Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 22, 2008

I decided that I needed to get out of the city to clear my head and make some decisions about this new job and what I was going to do about Josh.

When Jackson and Kerry got home from the library, I told them both to pack a bag because we were heading to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina for some much-needed R&R. This little break would also give me a chance to get to know Kerry better and give me some time to check in with Jackson and find out how his internship was going and what else he had been up to the last few weeks. It seemed as though we hadn't really had much of a chance to talk lately with my being so involved with the drama at work and focusing on my pregnancy and relationship with Josh. It would be good to reconnect with him.

After we had packed, we grabbed a cab and headed to the airport. As we were walking towards the ticket counter, I pulled out my cell phone and called Billy to tell her that I'd be out of town for a few days but that I'd be checking my email if she needed to reach me. After I hung up with her, I called Beth and was glad to get her voicemail. I left her a quick message, telling her what I'd told Billy, and we got in line to buy our tickets.

We cleared security without much hassle, and I was glad when we finally boarded our plane. Once we got to our seats, I settled in and let out a sigh of relief to be getting away from all the insanity of the last couple of weeks. I felt the baby twisting and doing her acrobatics like she'd started doing recently. I don't know why, but I really feel like the baby is going to be a girl. As I rested my hand on my stomach, I thought about the situation I was bringing her in to. I just hoped that I could make things stable before she was born. I at least owed her that.

After we landed in Savannah, we rented a car and drove down to our hotel on the island. We checked in to a lovely hotel that was only a few steps from the beach. I made sure to get us a suite so we'd have enough room and privacy for everyone. I have to admit, the pay with my job allows me to live a luxurious life. Even with all the craziness, I am very lucky to have the life I do.

Once we got up to our suite, Kerry and I decided to take the room with two beds while Jackson ran and plopped down onto the king-sized bed in the other room.

"I hereby claim this bed in the name of Jackson!" he joked, as he sprawled out on the bed.

Kerry and I laughed at his silliness. It was nice to see him in such a great mood. We all definitely needed this trip to get a break from reality for a while.

The bedrooms were separated by a living room, and there was a tiny kitchenette behind a dividing wall. I pulled back the curtains to the small balcony that was off the living room to let in some sunlight. What a gorgeous view of the ocean! I opened the French doors and stepped outside. As I breathed in the humid, salty air, I felt myself relax instantly. I felt better than I had in days.

Kerry and Jackson asked if they could go see what there was to do in the hotel. We thought we had seen a game room when we were at the front desk, and off the lobby, there was a huge pool with a lazy river and a water slide beyond some glass doors that we’d seen as we took our luggage to the elevator. I definitely was going to spend some time on that lazy river while we were here.

I told them to go ahead and let them know I was going to do some exploring myself but that I’d have my cell phone if they needed to reach me. We all agreed to meet back in the room in an hour.

After they left, I decided to take a walk on the beach to take some photographs and to sort some things out. I left my sandals at the hotel and headed down by the surf to let the waves roll in over my feet as I walked along the shore. It was a beautiful day, warm, but not too hot, and when I looked out across the water, it seemed to go on forever. I zoomed in on a sailboat off in the distance and as I took my shot, I thought about the people on the boat and wondered if their lives were as complicated as mine was...or at least as complicated as mine seemed right now.

I don't know what I should do about Josh at this point. And honestly, I wonder if maybe I was over-reacting to the situation with Billy because of my hormones. I know that seems cliche, but I had been feeling a bit emotional lately and not like my normal self. However, it was very stupid of Josh to hire Billy, thinking it wouldn't be an issue to be working so closely with a woman he'd slept with. And then for him to expect me to be her subordinate was mind-blowing. Wow, it was incredible how oblivious he was.

One thing that really bothers me about this whole situation is how he really doesn't have any insight into things, and he sincerely didn't seem to understand how it might upset me to work for a woman who knew Josh as I knew Josh. The thought disgusted me, and it truly saddened me that Josh lacked empathy for me and seemed to not even care about how the situation might make me feel. That was what worried me about a future with him. What kind of husband would he be if he didn't consider my feelings when he made life-changing decisions?

Suddenly, a black Lab came running up to me and jumped up on me with sandy paws. I was completely caught off guard because I had been so lost in my thoughts. As I brushed the sand from my pants, I saw the dog's owner was off quite a ways behind him, and I heard the man call out to me.

"I'm so sorry about Jake. Please forgive him. He really loves people, especially women." he said, as he jogged towards me.

As the man started to come into view, he looked vaguely familiar. It was taking a minute for my brain to comprehend who it was walking up to me. The man seemed to figure things out at about the same moment I did.

"Liz? Is that you?" he said in disbelief.

Oh my...I had to take a breath as it began to register just what was taking place. There, standing before me, was Doug.

"Doug? Wow. You're about the last person I expected to run in to here."

Jake continued to jump around Doug and me, wagging his tail, begging to be petted. Doug clicked a leash on to his collar and commanded him to lie down. Jake did as he was told, and then Doug turned to me.

"Liz, what a surprise! You look wonderful." He looked down at my stomach and I saw understanding come across his face and then, almost too quick to notice, a touch of sadness. "Congratulations." he said, almost in a whisper.

"Thank you," I said quietly. I couldn't believe I was standing here talking to Doug. He looked as handsome as ever, his dark hair grown out and a spread of stubble across his tanned face. He looked genuinely happy.

And then, a feeling flashed through me. Something inside me longed for him to hold me, to make me feel safe in his arms. What in the world was I thinking? The last thing I needed was another man in my life to complicate things further. I had enough to worry about right now.

"So what brings you to Hilton Head?" he asked, interrupting my thoughts.

"I could ask you the same thing." I laughed nervously. "I'm down here to get a break from work and to relax a bit before the baby's born." He didn't need to know that I was down here to figure out just what I was going to do with my life.

"So, what are you doing here? You look awfully tan to have been here only on a vacation."

"Well, actually, I live here now." he replied. "After you left Chicago, the house felt so empty without you, and...."

He must have noticed the look on my face that told him not to continue with that line of conversation. I was in no mood to reminisce right now. A guilt trip was not the kind of trip I was down here for.

"Sorry.” he said, changing the subject. “Anyway, I wanted to get away, and with as much as I love the ocean and golf, Hilton Head seemed like a great place to go." he said. "I loved it so much that I decided to stay. I sold the house in Chicago and bought a little place near the water. It's not huge, but it's enough for me. And Jake."

With the sound of his name, Jake got up and began wagging his tail again, jumping around in the sand.

"Listen, I should get back to my walk. Jake gets antsy if we sit too long out here. He loves to splash around in the surf and chase after seagulls. I wish I had half his energy!"

He smiled at me with his roguish grin, the same grin that had once endeared him so much to me. I realized as I stood there how much I missed my friend Doug. Not the husband or lover but my friend. If nothing else, Doug was always a voice of reason in my life, and he was a good listener. He had always been supportive of me. As much as I needed a friend I could trust right now, Doug didn't seem like a good candidate. There was just too much history there.

"Why don't you come by later for dinner? We can steam some crabs that I caught this morning. How does that sound?"

"I don't know, Doug." I said. "For one, I'm not here by myself. I've got my nephew, Jackson, here with me and his girlfriend Kerry. And I'm not sure it's such a good idea. I'm engaged."

I saw him glance down at my ring finger on my left hand and saw him take in the rock that sat there. The funny thing was that I had actually meant to take it off that morning because it was starting to get tight, due to the swelling from the pregnancy, but I hadn't.

"Well, it'd be fun to catch up, but I understand if you can't." he said. "If you change your mind, though, I live in the pale blue house right over there." He pointed to a small clapboard house, the paint peeling from exposure to the salty air.

"You could come by at sunset if you'd like to join me."

"I think we'll probably be eating elsewhere tonight, but thank you for the invitation." I said. "Goodbye, Doug."

"Goodbye, Liz. It was great to see you."

"You too," I said, as I walked away from Doug and Jake.

After a few steps, I turned back to have one more look. Jake was back off his leash, bounding away in the sand, yapping at two seagulls who were fighting over a small shell that must have held something tasty. Doug was walking slowly, his head down, his hands in his pockets. He looked dejected, and I felt a bit sorry for him.

What was it about Doug that made him turn up in my life just as I was about to marry another man? First Jason. Now Josh. I shook my head at the strangeness of it all.

I waited until Doug was a tiny dot on the horizon before I turned around and headed back to the hotel. After my walk, I felt no closer to making any decisions about my life. If anything, I felt even more confused than before.


katiam said...

AWESOME job! I love, love, love it! Thank you for taking the time.


Kristin said...

Thanks for making a great effort, and caring enough to even try!!!!


PamInNC said...

I like your version better than the other one. And I'd be willing to bet that when she enlarged the sailboat pictures, it would be Josh and Billie on board. LOL.

Ceferian said...

Thanks so much for your encouragement and kind words, everyone! I'm so glad you all enjoyed my post. It was fun to write my version of events in Liz's life, so I think I may write another entry.

At the very least, it will give all of us something to do while we wait for the real DoE to be updated. =)

And paninnc...I hadn't thought of Billy and Josh being on the sailboat together, but that would be funny, wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

I love it... so much better than Diary of E right now... the post is lengthy and it was intiguing. I so want to follow your storyline instead... lol..

onlyhuman said...

Enjoyed your version of E. I'll be adding this site to my favorites -hoping for more posts!

dadslilgyrl said...

Wow! What a great audition! LOL Hopefully, the editors of Redbook will read your post and dump the current author. Then again, as with the DOV, it always seems like the comments shape the storyline. So, maybe they should choose a new person each week to take up the story (after proving to be a decent writer, of course).

Nevertheless, great post!

Hope said...

Excellent ceferian, I truly enjoyed your writing. It was pleasant to read and intriquing; the story line twisting into a whole new world.

Thanks so much for taking the time and the trouble to do this! I hope you will continue.

Courtney said...

it would have taken us three months to get this much information from redbook.


Anonymous said...

Paminnc ... I thought the same thing about Billy & Josh on the sailboat. Maybe *we're* getting too predictable! Ceferian, again ... nice job. Hope you will continue :)

Lynn said...

That was great, I am also adding this to my favorites hoping for a new post. Thanks for sharing

PamInNC said...

ceferian - Just be careful doing this. The last time someone did alternate story lines about the Redbook blog, they were basically handed a "cease and desist" order. I guess they just can't stand the fact that someone else can do it much better!

mum said...

awesome post - I would much prefer to follow your story with E. what if it's not a coincidence at all that Doug is in Hilton Head. After all, he is CIA. Has he been tracking E all this time? Loved it!

xibby_us said...

That was awesome! I think you need to keep it going! Great job...


ktucker said...

Loved it, wonderful, bravo. I do believe you should continue this diary and create one of your own to entertain eager readers.

Pandora said...

Fantastic blog. I love it. Extremely creative and easy to read. Looking forward to the next installment.

teena said...

I love where you took the story line. I hope to read more posts in the near future.

I thought the same thing pamincc about Josh and Billie.

casablanca1 said...

This is too funny - I think the author of DOE checked this blog and created the entry posted today based in part on it. The similarities are definitely there. What a crock.

Anonymous said...

I know Im a year behind, but wow it was sooo cool reading this. You totally made the story flow. Good job!