Summer of DreamsBy: Lydia Rose
Riley Anderson was doing her daily routine of making sure the marina was in order for the new guests that would be arriving for the Memorial Day weekend. Some of the guests would arrive and stay the summer. Others would only visit on the weekends and others would visit sparingly. The smile on her face showed how happy this place made her feel.
The land was purchased by her great grandfather when there was nothing here on the west coast of Florida. It wasn’t until her grandfather inherited the property that the land took shape. Her grandfather Jake turned the barren land into one of the most beautiful marinas in the area. Over the years, a pool, a restaurant and houses had been added to the property. Now Riley, her mother Ava and her aunt Olivia inherited the property when Jake passed on. They all loved this place and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. The only one who hated living here was her father Charlie. When Riley was ten years old, her dad left. Grandpa Jake became her surrogate father once her father disappeared from her life. Jake taught her to fish, how to operate both a motor boat and a sailboat. The most important lesson he taught her was to respect the land. Her job as a child was keeping the marina clean. She even had to clean bathrooms. They weren’t her favorite jobs, but she did them anyway. As she got older, Jake taught her everything else that went into running a profitable marina. Her mother handled the office, her aunt and uncle operated the successful restaurant on the property. Riley’s job was to make sure the guests were happy and that they would return each year with their boats and yachts.
Riley walked into the restaurant and walked toward the kitchen. “Hello, everyone,” she called out to the kitchen staff. “Are we set with the food for the barbecue for this weekend?”
Her uncle Ryan appeared wiping his hands on a towel. “Don’t worry, Riley. Everything is ready for the barbecue on Sunday.”
“Thanks, Uncle Ryan. I knew you wouldn’t let me down,” Riley said with a grin.
“Have I ever let you down?” he asked, looking at his niece with not only a smirk, but love.
Riley put her finger to her chin as if she were in deep thought until her uncle threw the towel at her. “Thanks again,” she said laughing her way out of the restaurant. Her next stop was to check in with her mother to see if she needed anything. “Hey, Mom.”
“Riley,” Ava said holding up a letter in her hand. “I just got a letter from Dot Turner. She said they won’t be using the boat this year, but instead a friend of theirs will be here for the summer.”
“As long as their boat stays in the slip, I don’t care who uses the boat,” Riley said chuckling.
“Dot kind of hinted that Shelby needed a place to stay and they offered the boat. I wonder what her story is.”
Riley was already sitting at her desk reading the local newspaper and no longer paying attention to her mother.
“Did you hear me, Riley?” Ava asked loudly.
Riley’s head shot up. “Uh, no.”
“I said Shelby needed a place to stay.”
Riley scratched her head wondering where she heard that name before. Not having any recollection, she asked, “Who is Shelby?”
“The woman who is staying on the Turner’s boat.”
“Oh, okay.” Riley went back to her newspaper.
“Aren’t you even a little bit curious?” Ava asked moving over to Riley’s desk.
“Why should I be? It’s the Turner’s business who they let use their boat. I don’t care.”
“But why would this woman need a place to stay? Could it be a relationship gone sour or a divorce?” Ava looked at the blank stare of her daughter. “Never mind. I can see I’m wasting my breath on you.” Ava went back to her own desk.
“I’m sorry, Mom. It is none of our business anyway.”
“I wonder how old she is. The Turners are only in their forties.”
Her words now caught Riley’s attention. “Oh, no. I can see those wheels in your head turning.” She pointed her finger. “No, Mom. Do you hear me?”
Ava mumbled under breath. “I’m just thinking that it’s been so long since you went out with anyone. How long are you going to play the field?”