyes, listening to the water lap against the
dock and the seagulls’ caws from up above. Once again, the memory of the kiss
shifts back into my mind, and this time I let it. The sun is already heating my
skin, but I can feel my nerves prickling.
What did the kiss
Will said he would see me today but was that for show, so Amy
would think things were okay? Or maybe he is coming to the cafe for dinner
I'm distracted momentarily by the sound of a boat motor. A
neighbor must be pulling into their dock, because normally on this side of the
bay the boats don't come this close to shore. I open my eyes and sit up a
little, looking out over the water. A white boat is coasting toward me,
and I look in either direction. The neighbors on either side are a good
distance away so their boat wouldn't be this close. I squint and hold my hand
over my sunglasses, trying to get a better view.
Someone is standing at the wheel of the boat, one hand guiding and
the other waving at me. I grunt in disbelief.
I stand and slip on my flip-flops, walking to the far edge of the
dock. Will turns the boat off and coasts to the dock, bringing it as close as
he can get. He slips his sunglasses to the top of his head and smiles at me.
"What are you doing
here?" I ask him.
As his eyes slip over me
I'm suddenly aware that I'm wearing a two-piece bathing suit, not my uniform
for the cafe, and not a dress. Will recovers and looks at me.
"I told you I would
see you today." He steps away from the wheel and to the edge of the boat.
He is wearing green board shorts and no shirt, a sight I've seen just once
before. His bare chest is just as glorious the second time, and I'm glad I've
kept my sunglasses on so that he doesn't know that I'm staring.
"Yes, you did," I
say. "But I didn't know you meant here. How did you even know I'd be out
"I had a hunch,"
he says with a grin.
"Is this boat
yours?" I ask, surveying the white speedboat. It has gold lettering along
the side to name the ship's maker.
He spreads his hands out.
"My one and only. I call her Missy but I haven't had the chance to paint
her name on the side just yet, even though I've had her five years."
I look the boat over again.
"Missy? Is that a past girlfriend?”
He grins and I realize that
I sound jealous.
"Want to come
aboard?" He motions to the space around him.
I hesitate. "I'm not
"I can tell you're
looking for an excuse to refuse me, one you don't have." He pulls his
sunglasses back down and leans over the edge, reaching a hand toward me. The
boat has drifted a bit and is too far from me to just step onto it.
"I have to work tonight,"
Will smirks. "I'll get
you back in time. It's the least you can do after bombarding me with a kiss
I gasp. "So now
"Take my hand and
we'll pull her in," he changes the topic.
I grab his hand and am
almost pulled into the water, but I correct my balance, leaning backward. The
boat jolts slightly as it hits the bumper along the dock. Will doesn't release
my hand; instead he pulls me closer to the boat.
"Come on, Jane, what
else are you going to do today? Get in the boat," he says.
I sigh. "Oh,
Will opens a small door on
the side of the boat and I'm able to step right in. I assess the inside
quickly; white leather seats and a tan carpeted floor. There is even a little
seating area in front of where Will stands to steer the boat. He motions for me
to sit down in the chair across from where he stands to steer the boat, and he
uses his foot to push away from the dock. Soon the engine is running again and
we pull away from shore. I watch Charles and Marie's house grow smaller and
then I turn to look out over the bay.
We are quiet as he pulls
further out into the water, and I find the silence comforting. I no longer feel
awkward over our kiss, or that fact that I am wearing a bikini in front of him.
All those feelings seem childish and impulsive now, as the salt water clears my
meaning behind the name Missy?" I ask. "I had some guests at the cafe
the other day who said naming a boat is almost as important as naming a
Will laughs and looks over
at me. "Missy was a friend I had when I was five. I barely remember her,
since it was so long ago, just that she was my best friend that summer. We
would play on the docks some days, and down at the playground on other days.
Then one day she was just gone," he says. "Nothing crazy, just some
good memories from when I was a kid. When things seemed much simpler."
"That's neat," I
say. "I like that. Good boat name."
"What if I had said it
was my ex-girlfriend?" he asks.
"I may have asked you
to take me back home," I reply with a smile. "Seems like a bad
He directs his gaze back
over the water and points to a small piece of land in the middle of the
"There is a sand bar
over there. Not many others really know about it, just a few locals."
He is right. In fact, when
he parks the boat in the water, there is no one else in sight. The small piece
of land is almost comical, just a circular sand spot surrounded by water. From
here I can look back and see the eastern shore of the island.
I stand on one of the bench
seats and look over the side.
"Am I just supposed to
Will comes up behind me and
shakes his head. "Hold on."
He hops over the side of
the boat, feet first. He looks so graceful when he lands in the water, and I
know that I would look like a flopping fish if I tried the same move. He comes
back to the side of the boat and holds his arms out. The water is waist high on
him, which is nearly shoulder deep for me.
"I'll help you
I put my legs over the side
of the boat and jump, not so gracefully, into his arms. He has one arm behind
my back and the other under my knees, and I'm trying not to think about how my
flesh is tingling where his skin touches mine.
"Aren't you going to
put me down?" I ask.
"I'm not sure
yet," he responds.
I roll my eyes and pinch
his arm. "Put me down."
He sets me on my feet, and
I hurry through the cold water, squealing slightly. I make it up to the sandbar
and turn around to find that Will is still standing in the water. "What,
you don't know how to swim?"
I laugh and then pause.
"Well, I don't really know."
Thankfully, Will laughs
too. "There is only one way to find out."
"I like it up
here," I motion to the small piece of land.
One of Will's dark eyebrows
raises and he moves through the water, reaching the dry part of the sandbar
quickly. I try to back away from him, but with no place to hide, he grabs a
hold of me in seconds. He throws me over his shoulder and heads back toward the
water. I slap at his back, laughing, and try to kick with my feet.
"It's better if you
just get it over with," he says as the water creeps higher and higher.
When the water rises above his belly button he flips me around and drops me.
I plunge into the cold
water and kick my feet underneath me, pushing myself to a stand. I gasp as my
head clears the water and I push my sunglasses up onto my head. It's a miracle
they stayed on at all. Pieces of my hair have fallen from my ponytail and now
hang over my shoulders.
I say through a smile, which I realize doesn't make my words very
"I'm known to be mean
every once in awhile." He shrugs.
"I notice that you are
still pretty dry on the top half." I poke his chest.
He looks down. "I
guess you're right."
Before he has a chance to
react I pounce on him. I wrap my arms around his neck and bring him down with
me, straight into the water. I release my hold immediately and we both break
through the surface at the same time.
"Now who's the mean
one?" he asks.
"I guess I can be mean
every once in awhile, too." I shrug and push away from him, drifting back
into the water.
He dives beneath the
surface and I stand up, looking around for him. I feel his hands grab my ankles
and I barely get out a scream before I am pulled under the water. We splash
back and forth for a little while, before finally floating peacefully in the
shallow water. I notice that I've finally lost my sunglasses, but I don't even
mind. The water temperature feels warm now, nothing like it was when I first
stepped in. The sun beats down on my skin, and I let the extra warmth wash over
me. I wade back toward the shore and collapse on the sand. Will follows me and
does the same.
"Did you really just
have a hunch that I would be at home today?" I ask. I lean my head to the
side and look at Will. He's close to me, and if I lean forward just a few
inches our noses would touch.
He nods. "I stopped by
the cafe for breakfast and didn't see you there. Amy told me you were off until
dinner so I figured this was a good place to start my search."
"So you came by boat?"
"It was either that or
horseback. The boat felt faster," he said with a smile.
say with a laugh.
"I was trying to be
I turn onto my side and
rest my cheek on the arm stretched above my head. With the other hand I draw
pictures in the small stretch of sand between us.
"What are we doing,
Will?" I look up and my eyes meet his.
"I don't know,"
he says softly. "I've argued with myself dozens of times since our talk on
the dock. I know how risky and foolish it would be to date you given your
current situation, but I think that short of leaving for the summer, I'm not
going to be able to avoid you. And even if I wasn't in town, you would still be
on my mind."
Will is drawing pictures
around mine now, and every so often his knuckles graze my bare belly. I try not
to shiver outwardly at the chills his touch sends up and down my body.
Eventually his hand finds mine and we hold them together between us.
"What happens when I
get my memories back?" I ask. "What happens when I remember who I am,
and what my life was before this? What if it is just like you said, that I have
a life and a boyfriend? I'll become a completely different person."
"Maybe it will be
easier then." Will rolls onto his back and looks up at the cloudless sky.
"I mean, once you remember you may not be Jane anymore. Maybe it will be
easier for us to say good-bye."
I nod with him but deep
down inside, I doubt his words. It is dangerous to get so close to him now,
especially with how I feel. But then I remember that I came to this town for a
reason, even if I don't know it yet. I feel like I'm supposed to be here, and
maybe part of that has to do with Will. Maybe I was looking for a new start,
and a new chance. Right now, I have one.
I roll onto my
stomach and push up onto my elbows, scooting closer to Will so that I can look
down at him.
"I say we give it a
try," I tell him. "I don't care if this is bound to have a bad
ending. The beginning feels good enough to be worth it."
Will smiles. "I was
hoping you would say something like that."
He grabs my head and pulls
me closer, bringing my lips to his.