There will be one more part following this installment. Hold on to your hat, Nellie. This is where we take a twist...
Charity's Shadow Part IV
When Saturday afternoon arrived, punctuated by beautiful fall weather, Ben found himself standing on the peer overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, searching for his date. He found her on the beach a few yards away playing volleyball with a handful of girls. When Chasity saw him, she yelled out, “Hey, Ben!”
He waved awkwardly at her, and then blushed when all the girls turned and smiled at him. He’d never seen such a collection of women. They were definitely beach bunnies, and all could have passed for models. But what concerned him even more, was the fact that they weren’t making fun of him. He found a place near a sand castle and watched them as they bounced and jumped on the sand. For the first time in his life, he was able to watch the girls without feeling like a pervert. When their game was finished, Chasity approached him. “You found us! You have perfect timing. We were about to go to the Cove and hang out. You wanna come?”
Having no intention of leaving early, he readily agreed. As the group walked to the Cove, the girls took turns introducing themselves to Ben. Portia flirted with him a moment and asked, “Where do you go to college?”
He was overwhelmed. Never before had he had so much attention—and certainly it had never come from such high caliber women. “I graduated last semester.”
She nodded. “From where?”
“Northcorn University.” His face flushed red.
She was excited. “Northcorn?” She pushed him playfully. “No way! My best friend in high school went to Northcorn.” She nodded her head in appreciation. “So, whaddya study?”
“Museum administration.” Again he blushed. He was expecting them to start laughing at any minute. But quite the opposite occurred. Marla turned. “Museology? There’s good money in that.”
He smiled. “Yeah. I’ll do pretty well.”
“I’ll say,” she responded. “You could be making close the three figures.”
Chasity leaned on him as they walked. “Easy, girls. He’s with me.” She grabbed his hand and interlaced their fingers. “Ben is all mine.”
Portia huffed. “And what about Rocky?”
Chasity rolled her eyes. “What about Rocky?”
She flipped her hair. “He’s only your boyfriend.”
Chasity shrugged. “We broke up.”
“No you didn’t,” Portia corrected. “You had a fight. There’s a difference.”
“I caught him with someone else. We’re finished.”
Chasity stopped walking and turned to face her. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Like you were faithful to him. You were the first one to cheat.”
She leaned into her face. “He was asking for it. I saw him checking out the other girls.”
“Like that matters! Every guy checks out the girls. That’s what they do, right, Ben?”
Ben, caught completely off guard, had no response. “I don’t know.”
“Ben is different.” Chasity placed her arms around his shoulder. “He’s smart, not tough.”
Marla butted in. “But once you have tough, it’s hard to go back to average.” She glanced at Ben. “No offense.”
“Uh, none taken.” Ben was wondering how to get out of this conversation, but was conflicted with being surrounded by beautiful women. Maybe he could just enjoy the moment and forget what they were saying.
“Don’t be mean to Ben. He’s the kind of guy you marry.”
Portia jumped in again. “Really?” she said with venom. “You are going to marry?”
Chasity rolled her eyes again. “Yeah, right! I’ll never be a slave to some piece of paper.”
“Whatever.” Portia turned and continued walking. The rest of the group followed her lead. The fight seemed to be over for the moment. “What are you going to tell Rocky?”
“Nothing. It’s not his business.”
“He’ll notice that Ben is here. He’s not blind you know.”
“Let me worry about Rocky.” Her grip never faltered on Ben’s hand. He was along for the ride, and he was holding hands with a pretty hot girl. What did he care?
When they arrived at the Cove, Ben discovered it was a hang out he would never have picked out on his own. Couples were scattered along the boardwalk surrounding it, and many were making out and getting familiar with each other—more than should be allowed in public. Despite his surroundings, Ben held fast to Chasity’s hand and they entered the club together.
He immediately hated it. The music was louder than he liked, and he certainly smelt marijuana smoke as they moved to the bar. All of the girls ordered a Cosmopolitan and turned to Ben, who was expected to order also. “I’ll have a Coke.”
Portia smirked. “Definitely the marrying type. Come on, Ben. This is a bar. Live a little.”
Ben was embarrassed. “I don’t drink, and I don’t know what to order.”
Portia placed a hand on his chest. “Well, then. Let me take care of you. I know what you need.” She turned to the man behind the counter. “Long Island Iced Tea for Ben.” She smiled. “You do like tea, right?”
“Yeah.” He did like tea.
“Well, you will love this. It’s just like tea, only it has a little bite.” When she said bite, she snapped her teeth together.
He shrugged. “Okay, thanks.”
While they waited on their drinks, Chasity began to dance to the music and started moving in a circle around Ben, who had no sense of rhythm. She began to move close to him and whispered, “Let’s hit the floor.”
For the hundredth time that afternoon, he was embarrassed. “I don’t know how to dance.”
“Come on, that won’t stop us. I have all the moves you need!” She pulled him to the dance floor and began to circle him and dance around him, as if he were a mannequin. To his relief, the bartender motioned that their drinks were ready, so they returned to the bar. Uncertain what his drink was, he tasted it. “This is iced tea?” he asked Portia.
She tasted her Cosmopolitan. “What does it taste like?”
“Then it’s iced tea.”
He liked the flavor and began to sip on his straw. In a few minutes, the drink was disappearing. Chasity was grinning at him as she finished her first drink and motioned for another. Suddenly, he felt flushed and comfortable. He even found enough rhythm to join Chasity on the dance floor for a moment, until the room started to spin. They made their way back to the bar. “Do you want another Long Island?” The bartender asked.
He looked at Chasity, who replied. “I think he does. It’s going to be a fun night, and it starts right here.”
He was uncertain if he should have a second, simply because he wasn’t sure if the first was sitting correctly with him. After a few minutes at the bar, Chasity grabbed his arm. “Come on. Let’s find a private place out back.” She pulled on his arm until he wobbled behind her. On the boardwalk, they found a corner near the beach and she wrapped her arms around him and began to kiss him furiously. He was loosing his ability to think rationally, and her attention was flattering to him, so he began to return her affections. That’s when he felt a hand grab his hair and he was furiously flung backwards.
Suddenly, a large, burly man was pointing his finger at him. “What are you doing with my girlfriend?”
Rocky had found them.
To Be Continued