A Surprise in Seat Two

The sea breeze ruffled the worn pages of Cammie’s copy of Pride and Prejudice.—ripples of joy skidded up her arms. Would the thrill of Mr. Darcy’s confession ever fail to transform her into a jellyfish?“Mary Camille!”

“Mary Camille!”

Cammie sighed and closed the book. She trudged to her mother’s idea of a great way to spend the summer—helping her grandparents give tours on St. Simons Island.

Her Nana waved from the wooden trolley. “Like I always say time and tide wait for no one.”

She collapsed onto the front seat for another boring tour with typical tourists.

Nana tapped on the microphone. “Good afternoon. I’m Ginger Monroe, and we’re so happy you’ve joined us. Y’all are in for a treat. My brilliant grand-daughter Mary Camille, who is in the University of Georgia’s honors program, will be telling you about our Island.”

Cammie tossed a half-hearted wave over the seat.

“Mary Camille will be happy to answer any questions, so let’s be on our way. Like I always say, time and tide wait for no one.” Nana leaned over Cammie. “Smile dear—it increases your face value, and by the way, there’s a charming young man in seat two.” Her words echoed from the speakers. Giggles filled the trolley.

Cammie cringed, grabbing the microphone. “Let’s go—time and tide and all that.”

Nana chuckled as she jerked the trolley into drive.

Cammie stumbled forward.

Strong arms caught her.

Cammie glanced up and melted into a pair of deep brown eyes.

Waves of nausea tossed her breakfast around her stomach. She stood, grasping the metal pole. It was like that morning on spring break. She squeezed her eyes shut. It couldn’t be him.

Nana elbowed Cammie.

“Sorry. I got distracted by the . . . the . . . view.” She pointed at the ocean. Her stomach churned. As they traveled from the pier, Cammie recited the Island’s history. She was being ridiculous. It couldn’t be Spence. She peeked.

He grinned, holding her gaze.

Nana nudged her. Cammie shot her eyes out the window.  “And this is the lighthouse.” She rattled off her speech.

What was she going to do? If anyone on this island found out about that night, her reputation would be ruined. The last thing she remembered was snuggling against him near the dunes. Her cheeks heated—the kiss. But how had she ended up in her bed? What else had happened? Why had she let her friends talk her into fish-bowl margaritas? They knew she never drank.

“Mary Camille, the questions.”

Spence waved.  What kind of guy vanishes? She pursed her lips. “Yes sir, thanks for sticking around for the tour, and if you disappear on the walking tour, we’ll leave you.”

She pursed her lips. “Yes sir, thanks for sticking around for the tour, and if you disappear on the walking tour, we’ll leave you.”

A sharp elbow plunged into her leg.

“I wouldn’t intentionally abandon the tour. I want to learn more about . . . the Island.”

Did he really mean her? It was a little late for an apology, but she was intrigued. “So, what’s your question?”

“I heard that during World War Two, German U-boats were off the coast, but it was a secret.” He raised his brows.

So, he wanted to keep their secret. “It was kept very quiet.” She studied his face. What else happened that night? “But you probably know more than I do  . . .  about the war.”

A smile filled his face. Hopefully, it meant that he knew she was referring to that night.

As the memories crashed over her, a current of warmth flowed through her. They’d spent the day, talking and laughing. It was part dream, part nightmare. Her friends insisted a Spring Break fling was fantastic, but she’d never lost control.

Nana patted Cammie’s leg. “Stick to the facts, and how ’bout some southern charm?”Cammie returned the script, pointing out the sights. Finally, they parked at Christ Church Frederica. “Nana, Can you do the walking tour? I need some water.”

Cammie returned the script, pointing out the sights. Finally, they parked at Christ Church Frederica. “Nana, Can you do the walking tour? I need some water.”

“Fine, but don’t dawdle.”

“Yes ma’am.” Cammie jogged down the stairs. Nana strolled with the woman, who’d been sitting with Spencer.

As Spencer’s feet touched the ground, Cammie grabbed his arm. He slid his hand around hers. She led him behind an oak tree.

“Cammie, I’m sorr—”

She put her finger over his lips and peeked around the trunk. The tour group filed into the church.

She faced him. “What are you doing here?”

“My grandmother invited me. Good to see you too.”

“I didn’t expect to see you again. The last time I saw you I was not myself. I never drink or go on walks with strange boys.”

“Didn’t realize I was strange or you had to be under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol to endure my presence.” He snatched his hand from hers and rubbed the back of his neck.

“That’s not what I meant. I liked the time we spent together, but you disappeared, so I thought . . .” She wrung her hands.

“I was a jerk.” He wrapped his hands around hers. “But, I only wanted to protect you. You could barely walk, so I helped you to your room.”

“My room? What else happened?” She closed her eyes.

He chuckled. “Relax, nothing else happened. You wouldn’t let me in the door. I was worried about you, but you were adamant.”

She exhaled, opening her eyes.

He squeezed her hand. “I wanted to find you in the morning, but my ride to Charleston was leaving. I only knew your first name and you went to Georgia.”

“You wanted to find me?”

“Of course.” He brushed his fingers over her cheek.

The blast of the trolley horn blew them apart.

“Wait,” he pulled her to him.

“I. . .we have to go. . .my nana won’t find this amusing.”

The corner of his lip twitched up. “I kinda doubt that.”

“I’m not about to kiss you.”

“Maybe not now,” he winked, “but seriously, we had fun together, so how ’bout we try a real date?”

“How?”

He wrinkled his brow. “Cammie, this isn’t complicated. Besides, your grandmother already gave me your number.”