Night Lights

A thousand-word short story using the prompts rain, sailboat and shame.
Kara woke to the sound of thunder and the branches of the tree outside her window slapping against the clapboard. She walked to the window to close it and saw a light in the distance. Glancing at the clock on her side table, she knew it couldn’t be a light in the dock office. Ben had already locked up for the night after tying up and securing all the boats. He certainly wouldn’t be doing paperwork at 2:30 in the morning. The storm, although loud, was not serious enough to be a concern.  She strained to see better through the rain that poured in sheets, something most people in the South were quite used to enduring. She thought she could make out a mast but wasn’t sure. She just knew something was out of the ordinary for the middle of the night.

Kara’s curiosity got the better of her. She went downstairs, pulled on her wellies, threw her rain slicker over her nightgown and headed out in the rain and down to the dock.  As she got closer, she could make out the shape of a sailboat, looked to be about a 20 footer. She stood at the edge of the dock in the rain watching the boat. It looked like it was listing a bit. She thought about calling Ben but remembered she didn’t grab her cell phone from the foyer table where it was charging. She started to wave her hands hoping someone on the boat would see her. She was startled by a voice from behind her.

“No one’s on the boat”, the voice softly said.

She turned around quickly, fearful all of a sudden that maybe this was a bad idea. She saw him walking toward her then and was stopped by the image of a man, about her age, sopping wet with no shoes. His eyes were a striking blue, piercing her.

“I sprung a leak. Stayed with it as long as I could, tried to guide her as close in as possible. Took the dingy in all the way but when I got to the dock, I slipped and fell into the water. I’m about as wet as I can be”, he said.

Stunned by his piercing eyes and athletic body, she could see the outline of his six-pack abs as his shirt clung close to his body. She still couldn’t speak.

“My names Jake, Jake Johnson. Do you know the dock master by any chance?”

Kara paused a second to find her voice. “Uh, yes! Yes, Ben is the dock master. I was going to call him when I saw the sailboat listing but I forgot my cell phone at the house. Sorry.”

“That’s OK”, Blue eyes said. “I’m surprised to be seeing anyone this time of night. I thought I’d have to wait it out, catch my death from the wet. What made you come out here in the middle of the night and get drenched?”

It was then Kara looked down to see her slicker wide open and her nightgown completely wet from the rain and knew he was looking at her wet clinging nightgown. What was she thinking? She pulled the slicker close but it was too late. Her face was burning with embarrassment and regret. If her mamma was still around, she would have told Kara she should know better, ‘cause she was raised right and you don’t bring any shame on the family, no matter how little bitty it really was. Well, she thought, was a gorgeous man seeing her in her nightgown shameful?

“Well, I saw a light in the distance and my curiosity got to me. I thought maybe someone was in trouble.”

He watched her pull her slicker close and wondered if she had caught him enjoying the view. He was amazed to see her on the dock wearing a pair of rubber boots, and a slicker over her long nightgown that was really nothing but a thin wisp of cotton. He had better think about his predicament and not about how her wet hair fell onto her shoulders or the frame of her face and well, the rest of her too. He needed help and a place to dry out.

“Do you think you could help me out? I need a place to dry out until I can get some help with my boat.”

“Oh, uh sure, I just live up there. I’ll call Ben; he’ll be able to help you. Follow me and while I’m calling, you can wait on the porch.”

She felt bad making him stay on the porch but she didn’t want to take a chance just in case. Not that he couldn’t just grab her now if he was the serial killer type.

He was disappointed he couldn’t get into the house to dry off and the more he looked at her the more he wanted to know her. Maybe this was a place he could disconnect from his hell of a job in New York. The boat was just the start, the freedom he was looking for, and maybe fate brought him here with the tide.

Kara came to the porch with a tray of hot coffee and some cookies. She had changed into jeans and a tee shirt and ran a brush through her hair. The rain had stopped and the humidity was settling in. It wasn’t unusual for the temperatures to remain in the 70’s during the night.

Kara hadn’t been attracted to a man in a very long time; maybe fate was working to her advantage. She knew it was crazy to think what she was thinking.

“I called Ben; he’ll be here in a bit. He making some calls to get you help with the boat and he’s bringing work clothes for you to change into.”

She watched as he wrapped his hands around his coffee mug and wondered why not. She leaned in and smiled, “By the way, my name is Kara.”

© Beachwalkermari 2011


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