The Mystery of Seagrass Island (Chapter 2)

The traffic was moving smoothly now and the wind seemed to be a little lighter. “I’m actually looking forward to our little unplanned vacation,” Margie said. “Won’t the twins be excited to see us?”

“That’s one way to put it,” Lloyd said.  “Did you call and warn them we were coming?”

“I thought you did that,” Margie said.

“Nope,” Lloyd said with a sideways smile.

As they drove, Lloyd reflected on what a pair they made. He loved Margie for so many things but her attention to detail was not one of them.  Sure, she was good at noticing things and figuring out puzzles but she did not have a “Type A” personality.  Instead, she was more of the “leave the cap off the toothpaste” kind of gal. Lloyd, on the other hand, was the type that always had to put the cap back on and straighten things up.  He was the list maker and the bill payer.

Both of the twins seemed to take more after him, Lloyd decided, except that Bess had just a touch of her mother’s disorganization. Lloyd and Margie’s impromptu visit would probably cause quite a stir since both Bobby and Bess preferred to be notified in advance. Not that that happened very often. Margie and Lloyd had always sprung things on their now adult children.

Lloyd and Margie met when they were both in the police academy and were an instantly successful team.  Their wonderful working relationship just naturally flowed into a wonderful marriage.  Shortly after they were married, Margie became pregnant with the twins. She stayed home with them for the first year but Lloyd wasn’t happy at work without her and Margie wasn’t happy without working with Lloyd so they hired a nanny who was a godsend and the adventure continued until they retired, two months ago, to live in their dream home on Seagrass Island.  Bobby and Bess both had their own lives in Georgia but stayed in close contact with Mom and Dad because they knew they had to keep an eye on them.

The rest of the drive went smoothly, and by the time they reached Bobby’s house in Atlanta the sky gave no hint of the hurricane chasing them. Lloyd and Margie didn’t have their car doors open when Bobby and his son, Jimmy, came bursting out the front door.  Their daughter-in-law Ellen followed behind.

“Gramma! Grampa!” Jimmy shouted, running as fast as his four-year-old legs could run.

Lloyd scooped his only grandchild up quickly to save Margie from getting knocked over in his exuberance. Margie ruffled his soft brown hair and kissed his cheek.  Jimmy quickly rubbed it off.

“I can’t believe you rubbed off my kisses,” Margie teased.  “I will have to give you more now.”

“No!” he squealed happily.

“Wow, Mom, Dad, we didn’t know you were coming.” Bobby said.

“Well, that’s your mother’s fault.  I told her she should have let you know,” Lloyd said smiling.

“What, like you can’t use a phone?” Margie said.

“It’s fine,” Ellen said quickly, always the peacemaker. “We are just so happy to see you both.” She leaned in to get hugs from them both as did Bobby.

Ellen looked lovingly at her in-laws and silently counted her blessings that they had raised such strong Christian children in spite of all the horrors they must have witnessed during their lifetime with such difficult careers.

Lloyd interrupted the pleasantries. “Let’s all go inside and talk about how long your Mother and I will be staying.”

“What?” Bobby said in surprise.

“Well, you have heard about the hurricane, right?”  Bobby’s dad winked at him.

“Yeah, Dad, but we just assumed you both would want to stay with Bess and catch up with her, since she missed the last family gathering.  Bobby tried not to sound too hopeful about his suggestion.

Ellen looked down to hide her smile. She thought it was sweet that Bobby had no idea that his dad was baiting him.

Lloyd decided it wasn’t worth hassling him for too long. “Well, we were planning to split the time between the both of you. You know, kind of even out the responsibility of taking care of your aging parents,” Lloyd said with just a bit more drama than was needed.

“Aw, you know you aren’t old and we love having you both,” Bobby said, slipping his arms around Ellen’s waist for moral support.

“That’s all we wanted to hear,” said his mom and hugged them both again.

The remainder of the evening was well spent with a delicious meal prepared by Ellen and entertainment provided by Bobby and Jimmy as Bobby played the guitar and Jimmy howled out, “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain When She Comes.”

Lloyd and Margie smiled at each other as they told their children goodnight. “I told you this was a good idea,” whispered Margie. “Tomorrow we’ll go see Bess.”

“Yes, dear,” Lloyd said sweetly and kissed his wife.

When the next morning came, everyone noticed that the August skies were cloudier than usual. If it wasn’t so warm, it would have looked like it was going to snow with such heavy clouds.  They all stared upwards for a while as they stood outside the car, already packed to go.

“The time goes too fast nowadays,” Margie said with a glisten of a tear in her eye.

She hugged her grandson tightly and then pulled Bobby into her arms as well.

Bobby encircled his mother’s neck warmly.  “We’ll come visit you again soon, Mom.  I promise,” he said.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” yelled Jimmy, getting louder with each repetition.  “I want to see the aquarium again!”  Jimmy could hardly control his excitement at the thought of his favorite place to visit in Charleston.

Ellen took Jimmy’s hand as her mother and father-in-law got into their car.

As they were backing the car out of the drive, Bobby tapped on the window for his Dad to roll it down.

“I tried not to say anything but I just can’t help myself. I’m a bit worried about Bess.  You know how flighty she is sometimes,” he said. “She hasn’t seemed like herself lately. She’s more nervous than usual. I think she may have a boyfriend. Something is taking up an awful lot of her time. That’s all I’m going to say. Hope y’all have a good visit and tell her we said hi, okay?  Love you both.”

Lloyd nodded.  “Thanks, Son.  You are a good brother.”

“And thank you for your hospitality!” added Margie from her side of the car smiling at Ellen. “We love you all!” Margie waved as Lloyd began pulling out of the driveway.

Lloyd waved and added, “See you all soon!”

As they pulled out onto the oak framed street everything looked so peaceful.

Margie broke the silence first.  “Okay, now I am a bit worried.  Can’t you drive any faster?”

“Faster?” Lloyd asked. “But you always tell me to slow down.”

“Well, this time I want you to drive faster.  Try to keep up, old man,” Margie teased a bit and it seemed to lighten a situation which now weighed on Margie’s mind heavier than the hurricane.

To be continued…