Get Well Soon (Small Town Stories, #2)By: Merri Maywether
Small Town Stories, Volume 2
It’s the small gestures and the kind words you say that make my day.
Becca was on the lake with the sun on her back and her best friend, Donovan Garrison beside her. That alone made it the perfect summer day. The warm sun that hung high above them just made it that much better.
“I’ll give you a thirty second head start. “Ready, set, go!”
“Wait!” Becca held her oar in front of her. “I want at least a minute head start.” Donovan had always been stronger and faster than her. With a minute lead, she had a chance at tying him in a race.
“Alright. A minute.”
Becca paddled before he started the count.
He yelled out, “Cheaters never prosper.”
She didn’t let that deter her. Instead, she dug deep and focused on what she could control: her breathing. In two, three, four. Out two three four. Becca trained her eyes on the water. It splashed enough for her to know her oar had made the right level of contact. She couldn’t afford to waste energy or momentum when she raced against Donovan. Pushing the oar to propel the kayak, she kept her eye on the prize.
Ahead of them, trees dotted the edge of the lake. The haphazard pattern, distinct enough to mark the shoreline came into focus as she approached their destination. I might beat him this time.
The tip of Donovan’s kayak came into her field of vision. Her biceps burned, but that didn’t discourage her from pushing forward. They only had twenty feet left to go. Becca gave it all she had. The loser had to buy the winner dinner. Rather than focus on the outcome, Becca kept her eye on the finish.
When she crossed the line, she raised her oar in the air. In an unusual turn of events, Donovan was half a boat length behind her. He lost?
“It looks like I’m buying dinner.”
Becca may have been mistaken, but if pressed, she’d have said there was a twinkle in those chocolate brown eyes of his. He was smiling like he won.
“Did you have double shots of protein in your drink today?” Donovan crawled out of his kayak onto the dock and stooped down to help Becca out of hers.
He was a gracious loser too? Becca suspected something was off but couldn’t identify it. “Are you sure you didn’t let me win?”
She never got her answer. Somewhere between mid-stand and her straightened posture, Donovan lost control of the kayak. Her arms flailed to help her catch her balance, but there was none to be found. The boat rocked side to side. And, the next thing she knew, a cold rush of water had shocked Becca senseless. Like an ice cube in a glass of water, she rose to the surface and sputtered. “You did that on purpose.”
Donovan covered his mouth with his hand to hold back the laughter. It didn’t work. Wearing a grin wider than he should have had, given the circumstances, Donovan held out his hand to pull her onto the dock. “I don’t know what happened.”
Becca splashed water at Donovan. “I can get out on my own. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, and I’m one of your ex-girlfriends.”
“I’m sorry, honestly.” Donovan extended his hand further out.
“I bet you are.” Becca took his hand and pulled him into the water. He had to have expected payback.
But he hadn’t. Donovan waved his arms as though they had the power to propel him to flight. When they failed, he landed with a cannonball size splash beside her.
She tried swimming to the dock before he rebounded from the surprise attack. This time he was faster than her, and he arrived at the steps of the dock before her. Instead of climbing up the stairs as she expected, he turned around in just enough time for her to glide into him.
Bracing herself for the collision she squinted. Donovan wrapped his arms around her. His hold softened the effect of the crashing of their two bodies. Becca relaxed in his arms. The contest was over. They were back to being friends.
The only thing preventing direct body contact was the two bulky life vest around their chests. Floating in the water face to face, they alternated between laughing and trying to catch their breath. It had been a common occurrence between them lately. They’d be in the unlikeliest circumstance and end up a little too close. When they settled, Donovan’s eyes searched hers for something. “Why haven’t you got married yet?”