The towel-wrapped ensemble trooped up to the top floor and fell hungrily on the small spread laid out. All of the parents except Cindy had eaten and were puttering around doing various things, so everyone was able to fit around the large dining table. The chatter was animated and wide-ranging, at least after a few final volleyball challenges were issued. Much of the talk was about what everyone wanted to do during the rest of the week. The girls' plans mostly centered on the pool, the beach, and shopping at various quaint little shops and shopping centers sprinkled around the area.
When Jack mentioned the small amusement park adjacent to the area's popular boardwalk, everyone thought that sounded fun, and plans were made to go Wednesday evening so that Jack's older sister Martha and her daughter Elizabeth could join them.
At one point Jack noticed that Zane and Lea were sitting close together, but not really paying overt attention to each other. Hmmm, is something brewing there?
Jennifer had been chatting with the girls about some boutique or other. She continued verbally while answering Jack, There are some possibilities. Each is attracted to the other, but both are scared to make any indication. Zack is just inexperienced. Lea, well, she's a little more complicated.
Oh? Should I ask how? Complicated in a sexual way, I assume?
Well, sort of. I actually learned most of her information the old fashioned way; we talked while the other girls were in the pool.
Ah. So... anything you can repeat?
I'm your Genie, Jack. I must repeat anything you ask me to.
Ok, then, let's start with anything that she wouldn't mind you repeating, or that's fairly common knowledge among her friends and family.
Well, like Zane, she's had one parent raising her, her mom, but the similarities end there. While Zane's family situation has been a supporting and loving one, Lea's hasn't always. Even after Zane's father was killed, Cindy has been able to support them both fairly comfortably, and raised Zane to be a well-adjusted kid. Lea, on the other hand, grew up in a much more unpleasant environment, at least until her father left.
Was she abused?
She didn't go into that.
Can you tell?
Hmmm. She wasn't sexually, at least. And her sexually-related hang-ups aren't that deviant; mostly just what you'd expect for someone who has been living under some fairly serious repression.
Although I don't really know if her mother was abused — she wasn't abused sexually, either, I can tell that much - I do know from Lea's comments that her mother has always been very protective of her, initially perhaps from her father's anger, if not abuse. That protectiveness has turned to over-protectiveness over the years, including not allowing her to date. Her mother even forbade her to come on this trip. Lea informed her that she had just graduated high school, was eighteen and therefore an adult, had a scholarship to State, and would go on this trip if she wanted. Her mother's response was that if she was an adult, then she could be one on her own. That really scared Lea, but she was so fed up at that point that she didn't back down. Before she had to figure out how to go out on her own, though, her mom relented.
Are they okay, now?
Well, it sounds like things are still a little brittle, but for the most part, yes.
So she's just really inexperienced with guys? How is that much different from Zane?
Zane may not have much experience, but at least he has had some exposure to the opposite sex. Lea has had very little. Now that she's asserting her independence a bit, she has a drive to make up for lost time, goaded along by some fairly serious hormones.
She told you all that?
Well, the hormones I read for myself, as well as a few other things. I can't read her very deeply without you wishing it, but just by 'looking through her dorm room door', to use our earlier metaphor, I can tell that under that meek veneer there is a little sexual tigress just waiting to come out and play. Don't get me wrong, it will take quite a bit of doing to get her to come out of her shell - or her cage if you will - created by the years of repression, but once she's out...
Are we talking, like, a potential nympho or something?
If she isn't careful, or falls in with the wrong person or persons, then yes, or something.
Wow. It sounds like I need to use your abilities to limit sex!
That isn't my place to say, master, and besides, she turned her head away from the concurrent verbal conversation she had going long enough to look at him with a raised eyebrow, what's wrong with being a nympho?
Jack returned a small smirk, Nothing, as long as the nympho has a brilliant master to direct her nymphomania in the right directions. She stuck her tongue out at him, hidden from the rest by the hand she had her chin propped on, before turning back to the conversation. Jack looked at Zane for a moment. If she needs to avoid the wrong people, is he a right person? I mean, I know he's a good kid, but if he's as inexperienced, and probably as horny, as she is, is that good or bad? On the other hand, I say 'kid' but they both are legally adults now, so I guess they can do what they want.
I cannot say for sure, but he's probably as good as any, and better than most. The biggest risk, as you say, is their combined almost total lack of experience.
Well, I really hate to interfere, but perhaps you can monitor their progress, and let me know if you see something that warns of doom ahead.
The early lunch broke up, with everyone helping clean up after Jack and Jennifer set the example. Jack's mom pantomimed total shock and praised Jennifer as a miracle worker.
Jennifer came to his defense. Sort of. "Actually, he wasn't that messy when we met."
"Thanks, I think," Jack replied. Everyone laughed.
It was decreed by Cindy that the Mother of All Volleyball Matches would begin at 1:00 PM. That gave everyone a little over an hour to goof off.
As Jack and Jennifer headed toward their room, Jennifer said, "It looks like we'll be in the sun most of the afternoon. We really need a good coat of suntan lotion."
Jack grinned. "I'll do yours if you do mine."
They both arrived at the pool at one o'clock thoroughly protected by lotion, including in many locations unlikely see the light of day.
It was a given, at least for Cindy, Sarah, and Janie, that it was girls against boys. Jack and Zane immediately objected, as that would be five against two.
"Um, four to two, actually," Lea interjected hesitantly. "I can't play."
"Why not?" Janie asked. "I thought you said you can swim."
"Oh, I can. It's just, well..." she trailed off and shrugged, her face turning a bit red.
Ah. A look of understanding crossed Jennifer's face, and she smiled understandingly at Lea and took her elbow. Leading her toward the sliding glass doors she said to the remaining group, "Excuse us for a moment, be right back."
Everybody shrugged at each other and milled in and around the pool for a few moments until the pair returned.
When they stepped back through the doors it was immediately obvious what had transpired. Lea now wore Jennifer's new blue one-piece, while Jennifer sported Lea's faded white one-piece with floral print. It was also immediately obvious that, at least from shoulder to hips, they shared similar builds. The blue suit fit Lea just about as well as it did Jennifer, and the thin white suit was just as much another layer of skin on Jennifer as it had been on Lea.
Thank you, Jack!
I guess my suspicion of what happens to that suit when it gets wet is fairly accurate, then.
Tingle. Chuckle. Well, maybe not that accurate. She paused. Or maybe it is. These things usually have a privacy lining in the cups. In the case of this suit, those linings were padded. That was okay before Lea started developing. When that happened, her mom removed the lining and just made Lea wear adhesive bandages to hide any... reaction to chilly water, shall we say? I'm surprised that she didn't make Lea try on the bathing suit for her before the trip. She apparently doesn't realize how much more Lea has developed since the last time she saw her wearing it. She definitely would have never let Lea bring it if she had.
And are you wearing any adhesive bandages?
Of course not! The two had reached the other girls by this time, and Jennifer explained out loud, "Lea was a little concerned about what might happen to this suit when it got wet, so I traded with her for now. We'll take her shopping later."
The idea of an actual need to justify a shopping trip seemed to please the little group, but then Cindy frowned at Jennifer. "What about you? Aren't you concerned what may happen to that suit when it gets wet?"
Jennifer's reply was pitched so that only the little group could hear. From the looks of scandalized amusement that quickly turned to evil grins on all of their faces, though, Jack figured he had a pretty good idea of what she said.
Meanwhile, Jonathan valiantly volunteered to join the guys, earning a sarcastic snort from his wife, who obviously doubted that his reasons for playing were all that valiant. Still, while he was growing a little larger around the middle after forty-something years, he remained an active guy and Jack and Zane were glad to have him.
Jack's dad, on the other hand, begged off as being too old, and joined Katherine and Doreen as the referees, if anyone sitting off to the side of the pool around a table, under a large umbrella, sipping refreshing adult beverages can be called a referee.
The next issue was over who played on which end of the pool. The girls argued that the guys should take the deeper end because they were taller. The guys argued back that the odds were still five to three, and that fact plus the guys having to play in the deep end was too much of an advantage for the girls. They finally settled on flipping a coin. The losing team would start in the deep end for what would be best of three rounds. After the first round the winning team would take the deep end. The same would go for the third round if there was one.
The guys lost the toss, so hopped into the deep end. Jack quickly discovered a fringe benefit to having the girls in the shallow end; it left much more female flesh exposed. Of course, that could be detrimental to the actual game, especially with Jennifer's current suit now wet. The lining was still in place in the crotch, but anywhere else that didn't have the floral print was effectively transparent. (Un)Fortunately, a couple of (in)conveniently placed flowers hid her nipples and made their current status difficult to judge.
Oh, my! Jack repeated, and received another mental chuckle in return.
The guys narrowly lost the first round, due in no small part to all the female flesh bouncing around on the other side of the net.
The teams switched sides, and the guys won the second round easily, as the deeper water was almost over some of the girls' heads, making it difficult for them to get to the ball. It also hid most of their distracting curves.
They switched sides again for the third round. Jack called a quick huddle. "Okay, men, I know it's asking the impossible," he murmured with mock severity, "but in order to win, we have stop looking at those girls as, well, scantily clad girls. We've got to look at them as opponents!"
Zane just blushed and grinned a bit self consciously, but Jonathan returned Jack's mock seriousness with a brisk nod.
Not if I can help it! Jennifer sing-songed.
Hey, no eavesdropping, and no cheating!
The third round was a grueling affair, as casual pool volleyball at the beach goes. The guys pulled out to an early lead, but then Jennifer started in with a few extra little suggestive flaunts as she jumped for the ball, and the other girls quickly caught on. Nothing too overt, as all the guys were family of some sort except to Lea, and she was pretty bashful, even in Jennifer's one-piece. Still, the female team caught back up.
After that the score was neck and neck until it reached 21 guys, 20 girls. The rounds were to twenty one, but the 'you gotta win by two' rule was in effect, so there were several match points before the guys finally won. This was followed by lots of guy high fives and grunting, and lots of girl eye-rolling and boo-hissing.
As grueling casual pool volleyball isn't really all that grueling, once the guy celebration was over and everyone took a quick refreshment break, they all still wanted to play, so the teams were re-organized to make things more even. As the two tallest players, Zane and Jack were always on opposite teams. Everyone else floated back and forth from match to match.
Late in the afternoon, in what Kathleen decreed would be the last match before everyone cleaned up for dinner, the rotation had Jack facing off against Cindy. Each time they came to the net, Jack made a great show of spiking the ball over the shorter woman. The third time this happened, instead of bothering to jump to try to block Jack's shot, Cindy reached under the net and grabbed the bottom of Jack's trunks. Jack's jump had been an enthusiastic one, so Cindy's little maneuver was more successful than she had intended; she shucked his trunks down to his knees. As both Jack and Cindy has been facing each other very close to the net, this resulted in her, and pretty much just her, getting an up close and personal view of his privates, while Sarah, who was behind Jack, got a full moon.
Jack collapsed down into the water, sputtering and red as a beet as he scrabbled to pull his shorts back up. Cindy's 'serves you right' smirk, while in place, was more than slightly dented by the image playing over and over in her mind of Jack's impressive endowment appearing a few inches in front of her nose. Sarah, who had been directly behind Jack, had meanwhile fallen back into the water moaning, "My eyes! My eyes!" melodramatically over and over. Lea, who had been diagonally behind, looked stunned, but perhaps didn't find the sight quite as objectionable as her teammate.
Jack narrowed his eyes at Cindy and said softly. "I'll get you back for that."
She returned the look, her smirk now fully in place. "Take you best shot, big guy."
Jack's spike had actually scored, and that ended the game. Everyone razzed Jack as they got out of the pool, but he had recovered enough to return fire.
So your protection powers don't extend to my getting publicly humiliated? Jack complained sarcastically once he and Jennifer reached their towels.
Well, they might have if the situation had been one that threatened you in some way. As it was, Cindy will be fantasizing about large cocks for awhile... well, fantasizing more than she has been. She's pretty horny and frustrated. Her frustration will go up even further due to the fact that the real-life big cock she just saw on such close display belongs to her off-limits nephew.
The only other people that saw much of anything were Sarah and Lea. Your relationship with Sarah looks to be... congenially adversarial, shall we say?... so I would be surprised if this was the first time you mooned her. As for Lea, well, the view of your tight, firm beefcake has her boiler heating up another few degrees.
Is that a problem?
He could sense her mischievous grin as she replied, If things go well, perhaps only for Zane, and I don't think he would mind having that particular problem.
Jack followed his towel-clad Genie the rest of the way back to their room in silence, enjoying the view of her terrycloth-wrapped form and the long legs below; their tan, silken skin still glossy from the vestiges of suntan lotion that he so liberally applied earlier in the day. He then admired the view of the damp swimsuit clinging to her skin as the towel dropped to the floor. The air conditioning proved that the cups of the bathing suit did indeed have their lining removed, and the floral print was not quite up to the task of masking things this time. He stopped her, though, as she began to remove the suit. She looked at him questioningly.
"Won't you join me in the shower, Jack? I smell like chlorine and suntan lotion right now."
Jack grinned. "I know. Believe it or not, I find those aromas on a beautiful woman who has just come in from a day at the pool a turn-on."
She stepped closer and put her arms around him, the kiss on his chest of chilled, diamond hard nipples through her suit sending a shiver through him that had nothing to do with the air conditioning. "You do, do you? Well, we do have an hour or so before dinner..."
Jack leaned down to kiss her deeply for a moment before pulling away. "Would you rather I didn't smell like pool and lotion?"
She grinned a happy, naughty grin up at him. "No. You're right; there is something to be said for the aromas."
"Well, let's move to a more appropriate setting, then." He took her hand and led her through the sliding doors and out onto the balcony. "Much better, with the ocean breeze and sound of the surf, and I've always wanted to fool around on a hammock." He looked to make sure they weren't visible to anyone. "You might want to mask our own sounds, though. Better yet, can you do your time thing so that we can take as long as we wish and still get cleaned up before dinner, but keep the refreshing breeze, surf sounds, etcetera?"
Her eyes flashed. "Done."
Jack looked around. It didn't look like anything had changed. "Really? Cool." His eyes turned back to hers. He kissed her, his hands going to her shoulders to slowly push the straps of the threadbare suit down her arms.
Their play started mundanely enough as they lay naked and entwined on the hammock, kissing, caressing and fondling as they swung lazily. Eventually Jennifer took the initiative by asking Jack to turn over to lie on his stomach in the middle of the hammock. With an inquisitive expression he did as she asked. As he rolled over she reached down and deftly maneuvered his turgid shaft so that it poked through the weave of the hammock. She hopped off, retrieved their damp towels, spread them on the deck below the hammock and sat down on them cross-legged. Jack felt exposed, lying face down with only his cock poking through the hammock and at Jennifer's mercy. He was also highly intrigued and aroused by the arrangement.
She reached up to gently grasp his shaft and stroke it lightly. Jack watched for a few moments through the hammock as she stroked him. Sighing, he turned his head to lie on the hammock, closed his eyes, and relaxed, giving himself over to the gentle breeze, crashing surf in the distance, and Jennifer's talented fingers.
There was no way he could actually go to sleep with her skilled hands at work on him, but he did go into a sort of trance, filled only with the tranquil sounds and sensations lapping over him. He stayed there until, a pleasantly long time later, he felt a shift in the hammock. Turning languidly to look down through the holes, he found that the whole thing was ever so slowly rising away from Jennifer. He didn't bother to look up to try to discover the mechanics of what was going on. All his attention was on her. She still held his cock in her hand, and as soon as it was high enough, she scooted over to sit directly beneath it. She tilted her head back, displaying her long, elegantly sculpted neck to captivating effect as her russet mane, beautifully windswept from the day at the pool, brushed the towel behind her.
The hammock began to lower, and she guided his cock to her parted lips. As soon as his tip touched them she dropped her hands to relax in her lap, using only lips and tongue to take him in, a sword swallower swallowing a fat, round blade. Jack could see her neck muscles work as they eagerly accepted his shaft until every millimeter was buried, her nose pressed between his balls through the hammock. Jack moaned at the sight, louder when he saw and felt the muscles in her neck begin to rhythmically squeeze his shaft.
He lay still for several long moments, enjoying the display and the resulting delightful sensations transmitted to his buried cock, before something in the back of his mind said that he should probably pull out to give her a chance to breathe.
Apparently anticipating this concern, she said in a relaxing voice in his mind, Lie still and enjoy, Master. He sighed and did so. There was no way he was going to close his eyes, now, though.
She eventually squeezed from his sword a massive load straight down her throat. Only when she had received every drop did the hammock slowly rise again, pulling his glistening blade from between her lips. He relaxed in lethargic post-orgasmic bliss for a few moments more before half rolling, half flopping out of the hammock onto rubbery legs. He pulled Jennifer up and kissed her deeply. "Thank you, that was incredible."
She grinned happily up at him. "You are very welcome, Jack!"
He grinned back, then raised an eyebrow. "Recharge, please."
She raised an eyebrow in return as her eyes flashed. He was instantly rejuvenated and ready to go again, although his pleasantly relaxed state remained. Rather than explain what he wanted to do next and have to maneuver around to get things just right, he made a secret wish.
Jennifer gave a small squeal as she floated off of her feet and over to lie crosswise on the hammock. Her tight, round ass was on the very edge, and her legs spread into a magically comfortable more-than-full split so that they lay along the edge of the hammock as well, her heels held in place by the weave of the ropes. Meanwhile the hammock rose to hang further from the deck once more.
When the wish was complete, Jack stepped forward and pointed the head of his cock at her perfectly-placed entrance. "Now it's your turn to relax and enjoy," he said as he slid smoothly into her slickened tunnel. She moaned. He stepped forward a bit, swinging her out and pressing some of her weight onto his crotch. By experimenting and making small adjustments, he was quickly able to give a firm thrust with his hips and have her swing out and nearly off of his cock before gravity pulled her back to fully impaled again. A little more adjustment had him thrusting steadily as she swung off and back onto him.
Being relaxed and freshly recharged gave Jack plenty of stamina, and with gravity doing much of the work, he swung-fucked Jennifer through two orgasms without tiring or getting even close to his own blast off, and was even able to watch in admiring fascination the way her firm round globes bounced and rotated deliciously as she swung. As she started her way to her third orgasm, a whimsical notion motivated him to vary his rhythm a bit until he had her delectable orbs in synchronous rotation, although in opposite directions. He grinned and looked up to see if she noticed.
Her eyes were closed tightly as she panted and moaned, her hair splayed wildly across and over the opposite side of the hammock, and her arms were spread-eagled, fingers interlaced with and tightly gripping the weave of the hammock. A bit preoccupied, it appeared, so he was happy to enjoy the little extra erotic show he was putting on for himself, and resolved to keep the tight, synchronous orbiting going on until he exploded.
He was mostly successful, losing the rhythm only briefly by the time he orgasmed with a groan and in unison with her fourth. His rhythm became a little erratic then. She finally came to rest, her crotch pressed to his, and they both panted. He grinned. "You don't seem very relaxed?"
She smiled a tired and contented smile. "Mmmmm, I will be when I get my breath back, and my legs un-cramp." This last part was not a concern, as his wish had specified that her wide split be a comfortable one. She proved this, and gave lie to her words, as she lithely turned to lay normally in the hammock before opening her arms to him in invitation. It was one he couldn't refuse, and he joined her to snuggle for awhile before returning time to normal and hitting the shower.
Jennifer had timed it so that they would have about twenty minutes before dinner; plenty of time for a quick shower, especially since they were the last of the group to take one and all of the hot water was gone.
Dinner was slightly more formal than the evening before, if only in that they ate steak instead of burgers and dogs, from real plates rather than paper ones, and the 'adults' — including Jack and Jennifer - were eating at the large dining table, while the 'kids' ate at the smaller breakfast table that Jack, Jennifer, and Zane had used the evening before.
Jack noticed that Zane and Lea were sitting beside each other again, and had worked their way up to exchanging the occasional surreptitious glance.
After dinner everyone complemented Jonathan, the evening's Grillmeister, on the delicious steaks, and helped clean up. "What's everyone doing this evening?" Kathleen asked as they finished.
"Well, we've been talking about checking out the night-life." Sarah said.
From the slightly uncomfortable look on Lea's face, Jack deduced that 'we' mostly meant Sarah and Janie. He thought quickly and said, "I was thinking we might take a stroll down the beach a little bit later. I believe there's an ice cream stand down there a-ways. Lea, if you don't want to go out, you are welcome to join us. That goes for anyone else, too."
"Ugh, how can you think about ice cream after that dinner?" Janie asked with a face.
"Well I did say 'a little bit later', and it is 'a-ways' down the beach. I figure by the time we get there, we'll have enough room for a cone. Zane, wanna go?"
Zane shrugged and said, "Sure," without much enthusiasm. Jack figured Zane would just as soon stay and play video games, at least until he remembered that Jack had invited Lea as well.
Janie turned to Lea and said softly, "Would you rather stay here? I'd really like to go out, but I understand if you don't want to. Is that okay?"
Lea nodded, not quite able to prevent sneaking a glance at Zane.
Janie seemed oblivious to the quick look as she smiled and said "Okay," then her face brightened and she turned to Jennifer. "Come with us! It'll be so much fun!"
Jack glanced at Lea to see if she was offended that her friend would leave her behind and then turn around and enthusiastically invite Jennifer. If she was, she didn't show it. In fact, she looked relieved. Apparently Janie knew her friend pretty well, after all. He then turned to Jennifer, who looked back inquiringly. He shrugged. "Fine with me." Then he grinned, "But no dancing with other guys."
"Of course not. I only dance with you," she replied sweetly, fluttering her eyelashes at him and earning retching noises from both Sarah and Janie. Those noises stopped when she continued, "I'll just send any guys who want to dance toward these other two." By the expression on Sarah's face, she was now just as enthusiastic to have Jennifer join them as Janie, now that Jennifer has removed herself from competition, Jack figured. Janie's parents, meanwhile, didn't look too happy. Jack's and Sarah's didn't seem to be paying much attention.
Do you really want to go? Jack asked.
He sensed her mental shrug. Sure, it'll be fun. You sure you don't mind?
Nah, I don't mind. I'll miss you, of course, but absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say. Go have fun! But not too much fun! And no guys!
Janie interrupted the silent conversation with, "Come on Jennifer, let's go get ready!" while practically dragging her toward the stairs.
Jack turned to his mom. "What are you guys going to do?"
"Well, I was thinking about a nice soak in the hot tub, followed by some cards if your father and Jonathan and Doreen are up for it." She looked inquiringly at the other couple.
"I'm game," Jonathan said, "Dear?"
Doreen nodded absently, still looking down the stairs after her daughter.
Jack laughed. "Don't worry, Doreen. Jennifer will look after them."
"Look after them?! She just said that she would send all of the wolves that she attracts toward my daughter!"
Jack laughed again, then said in a reassuring voice, "Well, if she does, she will make sure they behave like obedient little puppy dogs. They'll be fine."
"Janie is an adult, Doreen," Jonathan said kindly.
Doreen sighed. "I know, but that doesn't mean I stop worrying." She looked at Kathleen. "How do you not worry?"
"Who says I don't? I guess I'm more serene about it these days, with everything Martha put us through when she was younger. Besides, Sarah's a big girl, and so is Janie. Plus, I'm thinking Jack is right, it's hard for me imagine a situation that Jennifer couldn't handle."
Meanwhile, Jack had a thought. Can your powers protect Sarah and Janie?
What do you mean? They can indirectly? Like an indirect result from a wish?
How would that work?
Well, as I mentioned before, my powers protect you, then me. They are always on and come into play instantly when needed, and my full powers are available until the threat is over and our anonymity is protected, if desired, with no restrictions that they be used only in a sexual manner. Take our previous example of an out-of-control truck running a red light and slamming into your car. That would be avoided with you in the car, me in the car, or both of us in the car. The most likely scenario would be something along the lines of my ability to 'slow time' coming into play long enough to decide how to avoid the accident, such as moving your car out of the way of the truck without anyone noticing. If the girls were in the car, they would be safe as well, although their memory might have to be tweaked slightly so that they didn't wonder how the car transported out of the way of the truck.
Another option, once time is 'slowed', is altering the path of the truck itself so that it doesn't hit the car. A side effect of that might be that we could redirect the truck so that it wouldn't hit other cars, as well. Because my powers are fully available with no restrictions for that short time period, as long as the primary effect of keeping us safe is met, that effect can be brought about in many different ways.
However, if neither you nor I am in the car with Sarah and Janie when the truck strikes, I can do nothing to help them, unless you were to make a sufficiently sexual wish that somehow protected them, and made it ahead of time. I cannot actually alter time itself, remember, and certainly cannot go back and change something once it has happened.
"Jack, are you okay?" Doreen interrupted the silent conversation.
Jack realized he had been staring off into space as he talked with Jennifer. "Yeah, just imaging what would happen to a guy if he did misbehave around Jennifer. Don't worry they'll be fine." Have fun. Be safe.
Jack turned to Cindy. "What about you? Want to come with us for a walk and some ice cream?"
"You sure you want an old lady with you?" Cindy asked.
From the expression Zane was trying to hide, Jack knew what answer his nephew wanted, but Jack figured he could work it so that Cindy's presence wouldn't spoil Zane's and Lea's chance for a little alone time. "Nope, we definitely don't want any old ladies, but since there don't seem to be any here, you're safe to join us."
Cindy laughed. "Thanks. When?"
Jack shrugged. "I guess it's been 'a while' enough. I'm ready. Zane? Lea?"
They both nodded.
"Okay, we'll meet outside in a few minutes. I need to go dig out a flash light. It will probably be dark on the way back."
They congregated a few minutes later at a gate by the pool that opened to a short boardwalk leading to the beach. Jack had scrounged two flashlights and handed one to Zane. There was currently plenty of light, so they pocketed them for the time being.
They strolled down the beach together at first, Jack and Cindy keeping up most of the small talk, Zack and Lea chiming in occasionally. Every so often someone would stop to look at a shell or some such, and the little group would split and re-join.
About half an hour later, just as dusk was making things difficult to see, they wandered up to the ice-cream stand. It demarked roughly where their area of beach houses ended and a more commercial area of hotels, restaurants, and retail shops began. The stand itself was actually more of a restaurant, with parking and an indoor dining area opposite the beach.
The shop was doing a bustling business, but they didn't have to stand in line too long. Jack insisted on buying, as this was his idea, and Zane and Lea both opted for dipped ice-cream cones, his in chocolate, hers in strawberry. Zack ordered a blend-in with chocolate and toffee candy pieces and Cindy chose a simple vanilla cone.
Their timing was good, as a picnic table became available just as the order was ready. They sat in silence for a few moments except for the occasional slurp. The slurps became more frequent, then interspersed with laughter as Zane and Lea tried to keep up with their ice cream melting in the humid evening ocean breeze. Cindy's cone wasn't melting quite as fast without being dipped in the hot waxy dip, but she still had to be vigilant lest dribbles make it down to her hand. When Jack pointed out that he was having no problem with his cup of ice cream, Cindy paused long enough to stick her cream-covered tongue out at him on its way back to her cone.