"Last ones?" Twister asked, lifting two boxes out of Reggie's back seat.
"Yep," she replied as she carried a very full laundry bag and shut the car door.
Reggie had just graduated from college and was moving home for the summer before starting grad school. She and her boyfriend had been moving boxes all morning since her dad and Tito we're both slammed at the Shack. Twister set the boxes down on the floor and proceeding to fall back onto Reggie's bed.
"You have a lot of stuff," he commented.
She laughed, laying down next to him and wrapping her arms around his body. "Excuse me, but I'm not the one who had, how many? Seven boxes full of footage."
"I told you, it wasn't all footage!" He defended. "I just labeled it before I knew I was going to be throwing all my stuff in there."
"Organization was never your strong suit," she kissed his cheek, then grabbed his arms to pull him up. "Come on, lets get some lunch."
"Tito's fish tacos are calling my name," he said longingly.
"Woah," Twister said when they got there. "Shoobie central."
He was right. The shack was insane. It was completely packed. It would be difficult to attempt even getting in to get to the counter.
Reggie looked at her watch. "Let's give it an hour. The lunch rush will have died down by then.
"A whole hour?" Twister said incredulously. "I can't wait that long! I'll starve!"
"You poor thing," she teased in a subtle baby voice. "Come on, lets get you some cheese fries to tide you over."
They locked up their bikes and walked hand-in-hand down the boardwalk. Then Twister saw it: a sign for the annual Ocean Shores sandcastle building competition (thankfully, now not exclusively for sandcastles.)
"Oh, the sandcastle competition is next weekend," he said casually. As if he didn't know. As if it hadn't been on his mind for the past few months.
"You should enter," Reggie suggested. "You know you'll totally dominate."
"I don't know about that," he smiled at her.
"Oh, come on. You're hands down the best sandcastle maker I've ever seen. I, on the other hand, am probably the worst."
"You're not that bad," he grinned at her.
She gave him a look. "I am, but thank you. There's no way I'm entering. But I will fully support you and your sandcastle efforts."
This was what he expected and hoped for. Now he just needed to talk to Sam and make sure he could keep her away until the judging. He thought about asking Otto but he decided against it. Otto was too unreliable, and worse than that, he couldn't keep a secret.
"One large cheese fry," he told the guy when they got to the stand. "And a large Dr. Pepper."
"Thanks," Reggie smiled at him. He knew it was her favorite.
They sat down on a bench, people-watching while they ate.
"Ooh, that's gotta hurt," Twister commented at someone walking off the beach with an intense sunburn.
They glanced behind them, hearing lieutenant Tike yelling through his megaphone at some child who looked like they were about to start crying.
Reggie dipped a fry into some of the extra cheese and watched a very touristy looking older couple, dressed in colorful Hawaiian shirts, khaki shorts, visors, crocks, and Fanny packs. They were stopping to take pictures of everything. "Well, if shoobies are good for one thing, it's giving us some good people-watching," she laughed.
"Excuse me, young man," touristy-lady said to Twister. "Would you take our picture?"
"Sure," Twister said, getting up and taking the camera.
The couple thanked him and he turned to sit down, nearly getting run over by what was clearly a very angry pageant mom who was dragging her screaming daughter down the boardwalk. Twister sat next to Reggie and they both stared at the scene. The girl having the temper tantrum couldn't have been more than 6. She had a full face of heavy makeup that was still perfectly in tact despite the tears streaming down her face. Her blonde hair was huge at the top of her head with curls falling down her shoulder, all very heavily hair-sprayed.
"Can we please never ever do that to our kids?" Reggie muttered when they had passed.
"Deal," he agreed.
Reggie continued to watch the people passing by, but Twister was looking at Reggie. He liked when they talked about the future. When she mentioned their future children, it just made him think of what a great mom she'll be. Then that led him to thinking about marrying her and it made him happy. He was so lucky to be with her. She was amazing— smart, funny, sweet, thoughtful. She always looked so pretty, even days like today when she was just in athletic shorts and a t-shirt.
"What?" She asked as she noticed him smiling over at her.
"Nothing," he shook his head, still grinning. She gave him a 'tell-me' look and he continued. "You just look really beautiful."
She smiled a little bashfully. "You're sweet," she said, leaning in and giving him a kiss.
The lunch rush had, indeed, died down when they got to the Shack.
"Hey kids," Raymundo said from the counter when they walked in. "Did you get everything unpacked?"
"Far from it," Reggie answered, taking a seat on the barstool. "That's our project for the rest of the day."
"I don't know that little Twister cuz is too excited about that," Tito chuckled, noting the look on Twister's face.
"Yeah, his room is going to be a lot worse," she grimaced. "It's a total bomb. But, luckily for him, he has help."
"Well if you want a break, I was thinking we could all go out to dinner tonight," Raymundo suggested, likely because the Rodriguezes had made a welcome home dinner the previous night. "Otto's flight gets in at four. Tito and I can get him and you two can meet us at the restaurant."
"Sounds great, dad!"
"And Sam still isn't back yet, is he? Because he's welcome to join too, of course."
"No, he won't be back till after Katie's graduation on Saturday," Reggie answered.
"And Katie's his girlfriend?" Raymundo asked.
"Yes," Reggie confirmed.
"Man," he said taking off his hat and rubbing his bald head. "It's hard to believe Sam has a girlfriend."
Tito put a hand on Raymundo's shoulder. "They're growing up, bruddah!"
"Break's over," Reggie said, tossing a t-shirt at Twister who was laying on his bed, going through footage on his camera.
"Hey, I've been looking for this!" Twister sat up and examined the shirt. "Where'd you find it? Because I never saw it when I was packing."
"Obviously you did," Reggie laughed. "And I'll tell you where it wasn't: with the rest of your clothes."
"Right," Twister said, remembering his packing method. "I think I used some t-shirts as cushioning so breakable things would be safer." He thought it would impress her how responsible that was.
She smiled at him and rolled her eyes. "Nice try, but it was with your textbooks. And knee pads. And snacks. Most of which are crushed now, by the way."
"Hmm, I don't remember packing it that way."
"Well, why don't you come help, and then you can be enlightened on just how interesting your packing thought-process has been?" she asked sweetly, leaning into him but not kissing him. He knew she was trying to seduce him into unpacking. He turned it around on her.
"Or," he said, grabbing her hands and pulling her down on the bed with him. "You could take a break too. I think you've earned one." He gently brushed his lips with hers.
"You're impossible," she said but he knew she was taking his offer. She wrapped her hand around his neck, pulling him closer and bringing his lips back to hers.
They were kissing for a while before there was a knock at the door, followed by an immediate entry before they had time to pull away.
"Maurice!" His mom yelled.
Twister quickly scrambled to sit up, shaking a hand through his hair that Reggie had been running her fingers through moments before. He could feel his face turning red. "Oh, hey mom."
"What have I told you about leaving this door open when Reggie's over?" She yelled at him and then turned to Reggie in a sweet voice. "Hi, Reggie."
"Hey Mrs. Rodriguez," Reggie said, trying not to sound too out of breath.
"Mom, we were just unpacking," Twister said defensively. He saw Reggie sigh out of the corner of his eye and took it to mean that was the wrong thing to say. His suspicion was confirmed with how his mom reacted.
"Unpacking? Oh, I can see that! And tell me, Maurice, when you do your unpacking, do you do it all horizontal on your bed?"
"Um," Twister was about to say yes but he glanced at Reggie, who shook her head slightly and gave him a warning look. "We were just taking a break. Sorry, mom."
"Yeah, sorry Mrs. Rodriguez," Reggie added.
Twister's mom gave a slight smile that they assumed meant she had moved past it. "I came up here to see if you all were getting hungry."
"My dad's actually taking us out to dinner, but thank you!" Reggie said, looking over at the clock. "Oh, actually we probably need to get going anyway."
"Hey, Reg!" Otto said, standing up to hug her when they got to the restaurant. "I'm so sorry I had to miss your graduation."
"No worries, bro," Reggie replied. "How was your competition?"
"Hey, man," he greeted Twister happily, hugging him before bitterly replying to Reggie, "third place."
"Third place is awesome!" Reggie encouraged him. "This was a national competition. Don't be upset about not getting first."
"Yeah, yeah," Otto waved her off.
"Dude, I'm so psyched you're back," Twister said.
"Same here, bro. I can't wait to tear it up, Ocean Shores style."
"As long as tearing it up doesn't include anymore of Otto's bright ideas that wind up with a late-night visit from Officer Shirley," Raymundo said warningly.
"You sure about that, bruddah?" Tito asked with a suggestive tone. "I don't think you'd mind the visit."
Raymundo blushed, taking off his hat and rubbing his head. "Just stay out of trouble."
"Raymundo, don't worry about it! It's been forever since we caused trouble," Twister assured him.
"If forever ago was spring break," Tito laughed.
"Besides," Otto ignored him. "Reggie will keep us out of trouble."
"When I'm not at work."
"We'll just go surfing while you're at work so you can still keep an eye on us," Otto suggested. "And you know, save us if we drown or whatever."
"I'll pretend to drown for some mouth-to-mouth from Reggie," Twister offered cheerfully without thinking.
Raymundo abruptly tried to change the subject. "Where's that waitress? Are you kids ready to order?"
"I think you're forgetting the fact that you'll be at work too," Reggie pointed out, ignoring her dad.
"What?" Otto exclaimed. "You got a job too?"
"Yeah!" Twister remembered happily. "At the water park!"
"You mean the one you lost your camera at?" Otto seemed skeptical
"Well, I won't bring my camera to work."
"Man, everyone's ditching me. Some welcome home."
"I think paying for your dinner is a pretty good welcome home," Raymundo said. "But if you would like, Tito and I would be happy to join you, shredding at Madtown."
"Uh, thanks but no thanks, Dad. I think I'll just take the free meal."
"We're not cool enough for him anymore, bruddah," Tito chuckled.
"Oh, I'm sure that's not true," Raymundo started. "We're the definition of cool; we're coolarooni."
"I think that's part of the problem, Raymundo," Twister said in response to the phrase 'coolarooni.'
"I think you're cool, Dad," Reggie told him.
"Are you all ready to order?" The waitress asked and they started around the table.