February 9, 2013
By , East Granby, CT
“Here you go sir, I hope you enjoy your stay in Lavallette”, Mckayla handed the customer a brand new blue boogie board with tropical pink flowers covering the front.

“Thanks”, he mumbled, took the board and turned around to leave.

“Goodbye”, Mckayla called as he made his way towards the door.

The bell rang out as he slammed it without a response.

Mckayla released her breath, realizing that she was holding it.The doorbell rang out once again as another customer walked into the Ben Franklin gift shop, letting in a heatwave of summer air. Not looking up from the cash register, where she was putting the stickers on the newly shipped in merchandise of seashell necklaces and bracelets, Mckayla asked,” How may I help you today?”

“Can I please buy one of those necklaces that you have there? I'm buying it for my girlfriend, she’ll love it don't you think?” said a familiar voice.

Mckayla quickly looked up. “Jason! You’re back early!”

“Yes, mom and dad decided that we should come home a little earlier. And it sure would be nice if I got a welcome home kiss.”

Mckayla leaned over the cashier counter, kissing her boyfriend. After a few moments, she pulled back, “Well I can’t be caught not doing my job during my shift, so are you going to buy me this necklace or not?”

“It would be my pleasure.” Jason pulled out his wallet and paid for the jewelry. “Now turn around.” He clipped the ends of the necklace together. He paused , observing how the necklace looked on her “It’s beautiful.”

Mckayla smiled.“My shift is thirty more minutes. Do you mind staying here and waiting? It’s been kind of lonely here all day. The only customer I had, came just a minute before you, and he wasn't friendly at all.”

The two of them sat down on the windowsill that faced the street.”So how was your vacation New Hampshire?” Every summer, Jason and his family spent the time together in the New Hampshire wilderness.

“Pretty great, made tons of friends, and the cabin that we were renting were right on the lake. But I missed you a lot.”

“You have no idea how much I’ve missed you,” Mckayla put her head on his shoulder, “Kelsey left to visit her grandparents two weeks ago, so I’ve been all alone.”

“I’m sorry. But I am back now, so what do you say if we go grab some ice cream and then head to the beach when your shift is over.”

“Sounds great to me. I just have to finish putting the price tags on all this jewelry and then those beach toys, and then can go.” Mckayla got off the windowsill and walked over to the counter to finish her job.

“I’ll help you finish.” Jason followed her. By the time they finished the next worker came in to take McKayla’s place. Mckayla grabbed her bag, and Jason held the door open for her as she walked out into the street. It was afternoon, and the sun wasn’t as high up. They walked hand in hand down three blocks until they reached the local ice cream shopped.

“Do you want your usual?” Jason asked his girlfriend as he began to order.

“Of course,” Mckayla smiled. He knew her so well. She had missed him so much. Everyday this summer, she had to spend alone at the gift shop, and when she came home,she didn’t talk to her dad much. He has been quiet ever since mom passed away. Mckayla has had no one to talk to. Even Kelsey, her best friend, left for Connecticut for a few weeks before school started. When Mckayla did see kids from school at the beach, she didn’t say much more than a ‘Hi’. No one talked to her much after her mom had died the spring before. It was as if they were scared to make her feel sad, so they just avoided her altogether.

“Here you go,” Jason handed her a cone with plain vanilla ice cream with chocolate sprinkles. Mckayla licked it as they turned up the street and headed towards the beach. Although the sun was setting, it was still really warm. The breeze was slightly blowing, and you could hear the wave roaring. They reached the boardwalk and Mckayla slipped off her flip flops. The sand was hot from the long day of heat.
Jason began running towards the water, pulling Mcayla along with him. They ran into the waves, not caring about getting their clothes wet. Mckayla splashed him with water, as he grabbed her by the hips and pulled her into a hug.

There were few people on the beach, and the lifeguards were long gone. No one was watching the two of them. The seagulls were flying over the sand, scavenging for leftover food or garbage that people were lazy enough not to throw away. A young boy was throwing a Frisbee to his puppy, who fetched, but didn't give the Frisbee back.
The air was getting cooler when Mckayla and Jason finally got out of the water and lay down in the sand to dry a little. Mckayla put her head on his stomach, and they lay there enjoying the sound of the sea.

“Want to go?” She asked Jason after a while.

“Sure.” He helped her up, and led her up to the boardwalk.

The wooden boardwalk was covered with sand that had been swept over by the wind. They strolled, carrying their shoes in hand. The sun had set, and it was dark out now. THe lights from the windows of the houses shone through, lighting the m their way. Once in awhile, another couple walked by or a bicyclist pedaled his way past them. yet
Mckayla felt as if her life was full again. Jason was back, and now she had someone she could really talk to. Someone who would listen to her and not question her every thought. They slowly made their way to the northern side of Lavallette and turned onto Elizabeth Street, where Mckayla lived with her dad. They reached her house, and just before she went inside, Mckayla paused to say goodnight.
Jason brushed away the blond hair that wind breeze was pushing into her face, blocking her eyes. He touched her cheek with his hand and gently kissed her lips, and then her forehead. “I'm so happy to be back home.”
“Not as happy as I am,” Mckayla whispered back.

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